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Friday, 30 September 2011

Sea Turtles, Run for Your Lives

Sea turtles be warned: A new report has found nesting sites in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are some of the most dangerous places in the world for you to be.
Published in the online science journal PLoS ONE this week, the study is the first to assess individual sea turtle populations around the world to determine which are the healthiest and which are the most threatened.
According to the report produced by IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group, four of the seven sea turtle species have populations within the world's 11 most threatened.

Dr. Bryan Wallace, Director of Science for the Marine Flagship Species Program at Conservation International told The Huffington Post, "One of the strengths of our report is that it gives managers and conservationists a look under the hood of the scores, at what is the driver of the scores. Then they can figure out what the major threats are and address them."
To determine the most threatened populations of the seven species of sea turtles, experts scored traits that determine if sea turtles are more vulnerable to threats. These included population size, population trends, nesting sites, and genetic diversity. Wallace said major threats to sea turtles included fisheries and consumption. "India still has an enormous trawl issue, which contributes to turtle bycatch and there is still a lot of consumption of turtles and their eggs," he said.
"Until this report, we could only see how sea turtles were doing globally. Now we have an assessment on all of their populations," Wallace said. "Ultimately what it provides is a prioritization framework. It provides the best, most holistic perspective to help maximize resources and work to recover populations."

Read more: http://p1n.in/ST

Thursday, 29 September 2011

The earthian update!

The feedback of all your abstracts is out! Take the earthian mentors' valuable suggestions and feedback to excel in your project. Here's the link: http://p1n.in/FBA

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Google's Going to Make Your Homes Green

The search giant announced Tuesday that it will provide $75 million to build 3,000 residential solar electricity systems across the country. Google will own the panels, and get paid over time by customers who purchase the electricity the panels produce.
Google is creating a fund with a San Francisco company called Clean Power Finance that local solar installers will be able to tap so they can offer financing plans to prospective buyers. The plans allow home owners to install a $30,000 solar electricity system on their house for little or no money up front. Instead, customers pay a monthly fee that is the same or less than what they would otherwise be paying their local utility for power.
Google will earn what it calls an attractive return on its investment in two ways. It gets the monthly fee from home owners, and, as the owner of the systems, Google will get the benefit of federal and state renewable energy subsidies.
The systems will not carry the Google brand, however. Instead, local installers will offer the financing deal under their own brands.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Killer Places to Stay In!

Here are 15 killer places to stay in. We say killer because the high toxicity of the area will kill you!
  • Yamuna River, India

    The Yamuna is the largest tributary of the Ganges River. Where it flows through Delhi, it's estimated that 58 percent of the city's waste gets dumped straight into the river. Millions of Indians still rely on these murky, sewage-filled waters for washing, waste disposal and drinking water.
  • Rondônia, Brazil

    Rondônia is a state in northwest Brazil which, along with the states of Mato Grosso and Pará, is one of the most deforested regions of the Amazon rain forest. Thousands of acres of forest have been slashed and burned here, mostly to make room for cattle ranching.
  • The North Pacific Gyre

    An island of trash twice the size of Texas floats in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, circulated by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. The trash, which is mostly made up of plastic debris, floats as deep as 30 feet below the surface.
  • Linfen, China
    Linfen has more air pollution than any other city in the world. Sitting at the heart of China's coal belt, smog and soot from industrial pollutants and automobiles blacken the air at all hours. It is said that if you hang your laundry here, it will turn black before it dries.
    Continue reading here: http://p1n.in/tzF

Monday, 26 September 2011

Unite to Fight!

We all feel that we aren't powerful enough to fight against a cause, even if we strongly believe the cause. We don't feel strong enough to rise against the tide that tries to bow us down. We don't feel confident that we'll cause a stir. We feel like a drop of water in the ocean that is of no significance. But we all forget that when drops of water come together, they form an ocean.
Here are a few people that came together for the Earth to create awareness on Climate Change:

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Dar Es Salaam in spite of the fact that it is a challenging place to cycle

More than 200 hundred men, women and children rode bicycles in Sulaimani, Iraq.

