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Keeping It Green

(There's No Planet B)


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Page Updated:
October 17, 2020
• News Stories    • The Issues

• Get the Lead Out Toolkit

• Oil Spill History

• Going Green When You Go

• Detailed U.S. Auto Emissions Map

Click any link on this
page to learn more.

• Big Oil Reality Check

• World Environment Day - 2020

• Asbestos Exposure Treatment

• Greenest U.S. Cities

• Safe Water in Pictures

• Safer Habitats

• Plastics-Free July

Environmental Impact News
(for the past several months)

(Click on a link to learn more.)

  • Ecosystem Collapse Threatens a Fifth of All Countries
    Trillions of Dollars of GDP Depend on Biodiversity, Swiss Re Reports

    (The Guardian), Oct. 12, 2020 -

    One-fifth of the world’s countries are at risk of their ecosystems collapsing because of the destruction of wildlife and their habitats, according to an analysis by the insurance firm Swiss Re.

    Natural “services” such as food, clean water and air, and flood protection have already been damaged by human activity.

    More than half of global GDP depends on high-functioning biodiversity, according to the report, but the risk of tipping points is growing.

    Click now for the story.
  • What Exxon Mobil Says Is Not What Exxon Mobil Does
    Mother Earth Does Not Thank You

    (ZME Science), Oct. 8, 2020 -According to internal documents obtained by Bloomberg, America’s largest oil and gas corporation Exxon Mobil was planning to increase its 2021 greenhouse gas emissions by 17% — an increase equivalent to the entire nation of Greece.

    That’s only Exxon Mobil’s own emissions, not the emissions produced by its customers burning oil. When that is also taken into consideration, the total impact would be about five times bigger.

    Click now for the rest of the story.
  • EU Moves to Cut Carbon Emissions 60% by 2030
    The Move Must First Be Approved
    by the Council of Ministers

    (ZME Science), Oct. 8, 2020 -The European Parliament voted to update the EU’s climate target for 2030, backing a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade, up from the current 40%. Lawmakers passed the proposal by 352 votes to 326, with 18 abstentions, sending the text to the EU Council of Ministers for final approval.

    The Parliament’s decision was part of a wider vote on a proposed European Climate Law, which seeks to pass the EU’s goal of reaching climate neutrality by 2050 into law. Jytte Guteland, the rapporteur on the proposed legislation, celebrated the news on her social media networks.

  • The Micro-plastics Believed to Be on the Seafloor
    Up to 14 Million Tons, Last Estimate

    (ZME Science), Oct. 7, 2020 -The world’s seafloor is filled with 14 million tons of micro-plastics, broken down from the masses of rubbish entering the oceans every year, according to a new study. It’s the first global estimate of sea-floor micro-plastics and the amount registered is 25 times greater than that shown by previous localized studies.

    Researchers from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) looked at the deep ocean 380km (236 miles) from the coast of South Australia. They found that the number of micro-plastics on the seafloor was more than double the amount of plastic pollution on the surface of the sea globally.

    Click now for more of this story.
  • The Guardian Climate Pledge
    The Magazine's Promise to Its Readers

    (The Guardian), Oct. 5, 2020 -In 2019, the Guardian made a pledge in service of the planet. We declared that the escalating climate crisis was the defining issue of our lifetime, and that quality, trustworthy reporting on the environment was an important tool to confront it. We promised to provide journalism that shows leadership, urgency, authority and gives the climate emergency the sustained attention and prominence it demands.

    We also vowed to practice what we preach, striving to green our operations as a global news organization and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

    Click now for more.
  • Styrofoam Now Banned in Maryland
    State Shows National
    Leadership By Prohibiting This
    Dangerous Single-Use Plastic

    (Environment MARYLAND), Oct. 1, 2020 -Maryland’s statewide ban on polystyrene foam cups and containers begins today. In March 2019, Maryland became the first state in the country to pass a foam ban through its state legislature.

    Polystyrene foam ? commonly referred to as Styrofoam ? is one of the most common and hazardous forms of single-use plastic. Less than 3 percent of it is recycled, and once in landfills or the natural environment, it persists for hundreds of years. In a single year, Americans throw out 25 billion polystyrene foam cups, part of the 8 million tons of plastic dumped in waterways every year.

    Click now for the smart news.
  • A New Enzyme Could Create Infinitely Recyclable Plastic
    Less Trash and Cheaper Stuff?

    (ZME SCIENCE), -Sept. 29, The researchers who made the improved version of the plastic-eating PETase enzyme have now developed a new ‘cocktail’ that can break down plastic much faster.

    Half of the cocktail is made up of the previous enzyme, PETase. The other ingredient, MHETase, is an enzyme found in the same strain of bacteria from which PETase was isolated. Together, they can break down plastic six times faster than alone, the team explains.

    The findings can help pave the way towards improved plastic recycling methods, the team explains, which would slash plastic pollution as well as the emissions from plastic production.

    Click now for this good news.
  • World Leaders Pledge to Halt Earth’s Destruction
    60 Countries Promise to
    Put Wildlife and Climate at Heart
    of Post-Covid Recovery Plans

    (The Guardian), Sept. 28, 2020 -World leaders have pledged to clamp down on pollution, embrace sustainable economic systems and eliminate the dumping of plastic waste in oceans by the middle of the century as part of “meaningful action” to halt the destruction of nature on Earth.

    Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau, Jacinda Ardern and Boris Johnson are among 64 leaders from five continents warning that humanity is in a state of planetary emergency due to the climate crisis and the rampant destruction of life-sustaining ecosystems. To restore the balance with nature, governments and the European Union have made a 10-point pledge to counteract the damage to systems that underpin human health and wellbeing.

    Click now for the promising news.
  • Oh, What's Wrong With a Brain-Eating Microbe in Your Tap Water?
    Texas Residents Warned of Tap
    Water Tainted With Naegleria fowleri

    (The Guardian), Sept. 26, 2020 -Texas officials have warned residents of some communities near Houston to stop using tap water because it might be tainted with a deadly brain-eating microbe.

