Archived entries for nature
‘Cala Maris’ is a film and installation project by Austrian multi-media artist Markus Huber. It is part of the permanent exhibition at the Ars Electronica Center.
I especially liked the installation in one of the elevators, which gives the impression of floating in the deep sea surrounded by fluorescent jellyfish. I could have gone up and down that elevator all day long. It reminded me of one of my favourite books ‘The Deep’ by Claire Nouvian.
Without clothes, the human body is vulnerable, exposed.
Six hundred people shed their clothes as part of an installation by Spencer Tunick on a glacier in the Swiss Alps to bodily cry out for help against a planetary emergency: global warming.
Global warming is stripping away our glaciers and leaving our entire planet vulnerable. If it continues at its current rate, most glaciers in Switzerland will completely disappear by 2080, leaving nothing but valleys and slopes strewn with rock debris.
Wiping out one part of the brain can break the thrall of smoking.
Read the result of this research from News@Nature.com
European biofuel plans come under attack from climate experts who warn demand for it could hurt the environment.
For more than 30 years the 980 people living on the Carteret atolls have battled the Pacific to stop salt water destroying their coconut palms and waves crashing over their houses. They failed.
One week before UN Climate Change conference in Montreal, the Carterets’ people became the first to be officially evacuated because of climate change. 10 families at a time will be moved by the authorities to Bougainville, an island 62 miles away. Within two years the six Carterets will be uninhabited and undefended. By 2015 they are likely to be completely submerged.
The Carterets will join many other Pacific islands that are on the point of being swallowed by the sea. According to the Red Cross, the number of people in the Oceania region affected by weather-related disasters has soared by 65 times during the past 30 years. Increased numbers of cyclones, droughts and floods, all predicted by climate change scientists, are making life unviable on many islands. Rising sea levels swamping the islands is the last act of a long, perhaps unstoppable process.
Via The Guardian.
Australian company Energetech is one of the growing number of companies building systems to turn the motion of the ocean into usable energy — something we’ve taken to calling “hydrokinetic power.” Waves, tides even undersea currents can, in principle, be tapped to generate electricity; the technology is in transition from real-world experiments to early adoption, and the preliminary signs are that the systems can indeed produce usable amounts of power at competitive prices.
While working with “Meet the Press” on in the background this morning, as a commercial came on I heard the question “Do you know your carbon footprint?” and my ears stood up. The commercial was a staged set of “man on the street” snippets where the unseen interviewer would ask t hat question, and the interviewee would act completely clueless… what the heck is a carbon footprint?
It was a new BP ad that directed viewers to a page with the header “It’s time to start a low-carbon diet.” The page has a link to a nifty carbon footprint calculator. (My footprint was less than the national average, but I could still stand to lose a few tons). Needless to say, it’s cool to see this mainstreaming of the ecological footprint concept, and I’m not surprised to see that the origin was BP
(Posted by Jon Lebkowsky in QuickChanges at 09:09 AM)
Lots of work happening at WorldChanging central on the book, but that doesn’t mean we’re not still paying attention to new developments. Here’s an update on some recent news in the world of solar power.
DIY Solar Electricity is a UK project to bring low-cost photovoltaic systems to poorer countries and regions. The small panels are intended to replace batteries, but more importantly to provide hands-on experience with photovoltaic systems for people who could adopt solar power technologies for agricultural or telecommunication systems (see below for more on solar telecom support), and to start local businesses.
The organization has projects underway across the developing world, including Peru, Mongolia, Tanzania and Somalia. The group’s work in Kenya was featured in a BBC article from last year:
British volunteer John Keane had a hunch the solar panels could be a popular product, after an earlier experience of living in a Tanzanian village with no electricity. “Everyone here seems to have a radio, but many of them don’t have the funds to continually buy batteries, as they often don’t have a reliable source of income,” he says.
Many of the young people working on the solar project have never had a job, or seen anyone in their families have a job. The average wage in Kibera is $1 a day but a small solar panel which takes just a matter of minutes to put together can sell for around $5.
Renewable Energy Access reports that the public telecom operator in Tunisia, TunisieTelecom, will be using solar photovoltaics for desert telecommunications network stations. This is a classic case of power leapfrogging-meets-telecom leapfrogging.
TunisieTelecom, the public Tunisian telecommunications operator, will build four telecommunication repeater stations powered solely by photovoltaic (PV) solar power in the open desert. In this very remote area of the Great Southern Desert, which is still not connected to the electricity grid and where the climatic conditions are extreme (temperatures in excess of 50 degrees C or 122 degrees F, sand storms, etc.), the choice of solar power was obvious. […] This project includes system installation with peak power ranging between 9 kW and 31 kW for a total installed capacity of 71 kW.
It’s a relatively prosaic project generating a relatively small amount of power, but it’s the perfect application of renewable energy in support of expanding the information and communication grid for remote communities.
Moving away from photovoltaics, the SCHOTT Solar Technology company is building a 64 megawatt solar thermal plant near Boulder City, Nevada. Solar thermal power uses parabolic concentrators to focus the Sun’s heat on a transfer medium (thermal oil in the SCHOTT system, but could also be water or even liquid sodium); the medium is then used to run a steam turbine, generating electricity.
The project will be completed by 2007.
(Posted by Jamais Cascio in A Newly Electric Green Sustainable Energy, Resources and Design at 12:36 PM)