Howtogogreen’s Weblog


We’re ‘Splitzville!, Like Outa Here!

Happy Trails!

Have a great winter we are off on our annual epic trip to Central America. This years trip starts off with us driving to Florida in a nice big Cadillac, and getting paid to do it too! We’ll stop off in Tennessee for BBQ and in Meansville Georgia for the best Tilapia you’ll ever find at an airport! Then after dropping the car off in West Palm Beach we have a few days for poking around South Beach Miami before we fly to Honduras for $8 each!

Once on Honduran soil we will make a bee line from the metropolis of San Pedro Sula to the northern coast town of La Ceiba, and just in time for Saturday night at the ex patriots bar! Then the trip gets a bit more relaxed, we will hop a chicken bus to Trujillo, the town where both Columbus and William Walker landed in the new world for the last time. From here we will try to get a boat to Guanaja, and then on to the east end of Roatan, but if we can’t we will retreat to La Ceiba, and just in time for Saturday night at the ex patriots bar!!!

I learned to dive on Utila back in the early nineties so we will slide over there for a week. We want to get some of the BBQ at RJ’s and if we’re lucky Dave’s as well. There are some great bars on Utila so we might be up a bit late! Our friend Vern sails back and forth between Utila and West End, Roatan a couple of times a week, so we will get to Roatan with him.

Once on Roatan we let go of the reins, we have so many friends here and they will have a wide variety of options for us to stay in once we arrive. After stopping off at Coconut Tree Divers to see our friends, we’ll wander over to Sundowners for a few drinks and the greatest sunset on the planet!



Mission to M.A.R.S.!

mars

The Magenn Air Rotor System (MARS) is a new generation of wind turbines with cost and performance advantages over existing systems. 

MARS is a lighter-than-air tethered wind turbine that rotates about a horizontal axis in response to wind, generating electrical energy. This electrical energy is transferred down the tether for consumption, or to a set of batteries or the power grid. Helium sustains the Magenn Air Rotor System, which ascends to an altitude as selected by the operator for the best winds. Its rotation also generates the “Magnus” effect. This aerodynamic phenomenon provides additional lift, keeps the MARS device stabilized, positions MARS within a very controlled and restricted location, and finally, causes MARS to pull up overhead to maximize altitude rather than drift downwind on its tether. mars2

The Advantages of MARS over Conventional Wind Turbines are: (1) low cost electricity – under 15 cents per kWh; (2) bird and bat friendly; (3) lower noise; (4) wide range of wind speeds – 2 to more than 28 meters/second; (5) higher altitudes – from 200 to 1,000 feet above ground level are possible without expensive towers or cranes; (6) fewer limits on placement location – coast line placement is not necessary; (7) ability to install closer to the power grid; (8) mobile and; (9) ideal for off grid applications or where power is not reliable. mars3



The Starbucks Math!

starbucks-2-1

The math of starbucks just does not make sense! Unless your a shareholder! The cups litter the world, #2 in litter next to plastic bags. Food container waste is a huge world wide problem, the sheer volume of it is astounding.

We have started a Facebook cause to raise awareness of this issue. Go to http://apps.facebook.com/causes/166695/4590527?m=6f3db6f8 to join us!



Mumbai, Athens, Roatan? I Don’t Think so!

As the clouds start to move away, more and more photos are coming out from Roatan. It seems that the riots don’t compare to the ones currently going on in Greece, but the troubles that are taxing the islands people are increasing, we long to hear of good news. We have been trying to bring inexpensive solar power products down to Roatan, sadly we have found that the existing political structure is not interested in green energy. Here are a few pictures of some of the “riots” and roadblocks. You can decide whether or not the whole thing was blown out of proportion.



A giant solution to a giant problem

 

It absorbs water faster than most plants and is used in some parts of the world for cleaning sewage. Even more important, it soaks up heavy metals. It is a potential answer to polluted waters. It is nature’s fastest growing woody plant, with some species achieving the phenomenal growth rate of one metre a day! Its culms (poles) are the strongest, lightest natural material known to humankind. A square metre of flooring derived from this “wonder plant” will sell for as much as US$ 100, while in Southern Asia it is used for reinforcing concrete and for scaffolding on skyscrapers. No other woody plant matches bamboo’s versatility in environmental conservation and commerce. It is a viable replacement for both hardwoods and softwoods. Its growth rate is three times that of eucalyptus, and it matures in just three years. Thereafter harvests are possible every second year for up to one hundred and twenty years. India has some twenty million acres of commercial bamboo that account for 60% of the country’s massive paper requirements and much of its commercial timber needs. Over two million tons of edible bamboo shoots – rich in vitamins and low in carbohydrates, fats and proteins – are consumed around the world every year, mostly in Asia. However, bamboo remains an untapped resource in Africa, a state of affairs that the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) hopes to help remedy through a pilot project in Kenya and Tanzania, in collaboration with the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) and the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. The project aims to create awareness on the environmental and economic benefits of bamboo in the Lake Victoria basin, and hopefully popularise it throughout the region. Lake Victoria is the world’s second-largest fresh water lake. Its shores are dotted with large urban centres that discharge domestic and industrial waste into its waters. Interestingly, this member of the grass family is not new in Kenya. “Kenya’s water catchments were once covered in bamboo,” says Prof Chin Ong, a hydrologist with ICRAF. “However, most of these forests have since been cleared”. ICRAF has taken a first step towards the revival of the plant by introducing the giant bamboo (Dendrocalamus giganteus) into selected pilot sites in Kenya (Nairobi, Western Kenya) and Tanzania (Musoma). This commercially attractive species can grow in areas traditionally used for sugar cane and coffee cultivation, thus providing an alternative or additional cash crop. Arundinaria alpina, a species of bamboo native to Kenya, will yield as many as 20,000 culms per hectare per year, with each culm growing to a height of 12 metres (40 feet). Most species in fact grow to over 30 metres (90 feet) at full maturity. Kenya has 

bamboo

Giant bamboo at a farm in Thika, Kenya (about 40 km from Nairobi).

