Archived entries for environment

Italy Leads Way With ‘Green’ Goods


Italians have a lot to crow about today: a brilliant last minute victory over Germany in yesterday’s World Cup match and recent news that the country leads the European Union in the number of companies making goods that qualify for the EU “Eco-label.” The daisy symbol label is granted to products that pass Eco-label environmental impact tests and is placed on products ranging from cleansers to appliances. Ninety-two of the 309 European companies that passed the test are Italian, followed by Denmark with 53, France with 48 and Spain with 21. The country that gave birth to the “slow food” movement often associated with sustainable agriculture, also produces more organic crops than any other country in the 25-nation bloc, according to the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements. Via: Hugg

go Italy!

SolarVenti: A Solar Powered Dehumidifier


SolarVenti is a solar powered ventilator and dehumidifier from the U.K. The device works by warming cold night air, and moving it inside your home or vehicle. The designer explains the operation this way: “After a cold night all of the atmospheric moisture is lying on the ground as dew or frost leaving a very dry but cold atmosphere. SolarVenti takes in this cold dry air and warms it before pumping it into your house where it sucks out moisture from the fabric of your property and replaces the colder damper atmosphere.” The device has no operating costs, and it can be fitted to any South, South West or South East facing wall where there is little or no shade. Prices start at £323. :: SolarVenti via Red Ferret

i wish i could afford one of these…

Old Plastic is New Again


iD-L inspired innovations, in collaboration with Conserve (a Delhi-based organization), has been recognized with the European Business Award for developing Ragbag – a new brand for fashionable products made from recycled plastic bags.

“Plastic rags are collected, washed, dried and separated by colour. The plastic bags then go into a machine, which presses them into thicker and more durable sheets. No dyes or inks are required. It takes about 60 plastic bags to make one sheet. The sheets are then cut, lined with cloth and stitched or moulded into the various products. The project is already creating jobs for 100 ragpickers, people at collection centers and fabricators (mainly woman) in New Delhi, providing them and their families ‘means of livelihood’ and gain access to more opportunities.”

Let’s go down with Venice

The first time I went to Venice some newfound friends invited me to a party on the lagoon. And in all honesty, it was the greatest party I’ve ever been to. Food, drinks, dancing, drugs, unabashed sex in the hallways… it felt like the last night on earth.
But perhaps that’s how most Venetians feel. Their city is litterally sinking. 10 cm a year is what they say.
During the first decade of the 20th century, St. Mark’s Square flooded only 10 times a year. These days it’s immersed at least 60 times a year.
Even the Campanile di San Marco isn’t the original one. That tower fell in 1902 because of what Venetians say was “old age.” These days a 20th century imitation stands.
All of this proposes a question.

If the vineyards get the nuclear waste

France is the most nuclear dependent country on earth, relying heavily on it for nearly 80% of its electricity. The wastes are stored in storage sites that do not and cannot guarantee that the radioactive wastes are kept dormant. Greenpeace has announced that evidence of the wastes had contaminated vineyards. Despite the arguments against nuclear energy, France has not come to a better alternative.
Read more

this sound like it would make for a great protest chant: \”no nuke waste in my wine! no nuke waste in my wine\”

Sweet! The Chocolate-Powered Hydrogen Fuel Cell


It’s getting harder to stay on top of all this. Just as news of reality of climate crisis appear to be appearing daily, so too are stories of alternative energy breakthroughs. This one should put a smile on any face. Researchers at the UK’s University of Birmingham fed Escherichia coli bacteria a feast of waste caramel and nougat from chocolate giant Cadbury Schweppes. The bacteria subsequently burped out hydrogen gas, which was harnessed via a fuel cell to power an electric fan. Of course it was slightly more complicated than that, but you get the picture. Professor Lynne Macaskie, who led the research team said, “Although only at its initial stages, we’ve demonstrated a hydrogen-producing, waste-reducing technology that, for example, might be scaled-up in 5-10 years’ time for industrial electricity generation and waste treatment processes.” Can imagine we’ll soon hear of bacteria organising unions to negotiate working conditions, as the reports also indicate they were put to additional work recovering the metal palladium from spent catalytic converters from old cars. (A riveting, thrill-a-minute movie of the fuel cell in action can be seen here.) ::University of Birmingham, via ::ABC Online.

Via Treehugger

Drink Water to Help Others

belu.jpg Drinking bottled water is a controversial topic (see Treehugger) but here is an English company that has developed a biodegradable bottle for its water AND donates its profits to projects with WaterAid in India and Africa. First the bottle: this is the first biodegradable bottle on sale in Britain. It is made of corn and breaks down by commercial composting methods in 12 weeks, and by home composting in about a year. The corn is grown in 100 days and can return to the soil in 100 days. The water is from deep wells in Shropshire and is sold in some major supermarket chains. Belu is a small company founded with a goal to finance clean-water projects around the world. They are part of a growing group of ethical entrepreneurs who are turning their businesses and profits towards having an impact on the world’s problems. Their intention is to generate one million £ profit and spend it on water projects. The first is in India where they are building wells and hand pumps and sanitation facilities. The second is in Mali Africa where they are providing clean water and sanitation to a community of 10,000 people. :: Belu via :: Independent

Ethanol Car Beats Fuel Cells to Win European Eco-marathon


From Environmental News Service newswire: — “NOGARO, France, May 22, 2006 (ENS) – An ethanol powered car engineered by French high school students has achieved the best fuel efficiency at the European Shell Eco-marathon 2006, winning the race at the Nogaro auto racing circuit in southwest France. It also took the Climate Friendly prize for producing the least greenhouse gas emissions in the process”. Energy consumption was equivalent to traveling 2,885 kilometers (1,792 miles) on a single liter of gasoline. This did not best last year’s record, however. TreeHugger recommends reading the full story to take advantage of the photos and especially to read about the Danish engineering team’s invention of a 100% efficient hydrogen propulsion technology.

Entrants’ photo shown is by European Shell Eco-marathon 2006.

go high school students!

Via Treehugger

Vasco: India’s Plastic-Free Town


In an attempt to avoid the above scenes, a town in India has gone plastic-free. Vasco (shortened from Vasco de Gama), a city in Goa state on the west coast of India, has been the first council to implement the “Zero Garbage Town Scheme” following a high court judgment in late 2003. The scheme was launched on January 26 of this year; in anticipation of the difficulty that the ban would bring, many incentives have been built in to the system. Jute and paper bags have been distributed free of charge, citizens are awarded one liter of milk for free for every 100 empty milk packets returned, and 20 women living below the poverty line have been employed to help collect plastics. The ban on plastics has been strictly enforced; 20 businesses have been fined for violating the new edict. It seems most citizens in Vasco support the idea, though difficulty arises in finding suitable alternatives for things like large volume garbage bags and other supplies that have traditionally been plastic. Still, with both the government and the majority of citizens behind the idea, it seems they’re off to a great start. ::DaijiWorld via ::Hugg (site in Beta)

Solar Lampion by Damian O’Sullivan


Unlike many solar lamps, this one by Damian O’Sullivan, has the solar panels incorporated into its design.

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