Hundreds of young people joined the bike parade at the Moving Planet Vietnam main event in Hanoi.

Teachers and students in Mollina, Spain spreading the message.

Foundation University students and faculty “taking over and redeeming” Perdices St yesterday, as they celebrate 350.org and Moving Planet with the rest of the World. Photo: Hersley-Ven Casero

Thursday, 22 September 2011

WWF's Conservation Efforts For Rhinos


Conservation Challenges
For years, rhinos have been widely slaughtered for their horn, a prized ingredient in traditional Asian medicines. Destruction of their habitat over the years, has brought the rhinos to the brink of extinction. These animals are among the worlds' most endangered species. The great one-horned rhino could once be found from Pakistan all the way through India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar. By the turn of the century, this species had vanished from much of its range, and today only about 2500 survive in India and Nepal. Throughout their range, their habitat continues to dwindle fast due to conversion of grassland habitats into agricultural fields and other human pressures. The threat of poaching continues to be ever-present.

WWF-India's Involvement
Conserving the rhinos and their habitat is imperative. WWF has been working on rhino conservation for over four decades. The big programme initiated by WWF is the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 (IRV 2020). The vision of the programme is to increase the total rhino population in Assam to about 3000 by the year 2020 and just as significantly ensure that these rhinos are distributed over at least seven protected areas to provide long-term viability of an Assam metapopulation of the species. This will be achieved by translocating the rhinos from two-source populations (Kaziranga and Pobitara) into 3 or 4 target Protected Areas (Manas, Laokhowa, Burachapori, Kochpora, Dibrusaikhowa and, possibly, Orang).

Other Challenges
The Forest Department faces a major challenge as lack of equipment, finance, political will and shortage of staff makes it difficult to implement conservation work at the grassroot level. Two serious on the ground problems include, containing poaching and loss of habitat to encrochments.

Rare Orchid Finally Found!

A rare flower has been found in Mount Remarkable National Park in South Australia.
A spider orchid had not been seen in the park since 1978, until a walker found one recently near Melrose.
Southern Flinders district ranger Danny Doyle says the discovery underpins the park's conservation value.
"It's a small white flower, about an inch across, single leaf at the base with a slender stem of about 20 centimetres high," he said.
"I guess when the flower's not there it's fairly nondescript but once you see the flower, it's quite a distinctive white flower, which is quite unusual."
He says conservation of orchids was one of the main reasons the national park was established in 1972.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Carbon Taxes, Are They Any Good?

There's a perspective that seems to be gaining ground in the energy policy debate: emissions taxes may not be very effective in fighting global warming, but we should support them anyway. Centrist liberal Kevin Drum's lays it out:
My own take is that even if a carbon tax accomplishes only a third of what its supporters hope for, that still makes it a better way of raising revenue than an income tax, a payroll tax, an excise tax, a capital gains tax, a sales tax, or a dividends tax. If I'm going to discourage an activity, even just a little bit, I'd say we're better off discouraging energy use than we are discouraging work, imports, investment, or consumption.
Kevin is responding to Tyler Cowen's pessimism on doing anything about carbon, which nonetheless includes support for such a tax as the lesser evil among alternatives. Cowen's objections fall into three classes: the small impact of any policy on climate if other countries not take action; specific problems with the effectiveness of cap-and-trade, carbon taxes, and other forms of carbon pricing where they have been tried; and technological objections. Given the second objection, it seems strange that Cowen passes so quickly over other policies. First, a quick note on Drum.
Drum's idea that pollution taxes, sin taxes, and other Pigovian taxes are the only way to tax undesirable behavior is absurd. Truly progressive income and wealth taxes essentially tax extreme income inequality, which is every bit as undesirable as pollution. There is real evidence that, at the extreme, inequality leads to worse health outcomes and increases unhappiness. It harms democracy, increasing the political influence of the wealthy few and reducing the political influence of the many.
Untaxed income inequality also contributes to the kind of bubble that created the recent crash. In the face of inequality, more consumption is debt based, which means that investors meeting consumer demand are investing in riskier markets. At the same time, you have more wealth chasing fewer opportunities. It is true that there is no "lump of investment opportunities." But it is equally true that if total investment in an economy exceeds a certain level, most of the remaining opportunities will be high risk or outright scams. In those circumstances, since most investors look for low risk/ high return opportunities, they gravitate towards the scams. High return in the real world almost always accompanies risk, so investment opportunities which claim to provide one without the other are usually looking for suckers. Drum has written about all this before, so I wish he would remember it when the subject of taxation arises.

