Category Archives: green living

The East African Solar Entrepreneurs

A couple hours drive on a dusty road outside of the southern town of Masaka, Uganda, you’ll find Musubiro Village. Miles from the closest electricity grid, there is little hope of government power coming this way anytime soon.

In Musubiro, like so many other villages across Africa, the main source of light is kerosene- which is not only expensive, but has a myriad of negative health side affects, and the risk that always comes when you mix open flames and straw thatched roof dwellings. Typically, the day’s chores are done, children’s studying is over, and small shops are closed when the sun goes down at 7:30 p.m.

Not anymore.

Barefoot Power, a for-profit social enterprise operating across East Africa, has built a network of “Solar Entrepreneurs” who are responsible for bringing solar lighting to towns and villages like Musubiro all across Uganda. Their products, ranging from the extremely popular “Firefly Mobile”, a small 1.5 watt panel with 12 small LED lights and a phone charger, or their full “Village Kits” that can provide lighting to an entire house, are making solar power affordable and accessible to those at the base of the economic pyramid. The small solar panels are portable and once charged, act like a battery.

Barefoot Power currently has 160 Solar Entrepreneurs operating all over Uganda, and an extensive distribution network which makes its products available to customers across Kenya, Tanzania, India, and several other parts of the world. (Source)

DJ CAVEM : Green Hip-Hop

Check out the behind scenes video, by Denver, Colorado based artist, DJ CAVEM and his related music video:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfdnuSWyQTI[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWBURAIMxoQ[/youtube]

Apart from youth outreach and his music, he teaches “Blue & Yellow Logic & Environmental Sustainability”:

The goal of Blue & Yellow  Logic is to teach urban communities how to support themselves and the environment with this sustainability project. No back yard plots here.  The gardens cover city blocks and provide enough food to feed several families throughout the year.  Here Cavem supervises a soil delivery to agarden managed by the Eastside Grower’s  collective. The project is gaining local and national attention.  Recently, Blue & Yellow Logic has made arrangements to develop gardens at the home of  Colorado Senator’s Michael Johnston and The Seanse-Elyri  Aquaphonic Grown House Project  in order to provide free organic food to the community.

Moss Tiles

Disclaimer:  I don’t usually post the spam green product ads that I get inundated with, but I kinda wanna my this for my home.  Think fuzzy walls – perfect in the event you decide to smoke a jeffrey.  I’m not gonna link to their site and further plug these guys, but if you wanna check out the moss tiles, click the pic to enlarge.

Electricity from Exercise?

From NPR, a story about converting gym use to usable electrical energy.


If only all the speed and strength of youth could be channeled into power. Turns out, it can. Some colleges and universities have started converting energy from exercise equipment into electricity.

One of those schools is Drexel University in Philadelphia, where student power runs straight into their buildings’ power grids. Dan Simmons, director of recreation at Drexel, says a typical 30-minute workout on a treadmill can generate enough energy to hold a light bulb for 2.5 hours.

A company called ReRev has retrofitted cardio elliptical machines in a portion of the university’s gym to generate electricity for that area. The energy can be stored, so it’s not necessary for someone to pedal a stationary bicycle to keep the lights on. (…continue reading…)

New-Age Nimbyism

History has proven that the general population wants changes, but they don’t necessarily want changes to happen to them.  “I believe in rights for all people, but not with my daughter.”  “Support the troops and be a patriot, but don’t draft my kid.” “Reduce dependence on foreign oil, but don’t build your bike lanes, wind power, etc. in my back yard!”

This next article addresses these points.  There is a quote below, but you can read it from the original source:

But some supporters of high-profile green projects like these say the problem is just plain old Nimbyism — the opposition by residents to a local development of the sort that they otherwise tend to support.

“It’s really pretty innocuous — it’s a bike lane, for goodness’ sake — their resistance has been incredibly frustrating,” said Walter Hook, executive director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy in Manhattan and an expert on sustainable transport. He lives in Brooklyn and uses the Prospect Park West bike lane to get around.

Nimbyism is nothing new. It’s even logical sometimes, perhaps not always deserving of opprobrium. After all, it is one thing to be a passionate proponent of recycling, and another to welcome a particular recycling plant — with the attendant garbage-truck traffic — on your street. General environmental principles may be at odds with convenience or even local environmental consequences.

But policymakers in the United States have been repeatedly frustrated by constituents who profess to worry about the climate and count themselves as environmentalists, but prove unwilling to adjust their lifestyles or change their behavior in any significant way.

Barefoot for a year?

If simply looking at the picture below is enough to make you smell the smell of feet, you are not alone. Arthur Jones (obviously) and English bloke who happened to live in China for a year decided that he was going to also spend a year living barefoot in one of the, from a foot’s perspective, most hectic places on earth.  You can read all about his exploits, trials, and tribulations by clicking on the link after the quote.

“I’ve always liked being barefoot from being a kid,” Jones says, explaining his yearlong experiment, which he is hoping to turn into a film. “It’s turned into something that’s made everyday life more exciting. It opens your eyes. You’re suddenly in touch with everything around. And it feels like you’re a little child discovering the world for the first time.”

Barefooters like to cite recent scientific research showing the health advantages to a barefoot lifestyle. One example is a paper earlier this year in the journal Nature by Harvard University human evolutionary biology professor Daniel E. Lieberman, which found that barefoot runners place less stress on their feet than runners wearing shoes. This happens because barefooters change the way they run, landing on the balls of their feet instead of their heels, thereby markedly reducing the “impact collision” or “heel-strike.” (Read the Rest)

I’m pretty sure this is green as hell, although I don’t recommend it.

Living Like Hobbitses

Yo, ninjas, what’s good? Me? Breaking wood and taking it to the hood, baby. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you to check out this joint I found about “Earth Sheltered Dwellings.”

These things are cheap, efficient, GREEN-as-all-hell, and, this being the most serious upside, they look like hobbit houses. Basically, the idea is you construct yourself a little home in a hole in the ground and just chill out and reap the benefits.  If you want 25 reasons to choose an earth sheltered home, follow the obvious link.

If you wanna learn how to do it yourself (and see some kinda-sick pictures like the ones in this post), have at it here.

earth sheltered homie

This earth sheltered home thing is, in a nutshell, the same as what the skunks do all year in my fenced off compost bin. And we all know that skunks are the ninjas of the rodent family. Word up!