November 12, 2012 |
A few weeks ago, after a major study showed that organically grown food offers little or no nutritional benefit over the cheaper, conventionally grown equivalent, I began investigating the other major reason people buy organic: saving the environment. The environmental impact of a product is too complex to cover comprehensively in a few hundred words, so I began with one aspect of it, land use, and looked at how recently released data shows that conventional farming produces more food on less land than ...
June 4, 2011
If you leave out mosquitoes, soggy french fries and 100-degree afternoons, I love everything about summer. Well, almost everything. There is one more summer pastime I can live without: roller coasters. Don't get me wrong. Like most people, I think roller coasters are a marvel of modern engineering. They are spectacular machines that allow riders to soar through the air like birds. Not like normal birds, of course, because only crazy birds would fly loop-the-loops just for the heck of it. Most birds engage in aerial...
January 30, 2010
WE'VE ALREADY said that President Obama's State of the Union address didn't convince us that he had a real plan to improve the tone of politics in Washington. But on energy, Mr. Obama did reach out to Republicans -- not just rhetorically, but with substantive concessions meant to revitalize a foundering legislative effort. The president spoke of "building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants" and "opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. " Mr. Obama made Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell's response -- that "this...
July 27, 2008
Elizabeth Razzi's column in the July 19 Business section, "Keep Your Energy Dollars From Going Up in Smoke," overlooked two points: A home energy audit is the best way to pinpoint where energy dollars can be spent most effectively, and energy improvement projects may qualify for tax incentives. In my case, an audit showed that a problem in a utility closet allowed air from the attic -- not heated or cooled -- to mingle with heated or cooled air in the rest of the house. My audit cost a bit over $300; acting on its recommendations cost about $1,400.
June 30, 2008
In the June 25 Metro story about the proposed coal plant in southwestern Virginia ["Debating Coal's Cost in Rural Virginia"], Dominion Virginia Power's chief environmental officer was quoted as saying, "You just wouldn't be able to do enough wind to meet our energy supply [needs]. " Definitive though that may sound, it is not true. We have plenty of wind and solar resources in this country, and we have all the technology we need to begin phasing out coal. All it takes is turbines, transmission and energy storage.
June 18, 2008
Regarding the June 17 front-page story "McCain Seeks to End Offshore Drilling Ban": I am extremely disappointed in the Democratic Party's approach to energy issues. The Democrats seem determined to undermine our way of life by eliminating all rational means of producing energy. We need two things: a portable energy source for transportation and a nonpolluting way to produce electricity. Until we can change to an alternative fuel, such as hydrogen, we must use oil for transportation, and we need to produce more of it. But Congress is...