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Category “Environment”

The Proper Use of Paper Towels

Next year: Toilet Paper. From TEDxConcordiaUPortland.

Plastic State of Mind

AshEL Eldridge and Jenni Perez making the case for getting rid of plastic bags. Awesome presentation of a good message, people!

Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull

Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull – May 1st and 2nd, 2010 from Sean Stiegemeier on Vimeo.

Eyjafjallajökull is the name of the volcano that is raising such havoc in European air space these days. This is an amazing bit of time-lapse photography of the volcano spewing ash.

Unchopping a Tree

01.12.10 Removing the Trees

After listening to a team of workers chain saw down nine trees near me today, the following video was a balm, especially the last few seconds of it.

Maya Lin – Unchopping a Tree from What is Missing? Foundation on Vimeo.

Seen on kottke.org.

How to Shrink Systemic Risk

Laurent Pacalin has a great piece about “financial systemic risk” on his blog, Ad-Ventures in Marketing. In it he breaks the economic meltdown and its solution into three separate solutions which I will describe as simplicity, clarity and decisions at a mico-level. He even quotes my personal hero, Harvard law professor, Elizabeth Warren, who chairs the Congressional oversight panel on government bailout spending. Good practical ideas: Go read.

Breakthrough in Solar Storage Technology from MIT

Humankind uses the equivalent of one hour of the sun’s energy to power our global need every year. If only we could bottle it. Who better than plants know how to use it? Until today, photosynthesis was the only way to effectively store solar energy (well, of course you could use batteries but current technology is inefficient expensive and impractical).

Daniel Nocera of MIT has come up with a catalyst that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. These can be stored easily in your house, say your basement. The hydrogen and oxygen captured during the day can be fed back into a fuel cell to keep power to your house during the night. It’s an amazing leap forward. His catalyst uses inexpensive, abundant natural materials and operates at room temperature. You can see his video here.

Just think, you use solar to run your home during the day and still have a plentiful store for the evening when you come home, watch TV, and recharge your Prius. I love it.

Nocera believes that this inexpensive technology could turn your home into a mini-power plant. Best of all, he thinks it can be done within 10 years.

According to James Barber, biochemistry professor at Imperial College London, this research is a ‘giant leap’ towards generating clean, carbon-free energy on as massive scale. In a statement, he also said:

“This is a major discovery with enormous implications for the future prosperity of humankind. The importance of their discovery cannot be overstated since it opens up the door for developing new technologies for energy production, thus reducing our dependence for fossil fuels and addressing the global climate change problem.”

The heretofore unattainable storage of solar electricity is not far away folks. Good news, indeed.

Kangaroo Endangered?

A story in The Daily Green today explains how global warming may lead to the extinction of Australia’s kangaroos. Just a 2 degree rise in the Earth’s temperature may lead to the elimination of over 48% of the marsupial’s habitat. Scientists are expecting a 2 to 6 degree rise by the end of this century! The ‘roo (along with the emu) is on the coat of arms of this great nation; crikey! Can something be done?

On more reason to bike to work, recycle, as well as support alternative energy and progressive climate change legislation.

Earth From Above & Holistic Management International

Cattle on LaCense Ranch, Montana

Yann Arthus-Bertrand is an extraordinary photographer and environmentalist. The 62-year-old Frenchman is author of a large number of photographic books and film documentaries featuring his breathtaking shots of the planet, usually shot from a helicopter. His exhibit, Earth From Above, will run May 1 through June 28, 2009 in New York City’s Battery Park. It will be a colossal outdoor exhibit.

Free-to-the-public, day and night, experiential, and green by design, the 8-week exhibition will feature over 150 images from around the globe captioned by sustainable development experts. With an inspiration pavilion, walkable world map, and exhibit for the blind, Earth From Above will bring into focus our planet’s fragility to deliver a poignant, hopeful and educational message.

50% of the installation will feature new images taken over the last two years during the production of Yann’s feature film, Home.

Since its Paris premiere in 2000, Earth From Above has been seen on every populated continent by more than 130 million visitors in over 120 cities including London, Tokyo, Berlin, Seoul, Beirut, Moscow, Sydney, Mexico City, Montreal, Stockholm, and Reykjavik.

His photographs are stunning and awe-inspiring and should not be missed. Living in the Bay Area, I am happy to hear there are plans for the exhibit to be in San Francisco in 2010 (hurray!)

Arthus-Bertrand website for Earth from Above features a video on sustainable cattle ranching (screen shot above) and Montana’s LaCense Ranch. The video is really worth watching.

Sustainable cattle ranching the way LaCense does it is a subject dear to the heart of my good New Mexican friend, Peter Holter. Peter runs Holistic Management International, a terrific non-profit that works to create healthy, sustainable grasslands. True sustainable cattle ranching is rare and the mass-produced beef of the feedlot is the rule. Too bad for the cows and our environment. With the help from the work of organizations like Peter’s, maybe we can have a better world after all.