Green Blog

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  1. Al Jazeera English has an interesting article about El Salvador and how the Central American country is dealing with the already present and devastating effects of climate change. "Climate change for us is not a hypothesis,” Minister Chavez said. "It is a very concrete reality that strikes us. The disasters we've been having are very clearly linked to climate change." Read it: Climate change 'number one issue'
  2. Penn & Teller call Bullshit on organics

    Read the Green Blog article: Penn & Teller claims organic food is “bullshit”, fails to mention that their expert is paid by Monsanto But this is not the first time Penn and Teller's "Bullshit!" show receives criticism, and especially not when they cover environmental topics. In season one, aired 2003, Penn and Teller claims that the global warming crisis was created by "hysterical hippies and environmentalists". Their biased and misinformed global warming episode has since then been criticized and debunked. Logical Science has listed and debunked the claims Penn and Teller made in the episode: View the full article
  3. Photo credit: christian.senger The Times Online are reporting that France have been forced to close down a third of its nuclear power stations this summer due to heatwaves: ?France is being forced to import electricity from Britain to cope with a summer heatwave that has helped to put a third of its nuclear power stations out of action. With temperatures across much of France surging above 30C this week, EDF?s reactors are generating the lowest level of electricity in six years, forcing the state-owned utility to turn to Britain for additional capacity. Fourteen of France?s 19 nuclear power stations are located inland and use river water rather than seawater for cooling. When water temperatures rise, EDF is forced to shut down the reactors to prevent their casings from exceeding 50C.? It seems thirsty nukes can’t take the heat and that climate change puts nuclear energy into hot water. A question we must all ask our self: as the planet is warming up, is nuclear really a smart move? View the full article
  4. Photo credit: Hipnos I often hear people saying that overpopulation is the main problem to our environmental and ecological problems. Some people even claim that it?s responsible for global warming. I also agreed with this idea before. But after reading more about the subject over the years I have changed my mind. The rich countries in the ?North?, i.e. the West, have a ?rapidly decreasing? population which is ?expected to decline over the next forty years.? Developing countries such as India, China and most of Africa on the other hand is where we will see future population numbers increasing. And yes. It seems so easy to blame countries with an overwhelming rising population for being responsible for wrecking our planet, climate and environment. Because surely more people must mean more pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Right? Not really. The West is responsible for about 80% of the worlds CO2 increase. An average person living in Great Britain will in only 11 days emit as much CO2 as an average person in Bangladesh will during a whole year. And just a single power plant in West Yorkshire in Great Britain will produce more CO2 every year than all the 139 million people combined living in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique. As Fred Pearce from the Yale Environment 360 blog notes, only a small portion of the world?s people are using most of the planets resources as well as producing the most of the greenhouse gases. And those are living in the West: View the full article
  5. This past week the non-profit film HOME was released in every format, including in movie theaters, on television, DVD/Blu-ray Disc and the internet, on the same day in over 50 countries in an effort to spread its message to the widest audience possible. "We are living in exceptional times. Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, avert the depletion of natural resources and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth's climate", Yann Arthus-Bertrand, director and photographer of the film, said. "The stakes are high for us and our children. Everyone should take part in the effort, and HOME has been conceived to take a message of mobilization out to every human being." HOME is directed by the internationally renowned French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, produced the famous director Luc Besson and narrated by five-time Academy Award nominee Glenn Close (Dangerous Liaisons). The film is shot in high definition in 54 countries and 120 locations over 217 days and will use a "first-time ever all-aerial filming style" highlighting "the Earth's wonders as well as its wounds and provides a necessary perspective to approach the changing environment". Home will be available on DVD for $19.98. But you can watch it for free in high definition over at YouTube. It's an amazingly beautiful and yet scary documentary about our home. It sort of reminds me about the Swedish documentary "The Planet" but with fewer facts. Watch it! Also watch: The Age of Stupid View the full article
  6. I used to be one of those people who would weed and weed and weed. I liked there to be so much space between plants that you could easily see how hard I had worked on that weeding! I liked the look of the piles and piles of mulch that I had spent hours spreading. I edged every time we mowed the lawn (with a reel mower, of course). Totally anal, you know? But I have grown a lot as a gardener and now I can even say that my laziness is totally good for the planet and its inhabitants. Right now if you walked behind my house, you might notice that the persons who tend this yard aren’t anal … at all. When I sit and have a glass of wine with friends in the evening, I have to resist getting up and chopping things down. Though, as time goes by, my resistance takes a whole lot less effort. I stare at the dead and dying cornflowers and think how I could neaten those up at the very least. But then the next day, as my partner exits the house to pick the rabbit her fresh organic daily salad, I hear my partner yelp with glee, and she runs in to tell me that at least ten goldfinches rose up out of the cornflowers when she opened the door. You see, those beautiful goldfinches are seed eaters and all those dead heads are like a gourmet buffet to their little beaks. Who could possibly take those down? The goldfinches would then just move on to some other lucky person’s yard! The same is true of the asparagus that are now going to seed, standing tall like some bizarre fern forest near our lily beds. I love watching the various finches and sparrows try to teeter on the “branches” and eat the little seed pods that dangle below. And we have stopped eating the very tiniest of the strawberries that are now coming in. For this fact, the wren and the rabbits are grateful — I’m sure of it. We also let our grass grow a little longer than most of the neighbors. Not too long; I’m not talking code violation here. But long enough, that a bit of drought doesn’t leave us brown and crunchy in one day like it does everyone else. Long enough, that the dandelions can grow for our rabbit, who thinks of them as seasonal candy. Long enough, that the thyme we planted throughout the lawn can spread and release its scent as you walk barefoot through it. Long enough, that it’s interesting to the ground foraging, bug eating flickers that have the most intensely yellow under-wings you have ever seen. Now that I don’t try to make our yard look like something out of a magazine, it looks even more like something out of a magazine than ever. It is lusty, as a garden should be, and it’s a little wild, as the animals and birds crave it to be. I am proud of this little piece of wildness that we have cultivated in this small city, and as we plant another tree this year and start putting in a small pond, I am already dreaming of all the new friends we will make. Christine C. Reed lives on a Great Lake in a small city. She and her partner have been car free for just over seven years and don’t see an end to this one year experiment. She spends most of her time dreaming up even bigger garden plans and writing from a dormered window in their brick cape cod. She is also the author of www.blisschick.net View the full article
  7. The Age of Stupid

