Green Blog

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  1. Research by the University of Gothenburg shows that more than 400 marine zones around the world has such “a great lack of oxygen in soft seabeds that fauna and fish have been harmed.” The research made by the Swedish University also shows that the dead soft seabeds have doubled every decade since the 60’s.

    Back in 1995 Rutger Rosenberg, from the Department of Marine Ecology, University of Gothenburg, and Robert Diaz, from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in the USA, carried out research and studies on the world’s soft seabeds. Their research then showed 44 zones “that were so afflicted by oxygen deficiency that soft-seabed fauna and fish had been harmed.”

    Now, nearly 13 years after that research the numbers of dead zones have risen to more than 400. These latest findings, which have been presented in the latest issue of the magazine Science, draw the conclusion that this is “the most serious threat to the health of the sea” and that it is and will affect important fishing areas.

    “There are no other variables of such great ecological significance for coastal marine ecosystems, and which have changed so drastically in such a short time, as the reduced amount of oxygen in the sea. In the periods when the oxygen deficiency has its largest spread in Scandinavia, there can be a deficit of over three million tonnes of soft-seabed fauna, compared to the situation if the soft seabeds had been well oxygenated”, says Rutger Rosenberg.

    The dead zones together are “at least” 245,000 square kilometres big, or equal to the size of Great Britain. The worst places hit are the Baltic Sea in northern Europe, the Gulf of Mexico and the East China Sea.

    Image credit: txd. Image licensed under a Creative-Commons Attribution license.

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  2. Ask me where I am from, and more than likely, I will say Lake Erie. Or the Great Lakes. I love Pennsylvania, for sure, but I feel I have more in common with someone from Toronto or Chicago than someone from Philadelphia (though I love that city and lived there many years of my youth).

    I also love central Pennsylvania, being a Penn State girl.  But the hills and valleys feel somehow wrong to me. My eyes crave the flat land, as it reaches toward a low and long horizon.

    And I truly feel starved for the horizon that is a Great Lake. For those of you who have never seen a Great Lake, it is no simple lake. It would look like the ocean to you. No land in sight. Rolling waves.

    Lake Erie is one of the most treacherous places you can sail because of how shallow and large it is.  Quick changes in the weather can be life-threatening.

    I also love knowing that this chair I am sitting in, this house sitting behind me, all of it used to be under water. The lake came up to here so many thousands of years ago.  It’s shore was very close to my front street. Evidence of this lies in my soil.  Pieces of shell, fossils, certain rocks — it all tells a deep and long story.

    Every place is this unique. You just have to dig a bit.

    And digging can lead to roots which can give you a sense of grounding that can be easily lost in this world that can seem precariously virtual, too fast, and too transient.

    Getting to know your bioregion can lead to a feeling of ownership and then to good stewardship.  A worthy quest, indeed.

    So here’s a list of questions and suggestions and actions to get you going on this quest:

    1.  Point north from where you are reading this.

    2.  From which directions do storms come in each season?

    3.  Name 3 native, edible plants and when they are able to be harvested.

    4.  What native people originally lived in your area?

    5.  Name 5 resident and 5 migratory birds.

    6.  Can you recognize the calls of three resident birds?

    7.  What are the earliest and latest times for the sunrise and the sunset over the course of the year?

    8.  In which watershed do you reside?  What about your sub-watershed?

    9.  How many days until the next full moon?  (Bonus points if you know what one of the names for this full moon is.)

    10.  Name five trees in your neighborhood.  Which of them are native?

    11.  What primary geological events or processes shaped the land upon which you live?

    12.  Were the stars out last night?

    13.  What are the names of your human neighbors?

    14.  What immigrant populations are currently predominant in your area?

    15.  What languages other than English might you hear at the local grocery store?

    16.  When are strawberries and peaches available to you locally?

    17.  When was the last time you bought a locally produced product other than food?

    18.  Where does your electricity come from and how is it generated?

    19.  When did you last pick a fresh pea or tomato from your own yard or a neighbor’s yard?

    20.  How far do you commute to work? If over ten miles, why don’t you live closer to your job?

    21.  How old is your neighborhood?

    22.  When did you last use a form of public transportation?

    23.  If you could only “vacation” within a thirty mile radius, what would you do with your time off?

    24.  How many times have you moved in the last five years?  The last ten?

    25.  When did you last attend a locally produced art/music/theatre/dance event?

    26.  Name one local published author.  (Trust me, there are more.)

    Let me know if you find out anything startling, interesting, mind-boggling.