    The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality warned the Brazosport Water Authority late on Friday of the potential contamination of its water supply by Naegleria fowleri.

    The commission issued an advisory warning people not to use tap water for any reason except to flush toilets in Lake Jackson, Freeport, Angleton, Brazoria, Richwood, Oyster Creek, Clute and Rosenberg.

    Click now for more, if you can stand it.
  • Pollution's Effect on the Trees in Siberia and the Arctic
    Industrial Pollution in the Arctic
    is Fasr Worse than We’ve Assumed

    (ZME SCIENCE), -Sept. 25, 2020, The findings are based on the analysis of tree-rings and wood chemistry around the city of Norilsk in the Russian Arctic. According to the authors, ecosystems in this region have been “devastated” by decades of nickel and copper mining, and the effects extend far enough to disrupt the global carbon cycle. They also explain that die-offs have spread to almost 100 kilometers away from the city.

    Norilsk is the northernmost city in the world, housing around 100,000 people. It’s also one of the most polluted places on Earth due to intensive mining operations for nickel, copper, and palladium which have been ongoing since the 1930s under very little environmental regulations. A spill in May 2020, which involved around 17,500 tons of diesel oil making its way into local rivers, further destroyed local ecosystems.

    Click now for more.
  • The Failing US Utilities Emissions Targeting
    They're Not Doing Enough
    to Meet 2050 Targets

    (Renewable Energy World), Sept. 24, 2020 - ‘Zero-percenter’ utilities show significant gaps between their stated goals and the required actions to achieve full decarbonization by 2050.

    “The math simply doesn’t yet add up,” says Deloitte in a review of the actions being taken by 22 United States utilities – ‘zero-percenter utilities – that have announced net zero or carbon free electricity goals.

    For example, these utilities have yet to schedule the retirement of 87% of their coal capacity. They have harnessed only 9GW out of a 400GW rooftop solar potential in their territories. And they have barely started to integrate the growing battery capacity from transport electrification that will convert them into necessary flexible grid assets.

    Click now to learn more.
  • Is Your Water Polluted By Fracking?
    There's An App for That!

    (ZME SCIENCE), -Sept. 24, 2020, Exposing drinking water to hydraulic fracturing fluid increases the risk of many adverse health outcomes. Unfortunately, knowing the risks posed by a particular well is very difficult due to the wide range of chemical ingredients used across sites. Now, researchers have created an app that changes this radically.

    Hydraulic fracturing is a technique used to release the oil or gas held within naturally occurring pockets of shale or other dense rock deep within the earth. While it’s not a new technique, it saw a major increase in use since the early 2000s. Following this growth, reports started linking fracking with an increase in seismic activity.

    Penn Medicine researchers have created an interactive tool, called WellExplorer, that allows community members and scientists to find out which toxins may be lurking in their drinking water as a result of fracking. You just have to type your ZIP code in the website or the app and look at the fracking sites near you, with information on the chemicals used at each of them.

    Click now for the whole story.
  • The Richest Are Much Worse For the Environment
    Emissions From This 1% Are
    Double That of the Poor

    (Thje Guardian), -Sept. 21, 2020, Not everyone holds the same responsibility for climate change, according to new research, which showed that the richest 1% of the world’s population produced twice as much carbon dioxide emissions as the poorest 50% between 1990 and 2015.

    A report compiled by Oxfam and the Stockholm Environment Institute showed that CO2 emissions rose by 60% over the 25-year period. The increase in emissions from the wealthiest 1% was three times greater than the increase from the poorest half of the world over the same timeframe. This means that the rich are quickly exhausting the world’s carbon budget, the limit of greenhouse gas emissions mankind can produce before damaging temperature increases become unavoidable.

    The increase in emissions was mainly driven by overconsumption and carbon-intensive transportation.

    Click now to learn more.
  • LEGO Plans Let Go Of Plastic Packaging
    They've Responded to Complaints
    From Kids Using the Product

    (INHABITAT), -Sept. 18, 2020, Kids have spoken, and LEGO has listened. “We have received many letters from children about the environment asking us to remove single-use plastic packaging,” Niels B. Christiansen, LEGO Group CEO, said in a statement. “We have been exploring alternatives for some time and the passion and ideas from children inspired us to begin to make the change.”

    The Danish toymaker announced Tuesday that it will replace the plastic bags inside boxed LEGO sets with recyclable paper bags. Over the next five years, the company expects to completely phase out the plastic bags.

    Click now to learn more.
  • The Health Risks From Wildfire Smoke
    What We Know and Don’t Know

    (Science News), -Sept. 18, 2020, Acrid smoke continues to pollute skies in the western United States. On some recent days, the air quality in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles has been so hazardous, it’s ranked among the worst in the world.

    It’s hard to predict when the smoke will fully clear. And with some parts of the West having faced a week or more of extremely polluted air, the unusual, sustained nature of the assault is increasing worries about people’s health.

    There’s plenty of evidence that air pollution — a broad category that includes soot, smog, and other pollutants from sources such as traffic, industry and fires — can harm health. The list of medical ailments associated with exposure to dirty air includes respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

    Click now to learn more.
  • A Device to Curb Micro-plastic Emissions
    Tire Attachment Designed
    By Four Students Aims to
    Reduce Road Transport Pollution

    (The Guardian), -Sept. 17, 2020, A device that captures micr-oplastic particles from tyres as they are emitted – and could help reduce the devastating pollution they cause – has won its designers a James Dyson award.

    The Tyre Collective, a group of masters students from Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art, scooped the UK prize of the international competition with their solution for the growing environmental scourge of tyre wear caused by road transport.

    Every time a vehicle brakes, accelerates or turns a corner, the tires wear down through friction and tiny particles become airborne. This produces 500,000 tonnes of tyre particles annually in Europe alone. Globally, it is estimated tyre wear accounts for nearly half of road transport particulate emissions. It is also the second-largest micro-plastic pollutant in the oceans after single-use plastic.

