Sushi aficionados will soon be able to make seafood choices that please the palate and safeguard the world’s ocean wildlife. Finally a green your sushi guide. In just a few days (October 22nd to be precise), three of the world’s top ocean conservation organizations – Blue Ocean Institute, Environmental Defense Fund and the Monterey Bay Aquarium – will publish guides ranking popular sushi selections based on sustainability. The guides will highlight seafood that’s caught or farmed, in ways that harm the ocean, or pose a health risk to people. All three groups promote the message that sushi choices by individual consumers have a significant impact on the future of the ocean.


“For the first time, sushi lovers have tools that enable them to join the growing movement of those making ocean-friendly choices that protect life in the seas now and for generations to come,” said Julie Pareles, executive director of Blue Ocean Institute.

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The Center for Biological Diversity today notified the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of its intent to file a lawsuit against the agency for its failure to respond to the threat of ocean acidification. Last year, the Center filed a formal petition asking EPA to impose stricter pH standards for ocean water quality and publish guidance to help states protect U. S. waters from ocean acidification. Today's notice of intent to sue urges EPA to promptly respond to the Center's petition.

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Critically endangered sea turtles, now leaving the safe harbor of California's coastal waters to migrate across the Pacific to nesting beaches, could face a gauntlet of 5 million or more new longline hooks when returning to the West Coast in the future.

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Can you imagine a world without fish? Sven Huseby, descendant of Norwegian fishermen and life-long environmentalist, had never done so until he read an article on ocean acidification — The Darkening Sea. The article changed his life. He discovered that the effects of climate change are not limited to global warming; they extend to the sea, where the chemistry of the water is being changed and is creating a profound threat to the whole food chain, starting at the bottom.

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As the world’s oceans get busier, they are also getting a lot nosier. The increase in noise has an alliance of wildlife groups concerned about the effect on marine mammals. The world’s oceans and seas are becoming noisier as a result of increases in the number and size of vessels; a rise in seismic surveys and because of the new generation of military sonars, the alliance recently said at the United Nations Environment Programme’s Convention on Migratory Species conference in Rome.

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Fifth of corals dead: only emission cuts can save the rest, says the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The world has lost 19% of its coral reefs, according to the 2008 global update of the world’s reef status.

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Massive swarms of stinging jellyfish and jellyfish-like animals are transforming many world-class fisheries and tourist destinations into veritable ‘jellytoriums’ that are intermittently jammed with pulsating, gelatinous creatures, reports the National Science Foundation. Areas that are currently particularly hard-hit by jellyfish include Hawaii, the Gulf of Mexico, the east coast of the U. S., the Bering Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, Australia, the Black Sea and other European seas, the Sea of Japan, the North Sea and Namibia.

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A robotic fish designed by UK scientists is the latest tool in the fight against water pollution. The robotic fish are designed to swim independently via wireless technology in seas, ocean, rivers and lakes to detect sources of pollution.

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It is a shocking fact that more than 2.6 billion of people have no access to basic sanitation. This means that 40 out of 100 people lack even the simplest toilet to perform their basic bodily needs.

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NASA's International Space Station Expedition 19 crew recently toasted the ability to recycle and purify human and rat urine in space. Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineers Mike Barratt and Koichi Wakata celebrated the news that the station’s new recycling system had adequately purified urine to make it fit for human consumption with a toast in the Destiny laboratory.

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The Raw Sewage Facts
The City of Victoria (Capital Regional District) in British Columbia, Canada pumps 120 million litres of raw sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca every single day. The effluent flows through 6mm screens which removes large solids, but little of the sediment and none of the toxic cleaners, solvents, medicines, and other contaminants that go down our sinks and toilets.

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Perhaps if Canadians stopped taking the attitude of ‘out of sight and out of mind, we wouldn’t be one of the few developed nations in the world with a major city without a sewer system. Currently there are no sewage systems in the Victoria area (BC) and some of the surrounding Gulf Islands. Instead, the Victoria Capital Regional District pumps 120 million litres of raw sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca every single day according to People Opposed to Outfall Pollution (POOP). Canadian politicians would benefit from a copy of Colors Cacas, a coffee table book that explores the world’s most private function - the bowel movement.

