Environment

A look at the natural world around us.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Recent record highs this winter may have you seeing green in your garden long before you should.
 

Salvia is a sage plant with bright purple flowers, that usually doesn’t bloom until the middle of summer.

“So it’s really strange that we see it still with some green foliage and those beautiful flowers,” says Grace Chapman Elton, director of horticulture at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.
 

Elton says there are lots of plants she’d expect to be dead this time of year, but aren’t -pointing out another type of Sage, Pineapple Sage.

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With so many cars on the road this holiday season, it’s easy to see why automobiles account for almost half of the country’s fuel consumption.  But what if cars could recover some of that energy for other uses? An engineering professor at Virginia Tech is working on a way to give cars exactly that kind of ‘energy bump.’

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Lei Zuo and his team are working on a new kind of shock absorber that would not only enhance a car’s ride, but also create energy just from driving on the road.

Every year, 250 million inner tubes from tires are tossed into landfills.  It’s an environmental problem, but it’s also a business opportunity. 

America’s highways are filled with trucks that ride on tires, and when those wheels of rubber must be replaced, their inner tubes often end up in the trash.  That seemed a shame to Angela Greene.

“I stumbled upon a backpack that I really liked.  It was made of inner tubes, and we just became very interested in inner tubes, because they’re very pretty.”  

Earlier this year President Obama traveled to Alaska to highlight what he called the frontline of climate change. But a report published in Nature, says residents of Virginia's Tangier Island, just 90 miles southeast of Washington, D.C., on the Chesapeake Bay, may be forced to leave during the next 25 years.

Piedmont Environmental Council Celebrates New Home

Dec 10, 2015

As the suburbs of Washington  grew, people who loved the rural feel of neighboring Virginia counties were alarmed.  Residents of Albemarle County were equally worried as Charlottesville began to expand.  Today, a group called the Piedmont Environmental Council has emerged as a champion of farmland, forests and historic sites in nine counties south and west of D.C.

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