February 2008

Monthly Archive

Mapping the Human Impact on Oceans

Posted by on 27 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: research & reports


While this blog tends to focus on solutions more so than problems, as a keen surfer I’m particularly attuned to the ocean – so this BBC coverage of findings presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Boston.

Only about 4% of the world’s oceans remain undamaged by human activity, according to the first detailed global map of human impacts on the seas. A study in Science journal says climate change, fishing, pollution and other human factors have exacted a heavy toll on almost half of the marine waters. Only remote icy areas near the poles are relatively pristine, but they face threats as ice sheets melt, it warns. The authors say the data is a “wake-up call” to policymakers. Continued at BBC.

More at NYT &

Cleantech Funding

Posted by on 21 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: events, financial

Ahead of next weeks Cleantech Forum in San Francisco cleantech.com’s David Ehrlich reports on recent cleantech funding deals:

LED and solar power companies pick up some cash, along with deals for waste treatment, lithium ion batteries and wind power. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Ausra, Tel Aviv’s Pythagoras Solar and Cool Earth Solar in Livermore, Calif., all pulled in financing this week for team sun power, with Boulder, Colo.-based Albeo Technologies grabbing some cash for artificial lighting with its LED technology. Continued at: media.cleantech.com.

Its always good news to see cleantech companies funded – but we need to see more, a lot more…

Event: SF Green

Posted by on 20 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: events

From Room Full of People, producers of the SF Beta events announces a new one: MARCH 4: SF Green

SF Green is San Francisco’s premier mixer on green technology, organized with Steve Newcomb, former founder of Powerset. Think of it as an SF Beta with bonus carbon offsets. We’ll be featuring demos from a number of prominent green technology companies, and will be bringing in a number of leaders from the field.

Tickets are available at http://sfgreen.eventbrite.com.

Maude Barlow Speaks on the Global Water Crisis – Wednesday Night

Posted by on 19 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: events


Maude Barlow, internationally renowned water activist, author, and National Chairperson of The Council of Canadians, Canada’s largest citizens’ advocacy group speaks on Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley in Berkeley, CA.

The event will be presented by Jerry Mander, co–director of the International Forum on Globalization, Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute, and Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008
7:30 p.m.


First Congregational Church of Berkeley
2345 Channing Way (at Dana)
Berkeley, CA

Toxic Chemicals to be Dropped on SF Bay Area

Posted by on 19 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: liveable cities


“Harmful if inhaled. Avoid breathing vapor or spray mist.” Not the warning you might expect on a chemical soon to be sprayed over extensive areas around San Francisco. According to StopTheSpray.org, the pesticides currently used (CheckMate OLR-F and LBAM-F) have only undergone short-term tests on rats and rabbits. The manufacturer states, “Long-term studies on the active ingredients have not been done, however, no adverse effects expected.”

The state agriculture department plans to use airplanes at night this summer to spray a farm pesticide over urban San Francisco, Marin County and the East Bay, intending to eradicate a potentially destructive moth.

The little-known proposal to wipe out the light brown apple moth, which if it became established could destroy the region’s agricultural industry, has developed increasing opposition among some residents who fear for their health.

Hundreds of people whose homes and yards were sprayed in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties from September to December have filed reports that said the pesticide seems to have caused coughing, wheezing, muscle aches and headaches, among other symptoms. Continued at SF Chronicle.

Add your voice to the concern at via a StopyTheSpray’s petition.

Official plan @ CDFA.

Gravity-defying Gecko Inspires Adhesive Bandage

Posted by on 18 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: biomimicry

chart of medical adhesive

MIT researchers and colleagues have created a waterproof adhesive bandage inspired by gecko lizards that may soon join sutures and staples as a basic operating room tool for patching up surgical wounds or internal injuries.

MIT’s gecko-inspired medical adhesive consists of a “biorubber” base patterned to have pillars that are less than a micrometer in diameter and three micrometers in height, layered on top is a thin coating of a sugar-based glue. Tests in live rats suggest that the adhesive could be an effective operating room tool for closing surgical wounds. Continued at MIT.

