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Newsweek Covers Endangered Species with Global Warming



Ever since the term “Global Warming” was flung around, we’ve all seen pictures of polar bears struggling to reach their next ice flow, and hearing horror stories about the bears drowning because of Northern ice melting. If this is an interesting topic to you, pick up this week’s Newsweek, which covers the struggle environmental groups have been going through with the Bush administration in order to get polar bears added to the national list of endangered species. The problem is that the government will only concede to the bears being “threatened” – not yet “endangered”. It’s been difficult for the groups to have the bears deemed “endangered” because it would force the government to admit that they are being threatened by the climate change, and because of the Endangered Species Act, would force them to take action to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Although it’s been repeatedly proven that the bears are in danger, the Bush administration are stuck on “threatened” to ensure that environmentalists can’t affect their policy-making decisions. For more info on this story, and other endangered species and the effect they may be having on climate change in the future, pick up this week’s issue of Newsweek.

Mercury Creating Recycling Problems in Energy Efficient Light Bulbs


Although most of us have begun replacing all of our old incandescent light bulbs for the new, energy-efficient spiral bulbs, there has never been much discussion about the issues with recycling the new bulbs. For instance, you may not have heard that the European Union, and some states in the U.S., have made it illegal to throw the bulbs away in with regular trash. The mercury content in the bulbs is high enough that the manufacturers want consumers to instead mail the used bulbs back after they are done using them to keep the toxic materials they contain out of our landfills. Since it is incredibly unlikely that anyone will bother with this, CFL manufacturers Osram and General Electric are researching ways to reduce the mercury content of their bulbs – FYI – current bulbs currently contain about 3 milligrams of mercury, and they are aiming to reduce it to 1 milligram. Despite many CFL manufacturers saying that the 2 tons of mercury used per year in light bulbs is better than 50 tons of carbon formerly used to power incandescent bulbs, the issue is still one that may have more dire effects, and could eventually contaminate our soil and water. So even though you may be saving energy in the short-run, we should still be holding out for mercury free, efficient, incandescent bulbs that we should have available from Osram or GE in a few years. 

Sapphire Energy Creates World’s First Renewable Gasoline


This week, a huge breakthrough in algae-to fuel technology was made by Sapphire Energy. Although using algae to create biofuel in the past is widely accepted, and being researched by many biofuel producers, Sapphire’s discovery takes the microorganisms one step further to complete 91 octane gasoline. The product is chemically identical to the gasoline that our vehicles run on already, and requires no crops or farm land to produce – unlike current biofuel alternatives. Sapphire’s CEO and co-founder Jason Pyle had this to say of their goal: “Sapphire Energy was founded on the belief that the only way to cure our dependence on foreign oil and end our flirtation with ethanol and biodiesel is through radical new thinking and a commitment to new technologies.” So far, Sapphire seems to be succeeding in their mission, and if they can ramp up production, maybe we will be able to convert to domestic oil from algae instead!

Ecco Ultra Lounge is Hollywood’s First Eco-Friendly Nightclub


Though we often hear more about hotels and larger venues going green (because, overall, they make a bigger difference) there’s always a few smaller, cooler places that go green too. Case in point – the Ecco Ultra Lounge in Hollywood, California – the first eco-friendly nightclub in the United States. Ecco is going to be powered by green energy resources, use energy efficient lighting, organic cuisine and liquors, air pressure toilets and waterless urinals, paperless tickets and free valet for hybrid car drivers. It was only a matter of time before clubs and restaurants began selling themselves as eco-friendly, but the cool new features in the Ecco Ultra Lounge will undoubtedly set the bar for what’s the come in the future.

Solar Canopies Serve Dual Purposes for Students


The highlight of nearly every student’s day is when the teacher holds a class or lecture outside. But because of increasing concerns about UV protection (especially in Australia), and a reliance on electronic teaching devices, fewer and fewer classes have been held outside of a traditional classroom. Here to solve the problem is the VEIL solar shade – an invention that was funded by the Australian government, and that serves a dual purpose for the students: shade, and accessible energy that is absorbed by solar panels on the roofs. Now it shouldn’t be any problem for teachers to break free from the confines of the classroom and hold a lecture outside, where students can plug their laptops in and enjoy the comfort of the outdoors from the shade. 

