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February 27, 2007

Convenient Truths: 1 Day, 6 Hours Left to Enter!

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"An eco friend, frustrated by not being able to bike to work, is aided by her super-hero pup" in this entrant's video solution full of child-like wonder. With only one day left to upload your 1-2 minute video solution to climate change we urge all you procrastinators to channel your collegiate days (if you're in school now, this is already second nature!) and pull that all-nighter. Trust us, the $30,000 in sustainable prizes will compensate for the groggy morning after. Afraid you'll crash and burn before making the deadline? You still have time to leave your mark. Watch and rate the video entries starting this Thursday (March 1st)!

February 27, 2007 10:46 PM

The DCDC Global Strategic Trends Programme 2007-2036

Development Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC), UK Ministry of Defence. "The Golden Age of cheap energy has passed. Competition for energy supplies will dominate the economic landscape during the next 30 years... The prospect, apparent or real, of the peak production of oil during the timeframe out to 2035 and progressive diminution of output thereafter will intensify competition for remaining resources."

February 27, 2007 09:38 PM

Burt's Chips During London Fashion Week

As the Size 0 row raged on at London Fashion Week, we stuffed our faces. (How fun it is to use the TreeHugger Imperial We when writing about England!) That's right. At London's version of Whole Foods, Burt's Chips stood out as a cute, lightweight and pocket-book friendly gift for friends stateside (in addition to Duchy Originals and Green and Blacks goodies not available in the homeland). Our friend Lauren had just returned from Devon, the snack's birthplace, and said they were a difficult-to-find delicacy. She pointed out that each sack identified the field in which the potatoes sprouted and the person who hand fried them! We bought about 10 packs, all of which were grown in Field Foot and fried by Mike. None of them made it into our carry-on. Rather, between scintillating conversation with remarkable Estethica designers, they went straight to our stomach: Salt-less, Sea Salt and Vinegar, Salt and Pepper... As far as we can tell, the chips are not certified organic, but free of preservatives and fried in sunflower oil. Additionally, Burt's only uses seasonally available ingredients. The packaging features info from the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, raising awareness about the orangutan/palm oil issue. More on local crisps here. Yes, we'll write about the clothes... ::Burt's Chips (The site seems to be down.)

February 27, 2007 09:08 PM

Book Review: Fermenting Revolution

book-fermenting-rev-001.jpgWant to save the world? Drink beer! Okay -- It's not as simple as that, but Christopher Mark O'Brien's beer book -- Fermenting Revolution: How to Drink Beer and Save the World -- clearly shows how your drinking habits can affect the world around you. Open this book while drinking your favorite local, organic beer, and you'll start to feel like you really ARE changing the world while getting tipsy -- and more informed. Fermenting Revolution covers a lot of ground. We get the history of beer, including its ties to major religions and its principal figures. We see what beer's made of and how it's brewed. We find out how brewing went from being a woman-led, home-based craft to a corporatized consumer item. Chris sees a huge gender imbalance in the making, marketing, and drinking of beer -- and calls for more female beer makers and drinkers! In fact, if you're a girl reading Chris's book, you're likely to at least consider brewing your own beer -- or even starting your own brewery -- at least for a few seconds.

February 27, 2007 08:17 PM

Constructal Theory: The Applications

Constructal.jpg Nature builds from the bottom up. From simple molecules, life can form the giant sequoia tree. Likewise, constructal theory provides a way to make shapes, from the bottom up. So, what can we build with constructal theory? Applications of constructal theory are limitless, but one significant constructal approach is to design from a finite size (small) and build up to larger optimized structures. This is what IBM has discovered in their new chip cooling system. The 'greening' of the computer has begun. Companies are emerging that promise increased efficiencies, and IBM and Intel race to achieve amazing new chip designs. But how do you optimize performance with efficiency? Heat management with energy consumption? IBM's radical new cooling system is a good example of how we can begin to optimize structures for a sustainable future- and coincidentally, their cooling system looks like a tree.

February 27, 2007 08:15 PM

Most Huggable: Taking the Earth’s Temperature, Emissions-Free Snowmobiles, The 12 Cleanest Cars of 2007

The International Polar Year unifies hundreds of research projects and thousands of scientists in the effort of taking the planet’s temperature… Not only is the UAE going solar but the oil giant is looking to a future without fossil fuels… The Clean Snowmobile Challenge entices students to create an emissions-free motorized sled dog… The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy lists the 12 greenest cars on the market for 2007… If the chaos of moving has you acting like a naughty treehugger, see this eco-warrior’s advise on moving in green style…

