Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Wine by Boat

Eco-friendly French to ship their wine under sail60,000 bottles on a 19th-century barque from Bordeaux to Dublin is just the start

French vineyard owners are returning to a slower pace of life by starting to export their wine by sailing boat - a method last used in the 1800s - to reduce their carbon footprint.

Later this month 60,000 bottles from Languedoc will be shipped to Ireland in a 19th-century barque, saving 18,375lb of carbon. Further voyages to Bristol, Manchester and even Canada are planned soon afterwards.

The three-mast barque Belem, which was launched in 1896, the last French merchant sailing vessel to be built, will sail into Dublin following a voyage from Bordeaux that should last about four days. The wines will be delivered to Bordeaux by barge using the Canal du Midi and Canal du Garonne, which run across southern France from Sète in the east, via Béziers in Languedoc. Each bottle will be labelled: 'Carried by sailing ship, a better deal for the planet.' Although the whole process will end up taking up to a week longer than a flight, it is estimated it will save 4.9oz of carbon per bottle.

Frederic Albert, founder of the shipping company Compagnie de Transport Maritime à la Voile (CTMV), said: 'My idea was to do something for the planet and something for the wines of Languedoc. One of my grandfathers was a wine-maker and one was a sailor.'

With French wine exports booming following a number of difficult years, Albert said some 250 producers in Languedoc alone were keen to use his ships.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Seeking Green Solutions

Solar Power Cost

Salon magazine looks at the debate over the true cost of solar power. Not surprisingly, estimates are all over the place.

Meanwhile, Science Daily notes ways to improve solar efficiency.
Special Coating Greatly Improves Solar Cell Performance

ScienceDaily (Feb. 22, 2008) — The energy from sunlight falling on only 9 percent of California's Mojave Desert could power all of the United States' electricity needs if the energy could be efficiently harvested, according to some estimates. Unfortunately, current-generation solar cell technologies are too expensive and inefficient for wide-scale commercial applications.

A team of Northwestern University researchers has developed a new anode coating strategy that significantly enhances the efficiency of solar energy power conversion. A paper about the work, which focuses on "engineering" organic material-electrode interfaces in bulk-heterojunction organic solar cells, is published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Green Design Winners

This DIY device measures energy use.

The Good Human looks at four designs that won in the recent Greener Gadgets Design Competition in New York City.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

Green Video Challenge

Challenge and a Prize

Submit a Video Response TODAY
-Help build a community of eco-friendly dwellers
-Enter to WIN $5,000 dollars worth of prizes from
Sierra Designs,
Mission Playgrounds,
Burts Bee, and other eco-companies.

Create a Video Response about eco-friendly living, answer one of the questions below:
1. What are the biggest challenges you face in becoming more eco-friendly?
2. What questions do you have about eco-friendly living?
3. Are you taking any specific actions right now to be more eco-friendly, and if so, do you have a way to do it easily and conveniently?
4. What changes would you like to see happen from companies and the marketplace?
For all details, GO TO Juntoventure.
Challenge Ends - Feb. 28

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tree Arborcide

I wonder what the precise charge is?

Man gets 5 years in tree massacre
The 61-year-old, who felled 500 trees that blocked his view of Sin City, had made other threats, a prosecutor says.
By Ashley Powers
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
LAS VEGAS -- Residents of an upscale retirement community near here knew Douglas Hoffman was upset that trees were blocking his backyard view of the Strip.

But at a hearing Monday, where Hoffman was sentenced to up to five years in prison for killing more than 500 trees, a prosecutor said the retired construction worker had threatened to unleash "chemical, biological, nuclear mass destruction" because of it.

Dressed in jail garb and handcuffed to his wheelchair, Hoffman, 61, slumped and lowered his eyes when Judge Donald M. Mosley announced his sentence.

"I am not a bad person. I am a good person," said Hoffman, who has hip, back, heart and prostate problems.

The case has been closely watched in fast-growing Clark County, where tract homes and transplanted trees have obscured many homeowners' mountain and casino views.

A few years ago, Hoffman and his wife bought a second home in a Henderson retirement haven just south of Las Vegas. Mesquite trees and other recently planted vegetation soon grew 8 feet tall, obscuring the view from their deck. The couple asked a homeowners committee if they could swap out the trees for shrubs, but were told no.

Shortly after, in October 2004, a yearlong tree massacre began. Tops were lopped off. Entire trees were chopped down. ....

....In pushing for a harsh sentence, Clark County Deputy Dist. Atty. Joshua Tomsheck on Monday revealed that a rambling, typed letter had been sent to the governor's office while Hoffman was awaiting trial.

"If no changes come soon -- and soon means now, immediately -- the militia has many options," it read. Among those listed were razing and burning homes, drive-by shootings, setting off improvised explosive devices and unleashing a weapons cache.

Imperiled by Overfishing

Attention, Lou Dobbs: When you take away a nation's livelihood and basic food supply, the people follow. From The New York Times.
Europe Takes Africa’s Fish, and Boatloads of Migrants Follow

KAYAR, Senegal — Ale Nodye, the son and grandson of fishermen in this northern Senegalese village, said that for the past six years he netted barely enough fish to buy fuel for his boat. So he jumped at the chance for a new beginning. He volunteered to captain a wooden canoe full of 87 Africans to the Canary Islands in the hopes of making their way illegally to Europe.

The 2006 voyage ended badly. He and his passengers were arrested and deported. His cousin died on a similar mission not long afterward.

Nonetheless, Mr. Nodye, 27, said he intended to try again.

“I could be a fisherman there,” he said. “Life is better there. There are no fish in the sea here anymore.”

From Greenpeace:

Many marine ecologists think that the biggest single threat to marine ecosystems today is overfishing. Our appetite for fish is exceeding the oceans' ecological limits with devastating impacts on marine ecosystems. Scientists are warning that overfishing results in profound changes in our oceans, perhaps changing them forever. Not to mention our dinner plates, which in future may only feature fish and chips as a rare and expensive delicacy.
The fish don't stand a chance

More often than not, the fishing industry is given access to fish stocks before the impact of their fishing can be assessed, and regulation of the fishing industry is, in any case, woefully inadequate.

The reality of modern fishing is that the industry is dominated by fishing vessels that far out-match nature's ability to replenish fish. Giant ships using state-of-the-art fish-finding sonar can pinpoint schools of fish quickly and accurately. The ships are fitted out like giant floating factories - containing fish processing and packing plants, huge freezing systems, and powerful engines to drag enormous fishing gear through the ocean. Put simply: the fish don't stand a chance.

and from
Over three quarters of our planet are covered by the oceans. Their biodiversity is unmatched and they contain over 80 percent of all life on earth, mostly unexplored. Millions of people worldwide are depending on the oceans for their daily livelihoods. More and more all this is endangered because of ignorance and a global lack of management.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Kingsolver's Book

The Barbara Kingsolver book, Animal,Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, has been out since May. In it, she details the story of her family's decision to try a locavore life, moving from dried-up Tucson for a farm in Appalachia, picking a smarter, more Earth-conscious lifestyle. Here's a review of her wonderful book; Here's her website featuring the book.