24 July 2008

Eat less save the environment

Researchers at Cornell University in New York have suggested that the most effective way to save the environment is by eating less.

Around 19 per cent of total energy used in America is taken up in the production and supply of food. Presently, this mostly comes from non-renewable energy sources, which are in short supply.

Therefore, it is of paramount importance that ways of reducing this significant fuel consumption in the US food system are found.

David Pimentel and his colleagues at the university have set out a number of strategies, which could potentially cut fossil energy fuel use in the food system by as much as 50 per cent.

The first suggestion they have put forward is that individuals eat less, especially considering that the average American consumes an estimated 3,747 calories a day, a staggering 1200-1500 calories over recommendations.

Traditional American diets are high in animal products, and junk and processed foods in particular, which by their nature use more energy than that used to produce staple foods such as potatoes, rice, fruits and vegetables.

According to researchers, by just reducing junk food intake and converting to diets lower in meat, the average American could have a massive impact on fuel consumption as well as improving his or her health.

The researchers have also suggested that moving towards more traditional, organic farming methods would help because conventional meat and dairy production is extremely energy intensive.

Similarly, in crop production, reduced pesticide use, increased use of manure, cover crops and crop rotations improve energy efficiency.

Finally, changes to methods of food processing, packaging and distribution could also help to reduce fuel consumption.

Although well-established energy-saving considerations in lighting, heating and packaging materials all have their part to play, the researchers again highlight individual responsibility as having the biggest impact.

They contend that the most dramatic reduction in energy used for food processing would come about if consumers reduced their demand for highly processed foods.

This would also help cut down food miles and its related fuel cost as US food travels an average of 2,400 km before it is consumed.

This study argues strongly that the consumer is in the strongest position to contribute to a reduction in energy use.

The study is published in the Springer journal Human Ecology.

22 July 2008

Close dirty coal-fired power stations, says environment committee

Close dirty coal-fired power stations, says environment committee
22 July, 2008

By Thom Gibbs

Government must set deadline for coal-fired power stations to use 'clean coal'

A parliamentary committee has called on the government to set a deadline for coal power stations’ adaptation to clean technologies.

In a report, the Environment Audit Committee says coal-fired power stations should close if they cannot use “clean coal” by a government-set date.

Its report warns that progress towards cleaner coal power is "extremely disappointing". The committee heard evidence that five or six new coal-burning stations may be built in the UK by 2015.

Power supplier E.On recently won approval for plans to build a coal-fired plant at Kingsnorth power station in Kent.

21 July 2008


Destruction Of Wetlands May Cause “Carbon Bomb”
Threatened by climate change, development and dehydration, wetlands throughout the world could release a “carbon bomb” if they are destroyed, scientists reported Sunday.

These wetlands contain 771 billion tons of greenhouse gases, 20 percent of all the carbon on Earth and about the same amount of carbon as is now in the atmosphere, the ecologists told an international conference.

If all the wetlands on the planet released their carbon, it would substantially increase the climate-warming greenhouse effect, according to Paulo Teixeira, coordinator of the Pantanal Regional Environment Program in Brazil.

"We could call it the carbon bomb," Teixeira told Reuters during a telephone interview from Cuiaba, Brazil, where the conference is being held.

"It's a very tricky situation."

Nearly 700 scientists from 28 countries are convening this week at the INTECOL International Wetlands Conference to search for ways to protect the endangered wetlands.

The wetlands are not merely swamps, but also include river deltas, marshes, mangroves, peat bogs, tundra, lagoons and river flood plains, which together account for 6 percent of the planet’s land surface and store 20 percent of its carbon. Furthermore, they produce one quarter of the world's food, purify water, recharge aquifers and buffer violent coastal storms.

Wetlands have traditionally have been viewed as an impediment to civilization. Indeed, nearly 60 percent of the planet’s wetlands have been destroyed in the past 100 years, mostly due to agriculture draining. Dams, Pollution, urban development, canals, groundwater pumping and peat extraction have each contributed to the destruction.

"Too often in the past, people have unwittingly considered wetlands to be problems in need of a solution, yet wetlands are essential to the planet's health," Konrad Osterwalder, UN Under Secretary-General and director of UN University, told Reuters.

In a statement, the ecologists said the impacts of climate change, to date, are minor compared to human depredations. As with other environmental challenges, it is far better to maintain the wetlands than attempt to rebuild them later, they said.

As the planet warms, water from wetlands will likely evaporate, and rising sea levels could change the salinity of the wetlands or completely overwhelm them. Nevertheless, wetland rehabilitation is a viable alternative to artificial flood control for managing the larger, more frequent floods and severe storms predicted for a warmer planet.