“Carbon Belch Day” Proves Idiots are Spiteful


These days, we may be taking for granted the fact that new environmental policies are being so widely adopted by so many people.

I say this because today Grassfire.org announced that it is organizing “Carbon Belch Day” in order to help Americans break free from the guilt of using too much carbon.

The group organizing the event blames Al Gore and “Climate Alarmists” for the proposed carbon tax that will be discussed in Congress on June 12.

  • While the proposed carbon tax is controversial, the way to get around it is not to do the following (as they suggest):
  • increase the miles you drive
  • super-cool your house
  • don’t recycle
  • take a plane
  • eat more meat
  • leave lights on an entire day
  • and many more mind-numbingly stupid ideas that only spiteful idiots would deem clever.

Feel free to check it out for yourself, but I recommend you instead check out this cool NASA video about the Sun’s effect on greenhouse gases – and my recommendation won’t make you stupider.

World’s First Sustainable Ethanol by Brazilian Sugarcane


It was announced today that SEKEB, a company from Sweden, is the first company in the world capable of providing verified sustainable ethanol.  The difference between “verified sustainable ethanol” and regular ethanol is that the sustainable has to meet criteria covering the entire production cycle of the product, right from its harvesting. And because this ethanol is extracted from Brazilian sugarcane, SEKAB has assured its stakeholders and consumers that they use no child or slave labour, and are not damaging areas of the Brazilian rainforests. Besides the social criteria that need to be met, SEKAB has also introduced environmental and climate criteria to make sure that the fuel is properly treated right until it’s pumped into a vehicle. SEKAB provides nearly 90% of all ethanol in Sweden, and with their announcement today, it is certain that their popularity will be on the rise. If you’re going to be driving a flexi-fuel car in the next few years, don’t be surprised if your ethanol was environmentally produced with the help of SEKAB.

Photo credit

World’s Largest Offshore Wind Turbine Purchased by Queen Elizabeth


WindCurrently there is a wind farm in Northeast England that is scattered with fairly small wind turbines to generate power. But as of last week, Queen Elizabeth just bought the world’s largest offshore wind turbine to be constructed for the area by 2010. The turbine is a 7.5 megawatt MBE turbine that is going to be built by Clipper Windpower in California. Nicknamed ‘The Brittania Project’, the offshore wind turbine area will cost nearly $65 million, but the power will go directly into the national grid. The turbine, with a lifetime of 30 years, will produce energy equivalent to one million barrels of oil. Who ever said the Queen doesn’t do anything useful for the country anymore?

2008 Indy 500 Goes Green [with video]



Yesterday, Scott Dixon won the 92nd annual Indy 500 — but that’s not the only thing newsworthy about the race. Many cars were fueled by ethanol that was produced by plant material from the U.S. One benefit of using the ethanol fuel (above the environmental issue) is that ethanol actually has a higher octane than gasoline, and therefore has no problem reaching 120 mph, the standard pace set for the race. Keep reading to watch a video about the topic discussed by two time Indy 500 winner, and this year’s pace car driver, Emerson Fittipaldi.


AFS Trinity’s XH-150 Cuts Transportation Costs 75%


AFS Trinity

The new XH-150, an “Extreme Hybrid” by AFS Trinity, was test driven today by California officials and the general public in Sacramento. The big fuss about this vehicle is that it gets 150 mpg, can get up to 87 mph on the highway, can accelerate faster than “comparable gas only vehicles” and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Because the XH-150 is a plug-in hybrid, if you are driving less than 40 miles per day, you will burn no gasoline at all. According to Edward Furia, the CEO of AFS, a regular week of driving the XH-150 should use only two gallons of fuel. Keep reading to watch a quick animation of how exactly the XH-150 works.


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