Quick Green Reads For The Weekend Volume Thirty Six.

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With these wildfires ravaging Southern California this week, our air quality has gone substantially down hill. The sky is orange, and my normally red Mini Cooper is now gray. I feel for all these people who have lost their houses, but hope they are all doing OK and that they have the comfort of their families and friends to support them. And thank you to all the firefighters who have done their best to get these things under control. Hopefully we won’t have to evacuate, but it is getting pretty nasty and scary around here. On to the news…

The Washington Post is reporting this morning that a press conference held by FEMA Tuesday about the wildfires in California had fake reporters asking the questions – in fact, they were all FEMA employees. “Of course, that could be because the questions were asked by FEMA staffers playing reporters. We’re told the questions were asked by Cindy Taylor, FEMA’s deputy director of external affairs, and by “Mike” Widomski, the deputy director of public affairs. Director of External Affairs John “Pat” Philbin asked a question, and another came, we understand, from someone who sounds like press aide Ali Kirin.” Bunch of stand up guys, those FEMA people.

The White House significantly edited testimony prepared for a Senate hearing on the impact of climate change on health, deleting key portions citing diseases that could flourish in a warmer climate, documents obtained by The Associated Press showed Wednesday. No big surprise there.

The George Lucas Educational Foundation recently launched a “Go Green Database” on Edutopia.org. It is the centerpiece of an ambitious new package on the state of environmental awareness in public education. The database features Green projects, lesson plans, service-learning opportunities and other resources that can be searched in many ways – by topic, grade level, cost and location.

Scientists fear climate change speed-up as oceans fail to hold greenhouse gases – Measurements of the north Atlantic taken by UK-based scientists over the decade from the mid-1990s to 2005 show the level of carbon dioxide in its waters reduced by about half over that time.

A new lithium-ion battery pack for the Toyota Prius may not lower gas prices, but it promises to make trips to the gas station less frequent – a lot less frequent. Made by Hymotion and A123 Systems – the same folks that brought you the batteries in the Killacycle – this aftermarket kit converts the car into a plug-in hybrid and allows it to run on electric power for the first forty miles of a trip. As you can expect, total gas mileage goes through the roof and company executives claim drivers can easily exceed 150 miles-per-gallon in the city and 100 MPG on the highways.

Unless we kick our oil habit, we will continue to pay more and more for a dirtier and dirtier product. The culmination of this downward spiral is the destruction of our habitat, the extinction of many of the worlds species and if we are really unlucky the collapse of our civilization.

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