I copped this brilliant & hilarious video from the ninjas over at Inhabitat. CheatNeutral is a satirical concept/website developed by two blokes from the UK commenting on the shortcomings of carbon offsetting.
What is Cheat Offsetting?
When you cheat on your partner you add to the heartbreak, pain and jealousy in the atmosphere.
Cheatneutral offsets your cheating by funding someone else to be faithful and NOT cheat. This neutralises the pain and unhappy emotion and leaves you with a clear conscience.
Can I offset all my cheating?
First you should look at ways of reducing your cheating. Once you’ve done this you can use Cheatneutral to offset the remaining, unavoidable cheating
Check out cheatneutral.com. And if you are a cheater…
Richie Hawtin, Berlin-based techno DJ, has started a campaign with his record label Minus to get musicians of the electronic persuasion to reduce their carbon footprint. From the official press release:
In response to the times we live in, and due to the ever-increasing amount of proof regarding the impact of human activity on our planet, I am pleased to announce our current environmental initiative. The aim of this strategy is to one day become a carbon neutral company. I also hope that our efforts will both encourage and inspire other musicians, DJ’s & entertainment related companies/individuals to find their own ways to limit their impact on global climate change.
Hawtin is focusing initially on emissions resultant from his constant air travel and Minus’s manufacturing practices. To offset the dirty air travel of himself and all the Minus employees he has been buying carbon credits through Berlin-based Atmosfair, which sources their carbon credits through Gold Standard certified projects. The manufacturing practices are a little trickier for a music company since there are so many of us still who enjoy getting our music in physical form, whether it by vinyl or CD (myself included…). But, Minus has revamped their entire manufacturing process so that it involves zero plastic and instead uses recycled or FSC certified sustainable paper. For the rest of the digital world, Minus is working to get all their music available digitally on their own site, and on digital club music superstore Beatport. In the future, Hawtin hopes to take the iniative further by investing the money that is going into the carbon offsets into actual sustainable energy projects.
Check out the press release at m-nus.com (in the top right corner) or urb.com. And for your viewing pleasure, an interview with Hawtin on his green initiative by Beatport:
Fenway is not the only Boston sports pavilion to go green. Pats fans enjoy:
FOXBOROUGH – To the fans who brave frigid, blustery nights to cheer for the Patriots at Gillette Stadium, it might feel as if there is enough bone-chilling wind gusting overhead to power a small city.
But today, the Kraft Group will announce that Midwestern wind will fuel the Gillette Stadium lighthouse, the 612 blazing light bulbs shining down on the field, the scoreboards, and more than 40 concession stands that are juiced with enough power during each game to run 2,269 households for a day.
The Patriots signed a four-year deal to buy renewable-energy credits from distant windmills to match all their game-day electricity needs, the latest example of the business community’s push to make environmentalism a staple of corporate responsibility.
The electricity flowing from the grid and into Gillette Stadium won’t literally come from a special green power plant; instead, the Kraft Group will purchase about 2,400 megawatt-hours of renewable-energy credits over four years, through a deal with electricity provider Constellation NewEnergy of Maryland.
A few more noteworthy green trends in the sports world:
The Red Sox announced in September that they would partner with the Natural Resources Defense Council to spearhead green initiatives such as recycling soda bottles and plastic cups.
The Philadelphia Eagles have built a solar panel array and buy renewable-energy credits for their power needs.
For the past three years, the National Football League has been taking steps, such as planting trees in host cities, to help offset the carbon footprint of the Super Bowl. The NFL bought 300 megawatt-hours of solar and biomass renewable-energy credits for the most recent Super Bowl.
Thanks to sports ninja and all around gentle soul DTRock for the tip on this one.
Play Consumer Consequences to find out how many Earths are required to sustain your lifestyle. This interactive game, brought to you by American Public Media and Redefining Progess, is waaay more fun than the average footprint calculator, though they all run on the same basic principles. You can customize your character and neighborhood and see how you compare to the average American.
