Tag Archives: Green

Algopack®, a natural material

Have been reading about and keeping tabs on the pacific garbage patch, new methods to keep the ocean clean, effects of plastic on the ocean life etc… Day before while reading articles online I came across this very interesting writeup about Algopack® shared by Captain Paul Watson of the SeaShepherd – a viable green alternative to plastic. It is manufactured in France by Algoe

Algopack®

With the price of petrol continuing to rise, Algopack® offers an alternative answer to plastic. Algopack offers a solution for reducing pollution from plastics, on land and in the oceans.
Algopack is capable of producing a rigid material made ​​from 100% based industrial waste from brown seaweeds. For their growth, seaweeds need no fertilizer nor pesticide and they need low amounts of water. They absorb and convert CO2 into sugar for growth and release O2, thus promoting the development of plankton. Seaweeds are not invasive and respect biodiversity.
At the end of the life cycle, the material is fully compostable and becomes a natural fertilizer.

(Read more about it here)

Seaweed

With the effect of the light from the sun’s rays, seaweed transforms CO² into the sugars it needs to grow. At the same time, it releases into the water a large quantity of oxygen.

The process of cultivating seaweed is unquestionably a positive thing for the Marine environment, as it allows CO² to be reduced and concentrated whilst simultaneously making available an energy that is ideal for the growth of plankton. The types of seaweed cultivated by Algopack® come from sources such as aquaculture farms.

Algoblend®

Reducing the percentage of petrochemicals by introducing seaweed-based products.

Extrusion

The granules, naturally brown in colour, can be mass-dyed according to projet requirements. You can receive bags of 25kg, Big Bags of 450kg or an Octoben of 450Kg.

Algoblend® represents a 25% energy saving in its production (compared to a polypropylene equivalent).

The Algoblend® granules are compatible with all the extruders on the market : there are no modifications required for your extruding machines, and you can use existing filters.

Any offcuts can be ground up again to be reused in the material.

Purging for cleaning can be freely carried out. The thickness of the sheets is between 300µ and 1000µ.

Thermoformage

Algoblend® sheets can be thermoformed without any particular modification to existing thermoforming tools. The material does not change either the impressions or the cutters. The material is also suitable for direct contact with food, and the degrees of permeability can be optimised to suit each particular application.

Injection

The material can be adapted to suit the preferred MFI settings. All existing moulds of any type can be used (hot manifold…). The material does not alter the imprint surface.

This material can be imprinted in line with existing processes

Looking forward Algae based products becoming more available and accessible in near future.

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Table Phare by Algoblend

As Capt Watson says “If the Oceans Die, we die”.

Sources for the article and to Read more about the products follow the links below :-

1.

2.

3.

 

Some Tips on How to Pick Organic

I tend to go by the norm look for the label which says USDA Organic certified like the picture below. Natural or non-gmo etc do not mean Organic, mostly if a producer knows his produce is organic and he uses organic farming methods chances are he will write ORGANIC on his produce.

The USDA website says Products certified 95 percent or more organic display this USDA sticker. Do remember this is a voluntary seal which most Organic producers use.

As per the USDA what makes the organic food different from regular produce is the following criteria:

Here are other differences between conventional farming and organic farming:

Conventional farmers Organic farmers
Apply chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth. Apply natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants.
Spray insecticides to reduce pests and disease. Use beneficial insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease.
Use chemical herbicides to manage weeds. Rotate crops, till, hand weed or mulch to manage weeds.
Give animals antibiotics, growth hormones and medications to prevent disease and spur growth. Give animals organic feed and allow them access to the outdoors. Use preventive measures — such as rotational grazing, a balanced diet and clean housing — to help minimize disease.

So when setting out to buy organic one way to do it is head to one of the major grocery chains and look for the organic section, or else head to a grocer who stores more organic food. I tend to shop at Trader Joe’s nominal prices, good selection and it still kind of has a small store feel to it which is not overwhelming.

Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution. Farmers who grow organic produce and meat don’t use conventional methods to fertilize, control weeds or prevent livestock disease. For example, rather than using chemical weedkillers, organic farmers conduct sophisticated crop rotations and spread mulch or manure to keep weeds at bay.

When it comes to products sometimes it gets kinda tricky- some producers certify their products organic while others say 100% organic, you will need to read the labels to figure out what ingredient in the mix is organic and what is not.USDA guidelines are as follows :

  • 100 percent organic. Products that are completely organic or made of all organic ingredients.
  • Organic. Products that are at least 95 percent organic.
  • Made with organic ingredients. These are products that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients. The organic seal can’t be used on these packages.

