Wednesday, December 30, 2009

GREEN LIVING: Environmental Responsibility - It Just Isn't That Simple

By Richard Davidian

Being environmentally responsible is a laudable thing. We should all be paying attention to this important issue.
You find out that the plastic bottle that you so carelessly toss out can easily end up in an oceanic gyre or convergence zone like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. As the bottle breaks down over many years, it becomes tiny plastic particles that are ingested by tiny sea creatures. These creatures are eaten by larger creatures and whole food chains are threatened by your carelessness. So you stop mindless tossing and start responsible recycling. That's great! But, it's not that simple.

Recycling and working to reduce our carbon footprint are activities that everyone who has any regard for the quality of life of their children and grandchildren must engage in. But, such responsibility it is complex and sometimes baffling.

In our household, recycling is a way of life. On trash day, our recycle bin far outweighs (literally) our garbage bin. We have a garden and compost large amounts of kitchen waste, shredded paper and cardboard. Throwing the aluminum cans and plastic bottles into the correct bin is an automatic habit that takes no thought.
But, it's not that simple. We know that the ubiquitous batteries that power everything from flashlights to cell phones are not supposed to get into the landfills. But, what do we do with them?

And then there are the electronics. You feel good when you transport them to the proper recycling facility. But, you don't feel so good when you find out that these items often end up in third world countries where children dismantle them for the reusable minerals and other useful materials (Source 2). Not only is there the issue of child labor, but in addition there is the issue of unsafe dismantling practices that threaten the health of these children.

Recycling and environmental responsibility are just not that simple. We live in a global village. And what happens in our town affects what happens in a village of India, China or Ghana.

Where does your garbage end up anyway? I used to think simplistically that it ended up in the landfill and that recyclables ended up being recycled, period. But it just isn't that simple. Recyclables are not recyclables are not recyclables. One thing goes to one place and another thing to another place.

In order to make us more aware of where our trash ends up, what route it takes to get there and how long it takes is the focus of the study being done by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Source 1). This research project engages not only scientists but also volunteers who paste or sew "traces" onto specific items that they throw away or recycle. Then, with GPS technology, these items can be tracked to their destination. The scientists who are carrying out this experiment hope that the results will produce a public awareness that will be beneficial for the efforts to save our planet from being totally trashed.

I want to be responsible. I don't want my children and grandchildren to blame me for the sorry state of the environment that they will be living in. But one thing that I've learned so far is that it just isn't that simple.

Source 1:

Source 2:

Richard Davidian invites you to access more outdoors information on his Outdoors Information Blog.
(c) Copyright - Richard Davidian Ph.D. All rights reserved worldwide

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CLIMATE CHANGE: The Eco Challenge

By Stanley Lai


Do you feel uneasy, looking at the environment around you getting polluted? Some say that it will be dealt with eventually, and some even view this as, "not near me or my area, so, none of my business!" Yes, in this modern society, the mindset you were thinking about is like at work, mind your own business! However, wherever you live, go to or plan to move to, the effects of this environmental damages you simply ignored, will affect you if everybody wants to mind their own businesses!


Staying ignorant or oblivious to the ever-rising levels of pollution, levels of damage to the environment, far from you; does not mean, you are at a "safe distance", from a disaster zone. Yes, there will be debates on economic costs and the price of "cleaning up the mess". But have you watched movies, studied or participated in communal activities and events? Somehow, there is an education of the term "spill over" effect. Which means what happened there, may occur here, someday or soon!


I try to understand what people think, and many people I converse with tell me "you, alone cannot make the change which is insufficient, or even sustain the changes with the actions needed being so tedious and expensive". So, I propose, "just do the right thing, within your means", you may not be responsible for the current pollution, but ultimately, the EARTH you live on is polluted.

I hope you support eco friendly campaigns like products that enable us to "do the right thing." As I support my mother, whose vigor in marketing her health, beauty and eco friendly products that prevent harm to people and the environment.

Stanley Lai is a cancer survivor who achieved in an awkward way and lived on. He now writes articles to inspire others and help them to overcome challenges in life; and living in Singapore. Living to learn, not that all traditional education. I learnt alot from him.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: Great New Site from

Hi everyone, has just developed a new website and it has some of the most stunning photography and environmental messages you would ever want to see. If you want to be inspired to save our wildlife, environment and the whole planet, visit:

I will periodically be featuring videos from the site on The Zeitgeist is Changing and I would love your feedback.

Here is a taste:


Here's some more information about

explore™ ( is a multimedia organization that documents leaders around the world who have devoted their lives to extraordinary causes. Both educational and inspirational, explore creates a portal into the soul of humanity by championing the selfless acts of others.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: Ecotourism and Environmental Responsibility

By Nuno Alex Lopes

When responsible tourism can be implemented, the indigenous population is more likely to remain in their village or region rather than fleeing to cities,where jobs may be more plentiful. If you are not used to recycling, conserving water, or generally being gentle on the environment, I urge you to take this opportunity to incorporate some Earth-friendly habits into your life.

Even innocently leaving water running in a sink for a short period of time can have a harmful effect on an area with water shortages. Some communities in North America have recently been forced to shut down their businesses for short periods of time in the summer due to water scarcity. Independent travelers are faced with opportunities every dayto slow down the progress of environmental erosion. To do your part, please consider the following:

Carry water-filtration tablets, a filter, or water purifier rather than buying bottled water. Clean up your garbage. Never leave it behind - especially if you're backpacking or hiking. And recycle whenever possible.

Reuse towels and bedding at hotels to save on water consumption. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth, and take short showers instead of a bath. Choose fresh, locally grown foods over imported foods.

When offered a choice, opt for non-mechanized recreation: Nordic skiing instead of snowmobiling, sailing instead of jet skiing. Whenever possible, take a form of transportation that causes the least amount of pollution (a cyclo over a motorbike,public transportation over a taxi). If on a wildlife tour, do not disturb (or feed) wild animals;stay at least 200 feet from whales and other sea life. Don't buy products made from endangered animals or plants. Stay on maintained trails when hiking.

Find out more about the author in:
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GREEN LIVING: Saving Energy Tips - Stop Killing Mother Nature, You Need Her

By Trent English

People waste an incredible amount of energy these days, and it is really completely unnecessary. There are so many ways that you as a person an contribute to help the environment. If people would take some responsibility the world could be a much better place.

1: Stop leaving the TV on when you are not in the room. If you are not watching it, there is no reason to leave it running just because of the background noise it provides.

2: We have been taught our entire lives that we should recycle, and it takes an incredible amount of energy and resources to create new products such as aluminum cans, paper bags, cardboard boxes. Start recycling now.

3: Cancel all of your mailers, magazines, newspaper subscriptions ... anything that comes in a printed format. Chances are if its in a newspaper or a magazine, it can be found online. Do some searching.

4: Stop wasting resources on shopping bags. When you are out shopping, if you only have an item or two that you are purchasing, just refuse the bag and carry the stuff yourself.

5: When buying home appliances, look for the energy star label, there is usually always an energy star alternative and they actually save a ton of energy

6: Lighting accounts for roughly 15 percent of the average home utility bill. So, turn off the lights when you are not using them, you will be surprised and thrilled when you see your next bill.

Saving energy is an insanely easy thing to do. Think of the change it would make to our planet if every person started to do one measly little thing to help the environment on a daily basis. I am pledging to start making one small change in my life every single day to try and help, why don't you start too!

If you need to perform a phone number lookup for any reason at all, Click Here Now!

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SOLAR ENERGY: Solar Power For the World's Poor

By Darwin Frerking

Solar power as a renewable energy is gaining more and more momentum every day. While here in the United States we normally think of either small self-contained residential and business installations or large utility supplied systems, there is a great potential for solar power electricity in developing countries.

It boggles the mind to realize that nearly 44 percent of the developing countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia have no access to electricity and only 1 percent of the world's solar panel production has been installed in such countries. This could change considerably within the next ten years.

