Tag Archives: environment

Permafrost no longer

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/27/us/27newtok.html?ex=1337918400&en=7e93b110d8fc61d0&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss from today's New York Times highlights one of those towns on the edge, Newtok Alaska. Newtok used to be just another small Arctic outpost but now it's an island, cut off from the mainland by erosion. The residents of Newtok have an important story to tell about what it's like to live on the edge. It's a story we should hear. Photo courtesy of "Greenpeace":http://www.greenpeace.org/international/campaigns/climate-change.

The great bee caper

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disappearing_bees and it could be devastating. The biggest problem is that we can't even reach a conclusion as to why so many bees are deserting their hives, but since 1971 half the bees have disappeared in North America alone. A simple "Google search":http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=bee+disappearance yields 100's of causes and solutions. Some of the leading causes could be pesticides, genetically modified crops, or even "cell phone radiation":http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/05/03/healthscience/NA-SCI-US-Honeybees-Weird.php. The solutions being offered are not very impressive in that their scope is wide and various, but "this article":http://environment.guardian.co.uk/conservation/story/0,,2084842,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=29 in The Guardian is the most recent. It suggests that bees should be kept by city dwellers to foster a greater "bee friendly" landscape. Of course at this rate we may have to find a whole new solution. Nanobots? "Image":http://flickr.com/photos/encinoman/515498886/ from EncinoMan's "Flickr! stream":http://flickr.com/photos/encinoman/.

Apple starts recycling program

We previously covered “Apple’s last place”:http://duenos.net/article/120/greenpeace-releases-latest-green-electronics-rankings environmental record, and then the subsequent “green statement”:http://duenos.net/article/266/AGreenerApple from Steve Jobs, but it seems there is more. Apple announced last week that they were to start a school computer recycling program. Any school (k-12, University, College, etc…) with more than 25 computers to recycle, Macs or PCs, could sign up. After scheduling a pick-up, the rest of the work would be done by Apple who are, it seems, asking for nothing in return. There’s more about this story at “The Apple Insider”:http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/07/05/18/apple_offers_green_take_backs_for_old_school_computers.html.

Via “The Inquirer”:http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=39749

Dissolvable Plastic

One of my favorite “podcasts”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcasts, “60-Second Science”:http://sciam.com/podcast/ (available at “Scientific American”:http://sciam.com/ and “iTunes”:http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/), spoke about research being conducted by the “University of Southern Mississippi”:http://www.usm.edu/index.php to make stretch wrap plastic that is dissolvable in saltwater. In a nutshell, by incorporating “hydrophilic molecules”:http://www.wordconstructions.com/articles/technical/hydrophilic.html like “carboxylic acid”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carboxylic_acid into the plastic, the saltwater can break it down within 5 months to CO2 and water. The US military is funding the project so that on-board storage of plastic waste can be reduced by safely dumping it overboard after some minor preparations. For a more complete run-through of the application and hurdles of this research, please check out “this article”:http://www.sciencefriday.com/news/040307/news0403071.html from “sciencefriday.com”:http://www.sciencefriday.com/.

Green web hosting

http://alexherder.com, is hosted by "Dreamhost":http://www.dreamhost.com/aboutus-green.html, which, I was pleased to learn is completely carbon neutral. It turns out there there a number of "green hosting options":http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/05/plethora_of_opt.php out there, and Dreamhost is just part of a growing number of tech companies (see "recent post":http://duenos.net/article/266/AGreenerApple about Apple) with ecological aspirations. Check out Dreamhost's "green credentials":http://www.dreamhost.com/aboutus-green.html or look at all the "other options":http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/05/plethora_of_opt.php at "Treehugger.com":http://www.treehugger.com/.

Chinese green policy

One of the first articles to run on duenos.net was “this story”:http://duenos.net/article/43/a-different-approach-to-greening-the-countryside-in-china about officials in Fumin, China who went about greening the countryside by spray-painting a bare rock cliff with green paint. At the time the news was so recent that there were no pictures to be found, but here I was combing the “Treehugger”:http://treehugger.com pages and I found one. I just thought I’d post it in the interest of all things funny (in a sad, destructive kind of way).

A Greener Apple

This is a slightly older story, but I felt I needed to update everyone on Apple’s reaction to the perception that they are “the least green”:http://duenos.net/article/120/greenpeace-releases-latest-green-electronics-rankings computer company. A few weeks ago, Steve Jobs published a position paper laying out Apple’s environmental measures and aspirations. It turns out that, at least according to the very biased CEO Steve Jobs, Apple is not the 5th horseman of the ecological apocalypse. Jobs asserts that Apple is actually leading the way in terms of reducing heavy metals use in computer manufacturing. Apple’s recycling program is also supposedly world class, and the only one to use only US-based facilities for the job.

Is any of this true? I don’t know, but it seems like there’s a lot more research to be done to reconcile Jobs’ vision of his company with “Greenpeace’s”:http://www.greenmyapple.com/.

Governments shame property owners for heat waste

“Hotmapping”:http://www.hotmapping.co.uk/ is a company that uses spy-plane infrared technology to conduct surveys of municipalities looking for buildings that are losing heat. They have been hired by a number of local governments in the UK to create maps of their areas that they then have posted online in an effort to publicly shame property owners into not wasting heat energy. “This article”:http://property.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/property/article1744293.ece for more about one government’s efforts to make their more wasteful residents accountable and also offer energy saving ideas and advice. People don’t often know when or how they’re going wrong when it comes to waste, so I think this program could produce some good results.

One man's journey to see the results of his actions

Fred Pearce, senior environmental correspondent for the “New Scientist”:http://www.newscientist.com/ is calculating his footprint. Unlike the increasingly popular “footprint calculators”: found online, Pearce is actually going around the globe and visiting the source of the “gold in his wedding band”:http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2007/03/freds-footprint-cost-of-gold.html, the “jeans he wears”:http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2007/04/freds-footprint-jeans-from-dhaka.html?DCMP=Matt_Sparkes&nsref=fred, and his “favorite coffee”:http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2007/03/freds-footprint-how-fair-is-fair-trade.html. In this amazing series, the audience discovers, along with Pearce, just how connected the world it is. What we do and buy right here instantly (and sometimes catastrophically) effects people in as far off places as Dhaka, Tanzania and the South Africa.

Also featured in the ongoing series “Fred’s Footprint”: “Fairtrade cotton”:http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2007/02/freds-footprint-cottoning-on-to.html, “prawns”:http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2007/04/freds-footprint-where-prawns-meet-mafia.html, recycled “mobile phones”:http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2007/02/freds-footprint-old-phones-offer-new.html and “computers”:http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2007/01/freds-footprint-dollar-day-for-wrecked.html and “green beans”:http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2007/01/freds-footprint-green-beans-and-old.html. Follow Fred’s Footprint as it’s revealed at the New Scientist “environmental blog”:http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/.