    Click now for more.
  • World Biodiversity Goals Are Not Being Met
    Not a Single Target Set
    in 2010 Has Been Reached

    (ZME SCIENCE), -Sept. 17, 2020, World leaders have failed to meet a set of important biodiversity goals, meaning ecosystems are still experiencing severe difficulties as a consequence, according to a United Nations report. In fact, not one single biodiversity target has been met ten years after they were proposed. Still, it’s not too late to act, with the UN calling for urgent action and to make major changes before the collapse of the natural world becomes inevitable.

    The Global Biodiversity Outlook, published by the Convention of Biological Diversity (CDB), showed the progress the world has made in meeting the 20 Aichi biodiversity targets, which were set 10 years ago with a deadline to meet them by 2020. They are the equivalent to the Paris Agreement on climate change but on biodiversity.

    Click now to learn more.

  • Brazil Fires Devastate the World’s Largest Tropical Wetland
    The Amazon Fires Have Now Reached the Pantanal Amid a Severe Drought

    (ZME SCIENCE), -Sept. 11, 2020, The world’s largest tropical wetland, the Pantanal, is burning at a record speed in Brazil, with fires expanding fast and threatening its biodiversity. This is happening on a backdrop of a record fire season in the whole Amazon region, with President Bolsonaro being questioned by the international community.

    With an area of 150,000 square kilometers, the Pantanal crosses the Brazilian border and extends through Bolivia and Paraguay. It’s known for its impressive biodiversity, attracting visitors from around the world eager to see jaguars, caimans, toucans, monkeys, giant otters, and many other species living there.

    Click now for the whole story.

  • Now Ecological Threats Will Force Displacement

    More Than One Billion People
    Face That Possibility By 2050

    (ZME SCIENCE), -Sept. 11, 2020, The international think-tank the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) said in its Ecological Threat Register (ETR) report that 1.2 billion people living in 31 countries aren’t sufficiently resilient to endure ecological threats. The report combines measures of resilience with comprehensive ecological data from the UN and other organizations.

    “Ecological threats and climate change pose serious challenges to global peacefulness. Over the next 30 years, lack of access to food and water will only increase without urgent global cooperation. In the absence of action civil unrest, riots and conflict will most likely increase,” said Steve Killelea, founder of the IEP, in a statement.

    The country with the largest number of people at risk of mass displacements is Pakistan, followed by Ethiopia and Iran, according to the report. Haiti faces the highest threat in Central America. In these countries, even small ecological threats and natural disasters could result in mass population displacement.

  • Plastic Food Packaging Now the King of Beach Trash

    Plastics Now Outpace
    Cigarette Butts For That Title

    (National Geographic), -Sept. 8, 2020, Candy wrappers and chip bags have become the most commonly found beach trash, surpassing cigarette butts as the top item for the first time.

    That dreary statistic is among the findings in the Ocean Conservancy’s latest report on its annual beach cleanup, when more than 20.8 million tons of trash were collected from the beaches in 116 countries in 2019. That’s 32.5 million items picked up in one day.

    Even as plastic packaging, which made up nearly 45% of the plastics produced in the U.S., Europe, China, and India between 2002 and 2014, became the dominant plastic in the global waste stream, the lowly cigarette filter clung to first place for the 34-year history of the Ocean Conservancy’s beach cleanups. Now it ranks number two, with 4.2 million butts recovered. Food wrappers top the list, with more than 4.7 million individual wrappers gathered.

  • Asphalt Is a Major Source of Air Pollution

    Especially True During Summer Weather

    (ZME SCIENCE), -Sept. 3, 2020, A petroleum-based substance, asphalt is almost everywhere, from roads and roofs to driveways and paved streets. The US alone has about 18 million tons of it. Unfortunately, it seems that all that asphalt is also the source of air pollution, especially in the summer heat, according to a new study.

    Researcher Peeyush Khare from Yale University and his team were curious about the potential impact of asphalt on air quality, especially in cities, as about 45% of urban surfaces are covered with asphalt. Its uses include paving (mixed with stone aggregate), roofing, and in products such as sealants.

    No studies have previously quantified emission rates, which are essentially absent in emission inventories. The only exception has been solvent evaporation from cutback asphalt application, which was found to have elevated concentrations of hazardous air pollutants.

    Click now for the full story.

  • The Era of Plastics Might Be Coming to an End

    Thank You, Moonlighting Microbes

    (CleanTechnica), Sept. 1, 2020 -Petroleum stakeholders have been seeking safe haven in plastics and other petrochemicals now that global demand for fossil fuel is crashing. However, science is about to crash the gate with new bio-based alternatives. In the latest development, researchers have discovered that certain microbes can moonlight as refineries. They can produce ethylene, a building block for all sorts of plastics as well as glues, coolants, and other products that currently rely on oil and gas.

    Click now for the story.

  • Now You're Cooking With Gas - Should You Be?

    Should You Give Up Cooking With Gas?

    (The Guardian), Aug. 28, 2020 -A future without gas stoves is already looking likely for some Australians. In the Australian Capital Territory, plans are underway to phase out domestic gas use, and gas infrastructure is no longer required for new suburb developments.

    “The fact is, natural gas is a polluting fossil fuel and we must eventually phase it out in favor of clean energy,” says the ACT’s minister for climate change and sustainability, Shane Rattenbury. With uncertainty around gas prices, Rattenbury says the move “is also good for household bills”.

    Click now to read all about it.

  • Veggie Patties vs Meat Burgers

    The Environmental Impact Compared

    ZME SCIENCE, Aug. 28, 2020 -No matter how you look at it, veggie patties are much better for the planet than beef. From the popular alternatives and the lesser-known ones and simple plant alternatives, nothing comes even close to beef.

    It’s not really hard to envision a not-too-distant future where we transition to renewable energy. Even phasing out oil and coal seem plausible. But one environmental culprit seems much harder to phase out: meat.

    Click now learn what's at 'Steak.'

  • Water is a Greater Commodity Than You Might Have Thought

    Between 30% to 50% of
    the World’s Water Supply
    Is Stolen Every Year

    ZME SCIENCE, Aug. 27, 2020 -As much as 30% to 50% of the world’s water supply is stolen annually, with the agricultural sector largely to blame, according to a new study. The findings highlight the lack of information behind water theft and the relevance of the issue amid a global competition for water.