The main issue for bringing solar power to these areas is of course how to pay for it. Around 2 billion people live in rural areas with no electricity. Even though most of these folks are poor, about 40 percent of them are spending $5 to $10 per month for lighting, mainly through kerosene burning lamps. Individual solar installations could be less expensive than building up the infrastructure for conventional power lines, especially in areas where buildings are far apart. While the cost of equipment is reasonable, it is the construction, installation and on going maintenance infrastructure that is usually the most challenging.
There are many alternative systems becoming available but two have caught my attention recently. The first is very simple and at first glance doesn't appear to be worth much until you realize that the only light at night for many of the world's poor is from a fire or a kerosene lamp. The smoke and fumes from these lamps are a great health issue not to mention the pollution. There are organizations that help set up, educate and finance micro businesses to convert kerosene lamps to electric lamps. They install a small solar panel, battery and light-emitting diode lamps. The families pay for the conversions and future battery replacements from their 'kerosene budget' which can now be greatly reduced since sunlight is free.

The other system is a prepaid system where solar panels and associated equipment and batteries are installed at homes along with a card reader. A local 'solar store' sells electricity credit cards to the home owners. The store has equipment to reload the cards and to monitor usage to foresee future battery replacements. The home owner swipes his card to use electricity from the system. These systems typically cost around $200.

These are only two ways that electric power is being provided to the poor. As infrastructures and government subsidies are established there will be more investment in these developing world areas. Also DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Solar Power will play a larger role as local people become solar power literate.

This article was written by Darwin Frerking, a retired electrical engineer, who is a DIY Solar Power enthusiast. For information on tools often needed for DIY Solar Power System installation visit Screwdriver Sets and Wrench Sets.

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CLIMATE CHANGE: The Greenhouse Effect - It's Not Like a Garden Greenhouse!

By Anne Erasmus

The Greenhouse Effect differs from actual greenhouses that we have in our gardens. In colder climates, tropical and exotic plants are grown in a greenhouse to prevent the air from cooling down too much, particularly at night. A greenhouse for plants allows the sun to warm the ground inside it, which then warms the air. By trapping the warm air inside, a greenhouse prevents cool air from entering and warm air from escaping. The Greenhouse Effect on Earth, however, has been mistakenly described as gases creating a similar barrier to the passage of heat out of earth's atmosphere. During the day, sunlight warms the Earth, and at night that heat is radiated into space in the form of infra-red radiation.

Greenhouse gases absorb this radiation, and release the heat into space to cool Earth down. However, unlike with a garden greenhouse, these gases also radiate some of the heat back to earth. They do not create an impermeable barrier keeping the heat inside, but, more greenhouse gases means more heat radiated back to Earth. The greenhouse gases, in ideal quantities, keep Earth warm enough to sustain life. Too little of them, and we would freeze. Too many - as is happening now, and things start warming up.

The predicted consequences of global warming (the result of the Greenhouse Effect), are dire indeed, and include climate change, rising sea levels and the possible extinction of both animals and humankind! As with any scientific theory, there are those who dispute it and believe that current evidence of climate change and predictions of worse to come are nothing more than a hiccup in the natural climatic cycle. Growing evidence of melting polar caps and weather changes would seem to indicate that there is some truth to the theory, and although predictions cannot be verified until they actually take place, they do indicate the need for some decisive action now, before it is too late.

What has caused the Greenhouse Effect?

A combination of factors, mostly man-made, has caused our atmosphere to change. Carbon dioxide is produced by fossil fuel burning - which is how we produce electricity and what most of our transportation is based on. Deforestation removes carbon dioxide-absorbing trees, and modern farming practices and land-use changes increase the levels of methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere. Methane is produced in the decomposition of garbage in landfills as well. Population growth contributes to all of these by increasing the amount of fossil fuels burned for energy, transportation and manufacturing, as well as more farming that is needed to feed more and more people.

To lessen the long-term effects of global warming, greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced. This requires a reduction of our dependence on fossil fuels, protecting and expanding forests, and changing our lifestyles to help sustain the environment.

How do we do that? By using less stuff that creates greenhouse gases. The first step is to use less energy. Not only in terms of transportation and electricity usage, but also in terms of the amount of manufactured product that we use. Recycling is one way. Using alternative sources of energy is another. Growing your own herbs and vegetables is a great way to get healthy produce right outside your kitchen door.

What is certain is that we can all make a small difference that will add up to a bigger difference. While we wait for big businesses and even bigger countries to take action, we can start making a change today for a better tomorrow. Visit for green news, information and ways to make a difference, right now.

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ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS: Climategate vs the Pollution Lobby

By Stephen Maaz

Tell me that headline isn't enough to make you toss your cookies! Not everything is black and white, there are gray areas. No one will dispute that we, and I don't just mean the US, has trashed portions of our planet. Currently China is creating their own Love Canals. On the other hand, the US has done remarkably well in taking steps to be good stewards of our planet, though some may disagree.

Ben Stein said this: "Well, calling the people who want to keep Americans free to use the kind of energy they want to use the 'pollution lobby' is a wild smear ... The truth is, we've now got a lot of data coming out that the scientific community who are on the side of anthropogenic global warming were cooking the data and were suppressing data to those requesting their data. So, I think the whole thing of fighting global warming may be based on a false premise."

Most cities no longer have billowing towers of smoke, even our little capitol of RI, Providence, has drastically changed in my lifetime. I recall the major industries in the city taking the first step to alternate days and hours of dumping toxic trash into the atmosphere. Many steps have been taken since and now the city air is quite clean.

So GLOBAL WARMING is being questioned. Well, to be honest, it has always been questioned. I recall not too many years ago we were warned of Global Cooling. Now that the real statistics point to a cooling trend, perhaps we can throw billions of dollars at that unproven theory to "study" what man has done to create that!
Tectonic plate movement of the earth's crust, erupting volcanoes, natural forest fires, tsunamis, and the list goes on, there are many natural events that effect our earth's climate. Not to mention that the earth is approximately 75% covered by deep oceans.

Why is it so hard to believe that the earth's climate is in a state of change? It's as if the proponents of global warming never watch the Discovery Channel! If we are to believe all we study about the earth's history, it has always been in a state of change. We need to be careful not to pollute our air, land and waterways. I realize that is a broad statement, but sometimes it is just that simple.

Visit my Site! It's Pollution Free. Alternative Energy Saving Tips and Products is a website to Saving you money on your energy bills and at the same time saving our planet, you can do both. You will find articles about solar, wind, water power. Information on driving your car almost free and polluting less, strange products that shouldn't work, so we like to investigate. There is a monthly newsletter full of information. See us at

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GREEN LIVING: Permaculture - A Sustainable Vision For the Twenty First Century

By Adrian Broadby

Permaculture was created by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the 1970s. A hint to the meaning of permaculture can be found in the origin of the name itself. It is an abbreviation of the two words, permanent and agriculture.

Permaculture utilizes nature to create sustainable agricultural systems. Once set up a permaculture system should enable a far greater degree of independence from human input into the maintenance of the system. Permaculture can be scaled to suit whatever quantity of land is available for the project, from a small suburban block to a large farm.

Permaculture involves a concern for the environment, for the people, and for the future. The aim is to be always improving the environment. It involves consideration of the physical and emotional welfare of the people in terms of the provision of food and shelter and also with respect to the reduction in labour required to maintain the system. Finally, it demonstrates our concern for the conservation of our resources, which is achieved by recycling, by using renewable resources, and by the use of appropriate planning which enables various features of the system to act in a cooperative manner.

A key aspect to the practical implementation of a permaculture garden is the division of the garden area into various zones. This involves the placement of different zones of the garden in the correct position in relation to other zones. Those zones which require most attention should be placed closer to the home, which is a simple way to utilize time and energy more effectively.

Permaculture requires an understanding of natural processes and the utilization of these natural processes for the harmonious development of the garden. You will come to realise that working with nature is much more effective than working against it, and when the system is operating as it should you will benefit from the fact that nature is participating in your dream rather than fighting against it.

