Earth Talk: Could We Harness Energy From Earthquakes?

Dear EarthTalk: Can earthquake energy be harnessed for power, particularly in places like Japan? Also, how can Japan, so vulnerable to earthquakes, even have nuclear power?

– Sasha M., Australia

While it is no doubt theoretically possible to generate electricity by harnessing the kinetic energy of shifting tectonic plates below the Earth’s crust, pulling it off from a practical standpoint would be a real logistical challenge – not to mention prohibitively expensive compared to harnessing other forms of energy, renewable or otherwise.

Big earthquakes throw off vast amounts of energy. According to Beth Buczynski of the CrispGreen Web site, researchers have calculated that the January 2010 magnitude 7.0 earthquake that killed upwards of 220,000 people in Haiti released as much energy as 31 of the atomic bombs the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. And the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck northeast Japan in March 2011 unleashed the equivalent of more than 15,000 Hiroshima bombs. That’s a lot of energy indeed.

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San Pedro Bay Ports Cargo Movement Aims For ‘Zero Emissions’

Harbor Commissions Plan New Technologies For Trucks, Equipment And Railroads

by Sean Belk, Staff Writer

The Long Beach and Los Angeles harbor commissions held a joint meeting July 7 to discuss implementing, developing and building a “zero-emissions” container movement system at the San Pedro Bay Ports and surrounding areas.

Through new and innovative technologies that have been planned for the last five years, the ports presented a “roadmap” for implementing a system that moves cargo efficiently while burning virtually no fossil fuels and having no tailpipe emissions

The goal of zero emissions is to further reduce emissions and health risk in the air basin and nearby communities. The ports have so far pioneered a Green Port Policy and Clean Air Action Plan, which have helped reduced pollution dramatically over the past decade, according to port staff.

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EarthTalk: How Safe Is Soy?

Dear EarthTalk: How healthy is soy? I heard that, despite its healthy image, most soy is grown using chemicals like other crops and is even being genetically modified.

– D. Frinka, Syracuse, N.Y.

Food products made with soy have enjoyed great popularity in the U.S. and elsewhere in recent years. Two decades ago, Americans spent $300 million a year on soy food products; today we spend over $4 billion. More and more adults are substituting soy – a great source of protein – for meat, while a quarter of all baby formula contains soy instead of milk. Many school lunch programs nationwide have added soy-based veggie burgers to their menus, as have countless restaurants, including diners and fast food chains.

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Bike Long Beach Online Survey

Bike Long Beach is conducting an online survey of Long Beach residents on road traffic preferences, conditions and concerns. Anyone who rides a bike, drives a car, walks or uses public transportation in the city is encouraged to fill out the survey, which is the first phase of a motorist and bicycle safety campaign being launched this summer. The survey, funded by a grant from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, concludes July 15. To participate in the survey, visit

LD Products To Break Ground On Douglas Park Industrial Building

Online Ink Cartridge Retailer To Build Energy-Efficient Warehouse

by Sean Belk, Staff Writer

In an industry climate where new construction is nearly non-existent, Douglas Park – a mixed-use development on land formerly owned by Boeing near the Long Beach Airport – has become the lone bright spot in the area.

The latest deal to come through is an 110,000-square-foot build-to-suit, being developed for new owner/user LD Products, an online retailer of ink cartridge and printer supplies.  The concrete tilt-up is expected to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum, the first such energy-efficient warehouse of its kind in California, according to Chuckie Lyons, owner of Paramount-based Lyons and Lyons Properties.

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TEDx SoCal To Focus On ‘Thriving,’ Sharing Creative Ideas

July 16 Event To Feature Local Luminaries As Mini-Version Of Exclusive TED Conference

by Sean Belk, Staff Writer

Long Beach is lucky enough to host the exclusive TED Conference each year that has drawn famous and inspirational speakers, such as Bill Gates and Al Gore, to converge on the ideas of “technology, entertainment and design.” But this year, the city is opening the doors for the general public to attend its own mini-version, with an interesting cadre of local luminaries.

The TEDx SoCal conference, x standing for independently organized, is expected to offer a day-long conference and interactive experience that features short talks and performances, spawned off the TED goal of “ideas worth spreading.” The event is held July 16 at the Center Theatre from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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EarthTalk: Would Legalizing Pot Be Good For The Environment?

Dear EarthTalk: I heard someone say that legalizing pot – as Californians considered doing last year – would benefit the environment. How would that be?

– William T., Portland, Oregon

It is well known that legalizing pot could have great economic benefits in California and elsewhere by allowing the government to tax it (like it now does on liquor and cigarettes), by ending expensive and ongoing operations to eradicate it, and by keeping millions of otherwise innocent and non-violent marijuana offenders out of already overburdened federal and state prisons. But what you might not know is that legalizing pot could also pay environmental dividends as well.

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State Water Board Grants $3.3 Million For Colorado Lagoon Restoration Efforts

by Sean Belk, Staff Writer

The California State Water Resources Control Board has approved $3.3 million in funding to be used for dredging, treatment and disposal of hazardous materials in the cleanup phase of the ongoing Colorado Lagoon Restoration Project.

The lagoon project includes upgrading storm drains, cleaning an underground culvert and providing landscape improvements. The final phase involves expanding an open channel 230 feet wide and building two road bridges, allowing for a tidal flush to clean and restore the deteriorated habitat.

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TireCore International Leads Tire Reuse Industry From Long Beach Hub

by Tiffany Rider, Staff Writer

After a year in Long Beach, TireCore International, LTD., has expanded its footprint in the tire casing business, continuing its mission to legitimize the used tire for the reuse industry in North America.

TireCore began in 2005 when Garry Drisdelle, owner and CEO, was granted a special trade visa to start a business in the U.S., based on a business he started in Canada 17 years ago called Total Casing Services. That business aimed to stimulate trade between his native country and the U.S.

TireCore moved a year ago from a small, outdoor facility in Huntington Beach into a large, state-of-the-art, climate-controlled building at the California State University, Long Beach Technology Center Park, located within Long Beach’s Enterprise Zone.

The location is near the San Pedro Bay Ports, with access to shipping and rail lines.

“Long Beach is a real transportation hub,” Drisdelle says. “It’s been a center of our business. We have a lot of customers in the area.”

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Toyota Launches Online Order System For New Plug-in Prius

by Tiffany Rider, Staff Writer

The auto maker dominating the Southern California market recently announced the first phase of an online order system for its all-new plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc., launched on Earth Day, April 22, providing an online avenue for customers to get priority registration for the Prius Plug-in. The site offers customers first access to the online order system when it becomes available later this year.

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