Read more:  http://p1n.in/ttW

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Recycling Orange Peels

Scientists have discovered a novel new way of using microwaves to turn orange peels and other plant-based waste into plastic.

Plastic waste makes for one of the worst forms of trash because it takes so long to degrade, thus overflowing our landfills and polluting our oceans and waterways. But what if we could make plastic from a recycled, natural, biodegradable source?
That's the idea behind a novel new technology developed by British scientists that uses microwaves to turn plant-based waste, such as orange peels, into an eco-friendly plastic, according to the Independent.

Researchers have already created a partnership with the juice-making industry in Brazil, and have launched the Orange Peel Exploitation Company, in order to demonstrate the technology on a large scale
"There are eight million tons of orange residue in Brazil. For every orange that's squeezed to make juice, about half of it is wasted," said James Clark, professor of green chemistry at the University of York and developer of the new approach. "What we've discovered is that you can release the chemical and energy potential of orange peel using microwaves."
The technique works by focusing high-powered microwaves on plant-based material, thus transforming the tough cellulose molecules of the plant matter into volatile gases. Those gases are then distilled into a liquid product which researchers say can be used to make plastic. The process works at 90 percent efficiency, and it can be used on a variety of different kinds of plant waste besides just orange peels.
Orange peels are particularly good for this technique, though, because they are rich with a key chemical called d-limonene, which is also an ingredient in many cleaning products and cosmetics.
"The unique feature of our microwave is that we work at deliberately low temperatures. We never go above 200C. You can take the limonene off or you can turn limonene into other chemicals," he said. "It works really well with waste paper. It can take a big range of bio-waste material," said Clark.

Read more: http://www.p1n.in/ttj

Monday, 19 September 2011

A New Sparrow in the Family!

Italian sparrow (Image: Ivan Ivanov)  

Scientists in Norway say they have conclusive genetic evidence that sparrows recently evolved a third species.
The Italian sparrow, they argue, is a cross between the ubiquitous house sparrow and the Spanish sparrow.
Whether it is a distinct species has been the subject of a long scientific debate.
The Oslo team say in the journal Molecular Ecology that their evidence resolves the question.
Many bird-watching guides already identify the Italian sparrow as a separate species.
But this study, led by evolutionary biologist Glenn-Peter Saetre from the University of Oslo, is a genetic snapshot that appears to settle the debate.
The researchers studied populations of Italian and Spanish sparrows that share the same habitat in the south-east of Italy.
The bird is already listed as a distinct species by many bird guides
They took blood samples from the birds in order to extract DNA.
"By examining the genetics, we have shown conclusively that the Italian sparrow is of mixed origin - it is a hybrid of the house sparrow and the Spanish sparrow," Dr Saetre told BBC Nature.
"Second, and perhaps equally important - it is not reproducing with the Spanish sparrow, even though the two birds live side-by-side."
If the birds had been breeding, the scientists say that they would have found genetic "intermediates" - birds with genes from both species.
"But we didn't find this, so we think [the two species] have formed some kind of reproductive barrier to each other," Prof Saetre said.
"Either the [Italian sparrows] just don't like the look of the [Spanish sparrows] or perhaps they have evolved a different breeding season.
"We're not sure what the reason is, but they are not reproducing."
In evolutionary biology, the definition of a distinct species is not entirely clear-cut.

This article http://www.p1n.in/ttT

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The Great (Extinct) Auk

The Great Auk was the only species in the genus Pinguinus, flightless giant auks from the Atlantic, to survive until recent times, but is extinct today. It was also known as garefowl, or penguin.