Algae is a personal favorite of ours here at green.mnp, as you can see here, here and here, and some of you may have seen in the October issue of National Geographic. Well, here is another exciting algae harvesting technology we came across by Valcent Products Inc. They call the technology Vertigro, and I will let their CEO Glen Kertz explain the rest (double click his face to watch the video):
Data received from Valcent’s continuously operating test bed facility demonstrates that yields up to 4,000 barrels oil per acre, per year, at an estimated cost of $20 per barrel are achievable on a commercial scale. As a comparison, typically corn will yield up to one-half a barrel of oil per acre per year at considerably higher cost; palm oil, with highest yield of conventional sources, delivers approximately fifteen barrels of oil per acre per year. After a demonstration pilot plant is in operation, several production units that may total 1,000 acres may be built which would have the potential of producing approximately 4,000,000 barrels of oil per year, with significant carbon dioxide green credits and other commercial products. At that rate of production, Vertigro will sequester approximately 2,700,000 tons C02 per year which will be sold as a green credit within the emerging green credit system within the USA and within the Kyoto Protocols.
Interestingly, Valcent has also applied the concept of the Vertigro technology to growing herbs and veggies. They call it the High Desity Vertical Growth System:
The Japanese are on the forefront of creating new technology, always coming out with new and crazy gagets, not to mention cars. This, some might argue, only gives way to consumerism and gluttony for CO2. The facts remain though, that we in the US are the true consumers, generating twice as much CO2 as the average Japanese. Yet still, Japan is doing more to curb their increasing CO2 emissions than we are. NPR has been featuring Japan pretty frequently lately in their Climate Connections series. Here is a bit on some of the conservation ninjaism going on over in Japan:
Being Green at Home
One Japanese couple goes a bit further than most in conserving energy.
Motoyuki Shibata isn’t a typical Japanese.
He and his wife, Hitomi, don’t own a car. They have a solar panel on the roof. They collect rainwater in an old whiskey barrel to water the plants, and they don’t use dish soap.
Shibata’s biggest luxury is a wooden Japanese soaking tub, which he built himself. He sits in the tub after he has thoroughly scrubbed himself. After the soak, the bathwater is recycled â€” and reused for washing clothes. The process is facilitated by a simple hookup.
Shibata guesses that about 5 percent of Japanese use a pump to send water from their bathtubs into washing machines.
After the clothes are washed, Shibata does what most Japanese do: He dries his wash on an outdoor clothesline. Most Japanese don’t own clothes dryers. Their clothing hangs on television-antennae-like racks that twirl around on their railings.
“You get to see lots of clothes hanging. â€¦ Don’t see that in America,” Shibata says. “Space is very valuable here. If you can do without something, you do without it.”
Minimalism Gives Way to Consumerism
That issue of space is what separates Japanese lifestyles from American. Japanese live in a small country. Americans do not. Japanese, in general, have lived in close quarters for centuries, while Americans have not.
Japanese traditions celebrate the minimal, the spare and the efficient. Their rituals have helped them save energy. For example, minimalism lives in haiku, the bonzai tree and the 600-year-old tea ceremony.
Masako Konishi admires the minimalism in the tea ceremony. Wearing a creamy white kimono, she goes through the ceremony’s rituals. The room contains few things to admire â€” a tatami mat, a small painting or a single flower in a vase.
“In the tea ceremony room â€¦ there is no enemy or opposition,” Konishi says. “It really is about stripping, getting to the essence.”
Konishi also works on climate change at the World Wildlife Fund, and she says she is sad that minimalism is giving way to consumerism.
Read the rest of the article at NPR Climate Connections.
In May 2007 at a conference in Nairobi, Kenya an initiative was launched to begin an African biogas development program with the goal of installing two million biogas plants throughout Africa by 2020. The initiative was made official only after careful consideration of the technical and cost-benefit potentials for biogas in Africa. Sudies found that the technical potential is especially high in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso and most East African countries except Somalia and Djibouti. A cost-benefit analysis of an integrated domestic biogas, latrine and hygiene program done by Winrock International shows that there is a potential 7.5% financial rate of return and a potential 178% economic rate of return. The difference between the two is significant because the start-up of an integrated biogas and latrine program requires hefty financial capital investment and expenditure, while the economic benefit to the African society would be great, in terms of “improved health, increased availability of potent organic fertilisers, time savings through the reduced drudgery associated with fuel collection, and environmental benefits.” These benefits would especially impact African women and children, because they “disproportionately endure the drudgery of fuel collection and the negative health effects associated with spending hours breathing highly polluted air just to prepare food for their families.”
