Green Goodness

Hey all welcome to your weekly dose of green positivity!!!

Enjoy the articles.

Cleaner water through nanotech

Could tiny particles added to  water sources help solve one of the world’s biggest problems?

Coated silica particles filter out toxins, pathogens

Tiny particles of pure silica coated with an active material could be used to remove toxic chemicals, bacteria, viruses, and other hazardous materials from water much more effectively and at lower cost than conventional water purification methods, according to researchers writing in the current issue of the International Journal of Nanotechnology.

We can hope the fisherman listen to this guy BEFORE they kill otters.

Despite of this potential conflict, Kai Chan of the University of British Columbia believes there is a way to ensure Canadian First Nations fishers can benefit from the otters’ presence.

“Efforts to restore wildlife populations should not be played out in a win-lose framework that pits conservation against the economic interests of the local people,” observes Chan, who spoke at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Conference in Boston (February 14 to 18).


Moms have always been the most “eco” people on the planet. Now, they’re forming networks to help support each other’s efforts to “go green” in ways that are actually bring more women into the environmental movement.

A recent story in the New York Times focused on the work the EcoMom Alliance is doing to build a membership base of mothers who are looking, not for the answers to “why” as much as the answers to “how”? Through their workshops, houseparties and web outreach, they’ve helped educate 9,000 moms about ways they can reduce the size of their environmental footprint and help protect themselves and their kids from environmental threats.

Britain looking into huge offshore wind farms.

British Gas parent company Centrica said on Thursday it was evaluating a potential multi-billion pound increase in investment in renewable energy, largely targeted at offshore turbines.

The move would help Britain achieve ambitious goals of producing 33 gigawatts of electricity from offshore wind by 2020, enough to power every UK home, at an overall cost of around 70 billion pounds ($136 billion).

African Development Bank saves some forests.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) will provide $814 million over the next two years to help safeguard Central African forests threatened by war, poverty and poor governance, the bank said on Thursday.

Bank President Donald Kaberuka told reporters the money would go to 13 projects aimed at improving the management of natural resources in 2008-2010 in the Congo Basin, home to 37 percent of the world’s remaining tropical forests.

“Forests (in the Congo Basin) have an important economic and climatic role … Unfortunately, these forests are threatened mainly by poverty, governance crises and conflicts,” he said.

The bank previously provided a total of $2.7 billion to Central African states to improve farming and protect forests.

Not good green news but interesting. China finds new dinosaur

BEIJING (Reuters) – Scientists have found the fossil of a new herbivorous dinosaur species that stood five meters (5.5 yards) high and lived 60 million years ago, the official Xinhua agency reported on Thursday.

The large long-necked sauropod, which was found in Eastern Zhejiang province and has not yet been named, was around 15 meters long, the report quoted a museum curator as saying.

In 1977, a 22-meter-long dinosaur was unearthed in the same province, and last year scientists announced they had identified another fossil found there as a new species.

China makes regular finds of rare fossils, which are sometimes smuggled out of the country to be sold for large sums.

WOO HOO, one illegal animal parts trading ring down!

Key members of a smuggling ring trading tiger skins and bear parts into China will face trial in March after a 6 month operation in which WWF and TRAFFIC provided technical assistance to customs, police and navy officials in the Russian far east.

About 900 paws of brown and black bears, 4 tiger skins, more than 60 kilos of tiger bones and 531 saiga horns, valued at more than $US 200,000 were seized in three joint seizures by customs, police and navy services.

Go send some money to WWF and TRAFFIC if you can…

Gorillas bring countries together.

“For the first time, the three countries have decided to protect the great apes which are threatened with extinction and insecurity in the region,” Moses Mapesa, the head of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), told a news conference in Kampala.

His Rwandan counterpart, Rosette Rugamba, said gorilla numbers were at risk from poaching, encroachment by humans and insecurity. Eastern Congo is a hotbed of militia groups, some of which have been accused of hunting mountain gorillas.

“The 10-year trans-boundary strategic plan will identify groups and communities which affect the life in the Virunga area and directly address encroachment and poaching,” she said.

The first four years of the plan, costing 4.1 million euro ($6.03 million), is being funded by the Dutch government.

Earth Hour: Pass the info around.

As many as 30 million people are tipped to switch off lights and televisions around the world to help fight climate change with 24 cities joining Earth Hour on March 29, environment group WWF said on Wednesday.

Following last year’s Earth Hour in Australia, where 2.2 million Sydneysiders powered-down for an hour, cities including Atlanta, San Francisco, Bangkok, Ottawa, Dublin, Vancouver, Montreal and Phoenix have also signed on, WWF said.

They joined Copenhagen and Aarhus, Manila, Fiji’s capital Suva, Chicago, Tel Aviv, Christchurch, Toronto, Odense and Aalborg, as well as major Australian cities including Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and the national capital Canberra.

It’s about damn time!

At a press event meant to highlight LA’s renewed focus on clean energy – carefully staged with a row of solar panels as the backdrop – Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and several state officials, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, announced a solar initiative that would create up to 400 green jobs over the next 3 years to install and maintain solar panels on buildings around the city.