February 27, 2007 05:19 PM

Found at BTC Elements: Earrings from Reclaimed Tin

annajohanssonearrings.jpg We love these earrings, which were just added as one of the “new arrivals” at BTC Elements. The designer, Anna Johansson, is from Brooklyn and created them from reclaimed tin cans, as she does with all of her accessories. She finds her materials in thrift stores, the trash and grocery stores and searches for items that are destined for the trash. Johansson looks in particular for cans and tins that have labels and decorations enameled onto the surface. These earrings, above, are one-of-a-kind and can only be found on BTC Elements. Several other styles are available and even though they are new arrivals, from what we’ve seen they’ve been going fast. ::BTC Elements

February 27, 2007 05:13 PM

Quick Tips for Green Moving

green-moving-tips.jpg Any TreeHugger who tackles the task of moving knows there are few other activities that force you to come face to face with all of your stuff. It can be an inopportune time to consider it all, too, since you're busy with packing and organizing, deciding what goes and what stays, and it can be easy to just start pitching it instead of recycling, donating, composting or otherwise relieving yourself of stuff without sending it to the landfill. One solution, of course, is to keep less stuff around (and it's a pretty good philosophy) but by the time you're packing boxes, it's too late for that. So, what strategies does a good TreeHugger employ when picking up stakes and moving without dumping everything in the trash? Anna Shepard, who writes the Eco-Worrier column in Body & Soul, has a few tips, which, though they make lots of sense, are easy to miss or simply not do. Among her top five are ideas like give yourself enough time, hoard your own bubblewrap, cardboard boxes, padded envelopes and other materials instead of buying up virgin materials, and plan out removing stuff that has to go (or hire someone who's a pro) so you make as few trips as possible. Read the full article for more details on her saga of moving, and leave any other thoughtful tips for a green move in the comments section below. ::Eco Worrier via ::Hugg (janegething)

February 27, 2007 04:54 PM

Economics - Feb 27

Staff, Energy Bulletin. China Stocks Sink 8.8% on Crackdown Fears
Asian Stocks Fall after China's rout
U.S. stocks plunge to worst 1-day drop since 2001

February 27, 2007 04:15 PM

Falwell to Arms: Christians Being Duped by Global Warming?

falwell.jpgJust as evangelical representatives, including bishops from the Catholic Church, are drawing attention to climate-change issues, right-wing preacher Jerry Falwell is decrying global warming as "Satan's attempt to redirect the church's primary focus" from evangelism to environmentalism. "Naive Christian leaders," in fact, have been duped—DUPED, I say—by dirty hippies like Al Gore. "An Inconvenient Truth?" HAH! Verily, it should be called "A Convenient Untruth," Oscar be damned! (See what he just did there?) Falwell also told his Baptist congregation in Lynchburg that the Bible teaches that God will maintain the Earth until Christ's second coming, so although Christians should be responsible environmentalists (eh?), they shouldn't devolve into what he calls "first-class nuts." Because God told Falwell, He hates the dirty hippies. ::WRIC Richmond News

February 27, 2007 03:58 PM

Engineered Plants to Be Grown Outdoors in Washington State

ucs-y-flwer-001.jpgDrug and biotech companies are using food crops to produce pharmaceutical drugs, industrial chemicals, research chemicals, untested food additives and other products. These drugs and chemicals could harm our families if they wind up in common foods such as corn chips, cereal, and baby food. A Canadian company is poised to ramp up production of genetically engineered safflower to 1,000 acres in Washington State. The company has engineered the safflower plant—typically grown for the vegetable oil obtained from its seeds—to produce a drug to boost the immune systems of farmed shrimp. Growing drug-producing food crops outdoors poses risks to public health and threatens the economic well-being of farmers because these crops are likely to contaminate our food supply.

February 27, 2007 03:42 PM

Ask TreeHugger: Should I Worry About Musty Odors?

mold3.jpgQuestion: I’m considering making an offer to buy a home but am hesitating because of concern about a strong musty odor in the basement. Should I be worried about this smell? Response: I suspect that the smell comes from mold, which as it grows, can emit a mixture of gases that smells musty and earthy. Mold, which is a type of fungi, can have many different forms and can be present nearly anywhere. Molds reproduce by producing tiny spores, which will grow anywhere there is water, organic materials (such as paper, wood, or cellulose) and oxygen. When present indoors, mold can be a significant structural and health concern. Since mold requires moisture to grow, water must be entering the basement routinely – possibly through leaky windows, the foundation, or a leaking pipe. Chronic water problems can not only lead to mold but can also damage the home and lead to structural problems in the long run. Mold can cause additional damage by breaking down walls, wood, and other building materials.

