tagged w/ green_featured
Craig King, a natural food chef is the brains behind this 90 minute documentary, which intends to explore the state of our food supply and help educate people to live healthier, more wholesome lives through socially responsible food choices. Food is the essence of what we are, and the choices we make reflect our psychological and physical well being.Craig King, a natural food chef is the brains behind this 90 minute documentary, which... more
Green energy overtook fossil fuels in attracting investment for power generation for the first time last year, according to figures released today by the United Nations.
Wind, solar and other clean technologies attracted $140bn (£85bn) compared with $110bn for gas and coal for electrical power generation, with more than a third of the green cash destined for Britain and the rest of Europe.
The biggest growth for renewable investment came from China, India and other developing countries, which are fast catching up on the West in switching out of fossil fuels to improve energy security and tackle climate change.
Green versus Black...the odds are growing...
...and growing, and growing.Green energy overtook fossil fuels in attracting investment for power generation for... more
Poul Christensen, Natural England's acting chairman, said: "Bumblebees are suffering unprecedented international declines and drastic action is required to aid their recovery.
"Bumblebees play a key role in maintaining food supplies — we rely on their ability to pollinate crops and we have to do all we can to provide suitable habitat and to sustain the diversity of bee species.
"This international rescue mission has two aims — to restore habitat in England, thereby giving existing bees a boost; and to bring the short-haired bumblebee home where it can be protected."
Is the recolonization a good thing? Or are scientists efforts futile since we don't know what's killing the bees in the first place?Poul Christensen, Natural England's acting chairman, said: "Bumblebees are... more
With the official start of Hurricane Season today, forecasters are calling for a "normal" year of 14 named storms that could threaten the eastern United States.
Of those, the National Weather Service predicts seven could become hurricanes, including up to three major hurricanes of Category Three or higher.
North Carolina has been spared a really bad storm for a decade, while states along the Gulf of Mexico have borne the brunt of nature's fury -- Hurricane Katrina being the most destructive and deadly example.
Ryan Ellis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh, said winds, ocean currents and other factors have conspired to push the storms along a more southerly track in recent years.
But it is not clear whether that trend will carry over into 2009. Early measurements are indicative of warm ocean temperatures that could yield powerful storms.
''Last year was a relatively inactive year overall," Ellis said. "Something they're looking at that could indicate this year will be more active is increased rainfall over western Africa. That's an indicator of storms being able to form there later in the year. Basically that gives another birth region for hurricanes. They can form in the Gulf, in the Caribbean or out of Africa, where they move into the Atlantic and then all the way across."
It has been 10 years since Hurricane Floyd flooded inland North Carolina counties all the way to Interstate 95, and 13 years since Fran cut a path of destruction into Raleigh.
Five years ago, Francis and Ivan caused devastating landslides and floods that killed a dozen people in the western part of the state.
Authorities say they have not been lulled into complacency by the state's recent good fortune.
Last week, the state's Division of Emergency Management coordinated with other agencies to hold a drill simulating how they would respond if a major storm hit the state. Though a large portion of the N.C. National Guard is currently deployed in Iraq, officials say they still have adequate resources available if a major storm bears down on the state.
''I've had a lot of friends deploy recently, and it's true there's a lot of manpower over there," said Mike Sprayberry, the state's deputy director of emergency management. "But we do a gap analysis and plan so that if we are down some equipment, we coordinate with other states to provide that equipment. Primarily, we're pretty good to go on the personnel side of things and we're good on our helicopters and aircraft and things like that.
''But all bets are off if we get a huge Category Four or Category Five. Like any other state, we would have to ask for some assistance."With the official start of Hurricane Season today, forecasters are calling for a... more
Ghosts of Abu Ghraib
"How could ordinary American soldiers come to engage in such monstrous acts?"
