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it ain't easy being green

Submitted by turbosprout on Thu, 2008-04-17 17:51

It might not be easy for Kermit, but big biofuel businesses must be smiling all the way to the bank with current food and current oil prices.

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green energy trends for 2008

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2008-03-28 11:58

“We live in interesting times: the transition from a reliance on high-carbon energy sources to low-and-zero-emission technologies. The trend, we believe, is incontrovertible.” – clean edge

©Aleksander Rodic©Aleksander RodicClean Edge, an American clean-tech research and consulting firm, has launched their latest ‘Clean Energy Trends 2008’ report in which they identify five key trends affecting clean-energy markets and a forecast of markets for four clean-energy technologies.

This is a positive report that shows that 2007 was a “banner year for clean energy, with no signs of a slowdown in 2008”.

Despite a challenging economic outlook – plummeting housing prices, record-high oil prices, sinking consumer confidence, looming recession (sound familiar?) – solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal, energy intelligence, hybrid – and all-electric vehicles, advanced batteries, green buildings and other clean-energy related technologies and markets are at an all time high.

The five trends the report covers are:

dipping into biofuels

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2007-08-21 12:37

pic: bbcpic: bbcA common theme running through current green news is biofuels – ethanol and biodiesel. Whilst many countries have already begun planting fields of alternative crops – corn-based ethanol and soy or rapeseed-based biodiesel - as a solution to concerns about global warming and our over-reliance on oil, this rabid scramble does accelerate the conversion of tropical rainforests into farm and grazing land, and there are other questions raised as to just whether or not biofuels are the future...

think the cost of petrol is high now?

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-07-11 12:22

There’s been a lot in the news about global warming. We all know what it is, that we’ve contributed to it (guilt, guilt) and that we should really be doing something about it (what, what?).

And aside from the odd list of ways in which we as individuals can contribute, the world as a whole doesn’t seem to be doing anything. It’s not as if Live Earth achieved an awful lot? It was just a chance for a lot of young people to watch a lot of good bands, and occasionally some sheepish celebrity (because it’s not as if many of them are applying these practices themselves) mentioned CFC light bulbs.

But this should bring the point home...

greening it up - fri 01 jun 07

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2007-06-01 20:21

obvio: green carobvio: green carThe WWF reckons a 20% improvement in energy efficiency is possible by 2020. A report released last week states that the improvement is achievable across the housing, transport and energy sectors in all G8 and G5 countries. SA's "emerging country / G5" status means that, along with Mexico, China, Brazil and India, it's energy policies are increasingly coming under the spotlight. The report highlights that whilst there are a few energy efficiency policies in place in South Africa, there are still many that need to be implemented. Perhaps this explains why...

... a green tax on 4x4's (SUVs) and sports cars has been proposed by the director of energy efficiency in the Dept of Minerals and Energy. Her calculations indicate an "energy efficiency levy" on a 4.8i SUV costing R759 000 would come to R182 160! [IOL] Time to rethink whether such monstrous vehicles are necessary for taking the kids to school in? The DA says the proposal...

greening it up – tue 10 apr 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2007-04-10 10:48

Transport: leaving a smaller footprint. Possibly the one area in which South Africans are most guilty of contributing to global warming is our single-occupancy driving to and from work. Whilst we can throw our hands up in the air and blame the government for a bad public transport system, there are other options. The Rea Vaya rapid bus system, or BRT as it will be known, which has already begun implementation at a fraction of the cost of the Gautrain, [M&G] will run routes from Lenasia to Sunninghill; Alexandra to Regina Mundi; Dobsonville to Troyeville; Nasrec to Ellis Park; Randburg to the CBD and an inner city circle route.

