Post-consumer recycled take-out packaging; energy-efficient appliances; low-flow water spray valves in kitchen; food that’s local, organic, hand-made, hormone free. These are just a few of the ways treehugger.com describes Brooklyn’s Michael & Pings Modern Chinese Take-Out. The menu looks delicious. They’re at 437 Third Ave., phone #718-788-0017. Lettuce know if the food’s as good as it looks.
Photo: urbanblitz via flickr
Since March, Mother Nature has been unusually vocal on the subject of who runs the planet. Scroll for evidence (i.e., Heat, Drought, Dust, Flood, Earthquake/Tsunami, Tornado, Volcano):
Photo via Flickr, dr_zuss
Masahiro Sato is the Japan Environment Ministry official in charge of Super Cool Biz 2011 – a government program designed to save energy in the workplace. Plain ordinary Cool Biz was introduced in 2005 to fight global warming but this year’s super version comes on the heels of Japan’s current nuclear crisis and the overall target is a savings of 15% in electricity consumption beginning this summer when the heat (especially in Tokyo) is intense. In support of Super Cool Biz, Japan’s Prime Minister urges workers to abandon jackets and ties and say “yes” to Aloha Shirts (75 years-old this year — see below).
For more information about Super Cool Biz, visit www.popsci.com.
The bad news: we’re in the midst of a recession. Thg good news: we’re beginning to change our energy habits. Solar energy, for example, is now the fastest-growing energy sector in the U.S. (67% 2010 growth; 66% growth just in the first quarter of 2011) and in the world (70% 2010 growth). Meanwhile, China has recently doubled its goal of 5 GW to 10 GW of installed solar capacity by 2015. There’s more on the subject at msnbc.msn.com.
Hiroshi Takatsuki, Director of Miyako Ecology Center and Professor at Ishikawa Prefectural University in Japan is a researcher in the waste management field and also a member of the Japan Cartoonists’ Association. You can see more of his work at http://www.miyako-eco.jp/highmoon/english.html
Some things speak for themselves. Some congresswomen do, too:
UnNatur is a wood hermitage a few miles outside of ödeshög, Sweden (about three hours drive from Stockholm). A member of the Swedish Ecotourism Society, this off-the-grid forest hermitage offers visitors a change to “spend time reconnecting with nature” in hand-crafted cottages and tree-houses that are simple but luxurious (electricity, however, is only located in two structures, one of which is a conference hall). The cabin pictured above has a roof that’s covered with wild strawberries during the summer. An onsite (and web-sited) shop sells locally-designed products including lanterns, interior textiles, and moss carpets (see the example below).
Visit www.urnatur.se for more information.
in.gredients promises to revolutionize grocery shopping as we know it. The store’s goal is to reduce waste “by ditching packaging altogether – creating the nation’s first zero-waste, package-free grocery store!
in.gredients will allow customers to fill reusable containers (even ones brought from home) with their groceries, making waste reduction easy, fun, and convenient!” Opening in Austin, Texas this fall if funding comes through. Cross your fingers.
Note to GE: Natural gas is one of the most potent heat-trapping greenhouse gases. Hat Tip: grist.org.
Climate change deniers like to say that a single volcanic eruption sends more carbon dioxide into the air than we humans do. Sorry Rush, not even close. We humans outperform Madame Pele by a factor of 100. Cars and pickup trucks alone spew ten times as much CO2 as volcanoes.
HAT TIP: blogs.discovermagazine.com
Today is “Just Let Advertising Do the Talking Day.” Well, no it isn’t but if it was, this is how we’d be celebrating it.
Quirky is a unique “Socially Developed Product” company that transforms inventor ideas into actual retail products, many of them eco-friendly. Take the “Petal Drops” for instance. It’s a flower-shaped ped funnel that fits on top of standard threaded water and soda bottles, providing users with the chance to easily and elegantly capture rain water and repurpose it for watering plants.
Photo By VictorinoxAG via flickr
Christopher Ræburn is a young UK designer known for his pioneering work creating ethically aware and innovative men’s and women’s wear collections from re-appropriated military fabrics. Check out his line, including these great hoodies made from recycled Swiss military air-brake parachutes.
Field of Jeans – created by London College of Fashion professor Helen Storey – is a mini-meadow of air-purifying denim jeans with a photocatalyst on the surface of the fabric that breaks down pollutants when exposed to light. Behold the wedding of art and science and breathe easier. More on the story at inhabitat.com. And to read more about how clothing and textiles can purify the air, visit catalytic-clothing.org.