    While there’s no agreed-on definition of water theft, it essentially involves taking water in violation of regulations. It can be anything from installing unauthorized connections to water distribution systems or tampering with meters, to tapping boreholes without licenses, all with the objective of not paying for water.

    Click now to read the article.

  • The U.S. Has a Real Water Crisis

    It's Far Worse than Could have Been Imagined

    The Guardian, Aug. 24, 2020 -Our water has become so toxic that towns are issuing emergency boil notices and shipping in bottled water to their residents. In 2016, as I started research for my new book Superman’s Not Coming: Our National Water Crisis and What We the People Can Do About It, members of our very own US Congress had their water shut down in Washington due to unsafe lead levels.

    We are in a water crisis beyond anything you can imagine. Pollution and toxins are everywhere, stemming from the hazardous wastes of industry and agriculture. We’ve got more than 40,000 chemicals on the market today with only a few hundred regulated. We’ve had industrial byproducts discarded into the ground and into our water supply for years. This crisis affects everyone – rich or poor, black or white, Republican or Democrat. Communities everywhere think they are safe when they are not.

  • The End of Oil Is Near

    And the Pandemic May Speed Its Demise

    SIERRA, Aug. 24, 2020 -This past spring, coastlines around the globe took on the feel of an enemy invasion as hundreds of massive oil tankers overwhelmed seaports from South Africa to Singapore. Locals and industry analysts alike used the word armada—typically applied to fleets of warships—to describe scenes such as when a group of tankers left Saudi Arabia en masse and another descended on China.

    One distressed news article proclaimed that a “floating hoard” of oil sat in tankers anchored across the North Sea, “everywhere from the UK to France and the Netherlands.” In April, the US Coast Guard shared an alarming video that showed dozens of tankers spread out for miles along California’s coast.

    On May 12, Greenpeace activists sailed into San Francisco Bay to issue a challenge to the public. In front of the giant Amazon Falcon oil tanker—which had been docked in the bay for weeks, loaded up with Chevron oil—they unfurled a banner reading, “Oil Is Over! The Future Is Up to You.”

  • US Air-force Wants to Bomb a Tribal Sanctuary

    This Desert Refuge Is Sacred

    SIERRA, Aug. 20, 2020 -The Desert National Wildlife Refuge and the Sheep Mountain Range within it are known to Paiutes as Nah’gah Kai. It is a landscape mountain range that holds special meaning for the Paiute, a landscape that is central to their Nuwuvi history, stories, and beliefs, a landscape that has been under constant attack by the United States Air Force for decades.

    Cultural sites, bighorn sheep, and the endangered desert tortoise are among the many other precious resources central to our people’s ways and culture that are found within the refuge—and which long have been within the bombing practice area of air force pilots

    . Now, the air force is pushing to ramp up its destruction of the Paiute people’s history and culture by seeking to expand by 300,000 acres its bombing range within the Desert National Wildlife Refuge.

    Click now for the whole story.

  • Building Without the Concrete Carbon Footprint

    A Method Found to 3D Print
    Buildings From Any Local Soil

    ZME SCIENCE, Aug. 20, 2020 -New research is making it possible to print buildings from the ground up — quite literally.

    Most construction materials today require intense processing to create. This makes them both relatively expensive, and quite damaging from an environmental point of view. But new research could make buildings dirt-cheap, by allowing their construction from actual dirt.

    The building process involves a 3D printer creating the load-bearing structure out of soil (this is the part of the building that keeps it up), with the final touches to be completed from other locally-available material.

  • Plastic Particles In Human Organs

    The Harms That It Could Cause

    ZME SCIENCE, Aug. 18, 2020 -While studies on wildlife have linked plastics to several health problems, their effects in humans are still mostly unknown. Now, a new study has found evidence that human organs and tissue absorb both nano- and microplastics, which could help us understand their impact on our health.

    Plastics are one of the most severe environmental problems of our time. They are very durable, even in the most extreme environmental conditions, making them the worst kind of material to be floating around the ocean or washing up on pristine beaches.

    But that’s not all; they can also easily break down. Researchers define microplastics as plastic fragments less than 5 mm, or about 0.2 inches, in diameter. Nanoplastics are even smaller, with diameters under 0.001 mm. Exposure to such plastic in wildlife can lead to cancer, infertility, and inflammation.

  • 5 Automakers Make Deal on Greenhouse Gasses

    These Companies Are In Defiance
    of Trump's Rule Rollbacks

    NY Times Climate Forward, Aug. 17, 2020 -California on Monday finalized a legal settlement with five of the world’s largest automakers that binds them to comply with its stringent state-level fuel efficiency standards that would cut down on climate-warming tailpipe emissions.

    Monday’s agreement adds legal teeth to a deal that California and four of the companies outlined in principle last summer, and it comes as a rejection of President Trump’s new, looser federal rules on fuel economy, which would allow more pollution into the atmosphere.

    Mr. Trump was blindsided last summer when the companies — Ford, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen — announced that they had reached a secret deal with California to comply with that state’s standards, even as the Trump administration was working to roll back Obama-era rules on fuel economy. A fifth company, Volvo, said in March that it intended to join the agreement and is part of the legal settlement that was finalized on Monday.

  • Nestlé Accused of Polluting a French River

    Fishermen Bring Lawsuit For
    the Killing of Tons of Fish

    ZME SCIENCE, Aug. 17, 2020 -The food giant Nestlé is being accused of polluting a local river in the region of Ardennes in the east of France, where a local fishing federation has filed a legal complaint after finding tons of dead fish in the river. It will take 10 years to get the fish levels back to normal, they argue.

    The fishing federation of Ardennes said they found scores of dead fish in the Aisne river last weekend close to a Nestlé factory, accusing the company of breaking the local environmental code. In an initial inspection, the local prefecture said the deaths were due to lower oxygen levels in the water.

