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John Uhl's articles

Young Voters Carry Obama to Victory, Remain Poised for Service

By John Uhl

Nov 7, 2008

The support of voters age 18-29 may have been decisive in Barack Obama's presidential election victory this Tuesday, according to estimates from The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement ().

CIRCLE projections show both an increase in the percentage of young voters among overall voters -- young voters representing 18 percent of the total voter tally, up from 17 percent in 2004 -- and that young voters overwhelmingly preferred Obama. Obama, who received a projected 52 percent of the total popular vote, received 66 percent of the under-30 vote. In 2004, by comparison, John Kerry received 48.1 percent of the popular vote and 54 percent of the under-30 vote.

John Della Volpe, the director of polling for the Harvard Institute of Politics, estimates Obama won the youth vote by 8.3 or 8.4 million -- and the overall popular vote by about 8 million. "Young people, no question, were the driving force behind this election," he told .

No doubt key to these young voters was Obama's relative strength on environmental issues when compared to John McCain. A report in on Monday observed that the concerns of young voters largely mirror the concerns of their elders -- going into the election, the economy was for them an issue of paramount importance. Yet:

The environment is the major exception for youth voters, according to Carroll Doherty, the associate director at the Pew Research Center. In an October poll, 64 percent of voters under age 30 said the environment is “very important,” compared to 55 percent of older voters.

“At a time when there is so much convergence in priorities,” Doherty said, “that is a noticeable, significant difference.”

He attributes the difference to greater environmental consciousness among young people. For example, young people are more concerned about human effects on global warming than any other age group, according to an April Pew poll.

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Californians Reject Proposition 10, The Pickens (Personal Enrichment) Plan

By John Uhl

Nov 5, 2008

California voters have a $5 billion alternative energy proposal that was largely a front for the natural gas interests of Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens.

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Sportsmen Cite Respect for Environment in their Endorsement of Obama

By John Uhl

Nov 3, 2008

When voters turn out for tomorrow's election, Barack Obama will have the support of a perhaps unexpected contingency: outdoor sportsmen, from Virginia to Montana, who are concerned about the future of the woods where they hunt and the lakes and rivers where they fish.

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Bay Area Radio Station Goes Solar

By John Uhl

Oct 31, 2008

The power of the sun is on the air.

Yesterday, KGO-AM 810 NewsTalk Radio in San Fransisco became the first major broadcast media outlet in California to transmit via solar power. The switch to solar will allow KGO to reduce its impact on the power grid and make KGO, with a weekly reach of 700,000 listeners, an ambassador of solar power's viability.

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After 15 Year Delay, Green Refrigerator To Arrive in U.S. -- Sort of

By John Uhl

Oct 31, 2008

The green refrigerator, which has been locked in cold storage since 1992, has finally found a manufacturer -- GE -- that is willing to start production for the North American market, but it remains unclear just how soon it will be ready for widespread consumer adoption. The technology is in widespread use in the rest of the world.

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Deconstruct Instead of Demolish: A Green Job Opportunity

By John Uhl

Oct 29, 2008

Every year America throws away 250,000 homes.

Bulldozers are knocking down almost 700 houses every day and trucks are carting the demolition debris for burial in landfills all across the country. It's estimated that 1.2 billion board feet of usable lumber ends up in the garbage, not to mention salvageable hardware, fixtures, wiring, piping, doors and windows.

But a new appreciation of the value of this waste stream is leading to the growth of a nascent industry: deconstruction. In a worsening economy and in the effort to create green jobs for a low-carbon future, deconstruction could prove to be a boom industry -- if it wasn't so cheap to throw things away -- creating jobs, recycling valuable materials and recovering and reusing the energy embedded in these existing construction materials.

followed around a deconstruction crew involved in the painstaking, labor-intensive work led by Brad Guy, a "journeyman architectural academic" who is supervising the deconstruction of two homes in Cleveland, one of the cities hardest hit by the subprime mortgage crisis. The city of Cleveland is expecting to spend $9 million in the next year demolishing 1,100 of its 8,000 vacant homes. It's a $9 million expenditure that is largely headed headed straight for the dump.

What if that money could be put to more productive use? It's a question Cleveland is exploring by helping to fund Guy's experiment in deconstruction -- to determine whether the cost of the labor required to deconstruct some of these homes would be offset by the value of the material the labor recovers. The short answer appears to be yes.

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