Northern wetlands, where billions of tons of carbon are stored in permanently frozen soil, are at risk as global warming is thought to be more extreme at high latitudes, according to conference participant Eugene Turner of Louisiana State University.

The melting of Arctic wetland permafrost and the subsequent release of carbon into the atmosphere may be "unstoppable" in the next two decades. However, wetlands closer to the equator, such as those in Louisiana, can be restored, Turner told Reuters.

Teixeira acknowledged wetlands have a public image problem, and that people generally favor saving the rainforest but not the swamp.

"People don't have a good impression about wetlands, because they don't know about the environmental service that wetlands provide to us," he said.

19 July 2008

Earth Hour wins top environmental award

The organisers of Earth Hour took out top honours at the Banksia Environment Awards in Melbourne last night.

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Environment Minister Peter Garrett were among the guests at the awards, which recognise environmental excellence, sustainability and education.

Earth Hour claimed the top accolade, the Gold Banksia Award.

Earth Hour director Andy Ridley said the award was a great honour.

Melbourne City Council's Professor Rob Adams was named the Environmentalist of the Year.

The Young Environmentalist of the Year went to the Centre for Sustainable Leadership's Larissa Brown.

Ms Brown established the centre when she was 24, and its flagship program hopes to develop the next generation of environmentally-responsible leaders.

She says receiving the Young Environmentalist of the Year award is a great honour.

"It's wonderful to get recognition for the work that we do at the Centre of Sustainability Leadership," she said.

"We find young people who want to make a more sustainable world and give them all the skills they need to go out there and do that."

Organisers say all the winners stood out because of their practical contributions to the environment.


Some might think that going green is all about tree hugging. Dionysius of WWF begs to differ.

IF you expect Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma, executive director/CEO of WWF-Malaysia to be a tree hugging hippy (though the little ponytail might be a little deceiving), you can forget it.

Affectionately know as Dino to his colleagues, friends and family, Dino’s wide friendly smile can convince anyone to start recycling.

Having grown up in a small kampung, Dino speaks about his childhood days fondly.

“The jungle was right behind my house and I used to go into the jungle to catch spiders, snakes, fishes and play with the monkeys. My exposure to the great outdoors happened from when I was really young and I grew up knowing what I want to do in life,” he says.

Pursuing a degree in Ecology was the most logical choice for Dino. After finishing his course, he went on to study his masters in Mycology.

“Mycology is the study of fungi,” he explains. “I was also working as a research assistant for a professor at that time. I wanted to get paid and study at the same time and that was obviously the best option for me,” he adds.

Unfortunately (or on hindsight, fortunately), his job did not last long. “In 1990, I saw an ad in the papers for a vacancy in WWF to come on board as a botanist. I was more interested in animals but I thought I should put one leg in first. So I applied for it and got the interview and during the interview I had to tell them that I wasn’t interested at all to work with plants. Of course I did not get the job,” he chuckles.

The Natural Choice

But as luck would have it, Dino got a call from them a few days later asking if he would like to join the WWF team for a project on leatherback turtles.

“It was my first assignment and we were sent to Terengganu to work on leatherback turtle conservations. We were reporting on what’s been happening to the leatherback turtles and why they are on the decline and also some issues with coastal development.

“We also ran a small model turtle sanctuary to show the locals how they can conserve the turtles and at the same time still handle tourists. We also educated them on the importance of releasing the hatchlings and the repercussions of consuming turtle eggs,” he says.

“I think I made the right choice when I left my job as a research assistant and joined the WWF. It seemed like it was a natural choice,” he muses.

“My next project was to map out limestone caves that used to be tin mines. Working together with the MNS (Malaysian Nature Society), we mapped out the caves and these are probably one of the most historically important caves in the country. This is not even about studying the bats and guano any more. It is about understanding the history of the caves,” he says.

Compared to what he was doing 18 years back, the type of conservation has also changed.

“Back then, it was more of going out there to identify spaces that should be put aside to save the animals. Nowadays, we are all fighting for land. For agriculture, for the different species of animals, flora and fauna or even for timber and minerals.

“There is always a competition for land as population increases,” Dino says.

“Our job is to find a way to communicate with the government, the people and to send them a message that they will understand,” he adds.

Doing Our Part

“WWF’s mission is to ensure we live in harmony with the environment. As we develop this planet to our benefit and needs, we should not compromise the environment, be it plants or animals,” Dino says.

“Globally, the WWF is more interested on the impact companies have on the environment. Like for example, Coca-Cola is a water-intensive industry. We are now working with them on water conservation projects. This way they get to co-brand with us and at the same time they also truly appreciate the way they consume water,” he says.

Instead of wondering what the government or big companies are doing for the environment, why not start from yourself?

“I try not to drive as much as I can. I only drive when the place is impossible to get to using public transport,” says Dino.