Some simple steps which don’t much affect your wallet and monthly budget are growing your own vegetables during summer (squashes, tomatoes etc flourish and are readily available to buy), Farmers market – you get fresh produce from the source and you help the local economy what can be better?

While deciding on Organic decide which is best for you, considering nutrition, quality, taste, cost and other factors. Each of us have to make decisions based on our circumstances.

  • Nutrition. No conclusive evidence shows that organic food is more nutritious than is conventionally grown food. And the USDA — even though it certifies organic food — doesn’t claim that these products are safer or more nutritious.
  • Quality and appearance. Organic foods meet the same quality and safety standards as conventional foods. You may find that organic fruits and vegetables spoil faster because they aren’t treated with waxes or preservatives.
  • Pesticides. Some people buy organic food to limit their exposure to these residues. Most experts agree, however, that the amount of pesticides found on fruits and vegetables poses a very small health risk.
  • Environment. Some people buy organic food for environmental reasons. Organic farming practices are designed to benefit the environment by reducing pollution and conserving water and soil.
  • Cost. Most organic food costs more than conventional food products. Higher prices are due to more expensive farming practices, tighter government regulations and lower crop yields. Because organic farmers don’t use herbicides or pesticides, many management tools that control weeds and pests are labor intensive. For example, organic growers may hand weed vegetables to control weeds, and you may end up paying more for these vegetables.
  • Taste. Some people say they can taste the difference between organic and nonorganic food. Others say they find no difference. Taste is a subjective and personal consideration, so decide for yourself. But whether you buy organic or not, finding the freshest foods available may have the biggest impact on taste.Source for the information USDA FDA website

Check out this video on Organic farming from the Boggy Creek farms in Autin Texas.

The following vegetables are the ones with the most pesticide residues there for going organic for those might be a good choice:

  1. Peaches
  2. Apples
  3. Sweet Bell Peppers
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarines
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Lettuce
  9. Grapes – Imported
  10. Pears
  11. Spinach
  12. Potatoes

I had been to the local farmers market yesterday and was amazed to see how fast most of the produce disappeared! It is indeed a pleasure to be able to talk to the person/people who work hard and produce what we consume.

Some Organic farmers markets have been put together here
Live Green!
Check out this link too for more info

a good read –

The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming (New York Review Books Classics)

How Clean is Your Reusable Grocery Bag?

BYOB – Bring Your Own BAG! It’s a green Mantra of sorts for sustainable living and reducing plastic bags in the landfills. There was a time when most grocery stores had only plastic bags, with the conscientious customer demanding greener options they added the paper bags and now most stores offer a sturdy, recycled plastic bag! Strong, reusable and recycled! What more would one need!

So every week I head to my grocery store with my trusted set of 4 bags 2 canvas and 2 recycled plastic bags. Use no additional plastic bags or paper etc and feel good about my Green habit. Today I read this article on Discovery health about the cleanliness of the reusable grocery bag! I was surprised and shocked when I realized that my plastic bags belong to the 97% of bags which were not cleaned on a regular basis!

The article by Benjamin Radford is based on a study by researchers in the University of Arizona who looked at reusable grocery bags in California and Arizona. They picked the bags from patrons as they entered the stores. Public unawareness of cross contamination was found to be almost universal. It is estimated that there are about 76,000,000 cases of food borne illness in the United States every year! And most are from improper handling or cooking of food.

Their conclusions and recommendations are as follows:

  • Consumers almost never wash reusable bags (a whopping 97% do not!)
  • Requiring printed instructions on reusable bags that they be washed between uses or the need to separate raw foods from other food products. (Duh… Why did I not think about washing the plastic bags!?)
  • Hand or machine washing reduced the numbers of bacteria in reusable bags by >99.9%
  • A potential significant risk of bacterial cross contamination exists from using reusable bags to carry groceries
  • Bacteria were capable of growth when stored in the trunks of cars (I leave mine in there most of the time)
  • Large numbers of bacteria were found in every reusable bag, but none in new bags or plastic bags (So it is how we use it that transfers the bacteria into the bags)
  • Coliform bacteria including E. coli were found in half of the bags tested (Washing hands, food etc will definitely help)

I would add the following to it –

  1. Keeping separate bags for groceries and say the library or Gym clothes etc… (a dedicated grocery bag basically)
  2. Cloth or canvas is the better option as it can be washed in hot water and does not disintegrate with heat.
  3. For meat and related products, keep a dedicated bag so it does not cross contaminate.
  4. I am also suggesting sun exposure after washing, sunlight is a good deterrent to micro-organisms and also gets rid of moisture easily 🙂

Take a look at your grocery bag, I know I will never look at it the same way again. Remember to wash it regularly and keep your family safe.

