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Sustainable Living Headlines: Sep 2012

Discussions on NaturalChoice.net

Highlights from our Summer Discussion Series

Junk the Junk Food on Your Road Trip: Packing for the road is challenging. A quick guide to help you keep junk food out of your road trip.

Smoothie with a Kick: Get a cold blast and a morning boost with this coffee banana smoothie.


Evolution of the Yurt
: What are Yurts? How do they get from being shelters of Asian nomads centuries ago to lodges in America today?

Highlights from our Green Building Discussion Series

Green Buildings: The What & Why of Sustainable Buildings: An overview of eco-building - the what and why, and where we are today.

Eco-Building - A Growing NW Trend: Green Homes 101: Why you should consider building or selecting one next time you are moving.

Rightsize Your Home for the Life You Want to Live: Consuming less and living more. Trade in the "stuff" can free us up for the stuff of life.

How to Choose a Green Architect & Contractor: Guide to finding your green architects and contractors for your dream home.

 

Industry Headlines

Administration Released New Fuel-Efficiency Standards for Automobiles

The White House announced fuel efficiency standards of 54.5 mpg for cars and light trucks by 2025. The Administration's combined fuel efficiency initiatives are estimated to save consumers $1.7 trillion in fuel cost, reduce US oil consumption by 12 billion barrels and cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks in half by 2025.

Great Strive for Alternative Energy

  • Wind Energy Co-ops Gather Speed In U.S. Communities: European-style community-owned wind projects are starting to catch on in America. The American Wind Energy Association reported that the community wind segment is expected to capture 5.6 percent of the overall wind market at the end of 2011.

  • Oregon Wave-Power Project Gets Federal Go-Ahead: Earth Techling reported that Ocean Power Technologies recently received the first wave-power station license to install up to 10 of its grid-connected PowerBuoys off the coast near Reedsport, Oregon. The full array would have a generating capacity of 1.5 megawatts.

  • Nation's Largest Biomass Power Plant Went On Line in Texas: Southern Power announced on July 18, 2012 the operation commencement of its 100-megawatt unit in Nacogdoches facility. The plant is fueled by non-merchantable wood waste and will supply energy to Austin Energy for the next 20 years.

Sustainable Companies Produced Good Financial Return

Oekom Research, a German-based rating agency, grouped the best social and environmental performing large companies into the Prime Portfolio Large Caps (PPLC). The Research group reported that investing in the PPLCs can yield markedly better results with lower volatility. In a 7-year period ending Dec 2011, the PPLCs returned 30.9% versus the 15.3% return of the MSCI World Total Return Index.

Johnson &Johnson Leads by Cutting Toxins From Beauty Products

J&J pledged to remove potentially harmful and carcinogenic chemicals from its lotions and adult toiletries by 2015. Brands covered include Aveena, Neutrogena, Clean & Clear, and Lubriderm. This decision followed its move to cut chemicals of concern from its baby shampoos and lotions in the US by the end of 2013. (source: GreenBiz.com)

Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) Harms to Skin

CFL bulbs are far more efficient than incandescent bulbs. However, a study from Stony Brook University revealed that UV emitted from CFL bulbs can cause damage to skin similar to ultraviolet radiation. Exposure to incandescent bulbs of the same intensity had no effect on healthy skin cells.

Urban Light Pollution Linked to Depression

A recent study published in Molecular Psychiatry links light pollution to an increase in major depressive disorder. After four weeks of exposure to light pollution, test hamsters produced more TNF - a protein secreted in response to injury or inflammation. Released consistently, that alone could play a role in increased risk for depression.

Additive In Dairy Products Could Make You Sick

Carrageenan, a seaweed-derived ingredient, is used to produce a better texture in low-fat dairy products and dairy alternatives, even in some organic products. The Cornucopia Institute reported that the additive can cause digestive problems, and lead to harmful inflammation which is the underlying cause of many diseases including cancer.

New York Targets Energy Drink Industry

NY is investigating whether the energy-drink industry misleads consumers about the health value of its products, by potentially overstating the benefits of exotic ingredients and understating the role of caffeine. Energy drinks, with US sale growing 16% last year, are the fastest-growing products in the beverage sector. (source: Wall Street Journal)

Definition of Depression Expanded in American Psychiatric Association's Manual (DSM)

The Manual's 4th edition distinguishes normal grieving after loss from clinical depression. According to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine, the definition of depression, under the proposed update in the 5th edition, can characterize bereavement as a depressive disorder, which can lead to the medicalization of normal grief.

Treating the Distress of Cancer

Distress in cancer patients can negatively impact their recovery progress. The Institute of Medicine warned about the lack of care to address this issue in 2007. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Commission on Cancer will require care providers to evaluate patients for distress and refer them for help starting in 2015.