Friday, January 30, 2009

Twestival, February 12

On 12 February 2009 100+ cities around the world will be hosting Twestivals which bring together Twitter communities for a fun evening to raise money and awareness for charity: water.

charity: water is a non profit organization that aims to bring clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations by funding sustainable clean water solutions in areas with the greatest need.

Visit to learn more about this event and to find out where it is taking place near you.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Harness the Power of Wind

National Geographic has created an interactive wind power simulation to demonstrate how wind turbines capture the energy of moving air and convert it to electricity. The interactive feature allows you to explore a working turbine and create a virtual wind farm to produce maximum power.

You can test it out online here.

The site also features videos which discuss the new wave of technologies which are on the verge of producing energy that's clean, renewable and affordable.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Simulator

John D. Sterman is the Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Director of MIT's System Dynamics Group. His research includes systems thinking and organizational learning, computer simulation of corporate strategy, and the theory of nonlinear dynamics.

Prof. Sterman's research centers on improving managerial decision making in complex systems. He has devised various tools akin to "flight simulators" to help corporate leaders understand the nature of a variety of problems and choose among various remedies. He recently turned this approach to climate, which he says bears much more resemblance to deficit spending and the national debt than it does to 20th-century-style pollution problems like acid rain.

In the climate system, Dr. Sterman says — echoing many climate scientists — it is a loud message that a prompt start is needed in curbing and then cutting emissions if you want to cut the chances of passing dangerous thresholds.

His interactive Greenhouse Gas Emissions Simulator explores the issues of climate change including how greenhouse gas emissions relate to atmospheric concentrations and temperature change. It also asks the question of how much and how fast do GHG emissions need to change to reduce the risk that human activity will cause dangerous changes in the climate?

Read more at "The Greenhouse Effect and the Bathtub Effect".

Alternative Bicycles

Phil Bridge, a 21 year old student from Sheffield created a working £15 bicycle out of industrial-strength cardboard. The bike is made almost entirely from recyclable and recycled materials, using mechanical parts that can be reused. The bike is strong enough for a rider weighing up to 12 stones and will not go soft in the rain. However, the bike has a life expectancy of only about six months.

Last year, a 16 year old student from Pointe Claire, Quebec created a bicycle made entirely of wood including the chain. He used some glue but no metal, plastic or rubber. The student was inspired by his grandfather's tales of life in Holland during the Second World War.

Matt Clark, an industrial designer from Southern California has created a bike consisting entirely of reinforced and unreinforced recyclable polypropylene. His vision is to mass produce this bike as cheaply as possible using recycled materials. Recycle-ability, a significant objective, was met by utilizing polypropylene throughout the entire frame structure to ensure it is fully recyclable.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Basque photographer Mikel Uribetxeberria's work Animalia is a series of photographs of animals in human environments.

The photographs provide an opportunity to consider our built environment and the roles that animals and nature had and currently have in these environments.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Manhattan split in two

What New York looked like 400 years ago has been reimagined by a senior ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The New York Times article Henry Hudson’s View of New York: When Trees Tipped the Sky further discusses Eric Sanderson's coming book, Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Earth's Vital Signs

NASA's web page on global climate change tracks the 'vital signs of the planet'. The page shows the changes in Arctic sea ice, carbon dioxide, sea level, global temperature and the hole in the ozone layer over time. It also provides information on climate change and the role of humans.

There are also interactive guides including a "Climate Time Machine" and a "Global Warming Tube".

Follow Earth Vital Signs on Twitter.

Underwater Sculpture Park

Jason de Caires Taylor is the creator of the underwater sculpture park. His sculptures highlight ecological processes whilst exploring the intricate relationships between modern art and the environment. By using sculptures to create artificial reefs, the artist’s interventions promote hope and recovery and underline our need to understand and protect the natural world.

The sculptures are sited in clear shallow waters to afford easy access by divers, snorkellers and glass-bottomed boats. Viewers are invited to discover the beauty of our underwater planet and to appreciate the processes of reef evolution.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wind Power for Kenya

The Kenyan firm, Lake Turkana Wind Power has announced that they are poised to provide 300 MW of clean power to Kenya's national electricity grid by taking advantage of a unique wind resource in Northwest Kenya near Lake Turkana. Using the latest wind turbine technology LTWP can provide reliable and continuous clean power to satisfy up to 30% of Kenya's current total installed power. The African Development Bank plans to finance 30% of the project with the rest of the financing coming primarily from the government.

This an example of a possibility for African countries will be able to grow as clean-energy nations and bypass fossil fuels as a primary source of energy.

Read more from the Environmental News Network.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reloop Designs

Reloop Designs are baskets, boxes and belts that are handmade from sanitized recycled plastic bags collected from the fields and waterways of Kampot, Cambodia.

The designs pride themselves in being eco-sustainable and generating fair-trade income and skills within the disabled community. Reloop Designs also hope to raise the esteem and economic aspirations of those individuals in the community most often neglected while at the same time cleaning up the environment and developing a sustainable source of income.

Green Inaugural Ball

Today America swore in President Obama and was greeted with a speech promising changes in environmental policy, sustainability and international development.

Last night was the 2009 Green Inaugural Ball where a number of speakers and activists came together to discuss the 'green future' of America and the world.

GEN, the Green Economy Network, was conceived by the organizers of the 2009 Green Inaugural Ball, and is designed to facilitate the continuous gathering of leaders and citizens of the "Green Economy" and to provide a forum in which to share their ideas and experiences. On their website you can register as a member, watch videos and read blogs posted by members of the network.