few privately owned commercial timber plantations. Most of the country’s timber comes from government forests managed by the Forest Department. However, these forests have been severely over-exploited with only limited replanting. Timber firms are now reportedly forced to import the product from the Congo and Tanzania to manufacture hard and soft board. The country’s leading paper manufacturer, PanPaper of Webuye, is also reportedly using plantation softwoods to fuel its boilers and make paper pulp. With its rapid growth and high woody fibre production, bamboo would supply both industrial needs. At the household level, bamboo would be a valuable source of firewood and charcoal. It yields more than 7,000 kilocalories per kilogram, equivalent to half the yield from an equivalent amount of petroleum. Some species of the plant have large thorns, making them ideal for security hedges. Others grow tall straight culms that form ideal windbreaks that can be sustainably harvested annually. And of course edible bamboo shoots would be a nutritious addition the family table. These shoots, mild and very crunchy, can be eaten raw or cooked. KEFRI already grows several high quality edible varieties. Bamboo rhizomes anchor topsoil along steep slopes and riverbanks, very effectively controlling erosion. Bamboo leaves, sheaves and old culms that die and fall to the ground decompose and create a thick humus layer that enriches the soil. Studies in South East Asia and Kenya have also shown that natural bamboo forests have excellent hydrological functions that promote soil health.  Some species of bamboo absorb as much 12 tonnes of atmospheric carbon dioxide per hectare, a valuable asset to deploy against global warming. But bamboo is vulnerable to insects and fungi and its service life can be as low as one year when in direct contact with the ground. However, this can be remedied by appropriate design and cautious use of environmentally friendly preservatives such as boron, according to TRADA (Timber Research and Development Association). In April 2004, fears were also expressed that flowering bamboo would trigger famine in Northeast India, arising from an upsurge in rat populations. Bamboo can be propagated from seeds, though most species flower just once every fifteen to one hundred and twenty years. More viable mass propagation techniques include tissue culture, rhizome cuttings and vegetative cuttings.  

 

For more information, contact c.ong@cgiar.org

 

“A man can sit in a bamboo house under a bamboo roof, on a bamboo chair at a bamboo table, with a bamboo hat on his head and bamboo sandals on his feet. He can at the same time hold in one hand a bamboo bowl, in the other hand bamboo chopsticks and eat bamboo sprouts. When through with his meal, which has been cooked over a bamboo fire, the table may be washed with a bamboo cloth, and he can fan himself with a bamboo fan, take a siesta on a bamboo bed, lying on a bamboo mat with his head resting on a bamboo pillow. His child might be lying in a bamboo cradle, playing with a bamboo toy. On rising he would smoke a bamboo pipe and taking a bamboo pen, write on a bamboo paper, or carry his articles in bamboo baskets suspended from a bamboo pole, with a bamboo umbrella over his head. He might then take a walk over a bamboo suspension bridge, drink water from a bamboo ladle, and scrape himself with a bamboo scraper (handkerchief)”.

 

Quoted from A Yankee on the Yangtze. William Edgar Geil. London: Hodder and Stoughton. 1904. In Yangtze Patrol. Kemp Tolley. Annapollis: U.S. Naval Institute Press. 1971. Page 268.

 

Contributed by Stella Muasya



Tim Hortons Should switch to Earth cups!!

JOIN THE FACEBOOK CAUSE: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/166697?m=a3c03490&recruiter_id=30055761

earth_cups_with_lids

    *  Earth Cup™ is made from renewable resources, is 100% compost able and petroleum free, all which make this cup very earth friendly.

    * Most hot cups are coated with Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE), a petrochemical plastic. LDPE is non-renewable and non-compostable, making the only methods of disposal; litter, land fills or incineration. Earth Cup™ is coated with earth friendly bio based material that uses less energy and significantly less greenhouse gas footprint.

    * Earth Cup™ meets the ASTM 6400 composting standard and is acceptable at over 45 composting facilities in North America.

    * Earth Cup™ can be coated one side for hot cups and two sided for cold beverages.

          o Earth Cup™ hot cups are suitable for hot coffee, tea and other hot beverages.

          o Earth Cup™ 9 oz water cups are coated on both sides and are suitable for water, soda and other chilled beverages.

    * Earth Cup™ hot cups stock sizes are 10, 12, 16 and 20 oz.

          o all hot cups fit one size Tater Ware™ sippy lid

          o 24 oz cups will be available in December.

    * Custom print using either flexo or off set print is available hosting up to five colors using soy based inks (minimum order is 50,000 per size).