This past winter we posted “The Aurora,” a time-lapse video shot by Norwegian Terje Sørgjerd. Braving near hypothermia and an injuries from falling of a rock face, Mr. Sørgjerd returned to the wilds of Norway’s Lofoten archipelago to capture another precious few minutes of film. These beautiful images were recorded between the first two weeks of May, 2011:
A warning from Greenpeace/France: Some chemicals can reduce fertility. Woody Allen, take a bow:
The 3-D Act, (for Domestic Jobs, Domestic Energy and Deficit Reduction), sponsored by David Vitter of Louisiana in the Senate and Rob Bishop of Utah in the House, can be broken down into twelve proposals – what the New York Times refers to as the “Right’s Environmental Wish List.” You can read about all 12, in detail, at green.blogs.nytimes. Here are just 5, in brief:
1. Put oil and natural gas leasing on the Outer Continental shelf on a fast track.
2. Open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for exploration, development and production of the oil and gas resources of the Coastal Plain.
3. Prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from classifying carbon dioxide or methane from agricultural activities as a pollutant.
4. Allow state governors to declare emergencies which require federal officials to ignore the provisions of the Endangered Species Act when dealing with the emergency.
5. Prohibit the government from paying legal fees to environmental groups that prevail in lawsuits challenging the federal environmental stewardship if said groups “prevent, terminate or reduce” access to energy, minerals, timber, land for grazing and water for farming, or “eliminate or prevent one or more jobs.”
There’s work ahead. Meanwhile, be afraid. Very afraid.
Two solar-power farms in north-central France are currently generating enough electricity for 9000 families. Designed to follow the rolling contours of the local landscape, they have a certain aesthetic appeal. But better yet, they’ve been installed without concrete foundations, so sheep can graze among them. And after twenty years, they’ll be removed, leaving healthy land behind. For more information, visit good.is/post.
Founded in 2002, Sustainable Travel International is a non-profit organization, dedicated to providing education and outreach services that help travelers support environmental conservation and protect cultural heritage while promoting cross-cultural understanding and economic development. Their site is a great resource for travelers, tourism business professionals, and government agencies seeking ways to support sustainable travel practices.
In a region more often associated with oil profiteering than environmental concern, Abdul Aziz is an exceptional voice. Here’s an interesting article on the “Green Sheikh,” who was once a part of the oil machine and has since emerged as one of the UAE’’s most vocal environmental advocates.
JR East railway, a Japan railway company, has opened a nearly 6000 square foot community garden on top of the 8-story, Lumine shopping mall at Ogikubo Station in Tokyo. The “Soradofarm Lumine” encourages locals to rent out plots and grow flowers and vegetables (they can also browse the Muji Store and other Lumine shops when it rains).
HAT TIP: openalex.blogspot.com
Google (yes, that Google) recently unveiled the world’s first ocean cooled data center. Based in Finland, the facility draws in water from the Baltic Sea to feed heat exchangers that cool their servers. Lower energy bills and better for the environment. Win/Win.
HAT TIP: inhabitat.com
If your home was built before 1992, or you’ve replaced your low-flow shower heads, you probably use somewhere around 5 gallons of water for every minutes you’re running your shower. To become more aware of how much water you’re using, here’s a clever little device: a Five-Minute Shower-Hourglass.
Available at Amazon.
Photo by Squidly
Summer is officially right around the corner, and if you’re looking for a stylish new pair of shades, we found a cool little company that crafts frames from sustainable woods and contributes to worthy causes around the planet, including eye clinics in India. Plus, their lenses filter 100% of UVA/UVB rays, so you’re protecting your eyes AND protecting the planet. The company? PROOF. You want proof. Click IWANTPROOF.
It sounds almost as crazy as Charlie Sheen, but algae is rapidly becoming a viable source of alternative energy. We’ve mentioned the potential for algae farming many time before, but it’s difficult to understand how it could ever truly become commercial. Here’s a cool video that explains its potential with a walk through a unique “vertical” algae farm:
Who leads the world in clean tech development (measured by percentage of Gross Domestic Project)? Withh 3.1 percent of their GDP derived from renewable energy technology and energy efficiency, the Danes are Number One. The Chinese are second, having grown their green investment nearly 77% in the last three years alone. The United States? Number 17 (behind Germany, Brazil, and Lithuania) with just 0.3 percent of our GDP coming from the clean energy sector. With green tech set to drive the world’s economies by mid-century, are we up to the challenge?
