Monday, August 31, 2009

German Scientists Call for 'World Climate Bank'











Spiegel Online International
Posted 31 August 2009

German climatologists are pushing for the creation of a "world climate bank" which would allow industrialized countries to purchase emission rights from less-developed nations. The revenues would enable poor countries to finance environmentally friendly economic development.

A new study by advisers to the German government has revealed that industrialized nations must radically reduce their CO2 emissions if they want to reach the internationally agreed target of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. The climatologists are proposing setting up a "world climate bank" to allow countries to trade emission rights.

According to the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), Germany would have to halve its CO2 output compared to current levels by 2020 and cut emissions to zero by 2030 if it wants to remain on track. "These findings are as surprising as they are shocking," WBGU executive Hans Joachim Schellnhuber said about the report, prepared ahead of December's international climate summit in Copenhagen. The German government has up until now been planning much less ambitious cuts...read full story.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ice Sculptures Mark 100 Days Until Copenhagen Climate Summit

by Olivia Chen
Inhabit
Posted August 29, 2009

100 child-sized ice sculptures sit in Beijing’s Temple of Earth to represent the 1 billion lives that will be lost in Asia due to water shortages caused by climate change. The art installation marks the launch of the TckTckTck Campaign, a campaign that works to raise awareness of the importance of a fair and ambitious agreement at the upcoming United Nations Copenhagen Climate Summit, taking place from December 7 to 18, 2009, where world leaders will gather to establish a plan to protect the world’s population from climate change...read full story.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Great Pacific Garbage Patch is Worse Than We Thought

by Ariel Schwartz
Inhabit

It’s a rumor that we hoped would never be confirmed: at least 1,700 miles of plastic trash is floating in what is commonly known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Up until this point, scientists only had a vague idea of the scope of the trash they would find in the North Pacific Gyre, a vortex where four ocean currents meet. Isolated patches have been reported by sailors and fishermen, but now researchers, sailors, journalists, and government officials on a nearly four-week journey through the gyre say that plastic shards and netting abound in a space bigger than the state of Texas...read full story.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pret-a-Rouler? Paris to Launch Electric-Vehicle Sharing Program


By Kirstin Butler
WorldChanging Team
27 Aug 09

From two-wheel ride to four-wheel drive, the French capitol wants to add a new low-emissions option to the urban transportation mix. In addition to its already successful bike-sharing plan, the Parisian government recently announced that it plans to implement a program for residents to share electric cars. If successful, the citywide proposal will put 4,000 new battery-powered cars on the streets by late 2010, which its supporters say could reduce annual carbon emissions by 22,000 tons...read full story.

Back to School Product Spotlight

Green Irene features new products on its website that keep waste to a minimum including waste-free lunch kits and reusable sandwich wraps and snack pouches. These containers are stainless steel or non-leaching plastic, eliminating exposure to potentially harmful BPA and phthalates found in many plastic bags and bottles...read full story.

Monday, August 24, 2009

First solar–powered car sold in Cayman

By Norma Connolly, norma@cfp.ky
Monday 24th August, 2009
Caymanian Compass

A Cayman car dealership has sold the islands’ first solar–powered car.

Androgroup’s Alan Roffey bought the vehicle, a Zenn (Zero Emission, No Noise) car, from Cayman Automotive on Thursday, but cannot drive it on public roads until a new Traffic Law is enacted.

John Felder, president and CEO of Cayman Automotive, said he believed the sale makes Androgroup the first company in the Caribbean to own an electric car powered by a solar–energy charger...read full story.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Gastro-Vision: Aesthetics of Urban Farming, Part I

Herbert Bayer, “Grow It Yourself: Plant a Farm Garden Now,” ca. 1941-43, New York NY. Silkscreen on board, WPA War Services. Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, WPA Poster Collection.


Nicole Caruth's August 21st posting on the Art21 blog features some great snippets on urban farming, a response to public demand for locally grown food. These ideas could be easily transferred to island economies where the high cost of importing fresh produce is carried by the consumer. She highlights three new visual and edible projects—Truck Farm, Welcomed Guests, and Window Farms—which reflect this trend, "presenting resourceful methods for growing your own food in the metropolis and, what’s more, sharing it with others."