Also wanted to mention the standard plastic bags that we see around can be recycled for details and to find a recycling place near you go to PlasticBagRecylcing

Couple of neat cotton grocery bags are below click on the picture to go to their websites.

Live Green!

Interested in reading the whole study click here

The Discovery.com Article is here

Seeds of Deception Part II

Continuing from my last post here


Why is there HUNGER in the world? Why do people still die because of Hunger? The days when the world did not produce enough food has been gone for years now, yet we have over a billion people who suffer from Hunger in 2010! There are children dying because of hunger world over, why is it?

No one really knows exactly how many people are malnourished. The statistic most frequently cited is that of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, which measures ‘under-nutrition’. The most recent estimate, released on October 14, 2009 by FAO,  says that 1.02 billion people are undernourished, a sizable increase from its 2006 estimate of  854 million people.

Lack of food is not the problem. Enough food is produced in the world today for everyone to be properly nourished and lead a healthy and productive life. Hunger exists because of poverty. In a Developing country like India where the GDP is growing by 6-8% every year the agrarian way of life still supports more than 50% of her 1billion plus people and forms less than 18% of the GDP. Indian Government estimates say around 30% of the population lives below the poverty line. In 1995 India became and agri-exporter because Green Revolution had succeeded and she was producing surplus food! Add to that the fact that India is ranked second in Agricultural out put! Yet her farmers are killing themselves in the 1000’s because of hunger and debt!! Isn’t that a huge disconnect?

Agriculture the First Revolution for Human kind


One common thread that binds all the species on our earth is the fact that we all at the end of day work for food, every thing else is secondary.  Agriculture for all practical purposes can be considered the first revolution for human kind. We discovered agriculture some 10,000 years back which lead to man settling down creating cities and civilizations.

Today half of human kind depend on agriculture for survival.  Almost 3/4 of this population still use their hands and do traditional farming. Agriculture was passed down from generation to generation and the agrarian way of life could be called almost ritualistic. The farmer toiled on his farm every year, depending on his hard work and nature for his yield. Industrialization and the discovery of coal and crude oil changed agriculture too. The unbridled power of oil changed agriculture in ways we would not imagine 50 years back. Machines replaced men; a liter of oil produced enough energy to run machines which replaced almost 50 people working 24hours!

In the US with a population of approximately 300million,  there are only 3 million farmers left and they produce enough food to feed 2 Billion people! Most of this feed is not used as food but transformed into bio fuels and cattle feed.

Agriculture uses 70% of all water we use in the world! Crops adapted to the weather patterns and the soil where they grew gave way to the high-yielding Transgenic varieties which produced more and were easier to cultivate. In the last century we have lost over 3/4th of all native seeds developed by farmers world over by cultivation over 1000 years…

An example for a modern Agricultural “marvel” would be Almeria in Spain- Europe’s vegetable garden. As far as the eye can see it is plastic roof tops with controlled artificial environments below. The home project film describes it like this “As far as the eye can see plastic above and fertilizer below. A city of uniformly sized vegetables wait everyday to be transported to Europe’s super markets”.

This is modern day Agriculture, where hybrids are the name of the game. We get inbuilt pesticides, herbicides and viruses so that the vegetable crop survives. The producers “guarantee” there has been no case of transference of genes from plants to humans noted. The only study done has been with soy and it has been seen it does transfer to our colon. More about it in the next post as am still reading Jeffrey M Smith’s book Genetic Roulette (see the link at the bottom of the page, I got it from there)

Development in the Developing World

India, China, Brazil etc are all part of the world referred to as the developing world. Today over half of the 7 Billion people in the world live in cities. I pick India as an e.g. because it is the largest democracy in the world and has the second largest population in the world, add to it the fact that I grew up there :). During my recent visits what has stuck me most is how fast India’s Urban landscape is changing. Overnight small cities have skylines and suburbs keep encroaching rural areas around to expand.

Right now the population of cities in the developing countries are increasing in ten folds every year. As rural life becomes more difficult people head into cities looking for jobs as they did eons back.

As the Indian economy surged, matters that call for the urgent attention of the public and government are ignored in favor of the stock market, and India’s famed IT boom. Agriculture though it feeds the country is left behind by the Government and the press. As farms become non-sustainable and farmers become debt laden their only recourse is to either head towards  the urban areas to look for menial hand to mouth existence jobs or end their lives.

