An Aggregation of News about Green Living!

Bonobos, Berkeley and Mars

June 8th, 2008 Posted in Green News, New Science

Several things I've meant to blog on and haven't:

The Bonobo Conservation Initiative, which is not only saving our awesome laid-back, sexed-up little cousins, but is being smart about it, by building a network of local bonobo-supported villages, with outreach, jobs, microenterprise programs, a local technical college, cultural preservation help and a free clinic. And it's working: they've been instrumental in the designation of the Reserve Naturelle du Sankuru, a new 11,803 square mile reserve in the Tshuapa and Lomami river basins of the Democratic Republic of Congo. These folks deserve your money.

Wind-fueled supergrid could cut Europe's CO2 emissions by a quarter: "The supergrid would draw power from massed turbines in a band of countries to Europe's south and east that have above average wind potential, feeding it to the industrialised centres of Europe. The scale would overcome the biggest obstacle to wind power – its unreliability... the supergrid would cover a region so large that the wind would always be blowing somewhere."

Warren says, screw limits and logic, we're going to Mars!

The chances are good that in fact there is no life on Mars beyond the odd super-tough bacterium. And while I did indeed just say that no kind of extinction is good, it should also be pointed out that giving up a bolthole for human breeding pairs — which are, make no mistake, the stakes on a Martian colonisation drive — on the basis that we might kill something less substantial and self-aware than a cough is no way to run a railroad.... Let’s cover the bastard in GM lichen and bugs, thicken up the atmosphere, drop a few nukes on Tharsis, do everything we can think of, fast and dirty, because the universe is hiding the stopwatch from us and we don’t know how much time we’ve got left.

Berkeley First, the City of Berkeley's solar initiative, will pay for residents' solar panel installations. Residents then pay the city back over 20 years with slightly higher taxes -- taxes which in some cases are more than covered by energy savings.

Coke to go water-neutral and, rumors say, to begin testing ways to include estimates of embedded water and carbon footprints on the labels of its sodas. If true, very cool.

Your singularity who's-who, in convenient chart form (though the don't include Jamais, so the whole exercise is a bit dubious).

Nature Conservancy magazine: “Achieving the goal of liberating half the world’s poor from their poverty by 2015 will either mark the true beginning of sustainability or the end of biodiversity at the hands of best-intentioned policies.”

Publisher's Weekly: Green Titles 2008. If you want evidence that lifestyle environmentalism has become a zombie trend - dead inside yet staggering on -- you need read no farther than this list of books coming out this year (which is only partial, yet includes books on green dogs, green babies, green travel, green bibles, green beauty, green chic, green living and so on. There's even a book simply called Green, and another called Green, Greener, Greenest. Of course, you could do everything in every one of these lifestyle guides and still be part of destroying the planet with haste.

Finally, what Google News might look like in a bright green future. My favorite is "Recovery efforts in New Orleans have finally hit their stride, as the hurricane-battered city takes shape as a dynamic showcase for innovative civil engineering and alternative fuels. "

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(Posted by Alex Steffen in New Science at 11:10 AM)

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