Claiming that, “Clean energy is not a luxury; it’s a necessity,” he went on to broadly outline the plan’s structure, to be carried out by the city’s Department of Water and Power – at a cost of $270 million through 2017 – as one component of a jobs strategy meant to generate 100,000 living-wage positions. The DWP, which currently produces 10.5 MW of solar energy, is working to comply with a new state law requiring retail energy suppliers to increase their solar output – in this case, to 280 MW – by installing solar panels throughout the city.

Ok this is just cool…for all you booklovers out there.

TreeHugger loves stairs as bookshelves and as storage as a way if getting more stuff into less space, but we have never imagined one like this, designed by Tim Sloan of Levitate Achitects. It is an alternating step design that rises twice as steeply as conventional stairs, turned into an extraordinary library. The architect told Kristin Hohenadel at Apartment Therapy:

Go look at the pics…I want one.

So how embarrasing to us will it be when China becomes more environmentally advanced then we are?

In preparation for the upcoming Beijing Olympics – its unofficial coming out party to the world (and its chance to prove its eco-progressive, technological chops) – China has announced its intention to invest heavily in nanotechnology. At least that was the message conveyed to Richard Applebaum and Rachel Parker of UCBS’s Center for Nanotechnology in Society, who conducted 60 interviews with Chinese officials about the state of nanotechnology.

Reporting from the AAAS meeting, Wired Science’s Alexis Madrigal noted that Chinese scientists plan on “leapfrogging” the U.S. and EU countries through technology transfer and by upping domestic research capacity, or “indigenous innovation” (what they call zizhu chuangxin).

One prevalent nanotechnology application the scientists highlighted – which Tim wrote about a few years ago – was the use of a nanopolymer coating in parking lots to absorb exhaust. Madrigal compared the technology to the one used by V-REMS (Virginia’s Regional Environmental Management System), which is described in the following terms:

– Photocatalytic TiO2 cement building materials and coverings may absorb and eliminate from 20% to 80% of air pollutants.

– TiO2 is commonly used to cover surfaces that are difficult to clean by hand. The TiO2 covering functions as a self cleaning chemical to keep the surface free of accumulating air pollution.

Or, as Tim put it earlier:

“This particular multi-functional material is created by applying a titanium dioxide coating on concrete. The reaction with Titanium Dioxide works through adding sunlight. Titanium dioxide has the ability to absorb UV light (why it is used in sun-block lotions); this capture of UV radiation then enables a catalytic reaction to take place which destroys common pollutants from vehicle emissions that happen to touch the surface of the titanium dioxide

Hmmm with some of that money we are wasting in Iraq we could coat our parking lots and streets with this. Oh wait that would make sense.

Brazilian Pulp Paper Co showing the world how to be sustainable.

or five years ORSA, one of the largest integrated paper and corrugated cardboard box producers in Brazil, has managed the world’s largest private tropical forest, where the company harvests only 30 cubic metres (12,713 board feet) of timber per hectare (2.47 acres) every 30 years, just below the natural regeneration rate. Trees are felled and transported to reduce them impact on the forest and are recorded in a computerized inventory.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the international industry watchdog, certifies and inspects the project every six months. Roughly 80 percent of the 1.7-million-hectare (4.2-million-acre) property is standing forest and one-third is managed and FSC certified.

British Columbia, Canada to start new carbon tax, aka an economic incentive that actually works

he carbon tax will start on July 1 at a rate based on C$10 per tonne of carbon emissions and rise C$5 a year to C$30 per tonne by 2012. It works out to an extra 2.4 cents on a liter of gasoline, rising to 7.24 cents per liter of gasoline by 2012. The carbon tax on diesel and home heating oil will start at 2.7 cents per liter and increase to 8.2 cents per liter over the same five-year period. But the beautiful part is that the money, “C$1.8-billion over three years, will be returned to taxpayers through personal income tax and business tax cuts.” This makes putting a price on carbon politically acceptable, and it leaves people with more of their hard-earned cash to switch to low-carbon technologies.

British Columbia has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent by 2020, and this should help it reach that goal

Get a visual on CA’s solar history This actually makes you feel like SOME progress is being made.

Total Installs: 30,079  Total KW: 131,801.94  KW/Install: 4.38  Kilotons of Carbon Saved: 573.48

Solar balloons anyone?

CoolEarth, a company we’ve briefly covered before, has created an innovative way to harness the sun’s energy. Instead of large expensive solar panels or costly concentrating mirrors, the company is using balloons made of metalized plastic films. Half of the balloon is transparent, letting the light in to be concentrated into a small high-efficiency solar panel by the concave interior. Each is 2 meters across and, depending on the source, estimates vary from 500 watt to 1 kilowatt. They are supported by cables, leaving the ground below clear and limiting environmental impact.

The company has just raised $21 million, and it says that “this is just the initial closing of the round, [it could be extended] over the next 60 days.” The company closed a $1 million round of angel investing last June. Read on for more photos and details.



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  1. The bookcase/staircase looks unsafe the way they have it constructed with alternating treads. I’m guessing that it’s not up to code where they built it.

    The other thing I’d be worried about is dirt. Staircases are notorious for collecting dirt. This seems like a good way to get books full of dust and dirt. Not something I want to do with my personal library.

    I think the idea has merit, but it needs more refinement to keep people and books safe.

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