Effects of Green Revolution in India

The North Western state of Punjab was the poster child for Green Revolution, it was the success story which was on every ones lips. Schools taught it as the shining example of what farming can accomplish. It was dubbed the “Bread Bucket of India” during the 80’s and 90’s. Punjab took to Industrialized farms effortlessly and the results were stunning to say the least. The state was producing surplus in agriculture and their GDP was way ahead of the rest of the country. Now Punjab is referred to as a case study in “How industrial agriculture boosts yields in the short term, but leads to the long term destruction of the land on which agriculture depends and of the social and environmental contxt with which it is immediately linked”.

The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAAKSTD) concluded after assessing Punjab’s situation that “Business as usual is not an option and If radical changes are not made in how we produce and distribute our food the world’s people can not be fed over the next half century and we will be left with a world which nobody wants to inhabit!”

Now India adds 18 million people every year to her population! Her farms are producing lesser and lesser food and her farmers are getting deeper into debt. What can help them?

India will have to alter her course and go back to her roots in the agrarian way of life which sustained her for long. Some things that come to mind are as follows:

  • Community based natural farming.
  • Using native non-transgenic seeds which are adapted to the native conditions.
  • Rotating crops there by not letting pests get out of control.
  • Using natural herbicides and fertilizers etc…

A radical over haul of thinking and action is what will help the world in reaching a balance where everyone will have access to food and the environment will be taken care of too. Returning to a sustainable way of farming is the only recourse for mankind. As the Native American saying goes:

“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.”

Live Green!

GMO’s and other problems will be covered in the 3rd part of this post… have to finish reading Jeffrey Smith’s book

Genetic Roulette Digest

http://www.agassessment.org/

“The Black Rhino” Not Really Black

“What do a Rhino, a child suffering from a fever in China and a rich man in Yemen have in common? “

To find the answer you will have to either learn about the Black Rhinoceros (meaning read my blog) or scroll all the way down 🙂

Well now you know our weekly earthling for this week is a Rhino! When I heard the Rhino we have at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) I wondered why it did not look Black to me! Then I learned Black was not the color of the rhino but was given to distinguish it from the “White” rhino which incidentally is not white (Funny Humans!!) but was derived from the Dutch word for “wide”! So Black and White Rhinos really can’t be distinguished by the color of their skin (as both look pretty much Grey!!) but by the upper lip; it is prehensile and pointed in the Black Rhino while it is wide in the white rhino.

The Black Rhino is a critically endangered species as a result of Poaching and habitat fragmentation. Relentless hunting of the species and clearances of land for settlement and agriculture resulted in the population being reduced from a probable several hundred thousand at the start of the century, to less than 2,500 by the early 1990s (the minimum population estimate in 1995 was approximately 2,410 (Emslie and Brooks 1999). Historically they were found all over Africa; South of the Sahara except the Congo Basin, from grass lands to deserts, tropical and subtropical. Now their range has been fragmented to Cameroon Kenya and South Africa.

Black Rhinos are herbivores and are solitary except during mating season, with a gestation period of 15 months and the female giving birth to a solitary calf. Offspring are weaned after 18months and are dependent on the mother for up to 4years! They generally stay within 25kilometers from a water source. Dominant males are extremely territorial and will fight any intruder. They are more active during the mornings and evenings and rest during mid day when it is really hot.

Lifespan is between 30-35 years in the wild and they live to be above 45 in captivity. They weigh between 1750 to 3000 pounds! They have 2 horns with the front one being longer. The Rhino skin is 1.5 to 2 centimeters thick and wallowing in mud helps protect them from insects and the sun!

Some Interesting Rhino facts:

  • Rhinos inhabited not just Africa and Asia but Europe and North America as well! No one knows why they disappeared from North America.
  • At present there are 5 species of Rhinos in the world; The Black, White, Indian, Javan and Sumatran.
  • All together they number around 24,000 in the wild with 1200 in captivity.
  • Throughout the 20th Century the Black Rhino was the most numerous of the world’s rhino species!
  • Their Numbers in the wild dropped by a whopping 90% in around 40 plus years!!
  • The Javan Rhinoceros is the most endangered large mammal species in the world!
  • The oldest Rhino in captivity was 49 years old.
  • Adult black rhinos defecate on dung piles as a means of communication, as it reveals to other rhinos how recently an individual was in a certain location.
  • Rhinos have poor eye sight (see up to 25-30 meters away) and rely on their sense of smell most.
  • Male rhinos do fight over territories and use their anterior horns in the fight very effectively.
  • Two countries have shown net increases in numbers of Black Rhino over the period 1980-2007: South Africa and Namibia, from estimated 630+300 in 1980 (Emslie and Brooks 1999) to 1,470 + 1,390, respectively in 2007 (AfRSG data 2008).
  • Rhino horn has two main consumers: traditional use in Chinese medicine, and ornamental use (for example, rhino horn is a highly prized material for making ornately carved handles for ceremonial daggers (Jambiyas) worn in some Middle East countries mostly Yemen).
  • About 90 percent of adult rhino deaths are caused by poaching.
  • Like the elephant, the rhino walks on its tip toes. The round heels of its feet are actually fatty tissue.
  • A rhino can run 25 to 30 mph for short distances.
  • In their native countries they are threatened because their horns are worth more than gold to the poachers.
  • The rhino’s horn is made of keratin the same stuff that makes up our hair and fingernails.
  • The black and white rhinoceros remain so closely related that they can still mate and successfully produce offspring.

