Saturday, May 23, 2009

Severn Suzuki at UN Earth Summit '92


Friday, May 22, 2009

Crayon Recycling?

Proof that you really can recycle everything in some way, check out Crazy Crayons. They take in your old crayons, melt them down, and make crazy multi colored crayons out of them.  

Did I mention they're crazy!  


Of course you can always donate those crayons to the public school down the block that has just had it's funding cut back to the bone, but if they aren't interested, or you're bummed that the soccer moms are always parking in front of your house, send them along to Crazy Crayons! 

That is if your kids haven't eaten them all first.



Obama's Plan To Cut Auto Emissions

Remember just a few short months ago, we were demanding that "green strings" be attached to the billions we were about to give GM and Chrysler? 

"The goal is to ensure that cars and trucks sold in America will be nearly 40 percent cleaner and more efficient by 2016."

Why is this happening now?

Because the government is providing loans to help U.S. automakers survive, the Obama administration is in the driver's seat to make these demands of automobile manufacturers. Fourteen states — including California — and the District of Columbia have been bucking for higher standards. And the Supreme Court has ruled that under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency must take steps to curtail greenhouse gases.

Increasing efficiency with a stick works, but it's not as elegant as a carrot. While I love that CAFE standards are rising, the most effective method of increasing efficiency and reducing pollution is to make the dirty energy cost what it costs society. 

Add something for the human misery of seeing your kid die of cancer because you are unfortunate enough to live near the freeway or an oil refinery.
Add something for the millions of other people who get sick from the internal combustion pollution throughout our country. The number of children with asthma is in the millions.
And add something for the cost of using our military to attack the country of Iraq because they are the world's second largest oil field.

Do these things and gas will cost what it really costs us.

Then, regardless of whether CAFE standards are raised, the efficiency of all our automobiles will increase.

We must make the transition to the most efficient method of transportation as quickly, and as thoroughly as possible. There are no half measures that will succeed. The future is domestic renewable energy into batteries, and if they work, ultra capacitors. These are the benefits:

1) No energy money leaves the country. We are self sufficient. Individuals will pay about 25% for electricity of what they now pay for gas.

2) No need to ever fight a war over oil. This still leaves religion, of course:~(

3) A significant reduction in all forms of environmental degradation. Increased property values on the scale of hundreds of billions due to quieter and cleaner neighborhoods.

4) A huge drop in disease and death in our cities where auto pollution is most severe.

Obama's EPA is kicking ass. All I can say is, it's about time!


Q & A: Obama's Plan To Cut Auto Emissions

NPR.org, May 19, 2009 

·President Obama's comprehensive plan to cut vehicle emissions and raise fuel efficiency standards raises a number of questions about how it would all work.

The proposed new rules, announced Tuesday, will begin to be enforced in 2012. The goal is to ensure that cars and trucks sold in America will be nearly 40 percent cleaner and more efficient by 2016.

Here are some questions and answers about the plan.

How will the new rules work?

The plan will not prescribe the size of cars and trucks, but it is designed to spur innovation and resourcefulness by raising the energy-efficiency bar for all sizes and types of vehicles. There will be new requirements for tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide and for gas mileage. By 2016, passenger cars must average 39 miles per gallon and light trucks 30 mpg. Overall, vehicles that are sold in America must average 35.5 mpg in seven years. At present, the average vehicle gets 25-28 mpg.

How much oil will be saved?

By White House calculations, the new guidelines will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil by 2016, reducing this country's dependence on international and domestic oil.

Will I be forced to ditch my old, inefficient clunker?

No. The rules are for new cars only.

What new kinds of cars are likely to be offered in the U.S. under the new standards?

Carmakers will probably roll out more lightweight trucks, cars with smaller trunks and a wider variety of hybrids and other nouveau-fuel models. The new-and-improved vehicles will be required to be cleaner and savvier in their use of fuel. The Obama administration estimates that new standards — from these rules and from previously approved rules — will add about $1,300 to the price of a new vehicle by 2016.

Why is this happening now?

Because the government is providing loans to help U.S. automakers survive, the Obama administration is in the driver's seat to make these demands of automobile manufacturers. Fourteen states — including California — and the District of Columbia have been bucking for higher standards. And the Supreme Court has ruled that under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency must take steps to curtail greenhouse gases.

What has been the industry's response?

The automobile industry says it welcomes nationwide standards. But in reality it doesn't welcome these rules. Automakers worry the rules will be the final nail in the coffin of the American auto industry. After all, the industry was suing to stop nearly identical California standards. But it can't oppose the federal rules because GM and Chrysler are on the government dole — and that's a strong leverage to use on the U.S. car companies.

What's the next step?

