Posts tagged green

Earth Day & Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot

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This gives me goosebumps every time I watch it…. Happy Earth Day !

 

The Story of Electronics

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The Story of Electronics employs the Story of Stuff style to explore the high-tech revolution’s collateral damage—25 million tons of e-waste and counting, poisoned workers and a public left holding the bill. Host Annie Leonard takes viewers from the mines and factories where our gadgets begin to the horrific backyard recycling shops in China where many end up. The film concludes with a call for a green “race to the top” where designers compete to make long-lasting, toxic-free products that are fully and easily recyclable

t r u t h o u t | The Story of Electronics Video

Leave it as it is…

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Leave it as it is. You cannot improve it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it….

President Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt commenting on seeing the Grand Canyon

Read more about the US National Parks and President Teddy Roosevelt at http://www.nps.gov and  http://blogs.nashualibrary.org/reference/2009/09/leave_it_as_it_is_1.html

TED | Michael Pritchard’s water filter turns filthy water drinkable

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Turn any water into drinking water… $20 billion can provide safe drinking water for the entire world… this would an ideal stimulus plan…. healthier people can improve their own lives and contribute to their and society’s development

Rainforests may pump winds worldwide

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The NewScientist has an article titled Rainforests may pump winds worldwide, which may shake up the climate and environmental skeptics. It seems large forests are the heart, lungs and kidneys of our living planet. Large forests may be responsible for pumping moisture laden air across continents helping rainfall far inland…

Cool factoid of the day from the article: “More moisture typically evaporates from rainforests than from the ocean. The Amazon rainforest, for example, releases 20 trillion litres of moisture every day.

How can forests create wind? Water vapour from coastal forests and oceans quickly condenses to form droplets and clouds. The Russians point out that the gas takes up less space as it turns to liquid, lowering local air pressure. Because evaporation is stronger over the forest than over the ocean, the pressure is lower over coastal forests, which suck in moist air from the ocean. This generates wind that drives moisture further inland. The process repeats itself as the moisture is recycled in stages, moving towards the continent’s heart (see diagram). As a result, giant winds transport moisture thousands of kilometres into the interior of a continent.

Happy Birthday! The Gasoline-Electric Hybrid Car is 100 Years Old

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Treehugger has a great article on the hybrid car technology turning 100. Actually about a 100 years ago there were more electric or hybrid cars than pure gasoline / petrol driven cars.

Forward Osmosis- revoluntionary water treatment?

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Cleantechnica has a post on Forward Osmosis. It is better explained here. The authors description in a gist:

…conventional desalination and reuse technologies use substantial energy. “forward osmosis,” exploits the natural diffusion of water through a semi-permeable membrane. Their process “draws” pure water from its contaminants to a solution of concentrated salts, which can easily be removed with low heat treatment — effectively desalinating or removing contaminants from water with little energy input.

The concentrated salt solution is probably a mixture of ammonia and/or carbon dioxide dissolved in water. The ammonia and CO2 are later easily boiled off and reused. The energy required for this quite less even low-cost solar heaters may be sufficient.

New Catalyst Paves The Path For Ethanol-powered Fuel Cells

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This could prove to be a breakthrough for bio-ethanol based fuel cells. Current fuel cells are mostly methanol based which is a toxic chemical and have low efficiency.
Here is the ScienceDaily (2009-01-29) article:

Scientists have developed a new catalyst that could make ethanol-powered fuel cells feasible. The highly efficient catalyst performs two crucial, and previously unreachable steps needed to oxidize ethanol and produce clean energy in fuel cell reactions.

Durable $5000 Home Made from Recycled Paper

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Local communities can probably leverage ideas like these to implement open-source design democratized green urban housing. BTW, how can you make a paper house fireproof? I understand that by using resin / coatings you make it waterproof but how it be made fireproof like bricks and not just fire-resistant?

Your thoughts / comments are welcome. Here is the link to the recycled paper house.

Exposing the Myth of Clean Coal Power

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Here is an excerpt of an excellent article on clean-coal in Time magazine. After reading the article clean-coal sounds like an oxymoron. The coal industry is creating the same FUD (fear, uncertainity, doubt) tactics used by the tobacco and petroleum industries…

On the other hand I come from India which depends on coal for over 50% of its electricity production and is ramping that up to cope with chronic shortage of energy.

Nevertheless, I believe that safer and more environmentally friendly alternatives can be available if the real-cost of fossil fuels is factored in. It is a tragedy that economics taught in school and practiced in the world does not account for the environmental cost of the natural resources we consume. It is probably time for new economics, for now the check out the article from Time:

The “clean coal” campaign was always more PR than reality — currently there’s no economical way to capture and sequester carbon emissions from coal, and many experts doubt there ever will be. But now the idea of clean coal might be truly dead, buried beneath the 1.1 billion gallons of water mixed with toxic coal ash that on Dec. 22 burst through a dike next to the Kingston coal plant in the Tennessee Valley and blanketed several hundred acres of land, destroying nearby houses. The accident — which released 100 times more waste than the Exxon Valdez disaster — has polluted the waterways of Harriman, Tenn., with potentially dangerous levels of toxic metals like arsenic and mercury, and left much of the town uninhabitable…..

A draft report last year by EPA found that the ash contains significant levels of carcinogens, and that the concentration of arsenic in ash, should it contaminate drinking water, could increase cancer risks by several hundred times. “This is hazardous waste, and it should be classified as such,” says Thomas Burke, an environmental risk expert at Johns Hopkins University…
“You can’t talk about clean coal without dealing with this problem,” says Eric Schaeffer, the director of the Environmental Integrity Project, which just came out with a new report finding that there are nearly 100 other largely unregulated wet dumps like the Kingston facility across the U.S.

In reality, we can’t really talk about clean coal — it doesn’t exist. Though the coal industry is right to point out that it has improved filters on coal plants, sending less traditional pollutants like sulfur dioxide and mercury into the air, the toxic waste that remains behind is only growing. The biggest advantage of coal power has been cost — in most cases, it remains much cheaper than cleaner alternatives like wind, solar or natural gas. But the cheapness of coal depends on the fact that external costs — climate change, or the health impacts of air and water pollution from coal — remain external, paid for not by utilities or coal companies but society as a whole. The coal industry itself estimates that taking better care of fly ash could cost as much as $5 billion a year — and if the government imposed a tax or cap on carbon dioxide, the price of coal would certainly rise.

From Time Magazine | Exposing the Myth of Clean Coal Power

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