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Visit the world’s smelliest museum at Les Egouts de Paris (The Sewers of Paris). This infamous museum is part of Paris’s working sewage system. Only a small part of the 2,100km sewer system is open to the public, but you are able to get a fairly good understanding of where your waste goes when each time you flush the toilet. Included in this odorous museum is a history of the Parisian sewer system, a selection of antique sewage maintenance machinery and a token caged rat. Located at 93 quai d’Orsay, Paris, France.

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Wastewater cleaning bacteria find a good home in the igloo dome shaped Poo-Gloos, and offer an affordable way for small communities to treat their wastewater. The Poo-Gloos, made by Wastewater Compliance Systems (WCS), Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, are lined with a bacterial biofilm and placed in existing water treatment plants.

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November 19th is World Toilet Day – a day highlighting the fact that many people around the world still lack access to basic sanitation and clean water. The World Toilet Organization (WTO) reports that more than 2.6 billion people (including 980 million children) do not have access to clean, safe, hygienic toilets.

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The world’s first flower grown on the moon may soon become a reality when US-based Odyssey Moon and engineering firm Paragon Space Development Corporation deliver the first biological greenhouse to the lunar surface. Google Lunar X PRIZE contender Odyssey Moon and Paragon have teamed up for the project Lunar Oasis that will attempt to deliver a sealed bell jar greenhouse, encased in a 1.5-foot tall triangular aluminium frame, to the moon.

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Do you live in Bakersfield, Los Angeles or Pittsburgh? If so, you have the unfortunate distinction of living in three of the cities with the worst air pollution in the USA. The American Lung Association recently released their tenth annual State of the Air report.

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The Living Light interactive sculpture in Peace Park, across from World Cup Stadium in Seoul, Korea, is a stunningly beautiful functional artwork that displays air quality in real time and operates to encourage public interest in the environment.

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The ability to create clouds and possibly rain is now in the hands of humankind. Recently, in a collaborative geo-engineering project between Swiss, German, and French researchers, small clouds were created by firing a laser into the sky above Berlin, Germany.

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The assumption that the atmosphere and our air in general can withstand continued emissions from automobiles, ships, aircraft and other forms, is no longer tenable. Air travel alone contributes huge amounts of carbon – creating greenhouse gases and global climate change. We can walk more, bicycle more, bus more, drive less. We can travel less by plane and use alternative forms of travel more.

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ESA’s GOCE satellite has produced a magnificent portrait of Earth’s gravitational fields. GOCE (Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer) is part of Europe’s ambitious earth observation program, with 20 satellites due to be launched over the coming decade.

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A coronal mass ejection was detected on August 1st, 2010 by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and is expected to produce a spectacular aurora (northern lights) display on August 4th and 5th in Canada, northern US, Russia, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Greenland and Finland.

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Space debris is a growing threat to operational Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, as well as the Space Station and any rocket launches. They are also problems for ground-based telescopes observing space as reflections from space debris degrade the images. Having a method to remove spent rocket casings, defunct satellites and other large orbital debris, is something the space industry really needs.

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The Perseid Meteor Shower is expected to be spectacular this year, peaking between midnight and dawn on August 12-13th, but visible now when the sky is clear. In fact, an estimated 1 inch (2.5cm) diameter Perseid meteor fragment was detected on August 3, 2010. It entered the atmosphere 70 miles (112km) above Paint Rock, Alabama, travelling at 134,000mph (215,600kph) and streaking across 65 miles (104km) of Earth’s atmosphere before finally burning up 56 miles (89.6km) above Macay Lake, near Warrior.

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Solar storms can destroy sensitive power grids and satellite systems, potentially costing billions of dollars, so NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is putting in place an early warning system to detect the Sun’s mega-storms that are heading Earth’s way. NASA hopes to give operators of sensitive hardware a timely warning so they can take steps to limit damage.