Another important principle of permaculture is the emphasis on looking after the people involved in the system. This care ranges from the care that you should invest in your own wellbeing to the care to be shown towards a whole community. After all, if you are concerned with appropriate and sustainable relationships within the various aspects of permaculture, then it should not be forgotten that perhaps our greatest resource is ourselves.

Permaculture teaches us that we should limit our consumption of resources so that we are living in a sustainable manner. If we can use manure from animals that are living within our permacultural system then we are better off than if we drive to another location to buy manure, thus using fuel in the process. Grass which needs to be kept under control should be fodder for animals rather than having to be mowed with a mower or slashed with a slasher being pulled by a tractor. So rather than having to use resources such as fuel in an unsustainable manner, this approach actually creates a resource in the form of manure which can be used to improve fertility and structure in the garden. These are simple but valid examples of living in a sustainable manner.

A very good example of a useful animal to have in a permaculture garden is the chicken. Chickens will clean up your fallen fruit and garden scraps, will create fertile garden areas and will scratch around straw and hay creating wonderful mulch in the process. And at the end of the day, they will reward you by providing you with eggs.

There are countless numbers of books and magazines available for anyone interested in learning more about the art of permaculture, and also many courses are to be found which offer a hands on approach. It is an approach to life and living which needs to be embraced today more than ever and we should remember the words of the co-founder of permaculture, Bill Mollison when he said, "Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple."

Adrian is an online writer and researcher, and he invites you to visit his website 24v Cordless Drill for information about a range of tools, including the Buffalo 24v Cordless Drill.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

CASE STUDY: Smog Levels in San Francisco - How to Help Reduce Air Pollution

By Erika Ayala

The smog level in San Francisco is one of the highest in the state of California. Aside from Los Angeles, San Francisco is the most polluted city in this part of America. The reason is because there are too many industrial establishments and cars in the area. The government was alarmed with this and so they created the Clean Air Act which is meant to reduce the emission of air pollution in the city.

Air pollution or smog in the Bay area can cause lung problems and is also the leading cause of global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer. We are aware of the destruction in lives and property that climate change brings. We are aware of the bad effects of thinning of out ozone layer. But we are not aware how high the smog level is in this city.

If you are from San Francisco, there are a number of ways by which you can help in reducing the level of air pollution in your area.

Reduce your consumption of electricity. The more electricity you use, the more fuel will be burned to make the electronic appliance work. We all know that burning fuel is the source of global warming. There are also little things that you can do to help stop the increase of smog level in the Bay Area. You can also stop using using incandescent bulbs and replace them with energy efficient lamps. Another very important measure to help reduce pollution in San Francisco is to take care of your car. Studies show that cars are the leading causes of dirty air.

To learn how to save our environment, check out these smog check tips.
Erika Ayala works for different online sites including Smog San Francisco check.

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CASE STUDY: Gartree Wind Farm

By Aidan Gibson

With all of our hopes and plans to reduce our carbon footprint, the planning application for a new wind farm should be well received. The new wind farm which has been proposed for Leicestershire is near the beautiful town of Market Harborough. This will boost the local economy and create new jobs. One of the countries leading social enterprise promoting community ownership of renewable energy is proposing to develop the wind energy project in partnership with the local community and landowner.

It seems that some people are against this eco friendly project! They say 'We do not want or need a wind farm near Lubenham' and 'My biggest issue is what do they do when the wind does not blow?? You end up having to have some backup source just in case!'. I can understand why some people do not love wind turbines as much as me and other wind junkies. But maybe they could change their perspective on wind turbines and see them as the beautiful structures that represent our love for our planet.

Unfortunately, the resistance to change has caused the Stop Gartree Action Group to try and show people what sort of impact the height of the turbines would have on the landscape. The villagers expressed shock at the height of the blimp balloon that was supposedly flown to the proposed heights of the wind turbines.

A photograph was taken on the 13th September 2009 showing the Blimp (balloon) flown by the Lubenham Parish Committee/ Stop Gartree Action Group. The actual indicated position and height of the wind turbines (turbine one) is marked which is at a fraction of the height of the blimp! Maybe someone is telling porkies?
The yes or no to Gartree Wind Farm being built is a global concern. The decision Harborough council makes with regard to the application for a wind farm at Gartree will have an impact on the rest of the World.

Thanks for reading!
Aidan Gibson :)

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CLIMATE CHANGE: Carbon Footprint Demystified

By Abraham R Chacko

According to Wikipedia, 'A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact that human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide.'
Individuals, nations and businesses are able to conceptualize their personal carbon dioxide contribution by means of the Carbon Footprint and thus react responsibly to the problem of global warming by reducing individual footprints.

The conceptual opposite of carbon footprint is 'carbon offset', or the removal of carbon emissions through use of alternate gadgets/technologies/processes that adequately reduce carbon emissions.

Global warming is caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases (primarily carbon-di-oxide, or CO2) in the upper levels of the earth's atmosphere. The earth receives and releases heat periodically to maintain its balance. However, greenhouse gases interfere with the heat capture-and-release cycle by forming a kind of 'shield' or 'barrier' that prevents heat rays escaping from the earth. This leads to the gradual accumulation of heat in the atmosphere and consequent rise in temperatures all over the globe (the phenomenon that we all know as 'global warming').

Its consequences are all too well known by now - ecological imbalances, rise in the level of water in the oceans (hence, the seas gradually entering and taking up the dry land on which we live), outbreak of several, dangerous diseases, catastrophic changes in weather and a myriad other effects.

Carbon footprint is a quantity (measured in pounds, kilo grams etc.) on account of the obvious advantages that numbers have over subjective verbal descriptions - some of these are discussed below:

A) Ability to quantify and compare objectively: Consider activity 'A' that has a 50 pound (carbon) footprint (say, driving a distance of 2 miles by car) and activity 'B' that has a 10 pound footprint (possibly, jogging the same distance). On account of carbon footprint being a number, we can say without any ambiguity or uncertainty that 'A' has a bigger carbon footprint compared to 'B', since 50 is greater than 10. (Hence, if A and B are activities that serve the same purpose, it will be beneficial to do less of A and more of B instead).

B) Ability to sum-up and Prioritize: (Carbon) footprint of industrial work-processes can be determined by summing up the footprints of their constituent activities. It is, therefore, possible to identify those work-processes that have bigger footprints and deal with them first while leaving out less important ones for later remedial action

C) Ability to forecast and aid better planning in cases of maintenance and new industrial projects

D) Statistics made possible and thus monitoring (control/feedback) of carbon-offset/carbon footprint reduction exercises

E) Enables precise calculation of taxes and other Government levies in case legislation is enforced at any point in time restraining the carbon footprints of businesses/individuals to acceptable limits

F) At a global level, to identify countries that are the biggest contributors to global warming

Like to know what your carbon footprint is? Then visit now!

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CONSERVATION: How is Rainforest Conservation Done?

By David J P Smith

There are several different major rainforest conservation funds setup around the world, each with the aim of preserving some of the planet's natural rainforests and stopping the destruction of some of our most valuable ecosystems. Donating money to such trusts and organisations is easy, and goes a long way to helping their cause. Many people donate online, and you can do so anonymously (or publicly) via several websites.

One of the newest strategies being used is something called ecotourism. Companies take tourists out into the middle of the rainforest and show them what a wonderful and magic place they are. Afterwards they take them to a place where the forest has been cut down, and let them know what they'll be soon missing. Tourists are charged for this trip, and many of them also go home with a sense of guilt and a willingness to help out the conservationists' cause.

The most recent way that people are trying to save the rainforests is by looking at what people are using the trees for (apart from wood) and finding alternative ways to produce those materials and products. For example, the rubber from trees is used for car tyres. Since there are several other ways to get rubber companies have been looking into them and persuading others to follow their example. The amount of rainforest cut down even in the last 5 years is staggering, and the world won't ever be the same unless a stop is put to their irreversible destruction.