    And do something with this information:  absorb it and live it and share it.

    View the full article

  3. Edison is a new and free energy-saving PC software from the developers at Verdiem. The software makes it a lot easier for you to control your computers power saving features helping you save electricity and money.

    Edison doesn’t shut down your computer completely; it just puts it in a “suspend mode” which uses much less energy than if the computer would be running normally. You can decide if you want to schedule Edison to shut down the computer screen and hard drive before going into the suspend mode. The software also displays how much electricity, CO2 emissions, and money you have saved.

    It depends from computer to computer how much energy and money you will save with a tool like this. Verdiem says the average savings is 410 kilowatt hours a year which is equal to $36.50 in savings.

    “Recent studies predict PC ownership will quadruple to 4 billion and double emissions by 2020 , so implementing PC energy management solutions at home and in the workplace is a vital component of climate protection,” said Lorie Wigle, President of the Climate Savers Computing Initiative. “Tools like Edison can help consumers control and monitor their PC’s energy intake and make a real difference in the way they manage the power consumption of the technology they use.”

    Edison requires Windows XP or Windows Vista and can be downloaded for free here.

    Another similar program to check out is LocalCooling which has been around for much longer and has the similar features (it can also shut down your computer).

    View the full article

  4. The image shows the the sun shining through the clouds on the Sahara desert in Morocco. Photo by: GETA.80.

    The French President Nicolas Sarkozy earlier this summer launched, with the support of EU, a new Mediterranean union with the aim to “tackle issues such as regional unrest, immigration to pollution.”

    The new international body will include 16 non-EU states from around the Mediterranean and all 27 EU member states. The union will focus on dealing with energy, security, counter-terrorism, immigration and trade. The union will include 756 million people from Western Europe to the Jordanian desert.

    Some say that the Union was launched mainly because Nicolas Sarkozy wanted to “exchange” nuclear power expertise with North African gas reserves. Nicolas Sarkozy on the other hand says the union is supposed “to ensure the region’s people could love each other instead of making war.”

    But some people are more positive and hope the union is the first steps towards large scale solar plants in northern Africa with focus of generating green and renewable electricity to Europe.

    Scientists from the EU are planning for a new supergrid between the different EU member states. This new supergrid will be built using new DC (HVDC) lines which are perfect for transmissions of energy over long distances. The supergrid could allow Denmark and the UK to export wind energy and Iceland to export geothermal energy at times when production exceeds demand to other EU member states.

    But the supergrids main purpose would be to transmit renewable solar energy from the Saharan desert to Europe. The scientists want to build a series of huge solar farms in the Saharan desert and connect them to the supergrid.

    Arnulf Jaeger-Walden of the European commission’s Institute for Energy says “it would require the capture of just 0.3% of the light falling on the Sahara and Middle East deserts to meet all of Europe’s energy needs.”

    According to the scientists the sunlight in Sahara could “generate up to three times the electricity compared with similar panels in northern Europe” because the sunlight in this area is so intense.

    The supergrid project has been met optimistically by both politicians, like Nicholas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown, and environment organisations, such as Greenpeace.

    “Assuming it's cost-effective, a largescale renewable energy grid is just the kind of innovation we need if we're going to beat climate change,” said Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK’s chief scientist.

    Arnulf Jaeger-Walden believes that the solar energy from the Saharan desert would be cheap and “below what the average consumer is paying:”

    “The biggest PV system at the moment is installed in Leipzig and the price of the installation is €3.25 per watt. If we could realise that in the Mediterranean, for example in southern Italy, this would correspond to electricity prices in the range of 15 cents per kWh, something below what the average consumer is paying.”

    The project would take many years to complete and huge investments at a total cost of around €450 billion would be needed. But the scientists expect that by 2050 solar energy from the Saharan desert could produce 100 GW. That is more than all the energy sources in the UK combined could ever generate.

    The project would also help Europe to meet its own climate change commitments to generate 20% of all the energy from renewable energy sources, decrease energy consumption by 20% and reducing CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020.

    View the full article

  5. The Republican presidential contender John McCain yesterday tried to make fun of Barack Obama at a biker rally with his hard-core voters saying Obama’s new energy plan was all about inflating your tires. At the biker rally John McCain said that “my opponent doesn’t want to drill. He doesn’t want nuclear power. He wants you to inflate your tires.” Later in an interview he said that “we are not going to achieve energy independence by inflating our tires.”

