How to go green: Reuters Renewables weblinks

Source: http://www.enn.com/today.html?id=12287

February 26, 2007 — By Sylvia Westall, ReutersLONDON --

The idea of renewable energy at home is no longer as distant as an offshore wind farm. More companies are waking up to the popularity of green energy and the Web hosts many sites showing steps people can take -- or gadgets they can buy -- to use renewable technology, from renting a solar panel to burning calories with a pedal-powered washing machine.

- To make the case for energy efficiency, the European Commission provides a carbon calculator and suggestions on how to cut down on energy use, including tips from celebrities. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/campaign/index_en.htm
- In Australia, the government provides an informative site on green suppliers, appliances and eco-friendly lifestyle options. http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/education/tips/consumers.html
- Going one step further, the Web sites of international charities Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth are home to definitive green guides and feature daily tips from members of the public. http://www.greenpeace.org, http://www.foe.co.uk/living/tips/index.html

- For homeowners wanting to make a serious commitment to green power, the U.S. Department of Energy provides useful calculators to add up the savings from devices like solar heaters: http://www.eere.energy.gov
- If buying a solar panel sounds daunting, customers can rent one at http://renu.citizenre.com/ The company says on its Web site that over 5,000 people have already signed up for the scheme in the United States and the manufacturing plant has not even been completed.
- British home improvement store B&Q launched a range of roof-top wind turbines and solar panels in September. The devices, which are available from around 1,500 pounds ($2,923), can be bought at http://www.diy.com
- Customers across the globe can visit http://www.surfacepower.com and find out about total renewable energy systems in the home.
- Even people on online auction site eBay are in on the act, offering solar panels and wind turbines to bidders: http://www.ebay.com

- It may not be Prada, but the solar-panelled handbag can recharge mobile phones and music players on the go. Designed by Joe Hynek, the 'power purse' comes with a designer price tag of $300, but is an unusual accessory for the environmentally conscious: http://www.solarjo.com
- Backpackers can also tap into the trend for a fraction of the price thanks to Unison Light, a company which offers solar panel backpacks from around $35: http://www.globalsources.com
- The wind-up radio is still going strong after its invention 12 years ago. The Web site http://www.ethicalsuperstore.com offers wind-up phone chargers and radios from 30 pounds.
- In the home, ambitious environmentalists and health fans can eliminate two chores in one with a pedal-powered washing machine. Details are available at http://cyclean.biz

Energy suppliers are falling over themselves to flag up their green credentials, but switching to a supplier which invests in renewable technology does not always mean customers receive green energy.
- The Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S provides consumers with detailed information on green power investment at http://www.epa.gov/greenpower and encourages companies to show non-renewable energy the door.
- In Europe, www.greenprices.com lists green suppliers and their credentials, making choosing a supplier a breeze. The Web site says that often a simple phone call is enough to switch to eco-friendly power.

Governments can provide backing to green consumers who may be worried about burning a hole in their pocket bigger than the one in the ozone layer.
- State-by-state cash incentives in the United States feature on a database at http://www.dsireusa.org, while in Britain the low-carbon buildings programme offers grants for devices like solar panels and turbines. http://www.lowcarbonbuildings.org.uk
- On a wider scale, http://www.climatecare.org gives details of how to offset carbon emissions and funding for renewable devices in countries including India.

Links to the Web sites featured in this article, and to other renewable-friendly pages, are available on the social bookmark site http://del.icio.us/reutersrenewables

Celebrity Environmentalists

February 26, 2007 — By Jill Serjeant, Reuters LOS ANGELES --
Source: http://www.enn.com/today.html?id=12288

Whether it's forsaking a gas guzzling limo in favor of driving a hybrid car to the Oscars, or fitting their homes with solar panels, many celebrities embraced green causes long before they became fashionable. Just as a famous face can sell a perfume, stars of stage and screen can sell a cause and scores of them are doing more than merely putting their money where their mouth is.

"Whether it's fashion or cultural trends, the entertainment industry has the ability to communicate to a global audience ideas that set forth actions and create change," said Debbie Levin, president of the Environmental Media Association which promotes green issues through the entertainment industry. "Early adopters, like Cameron Diaz, led the way and now with everyone from Kirsten Dunst to Maroon 5 to Will Ferrell driving hybrid cars, (it) sends the message that it's cool to think and buy green," Levin said.