What can be done to make sure that this beautiful species stays where it has for millions of years? We can support the organizations which are doing the needful to negate the issues plaguing these animals like The international Rhino Foundation or the IUCN OR you could go shopping follow this link to know how?

Another thing one can do is educating people to why some of the traditional believes are just not true and how there can be alternatives for those ways. May be sooner rather than later, people will awake to the plight of their fellow earthlings; who I believe have an equal right to live on this planet as we do.

Live Green!

An Indian Rhino who lost its horns to poachers.. what a shame… 

 

Sources:

The IUCN Red Data List For the map and info

The Wikipedia for the awesome Picture

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium my favorite zoo 🙂

The Rhino Resource Center

Answer to the Riddle : Must be evident by now if not here it goes

They all think that the horn of the rhino is very valuable. To the rhino, it is very valuable because it uses its horn to defend itself and to fight other males when looking for a mate. Its sharp horn is a pretty dangerous weapon, and, if it breaks off, it will grow back. For the Child in China it could be part of a traditional medicine for fever( horn proven not to be medicinal) and the man in Yemen thinks the Rhino’s horn adds to his status on the handle of his dagger (Jambiya).”

Andrew Wong Winner of Toyota Earth Day Scholarship

From everything around me I understand that unless the environment is taken care of starting now (if possible should have done it yesterday or the day before.. you get the drift) the Earth we leave our next generations to will be a mess, a man made mess.

Native American’s have a saying which I tend to often repeat whenever I get a chance, it goes like this “Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.” The future we know belongs to todays children, the next generation and the ones to come after them. It is therefore our responsibility to help them be good stewards of the amazing blue planet we call home.

In Canada the Auto Major Toyota Canada Inc and Earth Day Canada  have together established The Toyota Earth Day Scholarship Program to reward and encourage environmental commitment and action among students. The scholarship program is an incentive for youngsters who will emerge as tomorrows environmental leaders, activists and advocates.

The Toyota Earth Day Scholarship Program grants 20 awards of $5000 each annually, to be applied directly towards tuition, books, room and board (where applicable) or other educational expenses for the first year of post-secondary full-time studies in Canada.

Regional panels of community, business and environmental leaders will select the winners who best meet the selection criteria. Awards will be granted in five geographic areas:

  • Atlantic Canada
  • Quebec
  • Ontario
  • Western Canada / Northwest Territories / Nunavut
  • British Columbia / Yukon

A national winner – selected from the 20 regional winners – will also be awarded the Toyota Earth Day Scholarship National Award and a Panasonic notebook computer at the National Award Ceremony.

This year the national winner is Andrew Wong of Ontario Canada. Andrew mobilizes his peers to achieve environmental goals. At school, he recognized that an abandoned greenhouse was an underutilized resource which had great potential to educate students about plant science and horticulture. Being the treasurer of his school student body he knew the limited resources the school had would not be available. He and a group of dedicated volunteers created The Greenhouse Horticultural society and grew and sold geraniums to raise money for the Greenhouse. Today the greenhouse is a hub for biological education enrichment and is an inspirational accomplishment for the students and faculty at Andrew’s high school.

Andrew Wong with his award

Andrew is a very dedicated and active member of amny green organisations in his community and has been commended by the committee as a shining example of global citizenship. “It is this type of leadership and passion, which Andrew has shown, which will be needed to tackle the environmental issues of today and help to build the more sustainable societies of tomorrow,” said Yoichi Tomihara, President of Toyota Canada Inc. “That’s why we’re so pleased to honour Andrew with the Toyota Earth Day Scholarship National Award, for demonstrating such exemplary academic and environmental excellence. I’m confident this passionate student leader will help show all Canadians how they can live Earth Day, Every Day.” He has taken an active role to improve the state of the environment and will no doubt continue to be an inspirational leader for positive change.