    Besides the fact that John McCain is not telling the truth about what Obama said he is also completely wrong about the effectiveness of proper tire inflation.

    According to the gas-guzzlers at Auto Alliance of BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Mazda, Mercedez Benz, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Toyota, and Volkswagen:

    • The Department of Energy estimates that 1.2 billion gallons of fuel were wasted in 2005 as a result of driving on under-inflated tires.
    • Fuel efficiency is reduced by 1% for every 3 PSI that tires are under-inflated.
    • Proper tire inflation can save the equivalent of about 1 tank of gas per year.
    • Proper tire inflation also reduces CO2 emissions.
    • Experts estimate that 25% of automobiles are running on tires with lower than recommended pressure, because people don’t know how to check their tires or don’t realize that tires naturally lose air over time.

    Later at a political rally in Berea Barack Obama responded to John McCain’s attacks:

    “They’re lying about what my energy plan is. They’re making fun of a step that every expert says would reduce our oil consumption by 3 to 4 percent. It’s like these guys take pride in being ignorant.”

    And during a town-hall meeting in Indiana today Barack Obama responded even harder:

    “Senator McCain’s energy plan reads like an early Christmas list for oil and gas lobbyists. And it’s no wonder – because many of his top advisors are former oil and gas lobbyists.”

    You can read all about Barack Obama’s “Energy Plan for America” here.

    View the full article

  6. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, one of the largest labor unions in USA, has announced that they no longer support President Bush’s platform for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

    During a summit in California on “good jobs and clean air” Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa announced that their labor union is leaving the ANWR coalition.

    “We are not going to drill our way out of the energy problems we are facing—not here and not in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We must find a long-term approach that breaks our dependence on foreign oil by investing in the development of alternate energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal power.”

    Jim Hoffa also said that if the USA invests in green renewable energy it would “reap the benefits of curbing its dependence on oil through a revitalized economy with the creation of millions of new jobs in a rapidly growing industry”.

    “Our economy is in shambles. Gas is climbing to $5 a gallon. The dollar has collapsed. Inflation is on the rise. Americans are seeing their paychecks shrink. Their family health care is being slashed. Finding a long-term solution has a tremendous upside. It will be environmentally friendly and will serve as a much-needed boost to our sagging economy.”

    View the full article

  7. Somebody pointed out something that at first seemed very obvious to me today, and it’s something that most environmentalists miss — something very important to the whole “greenâ€Â movement.

    She pointed out that people aren̢۪t going to change if they don̢۪t have good jobs, access to health care, and enough to eat.

    But then I thought of all the wealthy people in the world who aren’t about to change either and her point — though a great one — started to lose its ability to hold water.

    I wonder: what is the difference between people willing to sacrifice a little to do their part in terms of climate change and those who refuse to believe there is even a problem, much less one worth doing anything about?

    That leads me to wonder about the people I know who claim to be environmentalists and still drive a car to work…two miles away…by themselves.

    The disconnect is utterly breathtaking: where does it come from?

    And then I end up right back where I always do:  people don’t care about the environment because they don’t care about themselves.

    I know, it sounds all new-age therapy.

    But the way we treat the people around us, the way we treat our homes, the way we treat our own bodies — for a long time now, it’s been a basic psychological truism that these things all reflect how we feel about ourselves.

    So, now, we are just taking that idea one step further.  How we treat the planet, as individuals and as part of the larger group, is also a mirror for how we feel about ourselves.

    For example, that environmentalist who drives his car two miles to work is headed to a job that deadens his spirit.  He hates his job.  He doesn’t want to go.  But he needs the money.  And he needs the money because he lives beyond his means because he is unhappy; he is living a lie; he is barely living at all.  All he really wants to do is live somewhere quiet and build things with his hands.

    So he drives to work because he can barely get up in the morning much less get on a bike and power himself to his job.

    The other environmentalist drives all over the county in pursuit of business opportunities.  His father has always taught him that he’s stupid and his main pursuit in life now is to prove otherwise.

    He really just wants to sit and write.  But he can’t do that and make a lot of money.

    Oh, the things we do for money, thinking it will make up for all we lack.

    When if we would just face our dreams and move toward them, we would be free.

    In so many ways.

    The over-consumption would stop.  The anger would stop.  We could slow down and get rid of stuff and get rid of cars and walk places and know our neighborhoods and our unique geography and care for them because we know them.