At the conference Mr. Cheikh Modibo Diarra of Mali and Ms Hauwa Ibrahim of Nigeria were named the Biogas Ambassadors for Africa. The initiative sees the implementation as a business partnership between governments, private sectors, civil society agents and international development partners. The $2 billion investment required will depend greatly on public funding from donors and the sale of carbon credits.
The specific goals of the Biogas Initiative are these:
* two million biogas plants installed (90% operation rate)
* 10 million Africans benefiting in daily life from the plants
* 800 private biogas companies and 200 biogas appliance manufacturing workshops involved or established
* 100,000 new jobs created
* comprehensive quality standards and quality control systems developed and in use
* one million toilets constructed and attached to the biogas plant
* 80% of the bio-slurry used as organic fertilizer
* agricultural production raised by up to 25%
* health and living conditions of women and children improved, and the deaths of women and children reduced by 5000 each year
* drudgery reduced by saving 2-3 hours per household each day in fetching wood, cooking and cleaning the pots
* health costs saved of up to US$80-125 per family, per year
* 3-4 million tonnes of wood saved per year
* greenhouse gas emissions annually reduced by 10 Mtonnes of CO2 equivalent.
Rwanda has already begun a national biogas program and 11 other countries including Ethiopia, Senegal, Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Mali and Ghana have taken the first steps to starting their own. The next Biogas Initiative conference will be held in West Africa in 2008.
To read the full article from Renewable Energy Access and get more sources for info on biogas, click the REW link below. Also, check out Africa Biogas’ official website, linked below.
[Renewable Energy World; Biogas Africa]
The Nation has a new issue out, with much of it dedicated to climate change and energy issues. Most of the articles are all available free of charge on their website (some are subscription only).
Topics include carbon offsets, green utilities, climate change, carbon taxes and trading, air travel, China, and more.
Follow the link below for more:
No, you don’t need to see your ophthalmologist for a new prescription, you read the title correctly. According to the Boston Globe, “In a Capitol Hill debate about global warming touted by its moderator as a “smackdown” between former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, Gingrich praised Kerry’s recently released book about environmentalism, acknowledged that global warming is real, and offered what amounted to an unexpected apology for his party’s inaction on curtailing greenhouse gas emissions.” Such comments mark a dramatic shift in opinion, if not what some might categorize as a “flip-flop.”
“I’m not going to stand up here and defend our failure to lead,” said Gingrich, who is considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 and plans to release a book in the fall burnishing his environmental credentials. “There has to be a green conservatism.”
“We have now passed the tipping point of that argument,” he said yesterday.
Despite the consensus that global warming is in fact real, the debate highlighted the profound differences between the policy solutions proposed by the former House speaker and the current Senator. Kerry chastised Gingrich’s call for voluntary reductions in carbon emissions:
“That’s like saying, ‘Barry Bonds, go investigate steroids,’ ” shot back Kerry, who favors a government-imposed limit on emissions and a system that would allow businesses to buy and sell credits entitling them to release a certain amount of carbon pollution into the atmosphere.
“There is no single environmental crisis that has been met in the United States voluntarily,” Kerry said.
And if the about face couldn’t be more surprising, Gingrich is even set to publish a book about his views on the environment with a very greenpeace/nrdc/wwf-sounding title, “A Contract with the Earth.” But Gingrich isn’t the only Republican who cares about such issues. The Globe also spoke with Jim DiPeso, policy director of Republicans for Environmental Protection, who said that the former speaker’s change of heart “shows that the broader climate debate may have crossed a significant threshold…Here you have the leader of the Gingrich revolution up against the prototypical Boston liberal, and they did not disagree on the fact that human-induced climate change is happening”
Coupled with the “Geo-Greens” like James Woolsey, perhaps the GOP is on it’s way to become the ‘green old party.’ Nah, that might be a little too optimistic….Forgive me for being a cynic, but Gingrich is a shrewd politician and he knows that for the Republicans to have a chance in 2008, they need to at least appear to care about climate change. Hence, the espousal of policies like ‘voluntary emissions reductions,’ which uphold the illusion of being ‘green’ but will accomplish little.