February 27, 2007 03:33 PM

Philadelphia Greens Its Politics

07poster.jpgThe Philadelphia Flower Show, is the original and longest running such venue in the US (since 1829). As such it's nice to see this history-making announcement. PHILADELPHIA USA (February 2007) –The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Philadelphia Parks Alliance, will hold a Mayoral Candidates Forum on Monday, March 5 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Pennsylvania Convention Center..."For more than 30 years, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's Philadelphia Green Program has served as a catalyst and advocate for quality open space, creating ways to bring people, plants and places together," said Blaine Bonham Jr., executive director of PHS. "The 2007 mayoral race is taking place at a time when Philadelphians are poised to embrace growth. It is critical for the next mayor to leverage the investment in greening programs and support their continued success." This is a good precedent to set for all American cities, given the increased prospects for environment to be important in the 2008 national elections. And, it might help Philadelphia catch up to Chicago. Having spent time both cities, the next Philadelphia mayor has some work to do if Daley's green army is the standard to meet. In a decade or so, maybe we can forget the old Vaudeville joke: 'First prize - a week in Phildelphia. Second prize - two weeks in Philadelphia'.

February 27, 2007 03:08 PM

The Andy Warhol Museum Presents Global Warming Exhibit

How do you express concern for global warming? From textiles, videos, paintings, drawings, and photography, to music and inflatables, artists around the world have, for decades, used diverse mediums to share one common message. From March 11 – June 17, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA will present “6 BILLION PERPS HELD HOSTAGE! Artists Address Global Warming,” a multi-media exhibit showcasing contemporary art by the likes of Andy Warhol, The Yes Men, Preemptive Media, Jay Critchley, The Institute For Figuring, Hugo Kobayashi, and Cai Guo-Qiang, among others. All of the items on view were conceived to raise eco consciousness. ::The Andy Warhol Museum Images courtesy of the Andy Warhol Museum

February 27, 2007 02:37 PM

Geopolitics - Feb 27

Staff, Energy Bulletin. Three US reasons to attack Iran
Iraqi Ministry Casts Doubt on Oil Law
Who wins in Iraq?

February 27, 2007 02:34 PM

Please, No More IT Charity

africaguy.jpg There seems to be this unshakeable belief in Western culture that Africa and ilk are simply dying to get a hold of our used electronic gear. With a few exceptions, nothing could be further from the truth; everyone who wants a cell phone in Africa has one, and China is completely sated with this junk. Most donated computers also require software and technical expertise, which recipient countries simply do not have in any great supply. There are still some companies shipping refurb over the waters, most notably Computer Aid International, but I have to say that their time is probably about up, particularly when countries like India are now begging for the charity to stop. Even CNN admits that wealthy nations are Shovelling IT into great big heaps in foreign places. Let's end the snobbery; if your gear isn't good enough for you, it's not good enough for an African, an Indian, or anyone else either. If you are in IT, start accounting for the environmental cost of the equipment that you buy, and start using equipment to failure instead of palming boxes off on local charities or your employees. And if it's your personal gear, think long and hard about the rationale for buying another electronic thingy. Like your cats or your kids, assume it's going to be yours forever.

February 27, 2007 02:30 PM

domino & TreeHugger's Green List: Beauty

th-domino-green-list-beauty.jpg Today's peek at the TreeHugger/domino Green List is all about feeling good while looking good; the Beauty section of the list blends friendly ingredients with thoughtful packaging and essential scents. For your body, there's primrose-oil cream, shea butter and a megahydrating oil from a Greek company; when it comes to caring for your face, there's Juice Beauty's yummy green-apple skin polishing mask, organic rosehip oil to hydrate your dry complexion and an herbal recovery gel infused with organic herbs and a shot of antioxidants. For clean and green hair-washing, check out Mop's Mixed-greens condition, whose ingredients read more like a salad, with cucumber, artichoke, watercress and parsley tossed with organic olive oil and clarifying vinegar...mmm. There's also honey & hibiscus shampoo with John Masters Organics and awapuhi and kukui nut extracts in a formula by Ole Henriksen. In the bath, we liked Nature Girl's refreshing body wash, Kathleen Lewis' lemony mineral salts, a zingy, aromatherapeutic orange oil and some refreshing suds derived from organic flower petals. You can't go wrong with the whole line from Dr. Hauschka and Pangea Organics, though; for extra credit, check out the organic essentials cotton balls. Lots more to see in the slideshow at; open the print mag to pages 58-59 for the full list. ::domino's Green List: Beauty

February 27, 2007 02:29 PM

Smoking: Environmental and Social Impacts

smoking.jpg In the past we have talked about the litter problem resulting from cigarette smoking. We tendered some solutions: biodegradable filters and butt boxes, as well as a suggestion for responsible disposable messages on cigarette packaging. But really these are what are known as ‘end-of-pipe’ solutions. They deal with the result of the problem, not its cause: society’s addictive consumption of tobacco. We do like positive stories at TH, but this time around we offer a few sobering snippets of info on the issue and hope they might lead to greater insight ... and action. (Sources can be found by clicking the numbered references.)