  • A New Concrete Recipe

    Concrete Is Responsible for
    About 8% of Global Emissions

    NY Times Climate Forward, August 11, 2020 -On any given day, Central Concrete, in San Jose, Calif., does what concrete companies have been doing for centuries: combining sand, gravel, water and cement to create the slurry that is used in construction.

    But Central — one of a handful of companies at the forefront of a movement to make a greener concrete — is increasingly experimenting with some decidedly new mixtures.In one part of the plant, carbon dioxide from a chemical gas company is injected into the concrete, locking in that greenhouse gas and keeping it out of the atmosphere, where it would contribute to global warming.

    Click now to read all about it.

  • Reducing Urinary Glyphosate Levels in U.S. Children and Adults

    Try an All Organic Diet

    ScienceDirect, Aug. 11, 2020

    • Diet is a primary source of glyphosate exposure.

    • Organic diet reduced glyphosate and AMPA exposure in U.S. families.

    • The reduction was rapid, reaching baseline in three days.

    Click now for the story.

  • Algae-based Flip-flops to Tackle Plastic Waste

    Shoes With the Smallest Carbon Footprint

    [ZME SCIENCE], Aug. 10, 2020 -Flip-flops are the world’s most popular shoe — but they also represent a large percentage of the plastic waste that ends up in landfills, on seashores, and in the oceans. But now there might be a better alternative, as researchers have come up with biodegradable flip-flops entirely made from algae.

    Researchers from the University of California San Diego have developed polymer foams from algae oil that meet commercial specifications for midsole shoes and the foot-bed of flip-flops. They are sustainable, consumer-ready, and biodegradable materials that will eventually reach the shops.

    Click now for the rest of the story.

  • Up Arrow

Interactive Map:

Explore the air quality anywhere in the world
Air pollution continues to pose one of the biggest threats to human health, with 90% of the global population breathing unsafe air.
The latest data compiled by IQAir, published in the 2019 World Air Quality Report and the most polluted cities ranking, reveals the changing state of particulate pollution (PM2.5) around the world during 2019.
The new dataset highlights elevated air pollution levels as a result of climate change events, such as sandstorms and wildfires, and pollution gains from the rapid urbanization of cities, in regions such as Southeast Asia.
While some achievements have been made in air quality monitoring infrastructure globally, there are still huge gaps in access to data around the world.
Click the image to see where your atmosphere stands.

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The Issues: What We Need to Know

(Click on any link, below to get the full story.)

  • Help End Food Wast
  • Carbon Offset Credits
  • The Dirty Dozen Foods
  • Download the Transit App
  • Chicago Urban Agriculture
  • The World's Cleanest Cities
  • Clean Up Your Cleaning Act
  • Toxic Release Inventory (TRI)
  • Paying Back Koch Industries
  • About Those Toxic Chemicals
  • Synthetic Leaves Suck Out CO2
  • Dos and Don’ts of Pesticide Use
  • Danger: Seismic Airgun Blasting
  • Confronting Ocean Acidification
  • What Our Agencies Don’t Tell Us
  • Map Showing the Lost Rainforests
  • Fossil Fuel Facts You Should Know
  • Pesticides and Farm Worker Safety
  • The Mushroom That Can Eat Plastic
  • Bali Fights For its Beautiful Beaches
  • Your Car Needs a Professional Wash
  • Can We Restore the Gulf of Mexico?
  • The Erosion of the Mississippi Delta
  • Are Puerto Rico’s Corals Repairable?
  • Pittsburgh Will Tackle Its Water Lead
  • The PFAs in Clark's Marsh, Michigan
  • Know The Clean Drinking Water Facts
  • Toilet Paper Can Harm the Boreal Forest
  • Companies Reducing Their Carbon Footprint
  • How About a Little Radioactivity in Your Fertilizer?
  • Sustainable Concrete: Do What the Romans Did
  • Plastic Pollution is in All Areas of the U.S.
  • Tropicana Sued Over Malic Acid Presence
  • Drinking Water With ‘Forever Chemicals’
  • Did We Really Need a Clean Water Rule?
  • Uranium Mining in the Grand Canyon
  • Insects Could Vanish Within a Century
  • Declining: The Dirt Beneath Our Feet
  • Wiping Out the Boreal Forest - Literally
  • Coal Ash: Hazardous to Human Health
  • NRDC Warns of Up to 40% Food Waste
  • Mangroves May Store More Much CO2
  • Germany’s Renewable Energy Stance
  • How Do I Reduce My CO2 Footprint?
  • C’mon Congress - Get the Lead Out
  • Cancer Causing Radon in Your Home
  • How Fracking Threatens Our Water
  • CO2 Levels in the Weather Forecast
  • Air Pollution and Its Health Impacts
  • What to Know About Ground Water
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
  • Headed for the Last Roundup®?
  • Avoid Hurricane Surge Flooding
  • The Race to Reinvent Cement
  • Compare Your City's Pollution
  • A Cleaner Way to Remove CO2
  • Breaking Down Toxic PFAS
  • Singapore's Marina Barrage
  • The Global Safety Net
  • Why Go Organic
  • World Oceans Day
  • Hyper for Hydrogen
  • Earth's Rocky Future
  • Clean Power Companies
  • Tropical Deforestation
  • Louisiana's 'Cancer Alley'
  • NOAA Carbon Tracker
  • Ocean Plastics Pollution
  • Dirty Water = Dirty Fish
  • The Real Cost of Carbon
  • 16 Must-See Documentaries
  • Arsenic In Babies’ Cereal
  • Energy Transition Outlook
  • Green Grammy Nominees
  • Your Car's Carbon Footprint
  • Interactive Power Grid Maps
  • Minimizing Pesticide Usage
  • Micro-plastics Raining Down
  • Diesel School Buses & Health
  • What Is Amphibious Architecture?
  • Head & Shoulders Above the Rest
  • How Your State Makes Electricity
  • Australia’s Ecosystems Collapsing
  • The Goldman Environmental Prize
  • Transportation Emissions in the U.S.
  • The World's Most Controversial Tree
  • A Plant in Florida Emits Nitrous Oxide
  • Who's Sueing Who Over Gulf Oil Spill?
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    Oil Spill History
    Site Title

    "Birds and Oil Don't Mix"

    • Mystery: Origin of the Oil Killing Brazilian Sea Turtles?
      Oil Is Killing Brazil’s Turtles
      Where Is It From?