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The Geminid meteor shower will be a force to be reckoned with this year, and has already started with an almighty bang over Britain at 5:35pm on Wednesday evening, December 8th, 2010.

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ESA's GOCE satellite has measured Earth’s gravity with unrivalled precision, creating an exact ‘geoid' map showing gravity measurements over the Earth. The geoid, which shows how a uniform surface is disproportionately distorted by gravity changes, was unveiled at the Fourth International GOCE User Workshop at the Technische Universitat Munchen in Munich, Germany.

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NASA’s Swift satellite detected a strange anomalous explosion on March 28th that emitted a high energy gamma-ray which lasted for 11 days. Usually, gamma-ray energy bursts last for only a few hours. The gamma-ray energy pulse also has cyclically increased and decreased in energy level, adding to its unusual behavior.

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More water has been discovered on the Moon – and there is a lot of it according to a recent Science Express journal article. Erik Hauri, of the Carnegie Institute for Science, reported that Moon magma trapped inside crystals collected by Apollo 17 astronauts in the 1970s contain 100 times more water than previously measured.

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A research team led by Professor Matthew Bailes of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia has discovered a gigantic planet that could be made of solid diamond.

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The Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) is one of ESA’s Earth Explorer satellites, a series of spacecraft that will improve our understanding of climate processes and changes on the planet. The scheduled launch date is Monday, 27 October 2008 at 15:21 Central European Time. [Editor's Note: The GOCE launch has recently been delayed. The new launch date is now sometime after February 2009 due to a problem with the guidance system of the launch vehicle. We will give you more information on the revised date when it becomes available.]

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Blacksmith Institute in conjunction with Green Cross Switzerland have released a list of the world’s top ten most dangerous pollution problems. The world’s worst polluters are: artisanal gold mining, contaminated surface water, groundwater contamination, indoor air pollution, industrial mining activities, metals smelters and processing, radioactive waster and uranium mines, untreated sewage, urban air quality, and used lead acid battery recycling.

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Cities across Asia are getting dimmer and the impact of brown clouds on glaciers, agriculture and the monsoon are even clearer as reported in a new document recently released by the UNEP – Atmospheric Brown Clouds: Regional Assessment Report with Focus on Asia.

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A major setback for monitoring carbon dioxide emissions on the planet occurred in the early hours of Tuesday, 24th February. The Orbital Carbon Observatory (OCO) failed to get to orbit and re-entered the atmosphere to crash into the Antarctic Ocean. NASA announced the failure at 1300 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) today. Everyone is devastated by the news, and it is a big blow to the scientific community as OCO was to play a big part in mapping the carbon emissions and understand where the GHGs are emitted and absorbed.

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Clean Water World

Leave a comment below through the end of Friday, September 3, 2010, to be considered for this random book giveaway.

Jerry Yudelson is a green building leader, but he’s also a professional engineer with a master’s degree in water resource development. Relying on this background, Yudelson authored a new book called Dry Run: Preventing the Next Urban Water Crisis. The truth is, as he explains, the global human population is expected to quadruple from 1950 to 2050, placing more and more stress on water resources. 

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The USGBC recently held a competition for the design of an affordable, single-family house with between 720 and 880 square feet that meets the requirements of LEED Platinum certification.  Local chapters chose 49 designs and a national jury picked two professional finalists and two student finalists.  These four designs will be built in the Broadmoor neighborhood of New Orleans by enviRenew.

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I’ve always loved recycled paper countertops and recently noticed ShetkaStone from All Paper Recycling.  SketkaStone is made with old paper and can be used in countertops, vanities, sills, and moldings.  It will also hold up to use; the manufacturer told me in an email that no other similar product on the market “can match our durability.”

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A reader was kind enough to send us listing information on this contemporary home that's located three blocks from Kehena Beach in Hawaii.  The home has two masses separated by a breezeway — one side has the living, dining, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom, while the other side has the master suite and bathroom.  It was built to a Built Green 2-Star level of certification and includes some of the following green elements:

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Eco Info
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