The plan will be formally proposed in the Federal Register of pending rules and regulations. After that, it will be subjected to procedural hurdles at the Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Plastic Free Alternatives For Food

Check out NoPlastic.Ca for cool non plastic alternatives to food storage and transpo.  They carry water bottles, flasks, kids items, and more.  A lot of the stuff is Stainless, but most importantly, NO PLASTIC!



Monday, May 18, 2009

Check Out Freegeek.org

OK, so I'm a sucker for anything with the word geek in it. That said, this is a pretty cool organization with chapters all over. They take old computer systems, refurbish them, and then donate them to non-profits along with training if necessary. How cool is that. Freegeek, check them out.



Recycle Your Old Jeans

Well, if you live in the UK anyway. Kind of a cool thing though. I haven't contacted them but plan to when i get some time to check them out. i like the concept though. Anyone done this?

And thanks to Chantel for sending this along.



The Museum of Bad Art

The name says it all.


An Open Letter To President Obama

I actually wrote this back in January and posted it on Care2.  Someone just pointed out that I never posted it here, so here goes.


First off, let me congratulate you on your win in November and your officially taking office today. By now you have no doubt been sworn in and the parties are in full swing. Having said that, I truly appreciate your taking the time to check out what’s new on Care2 in these, the first hours of your new presidency.

I don’t need to tell you what a grave task you have ahead. You’re an intelligent man and know far too well the hurdles you (and we) will face in the coming weeks, months, and years. The decisions you make will no doubt set the path for future generations and may in fact be some of the most important a president has had to make.

While other American leaders have no doubt had their hurdles–Lincoln had to keep the union together, Hoover had to deal with the depression, Bush had to deal with 9/11–the tasks that face you in the coming years may have greater significance for the planet as a whole than any of these presidents could have fathomed.

Sadly I have no solutions to the problems at hand (although I promise to e-mail them along when I come across them), just a piece of advice. I’m sure you are getting very little of this from anyone right now (ha, I kid because I love), but my guess is that very few people will offer up what I am about to.

As decisions cross your desk, please take the time to speak to as many experts as you can, on all sides of the fence, so that you can make as educated a decision as possible. Ask your cabinet, ask scientists, ask the lay people in the fields you are contemplating. Call on as many people as you can to get the information that you need to be objective. Take all of the different parties into account, all of the vested concerns, your common sense, and the national interests, and then make your decision.

But before you sign that bill, veto that resolution, or close that discussion, I would ask you to take one final step.

Ask your children.

I know that this may sound insane, and of course, I’m not implying you ask them about things like Guantanamo or death penalty cases, but hear me out for a second.

You and I are very much alike in that we have two daughters. Yours are 10 and 7, and mine are 7 and 4, so the age difference is pretty similar. I’m also going to go out on a limb and assume that you’d agree that we both have very intelligent daughters (not because you know me or I you, but because we’re both dads, so of course our kids are smart).

Ask them if it makes more sense to have power made on the roof of your house or come from a thousand miles away, generated by a finite source that needs to be dug from the ground. Ask them if the cars and public transportation they will one day use should be powered by the sun, or by a finite resource taken from hostile environments. Ask them if packaging should need to be thrown away or recycled, or if it would be better for it to biodegrade or if it’s necessary at all. Ask them.

I know I’m probably going to get a lot of flak for this letter as people say that a 10-year-old and a 7-year-old don’t have all the facts, and that’s exactly my point. They don’t have all the facts, the special interests, the politics and deal making, the years of favors owed and accepted. And for just that reason, it makes their opinions matter all the more. They have the ability to look at these problems in black and white terms and see the greater issues, the issues that will matter to them and the generations that come after them.

So there you have it, my one big piece of advice for you. I don’t envy you the job ahead but hope that you will consider your children, their children, and the children seven generations after them when you make your decisions. While Washington may have its sway, if you use your daughters as a litmus test, and ask them what they think, or at least ask yourself if you are doing right by them in the long run, I have no doubt that you will do what needs to be done, and put us all on a path towards a better future and a sustainable planet.


Dave Chameides (father of two)

P.S. If you could retool Detroit and get those people to work building renewable energy equipment that’d be huge. It worked in WWII (well, they built tanks instead of cars anyway) so why wouldn’t it work now?

P.P.S. And maybe throw those solar panels back on the White House, the ones that Carter put up but Reagan took down. That’d be cool too. If money is an issue, let me know. I know a guy.


Home Power Magazine

Home Power Magazine

This bi-monthly bible for anyone interested in off-grid living has been around for over 20 years.  If you’re serious about renewable energy Home Power is the periodical that will show you the ins and outs of small-scale renewable energy solutions with in-depth technical description. The great part is that the projects they discuss are generally written up by the same folks who undertake them, and usually contain a realistic cost breakdown to help you plan a budget.


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A Better Shoe Box

This is cool. My friend Joey sent me a link to a new shoe box being used by Newton running shoes. It's completely post consumer material and eliminates the need for tissue or extra packaging. Good stuff.