Read the full story here.

World Water Week Ends

Sarah Kuck, 21 Aug 09
World Changing

More than a thousand people met in Stockholm this week to discuss the planet's most urgent water issues at the annual World Water Week conference. Near the end of the event, hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute, the participants issued the following unanimous statement: water must be included in the COP-15 climate negotiations in Copenhagen this December.

“Water is a fundamental element in economies, communities, and public health," said Anders Berntell, Executive Director of the Stockholm International Water Institute. "We know that it is the medium through which climate change manifests its most serious effects. To be effective, climate negotiations must factor in the impact and importance of water for the world and, indeed, human well-being.”

For full text of The Stockholm Statement click here. (pdf)

Lumenhaus - Virginia Tech’s Smart Solar House

by Bridgette Meinhold
Posted August 21st, 2009
Inhabit

We’re getting excited about this year’s Solar Decathlon and love Virginia Tech’s zero-energy, smart house. Lumenhaus — which is a combination of Lumen, meaning power of light, and Haus, which is a reference to the Bauhaus architectural movement — is a high-tech home that will be sure to garner a lot of attention at the upcoming competition. In fact it’s only one of two US teams to be accepted into the Solar Decathlon Europe, where it will compete against teams from around the world...read full story.

In Case You Missed It…

R.M. Schneiderman has compiled a list of energy and environment stories from around the Web, published on August 21st in The New York Times Green Inc. website. Here are some of the headlines:

THE NEW YORK TIMES
A New Test for Business and Biofuel
A wealthy American Indian community has invested in a start-up that is trying to make fuel from algae.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Solar Metering Stirs Debate
What happens when a house is generating more electricity than it needs – and sending it back out onto the grid?

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Green Lawn Care’s Pivotal Moment
A new type of sustainable herbicide will soon reach America’s grass.

THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
A Drought for Bottled Water
In troubled times thrifty consumers have rediscovered the tap.

Read more...

Editorial: Protecting the environment to stabilise our future

Published on Friday, August 21, 2009
Cayman Net News

Generally speaking, over the years, politicians in the Cayman Islands have paid scant regard to and have not put sufficient emphasis on preserving either our national heritage or environment.

Indeed, it was only through the individual efforts of this publisher that the little that remains of historic Fort George in George Town was saved from the bulldozers back in the early 1970s.

And one only has to look at the eyesore that is the ‘Mount Trashmore’ garbage dump for proof that successive governments really haven’t cared about the environment or our quality of life in general.

The latest irresponsible pronouncement in such matters comes in the shape of last week’s statement by the Leader of Government Business, Hon McKeeva Bush, that there will be no environmental impact assessment (EIA) undertaken in respect of the proposed cruise ship berths at the George Town port....read full story.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

And Now, the Impact of No Impact


Published: August 19, 2009
The New York Times

In November of 2006, Colin Beavan, a writer of historical nonfiction, embarked on a yearlong “lifestyle experiment” in which he vowed to reduce his planetary impact by producing (nearly) no trash, using (hardly) any carbon fuel and buying almost nothing new except food, and only that grown within a 250-mile radius of his home in New York City (which he said is the farthest distance farmers at the Union Square Greenmarket travel to sell their produce). Mr. Beavan’s wife, Michelle Conlin, a reporter at Business Week, and their daughter, Isabella, who was then 2, were by necessity embroiled in this stunt, which was further complicated by their address, an apartment on the ninth floor of a prewar coop on Lower Fifth Avenue...read full story.

Ranking Universities by ‘Greenness’

By Kate Galbraith
The New York Times, Green Inc.

Universities these days are scrambling to burnish their sustainability credentials, with efforts that include wind power, organic food and competitions to save energy.

They are also adding courses related to sustainability and energy — including, as I report today, in the field of continuing education.

But which university is the greenest?

Several ranking systems have emerged to offer their take. The Princeton Review, best known as a test-preparation firm, recently came out with its second annual green ratings. Fifteen colleges earned the highest possible score — including Harvard, Yale and the University of California, Berkeley...read full story.