      Oct. 12, 2019  (TIME)- More than a month since oil started washing up on some of Brazil’s most touristic beaches, dotting sand with b lack patches, killing sea turtles and scaring off fishermen, the origin of the crude is still a mystery.

      “We don’t know the oil’s origin, where it came from or how it got here,” Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque said at an offshore exploration auction in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.

      Click now for more details.

    • One Dead in Gulf of Mexico Rig Accident
      One dead in Gulf of Mexico
      Rig Accident - But No Pollution

      July 21, 2019 (UPI) -There is no pollution associated with an explosion on a drilling platform about 12 miles off the coast of New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico, a regulator said.

      The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said it was notified by oil and gas operator Fieldwood Energy of an explosion on its Echo Platform.

      Fieldwood said one contract worker was killed and three other employees were treated for injuries at an onshore medical facility.

      Click now for the whole story.

    • 14-Year-old Oil Leak in Gulf: Far Worse Than Taylor Energy Says
      New Estimate for an Oil Leak:
      1,000x Worse Than Rig Owner Says

      June 25, 2020 (NY Times Climate Forward) -A new federal study has found that an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico that began 14 years ago has been releasing as much as 4,500 gallons a day, not three or four gallons a day as the rig owner has claimed.

      The leak, about 12 miles off the Louisiana coast, began in 2004 when a Taylor Energy Company oil platform sank during Hurricane Ivan and a bundle of undersea pipes ruptured. Oil and gas have been seeping from the site ever since.

      Click now to read all about it.

    • It’s Been Nine Years Since the Deepwater Horizon Incident
      Nine Years After Deepwater Horizon

      April 16, 2017 (National Wildlife Federation) - It has been nine years since BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana, killing eleven men and unleashing an 87 day-long torrent of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. National Wildlife Federation has taken an active role in Gulf recovery, advocating for science-based decision-making to benefit wildlife and their habitats as Gulf leaders invest recovery funds into restoration.

      While there are still decades of recovery ahead, significant strides have been made over the last eight years to restore the Gulf for coastal communities and wildlife. As we reflect on the lives lost and the damage wrought, we should also consider how we can prevent a similar disaster from happening in the future.

      Click now for the complete story

    • Torrey Canyon Oil Spill - Learning From History
      Torrey Canyon Disaster –
      the UK's Worst-Ever Oil
      Spill 50 Years On

      Mar. 18, 2017 (The Guardian) - “I saw this huge ship sailing and I thought he’s in rather close, I hope he knows what he’s doing,” recalled Gladys Perkins of the day 50 years ago, when Britain experienced its worst ever environmental disaster.

      The ship was the Torrey Canyon, one of the first generation of supertankers, and it was nearing the end of a journey from Kuwait to a refinery at Milford Haven in Wales. The BP-chartered vessel ran aground on a rock between the Isles of Scilly and Land’s End in Cornwall, splitting several of the tanks holding its vast cargo of crude oil.

      Click now for the complete story

    • The Prospect of Cuba Drilling In The Gulf Concerns Tampa Bay.
      Advocates of Gulf Oil-Drilling
      Ban Worried By Talks With Cuba

      Aug. 18, 2016 (Tampa Bay Times) - Progress in international talks over who owns a piece of the Gulf of Mexico has raised the specter of a Deepwater Horizon tragedy along local shores.

      A few hundred miles from the west coast of Florida is a 7,700-square-mile area of the Gulf of Mexico known as the Eastern Gap, thought to be rich with oil but with no clear owner.

      The U.S., Cuban and Mexican governments are now negotiating how to split the area among the three nations. Once that happens, each country can drill for oil in its allotted portion.

    • Shell Oil Mimics BP With 90,000 Gal. of Crude
      Shell Oil Spill Dumps Nearly
      90,000 Gallons of Crude Into Gulf

      May 13, 2016 (EcoWatch) -An oil spill from Royal Dutch Shell’s offshore Brutus platform has released 2,100 barrels of crude into the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

      The leak—roughly 88,200 gallons—created a visible 2 mile by 13 mile oil slick in the sea about 97 miles south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana, according to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

      Officials said that the accident occurred near Shell’s Glider field, an underwater pipe system that connects four subsea oil wells to the Brutus platform, which floats on top of the water with a depth of 2,900 feet.

      Click now for more
      (if you can bear it).

    • Blowout Highlights Gulf Drilling Dangers
      Blowout Highlights
      Gulf Drilling Dangers

      July 25, 2013 (Mother Nature Network) -Flames erupted from an offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, torching a natural gas plume that had been leaking since a blowout earlier in the day. All 44 rig workers were evacuated before the fire began, according to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, but the rig continued spewing gas until Thursday morning, when its scorched frame finally collapsed enough to cut off the leak.

      Click now for the whole story.

    • Obama White House Lifts Deepwater Drilling Ban
      Obama White House Lifts Deepwater Drilling Ban

      Oct. 12, 2010 (CBS News) -The Obama administration on Tuesday lifted the deep water oil drilling moratorium that the government imposed in the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the disastrous BP oil spill.

      The administration has been under heavy pressure from the industry and others in the region to lift the six-month ban on grounds it has cost jobs and damaged the economy. A federal report said the moratorium likely caused a temporary loss of 8,000 to 12,000 jobs in the Gulf region.

      While the temporary ban on exploratory oil and gas drilling is lifted immediately, drilling is unlikely to resume immediately. Drilling companies must meet a host of new safety regulations before they can resume operations, officials said.

      Click now for more
      if you can bear it.

    • Enter the No-Spin Zone of the Deep: the BP Live Feed
      The No-Spin Zone of the Deep

      June 5, 2010 (Christian Science Monitor) - It was the last thing BP wanted: An open, high-definition live video feed – a "spillcam," if you will – showing in excruciating detail the massive oil geyser fouling the Gulf of Mexico, a situation admittedly caused by the giant extractive firm.

