Island to be Sustainably Powered

The Spanish government has announced that one of the Canary Islands is going to have all of its energy generated in a sustainable way.

El Hierro will rely on a combination of hydroelectricity and wind power to generate its electricity. “El Hierro will be the first island in the world totally supplied by renewable energy,” the ministry said. The technology associated with this task includes a system involving two reservoirs to power hydroelectric stations, a wind farm and a pumping system.

Paper or Plastic or Biodegradable?

People in the states are asked if they would like paper or plastic when they buy groceries, and San Francisco has decided that people in San Fran will get something biodegradable. This is a big win for the environment, it would be great if every city followed their lead.

Advocates say biodegradable bags are stronger than conventional petroleum-based polyurethane plastic bags. In his office before the news conference, Mirkarimi produced a biodegradable bag holding 55 pounds of rocks.

By a 10-1 vote, the Board of Supervisors required the use of compostable or recyclable bags — a move officials predicted could soon be imitated by other cities nationwide. One supervisor voted against the ban, saying the issue needed more study.

Each year businesses here dispense an estimated 180 million plastic bags, killing marine life and clogging landfills, said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.

Eco-Coffins for the Eco-Dead

Plan on dying some time? Well, now you don’t have to take the planet with you; instead you can help the planet on your way out. You can use:

A coffin made from recycled paper

Ecopod is a revolutionary design in coffins made from naturally hardened, 100% recycled paper. The time and consideration gone into the concept and design of the Ecopod we feel has culminated in a product with much to offer.
Made from 100% ecologically sound materials the Ecopod is the ideal product for a non toxic burial or cremation. Perfect for use in greenfield sites.

A coffin made out of cardboard

They are made from cardboard, but are unlike any other cardboard coffin on the market. Made from 90% recycled material, a rigid honeycomb construction provides strength and stability whilst being 100% biodegradable. Our product has been tested at crematoria and at traditional burial sites and are suitable for both

Toronto Realizes Environment Exists, Does Stuff

Here in Canada people love their unsustainable lifestyles, and the City of Toronto realizes that these lifestyles actually hurt – so they’re going to do something about. Toronto has announced their plan to fight climate change, and Spacing has a good write up on it with some interesting comments.

The Toronto Star, has an article on how old apartment buildings can be turned green in Toronto by copying what’s been done elsewhere in the world.

Built in an era when energy efficiency was not a big consideration, these buildings are energy pigs. Counterintuitive to the accepted theory that density aids sustainability, the city’s stock of aging slab apartments demands more energy per square metre than any other housing type – a full 30 per cent more than a contemporary detached house.

But the slabs have their plus side. Due to their relatively straightforward structure and boxy facades, upgrades can be achieved with relative ease. This has not been lost on two members of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture, Ted Kesik and Ivan Saleff. After running numerous simulations, they have concluded that this building type may be the most cost-effective candidate for retrofit

Now for the Good News

Steve tells us about how The Reason has an article about how life has improved for the majority of people around the world. Despite the nay-sayers, things are good!

These improvements haven’t been restricted to the United States. It’s a global phenomenon. Worldwide, life expectancy has more than doubled, from 31 years in 1900 to 67 years today. India’s and China’s infant mortalities exceeded 190 per 1,000 births in the early 1950s; today they are 62 and 26, respectively. In the developing world, the proportion of the population suffering from chronic hunger declined from 37 percent to 17 percent between 1970 and 2001 despite a 83 percent increase in population. Globally average annual incomes in real dollars have tripled since 1950. Consequently, the proportion of the planet’s developing-world population living in absolute poverty has halved since 1981, from 40 percent to 20 percent. Child labor in low income countries declined from 30 percent to 18 percent between 1960 and 2003.

(On a personal note I find it ironic that the article teaser says “mankind.” This is saying that only half of the world’s population has improved. Apparently women have been left behind.)

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