Tampa Bay Informer - Environmental News
Environmental

Environmental (11)

Thursday, 25 February 2010 10:46

Hands Across the Sand Spreads Message "Love Tourists, Not Drilling" Featured

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Peaceful protesters join hands on St. Pete Beach to protest drilling in the gulf - Photo by Katie MacholHands Across the Sand, a statewide, peaceful protest against offshore drilling, was held throughout Florida's beaches on February 13th. Despite the colder-than-average weather, large groups of citizens made their way out to the beaches to make their voices heard and to show their support for Florida's beautiful landscape, with the hope that it will stay beautiful.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010 11:27

Green Car Detailing

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Green Car WashTraditionally, auto detailing has employed a range of not-so-green-friendly products such as ammonia, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nonphenolethoxolates (NPEs), abrasive detergents, and chemical-based leather, vinyl, fabric and carpet treatments. Inside the car, they can off-gas harsh airborne pollutants; when washed down storm drains they can wreak havoc on public water supplies.

Tuesday, 08 December 2009 15:45

Hyenas - The Hunted Predator

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The spotted hyena - Photo by Ikiwaner, courtesy WikipediaAmong the most intelligent animals on Earth, three species of hyenas still roam in wilder parts of Africa and Asia. In general, hyenas are large, strong, flesh-eating animals that hunt a wide range of prey but mostly feed on carrion (the kills of other predators). They most closely resemble dogs but are in fact more closely related to cats. When full-grown, hyenas range from about 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 feet long and weigh between 75 and 175 pounds. Considered as smart as some primates, hyenas work in teams to hunt zebras and wildebeests. They communicate through a series of yells and growls, and their cries resemble human laughter.

Monday, 30 November 2009 17:01

Vertical Farming - What is It?

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Columbia University professor of environmental health and microbiology, Dickson Despommier, coined the term “Vertical farming” is a term coined by Columbia University professor of environmental health and microbiology Dickson Despommier to describe the concept of growing large amounts of food in urban high-rise buildings—or so-called “farmscrapers.”

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Boeing's new 787, which is some 20 percent more fuel efficient than other big passenger planes - Andrew W. Sieber, courtesy FlickrJust like every other industry, going green has become a mantra among airlines, car rental companies and even hotel chains. The fuel crunch of a few years ago forced all the airlines into belt-tightening mode and the results—lower fuel consumption and fewer emissions—are good news for the environment.

Monday, 16 November 2009 13:30

Wind Farms - Beautiful or Ugly?

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Wind Farms - John Foxx, Getty ImagesRegarding the attractiveness of wind farms, people do seem to come down on one side or the other rather vehemently. Those in favor of wind development have been known to extol the visual virtues of a horizon full of windmills not only for the turbines’ graceful sculptural lines but also for the fact that their very presence advertises the coming of a modern, almost futuristic age of clean, renewable energy.

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Collecting rain water from your gutters' downspouts is a no-brainer and is not expensive to do. It can then be used to water the lawn and garden, and even be used for laundry, dishes and other interior needs with the addition of a water purification system - Photo from RainXchangeFor most of us, the rain that falls on our roof runs off into the ground or the sewer system. But if you’re motivated to save a little water and re-distribute it on your lawns or plants—or even use it for laundry, dishes or other interior needs—collecting rainwater from your gutters’ downspouts is a no-brainer.

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Baby Sea Turtle HatchlingsOn July 10th, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) announced Pinellas County’s first sea turtle hatchlings of the year.  Late at night on July 9th, the first two nests of the year hatched, both on Indian Rocks Beach.  CMA’s sea turtle nesting staff were on hand to witness the event, and to keep the hatchlings safe until they reached the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  Ninety-eight sea turtle hatchlings from nest #1 and eighty-three from nest #2 made their way into the Gulf that night.

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Florida Manatee - Endangered SpeciesSunny skies, warm temperatures and abundant waterways are a powerful attraction to the million and a half residents and visitors who make up Florida’s recreational boating community. Once the Memorial Day weekend begins, boating season will officially be in full swing, and Save the Manatee Club cautions boaters to watch out for the endangered manatees who share the waters with them.

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Florida Manatee - Endangered SpeciesTo call attention to Endangered Species Day, which is May 15th, Save the Manatee Club wants the public to be aware that manatee deaths are up this year compared with recent years, with high numbers of watercraft mortalities (33). Manatees are listed as endangered on the international, national, and state levels.

“A total of 200 manatees were confirmed dead as of May 1st,” said Dr. Katie Tripp, Save the Manatee Club’s Director of Science & Conservation. “Cold stress was a significant cause of manatee mortality this winter, with 47 confirmed deaths, but some other forms of mortality, including watercraft mortality, have also exceeded the 5-year average so far in 2009. In 2006, which was the deadliest year for manatees, with 417 confirmed deaths for the entire year, 159 had died by May 1st, suggesting that 2009 could set a new mortality record if trends from early 2009 continue. With the end of winter and the start of the summer boating season, it will be as important as ever to be on the lookout for manatees so that additional watercraft injuries and deaths can be minimized for the remainder of 2009.”

To learn more about manatees, visit Save the Manatee Club’s website at www.savethemanatee.org.

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Sea Turtles on Clearwater BeachSea turtle nesting season begins May 1st and ends Oct. 31st. Because newly-hatched turtles find their way to the sea by following the natural light reflected by the water, city ordinances determine specific lighting requirements for beach parking lots, streets and promenades.

If you live near the beach, make sure you shut off or dim your lights at night. This precaution can reduce the amount of artificial light that reaches turtle nests and will help hatchlings reach the water safely. The Tampa Bay area averages about 120 nests each season, and can contain an average of 100 to 110 eggs.

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