Laurel Peltier

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Laurel Peltier writes the environment GreenLaurel column every Thursday in the Baltimore Fishbowl.

Viral Nail Salon Story Spotlights Everyday Toxins

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A new chemical safety bill and many toxin-free consumer choices are now available. Ask: What's in this product?
Many toxin-free consumer care products are now available.

A must-read is last week’s New York Times’ viral nail salon expose, if you haven’t already. The two-part series is the paper’s most shared story, and it trended world-wide on Twitter. The series has hit a real nerve by highlighting the industry’s horrendous and unhealthy working conditions for mostly Asian-immigrant manicurists. In response to the public outcry, four days after the article’s online release, Governor Cuomo issued emergency rules to remedy many of the issues. Here’s to gutsy investigative journalism making a difference.

Fracking’s Air Pollution is Migrating into Baltimore

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Neighboring state’s hydraulic fracturing air pollution is floating into Baltimore’s air.

The gift that Baltimore doesn’t need: Marcellus Shale’s fracking air pollution. We don’t even frack in Maryland, but University of Maryland scientists recently discovered that doesn’t matter. Published in the journal Atmospheric Environment, their research reveals that toxic air pollution from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia’s 10,000+ fracking wells floats right over to, you guessed it, Baltimore. This isn’t good, people.

Wind Power Costs the Same as BGE’s Coal

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You can switch to 100% wind energy and cut your carbon footprint by 25% without paying more than you do today.
Switch your home to 100% wind energy and cut your carbon footprint by 25% without paying more than you do today.

If you pay a BGE bill, we have some good “green” news for you. You have the option to choose a clean electricity supplier for your home. This low-hanging-fruit change means the money you spend on electricity each month goes to wind farms, rather than to coal-fired plants. The best part is that it’s priced the same as BGE. On average, choosing wind for your home cuts your carbon footprint by 25 percent – that’s 15 times more meaningful than switching one lightbulb to a CFL. Here’s how:

Earth Day 2015: Fix the Roof While the Sun is Shining

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Stanford University's Solutions Project predicts that our world can convert to sustainable energy.
Stanford’s Solutions Project predicts that our world can convert to sustainable energy.

Earth Day 2015 is all about climate change. Since you may not pour over the latest global warming news, we’ve highlighted recent local and global stats in the “skimmer” below. Though global warming is sobering, don’t expect just a “bummersville” read. Have you heard of the Solutions Project? According to this Stanford University think tank, a fossil-free modern world is possible and it is cost-effective. It’s good that someone smart is developing a sustainable plan because scientists say we don’t have much time; we need to cut fossil fuels by 40 to 70 percent in thirty-five short years. Last I looked, there’s no planet B.

Baltimore Trash Talk: Where Litter and Art Meet

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This Earth Day, a new River of Recycling will be flowing on the Johns Hopkins University "beach."
This Earth Day, a new River of Recycling will be flowing on the Johns Hopkins University “Beach.”

Bridget Parlato was fed up with the trash littering her daily Patterson Park walks. So she rolled up her sleeves and founded Baltimore Trash Talk and launched the 5¢ bottle-and-can exchange River of Recycling. With another River of Recycling and trash art exhibition planned for this Earth Day, and the Baltimore Office of Sustainability’s big push in finding solutions to our town’s litter, Charm City may actually get more charming. 

Un-Fracking-Believable: Gas Drilling Could Be Banned in Maryland for 2 Years

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Even Edward Norton, the Maryland-born actor, voiced his opposition to fracking in radio spots.
Even Edward Norton, the Maryland-born actor, voiced his opposition to fracking in radio spots.

When I heard that Maryland’s Senate voted 45-2 on Monday night to ban fracking for two and half years, I almost fell off my chair.  This bill didn’t suffer the usual fracking bill death in the Senate. Even Republicans from Western Maryland voted in favor. What happened? Taking a peek into the series of events that surrounded the fracking ban gives hope that political compromise can happen and that everyday citizens play a part in our country’s energy policy. The House passed the Senate’s version 102-34 with another veto-proof vote. The next question is: Will Hogan sign it?

Prime Time TV Ads Target Baltimore’s Crappy Air

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Doctors and green groups are advertising on TV calling on Hogan to publish the smog regulations so we can all breather easier.
Clean Air TV ads say more Baltimore residents die from air pollution than from gun violence every year.

You don’t see this very often, TV ads for cleaner Baltimore air!  When did Mother Nature come into some cash? It’s a good thing she’s asking for smog regulations because Baltimore’s air quality is horrendous. 

What’s that Pretty Smell Messing with our Hormones?

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At a major supermarket in B'more, every hair care bottle listed the ingredient "fragrance," a probable unhealthy phthalate.
At a major supermarket in B’more, every hair care bottle listed the ingredient “fragrance,” a probable unhealthy phthalate.

Ever wondered why girls seem to be reaching puberty earlier? Did you know that more baby boys are being born with abnormalities in their private parts? Science is beginning to point to fake-chemical fragrances found in many consumer products as the possible culprit.

Hogan: Publish Smog Rules So Baltimore Can Breathe Easier, Please

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Hopefully by this summer, Baltimore's kids will breathe easier because local coal-fired electricity plants will run smog pollution controls on hot, smoggy summer days.
Hopefully this summer, Baltimore’s kids will breathe easier because local coal-fired electricity plants will run smog pollution controls on hot, smoggy summer days.

Richard, a Baltimore Fishbowl reader, commented on my recent article about fixing Baltimore’s crappy air pollution. His basic point was that I offered some good info, but I had missed the third air pollution fix being considered in Maryland’s General Assembly, the Healthy Air for All Act. This bill is based on the almost-on-the-books air pollution regulations that Larry Hogan nixed on his first day as Governor.

Fly Green With Carbon Offsets for Air Travel

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Spring break is finally here and many are headed to BWI to hop a jet and get out of Dodge.  Unfortunately, air travel generates the highest greenhouse gas emissions per passenger as compared to cars, trains and ships. The good news is that individuals and businesses can choose super-cheap air travel carbon offsets that zero-out the pollution generated from an airline trip.     

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