      But after a series of PR disasters – waffling, obfuscating, misplaced optimism, a gaffe-prone CEO – the decision by BP, under pressure from Congress, to put the live feed on the air reaped some unexpected plaudits for the company.

      Click now for the complete
      story from the archives.

    • Can We Restore the Gulf of Mexico?
      Gulf Oil Spill:
      Dispersants Have Potential
      to Cause More Harm Than Good

      May 11, 2010 (CISTON PR Newswire) -The chemical dispersants being used to break up the oil leaking into the gulf following the explosion of British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig have the potential to cause just as much, if not more, harm to the environment and the humans coming into contact with it than the oil possibly would if left untreated.

      That is the warning of toxicology experts, led by Dr. William Sawyer, addressing the Gulf Oil Disaster Recovery Group, a group of lawyers working to protect the rights and interests of environmental groups and persons affected by the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The group represents the United Fishermen's Association and the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN), among others.

      Click now to learn more.

    • Exxon Valdez: The Story That Never Goes Away
      20 Years After Exxon Valdez
      Oil Spill, Alaskan
      Coastline Remains Contaminated

      Mar. 24, 2009 (Democracy Now) - Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, one of the worst environmental disasters in history. The Exxon Valdez spilled between 11 and 38 million gallons of crude oil into the fishing waters of Prince William Sound.

      The spill contaminated more than 1,200 miles of Alaska’s shoreline and killed hundreds of thousands of seabirds and marine animals. It also dealt a staggering blow to the residents of local fishing towns, and the effects of the disaster are still being felt today. We speak with Riki Ott, a community activist, marine toxicologist, former commercial salmon fisherma’am and author of two books on the spill. Her latest is Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Spill.

      Click now for the story
      deep in the archives.

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    America's Greenest Cities
    Back Arrow

    Provided by Mother Nature Network

    # 1 - Portland, Ore


    The city of microbrewery mania and home to megastore Powell's Books — one of the few remaining independent booksellers in the country — is No. 1 in sustainability. Declared the most bikeable city in the United States for its 200 miles of dedicated bike lanes, Portland certainly makes forgoing gas-powered travel easy. And for lessons in DIY sustainable food sources, classes are available for container gardening and cheese making, or beekeeping and chicken keeping.

    # 2 - San Francisco, Cal.

    San Francisco

    Declared by Mayor Gavin Newsom to be America's solar energy leader, this vibrant city of cultural tolerance was a 1960s icon and epicenter for the Summer of Love. But in addition to peace, love and solar power, there's also an innovative recycling program with an artist-in-residence at the recycling facility. The artist uses his work to inspire residents to recycle and conserve. San Francisco is also the first U.S. city to ban plastic grocery bags, a concept that supports its effort to divert 75 percent of landfill waste by 2010.
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    # 3 - Boston, Mass.


    It's hard to think of this city without also thinking of tea — as a commodity, not a drink. Boston ranks high among the urban green elite. Sustainability efforts include a "Green by 2015" goal to replace traditional taxi cabs with hybrid vehicles, recycle trash to power homes, use more solar panels, and use more electric motorbikes for transportation.

    The city's first annual Down2Earth conference was held in 2008. It's designed to educate residents about how to live the most sustainable lifestyle.

    # 4 - Oakland, Calif.


    Residents of this port city have access to an abundance of fresh, organic food, much of which is locally sourced. It's also home to the nation's cleanest tap water, hydrogen-powered public transit and the country's oldest wildlife refuge.

    Oakland also plans to have zero waste and be oil-independent by 2020, and already gets 17 percent of its energy from renewable sources.
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    # 5 - Eugene, Ore.

    Known as the Emerald City for its natural green beauty, this baby boomer haven and second largest city in the state has been doing the "green" thing since the 1960s. In 2008, after only one year of service, the Emerald Express, a hybrid public transit system, won a Sustainable Transport award. Cycling is the preferred mode of transportation, made possible by the 30 miles of off-street bike paths and 29 dedicated bike routes, which total a whopping 150 miles of smog-free travel throughout the metro area.

    # 6 - Cambridge, Mass.


    In 2008, Prevention Magazine named Cambridge "the best walking city." Thoreau's Walden Pond can be found in nearby Concord, and education powerhouses Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University are located here. In 2002, city officials implemented a major climate protection plan and today most city vehicles are fueled by B20 biodiesel or electricity. All new construction or major renovations must meet LEED standards. And a project called "Compost that Stuff" collects and processes organic waste from residents, restaurants, bars and hotels.

    # 7 - Berkeley, Calif.


    A great place to find an abundance of organic and vegetarian restaurants is also on the cutting edge of sustainability. Berkeley is recognized as aleader in the incubation of clean technology for wind power, solar power, biofuels and hydropower.

    # 8 - Seattle, Wash.


    The unofficial coffee klatch capitol of the country is also sustainable-living savvy. More than 20 public buildings in Seattle are LEED-certified or under construction for LEED certification. Through an incentive program, residents are encouraged to install solar panels on their homes for energy conservation. Sustainable Ballard, a green neighborhood group and sustainability festival host, offers ongoing workshops about how to live in harmony with the environment.
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    # 9 - Chicago, Ill.


    The Windy City has embraced land sustainability far longer than you may think. In 1909, pioneering city planner Daniel Hudson Burnham created a long-range plan for the lakefront that balanced urban growth, and created a permanent greenbelt around the metropolitan area.
    This greening of the city continues through the Chicago Green Roof Program. More than 2.5 million SQF city roofs support plant life — including Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and the city hall building. Also, about 500,000 new trees have been planted.

    # 10 - Austin Tex.


    Carbon neutral by 2020 — it's an ambitious goal, but Austin Energy is the nation's top seller of renewable energy among 850 utility-sponsored programs, which makes its goal to power the city solely on clean energy within reach. As the gateway to the scenic Texas Hill Country, acreage in Austin devoted to green space includes 206 parks, 12 preserves, 26 greenbelts and more than 50 miles of trails.