He also blogs about the environment at a million green things It is a pleasure to see youngsters like Andrew Wong, gives us all more hope about where the world is headed. All the very Best to the Andrew Wond and his ilk, the future is yours…

Live Green!

Source – Green Living  The Toyota Earth Day Scholarship

How Green Will the Fifa World Cup Be?

Fifa world cup SA Logo

In 3 days on the 11th of June, the entire world will be descending on South Africa as it hosts the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ for the first time in Africa the poorest of all continents. The event will highlight South Africa in a once-in-a-lifetime way.

Football or Soccer I would say is the most popular game in the world and the game played by most number of people across the world and to many it reaches the heights of religious fervor. Millions herd to watch the matches in stadiums and billions watch it from the comforts of their homes. The good part is that it is a coming together of the world for 30 days to play and celebrate the best players in world football.

There are 32 teams (representing 32 countries from around the world) who will be playing each other and going through 4 rounds until a winning country or the world champion is decided. This is the 19th edition of the world cup which like the Olympics is held once in 4 years. Italy is the defending champions and Spain & Argentina are considered favorites.

Basic things which would affect the Carbon Footprint:

In South Africa the matches are spread over 9 far flung cities; Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Nelspruit, Polokwane, Rustenburg and Tshwane in Pretoria. The distances to be travelled, the sheer number of visitors, volunteers, organizers, players & support staff etc and of course the brand new stadiums! Simple geography will also be one of the main reasons: foreign visitors will travel a total of 7.1 million kilometers (4.4 million miles) to cheer their teams at the southern tip of Africa, their planes emitting tons of carbon.

The renewal/ new construction of stadiums have a large Carbon footprint resulting from the use of virgin cement. The cement industry is one of the main producers of CO2. For every ton of cement there is one ton of carbon produced.

All these add to the carbon footprint of an event of this magnitude. So what is being done? How Green will the World Cup be?

What is being done to lessen impact?

Natural ventilation, rain water capture, energy efficiency: the new stadiums built for Africa’s first World Cup incorporate top-notch environmental standards. But the reality is carbon offsets albeit good are something which does not make an event carbon-neutral, Carbon produced is carbon produced.

The Green Goal program is aimed at identifying potential impacts, avoid or minimize the impacts where possible and compensate or offset unavoidable adverse impacts.

The cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban have also planted thousands of trees to capture the carbon dioxide blamed for global warming. Durban is the most ambitious of the nine host cities, planning to compensate for local carbon emissions by producing electricity from hydraulic turbines or biogas emitted by landfills.

Other environmental impacts associated with major football events results from activities of football fans can manifest themselves in following ways:

  1. Increase in the use of water;
  2. Increase in the use of energy (liquid fuel and electricity [majority of SA energy is coal generated]);
  3. Increased production of waste; and
  4. Increase in pollution – air, water and land.

For the first time in the history of the World Cup Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth will have all its energy from renewable sources: i.e. Wind energy; courtesy the 1.8MW turbines installed by Vestas. The turbine belongs to Electrawinds, a Belgian renewable energy company whose operating assets up to now have all been in Europe. Managing director Luc Desender says “it is my personal dream to reserve the first green electricity of Electrawinds in South Africa for the 2010 football world championship.”

Under the system of “carbon credits”, these projects will take two and a half years to offset the emissions caused by hosting the tournament in Durban, said Nicci Diederichs, head of the city’s green programs.

Though unhappy with what is being done, some Green activists look at the inadvertent improvements as the positives steps towards a greener future. They believe one of the most positive legacies will probably come about inadvertently in the form of improved public transport and the bus-rapid-transport system specifically. They believe it will offset the greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50%.

Zakumi Mascot of the world cup

 Some Interesting facts and predictions about the 19th World Cup:

  • An estimate puts the expected numbers of visitors for the world cup at 10 million plus!
  • According to the Cape Argus newspaper, 2000 planes will fly over South Africa every day, for the whole of the 2010 World Cup.
  • South Africa’s Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica warned Reuters in 2009 that the 2010 World Cup “will have the largest carbon footprint of any major event with a goal to be climate neutral.
  • The 19th World Cup’s footprint will be six times the carbon footprint of the 2006 FIFA World Cup hosted in Germany and almost twice that of the Beijing Olympics!!
  • Norway and South Africa have joined hands in a partnership that aims to make the 2010 FIFA World Cup—the first one organized on African soil—kind to the environment through the reduction of CO2 emissions.
  • The South African government has invested an estimated $12 billion during the past four years in infrastructure for the Cup.  Critics say the money could have been better spent alleviating poverty.