February 27, 2007 02:06 PM

SEADOG Learns Trick, Pumps Water

wavepump.jpgWe have shown a few bouncing buoys before, but here is one with a difference: it pumps water. The water can be stored in a reservoir or water tower for storage, so that consistent power can be delivered when required rather that when surf's up. Minnesota's (famous for its ocean frontage) Independent Natural Resources Inc. (INRI) suggests that a square mile field of SEADOG wave pumps could generate up to 1,500 megawatts of power. It works, too: "Our sea trial in the Gulf of Mexico has exceeded our expectations and we're confident our engineers have developed a new proprietary technology that serves as a safe, efficient system for gathering renew able energy from ocean waves," said Mark A. Thomas, chief executive officer, INRI. The unit consistently pumped between 15,000 and 40,000 gallons per day. ::Renewable Energy Access

February 27, 2007 02:01 PM

Oakland: There is a Green There There

trailsign_ecoequity.jpg Gertrude Stein famously said about her home town, Oakland, California, that “there isn’t any there there.” Surely she would have a different opinion if she were there today and, in fact, many green urban advocates like us wish we were there. Oakland is the working class home to 500,000 people and one of the nation’s most racially diverse cities. Although it has one of country’s largest ports, many manufacturing jobs have disappeared. In its poorer neighborhoods, 40% of young people suffer chronic respiratory ailments, there are no supermarkets, and ten thousand people are on probation or parole. Recently, however, hope has arrived in green robes with the potential to build an ecological and equitable economy. Last year, Ron Dellums was elected mayor after promising to grow a local green economy. Then, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights helped convene the Oakland Apollo Alliance (associated with the National Apollo Alliance). The Alliance has brought together labor, environmentalists and social justice activists with a mission to create “green collar” jobs for Oakland residents and to build a local sustainable economy.

February 27, 2007 02:00 PM

Global Warming in Argentina - Our Part in the Matter

hail_buenos_aires.jpg The Sunday magazine in Argentina's biggest newspaper dedicated its cover to the country's contribution to Global Warming. According to the publication, even though the country isn’t near the developed nations levels, Argentineans contaminate more than Indians, Chinese and Brazilians. “Argentina contributes with an amount between 0,5 and 0,6 to the total greenhouse gases emissions, a laughable level compared with the 25 percent the United States emit. But on a deeper analysis, Argentineans emit per capita more than Chinese and Hindus, whose countries are in full economic development, or even more than Brazilians and Uruguayans”. The report highlights that 44% of Argentinean emissions come from the agriculturist and cattle activity, and 70% of that, from the methane that the 55 millions of cows that inhabit the country exhale. According Guillermo Berra, professional from the INTA in charge of accounting the cattle industry emissions for the Kyoto protocol inventory, a way to reduce these emissions would be to change the cows feeding (since the more complicated the food is to digest, the more emissions) and improve their reproductive cycle. With measurements like that, “there could be a reduction between 10 and 20 percent of the emissions”, says the expert. Soy cultivation, gas waste, dirty energy and garbage fillings are among the other Argentinean contributions. Learn about what’s happening and what’s being carried out (or not) to improve the situation. Picture: Last year, Buenos Aires had one of its worst storms ever, with massive rain and hail the size of golf balls.

February 27, 2007 01:35 PM

Honda F1 Racing Goes Green--On the Outside

honda.jpg When you are travelling in the fast lane, image counts. Honda has unveiled the colour scheme for their new Formula One 2007 car and it features an image of Planet Earth instead of the usual advertising and sponsor logos. Honda is going a step further. Through a new website when you make a donation to an environmental charity, and pledge to make a lifestyle change, then you will get your name put on a "pixel" that will make up the image on the car. The driver, that gorgeous hunk Jensen Button, said that he wanted to raise awareness of environmental issues and that "six million people watched the race last year and it can make a big big difference if those millions of people start turning off their lights". Acknowledging the hundreds of millions of lost sponsorship monies, the images of the so-called "earth car"--which Honda expects will get massive media coverage with its environmental theme and lack of branding--will be licensed for use by the sponsors instead. Said a team member "I think this signals a recognition that formula one has to change or it will wither on the vine and become extinct." Yes, but what about the inside of the car? Business as usual. However, there have been a few signs that Formula One racing is trying to become a little more green--last year the sport's governing body put forward proposals (for 2009) to introduce systems that re-use waste heat and exhaust gases and re-use braking energies to provide additional power while making the cars more fuel efficient, but they are still only proposals and not yet in use.  :: Sky Sports

February 27, 2007 01:30 PM

Hold Your Head High on the Bus

excubo_splash.jpg TreeHugger loves promoting transit as the greenest way to get around, and a great benefit of it is that you can catch a few zzz's. Sleeping while sitting up is an art in Japan, but not in North America. San Francisco designer Matthew Gale learned "people can sleep when their bodies are held in a rigid state as opposed to only a soft and yielding state - similar to most beds. I applied this concept to the Excubo jacket - a jacket that transforms into a firm and protective shell around the user." You fold up the collar and you have a nice soft place to rest your head. Now if he can integrate a GPS-activated alarm system to wake you up before your station, and a taser to use on the loudmouth with the celphone in the next seat, we will have a whole new sleeping system!  ::Matthew Gale see also his neat ::De-Ikea project.