For the first time, GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB features both the voices of Iraqi victims (interviewed in Turkey after arduous attempts to meet with them) and guards directly involved in torture at the prison. Conducted by Kennedy, these remarkably candid, in-depth interviews shed light on the abuses in an unprecedented manner.
http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22731.htmGhosts of Abu Ghraib "How could ordinary American soldiers come to engage in... more
Gen. Petraeus : US Violated Geneva Convention
3 Minute Video and Transcript
"When we have taken steps that have violated the Geneva Convention, we rightly have been criticized"
Gen. Petraeus : US Violated Geneva Convention
3 Minute Video and Transcript
"When we have taken steps that have violated the Geneva Convention, we rightly have been criticized"
http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22738.htmGen. Petraeus : US Violated Geneva Convention 3 Minute Video and Transcript... more
Now that some of the dust has settled after the initial news frenzy, we've gotten a bit of a better idea how Sonia Sotomayer stands on green issues. This is important stuff--since an appointment to the Supreme Court is lifelong, she's got to be green for life.
Environmentalists like what they see in Sotomayer. There are a number of reasons for this, even though she doesn't have an extensive record on environmental policy issues.
More at link
How important is Sotomayor's green credentials to you? Where does being green fit into your criteria for a Supreme Court Justice?Now that some of the dust has settled after the initial news frenzy, we've gotten... more
US Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Tuesday the Obama administration wanted to paint roofs an energy-reflecting white, as he took part in a climate change symposium in London.
The Nobel laureate in physics called for a "new revolution" in energy generation to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
But he warned there was no silver bullet for tackling climate change, and said a range of measures should be introduced, including painting flat roofs white.
Making roads and roofs a paler colour could have the equivalent effect of taking every car in the world off the road for 11 years, Chu said.
It was a geo-engineering scheme that was "completely benign" and would keep buildings cooler and reduce energy use from air conditioning, as well as reflecting sunlight back away from the Earth.
For people who found white hard on the eye, scientists had also developed "cool colours" which looked to the human eye like normal ones, but reflect heat like pale colours even if they are darker shades.
And painting cars in cool or light colours could deliver considerable savings on energy use for air conditioning units, he said.
Speaking at the start of a symposium on climate change hosted by the Prince of Wales and attended by more than 20 Nobel laureates, Chu said fresh thinking was required to cut the amount of carbon created by power generation.
He said: "The industrial revolution was a revolution in the use of energy. It offloaded from human and animal power into using fossil fuels.
"We have to go to a different new revolution that can severely decrease the amount of carbon emissions in the generation of energy."US Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Tuesday the Obama administration wanted to paint... more
"Scientists say the revolutionary 'STAIR' (St Andrews Air) battery could now pave the way for a new generation of electric cars, laptops and mobile phones.
The cells are charged in a traditional way but as power is used or 'discharged' an open mesh section of battery draws in oxygen from the surrounding air.
This oxygen reacts with a porous carbon component inside the battery, which creates more energy and helps to continually 'charge' the cell as it is being discharged.
By replacing the traditional chemical constituent, lithium cobalt oxide, with porous carbon and oxygen drawn from the air, the cell is much lighter than current batteries.
And as the cycle of air helps re-charge the battery as it is used, it has a greater storage capacity than other similar-sized cells and can emit power up to 10 times longer.
Professor Peter Bruce of the Chemistry Department at the University of St Andrews, said: "The benefits are it's much smaller and lighter so better for transporting small applications.
"The size is also crucial for anyone trying to develop electric cars as they want to keep weight down as much as possible.
"Storage is also important in the development of green power. You need to store electricity because wind and solar power is intermittent.""Scientists say the revolutionary 'STAIR' (St Andrews Air) battery... more
Here's a little-known fact: Under current law, it's possible to hold a patent on a piece of human DNA, otherwise known as a gene.
Some breast cancers, shown here, are linked with the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2.
Companies that have acquired patents for genes have specific rights to their use, which may include diagnostic tests based on those genes, as well as future mutations that are discovered.
In a new lawsuit, the American Civil Liberties Union alleges that the policy is unconstitutional.
The targets of the lawsuit, Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation, hold patents to BRCA1 and BRCA2, the genes responsible for many cases of hereditary breast and ovarian cancers.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is also named in the suit.