Standing about 75 centimetres or 30-34 inches high and weighing around 5 kg, the flightless Great Auk was the largest of the auks. It had white and glossy black feathers. In the past, the Great Auk was found in great numbers on islands off eastern Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Ireland and Great Britain, but it was eventually hunted to extinction. Remains found in Floridan middens suggest that at least occasionally, birds ventured that far south in winter as recently as in the 14th century.

Conserving Water in 40 ways!

Water is a precious resource, and although it flows freely from the tap, it’s not infinite. Green campus lawns, clean cafeteria plates, and even air conditioned dorms don’t happen without using lots of water. As major institutions, colleges are serious users of water, and although some don’t yet recognize the need to conserve water, many of them do. In fact, college campuses are home to some of the most innovative ideas for water conservation, implementing water management technology, smart conservation policies and more. Read on to find out about 40 great ways colleges are putting great minds to work on water conservation.
1. I Heart Tap Water
UC-Berkeley’s I Heart Tap Water campaign promoted tap water as the beverage of choice for the campus. The university credits the campaign’s success to the testing of more than 450 water fountains on campus to ensure water quality. The program has reduced usage of plastic water bottles on campus by at least 25 percent.
2. Cutting back on car washing
Colleges use many vehicles on and off campus, and those vehicles need to be washed, but not frequently. Schools like the University of Washington have cut back on car washing in their motor pools to save water.
3. Using campus resources
Large campuses may have access to creeks and wells on their land. At Stanford University, almost 75 percent of water used for irrigation comes from water sourced on Stanford’s own land.
4. Installing water misers
Schools like Stanford have used water misers on autoclaves in the Medical School and research buildings. Instead of having water running 24 hours a day on the devices, misers sense when the water is needed and when it is not. This measure alone has helped to reduce water usage in these buildings by over 50 percent.
5. Landscaping with drought-tolerant plants
At St. Mary’s College, drought-tolerant plants have been put in place, including oleander, lavender and nandina, with drought-tolerant plants making up about 95 percent of campus plants.
6. Cal State-LA technology
Using a wireless water management service, Cal State-LA was able to lower its water bills and reduce water usage by about 27 million gallons in 18 months. The system also saves valuable staff time and adjusts to weather changes, turning off water before it rains.
7. A new low flow standard
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education reports that low flow showerheads and faucets, as well as low water volume toilets and urinals, are standard practice for U.S. colleges.
8. Dual flush toilets
In addition to low flow toilets, colleges like Harvard are also using dual flush toilets, which allow toilets to use less water unless deemed necessary by their users.
9. Recycling carpet
Carpet doesn’t sound like a big water waster, but Oberlin College has calculated its savings from recycling carpet. By recycling 177,057 square feet of used carpet, it has saved 112,136.1 gallons of water, in addition to 1.2 billion BTUs of energy.

10. Educating students
At UC-Santa Cruz, students arriving on campus will learn about water conservation in their orientation meetings, and the campus offers dorm room usage audits as well.

This is an article from http://www.mnn.com. To continue reading click here:  http://p1n.in/ttO

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Designation: Protector of Mother Earth

With environmentalism efforts on the upswing, the working world is making changes as well. Companies are implementing recycling and community effort programs to clean up. Employers are offering reimbursements for purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles or finding other means of commuting. Recyclable materials are commonly used in the workplace. With all of these changes, finding eco-friendly employment has never been easier.

Here are just a few jobs with green opportunities out there:

1. Hydrologist: The median annual income is $51,080.*

2. Environmental Engineer: The median annual income is $50,000.

3. Pest Control Technician: The median annual income is $30,500.

4. Conservation Biologist: The median annual income is $52,480.

5. Science Teacher: The median annual income of kindergarten, elementary, middle and secondary school teachers ranges from $41,400 to $45,920.

6. Toxicologist: The median annual income is $79,500.

7. Pollution Control Technician: The median annual income is $32,000.

8. Fund-raising Director: The median annual income is $45,000.

9. Ecologist: The median annual income is $68,950.

10. Camp Counselor: The median annual income is $19,320.

11. Business Manager: The median annual income is $50,000.

12. Economist: The median annual income is $72,780.

13. Forester: The median annual income is $48,230.

14. Environmental Attorney: The median annual income for attorneys specializing in construction, real estate and land use is $70,000.