Scientists uncover new ocean threat from plastics

By Steve Connor, Science Editor
The Independent

Scientists have identified a new source of chemical pollution released by the huge amounts of plastic rubbish found floating in the oceans of the world. A study has found that as plastics break down in the sea they release potentially toxic substances not found in nature and which could affect the growth and development of marine organisms.

Until now it was thought that plastic rubbish is relatively stable chemically and, apart from being unsightly, its principle threat to living creatures came from its ability to choke or strangle any animals that either got caught in it or ingested it thinking it was food.

But the latest research suggests that plastic is also a source of dissolved substances that can easily become widely dispersed in the marine environment. Many of these chemicals are believed to toxic to humans and animals, the scientists said...read full story.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Littering: An Ongoing Problem

The Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has a litter collection team that cleans up central George Town daily and tackles public roads on a monthly basis, throughout the districts. Despite their efforts, littering remains a big problem.

"It is everyone's responsibility to keep the environment clean," said DEH Director Roydell Carter. "We are therefore asking the public's cooperation in keeping our country clean."...see full story.

Market at The Grounds: Field to Table?

The "field to table" trend is fast becoming part of a sustainable lifestyle, emphasizing local connections to the food we eat every day. Island economies such as Grand Cayman are ideal proving grounds for this trend with the ever-increasing costs of importing fresh produce and meat.

Market at The Grounds, held each Saturday morning between 7:00 and 12:00 noon in Lower Valley, is celebrating its two year anniversary this month. An initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture, the market is designed to provide "an outlet for all things Caymanian" with seasonal local produce and specialty meats...see full story.

If you've checked out the market, weigh in with your comments.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Review

The new issue of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Review, available online, focuses on the environment including the develop of a National Energy Policy that addresses carbon emissions and bio-fuels, waste-to-energy, and strategies pertaining to renewable energy. This issue also includes a directory of green products and service providers.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Boston Gears Up to Launch America’s Biggest Bike Sharing Program

by Yuka Yoneda
August 17, 2009
Inhabit

We all know how wonderful bikes are for the environment, but if you’ve been reluctant to make the switch because of the hassle that storing a bike presents, we’ve got exciting news for you! …If you’re in Boston, that is. Lucky Bostonians will soon have no excuse when it comes to choosing biking over cars. The city has announced plans to implement a brand new urban bike sharing system as early as next summer which, when complete, will be the largest in America.

The new system will be very similar to infrastructure already in place in cities like Montreal and Paris. Riders can pick up bikes at one of the 290 stations with a swipe of a credit card, ride it wherever they need to go, and dock it at the station closest to their destination - no heavy locks and chains necessary. In Montreal, people can pay abut $78 per year or $5 per day to participate, which is quite a bit more economical than owning a car. A Canadian company, the Public Bike System Company which operates a program called Bixi, was selected to bring a network of bike-sharing stations to Boston, with the option to eventually expand into neighboring Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline...see full story.

The Carbon Case for Downloading Music


By Kate Galbraith
August 17, 2009, 12:24 pm
New York Times, Green Inc.

A new study has found that downloading music is substantially better from an emissions perspective than buying compact discs.

The study, which was funded by both Microsoft and Intel and authored by two academics at Carnegie Mellon University and a third affiliated with Stanford University, found that buying an album digitally reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 40 to 80 percent relative to a “best-case” CD-purchasing scenario...see full story.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cayman’s Sam Spade of homes


By: Basia Pioro
The Observer
Published on August 16, 2009

Crawling around in a hot and dirty attic - it’s not the kind of detective work a film noir buff might deem terribly exciting.

And while it may lack the glamour of rescuing a stolen relic from the clutches of some celluloid villain, when the ripped up insulation, cracked ducts, mouldy bathrooms, and hidden air leaks that he’s hunting are revealed, Jorge Vera’s eureka moment is just as satisfying.

After all, he’s the Sam Spade of homes in Cayman.

Vera’s company, Smart Energy Management, conducts home energy audits to uncover small problems that, once resolved, can go a long way toward energy cost savings and reducing a home’s carbon footprint...see full story.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bottled Water Boom Appears Tapped Out

By Ylan Q. Mui
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 13, 2009

Environmental Concerns, Recession Put Crimp in Sales

The recession has finally answered the question that centuries of philosophers could not: The glass is half-empty.