The lawsuit asserts that the patents prevent some people from accessing medical screening for BRCA1 and BRCA2. It also challenges the general patentability of genes, which has been legal since 1980. That year, in Diamond v. Chakrabarty, the Supreme Court found in favor of Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty, who used bacteria to engineer a microbe that dissolves oil.
Genes form the basic unit of heredity. With modern technology, researchers have determined that particular genes carry an associated risk of illness.
A striking 20 percent of all human genes have been patented. However, now that all 20,000 to 25,000 human genes have been mapped and sequenced through the Human Genome Project, they are in the public domain, meaning they would no longer be considered "new" for the purposes of patents, said Lee Silver, professor of molecular biology and public policy at Princeton University. Now, patents on human genes must specify a new use, such as a diagnostic test.
If a company wants to patent the purified form of an antibiotic that exists in nature in a fungus, no one challenges that, Silver said. Plant DNA, as well as human DNA, can be synthesized in a laboratory. Distinguishing this case from a patented human gene that is useful in diagnostics would require the ethical argument that the human genome is sacred -- and even then, things get murky, considering that about 25 percent of human genes are shared by chimpanzees, he said.
"The patent law says nothing about ethics," he said.
But Josephine Johnston, bioethicist at the nonpartisan Hastings Institute, said she thinks that allowing patents for human genes was probably a mistake. She said she would draw the line at modified genes being acceptable as intellectual property, but not genes in pure form. From a legal point of view, that would mean unmodified plant and animal genes would also be off-limits.
In a moral argument, however, one could say that there is a "common humanity" -- that human genetic material belongs to all humans -- or agree that no plant or animal genes should be patented.
"I think that legal arguments about why this kind of thing isn't really something that should be patentable are really strong at a theoretical level," she said. "I wouldn't be that confident that the American court system would agree."
Patents protect inventors and spur innovation by giving companies an incentive to create new things. The invention must be "useful," "novel" and "nonobvious" and carry a description that enables someone to use it for the stated purpose, according to U.S. patent law.
Is it ethical to patent human genes and just how far do you think this will go?Here's a little-known fact: Under current law, it's possible to hold a... more
Two words of advice for anyone looking into carbon offsets: buyer beware.
In the wild and unregulated offset marketplace, one particularly inconvenient truth is that plenty of products that promise reductions to offset your own carbon emissions don’t deliver.
Now don’t get me wrong—done right, offsets can be a pretty effective way for individuals and businesses to neutralize their climate impact (after, of course, reducing emissions as much as possible).
Done wrong, and carbon offsets will get you nothing for something.Two words of advice for anyone looking into carbon offsets: buyer beware. In the... more
Twenty-five years after the federal government declared a long stretch of the Hudson River to be a contaminated Superfund site, the cleanup of its chief remaining source of pollution began here Friday with a single scoop of mud extracted by a computer-guided dredge.Twelve dredges are to work round the clock, six days a week, into October, removing sediment laced with the chemicals known as PCBs. Mile-long freight trains running every several days will carry the dried mud to a hazardous-waste landfill in Texas.
An estimated 1.3 million pounds of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, flowed into the upper Hudson from two General Electric factories for three decades before they were banned, in 1977, as a health threat to people and wildlife. In high doses, they have been shown to cause cancer in animals and are listed by federal agencies as a probable human carcinogen.Twenty-five years after the federal government declared a long stretch of the Hudson... more
Citizen journalism, open government, status updates, community building, information sharing, crowdsourcing, and the election of a President.
Our children will inherit a world profoundly changed by the combination of technology and humanity that is social media. They'll take for granted that their voices can be heard and that a social movement can be launched from their laptop. They'll take for granted that they are connected and interconnected with hundreds of millions of people at any given moment. And they'll take for granted that a black man is or was President of the United States.
What's most profound is that these represent parts of a greater whole. They represent a shift in power from centralized institutions and organizations to the People they represent. It is the evolution of democracy by way of technology, and we are all better for it.