David has been writing articles for nearly 4 years. Come visit his latest website over at which helps people find the best outdoor dining sets on the market.

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CASE STUDY: California's Sustainable Electricity Initiative

By Alex Contras

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger convinced the state legislature to recently pass legislation that mandates 33% of the state's electricity come from renewable sources by 2020. This is one of the most ambitious renewable energy bills in the country and has catapulted California to the forefront of the green movement.

The main purpose of the initiative is to slowly move away from environmentally destructive energy production such as coal and oil while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The new aim makes California the premier renewable energy state. Hawaii is the only other state with similar legislation that has the aim of achieving 40% of electricity from renewable sources, but not till 2030. This legislation will provide a clear direction for creation and delivery of clean energy to the residents of California while hopefully avoiding another energy crisis in the near future.

Sources for this renewable energy will come various areas including solar panel farms, hydroelectric turbines out in the ocean bed, wind turbines, heat capture, and waste to energy conversion. There has also been talk of possibly bringing in some renewable energy from other states in order to meet the 33% goal by 2020.

Additionally, this legislation will keep California on the cutting edge of clean technology and renewable energy growth, meaning jobs in the green sector. With continued private sector investment going into sustainable energy technology, a state mandate will mean tax credits and other subsides. Sustainable energy is expected to be a $10 billion plus industry over the next 10-15 years in California alone. The job growth as a direct result of all this will provide Californians will quality long term jobs - California Green Jobs.

Achieving California's goals for renewable energy takes a long-term commitment and an enormous amount of investment. The California legislature set out a very ambitious but reachable goal that will hopefully change how the rest of America thinks about sustainable energy and environmentally friendly business practices.

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SOLAR ENERGY: Flexible Solar - Latest in Solar Advances

By Ben Mester

I recently came across an article talking about flexible solar panels and the cells that power them, and I was blown away by some of the new technology coming out on the market. In the current push towards green, renewable technology, solar energy is making huge strides toward greater personal application of its technology.

The new photovoltaic solar panels rolling out of the factories are supposed to be both ultra thin and ultra light, able to be rolled up like a beach towel and carried away. This is a huge benefit over the traditional silicon solar panels, those heavy, rigid panels you see on the rooftops of many homes. These new flexible sheets are completely different, made to be portable and used for personal application, like charging everyday electronics without having to plug into the grid. They're a huge plus for sustainable, green energy enthusiasts.

But there are added benefits. Amorphous, meaning shapeless, silicon thin-film solar cells can be manufactured at a cheaper rate than conventional crystalline cells primarily because they use less material than the traditional cells. Newer cells are only 1 micrometer thick. Older crystalline solar cells generally came in 150-to-200-micrometer-thick slices. Not only that, but solar cells are becoming more and more efficient everyday.

The electric charge and voltage generated by the newest systems are many times more powerful than the old. The most modern cells, called triple junction cells are being mad with three different materials - amorphous silicon, amorphous silicon germanium, and nanocrystalline silicon. This gives maximum energy absorption because each of these materials is tuned to capture the energy in different parts of the solar spectrum. That kind of technology is brand new.

More than that, it's also coming on the scene right at the time when solar panels are becoming lighter, more portable, and even affordable for personal use. Because of those three factors, I personally think that this technology will be the next huge thing in the green energy push. The only thing I can think of that could top it would be some kind of fold-up, portable wind energy device, which I can't imagine coming out anytime in the near future. But that would be quite the site to see.

With this newest advancement in flexible solar panels, I expect solar energy to hit a new peak. With the green movement now in full swing and people more and more wanting to minimize their effect on the environment, I have a feeling that the new designs and technologies are going to revolutionize our thinking. It isn't really that solar power is efficient. It's the fact that people are wanting to take the welfare of the environment into their own hands.

Knowing that you can buy a backpack for instance, that will generate enough electricity to charge your Ipod and your cell phone, is something that's never been heard of before. In my opinion, the future is going to be motivated by sustainability and self-sufficiency. These are just a handful of the most current advancements. Everyday, we're coming out with newer, smaller, more cost effective versions! Modern science and research are rallying around solar power, coming out with new and awesome technology everyday.

But that's not all. There's just something that's almost exciting about generating your own power. It's like growing food in your own garden. Even powering your own lighting can be exhilarating. I remember the first time I used a hand cranked flashlight. There was just something almost magical knowing that hand powered energy was making enough of a charge to power the battery. I mean, when could a person ever go to a little grassy park and break out a laptop while lying in a field.

It's true that with the latest advancements in lithium ion batteries, laptops can hold up to 8 hours of a charge, but most batteries have a limited shelf life and begin to lose efficiency very quickly. I'm not sure what the future is going to bring. But I'm very excited about the newest wave of flexible solar panels just hitting the market. I think we're going to start seeing a lot more of this kind of technology being applied for everyday use.

I hope you enjoyed this article about flexible solar panels. If you want to read more about the latest developments in solar technology, check out some more of my articles.

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BOOK REVIEW: Global Ecology and Our Future

By Lance Winslow

When we talk with futurists, especially those that are serious environmentalists they want to shock us about what is going to happen in the future. Take Al Gore's famous docudrama about global warming, and you begin to see what I'm talking about. It is true that we need to pay attention to our environment and the ecology issues of our time. After all, we have to drink the water and breathe the air.

The oceans also grow our food, and they are ultra-important for human life. If the air becomes too polluted we cannot breathe it without having health issues. And these are all things we must consider. If you are a "far left environmentalist" I can tell you of a great book to read that you will love. If you are a right wing conservative and get tired of all the environmental overblown doom-and-gloomers then perhaps, you might like this book too, and it might stop and make you think.

The book that I like to recommend to you is one that I read because it was recommended by the World Futurist Society or WFS. The name of the book is:"Building a Sustainable Society; We Have Not Inherited the Earth from Our Fathers, We Are Borrowing It from Our Children," Lester R. Brown, 1981, published by the world watch Institute

The author is very well known in futurist circles and this book is actually fairly decent. It talks about the challenges ahead with regards to ecology, and the environment challenges such as; expanding farmlands, water, nutrients and poor soil, expanding deserts, deforestation, overconsumption, oil coal, nuclear, food issues, genetically modified crops, runaway inflation in prices, and global competition.

He also talks about solutions for energy such as: cellulose ethanol, bio-waste, hydro, ocean wave energy, solar, geothermal, and wind. And there are chapters on better transportation, smarter cities, and urbanization, and how to put it all together to help the Third World along with potential R&D programs, which he believes should be priorities. Indeed, I hope you will please consider this.

Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank. Lance Winslow believes in smart thinking.

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BOOK REVIEW: Developing a National Drought Policy in Australia

By Lance Winslow

Australia just went through the worst drought in 50 years. Interestingly enough, their drought wasn't any worse as a percentage of average rainfall as it was 50 years ago, but unfortunately they have a lot more people now all vying for the same amount of water. Some folks have blamed global warming, but it appears it was the El Nino cycle is what changed things. Luckily, the drought is over, however their problems with over water use remain.

Each time there is a drought it will appear to be more severe due to the water usage. If you'd like to learn more about how Australia dealt with this incredible drought situation, then I'd like to recommend a very good book to you, a project I actually participated in, and gave commentary for: "Consultations on National Drought Policy: Preparing for the Future - Drought Review Panel", The Government of Australia, 2004.

The book describes the Australian government's $1.2 Billion Drought Assistance Program, and the importance for preparedness in the future due to climate variability, El Nino, and the cyclone season. This book fully describes the regional and social impacts and why a National Drought Policy is paramount. It also describes future procedures for Drought Declarations and Alert Levels.

The economics of drought when there is a shortage of water there is also a drought in the business community. It obviously affects farming and agriculture, and that goes without saying, but it also affects nearly every industry. This is why water conservation is a key. It is my contention that the Australian government was very wise to be proactive in solving their problems and mitigating the drought situation. It is also my belief that every government should study this, because it is a blueprint for future success when calamity strikes. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this.

Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank. Lance Winslow believes in conservation of water resources.

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CONSERVATION: The Essential Activities of Wildlife Conservation

By Mark Bottell

Wildlife conservation is a delicate and complicated process, with dedicated teams trying to rebuild complex ecosystems, manage large wildlife populations, and protect these areas from harm. Many of the world's most magnificent areas of natural beauty are under threat from humans, and conservationists work hard to preserve these places for future generations, and to restore damaged areas back to their former glory.

There's been an increase in recent years in volunteer wildlife conservation, where people on gap years or career breaks volunteer to help work as conservationists for weeks, months, or even a whole year. Conservation practices vary from country to country and from habitat to habitat, but these are a few of the things you are could get involved in as a volunteer conservationist ...

Tracking and Monitoring

Animal monitoring is one of the most important elements of wildlife conservation. Whether it is by electronic tracking or by human observation, animal numbers must be monitored so that their populations can be controlled. If the numbers of a particular species grow too large they could threaten other animals, and if they fall too low steps need to be taken to protect them. Following the movement and migration of animals also provides the chance to research their behaviour. Of course, for volunteers, the chance to observe animals like lions and elephants in their natural habitat can be an unforgettable experience!

Habitat and Reserve Maintenance

There are all kinds of efforts that must be made to maintain the habitats in a wildlife reserve. Rock erosion needs be monitored and countered, and any alien plants and animals which could be a threat to the reserve must be found and removed from the reserve. Many reserves rely on perimeter fences to prevent animals from moving out of the reserve (and to prevent unwanted visitors!), and these need to be checked on and repaired if they are damaged. This kind of work may not be the most exciting side of wildlife conservation, but it is just as essential as any other element.

Rehab and Veterinary Care

Out in the wild, sick and injured animals soon become victims of predators, or simple starvation. However, on a wildlife reserve dealing with endangered species or low populations, the loss of even a single animal can be a terrible setback. Wounded, sick, and poisoned animals can be captured and brought back to a veterinary centre to be treated, rehabilitated, and then reintroduced back into the wild, and this is often an important part of any wildlife conservation program.

Reserve Patrol

Wildlife reserves are fragile areas that need to be protected from humans. Some times, people cause damage unintentionally - tourists feeding animals without knowing that it is forbidden, or attempting to take out rare plants as souvenirs. Some times, of course, it is a deliberate effort, poachers being the most well known human threat that conservationists have to battle against. Most wildlife reserves are diligently patrolled to ensure that tourists and the local population are treating the environment with the respect and care that it deserves.

These activities often form the backbone of wildlife conservation, but there are many more elements to the process - and volunteer conservationists will get the chance to experience many of them first hand!
Mark Bottell is the General Manager for Worldwide Experience, an online tour operator offering extended breaks focusing on wildlife conservation work and various adventurous gap years for adults.

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ZEITGEIST: Search For an Alternative Energy Supply is Forcing New Thinking

By JM Smith

Finding an alternative energy supply is this decades priority, and is forcing new thinking from our politicians and from our inventive entrepreneurs. Our Scientists are under attack as never before due to the debate raging worldwide about climate change and its legitimacy; or is it just a worldwide collective tax on humanity for the benefit of a few, remains to be fought by those opposing forces. But what the average "Joe and Jill" do know, is that our climate is different to anything we have experienced in the past.

Here in Australia we are just coming into our summer months, yet we have had the hottest Spring days ever recorded. Adelaide in South Australia has already experienced 7 days straight of hot days in excess of 40+ Celsius and been on extreme fire watch. Last summer in Victoria we had whole towns burnt out with the loss of hundreds of lives.

So whoever is right about emission trading schemes and carbon sequestration methods or enshrining into law a new tax for carbon trading schemes remains to be fiercely debated and will likely be contested for years to come. But where Australia is standing right now is facing the predicted hottest summer on record and current power supplies that will be severely challenged.

The search for a new viable power supply is essential. With the growth in Australia's population, weather heating up, existing power sources struggling to meet current demand we have to do find a new power source this decade. And some new thinking from our politicians who in the past have tended to serve 'big business' first before the needs of the "average Joe and Jill" now need the small entrepreneur who for many years has struggled to get funding for Research and Development (R&D) funding of new ideas and technologies.

It is really unfortunate timing (unfortunate or contrived is still being debated) that climate change has come to the urgency it has in such a catastrophic financial environment. When the average world citizen is worrying about their own financial survival it means their attention is distracted and they aren't paying the attention that this debate on climate change and new power sources deserves.

If Australia and the rest of the world is to find an alternative energy supply then we also need just as radical a new way of thinking from our elected or otherwise world leaders. They are needed to come up with a strategy that will engender the best solution that is as fair as possible to as many as possible without favouring vested interests.

I have great faith in our entrepreneurs to find a solution because there have already been many good ideas that have died in the embryonic stage due to lack of funds. The answer to the real question in this fiasco also represent the solution and that is "can our world leaders divorce themselves from the vested interests long enough to find a consensual solution to climate change and our energy requirements?"

Solar construction contractors are now undergoing new ways of thinking and are setting up new training apprenticeships for more information

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ALTERNATIVE ENERGY: Five Alternative Sources of Energy and the Pros and Cons of Each

By John Newcomb

As the world reels under the impact of global warming, the necessity for alternative sources of energy seems even more urgent. With the cost (financial as well as environmental) of using traditional fossil fuels increasing day by day, mankind's survival depends on exploiting alternative, renewable sources of energy. Here, we take a look at some of these sources, and the pros and cons of each.

1. Solar Energy
Pros: Present everywhere. Limitless, clean, renewable and sustainable.
Cons: Current technology to exploit solar power is very expensive. Requires large land area to be fully utilized. Not useful on rainy or cloudy days, or in areas that do not get adequate sunlight.

2. Wind Energy
Pros: Present everywhere, limitless, and renewable. Wind power is a very clean source of energy.
Cons: Like solar power, requires a very large land area to be of actual use. Wind strength not the same everywhere; can only be exploited where the wind speed is high enough. Wind mills are an eyesore and destroy the landscape.

3. Nuclear Energy
Pros: Clean, sustainable, renewable. Can be tapped anywhere.
Cons: Expensive. The radioactive waste produced by nuclear power plants is very dangerous and almost impossible to dispose of. Still, one of the most promising energy sources in wide use today.

4. Hydroelectric Energy
Pros: Clean, virtually limitless, sustainable.
Cons: Expensive. Can be tapped only at large waterfalls. Requires huge physical infrastructure. Diffifulty in transporting produced power.

5. Geothermal Energy
Pros: Clean, virtually limitless.
Cons: Can be tapped only in regions where it is available (which are few and far in between), limiting its effectiveness. Difficult to tap. Not very sustainable or practical.

John is a blogger who has been writing online for 3 years. His latest blog is about cable amplifier. Check it out here: Cable Amplifier.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

CASE STUDY: The New Apollo Project - A Model to Save the World

By Suzanne De Cornelia

President Kennedy announced the Apollo Project to put man on the moon within a decade. No one thought it could happen. Then a spellbound world watched Neil Armstrong take 'a giant leap for mankind' before the decade was out.

Today, a new Apollo Project seeks to create 3 million jobs in 21st century energy industries by switching US energy dependence from the Middle East, and turn our rustbelt into the Hydrogen and Hybrid Hub. The new $300 billion dollar Apollo Project is a coalition that includes environmental groups, and 12 of America's largest labor unions.

Over 70% of Americans want the government to protect the environment, and 88% want an energy plan based on solar power, fuel-cell technology and higher fuel efficiency standards. The multinational corporations, big oil and automotive industries are granted billions of dollars in government subsidies and tax cuts, and on top of those give-aways drain the US Treasury of another over $70 billion a year by using tax shelters. They permanently occupy the globe's oil producing regions, also supported by US taxpayers; profit from importing oil and building bigger cars, and by lacing our foods with oil-derived pesticides, herbicides and preservatives that are killing us and our land, and making cancers epidemic.