Durbanites have the Mynah bus, and Capetonians have the train - during peak hour safety guards have been stepped up, so it’s a lot safer. And if you can’t do either trains or buses then there is always the car pool option. is one of a number of car pool websites on the Net that allows you to link up with other travellers living close to you who also work close to you. See the page for SA. []

Which veggies and fruits are most exposed to potentially harmful chemicals?. We know that continuous small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can adversely affect people, but did you know that there is a US ranking of fruits and veggies, based on work by a not-for-profit organisation of the results of some 43 000 tests, that show those most exposed to those least exposed to pesticide load. [foodnews] Nectarines had the highest percentage of samples test positive for pesticides, followed by peaches and apples; sweet bell peppers (similar to green peppers) had the most pesticides detected on a single sample, whilst celery had the highest likelihood of multiple pesticides on a single vegetable. Avocados and onions were among those least affected. It makes deciding which foods to buy organic that much easier. [read about those most contaminated]

Monsanto asks FDA to ‘punish’ dairies labelling their milk ‘rBST-free’. Could Monsanto be threatened by the increasing consumer demand for rBST-free milk? The company has a long history of trying to intimidate independent minded dairies and bottlers who do not want to use their growth hormones. [organic consumers] Why is rBST-free milk better for you? [urban sprout]

get on your bike and cut CO2 emissions

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2007-03-23 10:21

Google is offering free bicycles to its employees in a green offensive. Actually it's a way to improve their green credentials, and they are putting their logo on each of the 2 000 odd bikes they're giving their employees for free (including a helmet). [guardian]

Google also recently announced plans to install solar panels on the roof of their Mountain View HQ Campus.

pic: thegreenspacepic: thegreenspaceGetting on your bike is certainly a 'green' statement. And there are easier ways than pedal power. The ebike, or electric bike indirectly (via coal-fired electricity) produces only 3% of the CO2 of a car and, if you use renewable energy (you can charge the battery using solar power) then you're emitting zero pollution and you are energy independent!

The ebike is an electric bike that can be propelled at 32kph on flat ground with a range of up to 40km. And before you start assuming that these bikes are only available anywhere but in SA, the Bicycling Empowerment Network (BEN) [], a Cape Town-based NGO, sells them.

There is also an ebike kit that one can add to most mountain and racing bikes, and comes with batteries and a charger.

Contact BEN on 021 462 4832 or email them at:

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honda F1 goes green (on the outside)

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2007-03-20 17:53

Greenwash or a great idea? The Honda F1 racing car for this season is decked out in a striking image of Planet Earth and features NO advertising at all on the car. The 40 odd sponsors, who can all use images of the car in their marketing, are still coughing up without having their logos riddled all over the body-work.

And the public can also get involved through the website by pledging to make a lifestyle change (from sharing your car to giving up ironing!) and donating money to an eco-charity. In return you get to "own" a pixel that makes up the earth image on the car.

"Formula One and the environment may not seem exactly bedfellows," says Honda F1 team boss Nick Fry. "There will always be that last few percent of cynics but we found very strong support right across the world to do something in this direction. "The global reach, the number of people we can talk to, is immense, so we can change minds. We are going in a more environmentally-friendly direction with the systems we put on the car and Formula One is really a laboratory for road car technology." [guardian]

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greening it up - fri 16 mar 07

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2007-03-16 22:54

Green Scorpions' nationwide sting. Inspectors from the environmental police force conducted "enforcement inspections" around the country yesterday and caught a number of offenders red-handed, including six "grossly non-compliant" abattoirs in the Northern Cape. Gross is definitely a choice word to use. You can read more about what they found here.

Opensource architecture now a reality. The Open Architecture Network was olifantsvlei project on OANolifantsvlei project on OANlaunched just over a week ago by Architects For Humanity and had over 1500 members sign up in four days. AFH co-founder Cameron Sinclair was recently in SA for this year's Design Indaba promoting Open Architecture and "Designing like you give a damn". The OAN is an open source community for designers of all persuasions to collaborate and share their designs and ideas by applying a Creative Commons license to their works. It's really cool to see there are already some South African projects listed! Via [cherryflava]

Tesla Motors will be opening five customer service centres around the US to coincide with the public launch of their electric roadster later this year. Service centres will be located in Chicago, Northern California, Southern California, New York and Florida. Can we expect to see a dealership in SA any time soon, I wonder? More about this industry changing car here, here and here. Via [treehugger]

greening it up – tues 6 mar 07

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 []

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 []

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]

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