“I usually take the train to town and I catch up on work during the commute so you’ll probably see me sending text messages or reading through documents in the train. We can actually spend the time wisely if we plan ahead, you’ll appreciate the time spent in the train instead of being stuck in a jam in your car.

“The big difference between the train commuters here and in England, everyone’s reading a book or the newspapers. But here, most of the commuters are sleeping or staring at other people,” he says.

“It all starts from your home so I try to educate my own family the importance of recycling. All plastic, glass and paper will be separated, all vegetable and peel goes into a compost bin. My children were educated from young,” he says.

“I think the public is generally well informed about issues at hand like global warming and climate change. But what worries me is what are we doing about it?

What is the value of having watch The Inconvenient Truth when in actual fact people still carry on with their unsustainable lifestyle? You cannot be aware of the issues and not do anything about it. What really matters most is individual action,” Dino stresses.

“It is so easy to point the finger and say the government is not doing enough or who has yet to sign the Kyoto Protocol but stop and take a look at yourself. Have you made the decision to take public transport to reduce carbon dioxide emission?” he questioned.

Generation Next

“When my first child was born, the phrase ‘leaving this planet for the next generation’ took a whole new meaning. I wonder what will happen to them in the future, what they can get out of this world and will they look back and say ‘Hey, why didn’t you do anything to prevent this from happening?

“Will they blame us for the state of the world that they might be living in the future? Will they look back and say why did we make such fundamental mistakes?” he says.

“My kids really rocked my world and strengthened my resolve to work even harder to conserve the environment. Do you really want the future generation to suffer? The world has so much to give us and I often wonder why do we take more than we need?”

Agreeing that conservation should be instilled from young, Dino notes that the formative years are the most crucial.

Children growing up in this developed society do not have enough exposure to nature. They might watch it on a documentary or via the Internet but they don’t get to touch, smell or hear it.

Children who are exposed to animals from a young age will also be more loving and caring.

“They should have the opportunity to see a stream or river, feel the waves in the ocean and see the leatherback turtles and coral reefs in its natural habitat. It will heighten their sense of knowing what nature is all about. To quote an old saying, when you want to bend a bamboo, you have to start from the shoots,” he says.

Reducing your carbon footprint
Knowing what ‘carbon footprint’ means doesn’t mean you’re doing anything for the environment. Here are some ways to baby steps towards a better tomorrow.

No to plastic Bring a cloth bag for shopping trips. This will help reduce the use of plastic bags. Also say no to plastic bags when you purchase only one item.

Recycle Not only your newspaper; recycle plastic, glass and tin cans. If your housing area doesn’t provide recycling facilities, just separate the trash and it will make it easier for the garbage collector to separate your garbage.

Car-pool Or ride a bike on the weekends for that short trip to the stores or the gym.

Plant a tree Instead of hanging out in shopping malls, why not opt to stay home and do some gardening instead? This way, you’ll save both ways!

From The Star.

Al Gore wants the US to change

Al Gore has challenged America to make a "man on the moon" effort to produce all of the country's electricity from renewable resources such as solar and wind power within 10 years.

Mr Gore said the single most important policy change to speed up the transition would be the introduction of a tax on carbon dioxide pollution
The former US vice president, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his climate change campaigning, said such a goal would not only tackle global warming but also the economic and security "crises" that have been caused by a dependence on fossil fuels.

He told a packed auditorium in the Constitution Hall in Washington: "When you connect the dots, it turns out that the real solutions to the climate crisis are the very same measures needed to renew our economy and escape the trap of ever-rising energy prices."

The Alliance for Climate Protection, a bipartisan group led by Mr Gore, estimated the 30-year cost of his plan - both government and private - at $1.5 trillion to $3 trillion.

Mr Gore said the single most important policy change to speed up the transition would be the introduction of a tax on carbon dioxide pollution - to "tax what we burn, not what we earn", he said.

His speech on Thursday evening came just hours after Texas officials approved a multibillion wind power project which experts described as the biggest investment in renewable energy in US history.

Utility chiefs in the state, headquarters of America's oil industry, gave preliminary approval to a $4.9 billion plan to build new transmission lines to carry wind-generated from the gusty west of Texas to urban areas like Dallas.

Texas is already leading the way in America in wind power but supporters said the lack of transmission lines stopped much of that power from being used.

The conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation warned that wind and solar farms cannot be expected to provide a consistent supply of abundant energy "because the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow all the time".

The Texan oil billionaire T Boone Pickens is planning to build the world's largest wind farm on about 200,000 acres in the Texas Panhandle.

The Edison Electric Institute, the private utility industry's trade association, said it shared Mr Gore's support for more renewable energy but said it alone would not be sufficient to provide America's needs.