Live Earth also documented the ball and has a link to videos, photos and discussions from the event.

Friday, January 16, 2009


eatART is a non-profit art foundation in Vancouver, BC dedicated to promoting energy awareness through art.

Daisy, a large solar powered tricycle, is one of several projects in development through eatART.

Other projects include an educational bus called the Dragon Bus which is powered by recycled vegetable oil; the heliomatrix - a giant solar powered pixelated video display; and the Mondo Spider - a 1600 lb, 8 legged walking machine powered by a hybrid engine.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The world community grid

Let your computer do ethical stuff whilst it's idle.

The World Community Grid aims to create the world's largest public computing grid to tackle projects that benefit humanity. They have developed the technical infrastructure that serves as the grid's foundation for scientific research. Our success depends upon individuals collectively contributing their unused computer time to change the world for the better.

The considerable spare capacity of our home computers is used to make lighter work of some of humanity's most important calculations. The idea is simple: while you use a fraction of your machine's capacity to go about mundane stuff, IBM's World Community Grid runs calculations in the background pertaining to molecular mechanics in order to find the next generation of solar cells for Harvard University. Alone, it is estimated, it would take Harvard's department of chemistry and molecular biology computers some 22 years to do the necessary calculations for the Clean Energy Project, but using our spare computer capacity, researchers hope this can be reduced to a matter of two years.

You can learn more, sign up and Install the grid in your computer at:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. is an international campaign to create awareness around this target so that political leaders can feel real pressure to act. Reaching the 350 ppm will require unprecedented international cooperation.

Read more about the science behind 350 including additional references at the end of the article.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Through the Green Glass

Last year, on January 24, 2008, the Columbia Institute hosted a symposium in Vancouver entitled - Through the Green Glass: Climate Change Symposium for Education Leaders.

You can download the webcast and view videos of the keynote speeches from the Symposium from the working tv website.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Narrative History of the Light Bulb

The Stephen Wirtz Gallery's new exhibit A Narrative History of the Light Bulb, includes a new series of photographs by Catherine Wagner.

Catherine Wagner was given access to the Baltimore Museum of Industry's 50,000+ collection of historic light bulbs - one of the premier collections of vintage and antique light bulbs in the United States, with lights dating from the early 19th century.

The exhibition offers not only a historical glimpse of the evolution of lighting, but also suggests a future direction and the need for our technology to become more sustainable.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Secure and Sustainable Energy

Secure and Sustainable Energy is a set of Flickr with pictures from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's director, Nobel laureate and Secretary of Energy-designate by President-elect Barack Obama is Steven Chu.

Other than hosting some beautiful pictures of sustainable projects at the Laboratory, the set also shows some of the other projects the Laboratory has been involved with, including those that are designed specifically with developing countries in mind. These include a small, lightweight stove which runs on very small quantities of fuel and an affordable, effective and low-maintenance water disinfection system employing ultraviolet light.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

2009 Green Resolutions

Bibi van der Zee from the Guardian has made her 2009 pledges to be more 'green' which has encouraged me to look at ways in which I can be more green in the upcoming new year by making small changes to my household consumption.

1.) Waste - While I currently recycle most of the household waste that I can, the City of Vancouver currently does not offer an organic waste disposal means. So for the past year I have been talking about building my own worm farm or finding a way to donate my compost waste to my local neighborhood garden. So my waste resolution for 2009 is to accomplish one or both of those. Also, I resolve to consume less in general thus producing less waste overall.

2.) Water - Last year I installed water saving taps on all my sinks and the shower in my apartment and put in a water saving pouch in the cistern of my toilet so each flush uses less water; however technology is only half the solutions. Changing my water use habits is also an important step. Therefore my water reduction resolution for 2009 is to use less water when showering, turn off the tap more frequently when doing the dishes (and make greater use of the basin water) and check more frequently for leaks in our pipes.

3.) Electricity - All of my lights have been switched to CFLs, anything that goes to standby mode (except my microwave) gets unplugged, and I make sure to turn off lights that aren't being used (or other appliances like my computer) and use reusable batteries among other efforts. However, a couple of items in my apartment remain on when not necessary, like my modem, my wireless, and often my speakers. Therefore, my electricity resolution for 2009 is to turn off these items at night and when I'm not using them for long periods of time.

4.) Transport - I currently use the Vancouver public transport to get around to places that are too far to walk. On the weekend and when I do longer trips I use the car sharing company, Zipcar to get around. All of their vehicles are either hybrids or small, fuel efficient cars. I usually only take them out a couple of times a month. Last year I averaged about 100 kilometers a month with Zipcar. My major flying time in the past year was my trip to Australia. I took the train to get back for Christmas last month. My major transport resolution for 2009, other than to reduce travel overall, is to buy a bike. Yes, it's true, I do not yet have a bike, but would like one to get around to more places within the city without taking public transportation.

5.)Socially - I currently volunteer weekly with Oxfam Canada. My current 2009 resolution to be socially more sustainable is to continue to volunteer regularly and encourage others in my community to take their time to contribute to the community and the environment. For events around Vancouver, including volunteer activities, please visit my calendar or follow me on Twitter.

Those are my 'green' resolutions for 2009. Please feel free to comment or share yours.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Imagining a Sustainable Future

The University of British Columbia has released a podcast entitled "Imagining a Sustainable Future".

This five-part podcast series on sustainability has been created to understand what sustainability is, how it relates to other major issues, and what it means to us on a personal level. Each speaker begins by answering the question "what is sustainability?" and then engages a different facet of the sustainability debate.