15. Community Affairs Manager: The median annual income is $56,000.

16. Environmental Health and Safety Technician: The median annual income is $35,500.

17. Landscape Architect: The median annual income is $53,120. For landscape architects in nonsupervisory, supervisory and managerial positions for the federal government, the average annual income was $74,508.

18. Waste Disposal Manager: The median annual income is $35,000.

19. Environmental Chemist: The median annual income is $51,080.

20. Corporate Waste Compliance Coordinator: The median annual income is $39,000.

21. Urban and Regional Planner: The median annual income is $45,250.

22. Agricultural Inspector: The median annual income is $35,000.

23. Wastewater Water Operator: The median annual income is $35,000.

24. Wildlife Biologist: The median annual income is $42,000.

25. Pollution Control Engineer: The median annual income is $66,000

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The earthian update!

Here's an update from the earthian awards. If you have any queries, feel free to post it as a comment on this blogpost or you can even post a comment on our Facebook page:


Monday, 12 September 2011

Arctic may be ice-free within 30 years

Sea ice in the Arctic is melting at a record pace this year, suggesting warming at the north pole is speeding up and a largely ice-free Arctic can be expected in summer months within 30 years.
The area of the Arctic ocean at least 15% covered in ice is this week about 8.5m sq kilometres – lower than the previous record low set in 2007 – according to satellite monitoring by the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado. In addition, new data from the University of Washington Polar Science Centre, shows that the thickness of Arctic ice this year is also the lowest on record.
In the past 10 days, the Arctic ocean has been losing as much as 150,000 square kilometres of sea a day, said Mark Serreze, director of the NSIDC.
"The extent [of the ice cover] is going down, but it is also thinning. So a weather pattern that formerly would melt some ice, now gets rid of much more. There will be ups and downs, but we are on track to see an ice-free summer by 2030. It is an overall downward spiral."
Global warming has been melting Arctic sea ice for the past 30 years at a rate of about 3% per decade on average. But the two new data sets suggest that, if current trends continue, a largely ice-free Arctic in summer months is likely within 30 years. That is up to 40 years earlier than was anticipated in the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment report.
Sea ice, which is at its maximum extent in March and its lowest in September each year, is widely considered to be one of the "canaries in the mine" for climate change, because the poles are heating up faster than anywhere else on Earth. According to NSIDC, air temperatures for June 2011 were between 1 and 4C warmer than average over most of the Arctic Ocean.

Find out more:

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Bike-friendly = Eco-friendly

Swapping your car for a bike (whether every day or just every now and then) does both the environment and your body a favour. But as we all know, a good deal of America was built around the automobile—which can make biking and walking to get around inconvenient at best and unsafe at worst. Luckily, we live in a time when people are beginning to challenge the dominant car culture—and our cities are taking note! We may not have the stellar bike culture of places like Denmark and The Netherlands yet, but better bike paths, city bike-sharing programs and other improvements and innovations are paving the way for a much more bike-friendly U.S.A. Here’s a look at 6 American cities, and what they’re doing to encourage cycling.

Check out the 6 bike-friendly cities: http://p1n.in/teK

Help The Endangered!

Conserve Habitats

  • One of the most important ways to help threatened plants and animals survive is to protect their habitats permanently in national parks, nature reserves or wilderness areas. There they can live without too much interference from humans. It is also important to protect habitats outside reserves such as on farms and along roadsides.
  • You can visit a nearby national park or nature reserve. Some national parks have special guided tours and walks for kids. Talk to the rangers to find out whether there are any threatened species and how they are being protected. You and your friends might be able to help the rangers in their conservation work.
  • When you visit a national park, make sure you obey the wildlife code: follow fire regulations; leave your pets at home; leave flowers, birds’ eggs, logs and bush rocks where you find them; put your rubbish in a bin or, better still, take it home.
  • If you have friends who live on farms, encourage them to keep patches of bush as wildlife habitats and to leave old trees standing, especially those with hollows suitable for nesting animals.
  • Some areas have groups which look after local lands and nature reserves. They do this by removing weeds and planting local native species in their place. You could join one of these groups, or even start a new one with your parents and friends. Ask your local parks authority or council for information.
  • By removing rubbish and weeds and replanting with natives you will allow the native bush to gradually regenerate. This will also encourage native animals to return.

