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In the iconic 1967 movie “The Graduate”, an avuncular businessman takes aside the 21-year old college graduate Benjamin Braddock, played by Dustin Hoffman, to give him some advice on where to aim his future. With his right arm draped over Ben’s shoulder, Mr. McGuire intones, “I just wanna say one word to you.” And then, “Just one word. Plastics”. “There’s a great future in plastics.”

For all his plasticness, Mr McGuire was right.… Read the rest “Can Biology Save Us From Plastic Pollution?”

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The environmental cost of beef production is well known: it generates a lot of greenhouse gases (GHG), compared to plant-derived foods or even meats such as pork or chicken. A major reason is that bovines’ stomachs use oxygen-free, “enteric” fermentation to digest grass, as described in a previous post. As a result, they burp up a lot of methane, which is a potent GHG.

The greenhouse gas contributions of methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases are encompassed by the term “CO2 equivalents” (CO2e).… Read the rest “The Environmental Cost of Beef”

Modern waste incineration plant in Denmark View More

The Waste-to-Energy plant “Amager Bakke” in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo credit Niels Quist/Alamy stock photos.

Most people do not enjoy talking, or reading, about garbage. For one thing, it’s boring. But it’s also disturbing: garbage imposes great costs on our economy and our society. The biggest problem is simply the amount of garbage we produce. For example, in 2015, two kilograms (4.4 pounds) of Municipal Solid Waste was generated per citizen of the USA every day (MSW is the fancy name for garbage).… Read the rest “What Should We Do About Garbage? A Burning Question”

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“Livestock are responsible for 18 percent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together. It’s official: taking to the roads in an SUV’s got nothing on cattle flatulence . . . “ This is a direct quote from a recent web post of a climate sceptic. It restates a popular meme about climate change, favoured by conservative commentators: that man isn’t the most important agent of global warming, it’s the farting cows, stupid.… Read the rest “We Need to Talk About Methane”