HAT TIP: good.is
The Ford Motor Company, which uses recycled jeans to make hood insulation, is now experimenting with a well-known weed to make products for its cars. No, not that weed. The Ford folks are working with Ohio State University to produce high-grade fake rubber from Russian dandelions. Why Russian? Apparently they’re the only ones that’ll do the job. BTW, Ford has also been using coconut shells to make sun visors. More on the story at mnn.com.
Alcoa has come up with a new coating for aluminum panels that interacts with sunlight and breaks down nitrogen oxide (a smog-producing compound) and renders it completely harmless. Panels coated with EcoClean will only cost about 5% more than those that are already being used and even though it takes 10,000 square-feet of the stuff to have the air-purifying effect of 80 trees, it’s a step in the right direction.
Hat Tip: tucsoncitizen.com
Happy Meatless Monday:
HAT TIP: sonofthesouth.net
Scientists at Oxford University have discovered that no smoking signs have an “ironic effect” on smokers. A series of recent experiments demonstrates that “participants who had earlier been shown no smoking signs were more drawn to smoking-related images such as ashtrays and cigarettes.” “When I say ‘don’t think of a pink elephant,’ I’ve just put the thought of a pink elephant in your head,” says researcher Brian Earp. “No smoking signs in particular are everywhere. If you’re a smoker walking down a street you’re likely to pass five or six of these signs in windows or on doors. If you have a chronically positive attitude to smoking this could boost your craving.” Apply the research results to green messages and it only makes sense to avoid the negative and stress the positive (see the last post as an example – would the poster work if it read, “I want you to stop eating meat”?).
HAT TIP: good.is
Image via: yashvinblogs
If you love the planet and British comic genius Eddie Izzard, you’ll almost certainly love this imaginative Greenpeace promo:
Wending its way from the Lone Cypress dramatically perched along California’s Monterey Peninsula, to the famed Chene-Chapell (Chapel-Oak) of Allouville-Bellefosse, France, this top ten list that proves there’s a top ten list for everything. Introducing “The 10 Most Magnificent Trees In The World.”
If you asked 11 of the world’s top scientists and environmentalists to make a single statement that summarizes the most important lesson learned from their work, what would they say? Seed Magazine asked. One is the headline above. The rest can be found at seedmagazine.com.
On July 24, 2010, thousands of people around the world uploaded videos of their lives to YouTube to take part in Life in a Day, a historic cinematic experiment to create a documentary film about a single day on earth. The resulting film will be released this summer. Looks amazing:
Adam Winnik is an illustrator who recently finished his final animation thesis based on an excerpt from Carl Sagan’s famed book “Pale Blue Dot”. It’s an important message, cleverly and beautifully realized. Says Adam: “I think Sagan’s words resonate more than ever, and will continue with each generation until the human species ‘wakes up’” :
University of Nebraska researchers have found that chicken feathers can be used to make biodegradable, petroleum-free plastics. The protein, keratin, makes the feathers strong and durable and when keratin molecules from heat-treated, pulverized feathers are mixed with certain chemicals, the result is a plastic that can melted and molded into a wide variety of products like plastic plates, cups, and furniture. Bok bok to the future!
We just stumbled upon this interesting video from a TED conference back in 2008. In it, “Mycologist” (a.k.a. a dude who knows a lot about mushrooms) Paul Stamets explains 6 ways in which he believes fungi can help save the world”
HAT TIP: adbusters
Hey bicycle fans: Here’s something a human-powered bike can do that a gas-powered automobile can’t.
Artist: Kendell Geers More at www.stephenfriedman.com.
Last week, Hawai‘i Green Business and Green Government Awards were announced by the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT). The awards recognize organizations for their outstanding efforts in greening their business practices. One of the recipients was the Hawaii State Senate – cited for its Paperless Initiative which reduced paper use by 80%.
It’s worth nothing that the State of Hawaii has set a goal to achieve 70 percent clean energy by 2030, with 30% from efficiency measures, and 40% coming from locally generated renewable sources.
For information about the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative, visit hawaiicleanenergyinitiative.org.
GOOD Magazine is asking everyone to make a pledge on Earth Day (this Friday, August 22nd). Here are some suggestions: (1) commit to reusable grocery bags (2) make more use of public transit (3) stop eating meat (for a month, a year, forever) (4) plant a garden in your back yard. Says GOOD: “The goal of these pledges is twofold: to infuse a stupid holiday with a modicum of meaningful action, and to commit to improving your relationship with the world around you.”
Register your pledge (and or comment) at GOOD Magazine on April 22nd.