Saturday, March 15, 2008

An "Ecology Data Directory" watches climate change impacts on property

Here’s an upbeat press release, spreading cheer and panic in equal portions. From PRWeb:, a for-sale-by-owner website, has recently launched their Ecology Data Directory which features U.S. biggest polluted states and cities and showcases the impacts of climate change on U.S. coastal zones.

Recent studies suggest the world is reaching a tipping point in the environment that will affect the U.S. coastal zones. The knock on impact to the U.S. includes the increased risk of storm damage, especially at coastal areas, and flooding. By illustrating sea level rise mapping as an aerial, three-dimensional snapshot of a city or town, the website gives a more realistic understanding of the physical impacts of sea level rise. Users can click on any coastal city on the map to see impacts of climate change there.

Buying a home is often a long-term investment, and people are starting to consider what is likely to happen to their property in the future. "We believe house-hunters as well as homeowners must consider environmental concerns more carefully in their property market choices," says Julia Foster, VP of marketing. "Homebuyers also need to pay closer attention to current researches, and find out where they live could be affected, and how these effects will alter their property and property price".

Homebuyers should also ensure that the selected housing project is not located too close to pollution sources, for example, power plants, heavy factories, dump sites, heavy-traffic highways or railways (noise pollution).With air pollution and traffic on the rise, it increasingly makes sense to consider how environmentally friendly a city is before moving there. "Living in a town with serious pollution is like living under a death sentence", continues Foster. "If the damage does not come from the immediate poisoning, then cancers, lung infections, mental retardation are likely the outcomes."

According to the American Lung Association's latest report for 2005, 55% of Americans live in areas with unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution. It appears that U.S. citizens do not have to visit Russia or China to get a lungful of bad air.

The image (from Wikimedia Commons) comments on the depressed state of the American economy, particularly in New York, during the financial panic of 1837. Notice some echoes to the present day? The artist blames the treasury policies of Andrew Jackson, whose hat, spectacles, and clay pipe with the word "Glory" appear in the sky overhead. Clay illustrates some of the effects of the depression in a fanciful street scene, with emphasis on the plight of the working class. A panorama of offices, rooming houses, and shops reflects the hard times. The Customs House, carrying a sign "All Bonds must be paid in Specie," is idle. In contrast, the Mechanics Bank next door, which displays a sign "No specie payments made here," is mobbed by frantic customers. Principal figures are (from left to right): a mother with infant (sprawled on a straw mat), an intoxicated Bowery tough, a militiaman (seated, smoking), a banker or landlord encountering a begging widow with child, a barefoot sailor, a driver or husbandman, a Scotch mason (seated on the ground), and a carpenter. These are in contrast to the prosperous attorney "Peter Pillage," who is collected by an elegant carriage at the far right. In the background are a river, Bridewell debtors prison, and an almshouse. A punctured balloon marked "Safety Fund" falls from the sky. The print was issued in July 1837. A flag flying on the left has the sarcastic words, "July 4th 1837 61st Anniversary of our Independence.”

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