    Imagine, please, for a moment, imagine if everyone were living this kind of life.  It wouldn’t matter if we thought corporations were evil, because they would no longer have customers to buy their environmentally degrading crap.

    We would be healthier mentally and physically.  We wouldn’t need the number of anti-depressants that we consume (which end up in our drinking water).  We wouldn’t need so much healthcare in general.

    This is the stuff of a real revolution — as opposed to the fake kind that is all dramatic and makes its participants feel as if they are doing something when they are not.

    Stop driving cars to hold placards and march and yell.  Go home and do what you love.

    Stop flying to a conference halfway around the world to sit around and feel self-righteous with other people “in the know.â€ÂÂ  Go home and get to know your neighbor.

    Stop working at jobs that contribute to the ill health of this planet and stop hiding behind the excuse of needing the health insurance.  Go home and take a long walk every day and see how you stop needing doctors.

    Stop eating dirty food because it’s cheap.  Go home and plant a pack of seeds that cost a dollar.

    Stop yelling and acting angry and start living the things that come out of your mouth.

    Stop expecting other people to take care of it, to find a solution, to create a new and better “alternative,â€Â take responsibility for your own culpability and change yourself.

    That̢۪s all you can do.

    View the full article

  8. How will our coastal cities look like when the ice melts and causes rising sea levels? How can we take care and give room for the millions of climate change refugees in the future? Well, the Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut might have the answer.

    Vincent Callebaut has designed a “floating ecopolis” called Lilypad. Each of these floating cities has room for 50000 people. The city will be able to generate its own energy with the help from several wind turbines, wave power and solar panels. Lilypad will also be able to collect and clean rainwater for daily use around the city.

    “Whereas the Netherlands and the United Arabic Emirates « fatten » their beach with billion of euros to build their short-living polders and their protective dams for a decade, the project «Lilypad» deals with a tenable solution to the water rising! Actually, facing the worldwide ecological crisis, this floating Ecopolis has the double objective not only to widen sustainabely in offshore the territories of the most developed countries such as the Monaco principality but above all to grant the housing of future climatic refugees of he next submerged ultra-marine territories such as the Polynesian atolls. New biotechnological prototype of ecologic resilience dedicated to the nomadism and the urban ecology in the sea, Lilypad travels on the water line of the oceans, from the equator to the poles following the marine streams warm ascending of the Gulf Stream or cold descending of the Labrador.”

    “It is a true amphibian half aquatic and half terrestrial city, able to accommodate 50,000 inhabitants and inviting the biodiversity to develop its fauna and flora around a central lagoon of soft water collecting and purifying the rain waters. This artificial lagoon is entirely immersed ballasting thus the city. It enables to live in the heart of the subaquatic depths. The multifunctional programming is based on three marinas and three mountains dedicated respectively to the work, the shops and the entertainments. The whole set is covered by a stratum of planted housing in suspended gardens and crossed by a network of streets and alleyways with organic outline. The goal is to create a harmonious coexistence of the couple Human / Nature and to explore new modes of living the sea by building with fluidity collective spaces in proximity, overwhelming spaces of social inclusion suitable to the meeting of all the inhabitants – denizen or foreign-born, recent or old, young or aged people.”

    View the full article

  9. A group of Russian scientists had to abandon their polar station near Svalbard when the ice their station was standing on started to melt away, three months too early.

    The polar station was placed on a huge flake of ice last year and the scientists expected to be able to stay on the station for one year. But now, after only nine months, the once so huge flak of ice had melted from 15 to 0,12 square kilometres forcing the scientists to abandon their polar station.

    It’s clearly not easy being a polar scientist these days!

    Source: DN/TT-NTB

    View the full article

  10. According to a secret World Bank report obtained by the Guardian biofuels have increased global food prices by up to 75%. The report dismisses the idea that droughts in Australia and rising demand from India and China has caused the rising food costs. The report instead claims that “the EU and US drive for biofuels has had by far the biggest impact on food supply and prices”.

    “Political leaders seem intent on suppressing and ignoring the strong evidence that biofuels are a major factor in recent food price rises,” said Robert Bailey, policy adviser at Oxfam. “It is imperative that we have the full picture. While politicians concentrate on keeping industry lobbies happy, people in poor countries cannot afford enough to eat.”

    Rising food prices have pushed 100m people worldwide below the poverty line, estimates the World Bank, and have sparked riots from Bangladesh to Egypt. Government ministers here have described higher food and fuel prices as “the first real economic crisis of globalisation”.

