THE GREEN PLANET BLOG - Our World and Environment...

All about conservation, ecology, the environment, climate change, global warming, earth- watch, and new technologies etc.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The crude truth of global warming - and a sunny way out...

The Crude Truth:

The cost of filling your car's tank will double in 2010 and double again by 2012. The price for everything else spirals upward with chronic and unpredictable supply disruptions of essential goods(based on latest EA ratings).

Electricity brownouts and blackouts increase in length and frequency with large increases in power prices.

Extreme weather becomes even more extreme. Crippling droughts.Devastating hurricanes. Sea levels rise by 1-5 metres during 21st centuring. Climate change is the most favoured subject on peoples minds.

The Sunny Way

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Google close to getting renewable energy less than the cost of coal...

Google Close To Getting Renewable Energy For Less Than Coal...

Google's (GOOG) green energy czar tells Reuters it's closing in on paying the same price for energy from renewable sources as it would if that energy came from coal.

It's not guaranteed that the company can achieve 'grid parity' but, Bill Weihl, the Green Energy Czar tells the newswire "It is even odds, more or less, I would say...In, you know, three years, we could have multiple megawatts of plants out there."

This is all well and good, but keep in mind, with alternative energy, "grid parity in three years," is a popular refrain.

Google gets energy from all sorts of renewable sources, including wind, solar and geothermal. Its focus is on solar thermal energy, which uses concentrated mirrors to generate heat which turns turbines to generate energy (see here for further explanation.)

Reuters: "We are looking at ways of cheaply getting to much higher temperatures and also making the heliostats, the fields of mirrors that have to track the sun, reflect the sun, keep it focused on the target we are trying to heat up -- make those much, much cheaper. And I think we've made some really interesting progress in the last six to nine months," he said.

Weihl cautioned that the odds of missing the goal were still large, and he said that once the new ideas had been tried, it would cost substantial amounts to deploy them at utility scale.

Once the test project is done, "We'll see whether we or us in combination with other people are prepared to fund much much bigger facilities, or if we want to get a few more years experience before we really start to scale it up," he said.

Of course, there's no word on how the goats figure into the whole picture.

Acknowledgements: Reuters

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Green forestry tool could revolutionise New Zealand's forestry sector...

Graduate Tim Cox's three in one ultrasound tool could revolutionise New Zealand's forestry sector...

An ultrasound tool set designed to quickly measure the commercial value of forests is one of three designs that gave Massey graduates or students the top placings in the annual James Dyson Awards for the second year running tonight.

In a repeat of last year’s event, all three finalists are graduates or final-year students of the industrial design degree offered by the College of Creative Arts at Wellington.

Graduate Tim Cox was named the overall winner of the competition open to final-year tertiary students studying design, technology or engineering, and to graduates in these areas who are in their first three years of work.

The 22-year-old industrial designer from Christchurch says his winning product design (pictured) could revolutionise New Zealand’s forestry sector. He says the industry uses old technology – including expensive products requiring many tools – to measure forest woodlots before felling.

“My product, Tretech, has been developed to eliminate double handling of data to reduce time, costs and human error. It consists of three tools – the handheld hammer anchors into a tree, an ultrasound transponder measures diameter, quality, density of the wood, and this transmits to a handheld receiver, which measures the height of the tree. The system incorporates other technology like GPS and a camera to record the tree’s location.”

Massey’s other two finalists were design graduates Jamaine Fraser, from Hamilton, who designed a hydration blanket to aid stranded whales, and Aucklander Dan McLaughlin, who created a product called Airaid, which can help people living with a respiratory disease.

Mr McLaughlin's nebuliser functions by using a foot pump that fills a chamber with air. The air is compressed and used to control the correct dose of medicine administered to a patient through an oxygen mask.

Mr Cox says while his product is still at concept stage, he would welcome the chance to commercialise the design.

As part of his prize, Mr Cox was named a British Council New Zealand Design Ambassador, and will travel to the United Kingdom with $3000 travelling expenses and accommodation and tour Dyson’s internationally renowned research, design and development plant.

Head judge David Lovegrove, who is product design representative from the Designers Institute of New Zealand, said all entries must reflect the Dyson philosophy; demonstrating a commitment to intelligent design thinking.

Fellow judge, Gareth Farry from British Council New Zealand, says of the 20 entries judged, the three short listed are examples of Kiwi ingenuity at its best.

“Each product addresses solutions for current social or economic issues that are topical in New Zealand; it’s great to know Kiwi culture will be reflected in these forward-thinking designs when the winner takes their design to showcase in Britain later this year,” he said.

Other NZ stories

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The ultimate dilemma for conservationists...

Conservationists have found themselves the ultimate dilemma - marine biologists are discussing the possibility of a cull of the orca - the killer whales that are destroying other endangered mammals.