Some energy experts said Mr Gore's suggested turnaround was too fast.

Robby Diamond, president of Securing America's Future Energy, an independent energy policy group, said: "The country is not going to be able to go cold turkey.

"We have a hundred years of infrastructure with trillions of dollars of investment that is not simply going to be made obsolete."

Barack Obama said he supported Mr Gore's challenge and would speed up investment in renewable energy sources if elected. John McCain said" "If the vice president says it's doable, I believe it's doable."


Portugal and wave power

Portugal is a country that doesn't seem to attract that much media interest.Its known for its beautiful countryside and beaches.
Yet Portugal has become a world leader in using waves to produce power.On the northern coast they have a wave farm.The wave farm uses three Pelamis P-750 machines with a capacity of approximately 2.0 megawatts. The Pelamis machines, created by Ocean Power Delivery, are essentially a series of semi-submerged tubes which are linked to each other by hinged joints. It is these joints which are the trick behind the system. The joints act as a pumping system, by pushing high pressure oil through a series of hydraulic motors, which in turn drive the electrical generators to produce electricity. Needless to say the machines are moored to the ocean bed. To give you an idea of the size of each module, the 750kw prototype, is 120m long and 3.5m in diameter. Each of these modules is composed of three individual 250kw tube.
Three of these machines compose the first phase of the wave farm, which was commissioned by the Portuguese renewable energy company Enersis. They will provide a total of 2.25 megawatts. If successfull the wave farm will be expanded to 30 of such modules. Intriguingly enough, the company mentions that they are not concerned about profitability, which the project wouldn’t reach until there at least enough modules for 500MW. What they want to is prove that there is a market for this type of technology. “What we are assembling here is the first wave farm in the world,” says Antonio Sa da Costa of Enersis.

18 July 2008

Cornwall shows us what waves can do for our planet

People have been using oil and coal to get energy for ages now and the time has come to use other sources of energy like sun power, wind power and finally wave power. I have heard of Wave Power generators long ago but nobody was building them, finally the UK is going to build one. Wave power generator can replace a small electro station and power a small city.

The UK government has approved the construction near Cornwall and the scientists have calculated that wave energy gathered by this generator will be enough to power up to 7,500 households. This turns into a small town. The underwater electro station is actually a hub connected to several generators that collects all the power they generate.

Besides the energy you get is free, all you have to do is maintain the energy generator and money to build one. Waves are brought to us by the sea why not use them the way we need to. Savings that the Cornwall wave power generator will bring are significant: about 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide in the next 25 years.

Wave power

Wave power refers to the energy of ocean surface waves and the capture of that energy to do useful work - including electricity generation, desalination, and the pumping of water (into reservoirs). Wave power is a form of renewable energy. Though often co-mingled, wave power is distinct from the diurnal flux of tidal power and the steady gyre of ocean currents. Wave power generation is not currently a widely employed commercial technology.

On December 18, 2007, Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced its support for plans to build America's first commercial wave power plant off the coast of Northern California. The plant will consist of eight buoys, 2 1/2 miles offshore, each buoy generating electricity as it rises and falls with the waves. The plant is scheduled to begin operating in 2012, generating a maximum of 2 megawatts of electricity. Each megawatt can power about 750 homes.

The world's first commercial wave farm is based in Portugal, at the Agu├žadora Wave Park, which consists of three 750 kW Pelamis devices. Other plans for wave farms include a 3MW array of four 750 kW Pelamis devices in the Orkneys, off northern Scotland, and the 20MW Wave hub development off the north coast of Cornwall, England.

The north and south temperate zones have the best sites for capturing wave power. The prevailing westerlies in these zones blow strongest in winter.


Councils take the lead

In the UK we have areas that are controlled by the Local Authority or Council.They look after the local issues.
In November 2007 the Coventry and Warwickshire Councils decided to have a campaign to "Switch Off" the lights and they advertised this campaign in their local papers and I have to give them credit as at least they are trying to develop awareness of how switching off can help our planet.
I think that more councils in the UK should follow their lead and have an annual day where we switch off our lights,plugs and gadgets.

Texas wind power

AMERICANS spend $700 billion a year on foreign oil. According to one observer, this is an addiction, a crisis, and a trap. The country must pursue alternative energy sources as fiercely as it once shot for the moon. So far, so much liberal boilerplate. The critic in question, however, is a Republican oilman: T. Boone Pickens. As he puts it, in an Okie drawl: “I’ve been an oilman all my life. But this is one emergency we can’t drill our way out of.” He wants America to make a huge investment in wind-power infrastructure. During this election season, he will personally spend $58m to make the case.