Make Space For Our Wildlife
  • Build a birdfeeder and establish a birdbath for the neighborhood birds.
  • Plant a tree and build a birdhouse in your backyard.
  • Start composting in your backyard garden or on your balcony. It eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers which are harmful to animals and humans, and it benefits your plants!
  • Ask your parents not to use harmful chemicals in your garden or home.

Recycle, Reduce, And Reuse
  • Encourage your family to take public transportation. Walk or ride bicycles rather than using the car.
  • Save energy by turning off lights, radios and the TV when you are not using them.
  • Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth and use water-saving devices on your toilet, taps and showerhead.
  • Ask your parents to buy products and food without packaging whenever possible. Take your own bag to the store. It will reduce the amount of garbage and waste your family produces.
  • Recycle your toys, books and games by donating them to a hospital, daycare, nursery school or children's charity.
  • Encourage your family to shop for organic fruits and vegetables.

Read more: http://p1n.in/te4

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Capital Crisis

London ranks as one of Europe's unhealthiest major cities, having done little to tackle deadly particles from diesel vehicles, according to a major air quality study published on Wednesday.
The home of the 2012 Olympics ranks "below average" in a soot pollution league table by German environment and consumer groups, coming behind Glasgow, Copenhagen and Stockholm. Berlin is judged to have Europe's cleanest air and only Düsseldorf, Milan and Rome are judged to have worse air than London.
The survey, which comes after Barack Obama last Friday put off legislation to force US cities to clean up air pollution, shows that bad air quality in Europe causes nearly 500,000 premature deaths a year across all countries, and costs up to €790bn a year to address. It supports two major official air quality studies published earlier this year in Europe and Britain.
The 17 cities were judged on the action they had taken to reduce soot in the air between 2005 and 2010 when new European limits for particulate matter (PM10) came into force.
London was ranked low because of the "backward steps" it has taken to address air pollution since 2005. It has tightened its low emission zone for heavy goods vehicles and promoted some cycling and walking, but it has halved the size of its congestion charging zone, scaled back plans for new hybrid buses and sharply increased public transport fares. Nine criteria including traffic management, the shift to sustainable public transport and public information were taken into account.
"With less than a year to the Olympic Games, London is doing less to deal with its dangerous air pollution levels than other major European capitals. The government and the mayor of London can no longer ignore the biggest public health crisis since the great smog of 1952," said James Grugeon, chief executive of Environmental Protection UK, an NGO that is part of a coalition of environment and health groups campaigning to raise awareness of air pollution and put pressure on government to meet minimum EU air quality laws.

This is an article written by John Vidal. To read further: http://p1n.in/tel

Monday, 5 September 2011

Hats Off to Gujarat!

As part of the national solar power mission, the Gujarat government is setting up 5mw of solar power generating capacity utilising government buildings and household rooftops in Gandhinagar the capital of Gujarat. The initiative is the largest public private partnership (PPP) mode project to be undertaken under the aegis of the solar power mission of such a size.

A senior Gujarat government official told Financial Chronicle: “We have floated a draft request for proposal and plan to complete the bids by October. We will choose two companies who will be awarded 2.5 MW each. They will be responsible for building, owning and operating it for 25 years.” The 5mw capacity is expected to cost Rs 100 crore to set up.

The rooftops have huge potential for solar power generation, as they remain unused for most of the year. As availability of land is a major issue these days, rooftops seem like a good option. One mega watt of solar project requires around three to four acres of land.

In the case of the Gandhinagar pilot project, the Gujarat government will provide access to around 50 building rooftops, which would be sufficient for around 4MW, while the developer will need to tie up around 500 homes, sufficient for 1 MW. The electricity to be generated would be purchased by Torrent Power for a 25-year period.

