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Green Time TV: Are Government Agencies Protecting Our Environment?

on Thu, 06/14/2012 - 5:28pm

Are Government Agencies Protecting Our Environment?

Sometimes government agencies introduce the right regulations at the right times to minimize technological impacts on the environment.  At other times, agencies don’t do such a good job.

The June 2012 series of Green Time TV shows begins with Mollie Freebairn, environmental scientist and former chemist at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, focusing on Missouri power plants and their emissions.  Releases to Missouri's environment include greenhouse gases, nitrogen and sulfur oxides, acid rain, other acid gases, particulates, countless organic and heavy metal compounds (including mercury), many of them highly toxic.  These emissions have steadily increased in Missouri over the last 50 years.  Ms. Freebairn describes what other states are doing and what Missouri should be doing.

Once portrayed as the low-carbon fuel to a renewable energy future, the practice of deep drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract gas from shale rock has advantages but also a host of environmental concerns.  Bob Criss of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Washington University discusses water and air pollution near gas and oil wells, large water consumption needs for the fracturing process and potential earthquake problems. 

How could a $20 light bulb cost less than a $1.48 one?  Ideas for green living are popping up everywhere.  Right now, light bulbs are a glowing issue.  We all know that fluorescent bulbs are far more efficient than the incandescent ones that are being phased out.  But no sooner than we get used to one new light bulb than LEDs take over.

Bill Krekeler’s movie on the history of light bulbs airs on Green Time TV in St. Louis on Saturday July 21.  It describes the origin of artificial light from fire and its changes through incandescents, fluorescents and LEDs.  The movie details the root of inefficiency of the incandescent as being the way it produces most of its light at wavelengths that are not visible to the human eye.  The result is far more coal being burned to produce light.

After the short movie, guest Gavin Perry of Show Me Solar explains that “watts” measure power while “lumens” measure brightness, making lumens a far better indicator of light.  LED bulbs are so efficient that the cost of electricity for them for just a year or two makes them much less expensive than incandescents, despite their higher price tag in the store.

But, oops, there’s a fly in the ointment.  What happens if efficiency makes the use of LEDs so cheap that Americans light up everything all the time?  Would we then burn even more coal?  It turns out that efficiency will not reduce electricity unless it takes a back seat to energy conservation.

Green Time now airs on KNLC stations in four Missouri areas.  It appears at noon on Saturdays in St. Louis on Channel 24-1 and at 8 pm on Mondays in St. Louis on Channel 24-2, Springfield on Channel 39, Joplin on Channel 36 and Marshfield  on Channel 17.

July Green Time programs air on these dates:

·        Saturday, July 7 & Monday, July 9: “Missouri Energy: Health, Environment, Economy, Politics;”

·        Saturday, July 14 & Monday, July 16: “How Safe is Fracking?;”

·        Saturday, July 21 & Monday, July 23: “A Light Bulb Went on in My Head;”

·        Saturday, July 28 & Monday, July 30: “Does an LED bulb go in your lamp socket or garden?”

If you would like to help produce Green Time TV call 314-727-8554 or email fitzdon@aol.com