Mr Pickens’s interest is not solely altruistic. His company, Mesa Power, has already invested $2 billion to build the world’s largest wind farm in Pampa, a small town in the Texas panhandle. He told a Senate committee in June that he is going to pay for the transmission lines that will carry Pampa’s power to the Dallas area because he cannot wait for the state to build the infrastructure. As he likes to point out, he is 80 years old and worth $4 billion. So profit is not the only issue, either.

A report from the Department of Energy said in May that America could build enough wind farms to provide 20% of the nation’s electricity by 2030. The Pickens plan calls for America to meet this goal by building wind farms throughout the windy corridor that runs up the country from Texas to the Dakotas. It would cost $1 trillion to build them, plus another $200 billion to connect them to places where the power is most needed, which lie inconveniently far away from the corridor.

That is a staggering outlay, but it would free up American natural gas, which now generates 22% of the country’s electricity, to be used for motor vehicles. The idea is that Americans could switch en masse to natural gas vehicles, and the country could stop importing so much oil.

As a bonus, says Mr Pickens, the industry would create jobs and revitalise rural America. He points to the west Texas town of Sweetwater to prove his point. Ten years ago it was just one more struggling speck on the prairie. Its only excitement was an annual rattlesnake round-up. Then the wind industry started to take hold in west Texas and the panhandle. Locals initially fretted that the turbines would be too noisy. They also worried that they would mar the vast horizon. Other west Texans are less enamoured of the original view. “The landscape is an eyesore,” counters a man from Groom.

In any case, the turbines look nicer as the benefits accrue. In 1999 the state’s wind power capacity was just 180 megawatts. Today Texas leads the nation with almost 5,000. Most of that is concentrated in the north-western quarter of the state. The economic impact on Nolan County, which encompasses Sweetwater, will be $315m this year. Wind has brought more than 1,000 new jobs to town.

This boomlet has made an impression on Texans. Wind power accounts for 3% of the state’s electricity, compared with 1% nationwide. But the tax credit that has been driving its growth is about to expire. And then there is the question of the creaking grid. The state is mulling a plan that would enable the transmission of 17,000 additional megawatts at a cost of $6.4 billion.

Building wind power capacity will not be an easy task. But there is an emerging agreement in Texas that it is worth the trouble. That is where Mr Pickens can make a difference. His plan is undeniably quirky. Its emphasis on natural gas is strange, for one thing: America does not have many natural gas vehicles. But if Mr Pickens wants to use his own fortune to sell the general public on the idea of wind power, that is all to the good. No one can accuse him of being a soft-headed tree-hugger.

From The Economist

Santa Claus affected by global warming

It comes to the crunch when our beloved Santa Claus is affected by global warming.
Scientists believe that there is a rapid reduction of ice in the North Pole this summer and there will be ice free summers at the North Pole in the future.
How will this affect Santa Claus.
He might have to move home or become homeless.He hasn't contributed to global warming with his reindeer transport or elf workshop but it is possible that his friends in the toy manufacturing business in China and around the world have contributed to global warming.
You've got to feel sorry for him.He is eco friendly but toy manufacturing is not.
Infact Santa could be the newest eco warrior.He could represent a great example for all the children of the world.
"Santa saves the world".

Who are the people that would influence our ideas on the environment?

In this world of media,the Net and the I Pod,I wonder who are the real movers and shakers.
Is it the Politicians,the Big Business or the Celebrities who we would take notice of?
Well I guess we ignore the politicians,they always seem to let us down and lie!
Big business ,well they just want to make money.
So who are we left with?
I guess its the celebrities.
How would the celebrities influence our actions on the environment.
Firstly they need to promote their individual causes.They use the media to do this.They use magazines,the net and TV.
Suddendly we take an interest.Oh Leonardo Di Caprio has a environmentally friendly car,thats good,we think.Oh Edward Norton has solar panels in his house,oh thats interesting,Cate Blanchett always recycles her waste.
The celebrities care about the environment and I trust them.
So they are the movers and shakers on the environment front.
Though we must not forget the power of the little people,the community and how we can make a change to the environment.
Yes we can use the celebrities as an example and follow their lead but its the millions of us ordinary folk that can make a difference to our planet.

17 July 2008

Switch it off..its simple

Taking the time to flip a simple switch or turn off your tap may seem insignificant, but if everyone took the time to do it every day, the results would be considerable. Review these tips for ways to incorporate energy-saving measures into your everyday routine.

