Tag Archives: environment

From Toilet to Tap

I wanted to highlight “this article”:http://www.slate.com/id/2182758?GT1=10837, which talks about Orange County’s Jan 25 ’08 unveiling of their poop processing plant that converts CA residents’ turds to potable water. This is the first of its kind (in the US), given that previous attempts had been stomped by what I like to call the “yuck factor.” It’s cheaper, greener, and, I must admit, grosser than traditional reclamation methods, but maybe worth the sacrifice given the problems CA faces when getting drinkable water to its citizens.

Whale hunting… err… researching game

“Whale numbers seem to be decreasing in this area. We need to kill more whales to determine the cause of this decrease.”

That’s the kind of ironic humor that laces “Harpooned”:http://harpooned.org/, the Japanese Cetacean Research Simulator. Playing off of the Japanese insistence that they are only doing innocent research on whales despite continued whale hunting, this game puts you in the captain’s seat of a Japanese “research vessel” collecting whale meat and avoiding protesters. This game is hilarious, and though most of it is covered in the “preview video”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR4KN6EfX6M embedded below, it’s well worth playing yourself.

Previously featured on Duenos:
* “Who the Hell is Pro-whaling?”:http://duenos.net/article/48/who-the-hell-is-pro-whaling

Student housing with old shipping containers

Leave it to the Dutch to make this amazing piece of “student housing”:http://www.tempohousing.com/projects/keetwonen.html out of old shipping containers. The company, called Keetwonen makes these 40 square meter rooms with running water, internet and sexy style. Just another reason to think about moving to the Netherlands.

Plastic bag leadership nowhere to be found

When I was in South Africa a few summers ago I was really happy to notice that the stores charged extra for plastic bags. The result: everyone had re-usable cloth/thick plastic bags to carry their shopping with them. Since then I’ve learned that they were just one of the first to start the ball rolling on something most of the world has now taken on, the banning of the disposable bag.

Environmentalist uber-blog “Inhabitat”:http://www.inhabitat.com has a “great article”:http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/12/17/africas-outlook-and-ban-on-plastic-bags/ about the move away from throw-away plastic in Africa and I’m just left wondering, outside of San Francisco where is this movement in the United States. Like a lot of environmental movements, we in the States are in a great position to take the helm on this and yet we sit with our heads so firmly stuck in the sand I’m not even sure we can feel the winds of change blowing around us.

The above picture is taken from an awesome contributor-based photography site called the “Plastic Bag Gallery”:http://www.photonet.org.uk/plasticbag/. Individual credit goes to Jessica Backhaus from the UK.

Brad Pitt and others to sustainably rebuild New Orleans

Maybe it’s too little to late, but as Mr. Pitt said in his phone interview with the New York Times, “they’re coming up on their third Christmas… people are needing to get back in their homes.” Pledging $5 million himself, as well as commissioning 13 sustainable designs from nationally recognized architects, Brad Pitt sees himself as leading the way to a green reconstruction of the 9th Ward.

Some of the designs are really out there, like this grounded houseboat from Morphosis but the overall concept is really inspiring. As Pitt says, “[sustainable architecture] has got to work at all levels for it to be viable.” For more information see the “NYT article”:http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/03/arts/design/03pitt.html?ei=5070&en=4b9e4ced218a43ab&ex=1197349200&adxnnl=1&emc=eta1&adxnnlx=1197326187-q3D9zEgGaQtTs1Wxz/ZmRw or the Flash-bloated “homepage”:http://makeitrightnola.org/index.php

Cash for Poop

Oberlin College has a new program going on right now that might be the perfect way to make a little extra something on top of the usual check from the ‘rents. Apparently every time between now and Friday that you poop in the Adam Joseph Lewis Center (Environmental Studies building) the department will give you a quarter. The money is to be distributed at the “Low on Cash, High on FIber Bash” on Friday night.

Lucky enough to be there? Here’s a “link”:http://www.oberlin.edu/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/events/calendar.pl?display=college&which=&s=&_e=18442

Surfboards from grass

Some time ago I posted about people who made their own surfboards, skis and snowboards. In those cases, the materials were still conventional if the methods were anything but. “This company”:http://www.greenlightsurfsupply.com/about.html, Greenlight Surfboard Supplies, offers surfboard-making supplies made from eco/sustainable materials. Corn, bamboo, and sugar cane (all grasses) provide the main building block for Greenlight board materials and so, on the off-chance that you took the last post about home-building to heart, they’re apparently a good source of materials.

Previously featured on Duenos:
* “Build your own skis”:http://duenos.net/article/217/Buildyourownskis (and snowboards, surfboards, etc…)
* “Surfing goes nuclear”:http://duenos.net/article/10/surfing-goes-nuclear

Via “Treehugger”:http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/06/diy_bamboo_and.php

An aquatic canary

Coal miners used to carry canaries with them down into the mines as a sort of warning device of bad air quality. Because canaries are so much smaller than humans, they would die from breathing the toxic air way before the miners were in any danger. That served as inspiration for artist “Marei Wollesrsberger”:http://marei.co.uk/ whose “BioSafe Habitat”:http://www.we-make-money-not-art.com/archives/009608.php concept involves aquatic plants or fish serving the canaries sacrificial function. In reading about the project, I discovered a fascinating (and patented) species of fish called “GloFish”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GloFish. These modified zebrafish literally glow when exposed to water contaminants. They’re also the only genetically modified organism to be legally sold as a pet.

Pictures courtesy of “the artist”:http://marei.co.uk/biosafety/page4.html and “Wesley Tyler’s”:http://flickr.com/photos/wesleytyler/ “Flickr stream”:http://flickr.com/photos/wesleytyler/539704323/

CD hovercraft

I was reading a “Treehugger”:http://www.treehugger.com/ post about the “recyclability”:http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/06/ask_the_ecogeek.php (if that’s a word) of CDSs and found this cool compilation of “other uses”:http://www.techeblog.com/index.php/tech-gadget/top-5-most-creative-uses-for-old-cds for CDs. It turns out that while they technically can be recycled, it’s a pretty intense process. BUT, if you have an old CD lying you must try this, turning your CD into a hovercraft:

Make A Mini Hovercraft – video powered by Metacafe