    Yesterday the new climate change movie "The Age of Stupid" had premiere in the UK. The movie stars Pete Postlethwaite as an archivist in the devastated world of the future, asking the question: “Why didn’t we stop climate change when we still had the chance?” He looks back on footage of real people around the world in the years leading up to 2015 before runaway climate change took place. View the full article
  8. Photo credit: blmurch Kristin Halvorsen, Finance Minister in Norway, has together with her Socialist Left Party proposed a plan that would forbid the sale of new cars that run solely on gasoline after 2015 in the country. View the full article
  9. Travel Green: Manual 1

    Photo credit: Joshua Davis (jdavis.info) Just as even the longest journey starts with one step, the salvation of the planet can start with one person: you. Each person that wants to be an eco- conscious traveller has to respect nature and seek for ways to reduce impact on it. That is achieved by making responsible choices and knowing well that just a few easy steps can make a big difference. Fly nonstop: Planes burn the most fuel on takeoff and landing. That means that a long haul flight that takes you straight to your destination emits less CO2 than short haul flights. For the same destination, a long haul flight may burn up to two-thirds less CO2 than short haul flights. View the full article
  10. If you are looking for a way to save trees by reading books on an e-reader but you don't like the Sony Reader or can’t use the Amazon Kindle you might want to check out the Cool-er e-reader. View the full article
  11. Photo credit: Marshall Astor - Food Pornographer Kathy Freston, a "self-help author and personal growth and spirituality counselor", has posted an interesting article over at the Huffington Post about the consequences of eating meat. Or in this case if we didn't: View the full article
  12. The stupidity coming from the religious right in USA never ceases to amaze me. This time it’s Congressman John Shimkus’s (R-Ill) who said that God will decide when the earth will end during introductory remarks at a House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment hearing last week: View the full article
  13. European car makers Pininfarina and Bolloré have created BlueCar, a hybrid vehicle powered by lithium-polymer batteries. According to the car makers the first units of this electric car will be delivered in about a year. Leases for the BlueCar will be available in six European countries at a cost of €330 per month. View the full article
  14. Black is not (always) Green