“Around 43 domestic players such as Tata BP Solar, Lanco Solar, Moser Baer and Chemtrols Solar have shown interest in the project, while foreign players too are interested in participating in this growth projects,” said an official of Gujarat Energy Research & Management Institute (GERMI), which is the bid process coordinator for the pilot project. “As a next step we are looking at Surat and Rajkot for similar rooftop projects under the PPP mode,” the state government official added.

GERMI feels that other Indian states such as Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Punjab also have good potential in rooftop solar applications. Electricity regulators have mandated distribution utilities to have a mandatory component of power generated from renewable sources in their portfolio. This has created a business case for these ventures whose cost per unit is far higher than polluting coal based power generation.

Germany is the largest producer of solar power in the world. The country recently announced that they will close all nuclear power plants by 2020 and increase the share of renewables in their energy portfolio to 25 per cent by the end of 2020.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

From a Toxic Sever to a Thriving River!

A terribly nice and passionate man called Richard Jenkins from the Environment Agency is, as we sit hunkered comely like a couple of slack-jawed yokels sucking long grass fronds on the banks of the River Wear, telling me some astonishingly interesting things. Unfortunately the terminology isn't floating my boats, nor would it lift your skirts. There's a lengthy bit about reed-bed filtration and riparian buffer-strips. Then he says: "Oh, we also get to design meanders."
Hang on, I urge, leaving a nubbin of ripped hay between my two front teeth in the excitement, what was that? You actually get to … design … meanders?
Well, I've just found my, and I suspect your, dream job. I'm sure there was something in the works of the late Douglas Adams about someone who had a job designing meanders or, as we know them, better the "wriggly bits on rivers", and what bliss, and suddenly it turns out this job exists. Half a mile up from the Wear, people like Richard are introducing new wriggly bits on rivers for the benefit of the fish, who like their journeys to be interesting. What a job. It's like finding, at the job centre, that there are unicorns still needing shoeing, in liquid silver. This, I hope, serves as my – our – midlife plea for a job redesigning rivers, but also a way of leading into the fact that something rather fabulous is happening to them, if you hadn't noticed.
You might have done last week. The Environment Agency put together a nicely upbeat press release on the 10 most improved rivers in England and Wales, and it was picked up by many organisations rightly desperate this crammed news year for "non-killy" news, but, honestly, until you've come to one of these rivers, or unless you're an angler, you can't appreciate the tenth of it.
Statistics can be such traitors, triple agents, but one of Richard's sticks in my mind and more importantly in my notebook. There is, he says, carefully unfurling a couple of sheets of A4 in the warm breeze, a record catch of salmon going on in the Wear this year: the rod catch stands, end of August, at 1,531 fish so far. Fine. But what does that mean, in terms of comparison? How does that sit with the days when the Wear was a "dirty river"? Let's go back, mid-Seventies or something, mid-Sixties. The comparable catch in 1965, he says was … two. Count them: two.
The same story, though I don't have room here for all the statistics, is slowly repeating in all the other named rivers – London's once-toxic Wandle, the Taff in South Wales which once ran, like the Wear here at Durham, so black with coal dust that no life could survive; the Mersey basin, which powered the industrial revolution but had left it, as relatively recently as 1982, with the inglorious cachet of most polluted patch of Europe.

This article has been written by Euan Ferguson. To continue reading:

Friday, 2 September 2011

Sustainable Development Needed!

We came across this touching ad that supports sustainable development and rejects mass farming the way it is currently being carried out. Featuring a Willie Nelson cover of the Coldplay song "The Scientist," the ad opens on an idyllic pastoral scene, where a farmer cares for his family alongside pigs and cows. As business grows, his practices industrialize, and as the camera pans right, it follows an assembly line where pigs pass by vats of chemicals, are unnaturally fattened and finally processed into tiny pink cubes (not so much of a metaphor). As the trucks of pork squares roar over a desolate landscape, the farmer realizes the error of his ways and regains control of his farm, going -- sing it Willie -- "back to the start."