Dear Pablo,

I am still haunted by colony collapse disorder (CCD). I know the scientists are studying it, but is there anything that I and other individuals can do to help the bees?

The mysterious disappearance of honeybees in North America has been truly disturbing. According to some sources, over 40 percent of honeybee colonies have vanished each year since 2006 (30 to 90 percent according to the United States Department of Agriculture). While no one knows for sure what is causing this alarming trend, there are several theories, as well as some steps that you can take to help protect the bees yourself. (more…)

Dear Pablo,

If you want to have the smallest impact on the environment when you go, which do you choose: cremation or burial?

At first I thought this topic was too morbid for my upbeat and positive column. But then I received an almost identical question a week later and I realized every one of my readers has something in common, namely they all die someday. And since most people are reading this column because of their care for the environment (or to deny climate change and proclaim that the world is flat) it follows that my readers want to not only live green but die green. (I ought to copyright that.) (more…)

Dear Pablo,

It’s too damn hot to sleep at night! To cool our bedroom on these summer nights, my husband and I can run either three fans or one air conditioner. Which is better for the environment?

Let me first answer the question and then I will discuss some alternatives. Based on additional information from the reader, I learned that each fan uses 50 watts of 120 volt electricity (150 total), while the air conditioner uses 530 watts of 120 volt electricity. Already we can see that the three fans use 28 percent as much energy. If the three fans are truly comparable in the level of comfort they provide, by all means, use the fans! (more…)

Dear Pablo,

Since gas prices have topped $4 a gallon, tips on saving gas have been the flavor-of-the-day in the media. But does driving slower really save gas? If it takes me longer to get there, isn’t my car burning more gas?

The short answer is that slowing down does increase the fuel economy of your vehicle. The reason lies in aerodynamics. What you need to know is this: As speed doubles, the force (aerodynamic drag) on your vehicle increases fourfold. For example, a house built to withstand 200 mph wind has to be four times stronger than a house built to withstand 100 mph wind. The formula for aerodynamic drag on your vehicle takes into account how aerodynamic it is, what the area of its cross section is, what the density of the air is, and what your vehicle’s speed is. Since you can’t influence the density of the air, and you can’t change your vehicle’s aerodynamics, that leaves only speed. And slower speed equals less drag. (more…)

Dear Pablo,

With the 4th of July around the corner, I was wondering: Do fireworks give off greenhouse gases?

I too have always wondered if fireworks are a fitting way to celebrate the new year when the global climate is high on our list of concerns. Let’s find out.

Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association, estimates that 18,000 fireworks shows occur across the nation on July 4 alone. According to the National Council on FireworksSafety, the United States consumed about 272.1 million pounds of fireworks in 2006, of which only about 9.5 percent are commercial fireworks shows. The remaining “consumer fireworks” are sold in roadside shacks and used to celebrate events and perform Darwin’s work. (more…)

Site by Progressive Applications. Built with WordPress. Sustainably hosted by Dreamhost.
© 2016 Pablo Päster, AskPablo.org