Following is a list of some of the leading green celebrity players:

- ROBERT REDFORD: 30 years on board of Natural Resources Defense Council, founder of Sundance Preserve, winner of 1993 Earth Day award, 1987 United Nations Global 500 award. In April 2007, launches weekly three-hour slot called "The Green", dedicated entirely to the environment, on his Sundance TV channel.
- LEONARDO DICAPRIO: started the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 1998 to promote environmental issues, drives a hybrid car, currently writing and producing a feature length documentary on global warming called "11th Hour".
- BRAD PITT: co-creator of design competition to build 20 affordable, reduced energy, environmentally friendly homes in New Orleans.
- STING: founder in 1989 of Rainforest Foundation to protect rain forests and their indigenous peoples.
- HARRISON FORD: vice chairman of Conservation International, has a Central American ant named after him, won the Global Environmental Citizen Award in 2002.
- DAVE MATTHEWS BAND: offsets CO2 emissions produced by their multi-city tours by funding projects such as tree plantings and wind turbine construction.
- AL GORE: former U.S. vice president whose climate change documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" was Oscar-nominated, also nominated for 2007 Nobel Peace prize.
- PIERCE BROSNAN: focuses on marine mammal and wetland protection, headlined Natural Resources Defense Council campaign against effects of Navy sonar on whales, awarded 1997 Green Cross International Environmental Leadership Award.
- CATE BLANCHETT: plans to equip Sydney Theatre Company building with solar panels, rainwater collection systems to make it completely eco-friendly. Sydney home is fully powered by solar energy, donates to Forest Guardians.
- EDWARD NORTON: launched the BP Solar Neighbors Program in 2003 which matches each celebrity purchase of a solar energy home system with a solar installation in a low-income family home in Los Angeles.
- DARYL HANNAH: arrested in June 2006 for staging a 23-day tree sit-in during a bid to preserve an urban community garden in Los Angeles, traveled across America in 2005 in a biofuel car, home is entirely off-grid.
- RICHARD BRANSON: Virgin Group chairman, a former global warming skeptic, who in Sept. 2006 pledged to spend all profits from his airline and rail businesses (estimated $3 billion over 10 years) on investments in biofuel research and projects to tackle emissions.
- ALANIS MORISSETTE: given 2003 Environmental Media Association Missions in Music Award; campaigns against oil drilling in Alaska; has solar panels on home.
- KT TUNSTALL: ran her US tour bus on biodiesel fuel, performed at eco-friendly "Golden Green" at the 2007 Golden Globe awards in Los Angeles.
- JOSH HARTNETT, ORLANDO BLOOM, MAROON 5, KT TUNSTALL: promoting 2007 Global Cool initiative to cut carbon emissions by encouraging people to turn off TVs, mobile-phone chargers and other energy-draining gadgets.
- JAMIE OLIVER: celebrity chef, plans to power his Cornwall, England, restaurant by wind turbines.
- NEIL YOUNG: 2004 North American tour fueled entirely with biodiesel.
- WILLIE NELSON: singer, co-partner in the Willie Nelson Biodiesel Company.
- BARENAKED LADIES: run their tour buses and trucks on biodiesel fuel.

Drivers of hybrid cars include: Cameron Diaz, Charlize Theron, Carole King, Kirsten Dunst, Billy Joel, Tom Hanks, Will Ferrell, Julia Roberts, Ted Danson, Woody Harrelson, Alanis Morissette, David Duchovny, Patricia Arquette, Jackson Browne, Larry David, Danny DeVito and Bill Maher.


Shutdown Day - March 24, 2007

Shutdown Day is an worldwide initiative to give your computer some well-deserved rest: Un-plug on March 24 and enjoy your life!
Can YOU survive for 24h without a computer?

Turn Down, Switch Off, Recycle, Walk... (cont'd)

Turn Down, Switch Off, Recycle, Walk... (thanks FLO)
The European Commission has a dedicated website to inform on what YOU can do to fight global warming
see also: http://wacondah2007.blogspot.com/2006/10/your-personal-eoclogical-footprint-and.html


Mexico to plant 250.000.000 trees

Source: Metrotime.be

Mexico gaat kwart miljard bomen planten
(Belga) Mexico gaat dit jaar 250 miljoen bomen planten, ofwel een kwart van het aantal dat door de VN wereldwijd werd aanbevolen om de klimaatverandering tegen te gaan.
"Ik heb de minister (van Milieu) opdracht gegeven dit jaar 250 miljoen bomen te laten planten", aldus president Felipe Calderon dinsdag. "Een op de vier bomen die dit jaar ter wereld zullen worden geplant, zal in Mexico staan", zo luidt het. Het programma kreeg de naam ProArbol en gaat ruim 6 miljard pesos (430 miljoen euro) kosten.