Graphic courtesy / Edwin Chan and David Carter

See It, Manage It

Posted by on 14 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: energy, energy efficiency


When marketing and branding sites like Springwise write about “visualizing energy use”, I feel like we’re making progress:

Though by no means ubiquitous, household energy monitors have been around for some time. A few new entries into the space, however, add a splash of colour and style to make understanding energy consumption more intuitive.

Wattson, first of all, is a sleek, aesthetically pleasing device that shows homeowners through both numbers and colours how much energy they are using in their home…

The Home Joule, meanwhile, resembles a nightlight and plugs into any outlet in a home. The device displays not just energy usage, broadcast wirelessly by the consumer’s energy meter, but also the real-time cost of energy, which comes wirelessly from the energy company…

At a time when nukes are back on the table its critical that we look beyond more energy to simply using the infrastructure we have more efficiently. (See Nega Watt Power and the Apollo Alliance). A ridiculous amount of energy is wasted in so many ways every day. Letsfix the problem before creating new ‘solutions’. Share your solutions…

Shift Happens – Australia Offers Apology to Aborigines

Posted by on 12 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: personal comments

While ‘environmentalism’ focused mostly on the natural environment of our planet, being ‘green’ places equal importance on people. So as an Australian I was pleased to read today’s news that our newly elected government offered a formal apology to to indigenous people for past treatment:

AP: CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Aborigines organized breakfast barbecues in the Outback, schools held assemblies and giant TV screens went up in state capitals as Australians watched a live broadcast of their government Wednesday apologizing for policies that degraded its indigenous people.

In a historic parliamentary vote that supporters said would open a new chapter in race relations, lawmakers unanimously adopted Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s motion on behalf of all Australians.

“We apologize for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians,” Rudd said in Parliament, reading from the motion.

WSJ: The apology places Australia among a handful of nations that have offered official apologies to oppressed minorities — including Canada’s 1998 apology to its native people, South Africa’s 1992 expression of regret for apartheid and the U.S. Congress’ 1988 law apologizing to Japanese-Americans for their internment during World War II.

A bright green future requires massive cultural shifts. Here’s to the rate of change accelerating!

More via Google News.

Planetwork Conference – The unMoney Convergence April 14-16

Posted by on 11 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: events


Planetwork “brings a collaborative systems view rooted in conscious evolution to sustainability & technology.” What does that mean? Well for me it meant meeting up with some of the most interesting people I know. And in April, following Green Festival  in Seattle, the Planetwork folks are staging their first conference for a while:

The unMoney Convergence is an interactive (un)conference on the systemic transformation of money and its connection to the social transformation of the planet as a whole. Everyone who comes is welcome to present (the format will be 80% open space technology.
The purpose of the convergence is to support an inclusive conversation, collective disernment, exploring potential for collaboration and action bringing together those engaged in a range of different efforts from the edge of the ‘conventional’ to very experimental.   This includes, social venture and entreprenurship, micro-credit, slow money, complementary currencies, open money, ecological accounting, monetary systems theory, value network mapping, barter networks etc.
There will be a thematic thread through the conference synergy with technology developmets in digital identity, mutual credit creation, value measurement and wealth acknowledgment.
This event is being co-organized by Kaliya Hamlin, Chris Lindstrom and Bill Aal.  It’s organizational sponsors include Planetwork,  RSF Social Finance,  E.F. Schumacher Society Current Innovation and Tools for Change.

Website/Wiki  *  *  *   Blog  * * *   Registration (early registration of $250 closes Feb 29)

More Evidence the End is Near: Batter Blaster

Posted by on 10 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: products


In the “Do we really need this?” department, here’s another great way to pay $ for something that costs Cents…

“Over-priced food and drink products have been one of the surprise investor sensations over the past couple years. So we keep our eye out for the next hot item in grub and beverages. There really is nothing better than a tall stack of pancakes on a cold Saturday morning. Maybe a side of sausages. Add the great outdoors to that. The founder of Better Blaster, Sean O’Connor, tells the story that he light-bulbed the concept for Batter Blaster whilst camping. The travails of mixing batter with water in a bowl drove him to inspiration.” Continued at alarm:clock…

This one has been around for a few months but maybe I don’t look at the “right” shelves at the store. (oh, but it IS organic! so it must be good, right?!)

Lots of comments at Treehugger and StrangeNewProducts.com

Next Page »