Switch off the lights when you don't need them. Switching off 5 lights in hallways and rooms in your house when you don't need them can save around € 60 a year and avoid about 400kg of CO2 emissions per year.
Use energy-saving light bulbs: just one can reduce your lighting costs by up to € 60 and avoid 400kg of CO2 emissions over the lifetime of the bulb - and they last up to 10 times longer than ordinary light bulbs. Energy-saving bulbs are more expensive to buy, but cheaper over their life span. Switching off 5 lights in hallways and rooms in your house when you don't need them can save around € 60 a year and avoid about 400kg of CO2 emissions per year.
Do not leave appliances on standby - use the "on/off" function on the machine itself. A TV set that's switched on for 3 hours a day (the average time Europeans spend watching TV) and in standby mode during the remaining 21 hours uses about 40% of its energy in standby mode.
Unplug your mobile charger when you're not using it. Even when it is not connected to the phone, it is still draining electricity. There are estimates that 95% of the energy is wasted when you leave the charger plugged in all the time.
Keep cool with a fan. Air conditioners are real energy gobblers - an average room air conditioner operates at 1000 Watt, causing around 650gr of CO2 emissions per hour and costing around € 0.10 during this hour. Fans might be an alternative, otherwise use air conditioners sparingly and look for the most energy-efficient model.
Switch to green electricity. By doing so, you'll help strengthen renewable energy sources. Currently, only 14% of Europe's electricity is generated from climate-friendly renewable energy sources such as wind, hydro, wood, biogas, and solar - and demand creates supply! You may also want to think about fitting solar panels on the roof of your home.
Use the washing machine or dishwasher only when they are full. If you need to use it when it is half full, then use the half-load or economy setting. There is also no need to set the temperatures high. Nowadays detergents are so efficient that they get your clothes and dishes clean at low temperatures.
Use a tumble dryer only when absolutely necessary - each drying cycle produces over 3kg of CO2 emissions. Drying clothes naturally is by far the best way to do it: your clothes will last longer and the energy provided is free and non-polluting!
Boil less water. If you only boil just enough water for your cup of tea, you could help save a lot of energy. If all Europeans boiled just the water they needed, thus avoiding 1 litre of unnecessarily boiled water per day, the energy saved could power one third of Europe's streetlights.
Cover your pots while cooking. Doing so can save a lot of the energy needed for preparing the dish. Even better are pressure cookers and steamers: they can save around 70%!
Take a shower instead of a bath. Doing so takes up to four times less energy. To maximise the energy saving, avoid power showers and use low-flow showerheads, which are cheap and provide the same comfort.
Turn off your tap. If you turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, you can save several litres of water. Also, a dripping tap can waste enough water to fill a bath in one month, so make sure to check that they're turned off.
Know your average energy consumption and CO2 emissions for your household appliances.

15 July 2008

Education is the key.

When I was a child in the 70s...we had never heard of "global warming".We were more concerned about a Nuclear bomb.
We didn't have much time for the environment.Progress was the key.
Yet today my children are living with the threat of a planet that is becoming unhealthy.
They want to make a difference and they want to cure their sick planet.How can our children bring our planet back to full health.
They can be taught about how not to waste energy and how to use nature to provide that energy.
Its simple really.
This is the point of my blog.Its just a simple message and it will make us realise that every one of us is responsible for our planet and every action causes a ripple effect.

Giant offshore wind farms to supply half of UK power

Giant offshore wind farms to supply half of UK power. Britain is to launch a huge expansion of offshore wind-power with plans for thousands of turbines in the North Sea, Irish Sea and around the coast of Scotland.

John Hutton, the energy secretary, will this week announce plans to build enough turbines to generate nearly half Britain’s current electricity consumption. He will open the whole of Britain’s continental shelf to development, apart from areas vital for shipping and fishing.

The scheme could see turbines so large that they would reach 850ft into the sky, nearly 100ft taller than Canary Wharf. Each would be capable of powering up to 8,000 homes.

Britain’s current range of coal, gas, nuclear and other power stations are capable of generating 75 gigawatts (GW) of electricity, but less than 0.5GW comes from wind. Planning consents have been granted for a further 3GW and the government had already made clear it wanted this raised to 8GW.

Sea wind farms could light up Britain
Hutton will announce at an energy conference in Berlin tomorrow that he wants to see this target raised to 33GW-worth of wind turbines installed in the seas around Britain by 2020. If energy consumption remains stable this would mean wind power could supply the electricity needs of every home in Britain.

There would still be a need to keep fossil-fuelled power stations in reserve because windless days could leave Britain with power shortages.

However, studies at Hutton’s department for business, enterprise and regulatory reform have shown that the extra cost of maintaining standby power stations would add little to bills.

Hutton said: “The UK is now the number one location for investment in offshore wind in the world and next year we will overtake Denmark as the country with the most offshore wind capacity.

“This could be a major contribution towards meeting the EU’s target of 20% of energy from renewable sources by 2020.”

Hutton made clear the scale of the plans. The “first round” of offshore wind farms, in 2001, comprised a few small demonstration projects. The “second round” in 2003 limited development to the Thames estuary, the Greater Wash and the northwest.