February 27, 2007 01:20 PM

Toad Hunters Offered Beer Bounty, say ABC

Cane-toad-dazza.jpg The RSPCA's (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) spokesman* wisely advises the need for a bigger freezer and more funding, in light of a Cairns hotelier’s offer to shout two beers for every bag of cane toads brought in. That’s because there are millions of the things swarming across the Australian countryside. Originally introduced to Queensland as a biological control for sugar cane beetles, 100 or so toads promptly walked off the job and set out to conquer a nation. Now the Australian Museum reckons, “Cane Toads occupy more than 500,000 square kilometres of Australia and have reached densities of 2,000 toads per hectare in newly-colonised areas of the Northern Territory.” And they’ve done this by being rapacious spawners, with an inbuilt toxicity that kills animals that try to eat them. According to the Frog Decline Reversal Project website, "They breed like flies, as the saying goes. Each pair of cane toads can lay 33,000 eggs per spawning (some published references estimate they produce as much as 60,000 eggs!). Fish who eat toadpoles die. Animals who eat toad adults die. The museums have plenty of snakes preserved in jars which were killed by toad toxin so fast, the toad is still in their mouths unswallowed. Captive cane toads will allegedly eat everything from dog food to mice and they keep growing until they reach 25cm in length and over 4 kilos.” So this plan to beat ’em with beer, is a bewdy. (Just don’t give even a lemonade to any toad that brings in a quoll or freshwater crocodile that they’ve killed.) ::ABC Online.

February 27, 2007 01:13 PM

Do I Dare to Eat a Shrimp?

shrimp.jpg We had a bloggers night out on Friday during the Interior Design Show, with Harry Wakefield of Mocoloco, Robert Oullette and Sarah of ReadingToronto , my spouse Kelly of Up with the Lark at Toronto's Izakaya Restaurant, run by founder Graham's cousin. (A new record: Five conflicts of interest in one post!) A problem of writing for TreeHugger too much is that one becomes a bit of a pompous know-it-all, so when Harry ordered shrimp shao mai I had to point out the issues with it. This month's Gourmet Magazine,not the greenest of publications, calls farmed shrimp "one of the most destructive means by which humans produce food. Shrimp farmers clear cut vast coastal fringes of mangroves,-crucial breeding grounds for fish- to create ponds....As rotting shrimp and food pollute the water they move on and hack down more trees and make more ponds" They also pump them full of antibiotics. Gourmet suggests that American wild shrimp are fine, but the problem is the by-catch- it used to be up to ten pounds of unwanted sharks, sea turtles, flounder and other fish for every pound of shrimp were caught. However the diversity and density of the fish stocks have deteriorated so much that good fishermen have reduced the bycatch to about two pounds, mostly jellyfish.

February 27, 2007 12:57 PM

Man Eats only Fair Trade for a Fortnight

fairtrademan.jpgAs Leonora noted, it is Fairtrade Fortnight in the UK. While I suspect that more North Americans know about Fair Trade than what a fortnight is, two weeks of Fair Trade promotion is a wonderful idea. Ben Clownley is eating nothing but fair trade for the entire period, which I would have thought would mean a lot of chocolate and coffee (my kind of diet!) but in the UK Ben can choose from fruit, herbs, rice, quinoa, nuts and snacks and can wash it all down with wine or beer. He dreads going without weetabix and meat, and thinks that there is enough fruit around to avoid scurvy. We doubt that one can get that wide a range of fair trade food here, and we don't have fortnights, so here is a challenge: Lets have a Fair Trade Friday, where for the one day we eat fair trade. Transfair has a list of retailers here but I can get by on chocolate and coffee for a day. ::Fair Trade Man

February 27, 2007 11:55 AM

US Economics - Feb 27

Staff, Energy Bulletin. Deindustrialization and Home Foreclosures
The second Great Depression
A Gathering Perfect Storm?
Record numbers in severe poverty