For most of us, social media has changed our lives in some meaningful way. Collectively it is changing the world for good. Given the pace of innovation and adoption, change has become a constant. Every so often we find the need to stop and reflect on its most recent and noteworthy developments, hence the following list.
Please note this is not a top-10 list, nor are these listed in any particular order. It's also incomplete. So we ask that you add to this conversation in the comments. If you'd like to Retweet this post or take the conversation to http://www.Twitter.com, use the hashtag #10Ways.Citizen journalism, open government, status updates, community building, information... more
Last week JanforGore recommended SeaJade to be the next featured community member.
SeaJade may be best known for her original works of art and photography of sacred sites. You can tell from her work, her comments, and her posts that she is a sensitive soul with a sharp eye, and a desire to share her love for the world. Without further adieu: SeaJade...(check out the link for the full interview)Last week JanforGore recommended SeaJade to be the next featured community member.... more
Grist makes a nice summary of green mayors...
Climate change is a global problem—but as of yet, there’s no global solution. That’s why mayors across the U.S. are taking action, from building green to organizing bike rides, from redeveloping downtowns to cutting emissions. Here are just a few of the municipal leaders who have worked to take our collective future into their own hands.
But wait! Before you click over any guesses on the top 5 green mayors?Grist makes a nice summary of green mayors... Climate change is a global... more
Warner Philips, the founder of Lemnis Lighting of the Netherlands, is confident that his company’s new 6-watt Pharox LED Light isn’t just ready for the consumer market, it’s ready to take over the lighting market from both incandescents (increasingly being phased out in many countries) and energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs.
“C.F.L.s are officially an outdated technology,” Mr. Philips said during a recent conversation with Green Inc. “You can’t recycle C.F.L.s. You can’t get a fully dimmable product. That should make them obsolete.”
The Pharox bulb was introduced Wednesday at Lightfair International in New York, where lighting designers from around the globe are showing off their wares. According to Lemnis Lighting, the new Pharox can match the light output of a 60-watt incandescent, and it can be used smoothly and reliably with dimmer switches — unlike many C.F.L. bulbs. It’s also designed to be heat-resistant, the company notes and, also unlike C.F.L.s, mercury-free.
The packaging says the bulb will last 25 years given average use (four hours a day), or more than 36,000 hours.
Come July, the bulb will be sold on Amazon.com for just under $50 – still more expensive than dimmable C.F.L.s, but with a lifespan that the company says is eight times longer and with more incandescent-like dimming capabilities. The Pharox’s payback time at that price, according to Lemnis, is 3.5 years.
Mr. Philips says he sees the price dropping rather quickly, as it did with a 5-watt, 40-watt equivalent bulb the company introduced six months ago at $40. It is now selling for $35 — a decrease attributable in large part to assistance from the Clinton Climate Initiative, which is sponsoring a giveaway of 2.5 million bulbs in Europe.
(The fact that Google gave 25,000 bulbs to its employees in honor of Earth Day last month doesn’t hurt either.)
Mr. Philips said problems with heat build-up inside enclosed lighting fixtures, which cause L.E.D.s and C.F.L.s to fail early, has been addressed with a vented design that allows for better air flow.
Still, the company told us that the preferred use of the Pharox is in open fixtures. Using it in enclosed fixtures — like recessed ceiling cans — will reduce the lifetime of the bulbs by about 25 percent, the company said (a data point not evident on the bulb’s packaging, it should be noted.)
Indeed, as with many would-be replacements for the incandescent bulb, a bit of incongruity exists between performance claims that may well pertain in a laboratory, and a bulb’s performance in the real world.
For starters, the advertised light output of the Pharox is about 300 “lumens” — the metric used for measuring the light coming off a bulb. That places it somewhere between a 25-watt and 40-watt incandescent. A 60-watt incandescent emits up to 900 lumens.
The company explained that the light output is comparable to a 60-watt bulb, depending on where one uses the bulb and for what purpose. “There are 60-watt soft tone/flame bulbs that generate less light than a Pharox 6-watt,” the company said.
