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What we know for certain about climate change

Marc Lefkowitz  |  11/04/13 @ 1:00pm  |  Posted in Clean energy, Climate, Clean air

1,000 barrels of oil were burned in the time you clicked on this page. We consume 300 billion barrels of oil per year. To put that figure in perspective, BP spilled 5,000 barrels of oil per day in the Gulf of Mexico and the slick was the size of Delaware and Rhode Island.

Up in the air<br />A coal-fired power plant east of Cleveland.A long drive<br />Driving accounts for a quarter of emissions in Northeast Ohio.Tale of the tape<br />The Keeling curve shows the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere from the 1960s to the present.

Oberlin Dashboard animation makes acting for climate fun

Marc Lefkowitz  |  10/17/13 @ 10:00am  |  Posted in Clean energy, Clean water, Home

Aaron Kozloff landed his first job since graduating last December from Oberlin College managing The Environmental Dashboard. Success will hinge on an idea hatched by three of his former teachers, John Petersen, a professor in Systems Ecology, Rumi Shammin in Environmental Studies and Cindy Frantz in Social Psychology. They want to know how many of Oberlin’s 8,300 residents will alter...

See the change you want to be<br />The Oberlin Environmental Dashboard displays real time energy and water use at community and building levels.

Conversations at Cleveland Sustainability Summit

Marc Lefkowitz  |  10/04/13 @ 11:00am  |  Posted in Clean energy, Local food system

At Cleveland’s 5th annual sustainability summit—the halfway point to the 50th anniversary of the last fire on the Cuyahoga River—the theme of the year is advanced and renewable energy. How did that translate into action in 2013?

EcoVillage Produce<br />Growing food on vacant land in the near west side of Cleveland and selling it at Gordon Square Farmer's Market.

Finding green jobs also good for environment

Marc Lefkowitz  |  08/29/13 @ 11:00am  |  Posted in Clean energy, Clean air, Clean water

A new jobs report out today shows Cleveland leading the nation in unemployment. Sound of Ideas reported that 4,000 new unemployment claims were filed here since the Recession began. So, where will the recovery come from as we learn to pivot from the era of steel mills employing thousands to building a green city on a blue lake?

Moving to work<br />Cities that establish goals for bike infrastructure can make the case with keeping roads safe and creating jobs. Cleveland workers paint Sharrows in University Circle.Growing green<br />Cleveland's Garden Boyz are learning a trade and are part of a burgeoning local food economy.Green on down the road<br />Green infrastructure, like this permeable parking lot at Courtyard Marriott in University Circle, could be a jobs creator.

Ohio fracking photo tour

David Beach  |  08/23/13 @ 4:00pm  |  Posted in Clean energy

The shale gas drilling boom is not just a theoretical possibility for the 28,587 people of Carroll County, OH. They are already living with dramatic changes to the county’s woods and fields and rolling hills. This photo tour provides a glimpse of what it looks like when fracking comes to rural Ohio.

Epicenter of Ohio shale gas extraction<br />The rolling countryside of Carroll County is a mosaic of farms and woods -- and a rapidly growing number of sites of the oil and gas industry. Preparing to frack<br />A drilling pad being constructed in the middle of the countryside. There are about 15 such pads now in Carroll County. Soon there could be around 60 pads, since more than 300 wells have been permitted in the county and about five wells are typically drilled from each pad using directional drilling methods to frack for shale gas.Drill sites<br />This and the next two photos show a variety of drill pads in the Carroll County area, providing a sense of the contrast between the bucolic farm country and the industrial development.<br />Drill pad in Carroll County.<br />Drill pad in Carroll County.Permits<br />A sign outside a drilling site in Carroll County with information about the wells permitted at the site. Active drilling site<br />This is a close-up view of an active drilling site in Carroll County. It's a noisy industrial place, full of the roar of diesel engines and clanking machinery. The work is episodic -- drilling for a few weeks then operations to frack the well by pumping frack fluids under high pressure to prop open cracks in the shale to allow gas to flow.Water quality issues<br />Many concerns have been raised about the large volumes of water used to frack wells. Another problem is water running off the drill pads and polluting local streams. This well site had to install barriers to stop a run-off problem.Warning sign<br />A warning about the possibility of poisonous hydrogen sulfide gas at a drill site. Trucks are not supposed to enter if the flag is yellow or red. On the day this picture was taken, the flag was green to indicate safety.Air quality impact<br />Kicking up a fine, white dust, a backhoe appears to be blending drill cuttings with silica. The cuttings from the bore hole often contain radioactive elements and must be diluted in order to reduce radioactivity to a level permitted at Ohio landfills. Disposal at hazardous waste landfills would cost much more. Portable lives<br />Drill sites are self-sufficient operations, with diesel power, mobile offices, and satellite communications. Equipment is modular and made to be easily transported by truck. Steel products<br />A line of trucks delivers pipe for the casing of a well. The fracking industry uses a lot of steel products, which is a reason why boosters of Ohio manufacturing are excited about the growth of fracking for shale gas. No Chesapeake Traffic<br />Fracking operations require many truck trips to haul equipment, pipe, chemicals and water. The drilling companies, like Chesapeake Energy, have improved roads in Carroll County to provide access to drill pads. This sign marks the end of the road access at one pad. Industry comes to the Ohio countryside - 1<br />This photo and the next four show the development of new shale gas storage and processing facilities in and around Carroll County. Some of these facilities represent investments of several hundred million dollars, and their size is an indication of the scale of fracking anticipated in Ohio. Industry comes to the Ohio countryside - 2<br />Industry comes to the Ohio countryside - 3<br />Industry comes to the Ohio countryside - 4<br />Industry comes to the Ohio countryside - 5<br />Linear impacts<br />One of the biggest impacts to the rural landscape and wildlife habitat is the construction of gas and oil pipelines. Carroll County is already seeing pipeline construction to connect wells to processing facilities.Sights along the road<br />As the number of wells grows, sights like this container storage yard are becoming more common in Carroll County.The Ohio that will change<br />Carroll County could have 2-3000 wells in the future. The agricultural countryside will be dramatically altered.
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