Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Trouble with Daylight Savings Time

OK, so here at The Green Miles, we talk about lots of environmental issues, some of them big and pressing (like, say, global warming), and some of them minor but interesting (like, say, organic beer). This is probably in the latter category.

Most of us think of
Daylight Savings Time as an inconvenience that screws up our brunch plans twice a year. However, there are some serious arguments against changing the clocks twice a year. One is that it screws up the internal clocks of an entire nation, making it hard for people to wake up for days or even weeks after. An extension of that is that studies have shown that the shift increases traffic accidents for that adjustment period.

But those causes can be taken up by other blogs. What we're worried about is the environmental case -- that the switch back to Standard Time
results in higher energy consumption. If we held to Daylight Savings Time year-round, it would result in a small but perceptible reduction in energy usage -- probably about 1 percent.

On a household level, that's not much. But on a national level -- especially in a nation that relies on fossil fuel for power -- that's an equivalent savings of hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil.

So why hasn't something been done about it already? The biggest obstacle seems to be inertia. In an era when Congress can ignore pressing national problems like a budget deficit
approaching $10,000,000,000,000, getting lawmakers off their butts to do something about Daylight Savings Time is unlikely.

However, as the lovely and talented Svetlana points out, proponents of change have managed to extend Daylight Savings Time starting next year.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Upcoming Rally for Smoke Free Virginia

New details on a Smoke Free Virginia rally in Arlington coming up soon! Please forward the information to any friends you think might be interested.

New information on the Smoke Free Virginia Now Tour sponsored by the American Cancer Society and other members of the Virginians for a Healthy Future!

The Smoke Free Virginia Now Rally/Awareness Event in Northern Virginia will take place on Tuesday, November 14 from 4:00-5:00pm at Virginia Hospital Center (formerly Arlington Hospital) at 1701 N. George Mason Drive, Arlington. State Senator Brandon Bell will be the featured speaker.

The organizers are looking for as many people as possible to attend the event and show their support for Smoke Free Air in Virginia!

If you have any questions regarding the event, please contact:
Katie A. Pepe
Smoke Free Campaign Coordinator
American Cancer Society
South Atlantic Division

Thursday, October 26, 2006

E85: Covering for US Auto Industry's Disregard for Fuel Economy

The Richmond Times-Dispatch takes a look at the grand opening of one of Virginia's few public E85 fueling stations. As Public Citizen explains, E85 sounds good in theory, but has been a massive scam in practice, actually resulting in lower fuel economy in America's vehicles.

The American auto industry has hyped E85 vehicles as proof the industry cares about the environment, but as you can see on this map of E85 fueling stations, good luck finding a place to buy the stuff that's open to the public. And despite GM's bragging that millions of so-called flex fuel vehicles are on the road, studies have found few of the car's owners even know what E85 is.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I'm Sensing a Tie-in Here

These two stories were next to each other ... does Yahoo News have a sense of irony? Antarcic ice shelf collapse tied to greenhouse gases, and Americans are making longer drives to work alone.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Raw sewage, organic beer, and global warming-related porn

I know all my recent posts have been random news & notes, but I've been busy lately, so calm down. Sip your coffee, relax, and enjoy the blog. I'll get back to posting more regularly, in the words of the great Napoleon Dynamite, whenever I feel like it. So there.

* The Union of Concerned Scientists (an organization best known for nearly hiring me as a press secretary five years ago despite my complete lack of knowledge at the time of what a press secretary actually did) has just put out a comprehensive report detailing the coming impacts of climate change. And let's not call them potential impacts or anything wishy-washy like that. Climate change is real, it's already happening, and the only question left is how severe the impact will be. Yes, it's depressing, but there are uninformed people out there who still argue that all is well. You need to be ready to refute their arguments, so read the report and get your talking points together. Now go, team, go!

* Another report -- if you're traveling to the American West in the future, don't bother packing a sweater.

* A
major raw sewage spill is threatening Four Mile Run & the Potomac. Most of the water around DC inside the Beltway is already so polluted, it's a good idea to avoid contact with it, but in this case, it's a real health threat, especially for dogs. I heard about the spill through a text message from Arlington County, if you're not already signed up for Arlington Alert, you should do it now, it's really helpful!

* A follow-up to the recent
organic beer question ... Business Week's cover story this week takes a look at the paradox of organic food -- as organic food becomes more popular, the business is being pulled further and further from its original ideals. And while I was fetching that link, I found another interesting Business Week article about green buildings.

* File under "you learn something new every day": I was trying to find a picture to go with the global warming stories below, and stumbled upon a porn series called "Global Warming: The Ed House Effect". Um, how can I put this? If you're at work, I would strongly advise against clicking that link.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Catching Up

Sorry I've been a bad blogger lately, but work has been crazy with the Mark Foley scandal. Basically, the organization I work for helped take him down, and now the FBI is trying to blame us for their failure to investigate him. Long hours, but damn do I love stickin' it to the man.

A few quick things ...

* If you missed the ACE Pickup & Drinkup, you missed a great time!

* Harris Teeter now carries organic beer. However, it's an organic beer from Anheuser-Busch, and the bigger the company, the more likely it is they're doing the bare minimum to just get by the USDA's lax organic standards.

* Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment is kicking off its fall membership drive, donate now and you could win some cool prizes!