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Archive: June, 2012

POSTED: Tuesday, June 19, 2012, 5:14 PM

This afternoon, the state sent out an air alert. Tomorrow, the forecast is for unhealthy levels of ozone in the region, and moderate levels of particulates.

I know plenty of people with asthma and other respiratory ailments, and there something very sad about having to think that they might be having difficulties breathing because of air pollution. Or that they might have to stay inside.

Tonight, Philadelphia councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown is having a citizen hearing to learn more about air pollution, the way it affects people, and the potential benefit of proposed national standards, including one for carbon dioxide, which exacerbates global warming.

POSTED: Monday, June 18, 2012, 5:02 PM
UPS fleet manager James Bright (left), city sustainability coordinator Katherine Gajewski and UPS community relations coordinator with one of the company's hybrid trucks at today's Greenworks event.

It had to be the feel-green event of the year.

At the mid-point of the city‘s Greenworks plan -- three years after Mayor Nutter announced it, and three years before the 2015 goal of most of the initiatives -- officials gathered earlier today to retweak the plan laud their progress.

Yes, I grant you, why would they gather to do anything but applaud themselves? And if you were giving yourself a grade, wouldn’t you give yourself a good one?

POSTED: Thursday, June 14, 2012, 4:23 PM

Last week, when city council approved Philadelphia's new $256 million solid waste contracts, environmental groups complained that they had not been consulted -- nor had the city's solid waste advisory committee, which apparently is more of an informal group than anything.

Here's the story previewing the vote.

And here's a blog post with more details after the vote.

POSTED: Wednesday, June 13, 2012, 1:37 PM

Today and tomorrow will be good air days, according to the region's Air Quality Partnership, which predicts levels of ozone and small particles.

But that's within federally-specified levels, and that may soon change.

The Obama administration is likely to announce later this week new standards for PM2 -- the smallest of particles, ones that lodge deepest in the lungs and are thought to cause the most damage.

POSTED: Tuesday, June 12, 2012, 5:11 PM

Look out, Lubbock, you've been busted.

A Texas Tech researcher has used sewage water to track cocaine use in the city, concluding that it's used up to a third more on weekends than on weekdays.

Researchers find a lot of amazing things in sewage. And apparently levels indicating use of illegal drugs is a way to get some indication of prevalence. (Yes, you could just ask people, but most of them would lie.)

POSTED: Friday, June 8, 2012, 4:01 PM

Yesterday, I saw one of the most engaging -- and yes, entertaining -- presentations on climate change yet. It showed how understanding the science can be as easy as walking your dog.

The speaker was Richard B. Alley, a geoscientist at Penn State, and he was the lead speaker at a climate change hearing held by state Rep. Greg Vitali (D., Delaware County) and the Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee.

A lot of naysayers claim as proof that climate change isn't happening little snippets of data they cherry pick from the larger picture. They show it to Alley and say, "See? This shows temperatures are going down. What do you say to that?"

POSTED: Thursday, June 7, 2012, 5:33 PM

I love trash.

Every time I think I’m starting to understand it pretty well, along comes something else to intrigue.

This morning, Philadelphia City Council gave its approval for new waste contracts that determine how the refuse will be handled for potentially seven years down the road.

POSTED: Monday, June 4, 2012, 2:00 AM
"Life along the Delaware Bay - Cape May, Gateway to a Million Shorebirds" book jacket to go with HS1REDKNOT04

In this morning's newspaper, I wrote about a shorebird called the red knot and efforts to save it. Here's more:


This year, as they have so many times before, the bird researchers converged on Delaware Bay.

About this blog

GreenSpace is about environmental issues and green living. Bauers also writes a biweekly GreenSpace column about environmental health issues for the Inquirer’s Sunday “Health” section.

Sandy Bauers is the environment reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she has worked for more than 20 years as a reporter and editor. She lives in northern Chester County with her husband, two cats, a large vegetable garden and a flock of pet chickens.

Reach Sandy at

Sandy Bauers Inquirer GreenSpace Columnist
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