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Personal Science: Sandra Steingraber, October 22 at St. Ambrose University PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Environment
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 12:49

Sandra Steingraber. Photo by Dede Hatch.

Sandra Steingraber has bachelor and doctorate degrees in biology and a master’s in creative writing. “I had long been a biologist by day and poet by night,” she said in a phone interview earlier this month. “I kind of kept my writing world and my science world separate.”

And that was her intention when she set out to write the book that would become Living Downstream. “It was going to represent my best attempt as a biologist to summarize the links between cancer and the environment,” she said.

But the poet in her ended up transforming the project into something unusual: a deeply personal story intertwined with a scientific one, as Steingraber discusses her own cancer in the context of the troubling relationship between chemical pollution and the disease. The hook of the book, she said, is “the life behind one of the data points in the cancer registry, namely my own.”

Steingraber will be speaking at St. Ambrose University on October 22 as part of the school’s Sustainability Project, which includes events throughout the academic year. Her lecture, she said, will apply the “conceptual theme” of Living Downstream (originally published in 1997, with a second edition and film adaptation released in 2010) to fracking – induced hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas and petroleum.

Homebuilding: The New Green PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Environment
Written by Emily Heninger   
Friday, 10 July 2009 15:36

Design of the demonstration green home

In March, the Quad Cities Homebuilders & Remodelers Association began construction of a demonstration "green" home. Scheduled to be completed by September, the house is intended to illustrate that environmentally friendly homebuilding does not have to be costly or showy.

Homes represent 22 percent of our country's energy use -- only 6 percentage points fewer than the transportation industry, according to the Energy Information Administration. In recent years, green builders have emerged to reduce residential energy usage.

Green building isn't necessarily about solar panels, green roofs, wind turbines, and other expensive features. Double-paned windows, recycled cabinet materials, better insulation, erosion control, and efficient appliances might not be as glamorous, but they constitute green building, too.

"Green is a wave of the future," said Dave Burrows, executive vice president of the Quad Cities Homebuilders. "Our industry has to adapt."

A 2006 study by McGraw-Hill Construction predicted that green homes will make up about 10 percent of new-home construction by 2010, up from 2 percent in 2005.

"It's coming," said Burrows.


The Old/New Frontier in Great Wine PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Environment
Written by Nancy Rosetti   
Tuesday, 21 April 2009 16:01

Biodynamic farming is an organic-farming method originated by the early 20th Century Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner (founder of Waldorf schools) in an attempt to balance the nature of growing without the use of chemical or artificial means. The goal of biodynamic wine-making is to view the vineyard as a complete living system. These methods help preserve the purity and character of the fruit, leading to fantastic wines that reflect an authentic sense of place. It is a viticultural method slowly gaining strength worldwide in response to the unsustainable practice of "manufacturing wine" that has exploded over the past 60 years.

Paint the Town Green PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Environment
Wednesday, 19 March 2008 02:55

Reader issue #677 When the City of Rock Island created its "Green Team" last year, one thing it did was initiate an in-house recycling program.


Yes, the City of Rock Island - which likes to consider itself progressive - had no recycling program within city buildings.


Some recycling was done, said Tim Ridder, assistant to the public works director, the city's environmental-services coordinator, and the staff person who leads Green Team efforts. "It just wasn't uniform throughout the city," he said, and it wasn't being collected as a function of city government.


This isn't offered as proof that Rock Island is out-of-step. Rather, it shows how far the Quad Cities have come in the past year. Environmental initiatives range from obvious little things to multi-million-dollar projects, and it's evident that municipal government has gone green.




Buildings That Breathe: Green Construction is Coming of Age PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Environment
Wednesday, 17 January 2007 02:28

Reader issue #616Buildings are definitely energy hogs. The SUV is the environmental bad-boy symbol, but buildings consume more energy than cars and trucks. It's estimated that commercial and residential buildings in the U.S. consume 65 percent of all electricity, as well as 12 percent of drinkable water and 40 percent of all raw materials, according to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, an international organization that is expected in early 2008 to release a report evaluating green building in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

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