Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Consumption & the Environment

Yesterday we asked our fans on Facebook and Twitter what they think are the seven most harmful consumer activities, in terms of their effect on the environment. Turns out you guys know your stuff! Answers included plastic bags, food waste, meat consumption, water waste, and driving, among others.

Here's the real breakdown, according to "The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices: Practical Advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists."  They analyzed the impacts of 134 different human activities, and these were deemed the most harmful in terms of greenhouse gases, air pollution, water pollution, and habitat alteration.

  • Cars and light trucks
  • Meat and poultry
  • Fruit, vegetables and grains
  • Home heating, hot water, and air conditioning
  • Household appliances and lighting
  • Home construction
  • Household water and sewage
What else do you think should be on the list? Is it possible to reduce our consumption? You can visit the Union of Concerned Scientists' web site to learn more about the book, as well as their other studies and publications.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Does your community treat drinking water?

The Badger Herald reported yesterday that at least 60 Wisconsin communities are not treating drinking water. While the DNR can't mandate water treatment, they highly recommend it- untreated water can mean bacteria such as E.coli, as well as viruses, can enter our drinking water. Why not treat water? Some communities are concerned about the cost of the treatments, as well as the possible smell and taste of chlorine in the water.

Mineral Point found E.coli in its water in 2011, and subsequently installed a chlorination system, which cost the city about $15,000. Superintendent of water and sewer Pat O'Flahrity is quoted as saying "If you are going to err, then err on the side of public safety. This way you know. You've solved the problem...You're making sure that the water is safe."

Learn more here:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Infographic: Mother Nature's Pop-Science Guide to Birds

Think you know birds? A new infographic by the Mother Nature Network shares some interesting facts. Did you know that besides fish and insects, birds have the greatest color diversity among their species? Click here to view the full infographic!


Looking for more information about birds? In addition to books about scaly, finned creatures, the Water Library has a great collection of resources on our feathered friends. Check these out!