You read that right, coastal types – we’ve got something new and cool going on here in flyover country. Yesterday, in the St. Louis suburb of Webster Groves, the creators of the first US home built to Active House standards broke ground for construction. Representatives of builders Hibbs Homes and Verdatek Solutions, architect Jeff Day & Associates, and the European Active House Alliance all showed up to don hard hats, turn a little dirt for the cameras, and share this concept for homebuilding.
Repeat after me: no matter what Rush said, wind farms don’t cause global warming. But there may be some substance to the idea that warmer air allows baseballs to travel a bit further. These stories and more in this week’s green tech finds.
Want to summarize the case for green jobs in one word? How about “Solyndra?” The fledgling solar company took $535 million of government loan guarantees (read “taxpayers’ money”) down with it when it went bankrupt last year. Even if the government thinks green jobs are a nifty idea, the market doesn’t… right?
Electricity from lobsters? Kelp as a model for renewable energy generation? Yep, we’ve got those stories, and more, in this week’s green tech finds.
Wearing used coffee pods: Single-use coffee machines are convenient, but you end up with all of those used pods you have to throw away, right? Designer Rachel Rodwell saw potential in those pods, and her Podtex concept uses them as materials for clothing and jewelry. See how she transforms them in the video above. (via Do the Green Thing)
Foraging, or gathering edibles from wild plants, is something you do in rural or undeveloped places, right? Hardly a solution for urbanites looking for fresh food (unless you plan to eat a lot of dandelions). Well, not exactly: we’ve already seen how food justice advocates in Syracuse, New York have planned a forest garden just for such activity. In Seattle, community activists are planning something similar, but much bigger: when complete, the Beacon Food Forest will cover seven acres smack dab in the middle of the city, and be open to all.
Addis Ababa? It may take you a second to place that city name, but, yes, it’s the capital of Ethiopia. Not exactly Paris, Milan, or New York, but the Hub of Africa Fashion Week event this week is a testament not only to Africa’s growing recognition of itself as a world economic force, and also to the idea that the continent is ground zero for many global environmental challenges. This week’s show incorporates both notions with its focus on eco-fashion.
Article: Earth Day – uh! What is it good for?
Of course, the next line of Edwin Starr’s iconic anti-war anthem is “Absolutely nothing.” If you take a look at the incoming press releases I’ve received for the past month or so, you might conclude that’s an appropriate judgment for the current manifestation of Earth Day: brands and companies have latched onto it as their opportunity to show their commitment to the environment. If that “commitment” doesn’t involve addressing a company’s main environmental impact, well, you know, look the other way, and take one of these reusable shopping bags with our logo on it.
Thinking about gardening this weekend for Earth Day? Or disposing of that old computer responsibly? We’ve got information you’ll want as you celebrate the planet this week.
Need to relocate your garden into a sunny spot?: Or have an older relative who loves to garden, but has trouble bending over to dig in the dirt? The Garden on Wheels (above) works in both of these situations – it’s also a great solution for the urbanite with limited gardening space. (via Treehugger)
It’s Earth Week again, and, more and more, we treat this event as a sort of green New Year’s Day: what changes can I make to benefit the natural environment? For many of us Americans, the answer could be as simple as “take a walk.”
It turns out that Americans walk less than the citizens of any other industrialized nation. Unless we live in dense urban centers, we drive to work, drive to the store, and often even drive to places to, well, take a walk. Despite this being the most natural of activities, we design it out of our daily lives: how many suburban subdivisions have sidewalks, much less stores, restaurants, and other destinations within walking distance. Shoot, we even speed it up when we have to do it: think of the moving walkways in airports.
One of the many symbols of 80s excess, the DeLorean’s back – as an electric vehicle. That, plus recycled jeans and the real cost to drive a Chevy Volt – your green tech finds for the week.
A fictional film born from a factual source: that’s not so unusual, right? Almost any biopic falls loosely into that category, and films ranging from THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES to FROST/NIXON openly blend historical fact and a filmmaker’s imagination (as did their sources’ authors). But a story born from a scientific article? Sounds like either a stretch, or the prelude to a really boring evening. Even this kind of reimagining has worked in the past, though – think FAST FOOD NATION – and writer/director Jenny Deller is giving it another go her forthcoming FUTURE WEATHER.
Article: Gulf dolphins suffering from liver and lung disease — Hard partying lifestyle probably not to blame
Oil’s a natural substance, right? A little bit can’t hurt you. That seems to be the position of those pushing for a return to pre-BP oil spill levels of oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. And the spill itself: that was so two years ago. Everything’s fine now.
So, why wouldn’t residents of Bristol Bay, Alaska want this open pit gold and copper mine planned for the area? I mean, doesn’t that mean jobs and economic growth (the standard answer to all questions about new extraction efforts)? Are they a bunch of communists?
Developing green technology isn’t child’s play, but children’s games can certainly inspire new ideas. Playground equipment made from old wind turbines, and a solar powered night light are just two of this week’s green tech finds.
How do you make a food desert bloom? The range of solutions to these urban areas without ready access to fresh food has included full-service grocery stores, farmers markets, and even small urban farms. All of these answers, of course, require someone (usually from outside the community) to make produce available. What if there was a way for food desert residents to just gather their own fresh food?
Even if you buy the science behind climate change (which is very compelling), it’s still hard to make an emotional argument about global warming: all of the bad stuff’s going to happen in the future, so you can’t show someone a victim. Right? Not so fast – not only are parts of the developing world, particularly Africa, already feeling the impacts of a warming world, but the children and grandchildren of current generations will “feel the heat.” The victims of global warming are all around us, even if they’re not experiencing the worst of the phenomenon yet.
Gas prices getting you down? No worries – we’ve got gas-free transportation options this week, including an electric skateboard that just requires your weight, and a poop-powered rickshaw.
Is there anything you can’t do with industrial hemp? Turn its fiber into paper or cloth? Yep. Eat its oil or seeds? You can do that, too. Smoke it? Well, you can, but you won’t get the desired effect: industrial hemp has only trace amounts of THC (the active ingredient in hemp’s cousin, marijuana). One thing you definitely can’t do: grow it in the United States. Despite the multiple potential uses (almost all of which create a much smaller environmental footprint than conventional materials), it’s still illegal to farm industrial hemp here.
Film festivals are great for spotlighting up-and-coming talent, and highlighting niche topics. The conventional film festival isn’t, however, a good vehicle for creating wide-scale conversations, as audiences are limited by location and/or willingness to travel during a specific time period. After two years of hosting the Do Something Reel film festival in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market recognized these limitations: they could inspire festival-goers to consider the environmental and food-related messages of the films screened, but most of those audience members would be from the local area.
It’s World Water Day, so in celebration, I’ve found a number of cool stories about water-related technology, including a ocean-going drone, and clean water from poop (really!).
I’m sure it wasn’t lost on the organizers of this year’s Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital that the second week of screenings and events overlapped World Water Day on Thursday. Of course, it was probably also easier to book space in conjunction with this particular environmental event than one occurring, say, next month (which…
Had a chance to visit Manhattan’s High Line yet? If not, we’ve got you covered: we’ve been keeping an eye on this conversion of a railroad trestle into a park since its opening in 2009. But that opening didn’t represent the completion of the High Line; it was more of a launch, with more envisioned as time and money permitted. Last year, developers completed the project’s second section, and, last week, they released plans for part three at the Rail Yards.
Heard that the light bulb that won $10 million from the government will still cost you $50? Wonder if the UK’s watering ban will really make a difference in terms of water savings? Read on: we’ve got the facts on these questions and more in this week’s green tech finds.