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UH Offers Experts on Earthquakes

UH Offers Experts on Earthquakes

University of Houston experts, including UH Graduate College of Social Work professor Patrick Bordnick, who runs a "virtual worlds" simulator to treat victims of natural disasters, are available to comment on recent natural disasters.

Shawn Lindsey

Earth Day 2010: UH Offers Experts, Eco Research and Events

April 19, 2010-Houston-

Earth Day, celebrated each year on April 22, was established 40 years ago to inspire appreciation for the Earth and environment. UH offers experts, Earth and eco-related story ideas, research programs, and Earth Day events for Earth Day 2010.

UH Earth Day Carnival: The Earth Day Carnival takes place Thursday, April 22, from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Butler Plaza, in front of the M.D. Anderson Library, UH central campus. The carnival will highlight the sustainable efforts of UH, including green commuting and transportation, tips on energy conservation, demonstrations on composting and making recycled paper, a departmental computer equipment and furniture free-cycle, recycling games, campus eco tours, dumpster diving and the launching of a weather balloon by the atmospheric sciences department.  UH will also reveal the results of RecycleMania 2010, a competition among colleges and universities. For detailed information go to . For media parking information contact Shawn Lindsey at 713-743-5725 or

Green UH- reducing the campus' carbon footprint:  The University of Houston strives to reduce its carbon footprint. UH recently ranked among the top 10 universities in the nation in waste minimization through recycling (over 200,000 pounds recycled Jan.-March 2010), composting and the elimination of styrofoam in residence halls. Jonas Chin is available to talk about Green UH Initiatives and the strategic plans of the UH sustainability task force. He can be reached at 832-842-9107 or (See video below or

Video Experts Guide: Jonas Chin on Green UH Initiatives

Reducing greenhouse gasses: Capturing greenhouse gasses and burying it deep beneath the ground could be one way to significantly reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. UH geophysicist Chris Liner is part of a federally-funded project to assess the feasibility of storing carbon in vast subterranean reservoirs. Using advanced seismic imaging and simulations, Liner is studying whether such reservoirs can safely hold hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon without leaking. Chris Liner can be reached at 713-743-9110 or

Biofuels- Algae to Oil: Biomass sources such as algae offer a renewable way to convert CO2 into liquid fuels through new types of processes.  Researchers at UH are examining a mixture of algae and other aquatic biomasses to find the next conventional oil alternative.  For more about biofuels , contact Mike Harold, principal investigator of UH's Texas Diesel Testing and Research Center, at 713-743-4322 or

Food Wars- Organic vs. Genetically Engineered: Genetically engineered (GE) crops were introduced in 1996 and now account for 80-90 percent of soybean, corn, and cotton acreage; this, as many Americans are opting to go organic. One UH professor believes this should not be a "growing" debate, and although Earth Day advocacy groups have good intentions, a greater perspective is needed. Prof. Thomas Degregori has studied GE crops and can speak on its impact domestically (including just-released research from the National Research Council), and the potential affect of GE crops on world hunger and poverty. To learn more, contact DeGregori at 713-743-3838 or (See video below or at

Video Experts Guide: Thomas DeGregori on organic vs. genetic engineering

Environmental Chemicals: Chemical Not many people realize that the average person is exposed to thousands of different chemicals per day, such as arsenic, lead, mercury, benzene and carbon monoxide.  Maria Bondesson, a research assistant professor in biology and biochemistry, is working with the EPA to link pollutants to birth defects like heart malformations and spina bifida. To learn more, contact Bondesson at 832-842-8805 or

UH Green Building Components: Green Building Components is the college of architecture's research initiative to design, develop and implement sustainable, renewable building components for the architecture, engineering and construction industries. UH architecture professor and applied research director Joe Meppelink says the work represents the potential to affect the built environment through sustainably designed components that will have a broad impact across the architecture, engineering and construction industries. Projects include SPACE, a solar-powered, off-grid field office made from an up-cycled shipping container ( To learn more, contact Meppelink at or

Harnessing solar energy: Researchers at the UH Center for Advanced Materials are looking to the sun for alternative-energy answers. Recent developments in high efficiency solar devices could drive down the cost of electricity and bring power to millions of homes across the country. To learn more about how solar energy will create a pathway to energy efficiency, contact Alex Freundlich at 713-743-3621 or

Rebuilding and securing coastal cities: As residents of the area prepare for the 2010 hurricane season, concerns remain over beach erosion, the relative sea-level rise and seaside development. To find out more about the vulnerability of coastal communities and the ability to maintain the coast's natural appearance, contact Bill Dupre at 713-743-3425 or

Making our mark on the marshes: Amid the global competition for water, the planet's wetlands are in what seems to be a losing battle. What once were rich, abundant breeding grounds for plant and animal life are slowly disappearing as rivers and streams dry up and as humans develop the land. UH's Steven Pennings has spent years in the trenches of the wetlands on all three of America's coasts, and he's not afraid to get his hands dirty - or his feet wet. To find out more about the use and conservation of wetlands, contact Pennings at 713-743-2989 or

Reducing diesel combustion emissions: Diesel fuel burns much more efficiently than gasoline, so the development of effective technologies for reducing emissions of diesel combustion pollutants nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate soot offers great promise for reducing energy consumption and, in turn, the production of carbon dioxide, which has been linked to climate change diesel technologies, contact Mike Harold, principal investigator of UH's Texas Diesel Testing and Research Center, at 713-743-4322 or

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The University of Houston is a comprehensive national research institution serving the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. UH serves 37,000 students in the nation's fourth-largest city in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.

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