    The report “would put the World Bank in a political hot-spot with the White House.” The US government claims that biofuels only contribute to about 3% in increased food prices. Senior development sources have said that the report “has not been published to avoid embarrassing President George Bush.”

    But it’s not just USA who should feel embarrassed by the findings in the report. The European Union is also a big player in the biofuel world.

    Recently the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) Scientific Committee called for the suspension of EU’s target to increase the share of biofuels used in transportation to 10% by 2020. The committee has called for a new, “comprehensive scientific study on the environmental risks and benefits of biofuels” before any targets should be set.

    And it wasn’t long ago Jean Ziegler, UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food, called for the suspension of biofuels production saying biofuels are a “crime against humanity.” And before that, Finance Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said that “it is “outrageous” that developed countries are turning food crops into biofuels while billions of people in the developing countries are living on the edge and trying to cope with escalating food prices”.

    And even more pressure is expected to come from the British governments own report on the impact of biofuels, the Gallagher Report.

    “The Guardian has previously reported that the British study will state that plant fuels have
    played a “significant” part in pushing up food prices
    to record levels. Although it was expected last week, the report has still not been released.”

    Have our car-fetish really taken us this far? Do we actually approve and like the idea to transform food into fuel to keep our gas-guzzling cars running, no matter what the costs are?

    View the full article

  11. Refugee children waiting with their family for a food distribution. Photo by Nicolas Rost.

    Two senior foreign policy officials from the European Union says in a new report that the EU should “brace itself” for a new and much larger wave of migration, caused by the effects of climate change. According to their report climate change “threatens to severely destabilise the planet” and will make a fifth of the worlds population homeless.

    Javier Solana and Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU’s chief foreign policy coordinator and the European commissioner for external relations, says that within a decade “there will be millions of environmental migrants, with climate change as one of the major drivers of this phenomenon,” and that “Europe must expect substantially increased migratory pressure.”

    The report says that the devastating effects of climate change will be “felt far away from Europe,” but that the problems will eventually come knocking on its door. People, especially the poor, will suffer in places like south Asia, the Middle East, central Asia, Africa and Latin America.

    “This could be in the form of mass migration, destabilisation of parts of the world vital to European security, radicalisation of politics and populations, north-south conflict because of the perceived injustice of the causes and effects of global warming, famines caused by arable land loss, wars over water, energy, and other natural resources.”

    Javier Solana and Benita Ferrero-Waldner also say that the new world order caused by climate change will undermine the democratic and civil UN system.

    “The multilateral system is at risk if the international community fails to address the threats. Climate change impacts will fuel the politics of resentment between those most responsible for climate change and those most affected by it … and drive political tension nationally and internationally.”

    It will be interesting to see if EU will continue on the path to a fortress society or if it will open up its borders to environment refugees. If our leaders doesn’t decide to do anything adequate to stop climate change I personally find that to be, unfortunately, very unlikely.

    No matter how much we in the EU need “fresh blood” to keep our welfare systems going, we will probably in a near future have turned the once democratic institution of EU into an ecofascist fortress.

    View the full article

  12. Image shows Spirit of Dubai - The Palm, on the UK leg of her 2006 tour. Note the scale of the airship from the two technicians standing below her. Photo by: Antony McCallum

    I have written in the past about airships as a green option to today’s dirty aviation. Since the disaster with Hindenburg in May 1937 we haven’t heard much from them. But now, when the fuel prices are rising, more and more people are looking towards their direction again.

    This week the US navy announced that they were going to acquire a Skyship 600 (see picture above), which is almost as large as a Boeing 747. The manned airship will help the US coast guard chase smugglers between Florida’s southern coast and Cuba.

    George Spyrou, president of Airship Management Services Inc, said that the airship is “considered a very green machine,” and added that a “regular jet uses more fuel to travel from the gate to the taxiway than we would to fly for a whole week.”

    View the full article

  13. Iceland has killed two polar bears since the U.S. Department of Interior formally listed the polar bear as a “threatened” species a few weeks ago.

    The first polar bear, named Björn Björnesson, came to Iceland in the beginning of June this year. The polar bear was shot as soon as he was spotted for fears he would get into the nearest village. According to the hunters, killing the polar bear was the only solution as it would take to long to get the anaesthetic that was on the other side of the island.

    The polar bear had probably travelled the 29 miles (47 kilometres) from Greenland on a flake of ice and swim the last miles to Iceland.