Under the new proposals, the whole of Britain’s continental shelf would be opened to development, potentially including the English Channel and much of the coast of northern Scotland, where winds are most reliable.

It could mean that wind farms would become visible from almost every point of Britain’s coast. Some developers have made clear that they would like to see a forest of turbines stretching up the North Sea, whose shallow waters make it relatively cheap and easy to develop.

Hutton’s plan would be subject to an environmental assessment but it is certain to amplify the conflicts over wind farms.

So far there have been few objections to Britain’s six offshore wind farms because they are largely out of sight.

However, the scale of the proposed offshore developments is certain to bring controversy as they will often be visible from land.

Maria McCaffery, chief executive of the British Wind Energy Association, welcomed the move. “This expansion will mean that by 2015 the UK’s offshore market will be twice the size of any other national offshore wind market.”

Jonathan Leake The Times.

Wind power at Schools

Beaumont primary, Suffolk
Beaumont installed a wind turbine two years ago that generates enough electricity each day to run all the computers in the ICT suite. "The children have quickly taken on board the whole concept of renewable energy," said the headteacher, Stella Burton. "We are sure that they will use the knowledge and understanding that they have gained to improve their future lives and the lives of those around them."

Article from Guardian newspaper.

Wind Power

Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form, such as electricity, using wind turbines. At the end of 2007, worldwide capacity of wind-powered generators was 94.1 gigawatts. Although wind currently produces about 1% of world-wide electricity use, it accounts for approximately 19% of electricity production in Denmark, 9% in Spain and Portugal, and 6% in Germany and the Republic of Ireland (2007 data). Globally, wind power generation increased more than fivefold between 2000 and 2007.

Most wind power is generated in the form of electricity. Large scale wind farms are connected to electrical grids. Individual turbines can provide electricity to isolated locations. In windmills, wind energy is used directly as mechanical energy for pumping water or grinding grain.

Wind energy is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions when it displaces fossil-fuel-derived electricity. The intermittency of wind seldom creates problems when using wind power to supply a low proportion of total demand, but it presents extra costs when wind is to be used for a large fraction of demand. However these costs even for quite large percentage penetrations are considered to be modest.

Renewable energy

Hydro power
Solar power
Tidal power
Wave power
Wind power
The siting of turbines has become a controversial issue amongst those concerned about the value of natural landscapes, particularly since the best sites for wind generation tend to be in scenic mountain and oceanside areas.


14 July 2008

Solar power in Schools in UK

Moor school all set to join ‘green elite’
Feb 2 2008 by Chris Burgess, Hudd Sat

A DISTRICT junior school will become one of the greenest schools in the country when free solar panels are installed – thanks to The Co-operative.

South Crosland CE (A) Junior School is in the latest round of The Co-operative Group’s £1m national Green Energy for Schools scheme, which will provide free solar panels to 100 schools.

The panels, worth more than £20,000 to each school, are half funded through The Co-operative’s scheme with match funding from the Government’s Low Carbon Building Programme (LCBP).

Solarcentury, the leading solar energy company, will put up the panels.

The rooftop solar panels will generate renewable electricity which will reduce the school’s reliance on fossil fuels while highlighting the issue of climate change.

A monitor screen in the school building will display how much energy the panels are generating and how much carbon dioxide they have saved to date. Schools will also be able to access their energy data on the Internet, along with educational materials which teachers can download for use in the classroom.

Teresa Lockwood, funeral arranger and community relations officer for The Co-operative Funeralcare branch in Church Street, in Slaithwaite, said: “As a community retailer with strong green credentials, it is most appropriate that we are helping our local school reduce its carbon footprint in this way.

“As well as reducing the school’s carbon dioxide emissions and cutting its electricity bill by generating renewable energy, the rooftop solar panels will serve as a prominent reminder to the whole community of the urgent need to tackle climate change.”

South Crosland School’s headteacher Carolyn Booth said: “To be one of the 100 schools in the country chosen to receive free solar panels through The Co-operative’s Green Energy for Schools scheme is fantastic.

“Schools have a vital role to play in educating the next generation about climate change and using this renewable energy technology to power our own premises will help us to really bring that message home to pupils, parents and staff.”

The Co-operative group purchases virtually all of its electricity from renewable sources and its CIS tower in Manchester boasts the largest vertical array of solar panels in Europe.

Solar power in schools in the USA

California School Sees Benefits of Solar Energy
by Graham Jesmer, Staff Writer
California, United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com]
California is home to some of the best solar resources in the U.S., a fact not lost on its residents and policy makers when it comes to adopting and supporting solar energy. One application for solar that is becoming increasingly popular in California is using photovoltaics to power schools.

