What we're reading in today's environment news

Our environmental reading today includes the possible CO2 impact of increased online poker, cows and endangered butterflies, generating renewable energy with artificial trees, how well "green" toilet cleaners work, and a look at whether smart growth is achieving its goals around the country.

Bring in the cows
Cows are a problem for the environment, right? Well, not always. In Coyote Ridge, near San Jose, Calif., grazing bovines are seen as helping a threatened butterfly, the Bay checkerspot, avoid extinction.

Lifting the Online Poker Ban Could Cause a CO2 Emissions Boom
The headline says it all! Thanks, Treehugger.

Power Plants: Artificial Trees That Harvest Sun and Wind to Generate Electricity
There's been news lately about how some supporters of renewable energy are less than enthusiastic about high-voltage transmissions lines marring miles and miles of scenic landscape. Well, here's another idea from the Netherlands: Forests of fake trees with "leaves" that soak up sunshine and flutter in the breeze to generate clean solar and wind power.

Philadelphia Rolls Out Solar-Powered Trash Compactors
They're not the only cities with solar-powered BigBelly trash compactors, but they're installing 500 of the bins – which have to be emptied less a third as often as conventional cans.

Smart Growth Policies: An Evaluation of Programs and Outcomes
In the fight against urban sprawl, who's winning? The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy decided to take a look and see if it could answer that question. Surprisingly, it's not an issue that's been the subject of a major study. So this is probably the first attempt to look at the evidence to try to judge whether smart growth has had an impact and is achieving the policy goals set out in the smart growth principles (urban containment, transport choices, affordable housing, etc.).

Which natural toilet-bowl cleaner wins with a flush?
Is this your weekend to clean the bathroom? Don't get out your bowl brush until you've read this.

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