    And just two days ago another polar bear was discovered on Iceland. People from the nearest village who discovered the polar bear said “he was very calm and seemed to be very tired” and “fell asleep after half an hour.” This polar bear was named Ófeig.

    The local authorities had received a lot of criticism for their handling of the first polar bear, so this time they wanted deal with it properly. But their plans to put Ófeig to sleep and transport him back to Greenland failed and they had to kill him, the second polar bear in less than two weeks.

    Eyewitness said that Ófeig tried to flee back to the sea when the veterinarian came. The authorities and the veterinarian then decided that the polar was to skinny and hungry and that killing it would be the most humane way.

    It’s very rare that polar bears come to Iceland. Last time a polar bear visited Iceland was 20 years ago. That polar bear was also killed.

    But according to Tom Arnbom from WWF we will see more polar bears in wrong habitats. Tom Arnbom says the polar bears natural habitats are melting away because of climate change.

    “The worst case scenario everyone was talking about would happen in 20-30 years, is happening right now,” Tom Arnbom said, and added that “no one contemplated that the warming would increase faster the more ice melted away.”

    View the full article

  14. Today activists from Climate Camp stopped a train carrying coal to Britain’s biggest coal-power station. Armed with a banderol with the text “Leave it in the ground” the activists started to shovel down the coal to the ground.

    The protestors had food and water with them so they could be “able to remain on board for several days.”

    “We are ready to stay here for as long as Gordon Brown and the government keep burning polluting fuel in these power stations,” said one of the protesters before clipping climbing ropes to the train’s wheels and the bridge girders. Although flimsy, the web would risk damage to the train or bridge if any attempt was made to drive off.”

    Activist Ben Tennyson said:

    “We’ve stopped this train to prevent it delivering a thousand tonnes of coal to be burned at Drax and then released into the atmosphere. If we’re serious about fighting climate change we have to leave this dirty fuel in the ground and invest in clean, renewable energy sources instead.”

    When this post is written the activists still remains on the “hijacked” train. For more updated news check out BBC News and the Guardian (Both sites have video!).

    Green Blog wishes these activists the best of luck! This also reminds us about a quote from Al Gore: “I can’t understand why there aren’t rings of young people blocking bulldozers and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power stations.”

    View the full article

  15. Nidhi Jamwa from the Centre for Science and Environment India asks in the organisations journal Down to Earth “why green projects in India are hot favourite of international NGOs?”

    Nidhi Jamwa focuses on a recently started green Sierra Club initiative in India that will try “to explore other ways of creating a robust dialogue on developing a green economy” and to “network, collaborate and share information”:

    “There it goes again. It is always India and China that are the two emerging villains of climate change. The developed world has built their infrastructure and created wealth, based on technologies that are high on carbon emissions. Even now, it refuses to deliver on its promise to bring down carbon emissions. Yet goes about patronising the developing world on the need for green economy.

    To quote Pope: “The US has to get rid of old stuff and India has to create new stuff. The Sierra Club can help India make that transition…India does not have fossil fuel to run a carbon economy, so it should leapfrog to low- carbon economy and switch to renewable sources such as solar, wind power, etc. And all this is available in plenty in India.”

    By the same logic, California should be leading in the switch to green technology as it has plenty of both sun and the sea. If switching to a low-carbon economy was indeed so simple, what was keeping the industrialized world from making the transition?”

    We are all in this together. That is for sure. But why should the pressure be on the developing countries to “leapfrog” and create a green and sustainable society when the developed (mainly western) countries are the ones that has the highest per capita carbon emissions?

    It's like blaming climate change on our children and the younger generation when it's actually the older generation who are to be blamed.

    Via Arbetarens Klimatblogg.

    View the full article

  16. Here at Green Blog we love bikes. They are green, easy and cheap to maintain and will even help you go down in weight.

    But of course they also have their downsides. And one of the worst is that they are so easy to steal! But maybe the “Bike Tree” can help keep your bike safer, and even save some space in crowded areas?

    The idea is pretty simple. Instead of parking you bike in an ordinary bicycle stand you lift it up in a “tree” away from the ground (see above image). The “tree” has room for five other bikes besides your own.

    The control panel includes finger print recognition sensor with some controls for locking/unlocking the bicycle onto the stand. The panel branches out of the trunk at user friendly height.

    For locking your bicycle:

    1. Place your bicycle in the vertical slots
    2. Manually lock the rim
    3. Press start
    4. Finger print
    5. OK/ CANCEL

    For releasing bicycle follow the similar path.