From June 11th to July 11th it will be football fever worldwide, and I believe if each fan takes one step to help offsetting the carbon footprint of their favorite event our world will be better off.

  • Plant a Tree!
  • Walk/ Bicycle / Carpool / Use public transport to get to work.
  • After work and after watching the world cup match turn off power strips and lights.
  • Increase your plant consumption, buy local produce.
  • Check out this link for more Green tips 🙂

Live Green! Green is a lifestyle for a better tomorrow.

Follow the World cup 2010 here

Watch the World cup live online here 

Sources:

Mission Fake Chicken

Picture courtesy Time magazine

Going Vegetarian has never been easier. It is one of the ways to really go Green. If everyone would avoid meat once a week it can reduce the amount of green house gases by a good amount. These days you can pretty much find vegetarian alternatives to almost every meat favorite from soy sausages and “Fib Ribs” to Tofurky jerky and mock lobster. Most restaurants including fast food chains are providing vegetarian menus and veggie burgers too.

One of the things that have been missing has been Chicken! This spring, scientists at the University of Missouri announced that after more than a decade of research, they had created the first soy product that not only can be flavored to taste like chicken but also breaks apart in your mouth the way chicken does: not too soft, not too hard, but with that ineffable chew of real flesh. When you pull apart the Missouri invention, it disjoins the way chicken does, with a few random strands of “meat” hanging loosely.

Read the entire article here

Check out the video here

FYI – By switching to a vegetarian diet, you can save more than 100 animals a year from misery.

And if you are planning to go vegetarian start with the birds and their eggs as they are smaller more of them need to lose their lives to feed a few of us.

If interested in going vegetarian check out go veg GO GREEN!!

Celebrating The Environment

Happy World Environment Day 2010

 

Happy WED2010! Wondering what WED stands for? June 5th is the day United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Celebrates the World Environment Day – WED! It has been observed on 5th June since 1972, WED is one of the principal mediums through which the UN motivates worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action.

Why is the Environment on the front page these days? It is not about just the oil spill, or deforestation, or climate change alone… it is about all of these and more, it about the quality of life on our planet, it is about taking small steps and making a difference. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon says Although individual decisions may seem small in the face of global threats and trends, when billions of people join forces in common purpose, we can make a tremendous difference.”

It is estimated that we share the world with around 5 million plus species of which only around 2 million have been identified. It is also estimated that around 35 species go extinct every day just in the rainforests. Why is there such a rapid deterioration around us? Winters are colder, summers warmer, droughts and floods abound and other natural disasters too…

Scientists have found that in Earth’s history before the Industrial Revolution, Earth’s climate changed due to natural cause’s not related to human activity. These natural causes are still in play today, but their influence is too small or they occur too slowly to explain the rapid warming seen in recent decades. So for something that we have contributed to in creating is it not our responsibility to make amends?

So this WED day take your own small step, does not matter how small you think it is, it will make a difference.

A list of things one can incorporate in everyday life easily:

  1. Plant a tree! Help achieve UNEP’s Billion Tree Campaign target of planting seven billion trees – one for every person on the planet! Let us start one by one…
  2. Use cold water for washing clothes and a laundry line with air drying helps too!
  3. In Summer leaving the windows open is a good way to get some fresh air and also help with your carbon footprint by not using the A/C. When you really feel the need to switch on the A/C use a fan with it to spread the cold air around more effectively.
  4. When cooking match the size of your pan to the heating element and use a lid, lowers energy wastage.
  5. Don’t throw your jeans into the hamper after a day’s use unless it is really dirty, lesser times you use the laundry the more efficient your use of water!
  6. For washing use eco-friendly products, helps the environment and if you have the space plant a tree J
  7. Plants are the best air purifiers, add to the beauty of your room and also help to clean the air! Green at its best!
  8. Turn off all unnecessary lights and remove idle chargers plugged in to the sockets when not in use, will save you up to 25% on your power usage.
  9. All PC’s Laptops, Printers etc have a power saver option (look for the Energy star) and turn them off at the end of the day!
  10. While printing (if you really need to print it out) print on both sides; it helps save trees!
  11. You are a coffee drinker like I am? Take your favorite mug to work, that way you won’t be using non-biodegradable cups. What a way to be Green!
  12. If you get stuck in traffic a lot, consider turning off your engine if you will be idling for long periods of time.
  13. Did you know cruise control on straight roads is fuel efficient!
  14. Keep a few cloth tote bags in your car for use whenever you want to buy something.
  15. Go vegan once a week at least, producing meat releases loads of greenhouse gases.
  16. Using an electric or hand razor with replaceable blades is GREEN, avoid disposable ones as it adds to landfills.
  17. It would seem like the most normal thing to do, but many of us forget that we can save water in simple ways like not letting the tap run while shaving, washing your face, or brushing your teeth you can save up to 200 gallons of water a month.
  18. Drinking tap water when safe is a better choice than bottled water and those plastic water bottles.
  19. Making green food choices also has global consequences. Buying local means supporting the local economy and reducing the greenhouse gas emissions required to get food from its origin to your plate.
  20. Buy things you need not want. Reducing consumption be it of oil or anything else helps in reducing our carbon footprint.