The US has 5% of the world's population, and uses 25% of its resources, and accounts for 25% of the global warming. Americans drive an u50 million gas-guzzler SUVs that spike the CO2 factor of global warming. If the fleet mileage exemption on SUVs was ended, and gas mileage increased by 3 miles per a gallon, we could end Middle East oil imports--for which we've fought two wars in recent years that cost us $3 Trillion.

Global oil reserves are being rapidly sucked dry, as demand increases from emerging nations. Our planet is Code Red from the lust for oil. Oil wars bankrupt our schools and public services, poison our water and air, kill the land, incite human rights abuses, civil unrest and more terrorism everywhere that America is building-and policing pipelines with mercenaries-from Burma to Columbia. Peru to Afghanistan. Ecuador to Iraq. We need to end this insanity before it ends us!

Every second our sun releases more energy than humanity has used in all of its history. This electromagnetism powers many of our most advanced technologies. We have the technology to harness it to replace the 3-million+ jobs US corporations exported to Asia. And by concurrently replacing the US Income Tax with a 21st century US Waste Tax, we could at once retrain our workers, repair the environment, and boost the American economy to sustainable levels of prosperity.

The Apollo program and projects like it can become America's next economic rocket, by revitalizing infrastructure, and creating millions of new jobs in design, engineering, manufacturing, construction, marketing, and transportation. Climb aboard!

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CASE STUDY: An Outstanding Sustainable Global Model - Born From Tragedy

By Suzanne De Cornelia

Kim Basinger won a Best Actress Oscar portraying Kuki Gallman in the film 'I Dream of Africa' based on Kuki's reverberating autobiography. As a child in Italy she dreamed about Africa. People told her, little Italian girls don't move to Africa. As an adult, she and her husband and son did.

They acquired the natural wonder of the 100,000 acre Ol Ari Nyiro ranch in Kenya, along with its cattle, sheep and camels. Lion, black rhino, elephant, buffalo, leopard, zebra, waterbuck, impala, antelope and cheetah roam the ranch's mountains and forests. 400-types of birds fly its air. 800 different kinds of plants cover its land.

The ranch is self-sustaining with organically grown fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, eggs, dairy product and herbs that its gourmet chef whips into nutrient-packed delights. Natural springs supply water. Electricity and light comes from solar power, rechargeable batteries, and candles. Upon acquiring the ranch Kuki hired rangers to stop the poaching and became passionately involved in conservation.

In the early 1980's, the two worst possible tragedies struck. Kuki's beloved husband Paolo died in an auto accident, just before their daughter was born. And three years later her adorable 17-year-old son Emanuele was killed on the eve of his departure for Stanford University. Both treasured their African paradise, and for them Kuki rededicated her life to sustaining its natural glory.

She started the Gallmann Memorial Foundation in 1984 as a living memorial to Paolo and Emanuele. They are buried in her garden beneath two Acacia trees, within the spiritual richness they treasured. The Foundation's logo of two Acacia trees symbolizes resurrection and new beginning.

Ol Ari Nyiro has become a model of sustainable paradise: melding humans and nature, development and conservation. The Foundation's programs are often in partnership with scientists, museums, zoological societies, and wildlife funds from around the globe. They include: antipoaching programs, community service, ecological, ornithological and botanical studies, and range management.

Other ranch highlights are a Black Rhino Sanctuary; a Wildlife Preserve; and luxurious guest huts with fireplaces and verandahs in native African style. At the ranch's Laikipia Wilderness Center for Environmental Education high school and university students study environmental stewartship with the Ranch's researchers and rangers. They track animals, catalogue species, learn basic Swahili and low-impact camping. Their dormitories are built from native materials and are wind and solar powered.

Kuki realized her dream of living a most civilizing life, apart from modern civilization. She used her tragedies to evolve a living memorial and a model for the entire world. She says we all must act to create a better world '... we each share the responsibility to protect what we could today so easily destroy.' For more information see:

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GREEN LIVING: Electric Bicycles - Green Transportation

By Alejandro Chacon

Electric bicycles are one of the greenest forms of transportation there is. Green electric bicycles are becoming more widely accepted, as the Consumer Product Safety Commission has recently classified electric bicycles as bicycles, provided the top assisted speeds do not exceed 20 mph, total propulsive power does not exceed 1 Hp, and the vehicle includes fully functional pedals.

Green electric bicycles are the new way to get around. Green electric bicycles are a fantastic method of transportation that allows you to get where you need to be in a fast, efficient and eco-friendly manner. An electrical bicycle offers you a lot more than freedom of movement.

Electric Folding Bicycle

Folding bikes come in a wide range of sizes and with a variety of features. Folding bikes are also especially convenient in cities and college dorms where space is an issue. Green electric folding bikes present an excellent way for one to commute, as they provide all of the advantages of portability coupled with the benefit of electric assistance.

A folding bike is a bike that is designed so that when not in use it can be folded into a much more compact size. Due to the nature of their folding mechanisms there is absolutely no risk of a bike collapsing while in motion we have made it a point to mention this as this is a legitimate concern experienced by those new to folding bikes; for those that are experienced, well, they share our confidence.

Electric Scooter

There are many different manufacturers and styles of scooters with different characteristics. Motorized kick scooters are usually larger than non-motorized ones. Scooters had somewhat larger motors, but none of them produced more than one horsepower (746W). And are cheaper and less polluting than most conventional scooters and mopeds. Somebody may argue that the scooter still use the fuel indirectly (electricity).

Silent Scooter brings affordable, high quality street-legal, green electric bicycles to America. Motorized scooters usually have hand brakes and often have larger, pneumatic rubber tires; and some have pedestal seats. Power scooters rely on multiple batteries and can weigh up to 90 kg (200 pounds). Lots of electric scooters, for example, are outfitted with nonfunctioning pedals and with speed-limiting devices designed for easy removal after purchase.


Batteries and the hub motor are positioned to lower the center of gravity, minimize rotational steering inertia and provide optimal balance about the steering axis. Batteries and bicycles can be used at very low temperatures. Green electric bicycles use rechargeable batteries, electric motors and some form of control. Battery systems in use include lead-acid, NiCd, NiMH and Li-ion batteries. 90% of bikes today use sealed lead acid batteries, which cost about $45 to $99 to replace. An e-bike battery can be fully charged from a regular electrical outlet in less than 4 hours, costing less than 3 cents per charge.


About $25 worth of energy from a wall plug gets you 5,000 miles of travel at a fraction of the cost of gas vehicles, not to mention, a lot more fashionable. Charging the battery takes about four hours and costs just a few cents. Nevertheless, experts are optimistic that the green electric bikes will ultimately prevail because of the adverse environmental and health effects of automobiles and the rising cost of petroleum products.

Green electric bicycles cost about $5 worth of electricity a year. Bicycle. Battery costs are going down steadily with increasing demand. An electric bike costs anywhere $800 to $2000, depending on features. Did you know that riding a green electric bicycle only costs pennies per charge?

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CLIMATE CHANGE: Noctilucent Clouds Indicate Something is Changing in the Atmosphere

By Henry M. Smith

Noctilucent clouds are thin, ice clouds that occur in the mesosphere. The mesosphere is the part of our atmosphere that is high above the Earth, and is just under the exosphere where our atmosphere slowly blends with space. They are called noctilucent because they appear bright at night, being brightened by the sun well after it has set. They are too thin to be noticed in daylight.

Originally, these clouds were associated with the eruption of the volcano Krakatoa. In 1883, Krakatoa had a massive, upward explosion, and the appearances of noctilucent clouds began shortly thereafter. This led to the natural connection between the two events. It was believed dust and water were ejected to great heights, and did not settle immediately. This was believed to have served as the source of the clouds, since noctilucent clouds first appeared just a few years after the volcanic event.

