Posts in the category "Environment":

Airports turn lights out for Earth Hour

LAX earth hour

Pylongs at LAX Airport will go green – and then go out – for Earth Hour 2015

 

During Earth Hour 2015 , which takes place this Saturday, March 28 around the world at 8:30 PM local time, individuals, businesses, cities, buildings, and more than 1,200 landmarks around the world – including the Eiffel Tower and the Golden Gate Bride – plan to switch off their lights for one hour to focus attention on climate change.

Close to 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Acropolis in Athens and Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, are scheduled to go dark in support of Earth Hour and some airports around the world plan to participate as well.

At Los Angeles International Airport, the 100-foot-tall LAX Gateway pylons at the Century Boulevard entrance will be lit in various shades of green before Earth Hour. During Earth Hour – from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. – the pylons will turn off.

Mustang by Luis Jimenez

During Earth Hour Denver International Airport will turn off the illuminated DIA sign along Peña Boulevard, the illuminated sign marking the Jeppesen Terminal and the lights on the airport’s iconic “Mustang” statue.

Elsewhere, Athens International Airport will switch off the lighting on one runway and turn off lighting in the airport buildings and staff parking lots.

Dubai Airports has been switching off non-essential lights for an hour each day since March 5 at both Dubai International and Al Maktoum International Airports in preparation for Earth Hour.

And at Vancouver International Airport, they’ll be switching off the base lights on the control tower and the lights around the Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Jade Canoe (a key piece of airport art), in the Public Observation Area, on the exterior sidewalks and in the International Food Court.

Frying with Finnair to the UN Climate Summit

FinnairAirbus 330 HR_edited

Smell that?

The Airbus A330 making Tuesday’s Finnair flight from Helsinki to New York will be running on biofuel partly made from recycled cooking oil from restaurants.

It’s perfectly safe – and Finnair and several other airlines have done it before – but this flight is designed to coincide with the UN Climate Summit taking place in New York and draw attention to the fact that progress is being made on developing environmentally sustainable biofuel.

As Finnair reminds us, “most of an airline’s environmental impact arises from aircraft emissions during flight and switching to a more sustainable fuel source can reduce net CO2 emissions by between 50 and 80 per cent.”

But while everything from used cooking oil to plants, algae, municipal waste, recycled vegetable cooking oil, animal fat and sugarcane have been considered or tested in aircraft in search of safe, alternative, sustainable biofuels, the cost to make that alternative fuel is still at least twice as much – or more – than conventional jet fuel.

But along with Finnair, other airlines, including KLM and Alaska Airlines, airport operators, manufacturers and a variety of governments around the world are working on ways to lower the costs of creating these alternative jet fuels.

So it’s possible that soon you’ll be flying on a jet burning fuel made with old frying oil too.

Hungry herd on duty at Chicago O’Hare

Llama on duty at ORD - 2013

 

They’re back. They’re hungry. And they’re not picky eaters.

A herd of 37 goats, sheep, llamas and burros have been hired by Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to munch on poison ivy, noxious weeds and other unwanted vegetation along creeks, streams and roadway right-of-ways on airport property.

Part of the Chicago Department of Aviation’s (CDA) Sustainable Vegetation Management initiative for O’Hare, the critters are on loan from Settlers Pond, an animal rescue facility in Beecher, Ill.

A herd of about 25 animals was on duty last year from July through November eating unwanted vegetation. That helped the airport cut back on the use of emission-producing equipment and limited the use of toxic herbicides on some of the airport’s 8,000 acres of land.

This year, up to 120 acres of O’Hare land difficult to maintain with traditional landscaping equipment has been set aside for all-they-can-eat grazing. The herd, which spends evenings in transport vans nearby the grazing land, will stay at O’Hare until the weather gets too cold for the animals to access vegetation.

As before, all the sites where the animals graze are in areas far away from or separated from the airfield by security fencing.

Which means we shouldn’t be hearing any stories about take-offs or landings being delayed at O’Hare by a jackass running around on the runway.

At least two other U.S. airports have had animals help out with landscape management.

San Francisco International Airport has a herd of goats come by each year to assist with weed control and in 2012 a herd of 91 sheep and 10 goats participated help control vegetation at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

(My story about weed-eating at O’Hare International Airport first appeared on USA TODAY)

The buzz on bees at Seattle-Tacoma Int’l Airport

SEA BEES

Busy bees are hard at work in hives out on the property of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Inside the airport, there’s also now an exhibit with bee-themed art and educational information about the importance of pollinators.

Titled Flight Path, the exhibit explores bees and flight through a variety of mediums including paintings, blown glass and a mosaic and includes the work of 24 Northwest artists.

Last year, the airport hosted 18 hives. This year, the Port of Seattle is working with a local group called The Common Acre to host 1.5 million honeybees in 24 hives on unused vacant land near the runways.

Sea-Tac isn’t the only airport with hives. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport has honeybee hives on property as well and products made from the honey is for sale inside the airport.

Bee outfit

Worms at LaGuardia Airport

There will be worms. And sunflowers.

Changi -Sunflower garden

Earth Day is coming up – and to spread the word about their green initiatives, the Food & Shops at LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B, JetBlue Airways and The Port Authority of NY & NJ are hosting a “Choose Green” event on Thursday afternoon with a hands-on composting worm exhibit, courtesy of the Queens Botanical Garden.

Not into worms? There will be coloring and face painting for kids and, for adults who say they’ll “Choose Green,” a chance to enter into a drawing to win two JetBlue tickets and get a free sunflower growing kit.

Not traveling through New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Thursday between noon and 4 pm? You can enter the contest on Twitter. More details here:

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