They are becoming deeply concerned about new research which suggests a link to a huge population slump in other species such as sea otters, stellers sea lions and harbour seals through the changed eating habits of orcas.

The main prey of the orcas has traditionally been great whales such as the grey and sperm whales, but hunting by humans has cut the numbers of a lot of these species to far below their natural levels.

Culling these orcas

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posted by Unknown @ 6:50 PM 0 Comments

Monday, July 6, 2009

The age of the Clear-lite "Armorlite" unbreakable light bulb is approaching us...

The age of the Armorlite unbreakable light bulb is approaching us. Clearly Better...Clearly Green.

For some time I have argued here and elsewhere that the eco friendly CFL light bulb is not the complete answer to the old Edison incadescent light bulb. Why, you may ask? Indeed you may. In my book it actually came down to energy savings with the CFL, against safety with the incadescent light bulb. People have claimed the amount of mercury in a CFL is minute. Really? Mercury is a poison, is a poison! If you happen to break a CFL light bulb you have to air the room by opening windows for 30 minute. You also have to be extremely careful when picking up the broken pieces; use cellotape (cleartape) to pick up the pieces and put into a bag or cardboard box. The broken glass needs to be taken to the local council collection point for removal. All this for something not really dangerous? Yeah right! But we may have the answer below. Please read on:

A new environmentally friendly light bulb will soon be available that will help solve the problem of exposure to Mercury contamination.

In August, Clear-Lite, a small Green lighting company is Parkland, Fl. will introduce - ArmorLite - which prevents Mercury from spreading into the environment if the bulb is broken.

In September, Clear-Lite will feature in the September issue of the Popular Science magaine.

ArmorLite appears like a standard store bought incandescent light bulb. In fact, it is a CFL bulb hidden inside an incandescent light bulb. A silicon, unbreakable balloon-like skin is wrapped around the outer light bulb so if it breaks, the Mercury will be contained.

The silicon skin safeguards children and adults from mercury poisoning, by not allowing the mercury vapor to permeate the air, which is an ever-present threat if an ordinary CFL breaks. Its silicon skin also means no glass splinters from breakage.

The Armor Lite bulb is so much a breakthrough it will as said above be featured in the Sept. issue of Popular Science Magazine.

Environmentally friendly compact fluorescent lights – those spiral energy-efficient bulbs purchased by consumers that use 75 percent less energy than old-style bulbs - are growing in popularity, however they do present a hazard – CFL’s contain Mercury that can be harmful to your health when broken.

All Clear-Lite bulbs use a mercury amalgam--the same metal that dentists use in teeth fillings—instead of Mercury. While the bulb still contains some mercury, it’s a lesser amount and thus safer to use. The bulbs are lead-free and Energy Star qualified.

Clear-Lite’s bulbs have also solved another criticism of CFLs. While they are good for the environment, the light they provide isn’t very good. Clear-Lite’s bulbs reduce glare and let users see or read more clearly. Users notice a huge difference over other major brand name CFLs found in stores.

The environmental and health dangers of CFLs has drawn the attention of lawmakers. The House and Senate of the State of Maine recently voted a new, first-in-the-nation law to help reduce mercury pollution by requiring compact fluorescent light bulb manufacturers to share the costs and responsibility for recycling their mercury-containing bulbs. Massachusetts and Vermont are also mulling similar legislation.

Mercury is needed for the compact bulbs to produce light. While mercury is emitted when the bulbs burn, only a small amount is vaporized. When they break either during installation or when thrown in the trash, the mercury is exposed in sufficient enough concentration, that it can harm the nervous system of a fetus or a young child.

Clear-Lite CFLs can be purchased at and More information about the Clear-Lite’s ArmorLite and Amalgam bulbs are at:

Tom Irvine, Chairman of Clear-Lite, is available to discuss the Mercury dangers of CFL light bulbs, and how his light bulb presents a safer alternative. Thanks, John

John Goodman
Stern & Co.
914-793-1277 Work
914-841-6214 Cell

Read more

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Migaloo the White Fella - the world's only white humpback whale...

Migaloo has survived the Japanese whale slaughter in the southern ocean and has just cruised into safe Queensland waters.

If you are lucky enough to have sighted Migaloo in the wild and can pinpoint his location, please contact: Oskar Peterson from Migaloo Research via mobile phone on 0415 748 143 or:

Migaloo goes back to the 28th June, 1991, when an all-white humpback whale was photographed passing Byron Bay, Queensland, Australia's most easterly point.

Migaloo was named by local Aboriginal community elders from the Hervey Bay area in Queensland - it means 'White Fella' in their dialect.

Acknowledgements: Di Hill

Migaloo video

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posted by Unknown @ 10:07 PM 0 Comments