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Obama confirms Copenhagen trip

Photo by oxfam international via Flickr

As many where preparing for Thanksgiving, President Barack Obama was making plans of his own. On Wednesday, his trip to Copenhagen was confirmed.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will be held from December 7th through December 18th, aims to create an agreement on an international strategy to fight global warming.

At the conference Obama is expected to announce  that the United States intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions “in the range of” 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.

With environmental advocates and world leaders pressuring Obama to attend the conference to affirm the United States’ position on climate change, it seems as if the president is attending the climate talks as a political maneuver more than anything else.

Obama will be making a stop at the beginning of the conference, on December 9th, on his way to accept the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.  If an agreement where to be reached at the conference it would be at the end of the talks.

Furthermore, Obama hadn’t committed to going to Copenhagen or having emission targets for the US. He had emphasized the importance of the climate talks and  had promised many times to take action against global warming.

After eight years of inactivity on this matter from the Bush Administration, Obama’s promises brought hope to many. But as for me, I’ll believe it when I see results.

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No Green Jobs for Women and Minorities

Found an interesting post from the Los Angeles Times‘ green blog, Greenspace, about women and minorities being left out of green jobs.

Although I was not surprised to learn about the low numbers of women and minorities in the green economy, I was appalled by the criticism the LAT and the writer, Tiffany Hsu, received from those who commented. The overall complaint was that the Times and writer were leftists who where overreacting.

Check out the video by the Applied Research Center, a racial justice think thank, and let us know your thoughts. Is the Times and Hsu overreacting? Are you surprised about the low numbers of women and minorities in green jobs? What should be done to allow these people into this emerging field?

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The Skinny on Bicycling

Photo by Richard Masoner via Flickr

Riding a bicycle is not only fun but it is also eco-friendly. Could it be possible it also has health benefits?

GOOD, a site dedicated to turning complicated issues into infographics, created a graphic that looks at the correlation between obesity and bicycle commuting.

According to GOOD, the average American is overweight and spends 100 hours per year commuting. Most of that time is spent in a car. (And if you live in LA, it is spent in a car stuck in traffic on the 405 or 101 freeways.)

The Effects of Bike Commuting on Obesity, compares the percentages of a country’s obesity rates to their active commutes, which include walking and bicycling.

Check out the graphic and you decide.

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Ugly Cars

Toyota Prius

Photo by kasei via Flickr

Came upon BusinessWeeks‘ slide show titled “Fifty Ugliest Cars of the Past 50 Years” a few days ago and found myself not agreeing 100 percent with their picks. Tree huggers around the world, like me, will find it upsetting that a popular electric car made the list — the Toyota Prius.

Now I am not saying the car is the best in automobile design but I do not consider it ugly.  What it lacks in looks is made up by the fact that it helps one reduce carbon emissions and is a little better for the environment.

BusinessWeek describes it as having the style of a soybean. I do not have a Prius or a car for that matter but do have the Prius in mind when the time comes. I also like soybeans.

The list does include the gasoline guzzler that is the Hummer so I guess this inclusion makes up for what I think is a lack of judgement. Now I know the list is subjective. So let us know what you think about the slide show.

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Composting to have zero waste

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Photo by frankfarm via Flickr

New York Times article “Nudging Recycling From Less Waste to None” caught my attention recently. The article is about a new  anti-garbage movement know as Zero Waste.

The article cites statistics by the Environmental Protection Agency stating Americans dump 4.6 pounds of garbage per person per day and  food waste accounts for about 13 percent of total trash nationally.

All this trash eventually ends up in landfills. So to avoid making so much trash people are recycling and composting everything possible.

The Times article indicates the hardest part of composting is educating those who have no clue what it’s all about. But the photo above, which was taken by frankfarm and obtained via Flickr, shows how UC San Francisco is taking up the issue of composting. Notice how they visually show students what goes where.

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Los Angeles Community Garden Council

FarmlabOn Saturday, I headed over to an event where community gardeners gathered to learn more about gardening and how they become a useful tool in their neighborhoods. Los Angeles Community Garden Council hosted the event at  Farmlab in Downtown.

A reoccurring topic at the event was the lack of access to fresh produce for those in low-income neighborhoods. Ironically, fast food restaurants have begun to accept EBT cards while some Farmers Markets are still struggling to accept the cards as a form of payment. The Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card is the identification card for the Food Stamp Program.

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The Impact of Community Gardens

Community Garden

Photo by Flatbush Gardener (via Flickr)

Aside from turning ugly empty lots into spaces full of life, community gardens have been credited with having a positive impact on their surrounding neighborhood. As I set out to find this data, I was meet with different points of view.

A study conducted by a research team from Texas State and Texas A&M Universities set out to find what kind of impact community gardens have on crime rates. The researchers collected and mapped crime rate data around the gardens and they also interviewed citizens. After gathering data, a comparison was made between community garden areas and areas randonmly selected in city areas that where within a 1-mile radius. Read the rest of this entry »

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