"We installed our first solar array in 2003 and now any new building projects at the school require renewable energy and green elements. It's a way we can teach students about sustaiability and alternative energy."

-- Kevin Brookhouser, Communications Director, York School

Schools both private and public in San Francisco, Oakland, Pleasanton, Lemon Grove and Monterey have all realized the benefits of solar solar energy. One such project was put up at York School in Monterey, California in 2007. The 37.5-kilowatt (kW) system was installed by Blueline Power. The project was financed by Solar Power Partners (SPP) through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), which brought down the upfront costs of the system for the school.

“Our claim to fame is to find those people who want to stand out in their particular industry or community. Their solar and renewable energy systems serve as models for people to look and say, 'maybe I could do something like that',” said Ed Bless, Business Manager of Blueline Power.

According to Kevin Brookhouser, York School's Communications Director, to celebrate earth day the students at York made the decision to use as little energy as possible. The result was that for that day the school's meter ran backwards as the solar system produced more than was consumed. Brookhouser said the solar system was installed for more than just a lower electric bill for the school.

“York has a philosophical commitment to building green,” Brookhouser said. “I think the debate is over and that we need to find solutions to our energy problems and solar is one of those solutions. We installed our first solar array in 2003 and now any new building projects at the school require renewable energy and green elements. It's a way we can teach students about sustainability and alternative energy.”

The York School solar system consists of 195 Evergreen Solar modules mounted on the roof of the school's library. The system is projected to produce approximately 49.7 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity per year and provide close to half of the power consumed by the school. So far in 2008 the system has produced 25.48 MWh of power for the school. York is also the first school in Monterey county to be designated an official “Green Business” by the Monterey County Green Business Program.

“The system has been performing flawlessly, it's been doing really well. Distributed generation systems like this are important to the solar industry.” Bless said.

Solar energy

Have you considered using solar energy? Solar panels can be a wonderful way to help our environment and its clean energy.

Solar energy is the heat and light radiated from the Sun that powers Earth's climate and supports life. Solar technologies allow controlled use of this energy resource. Solar power is a synonym of solar energy or refers specifically to the conversion of sunlight into electricity by photovoltaics, concentrating solar thermal devices and various experimental technologies.

The controlled use of solar energy is an important consideration in building design. Thermal mass is used to conserve the heat that sunshine delivers to all buildings. Daylighting techniques optimize the use of light in buildings. Solar water heaters heat swimming pools and provide domestic hot water. In agriculture, greenhouses grow specialty crops and photovoltaic-powered pumps provide water for grazing animals. Evaporation ponds find applications in the commercial and industrial sectors where they are used to harvest salt and clean waste streams of contaminants.

Solar distillation and disinfection techniques produce potable water for millions of people worldwide. Family-scale solar cookers and larger solar kitchens concentrate sunlight for cooking, drying and pasteurization. More sophisticated concentrating technologies magnify the rays of the Sun for high-temperature material testing, metal smelting and industrial chemical production. A range of prototype solar vehicles provide ground, air and sea transportation.


13 July 2008

Please leave a comment and say how you've helped the Earth today

Did you remember to switch the TV off last night or turn off the lights when not in the room or turn the computer off?
What have you done.
Let us know with your comments and lets see if we can make a difference in a positive way.
Its up to you!!

12 July 2008

One Simple Action leads to one big solution

We think that we little people cannot change the world but we can.We can do one simple action .
We "Switch it off".We switch the lights off,we switch the TV off,we switch the computer off,we switch the plug off"
Thats all we are asking and its a start...isn't it.
Imagine the benefits.Our planet,our air,our climate,our children,our animals and our pocket.

Can you send a message.Can you add this blog to your links page

There is no point of a blog just sitting here in cyber space...with a message ..if its not being sent and thats where I need all the bloggers out there to send a message.
Its simple.You just post a message on your blog or on a comment page.
It can say
"Switch it off turn Earth on".Then use the link back to this blog.
You can add this blog to your links page.

How many times do we forget to switch it off

We've all done it...haven't we.....oh yes...we are all guilty of it........leaving the lights on.
In our throw away world and our lazy world we just forget to "Switch it off".
This is the purpose of my blog.There are thousands of environmental blogs and websites out there in the world but this blog is going to be different because I just want to concentrate on one theme and one message.
"Switch it off".
Yes and this blog is passing a message along to other blogs and so that next time you look at at a switch think about our beautiful planet.

Earth Hour by WWF

We can make a difference and the WWF have lead the way.Please go to their site its
You can sign up and help the Earth.

This blog is designed to light the world by switching it off

I have decided to create a blog that will make people think about their environment.
I have given the blog the simple title of switching it off to turn our Earth on.In other words by one simple action we can give our planet new life.