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Thursday, July 23,2015

Only you can prevent West Nile virus

Recent tests show the virus has arrived across Boulder County

By Mollie Putzig
With a backpack full of specialized bacteria, a force of technicians patrols Boulder-area still waters for miniature pests that can metamorphose into airborne vectors of disease. Acting like the Ghostbusters for mosquitoes, technicians seek out larvae and douse them with a spray of tiny bacteria called Bti — Bacillus thuringiensis israelenis. Bti is derived from naturally occurring soil bacteria and act as a larvicide that kills infantile mosquitoes before they can emerge from their watery breeding grounds.
Thursday, July 16,2015

The new DDT

Activist Jeffrey Smith teams with rocker Neil Young to warn communities about glyphosate

By Mollie Putzig
It’s sprayed on crops, schoolyards, parking lots and possibly your yard. The World Health Organization says it probably causes cancer. It’s the world’s most-used herbicide and the active ingredient in Roundup: glyphosate.
Thursday, July 9,2015

Who’s heard of HERS?

The energy scoring system for homes is complex and inflexible — so why do we use it?

By Christi Turner
Walk onto any car lot and you’ll find every vehicle’s fuel economy rating plastered to its window, just like you’ll see a yellow EnergyGuide tag on every large appliance in any department store. Whether for cars or fridges, these tags showcase simple numbers that communicate long-term costs and savings from energy usage.
Thursday, July 2,2015

Boulder building efficiency

Commitment to EnergySmart makes Boulder a national contender in energy efficiency

By Mollie Putzig
If Boulder was big enough to qualify for the list of largest U.S. cities ranked for energy efficiency, it would knock Denver out of the top 10, coming in at No. 7. On the City Energy Scorecard, released in May by the American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy, Boulder outscored Denver by 10 points in building efficiency, earning a total of 69.25 out of 100. Denver came in 10th with 58.5 points.
Thursday, June 25,2015

A picture worth a couple thousand dollars

How drones are changing the image of modern farming

By Emma Murray
Precision agriculture was originally enabled by GPS, allowing farmers to program GPS points into automatic seeders and sprayers so they could micromanage crops — but only after physically surveying the crops, which could take days or even weeks. Using drones, this work can be cut to a matter of hours.
Thursday, June 18,2015

ONE WOMAN, ONE FARM

Audrey Levatino shares her farming knowledge in her new book ‘Woman-Powered Farms’

By Amanda Moutinho
Audrey Levatino is a self-sufficient farmer — she has to be since, she runs it singlehandedly. So when it came to using a chainsaw, she knew she had to overcome her trepidation. “I didn’t start using a chainsaw when I first started farming for three or four years because I was afraid of it. I always asked my husband to do it. But once you learn how, it’s easier than a lot of things women do every day,” Levatino says. “It’s intimidating because it always seems like it’s been in the realm of the man’s world, but it’s not. It’s just another tool.”
Thursday, June 11,2015

Under pressure

Documents reveal EPA consented to industry demands on study into fracking’s effect on drinking water

By Mollie Putzig
Fracking has no “widespread, systematic” impacts on drinking water, according to a draft of an Environmental Protection Agency study released June 4, but industry influence on the study invites skepticism. The study began in 2010 when Congress directed the EPA to investigate whether fracking poses a threat to drinking water. Five years and $30 million later, internal documents obtained by Greenpeace via an open records request show the energy industry has been extensively involved since day one — paying for tests, supplying data and editing drafts.
Thursday, June 4,2015

Talking about the environment

CU Environmental Studies Program hosts conference on environmental communication

By Mary Reed
When it comes to environmental issues like climate change, where do you get your information? Unless you’re a scientist, it’s likely that someone is relaying the information to you — say, a newspaper journalist, a TV meteorologist or your Facebook friends.
Thursday, May 28,2015

So-called organic marijuana

Nobody in Colorado’s cannabis industry can stop a grower from calling its weed organic, but plans for certification may soon change that

By Christi Turner
We only use 100 percent organic soil and nutrients.” “Quality medication, which is … chemical free.” “Consistently high-quality, organic medical marijuana.” “All natural.” These are a few claims made by some of the 10 marijuana-growing companies that Colorado investigated for pesticide-related violations this spring on the Front Range.
Thursday, May 21,2015

From seed to harvest

The story of Boulder’s newest community garden

By Mary Reed
It’s late April and Polly Ruff pulls a few weeds growing from the outside edge of her raised bed at Living Harvest Garden. The 30 plots surrounding her are in various stages of preparation for the first season of this freshly minted community garden..
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