Today, this idea has lost its appeal, since over the years the materials placed in the upper atmosphere should have eventually settled. Even more perplexing is that these clouds are increasing in coverage.

Noctilucent clouds were initially thought to be two distinct varieties, one called noctilucent and the other called mother of pearl, based on their appearances. Noctilucent clouds covered a significant portion of the sky, but mother of pearl clouds might be smaller. Today they are all regarded as noctilucent clouds, or mesospheric clouds.

Normally, these clouds remain far from the equator in both hemispheres. This situation is slowly changing. They are now appearing farther south in the Northern Hemisphere, and farther north in the Southern Hemisphere. Simply go to and view the photographs, paying attention to the locations from which the photographs originate. While most places mentioned are far north, a few are much closer to the equator than would have been thought possible a few decades ago.

This raises the question of why is this happening. Apparently, temperature conditions are changing in the upper atmosphere. Water vapor condenses into ice clouds only if the air is supersaturated. Since there is no apparent increase in water vapor available to make these clouds, the temperature in the mesosphere must be falling to cause this supersaturated condition to become more prevalent.

Is there a connection with changes in the mesosphere and our climate? According to Nasa, there might be an association between these clouds increasing and global warming, albeit a controversial connection. A few years ago Nasa in Strange Clouds at was reporting the cooling of the mesosphere might be associated with global warming. Notice the word "might." Whether there is or not remains uncertain, but there is some certainty that something is changing in the mesosphere.

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CASE STUDY: All About California's State Water Project

By Ray C. Subs

With California's third year of drought and the resulting limitations and problems the water shortage has caused, many people are probably wondering about the process of water going from a lake to your home. California's State Water Project (CSWP) is the conduit used for this process. There are currently 29 water suppliers in California. These suppliers provide clean, quality water to both "urban users and ... agricultural users." A system of "reservoirs, aqueducts, power plants, and pumping plants", CSWP is the nation's largest "water and power development and conveyance system."

Presently comprised of thirty-four lakes, reservoirs, and other storage facilities, twenty-four pumping plants, five hydroelectric power plants, and over seven hundred miles of pipeline, the Water Project provides clean H2O to over twenty million Californians and over six hundred thousand acres of agriculture.

The purpose of CSWP is not only to store and distribute clean water to its population, but also to "improve water quality in the Delta, control Feather River flood waters, provide recreation, and enhance fish and wildlife." That is a lot for one project to accomplish so California's Department of Water Resources oversees and aids the Project.

With all that the CSWP is responsible for, what is their annual cost? Including the salaries of a diverse company of biologists, hydroelectric technicians, engineers, specialists in water development, and other civil workers as well as expenses such as supplies and equipment the total annual cost is around six hundred million dollars. While this might seem expensive, seventy-eight percent of the financing needed to construct the State Project were raised from the sale of "general obligation and revenue bonds.

Other funding sources have included tideland oil revenues, investment earnings, legislative appropriations for recreation, federal flood control payments, and water contractor advances." In addition the 29 water suppliers pay the CSWP for "all water supply related costs." This covers over ninety percent of the annual costs for the Project. Due to their involvement with fish and wildlife California's State government supplies a percentage of the annual costs as well. The federal government provides the rest in exchange for "joint operation of [the] San Luis facilities."

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CASE STUDY: Geothermal Activity on Nevis Island

By Sherry Irvin

Geothermal energy comes from an amazing source: the inner sanctum of our planet Earth. It began with formation of the planet and is a direct result of the decay of radioactive materials, as well as solar energy absorption on the surface. It was used in ancient times to heat water for bathing and also to warm living spaces. The science has been known for centuries; it is the application of the processes to better utilize the science that is growing.

Geothermal energy has been getting quite a bit of press in recent years for its low, almost non-existent carbon emissions. It can be a great alternative to other sources of power that emit greater amounts of carbon and are far less sustainable in the long term. Its functions used to be limited to areas close to the Earth's tectonic plates. Technology, however, has enabled progress to be made wherein a greater geographic area can be accessed to benefit more people.

Nevis is a small island in the Caribbean with some serious hot springs. These hot springs were first discovered in the 18th Century and were responsible for the opening of the Bath Hotel, which was a very unique resort at the time. The springs are responsible for an even greater amount of attention today. They can produce enough geothermal energy for not only the island's power needs, but also for its neighbors as well.

The United States Energy Department performed studies on the geothermal activity at Nevis several years ago. It was determined that the island could ultimately produce 900 megawatts of electricity. The little island consumes only 9 megawatts of energy as it stands today; therefore, the remainder can easily be shared with its neighbors.

The plan is to use three geothermal wells, along with steam-powered turbines, to more fully curb any greenhouse gas emissions. Producing geothermal energy in the most efficient way possible allows the greatest impact to be applied to stop the ravages of climate change. Production is expected to begin in 2010.

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ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH: GE Or GM Foods - Health Concern in Our Environment

By Sally Wilson

There are many aspects about genetically engineered foods that the public finds disturbing, particularly in the area of how they will affect our health. This has become a highly controversial subject yet it is a matter that will be affecting all of us now, as into the future.

Such a new science has had little time to test the results of laboratory manipulations of food chemistry and genetics and the poverty of any serious assurances from the scientific fraternity increases our nervousness.

Years ago, Dr. Judy Carman, senior lecturer from the Department of Health at the University of Adelaide, voiced some of her concerns. One of these was that the use of antibiotic resistant genes in plants could give rise to antibiotic resistance in humans. Also, allergic reactions to many foods are already evident and thought to be increasing in number with the introduction of GM foods into the general market. Dr. Carman also draws attention to further safety factors "Current safety testing of GE foods is minimal. Tests are done by employees or companies paid by GE companies. Test results are rarely published for scientific review.

In Australia, ANZFA is the sole body to assess these company documents. An independent review of reports published by ANZFA has concluded that tests are inadequate, that GE food have never been tested on humans and that some GE foods have not even been tested on animals."

The situation may have changed over recent years through the public becoming better informed. However we must assume that in commercial food outlets and restaurants it is likely that genetically engineered foods are now being used as a matter of course.

There have been many voices raised in protest by those who do not wish to eat GM foods, and fight for a fair situation that will allow them to avoid health problems. This is a vital issue that should be based upon freedom of personal choice. In spite of various governments and health authorities having regulated that any product must be adequately labelled should any ingredients have been manufactured or produced agriculturally by these methods in question, in practice there are further problems encountered by consumers, who are left to place their trust in the honesty of a system that is still developing.

It seems that for years we have unknowingly been eating many GE foods produced from grains, vegetables, oils and fruits that are common produce on supermarket shelves. The desire to avoid these questionable artificially engineered foods has opened up a market and some merchants now offer 'GM Free' produce. It is this that we must look to on labels.

Other than this, we must for the time being rely upon our senses and keep alert. Any food product that looks good must also satisfy our acquired sense of taste - and this is one of the natural ways to ensure the quality of our own nutrition upon which our health depends.

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CLIMATE CHANGE: The Consequences of a Global Water Shortage

By Jennifer Carpenter

While the oil crisis is getting lots of press there is another more critical resource shortage that is falling mostly under the radar. I'm talking about the global water shortage which threatens drinking water and crop production around the world.

According to Charity water, a non-profit committed to bringing clean drinking water to people who don't have it, 1.1 billion people around the world don't have access to clean drinking water. As more and more water gets polluted that statistic will rise.

There are many things ruining the state of our drinking water including old pipes and rusting structures running under most American cities, major droughts, and the prevalence of asphalt roads covering the country. Older pipes are falling apart and contaminating the liquid that runs through them. There are many parts of the country where the water coming out of their taps is brown. Other areas are recommended to boil their water from time to time due to contamination.

Some municipalities have treated their water with so much chlorine that it is barely drinkable. Meanwhile asphalt roads prevent water from being absorbed and instead directs it to runoff to the side where is become practically useless. State and local authorities have only a few choices between filtering dirty water and desalinating salt water. Both options are extremely expensive and somewhat inefficient.