That's because sales of bottled water have fallen for the first time in at least five years, assailed by wrathful environmentalists and budget-conscious consumers, who have discovered that tap water is practically free. Even Nestle, the country's largest seller of bottled water, is beginning to feel a bit parched. On Wednesday, it reported that profits for the first half of the year dropped 2.7 percent, its first decline in six years...see full story.

(Photo Credit: Daniel Munoz/Reuters)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Composting Made Easy

August 13, 2009 by Green Irene
Filed under Featured, Footprint

You may know there are many reasons to compost: creating rich soil that needs less chemical-laced fertilizer, saving money on gardening supplies, reducing the amount of garbage that gets mummified in landfills, saving fuel from trips to the dump, the list keeps going. Composting could have a big impact on the amount of trash we generate. A third of all landfill waste across the United States comes from garden clippings and kitchen waste. Instead of being trashed, those items could be put to use to create healthy soil. Starting a compost can be an intimidating prospect, but just a few tips can get you started in no time...see full story.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

When a Shower Saves a Flush

By Kate Galbraith
Green Inc., The New York Times

A Brazilian conservation group is urging people to urinate in the shower — to save water from not flushing the toilet.

The group, SOS Mata Atlantica, is running cartoonlike television spots to circulate its idea (as noted in the Freakonomics blog). It says that flushing one less time per day can save more than 1,150 gallons of water over the course of a year.

For those who balk at the notion of letting loose in the shower, another approach — championed by the actress Cameron Diaz, among others — calls for flushing less frequently.

“If it’s yellow leave it mellow; if it’s brown flush it down,” Ms. Diaz told Jay Leno on the “Tonight” show in May. “I believe in that 100 percent.”...see full story.

IS IT GREEN?: Clorox Green Works


by Evelyn Lee
Inhabit

Launched in January of 2008, Clorox’s line of natural cleaning products, Green Works, currently holds more than a 40% share of the natural home cleaning market. The first year success of their product single-handedly grew the natural cleaning product market by more than 80% in one year by selling Green Works through their current distribution chain in more than 24,000 stores alongside their regular household cleaning products. However the question remains, is Green Works truly green? Critics argue that since no industry standard definitions currently exist for natural cleaners, Green Works is simply deeming itself green against its own standards - a dangerous trend to set...see full story.

Electricity Costs Going Up

By Alan Markoff, alan@cfp.ky
Tuesday 11th August, 2009
Caymanian Compass

The government will suspend its fuel rebate arrangement with Caribbean Utilities Company, which will lead to higher electricity costs for residential consumers.

The action will not affect commercial customers in any way, but it will lead to a higher fuel factor costs for all residential customers. For those consuming 1,500 kilowatt hours of electricity or more a month, the increase to their bill will be CI$45...see full story.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Wind energy takes on grassroots momentum


Nancy and Jay Easterbrook Owners of DiveTech have installed a wind turbine at its dive shop and new condo development in West Bay.



By:
Shurna Robbins shurna@cfp.ky
Published on Sunday, August 9, The Observer

For more than two decades, Paul Bodden has been working on getting his businesses and family completely off the power company’s grid.

A couple years ago, he spotted five used commercial wind turbines for sale from an established vendor’s Internet site he uses. He snapped them up and brought them on island.

Then about eight months ago, he moved into the house he built in Lower Valley. Still determined to be independent from the utilities company, the new house is not connected to CUC’s grid at all. Instead it is powered by diesel generators while he works on getting planning approval to hook up one wind turbine to his home...see full article.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sneak Peak: "No Impact Man" Trailer

In theatres on September 11th, "No Impact Man" documents one family's attempt to live a no-impact lifestyle in New York City:

Sustainable Development Unit Newsletter available online


The Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) at the Cayman Islands Department of Environment has started producing a newsletter – “SDU News” – to promote the work of the SDU, and make as many people as possible aware of the sustainable development issues facing the Cayman Islands.