It’s also worth noting that an earlier version of the Pharox — a 4-watt, 40-watt equivalent bulb dubbed the Pharox LS — had some trouble when it was tested in a Department of Energy program that evaluates the performance of L.E.D. products.Warner Philips, the founder of Lemnis Lighting of the Netherlands, is confident that... more
It can't be confirmed but some scientists have unveiled a racer that they claim is the world's fastest bio-car...and it supposedly runs on waste materials from chocolate production, among other things. Bonus features: a steering wheel made from carrots and flax-fiber seats. All it needs now is wheels made of pizza and I'm in.It can't be confirmed but some scientists have unveiled a racer that they claim... more
David Roberts has been reporting for Grist from France for the past week, and has apparently been influneced by the city of love...
".....This, it seems to me, is the great shortcoming in the push for efficiency. The word itself reeks of sterile technocracy. It envisions communal life as a business process, purely a practical matter, to be stripped of ornamentation, trimmed and tucked, standardized and expedited. It’s no wonder advocates have such a hard time getting it the prominence it deserves on the public agenda, no wonder it hasn’t captured the public imagination.
Several speakers noted the fact in different ways, lamenting that efficiency is “boring,” pleading with the attendees to be “passionate.” One, EU parliamentarian Claude Turmes, spoke plaintively of the need to make energy efficiency “sexy.”
But efficiency and sex are antithetical. Sex is voluptuous and beautiful, virile and messy—anything but efficient. If sexiness is not efficient, why should the converse be true?
What’s needed is not just a new term (please lord, not another “climate change” vs. “global warming”). What’s needed is a new vision, a new way of thinking about what efficiency advocates are really after.
Architect William McDonough, who frequently makes a similar point, has suggested “energy effectiveness.” Unless you have 10 minutes for McDonough to explain what that means, though, I doubt it’s going to do much for you; the connotations aren’t much better.
In passing, Turmes himself suggested what struck me as a promising alternative: “resource intelligence.”
I’ll have to think about it more, but at first blush I like it—at least it has a spark of humanity. “Intelligence” carries connotations not only of adeptness but of sophistication and even elegance. After all, there’s something marvelous about how a mind like, say, Einstein’s took what seemed like a jumble of parts and derived compact, holistic explanations out of them. Intelligence doesn’t imply less, like efficiency, but better. And that’s what people want—not less, but better.
Consider McDonough’s frequent example: is a tree “efficient”? No, it grows far more leaves/acorns/branches than it needs and scatters them everywhere. But the tree itself is an intelligent integration of a system into a larger system. There is no waste. When you understand the elegance and intelligence behind the beauty, there’s real resonance, even, dare I say, a kind of passion.
Now, imagine you live in a house that gathers rainwater and captures, cleans, and recycles 100% of the water used in it. In that house, you do not need to use less water; the house’s design provides you with an abundance! The water is not used in a miserly way, but in an intelligent way....."David Roberts has been reporting for Grist from France for the past week, and has... more
A little round up re: commuting issues, bike commuting blogs, and you guessed it, a few of my favorite biking pods a-la-current.
"Um….so…yeah. That was the line I gave my boss today, and it was true, I swear! I few months back, a few good people on the green page challenged me to start riding my bike more. I happen to live midway up a very significant hill, so wasn’t so quick to jump on the bike riding band wagon. My idea of biking was driving my car to a trail head…not sweating my way up a hill with my computer bag at the end of the day. And..I happen to live in the Bay Area, and am lucky to have a down right decent public transportation system. So I usually drive my car to the Bart station, hop in the casual car pool and get a ride to SF. I love this system since I save time and money (the Bart ticket, plus it’s faster), and the driver saves time and money (we ride in the commuter lane, and they don’t have pay the $4 toll fee. (Side note: there is a rumor going around that they are going to start making the car poolers pay the toll fee (sounds like someone’s focused on the cent in incentive))...."A little round up re: commuting issues, bike commuting blogs, and you guessed it, a... more