The shortage also affects irrigation to crops. Without water for growing food, farmers won't be able to produce enough to stay in business and the price of food will go through the roof. Even now, some farmers in parts of the western United States have to think up alternative ways to irrigate their land since their regular water sources are running dry.

As it becomes more difficult to get, the price of clean and drinkable water will become out of reach for many families both here in American and around the world. The market for water will become more volatile than that of oil. In fact it's likely that the water shortage will put the world's oil shortage to shame.

Only by careful conservation and drastically changing out overly wasteful ways will there be any chance of slowing down or even possibly stopping the global shortage. Government official have to start taking water conservation seriously by passing laws to prevent wasting water and fixing the decrepit structures around our cities. At home every person should be shutting off faucets when washing dishes or brushing teeth; installing water saving shower fixtures, toilets, dishwashers and washing machines; and only running appliances when full.

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ZEITGEIST: Organic Farming - Small and Local

By F. Tadesse

I am convinced that truly organic farming can be done better by smaller farms.The bigger the farm is the more likely that the farm has to resort to methods that are not organic and environmentally sustainable. The sheer size of the farm demands it. Many people must feel the same way because CSAs, (community supported agriculture) are becoming very popular.

What are CSAs? CSA's are farms where the surrounding community is directly involved with the growing of food. People become members of a CSA and pay membership fee and for that they get weekly seasonal vegetables and fruits throughout the growing season.

Members share the risk that is involved in farming such as not getting good crop because of bad weather or blight. CSA were first created about 20 years ago in the 80s to practice farming in an ecologically balanced manner.These farms use Organic or biodynamic farming methods. There are about 2,500 CSAs throughout the US according to LocalHarvest, an organic and local food website. The idea for this kind of farming came from Europe. Here in the US these farms were first started in the North east and now has spread to the West Coast. In some parts of the country there are not enough of these farms to keep up with the demand (information source the USDA).

There are many advantages for both the farmer and the members to this kind of community farming. For the farmer he gets to spend less time marketing and gets to sell his products before his long 16 hour days in the field starts. He has enough cash flow to run things smoothly. Farming risks are shared with the community.
For the CSA members it is getting the freshest, in season, local, and organic foods. Reconnecting to the land and knowing where their food comes from is another. Getting to know the farmer who grows yo food is really wonderful. Another unexpected benefit is kids seem to like eating vegetables from these farms that they would not eat if bought from a supermarket..

So with community supported agriculture people gain back sense of real community, that sense of connection to each other and to that of the land and our stewardship of the environment.

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CASE STUDY: Southside CSA in Brooklyn - Supporting Local Farmers Through Community Shared Agriculture

By Caitlin O'Connell

With more and more New Yorkers clamoring for the freshest greens money can buy, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) pickups are sprouting up around the five boroughs. Southside CSA is one of the trend's latest offshoots opening just this year and serving the Greenpoint and Williamsburg areas of Brooklyn.
Just as with the NYC Greenmarkets, the ubiquitous citywide farmer's market, CSA shares - veggies, fruits, eggs, and wine - hail from Hudson Valley farmlands. However, there is one key distinction between the systems.

"You don't get to choose your produce, but you're sharing in the farmer's bounty," said CSA core group member, Esther Giangrande. Ms. Giangrande teamed up with the other founding group members through the Greenpoint-Williamsburg CSA low-income fundraising committee. She had been using the CSA's current pickup location, Bridget Urban Wine Bar in Williamsburg, as a venue for fundraisers to benefit Greenpoint Soup Kitchen.

The way a CSA works is that before the harvest season begins, (for Southside CSA's produce, the season runs for 20 weeks, from June 22 through November 2), members decide whether they would like to purchase a full share or half share. All CSAs are based on a similar concept. Share prices are literally seed money for the farmer, based on what is needed to grow the crops promised for the season.

For greens only, full shares cost $400 per season, and members pick up their weekly veggie supply every Monday at night Bridget. With half-shares, which cost $200, the pick-up is only every other week. Over the course of the 20 weeks however, the different shares amount to $20 worth per week, roughly the amount that the farmer would receive at market for his goods. Because full shares are so large, it is not uncommon for three or four locals to divide the produce. Before each pickup, a list of arriving vegetables is posted on the Southside CSA blog, leaving time for members to find suitable recipes or organize impromptu dinner parties.

Southside CSA is unique in that the share has a spicy twist: in keeping with the neighborhood's Latin tradition, the vegetables include several staple ingredients for Mexican meals such as sweet corn, cilantro, and quelites from the Mexican-influenced MimoMex Farm, alongside produce characteristic of the Hudson Valley.

For some, the appeal of Southside lies in the uncertainty of the outcome of the harvest season. While with the payment of the share money there is an expectation that the promised produce will be delivered, nothing is definite. In that way, CSAs offer more than just fresh vegetables, they offer an insight into the farming experience.

Another unique aspect of the CSA system is that there is no set staff aside from the few founding members; instead, it depends on the dedication of its members to volunteer to help with organizing the pick-ups (much like a food co-op). A member-base workforce is what makes Southside so sustainable: by taking care of the distribution and marketing of the incoming goods, the CSA saves busy farmers the burden of worrying about storage and shipping. Standard shift duties include meeting and unloading the produce truck, setting up for fruit and vegetable pickup, and helping distribute the produce to fellow members.

Southside CSA is more than just artichoke heart; it's core members are committed to local outreach and uphold their pledge to fresh food for all by donating leftover pickup vegetables to soup kitchens. Southside CSA has partnered with Craig's Kitchen, a local community action group, that supplies soup kitchens around Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and other Brooklyn neighborhoods. The organization shares the CSA's belief in healthy, organic, and fresh meals for all.

The CSA movement has had incredible momentum, with more than 18 new distribution centers opening just this year in addition to Southside (there were about 50 CSAs in 2008); compared to the NYC Greenmarket, which has 46 locations throughout the boroughs, it seems that the CSA are becoming a favored local destination for fresh food. Not only does a CSA membership provide you with more beets for your buck, but it's also more convenient because chances are there is one right in your neighborhood.

[The Bridge Wine Share, wines exclusively from the Bridge Vineyard of North Fork, Long Island, are $360 full/$180 half. The NY Wine Share, a mix of reds and whites from the various wine-producing regions of the state from Long Island to the Finger Lakes to the Hudson Valley, are $400 full/$200 half. Like the produce and egg shares, wine shares are also distributed Monday evenings at Bridget. The vegetable and fruit shares complement weekly wine offerings].

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CASE STUDY: Public Clean Energy Investment

By Ben Beiny

Investment and grants in clean energy from international development banks and organisations reached $8.3bn in 2007, rising from $6bn in 2006. This number looks set to continue increasing in the coming years.
The top investor in 2007 was the European Investment Bank (EIB) ($3.2bn), followed by the World Bank ($1.43bn), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) ($1.21bn) and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the US Department of Energy ($0.91bn).

These top 4 lenders accounted for 81% of the clean energy investment from development organisations in 2007 (a total of 32 institutions were analysed).

Other notable clean energy investors in this sector include the African Development Bank ($0.38bn), the Development Bank of Japan ($0.35bn), the Nordic Investment Bank ($0.28bn), the Asian Development Bank ($0.22bn) and the Global Environment Facility ($0.17bn). However, the European Investment Bank stands out with renewable energy commitments of $3.2bn in 2007, which alone accounts for 39% of total clean energy investment by international development organisations.

Each organisation's clean energy investment can be split into two broad areas: energy efficiency and renewable energy (excl. large hydro and 50 MW). In general, renewable energies received more funding, except in the case of the EBRD, where energy efficiency lending was 89% ($1.08bn) of total investment. This was a result of increased efforts to bring the efficiency of conventional power plants in Eastern Europe in line with EU environmental standards, as well as large investment in industrial efficiency, including the modernisation of steel plants ($75m), cement facilities ($28m) and glass factories($42.5m) in Russia and the Ukraine.

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