    View the full article

  17. Do you like to take long, and especially hot, showers regularly? Besides making your skin dryer you will also waste money and water (30% of all home water consumption is in the shower) on those long hot showers.

    But fear not! Technology in form of “high-tech” sandglass timers is here to help you.

    When buying a shower timer you should look for a four minute timer. Don’t forget that the timer should also be waterproof!

    But why four minutes and not just invest in a water-efficient showerhead and shower as much as you like? Because by using a brand new water-efficient showerhead for 15 minutes will still waste more water than a 4 minute shower under an old showerhead.

    The sandglass timers from the image above come in six different waterproof designs and the price starts at $3 for the most basic one.

    View the full article

  18. These days it seems the price of gas and oil will keep rising and never become stable again. And why should it? We have reached peak oil and the demand for the black and deadly gold keeps soaring.

    People's love with huge and gas-guzzling SUVs and cars seems to be loosing its former glory. Cause who would want to pay a fortune for a gas-thirsty climate change monster? Not even Americans seem to do these days.

    Small and fuel-efficient vehicles are the future. The Asian automakers understood this several years ago, and now the western automakers are trying to catch up. Well, at least some of them.

    Chrysler is, desperately, trying to make a profit from their huge gas-guzzling cars by announcing that they will charge more for their cars and then artificially decrease their customer̢۪s gas prices to $2.99 per gallon for three years after their purchase.

    Yeah. Why aim to make your car fleet more fuel efficient and environment friendly when you can “solve the problem” by ignoring it, for three years.

    Three years is the expected lifetime for a personal computer. What do you think the consumers who buy a car from Chrysler will do after the three years have passed and they realise that, due to the high gas prices, they can’t afford to fuel their car?

    Chryslers press release states that they “protects consumers from rising gas prices for three years.” But the only thing they do is to trick their consumers.

    Gas prices will not go down. They will go up and burn a hole in the pocket for people with gas-guzzling cars. The cheap times are over.

    Green Blog reported earlier this week that the Swedish gas prices continue to climb to new record heights. One gallon of gasoline (4 litres) will now cost you $8,48 (around 52 Swedish Kronor) in Sweden.

    USA is today not even close to such high numbers, and yet people are making a lot of noise about the “high prices”. The presidential candidates even propose gas tax holidays to keep the fuel-inefficient cars rolling for yet another day.

    Is it not time that the American car-fetish dream started to cost its true value?

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  19. Michael Dell, the chairman and CEO of Dell, announced at the Fortune Green conference that the computer company will start selling a “never before seen” eco-inspired computer with a bamboo casing later this year.

    The computer will be, according to Dell, 80% smaller than an average desktop computer. It will also contain recycled materials from plastic bottles and use 71% less energy than the average desktop computer.

    The price tag is expected to land somewhere between $500 and $700. A name for the computer has not yet been decided on.

    Image and Source credit: Earth2Tech

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  20. The major gas companies in Sweden have raised the price for gasoline to new record heights. One gallon of gasoline (4 litres) will now cost you $8,48 (around 52 Swedish Kronor).

    The increase in fuel costs can not be blamed on higher gas taxes, like some political parties in Sweden have discussed to introduce. Experts say the fuel costs are rising because of increasing global demand and because the stock market have started to invest more money in natural resources like oil and food.

    The fuel costs are expected to continue to rise and reach new record heights during the summer.

    Ulf Svahn, from the Swedish petroleum institute (SPI), don't think that the current expenses will encourage people to use the car less, saying that the expenses are still too small to make a difference.

    Image credit: PÃ¥l Berge. Image licensed under a Attribution license.

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  21. Jean Ziegler, UN's special rapporteur on the right to food, yesterday called for the suspension of biofuels production saying biofuels are a “crime against humanity.”

    “Biofuels, with today's current production methods, are a crime against a great part of humanity. They're an intolerable crime, and I requested the United Nations General Assembly in New York in my last report to the Human Rights Council that a moratorium be imposed as a five-year ban against this transformation.”

    The comment was made during an emergency summit in Switzerland where the UN discusses ways to tackle the global food crisis.

    Ziegler said later in an interview with Al Jazeera that “burning food today so as to serve the mobility of the rich countries is a crime against humanity”.

    According to Jean Ziegler biofuels is a major cause for the food crisis that has thrown millions into poverty. And he is not alone in arguing this.