The fourth issue (and all previous issues) of SDU News can be downloaded at http://www.doe.ky/about/sustainable-development-unit/

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Private recycling effort a success

Monday 3rd August, 2009 Posted: 15:39 CIT (20:39 GMT)
Caymanian Compass

In an effort to aid the collection of waste aluminium and metal on Grand Cayman, Clinton Nicholson decided to act.

The long–term employee of the Department of Environment and The Marine Park Enforcement Division had been conscious of the massive amount of waste on the Island and had been looking for a way to assist with the problem.

He developed a programme dedicated to purchasing bins to collect the empty cans of patrons after they finish their drinks in the many bars and restaurants around Grand Cayman. Customers are being encouraged to dispose of the cans in the recycling bins, which are provided out of the fundraising...see full article.

Planting the seed for better health - The Cayman edible schoolyard project

Lyneth Monteith, Acting Campus Manager for George Hicks High School and Maureen Cubbon, Marketing and Health & Wellness Manager at Generali Worldwide, pictured at the GHHS school garden, the site for “Project Grow”.

By:
Maureen Cubbon
Published on Sunday, August 2, The Observer

Taking inspiration from overseas edible schoolyard projects, Generali Worldwide has partnered with George Hicks Campus to launch a schoolyard garden initiative for the coming 2009-2010 school year called “Project Grow”. The project will help develop a sustainable schoolyard garden where students help plan and execute the garden and have hands on experience learning about healthy eating and the importance of nutritional choices.

“We are excited to partner with George Hicks for our pilot project”, states Maureen Cubbon, Marketing and Health & Wellness Manager for Generali Worldwide. “This program uses food through sustainable agriculture as the vehicle to learn about healthy foods and nutrition and for bringing about personal growth and transformation. This project is something we have been working on for some time now, so it is really satisfying to see that it is coming to life.”...see full article.

Aveda is saving oceans and marine life one plastic cap at a time

By Rebecca Paul

Posted June 24, 2009
Inhabit


Wondering how to turn all of those plastic bottle caps running rampant in your household into a green, planet saving endeavor?

Aveda’s Caps Recycling Program will re-purpose these toxic plastics as a base for new packaging, in an effort to eliminate them from our oceans before it’s too late.

Attention hair salons in Grand Cayman: if you stock Aveda products, contact them to see if you can get their program going here...see full article.

Monday, August 3, 2009

CCRIF Assists AOSIS Climate Change Negotiating Strategy Preparation

July 30, 2009
Insurance Journal

The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) announced that it is "assisting the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) climate change negotiating team in finalizing the AOSIS position leading up to the Copenhagen United Nations Climate Change Conference in December.

"CCRIF, through staff from the Facility Supervisor, Caribbean Risk Managers Ltd, participated in a Negotiators Preparatory Meeting held in Grenada from 22 to 25 July 2009. This meeting formed part of the ongoing and intensive work of AOSIS in lobbying for enhanced global action on climate change." ...see full article.

Coral reef warning system installed


Sunday 2nd August, 2009 Posted: 21:20 CIT (02:20 +1 GMT)
Caymanian Compass

The Central Caribbean Marine Institute, in partnership with NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory has moved a step closer toward understanding the signals of global climate change and the resulting stressors to Cayman’s coral reefs.

They recently announced the completion of the final stage of implementation and operation of a new coral reef early warning system station, as part of the Integrated Coral Observing Network just north of CCMI’s Little Cayman Research Centre near icon Reef. Located directly off shore from the LCRC, the 40–ft pylon is standing in seven meters of water and is securely mounted to hardpan bedrock to withstand a major hurricane...see full article.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Man powers three homes from rooftop panels in South Sound



By Tad Stoner
tad@caymannetnews.com

Monday’s first 90-day homeowner reading of average electricity generation at the solar-powered South Sound house of the late Frank Banks suggests its 84 rooftop panels are creating enough power to operate three regular homes.

At the same time, authorities are pondering a change to the Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) scheme by which the firm charges home-based electricity generators for both the power they consume on their own premises and any excess power they send back into the CUC grid.

“For a 90-day period, we are producing an average of 79.43 kilowatt hours (KwH) per day,” said Lindsay Scott, owner of custom homebuilder and solar-power installer LAS Development...see full article.