February 27, 2007 03:48 AM

Pride, Peer Pressure and Marketing against a Common Evil

rationing_ride_with_hitler.jpgCraig Mackintosh writes in Celsias about rationing during World War II, illustrated with remarkable posters that resonate today. Craig suggests that rationing didn't work very well and was subject to a lot of fraud and abuse, but in the UK it was more successful and had some interesting side effects: "The most commonly rationed foods were sugar, meat, oils and other fats. In fact, herds of livestock were slaughtered so the land could be put to use feeding people rather than animals. Locally grown fruit and vegetables, and whole grain bread were the staples. WWII brought the US, and the UK in particular, the closest to vegetarianism than ever before." The citizens of Great Britain experienced improved health during the war. Despite the strict regulations, according to Marguerite Patten, who worked for the Ministry of Food in Great Britain during the war, the health of the nation was “surprisingly good,” infant mortality decreased, and the average age of death from natural causes increased. “For many of the poorer sections of the community, rationing introduced more protein and vitamins, while for others it involved a reduction in the consumption of meat, fats, eggs, and sugar.” ::Celsias

February 27, 2007 03:24 AM

Food & agriculture - Feb 27

Staff, Energy Bulletin. How global warming goes against the grain
Michael Ableman - Fields of Plenty
Land Trusts - Keeping Local Agriculture Alive
Linking Land Use Planning and the Food Environment

February 27, 2007 03:23 AM

Solutions & sustainability - Feb 27

Staff, Energy Bulletin. Challenges and advances in Solar Cooking
Cleaner consumption and the low-carbon life
Making green computing even greener
Local Currencies: Replacing Scarcity with Trust
Report of change
Lost in the bush 40 minutes from Auckland

February 27, 2007 03:15 AM

February 26, 2007

The Opel Eco Speedster Says: Diesels Can Rip and Sip at the Same Time

The Opel Eco Speedster first wowed crowds at the Paris Auto Show in 2002 and has now popped up in the Discovery Channel’s FutureCar series (see below for the video link). The sleek concept car holds a distinguished place in the growing family of high-performance diesels that are breaking records, as well as people’s prejudices about what diesels can do on the road and the track. The Eco Speedster, with its surprisingly diminutive 1.3-liter ECOTECH CDTI, tops out at 155 mph and clocked an average fuel economy of 113 mpg over a 24-hour road test. A combination of low weight (660 kg/1,445 lbs), minimal drag, mid-engine design, and a 5-speed automatic transmission let the Eco Speedster rip and sip at the same time. Opel built the car to spotlight its ability to make highly-efficient, next-generation diesel cars that are a blast to drive. GM (Opel and Vauxhall’s parent company) sadly doesn’t seem particularly interested in sharing such cars with its North American customers. (more pics after the fold)

February 26, 2007 08:52 PM

BP Helios House: A Little Better

bp-helios-house-001.jpg BP are the first to admit that the Helios House is not revolutionary, just "a little better" (they even wrote that on a billboard). But when oil companies actually improve things (instead of just talking about it), it should be noted - encouraged, even. These giants are sitting on so much cash that if they wanted to they could be really big players in greening the future. Instead of funding disinformation campaigns, they could fund research into clean technologies and be leaders. Back to the Helios House: It is an experimental gas station that tries to be more eco-friendly on the architecture side, and to help educate the public on environmental issues. More after the jump.

February 26, 2007 08:36 PM

Convenient Truths: Only 2 Days Left To Enter!

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TreeHuggers don't let TreeHuggers forget to enter Convenient Truths. You've only got two days left to upload your 1-2 minute video solution to climate change so chug back some fair trade, organic java and pedal (don't drive, but if you do read these tips) your way towards $30,000 in sustainable prizes. And if you haven't heard already, an expert guest greenie will be selecting the winning videos!

February 26, 2007 08:30 PM

Electricity from Seaweed

seaweed_biofuel.jpg Fresh seaweed, often eaten in Japanese dishes like sushi and miso soup, can be quite delicious. However, seaweed that washes up on the shore rots and begins to smell. Collection and disposal of it has long been a major burden for local governments along the coast of Japan. What if this seaweed dredged from the shore could be put to productive use to produce fuel for generating electricity? Tokyo Gas Co. teamed up with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) in 2002 to find out. The goal of this joint venture is to create the first power plant in the world that runs off of seaweed. Preliminary research is about to wrap up in March 2007, at which point the results will be used to consider how the system can be put to larger-scale commercial use. After studying the optimal conditions for fermenting kelp, sea lettuce, and other types of seaweed in a test facility in Yokohama, it has been determined that the system is feasible.

February 26, 2007 06:29 PM

The silliest possible way to save the earth

Sharon Astyk, Casaubon's Book. Perhaps it is just sour grapes that I have no inventing skills, and thus am doomed to poverty and obscurity, but Richard Branson's $25 million climate change prize reminds me of the time our refrigerator broke down.