Stern and Sachs call upon UN to form urgent CO2 World Body

Source: World Bank Press Review

"A new international body could help in the fight against global warming but the need for action is too urgent to wait for one to be created, two leading economists and climate change experts said on Friday.
Nicholas Stern [former World Bank chief economist and current head of the UK Government Economic Service] and American Jeffrey Sachs both advocate urgent global action to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that many scientists believe trap heat in the atmosphere with potentially catastrophic consequences.

Earlier this month, French President Jacques Chirac called for the creation of a UN environment body that would have more clout than the existing UN Environment Program, known as UNEP, a plan backed by 45 other nations but not the US, China or Russia. ‘
We probably will need some kind of organization,’ said Stern... ‘But we can't
wait for such an organization. We have to get on with it now,’ said Stern.
Sachs, director of Columbia University's Earth Institute and a UN anti-poverty adviser, said he favored creating a World Environment Organization, but
‘I don't believe it's necessary for solving this problem.’
Instead, the UN and existing agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol on curbing greenhouse gas emissions could do the job if world leaders took them seriously enough, Sachs said.


Masterpiece or Fakes: the Joyce Hatto Scandal

Very interesting article on copyright infringement and outright fakery/stealing in the classical music sphere! It appears this couple edited a huge catalogue of a female virtuosa, based on other pianists' recordings... or how to get caught when you underestimate sound engineers...

Gramophone - News - The world's best classical music magazine: "Masterpieces Or Fakes? The Joyce Hatto Scandal - February 15 2007

It was already one of the strangest stories the classical music world had
witnessed. But the discovery of the late English pianist Joyce Hatto as the
greatest instrumentalist almost nobody had heard of, appears to have taken a
bizarre, even potentially sinister turn. "

ART GONE POSTAL | The Envelope Collective

ART GONE POSTAL The Envelope Collective

This is a very interesting art project that aims to reconcile ancient-style letter-writing with an internet project... You send out an enveloppe, they scan it and off you go... collaborative art


UN issues Rich Nations "child well-being" report

source: Metafilter / Guardian

How does your country measure up as a place to raise kids?

UNICEF studied all the wealthiest nations (full report PDF here), and the US and UK came in at the bottom on almost all indicators (material wellbeing, health and safety, education, family and peer relationships, behaviours and risks, and the subjective feelings of kids and teens themselves ). Doing best for kids were the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. It turns out that GDP and material wealth alone does not ensure healthier or happier or more well-educated kids--the Czech Republic scored very well despite being one of the poorest nations surveyed.

Belgium ranks 10th, which is not a bad place, given the very bad scoring on "Health and Safety" and "Behaviours and Risks"... the overall positive position is balanced by 1st position on education. However, this is a still a series wake-up call to our politicians...



Daan wins best song and best video for "The Player", out of a shortlist of 100 titles: congratulations! Lyrics for The Player on this site. Copyright by www.daan.be


The Gallmann Africa Conservancy

Just Finished reading "I dreamed of Africa" - a incredibly moving story about Kuki Gallmann's (mis)adventures in the Kenyan wild. The book tells the tale of Kuki's settling into late 20th century Kenya and establishing a landmark foundation and conservation project in the highlands near the Great Rift Valley after the tragical loss of both her husband and son. (a must-read story rated *****/*****)

When afterwards you visit the Nairobi National Park and are invited to step into a cage with a cheetah, you touch the earth's history through the carnivore's docile behaviour!

The Gallmann Africa Conservancy


midomi : just what we've all been waiting for... Catchy tune on the radio, but you can't seem to remember artist/song... sing it into this site and it will deliver instant results!


Telemark skiing

Just back from a wonderful short ski holiday on a 3500+m high glacier above Saas-Fee in Switzerland. After much speculation on the difficulties and some years of pondering, finally decided to take a go at TELEMARK downhill skiing. Happy to report: it is worth the aductor-pain and technical mastering... Hemmingway was an avid fan in the 1920s....

Telemark skiing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "The Telemark turn became the technique of ski touring in rolling terrain."

Pioneer Sondre Norheim, from Morgedal in Telemark, has often been called the father of modern skiing for inventing the equipment and techniques that led to modern skiing as we see it today. Having grown up in the farmlands of Norwegian Telemark, Norheim invented a “birch” binding that enabled skiers to ski without the risk of losing their skis. Then, in 1870, Norheim introduced a short, curved, flexible ski he crafted in order to allow for easy turning in soft snow. Norheim, at the age of forty-three, went on to become the winner of the first Norwegian downhill skiing competition in Christiania. (modern day Oslo)