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Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2007-03-09 17:15
It's topped 36 deg. C in Cape Town today, with nary a breath of air. Driving to work this morning, there was a nasty brown haze spoiling the view in pretty much every direction, but was most apparent coming around hospital bend and looking down from the M3 over the harbour. Yak! Just as well we have the Kaapse Dokter blowing that vuilte away most of the time.
The roads are full of bicycles, not cyclists mind you, but plenty of sporty frames stuck on the back of 4x4's, Volvo's and BM's. Maybe the annual influx of Argus cyclists descending on the City also contributed to the air quality this morning. The irony's not lost on me either ;-)
Continuing on the pollution theme, a Texas-based study says pollution in Asia is altering global weather patterns by creating larger clouds and more intense storms. The study shows a definitive link between human activities and shifts in storm patterns that influence weather worldwide. The storms affect global air and heat circulation and may be linked to warming in polar regions. [National Geographic]
The IPCC Climate Change report was watered down according to David Wasdell, an independent analyst of climate change. He says the preliminary version produced in April 2006 contained many references to the potential for faster climate change because of "positive feedbacks", but these references were absent from the final version. His analysis can be viewed here.
Spiegel Online also ran a good feature on the impacts of climate change being more extensive than reported by the UN's IPCC report.
Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2007-03-09 09:32
Guerilla bagging takes world by storm. Over 1 million plastic bags are consumed per minute globally & marine wildlife mistakes plastic bags for food. Now, pods all over the world are sewing bags made out of old duvets and curtains, whilst having fun drinking wine and meeting new people, before giving them for free, guerilla style, outside supermarkets. [morsbags.com]
A new website called SwitchPlanet provides a marketplace for recycled goods to stem our addiction to buying new. [greenoptions] Don’t forget freecycle – your trash is another person’s treasure. There are groups in Bloem, CT, Durbs, Jozi and PE, and it aims to give things away for free to save our planet from landfills. [freecycle.org]
Biofuel that grows like a magic mushroom? We questioned biofuel’s contribution to a greener planet [greening it up]. Now an Israeli scientist may have discovered an alternative to corn and soy – a GM mushroom. To GM or not to GM...[treehugger]
In the face of the departing honey bee.The catastrophe of the loss of honeybee colonies around the world, some say as a direct result of global warming, spells immediate bad news for agriculture, who rely on the bee as a natural pollinator. So what does business do if its key service supplier folds? [greenbiz]
Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2007-03-06 10:32
Put it on, pronto! A condom applicator was named the most beautiful object in SA at the Design Indaba by the Dutch designer Jurgen Bey. The condom applicator invented by Willem van Rensburg and designed by industrial designer Roelf Mulder, helps one get it on easily and fast and was designed to help AIDS prevention. But the best is the comments posted on [dezeen.com]
Are biofuels the answer? They’re all the rage lately and SA is no exception in joining the rush. But is it the answer? The planet is struggling to provide enough food for its population as it is, and already there are fragile ecosystems being destroyed by the dash into biofuels. In West Africa, the biggest new cause of deforestation is the conversion of land into biofuel crop production. [greenfuture]
And now the green-vehicle angle – what about a compostable car? No really, a car you could throw onto the compost pile out back and dig in with your vege peelings? Apparently not as far fetched as it sounds. Mercedes have a concept car they’re calling RECY, presented in December at the SA Auto Show’s Design Challenge. Hmmm [celsias.com]
Whilst we’re out on a limb here, an ex-defense minister of Canada has advocated that UFO’s can solve climate change and is calling all governments to immediately disclose any alien technology they’ve been hoarding. He must know something we don’t? [hippy shopper]
Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2007-03-05 15:33
Organic is good for the climate, says a FiBL (Research Institute of Organic Agriculture) press release, after Biofach - the world's largest trade fair for organic farming and food - met in Nuremberg last month.
The lighter our farming systems tread on the Earth, the less severely climate change will develop.
Organic farming fertilises soils with composted harvest residues and animal manure. This saves 50 to 150 kg, depending upon the crop, in synthetic nitrogen fertilizer per hectare which would otherwise need to be produced using non-renewable fuels.
Worldwide, 90 million tonnes of mineral oil or natural gas are processed to nitrogen fertilizer every year. This generates 250 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.
With their low-impact methods, organic farmers boost soil fertility and the humus content of soils. The result is that the greenhouse gas CO2 is returned to the biomass of the soil.
Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-02-28 10:59
Why you should be buying organic or rBST-free milk. If you’re not already doing so, there are very good reasons to buy rBST-free milk (Woolies & Pick ‘n Pay produce rBST-free milk). Despite Monsanto’s “study” showing no difference between milk from rBST-free cows and those injected with the hormone, a scientific study by the Physicians for Social Responsibility has shown that the hormone poses risks to animal and human health. [organic consumers] Read a brochure released by the group [know your milk]
SA’s ‘revolution in transport’ announced by the Transport Minister, now standing in for the Health Minister as she recuperates in hospital, outlines the R-billions soon to be injected into the public transport and infrastructure system to prepare for 2010 – but not a word about green alternatives or an endeavour to cut carbon emissions.[M&G]
Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2007-02-27 21:18
This may be old news in internet time but I've been so distracted with the Design Indaba (who would have guessed?) that this one nearly slipped under the radar...
I've just read that Al Gore, Davis Guggenheim and co's An Inconvenient Truth won an Oscar for best Documentary Feature in the 79th Academy Awards! So no matter what you think of the Academy's four hour self-congratulatory affair it's still a reminder to go and see it if you've not already done so.
At least the Academy took the opportunity to mention to Go Green on their website. In fact they devoted over 2500 words urging us to save energy, resources, water and to go organic.
The entire production "endeavored to select supplies and services with a sensitivity toward reducing the threats we face from global warming, species extinction, deforestation, toxic waste, and hazardous chemicals in our water and food." Although they don't say how their endeavors faired.
Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2007-02-19 14:45
Organic industry booming – 75 million acres of farmland are now organically certified worldwide. IFOAM presented the latest stats and emerging trends last Friday that also show that organic products offer attractive opportunities for producers in developing countries. [organic consumers]
SA is headed for a heat wave – the central parts of the country will be very hot this week and parts of the coast will also be very uncomfortable. [IOL]
Avaaz leads the way in ‘climate wake up call’. The new MoveOn-style group that will mobilize members all over the world to take action on global issues, is airing a TV ad to petition World leaders. The ad shows world leaders snoozing in their bedrooms, while climate disaster rages outside and urges them to "set binding global targets" for carbon emissions. It began airing in Washington on 6 Feb and will also show in Paris, Berlin and Delhi.[avaaz]
Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2007-02-16 17:46
A series of simultaneous 24 hour music concerts, Live Earth , designed to trigger a global movement to combat climate change was announced yesterday as part of Save Our Selves (SOS) – The Campaign for a Climate in Crisis.
SOS was founded by Kevin Wall, executive producer of Live 8, is fronted by Al Gore, Cameron Diaz, Pharrell Williams and others and will be digitally broadcast around the world by MSN.
"In order to solve the climate crisis, we have to reach billions of people," said Gore, the environmental activist, filmmaker and almost President of the US.
SOS has announced 25 of the 100 Big name artists including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snoop Dogg, Lenny Kravitz and Black Eyed Peas.
"That’s what it takes to engage billions of people. We’re not just engaging fans of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Snoop Dogg, or the Foo Fighters and Faith Hill. We’re engaging them and everyone in between," Wall said. "We’ve been overwhelmed by the response from the artist community and are feverishly working out the logistics for all of the bands that want to be involved."
Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2007-02-13 13:02
Eskom plans to build a PBMR, a version of a group of reactors termed high temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGCR). These types of reactors were never successfully commercialised and have been abandoned. Aside from the planned ten reactors in SA, Eskom plans to construct, operate and sell these reactors to create a potential export business.
Earthlife Africa believes that there are at least 10 reasons why the pebble bed modular reactor project is not a solution for our country:
• health impacts – there is no such thing as a ‘safe’ dose of radiation. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that low doses may actually be more dangerous, as they may mutate cells more easily than high doses, which can kill the cells. There is no debate as to whether radiation kills, maims, causes mutations, is cumulative, causes leukaemia, cancers, respiratory illnesses and attacks the immune system. The only disagreement is about what is legally considered an allowable dose.
Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2007-02-09 10:31
All of this history aside, is going nuclear the answer to global warming and is it the right thing for South Africa? Are nuclear pundits taking advantage of climate change to misrepresent nuclear power as a carbon-free electricity source and the solution to global warming?
According to scientist and formulator of the Gaia hypothesis, James Lovelock, nuclear energy is the only feasible way to power the planet in order to counter climate change.
His alarming take on global warming is that current proposals for alternative energies are too little, too late – anything we might see fit to do at this stage, in the wake of global warming, is of no avail. As Lovelock says:
‘If we had 50 years or more we might make these [renewables, wind, tide and water power] our main sources. But we do not have 50 years; the Earth is already so disabled by the insidious poison of greenhouse gases that even if we stop all fossil fuel burning immediately, the consequences of what we have already done will last for 1,000 years.’ [yes magazine]