February 26, 2007 06:17 PM

Most Huggable: Beavers in the Bronx River, Abu Dhabi Going Solar, Big Mowers Cutting Emissions

A beaver in the Bronx River? That’s right, for the first time in some odd 200 years… At the center of the oil world, Abu Dhabi announces plans to build 500 megawatts of solar power… Large, fast-moving lakes of melted ice beneath Antarctic ice sheets have scientists worried… Toro turns to green mowing with biodiesel and fuel-cell equipment at the world’s largest golf show… In Australia where droughts are bearing down on farmers, sustainable practices put one farmer ahead of the pack…

February 26, 2007 06:06 PM

Daily Canuck Does Green

dailycanuck-ct-001.jpg The Daily Canuck is a Canadian news aggregator, putting together news from various sources including bloggers. They've created a "Green News" section near the top of their frontpage and have helped us promote the Convenient Truths contest (2 days left to enter. Hurry up!) and we'd like to thank them for that! It's always good to see news sources helping us spread green information.

February 26, 2007 05:58 PM

Climate policy - Feb 26

Staff, EB. Krugman: California and colorless green ideas
Congress to evaluate carbon taxes
Five governors agree to work on climate
Global warming? Never heard of it, not my fault
Review of Monbiot's "Heat"

February 26, 2007 05:41 PM

Biofuels - Feb 26

Staff, EB. How will biofuels affect global hunger?
MIT: Will cellulosic ethanol take off?
Grain pain harms the biofuel industry
We'll run out of beer before we run out of oil
Biofuels play major role in energy future
Rising corn prices put squeeze on dairies
Alternative fuels and the selling of snake oil

February 26, 2007 05:33 PM

Energy policies - Feb 26

Staff, EB. Emirates, MIT team up for green energy
Global warming worries to boost renewables
Toronto asleep at cleantech switch
Oil-hungry Japan looks to other sources

February 26, 2007 05:27 PM

Coal: turnaround at TXU

Staff, EB. Wall Street adds climate change to bottom line
TXU accepts $45B takeover; buyers made environmental pledge
TXU's emissions U-turn shocks power industry
A battle over how to build new US coal plants

February 26, 2007 05:24 PM

The Evangelical Ecologist Hosts Carnival of the Green

carnivalgreen.gif This week is Carnival of the Green #66 and it's being hosted by the Evangelical Ecologist! Head on over to the Carnival to check out a round up of last weeks green news and events, submitted by other bloggers and green sites. To learn more about Carnival of the Green, where it will be and how to host, please click here to link to our previous post.

February 26, 2007 05:21 PM

Peak oil & depletion - Feb 26

Staff, EB. The oil depletion protocol: Heinberg interview
TOD peak oil update: forecasts and EIA numbers
Mexico oil barrel costs near double
Peak performance? (skeptic)

February 26, 2007 04:52 PM

In Texas, Good Guys Ride To The Rescue With a "Fist Full Of Dollars"

TXU%20stock%20snapshot.jpg Our graphic is a snapshot of TXU Corporation’s stock over the last three months. Of course, no one can prove that TXU’s recent black-hatted climate cowboy antics – this is the utility that famously proposed eleven (11) huge new coal-fired electrical plants for Texas, using Iron Age technology – were the primary factors behind the stock’s recent, gradual downturn (exponential moving average is the blue line). But it seems likely that the “hocky stick” upswing over the last few days has something to do with a bunch of white hats that rode into town with a greener vision of the future. New York Times has an excellent overview of goings on here . The Times certainly deserves kudos for nationalizing what had been mostly a Texas story. Now that the good guys are in town, there is hope for the citizens of other states as literally hundreds of new coal-fired plants are being shoehorned in before carbon caps become a reality. If the green deal goes down – it’s not a sure thing yet – plans are for the new TXU owners to drop eight (8) of the proposed coal plants and spend some of the saved money on running better grid connections to West-Texas wind farm country; plus there's a commitment to “return the carbon-dioxide emissions by TXU to 1990 levels by 2020 and support a $400 million energy efficiency program”. Yeee Haaaa! For background see our previous posts here, and also here.

February 26, 2007 04:45 PM

Electric Car Plants In Israel?

carmel_01.jpg (Sabra Carmel 12, 1967) Israelis are full of original ideas. Go to the doctor in Tel Aviv and you may find your GP is writing a novel, is an expert on French wine and is building a strawbale house in the desert. Israelis are ideas people. Dreamers. Technology enablers. Founders of ICQ (now owned by AOL) were from Israel, the first VoIP phone call was made with Israeli technology; IBM, Intel and General Electric have major research and development centers here - not by chance or because labor is cheap - but because Israelis love to build things from the ground up. Last week, we read in the news that the Israeli Government has finally rubberstamped the plans to build a solar power facility in Israel – even though technology originating in Israel has already been set up in power plants around the world. (Abu Dhabi is also in the news) But what took Israel so long?