    Safer Habitats Table of Contents

    (Click on a link below to get the full picture.)

    Clean Air Council Climate Emergency Network Common Dreams Earthworks
    Env. Impact Assessment Environmental Working Group Florida Black Bears Fly California
    Gold Rush vs Salmon Habitat Guardian Sustainable Business Los Angeles Mass Transit Mass.gov
    Sierra Club UNLV Recycling Virginia Dept of Env. Quality Your Cities, Yourselves
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    Organizations for Safer Habitats

    (Click on an image for more of the story)

    The Guardian Sustainable Business

    EWG Logo
    Read articles like "Famers Turn Tobacco into Airplane Fuel," Infographics on Air Pollution and Your Health, Cardboard Boxes You Sleep In, and much, much more.

    Florida Black Bears are in trouble, and they can't hire their own lawyers. -but we can help.

    Gold Rush vs Salmon Habitat

    Transboundary Watershed Map
    Five major mining projects have been proposed for the transboundary watershed – the waters shared by British Columbia and southeast Alaska. The region is home to important salmon producing rivers that originate in British Columbia and run through Alaska to the sea. A number of environmental groups, Alaskan Natives and commercial fishermen strongly oppose some of these mining developments across the border. They argue mining could have negative impacts on the salmon and water quality, and irrevocably alter the region's economy, environment and way of life

    Environmental Working Group

    EWG Logo
    Two-thirds of produce samples in recent government tests had pesticide residues. Don't want to eat bug- and weed-killers? EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce helps you shop smart. We highlight the cleanest and dirtiest conventionally-raised fruits and vegetables. If a conventionally grown food you want tests high for pesticides, go for the organic version instead. And remember - the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh risks of pesticide exposure. Dirty Dozen™ Plus highlights hot peppers and leafy greens - kale and collard greens - often tainted with unusually hazardous pesticides.
    Earhworks Logo
    Hydraulic Fracturing (AKA Fracking). Another assault to the environment for which we can thank Haliburton and others. Read all about this extreme method of natural gas extraction , and its impact on water quality and other serious health issues (human and other species). Click the Earthworks icon to learn more.
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    100 Coal Plants Unplugged. This Sierra Club milestone, 100 coal plants defeated, marks a significant shift in the way Americans are looking at our energy choices. Read on and/or view video.
    What Massachusetts is doing about Climate Change?
    Flooded Village Files Suit, Citing Corporate Link to Climate Change.
    The eroding village of Kivalina in the Northwest Arctic is suing Exxon Mobil and 23 other energy companies for damage related to global warming.  Read all about it.
    This is the web page for Climate Emergency Network news.

    Click now to get there.

    Impact reports for the high speed rail system. You can fly California without leaving the ground, or the carbon footprint associated with air travel. Includes maps of the extensive rail system. ALL ABOARD!

    The Cape Wind Project will bring clean energy to Nantucket Sound. The project has been delayed by NIMBY (not in my back yard) issues by some who claim to be environmentalists.
    An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an assessment of the likely positive and/or negative influence a project may have on the environment. “Environmental Impact Assessment can be defined as: The process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social, and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made.”[1] The purpose of the assessment is to ensure that decision-makers consider environmental impacts before deciding whether to proceed with new projects.
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    EIR + Facts about the Los Angeles Metro - yes, L.A. has a mass transit system. Also read about the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

    Your Cities, Yourselves

    Smart-growth advocates offer tips for changing your neck of the woods.

    Virginia Dept. of
    Environmental Quality

    The Office of Environmental Impact Review coordinates the Commonwealth's response to environmental documents for proposed state and federal projects. The environmental impact review staff distributes documents to appropriate state agencies, planning districts and localities for their review and comment. Upon consideration of all comments, the staff prepares a single state response.
    Discover how Networkfleet can help lower fleet fuel costs and greenhouse emissions with technology that combines GPS vehicle tracking with onboard engine diagnostics.
    Monitoring the environmental impact of Pennsylvania's energy generation. A steward in validating the state's compliance with the Clean Air Act. What happens in Pennsylvania doesn't necessarily stay in Pennsylvania.
    Between 2003 and 2006, the UNLV Rebel Recycling Program recycled 2,144.5 tons of materials. Paper/Fiber (cardboard, paper, books) recycled was 1,641.6 tons. The diversion of these materials from the Apex landfill to the manufacturing process resulted in a positive impact on the global environment. Click on the logo for more.
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    Companies Producing Cleaner Power

    (More companies will be
    added to this page shortly)

    1366 One Step Closer to
    Opening US Solar PV Wafer Facility

    1366 Technologies Logo

    Solar silicon wafer innovator 1366 Technologies has landed new funding led by newest partner Tokayama, and is ready to scale up to a 250-MW production line ahead of an anticipated upswing in demand.
    Ten months ago 1366 moved into a new 25-MW pilot facility in Bedford, Massachusetts, to nail down process and tweak equipment for its solar silicon wafering technology to take the next step toward commercialization. In June of 2013 the firm inked a R&D deal with Japanese silicon producer Tokuyama with hints that it could expand to an equity investment.

    Clearsign Logo

    What if a cost-effective air pollution control technology could actually increase energy efficiency? What if it were possible to prevent harmful emissions from the combustion of any fuel, including gas, biomass, coal — even tire-derived fuel and municipal solid waste — in the flame, before those pollutants were ever formed?

    Redox Power Systems Logo

    The executives at Fulton-based Redox Power Systems are making a bold bet: The homes and businesses of the future will be powered by an extraterrestrial-looking apparatus loaded with fuel cells that convert natural gas and air into electricity.
    The technology promises to be more efficient and environmentally friendly than the systems that power many buildings today, but the company has to first overcome the economic and social barriers that often beset renewable energy ventures.
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    Mesothelioma is a Disease Brought
    On By Exposure to Asbestos

    Disclaimer: There are many sites that focus on treatment, but we lack the credentials to recommend the best ones*. We've provded a short list:

    *Always consult with a professional
    before making your choice.