The Earth is like a large breathing and feeling living-being, every small step each of us takes good or not affects one and all. I truly believe we are all connected to each other and to the earth, so what I do every day has to be thoughtful so as to not hurt another.

I start my day by remembering this Native American saying (well it is the first thing I see every day :)) “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

Remember the 3R’s Reduce, Reuse and Recycle! Every Day is Earth Day! Have a Green WED 2010 day!! Live Green! and yeah Don’t forget to plant the TREE 🙂

The Green Car that Could:The Story of SRZero

An Electric car which can race around a track (for those who know London it is the M25) of 115miles twice at 55mph on a single charge! An Electric Race car? Sounds like fiction? Rest assured it is for real. This is the story of the Green car that can hit speeds of upto 125 mph looks very attractive and cool and can go long distances previously thought “naahh maybe…” comfortably! Does the Picture below look like an EV you imagined?

The Super Electric Car

Picture courtesy RGE website  

Racing Green Endurance (RGE) is a team of 11 highly motivated students from the Energy Futures Lab, Electronic Engineering & Mechanical Engineering and staff from the Imperial College of London. RGE is their flagship project; many in the team have experience in building hydrogen/electric hybrid race cars as part of the Imperial Racing Green initiative.

The RGE team converted a Radical SR8 to an SRZero all-electric Super car! The Radical SR8 is quite simply the world’s fastest production sports car, holding the lap record around the world’s longest and most arduous track – the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

Check out the Video of their drive on M25 Courtesy ImperialRGE on Youtube

 

After this successful test drive on the M25, the RGE team is planning to hit the Pan-American Highway (47,958 kilometers or 29,800 miles long, considered the longest motorable road by the Guinness Book of World Records. It is a network of roads which travel from the Northern most point in the America’s Prudhoe Bay in Alaska down all the way to Ushuaia in Argentina) for the ultimate test! They plan to travel from The Prudhoe Bay to Tierra Del Feugo to prove to doubters that an EV (Electric Vehicle) can be cool, quick and could go the distance!  

In an interview with wired.com team spokesman Andy Hadland said “The perception still exists that EVs are somehow inferior to their fossil fueled counterparts,” “There is always a caveat. ‘I’d buy one, but they only go a few miles … they aren’t really zero carbon … they take too long to charge.’ These are all perceptions that we want to change.”

The RGE website says their aims are as follows:

SUSTAINABILITY
Electric vehicles have the potential to realise a sustainable transport future, without depleting valuable resources for future generations. The RGE project aims to demonstrate this while pushing the boundaries of EV technology.

EDUCATION
The team want to help encourage the next generation of scientists and engineers through our outreach program. They plan to use the RGE project as an exhilarating example of where maths and science can take you.

ADVENTURE
The Radical SRZero aims to be the world’s most focused, fun-to-drive alternative propulsion vehicle. By taking on this epic journey, we hope to add a sense of excitement and get people interested in electric vehicles.

The SRZero has the SR8’s 2.6-liter V-8 engine and six-speed gearbox replaced by two AC synchronous Axial Flux motors. The motors were custom-wound to maximize efficiency at highway cruising speeds. They produce 72 kilowatts (96.5 horsepower) continuous and 144 kilowatts (193 horsepower) peak. The car weighs 1,100 kilograms. It has a top speed of 125mph with an acceleration of 0-60mph in 7seconds, full charge with a 6hour plug in which will last for 250miles at a cost of £0.01/mile! The Car has Thunder sky Lithium Iron Phosphate cells with a total capacity of 56kWh to support the 2 Evo-electric motors in the back which transform electrical energy into mechanical energy.

The trip starts July 8 in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. All the very best to the Electrical Super Car!!

Look-wise and design-wise it sounds very attractive and eco-friendly! Future of the auto-industry sans non-renewable energy sources looks safe in these young hands.

To know more about RGE and the Electrical Super Car here

And for the Wired.com article click here