February 26, 2007 04:40 PM

Ethical Weddings Fairtrade Fortnight Challenge

ethical-weddings-fairtrade.jpg The start of Fairtrade Fortnight in the UK today sees the start of a challenge for Alex Prince, a writer for online magazine Ethical Weddings. She has set herself the task of finding a different Fairtrade wedding item for every day of the Fairtrade Fortnight. Alex says, "I'm a strong believer in the principles of fair trade and I want to show people how they can make this a part of their special day...and in doing so, make it even more special!" Alex wrote about her own ethical wedding in The Guardian last year. Katie Fewings, Co-founder of Ethical Weddings, has said, "I think Alex's idea is an excellent one. It's what Ethical Weddings is all about - taking positive action and giving everyone something to celebrate: the couple and their friends and family, and the workers who are receiving a fair wage for their products, from wine to chocolate, and fabrics to jewellery." You can follow Alex's quest through Fairtrade Fortnight on the Ethical Weddings Blog where she will report her daily findings. If you have any top tips to share please email her: alex [at] ethical weddings [dot] com. ::Ethical Weddings

February 26, 2007 04:00 PM

Relocalisation - acting locally on global issues

Russ Grayson, Online Opinion. Crises and large scale challenges create fear in many but inspire others to act. What gives relocalization greater value than many other responses is its broader benefit to society, especially to local farmers, producers, community enterprise and businesses.

February 26, 2007 03:44 PM

TreeHugger Picks: Print Mags We're Reading

th-picks-print-magazines.jpg Awhile back, we posted on what books the TH team was reading (hint: there's another similar post coming soon!) and have picked a few "TreeHugger Bibles" that are required reading for all TreeHuggers at some point, but we like to keep our eyes on the print magazine scene, too. They help us track green trends in the lifestyle, design & science fields, and offer a good litmus test for mainstream media's take on green; every now and then, we get to help out, like with the latest issue of domino magazine. Here are some of our favorite mags that get regular coverage here on TreeHugger. 1) Dwell magazine offers a different, usually greener, take on architecture. 2) House & Garden concentrates on "design for the well-lived life," and we've enjoyed seeing that design get a little greener lately (for a blog full of green design for the well-lived life, check out TreeHugger's blog at their website). 3) Mags like I.D., Wallpaper* and Surface focus more on design and less on lifestyle, and are great places for cool-hunting and the combination of good design & green design. 4) The UK-based Sublime offers a unique take as "the world's first international ethical lifestyle magazine." 5) Sierra magazine and E Magazine offer a green look at the world from all angles, from the activism of the Sierra Club to green trends, news and views galore from E.

February 26, 2007 03:38 PM

Wild Journeys: Sierra, March/April 2007

sierramarchapril.JPG While those of us in the Midwest wouldn't necessarily think so, Spring is approaching! That means different things for different people, but for most treehuggers, getting outside is high on the list of priorities. The newest issue of Sierra, the official magazine of the Sierra Club, anticipates our yearning for the outdoors with a selection of feature articles devoted to landscapes both breathtaking and endangered. Writer Edward Readicker-Henderson details his trip to Greenland, "the locus of [his] childhood dreams," and reports on the changes imposed on this fabled land by global climate change. Daniel Duane's journey to Maui doesn't contain any ice, but does look at another environmental challenge: the damage wrought to the native ecosystem by feral pigs and goats, as well as other invasive species. Backpackers have a range of wild journeys from which to choose as Sierra Club experts discuss some of their favorite destinations. Finally, poet Gary Snyder reminisces on five decades of experience with fire control in the Northwest US.

February 26, 2007 03:08 PM

The 2007 Globie Awards: May I Have the Envelope Please...

2007-globie-awards-winners.jpg The votes for over 20,000 people have been tallied, and the winners of Environmental Defense's first annual Global Warming Globie Awards (we first mentioned them here) have been announced. Without further ado, the awards (and congratulations) go to: Seattle mayor Greg Nickels, who narrowly beat California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (by a margin of about 30 votes out of 20,000 cast) in the "Best Performance by a State or Local Official" category; United States Climate Action Partnership in the "Best Performance in the Corporate World" category; and An Inconvenient Truth in a landslide in the "Best Film, Documentary, or Website Focusing on Global Warming" category (make room on your mantle, Al Gore!). Exxon-Mobile was the second biggest vote-getter of this year's awards, taking the win, so to speak, in the "Worst Performance by a Corporation or Corporate Official" category, with Senator James Inhofe (R. - Okla.) receiving the most votes in the "Most Egregious Contribution to Public Ignorance and Denial" category. In a newly created "Honorable Mention" category, based on the numerous emails received by ED from voters and supporters, the work of California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and former state Assemblywoman Fran Pavley was honored for jointly authoring and helping to pass AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act. Congratulations to all the winners, for helping further vault global warming into the global spotlight and increasing public awareness on the topic. ::2007 Global Warming Globie Awards via ::Gristmill

February 26, 2007 02:51 PM

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