    It's time to clear this up folks. Hopefully you already know that surfing with a black background (on your computer screen) will not always save energy. If not, let me explain why black backgrounds aren't that green. Black backgrounds can save some energy if you use a CRT screen (CRT screens are those huge and big screens). If you, like the majority, uses an LCD screen (the flat ones) a white background instead of a black will save energy. LCD monitors are built with a light behind the screen that is always on. So when you show a white page you just let the light shine through the screen. If you show a black page on the other hand the LCD light is completely blocked and it requires more energy to shine through. According to Google "displaying black may actually increase energy usage". Blackle and SaveAndSearch are two of a few sites that is based on the idea that surfing with a black background on websites will save energy and therefore be good for the environment. But unfortunately surfing black isn't really that green. If you are interested in saving energy and helping the environment there are better and more efficient ways than using black or white backgrounds when you surf or search the web.
  15. Photo credit: ckaroli As adults we know what is good for us.  And, of course, our job as parents is to look after our kids; teach them manners and respect, make sure they get enough exercise, eat a healthy diet.  But do we take as much notice of which personal care products they are using? View the full article
  16. Lord Nicholas Stern, British economist and academic who is most known for the Stern Review said, during an improvised speech at a Cape Town hotel in South Africa, that if we don̢۪t act quickly and determinedly to address climate change the world will face billions of climate refugees and extended world wars in a near future: View the full article
  17. Parking spaces vs Green spaces

    Photo credit: thienzieyung During the past few months, and under high pressure put by the European Union, Greece has started to adopt a greener policy. Among other measures and actions, eco-friendly plastic bags were introduced into the market, bio-eco products were widely advertised and each municipality planted more flowers in their area, also encouraging citizens to ‘green’ their homes. View the full article
  18. Green Blog is now on Twitter!

    You can now find us mini-blogging, posting updates, commentaries and links on Twitter. If you got a Twitter account just go to http://twitter.com/envirospace and follow us! We are interested in everything related to the environment and politics. So if you twitter about those topics please post a comment here with a link to your Twitter profile so we can "follow" you.
  19. Photo credit: Amir Farshad Ebrahimi Australians (and indeed most people in the Western Murdochracies) live in an Orwellian world in which war is peace, slavery is freedom, ignorance is strength and 2 plus 2 does not equal 4. View the full article
  20. Here is the full video of Al Gore's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about repowering America and the need for USA to resume global leadership on the climate crisis. You can read and watch his opening statement here. Watch part one of the testimony below:
  21. Photo credit: longhorndave According to new research by the University of Zurich's World Glacier Monitoring Service the global warming trend continues and as a result the glaciers around the world are melting for the 18th year in a row. View the full article
  22. The Times Online is reporting that a polar bear was found stranded on a block of ice travelling down the Thames in London yesterday. Although the polar bear only was a giant sculpture designed to help promote a new natural history channel in the UK it highlighted the effects of man-made climate change, in this case melting ice caps. View the full article
  23. Photo credit: Ateo Fiel After getting bailed out by the American public the “big three” in USA still show that they can’t be trusted. For years these failed auto companies have resisted and done everything in their powers to stop stronger compulsory MPG and CO2 emission standards, denied climate change and their promises that they could cut their greenhouse gases voluntarily have all failed. If you thought the bailout would help put pressure on the big three to start shifting their production to more environmental friendly vehicles, that the consumers actually wants, you thought wrong. These failed auto makers have no intent in stopping their resistant for sane technology change after getting bailed out: View the full article
  24. It’s called a clothes line. What you do is you connect a piece of string between two points so that it is taught and then you put wet clothing on it. This can be done inside or outside and it saves you a bunch of money as well as lowering your carbon footprint since you don’t need the materials for a dryer or the energy that it takes to run the machine. There are also a bunch of other advantages to your clothing by line (for example your clothing won’t shrink). I don’t know the official figures about Spanish clothes line use but anecdotal evidence suggests that a majority of Spaniards use them, my host mother is no exception. It’s a bit cold outside so it takes a while for everything to dry and there is only so much space on the line so you the load size is kind of small but that’s fine with me since it lowers my carbon footprint. It’s funny how higher energy prices are leading us back to simpler times and back to devices we used to use for hundreds of years and the whole thing about the simplest solution is often the best one. View the full article
  25. Ian Angus, founder and coordinating committee member of the Ecosocialist International Network and editor of the web journal Climate and Capitalism, is interviewed here by the Greek newspaper Kokkino (Red), which published a slightly abridged version: View the full article