    The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) Scientific Committee recently called for the suspension of EU’s target to increase the share of biofuels used in transport to 10% by 2020. The committee wants a new and “comprehensive scientific study on the environmental risks and benefits of biofuels” before any targets should be set.

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  22. China is number one, in greenhouse gas emissions that is. A report from the University of California says that Chinas greenhouse gas emissions have been “underestimated” and that the country probably took the number one position from USA in 2006-2007.

    According to the research “unchecked future growth will dwarf any emissions cuts made by rich nations under the Kyoto Protocol.”

    Dr Auffhammer, lead researcher, said in an interview with BBC that:

    “Our figures for emissions growth are truly shocking. But there is no sense pointing a finger at the Chinese. They are trying to pull people out of poverty and they clearly need help. The only solution is for a massive transfer of technology and wealth from the West.”

    And he is of course correct. A large part of the western industries have moved to China and other development and low-cost countries. China, for example, produces the gadgets, clothes and other stuff that we, in the western world, consume.

    It also doesn't really matter if China is the top carbon polluter in the world. They still have a low per capita levels of pollution compared to USA. USA’s per capita levels are around five to six times higher than China's.

    The UN insists “that rich countries with high per capita levels of pollution must cut emissions first, and help poorer countries to invest in clean technology.”

    And just like Dr Auffhammer said, China and the other development countries are just doing it the same way we did when we become developed countries. It is of course sad and extremely bad that China is now polluting the most. But emissions in USA, Europe and elsewhere are still growing. Not a single developed country today is doing enough, so why should the poorer countries be held responsible?

    Image credit: Haldini. Image licensed under a Attribution-Share Alike license.

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  23. New York has decided to become greener and reduce their emissions by 30% by year 2030. The city has started an environmental campaign called GreeNYC to get the people engaged and active. So far so good.

    But now the campaign has run into some problems. Apple, the computer company, doesn’t like the GreeNYC logo - which resembles an apple.

    Apple has filed a formal opposition (.pdf) arguing that the GreeNYC logo will cause “mass confusion and ruining Apple’s good reputation.”

    The logo is being displayed on advertisements, public transportation systems and other similar places and products. For example the logo will be on a limited-edition 100% organic cotton shopping bag.

    In 6-9 months a decision is expected to be made by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the patent office in favour of New York or Apple. Wired has more about this story.

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  24. We are already now starting to see riots and protests around the world that have been triggered by the lack of resources. And unfortunately this is a sight we will see more and more of in the future.

    People are protesting in Haiti, Argentina, Cambodia, Indonesia, Egypt, Bolivia, Senegal and Yemen because of rising food costs or because they can't even buy any food “ cause there isn’t any.

    The FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, warns that the crisis is much worse than previously thought. According to a new report released earlier this month 37 countries around the world are currently facing food crises.

    FAO urges “all donors and International Financing Institutions to increase their assistance or consider reprogramming part of their ongoing aid in countries negatively affected by high food prices”.

    Sir John Holmes, undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and the UN’s emergency relief coordinator, warns that the rising food price threatens global security and will undermine already weak governments.

    “We are seeing a new face of hunger. We are seeing more urban hunger than ever before. We are seeing food on the shelves but people being unable to afford it.”

    The food prices are rising due to many different things that are linked together like a huge global ecosystem.

    When our global population grows at record speeds the demand for food and other resources also grows.

    And when the oil reserves shrink the price on gas and oil rises and makes it harder to sustain our global trade system. Farmers must pay more for their gas to their tractors and equipments and shipping the food around also costs more due to the rising fuel costs.

    At the same time farmers face climate changes (that our addiction to oil have created) that reduces their harvests.

    Now we are even trying to satisfy our oil addiction and car-fetish by replacing the oil with different biofuels (that are overall worse than the oil).

    The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) Scientific Committee recently called for the suspension of EU’s target to increase the share of biofuels used in transport to 10% by 2020. The committee calls for a new, “comprehensive scientific study on the environmental risks and benefits of biofuels” before any targets should be set.

    The rising demand for meat is also a part of the problem.

    But no matter how much we try to stop our unsustainable food and resource system and move over to a more local and sustainable system the food crisis will still remain a big issue around the world, now and further ahead in the future.

    Now maybe the only thing that can save us is the rationing of greenhouse gas emissions as well as our provisions, especially the meat, worldwide.

    Image Credit: UN World Food Programme. Photo by Giuseppe Bizzarri.

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