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Fighting Smart Meters, Urbanism, Styrofoam: Top 5 Stories This Week

While India stands on the brink of modernizing its grid, angry Texans take up the charge against smart meters, citing privacy concerns.

Some residents have taken to locking up their analog meters in cages, but anti-smart meter groups warn, "some installers have no scruples about cutting locks."Photo Credit:

Holding up smart meters, Texas style

Opposition to smart meters is heating up in Texas, where residents object to perceived infringements of their sovereignty, the Associated Press reports. “This is Texas. We have rights to choose what appliances we want in our home,” said one interviewee, who recently pulled a gun on a utility worker who tried to install a smart meter at her home.

Health and safety concerns have led to protests in other states, even though research shows that electrical emissions from the meters are very low, but Texas groups are mostly voicing concerns about data privacy. Elsewhere, newly installed smart meters have been implicated in a few household fires, says Environmental Leader, but the root cause of the fires is still unclear.

Schooled in new urbanism and loving it

Some architects in El Paso, Texas, grumbled about “communism” when new rules forced them to get accredited in new urbanism if they wanted to work on municipal building projects, according to business journal El Paso Inc. But architect Carl Daniels had a complete turnaround after taking the courses, reports Robert Gray. “It is one of the best courses I have ever taken. It’s all the things you keep in the back of your head about what is wrong with our cities but never had anyone tell you,” Daniels told Gray.

Will India learn from blackouts?

India has pretty aggressive plans for renewable energy, but with population growth and economic growth both skyrocketing, demand for coal has not slowed down. Suzanne York at Triple Pundit analyzes the situation and asks whether India will be able to stop mining and burning coal anytime soon.

Green is beautiful

Beauty plays a major role in our well-being, according to new research from the PatternMapping Institute. Researchers claim to have developed a way to measure beauty, a method study authors call the Beauty in Building (BiB) Matrix. “Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once said that hard core pornography was hard to define, but ‘I'll know it when I see it,’” writes Lloyd Alter. “Beauty was much the same thing, until The Pattern Mapping Institute figured out a way to put a number on it; perhaps now architects can be sued for ugly.”

She fought the foam—and she won

Ten-year-old Mia Hansen was outraged when she ordered a “healthy” smoothie at Jamba Juice and received it in a Styrofoam cup. Three weeks after starting a petition at with her mom’s help, Mia declared victory, having “secured a public commitment from Jamba Juice to completely stop using Styrofoam cups and switch to an environmental alternative by the end of 2013,” according to her petition site.


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Polystyrene is nasty enough as a building material that improves efficiency and stays in our walls for a decade or more, but eating and drinking from an oil-based product full of styrene and benzene can’t be good for you, and using this nonrenewable material for disposable containers in this day and age is just plain irresponsible. Way to go, Mia!

Also read:

Class Action Suit Seeks to Limit Smart Meter Use

Green Design Strategies Help Survivors of Domestic Violence

“Unreasonable” Green Goals in Reach for India’s Infosys

Published August 31, 2012

(2012, August 31). Fighting Smart Meters, Urbanism, Styrofoam: Top 5 Stories This Week. Retrieved from

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August 31, 2012 - 2:54 pm

In fact, many are complaining of electrosensitivity symptoms following the installation of wireless meters. More than 45 top EMF & Health experts explain in this rebuttal that ''people in proximity to a smart meter are at risk of significantly greater aggregate of RF/microwave exposure than with a cell phone, not to mention the cumulative exposure received by people living near multiple meters mounted together, pole-mounted routers or utility collector meters using a third antenna to relay RF signals from 500 to 5,000 homes.''Details on my website: