Over the past year, events catalysed by a government seizure of dried cured meats from Harborside Farms have propelled Manitoba Food Policy unto uncertain waters. A burgeoning market for local foods, which Manitobans ensure is socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable, goes to battle against government food safety regulations. The regulations are claimed to be unclear, which makes them hard to follow. A coalition of fishers, processors, farmers and citizens have rallied in support of the local food market in Manitoba and are calling themselves FEAST (Farmers and Eaters Sharing the Table). They are demanding a say in policy-making, and from the FEAST report last month, it seems they are doing just that! The province is currently reformulating the regulations towards “outcome-based standards”. This means the process by which the food is produced is less important, provided that the resulting food passes safety standards. This works in the favour or small-scale growers and providers as it allows methods to be used outside of regulated mass growth projects, and does not require the purchase of expensive equipment. Issue still remains within the criteria for safe food though; the onus lies on the producer to create a safe product, but the judgement from regulators working within a guideline. Further work at defining the standards for safe food is needed, although the policy is moving in the right direction!
Internationally Unrelated provides hard facts about the ecological footprint of our society. August 19th, Tania reports, was Earth Overshoot Day – the day which marks when we as a global society have used as much resources as the earth can replenish in one year. If this date was December 31st, then we would be a sustainable society. However, we still have four full months left on the calendar, and a part of August! This translates to a shorter life for the earth overall through harsher effects of harvesting resources, and land and habitat degradation. Read the article reblogged below for a fuller picture on Earth Overshoot Day! Thanks Internationally Unrelated!
I could start with the typical “save the earth, it is the only we have”, which is completely true, but I will start to tell you that we, as humans need to stop acting like the planet is infinite and it is never going to run out of resources, if not for the earth we share, for ourselves. It will. It is already… And still, it passes us by like it is nothing. Why? Because we don’t see it truly in front of us. If we see war, we see dead people, we see injured people, we know it is happening, we know we need to do something. We don’t see the impact of our actions in our planet, at least clearly. But it is happening.
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Altaeros Energy’s Buoyant Airborne Turbine, or BAT, is the beginnings of a new step for Wind Energy. This turbine is not on a tower, but a helium blimp housing a turbine which is tethered to the ground from about 300 meters in the air (making it the worlds highest wind turbine!). The air is not only more powerful as you climb higher into the atmosphere, but the technology is less prone to problem. Without the massive steel tower, and yaw mechanism which rotates the turbine to face the wind as it changes, the maintenance is much less significant. The turbine also is quieter, while producing more energy! Although this technology is only in prototype phase, tests have been positive. Now being tested over Alaska, CEO Ben Glass predicts to provide power at about $0.18 per kilowatt-hour, about half the price of off-grid electricity in Alaska.
It seems like this is a win for energy efficiency and standards of living! Kudos to Altaeros! Find a full article, from The Spirit Science here: Wind Turbines Take to the Skies to Generate a Magnificent Quanta of Energy VIDEO! , as well as from IEEE Spectrum here.
Yesterday CBS Detroit reported on Fords plans to build a large solar array in the Ford Headquarters with help from DTE. It will provide 360 parking spaces with 30 charging stations for electric vehicles underneath a solar canopy which will provide 1.038 megawatts of energy! That’s enough for 158 average sized homes! They intend to break ground in September and be functioning in early 2015. Read the full article here!
An article from Green Life Smart Life suggests that many moments are teaching moments for going green. The article outlines one hundred tips, tools and resources for creating lessons and projects for students Kindergarten to grade 12. With this list, teachers can be better equipped to support ecological awareness in today’s youth!
A lot of the time, sustainability and pro-eco choices are made at home, like composting or air-drying our laundry. This business takes eco-friendly to new and unusual level! Firstly, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum is only LEED certified. The LEED certification stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a certification developed by the U.S. Green Building Council which rates the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings, homes and neighborhoods. It hopes to encourage and help owners and operators to use resources responsibly and efficiently. The building utilizes geothermal heating and cooling, solar power, carbon dioxide detecting ventilation sensors, low flow plumbing and daylight sensing lights which automatically dim and brighten lights in accordance with the amount of natural light currently available; recycled plastics, rubbers, re-purposed woods, even sunflower hulls, are used whenever possible instead of new materials.
Moreover, the museum’s exhibits are specifically tailored to sustainability. Attendee’s could learn about geothermal and solar energy, water conservation or recycling, and why they are important to our future as a planet. The museum holds summer camps, and provides educational material for teachers to utilize in the classroom, as well.
As the first “green” museum, they really due set a tone for what we are capable of within the commercial sector. Steps small and large can be made throughout out lives, home, work, and recreation.
Check out their website for more information on educational tools, green sites in the city, and to plan your visit to the first green museum!!
An article recently posted by SAVES, Student ActiVists for Endangered Species, reports that the U.S. government is banning the use of bee-killing pesticides and genetically modified crops within wildlife refuges. The products can be used by spraying, but have typically been used in the seeds. The seeds are soaked in the pesticides so that when they grow, all parts of the plant contain the pesticide internally. This greatly effects the plant, targeted animals, and now admittedly, non-target animals as well.This is to be phased out in refuges and in animal feed by 2016.
Given our recent post about the negativity of neonicotinoids, this is pleasing to hear – a positive step towards a more balanced and symbiotic ecosystem. Read their full article here, and follow their blog for more ecological news on endangered species, or to join their club for protecting endangered species!
Eco People LTD recently reported Hawaii committing to geothermal energy! Governor Neil Abercrombie signs Bill 2953 which designates the Department of the Hawaiian Home Lands as the only recipient for the royalties from geothermal resources generated on the home lands. This bill is intended to support and encourage the search and use of geothermal energy – something Abercrombie believes to probably be “inexhaustible.” As a clean, dependable and sustainable energy source we firmly agree with the direction Hawaii is taking! Read the full article below, or at http://bit.ly/1pWFbPT.
Here at Eco People we love the idea of Geothermal Energy, a thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth. We love it so much because it seems so natural. From hot springs, geothermal energy has been used for bathing since Paleolithic times and for space heating since ancient Roman times, but it is now better known for electricity generation. Geothermal power is cost effective, reliable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly.
Hawaii could see a geothermal energised future as they are currently facing tough times when it comes to their energy. Almost all their energy is imported and with the ever impending reality of climate change, prices for importing such energy would be increased drastically.
The governor of Hawaii, Neil Abercrombie (I don’t think there’s a link) believes the answer lies beneath the earth and is already making plans to embrace the power of geothermal energy!
“I realise that there’s been…
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Yesterday 1.3 billion gallons of mining waste burst from a Mount Polley gold and copper mine’s tailing pond in the Cariboo region of British Columbia. Canadians in the region cannot drink their water, and authorities can not yet tell how many more Canadians will be effected as the water continues to flow through creeks and streams. The area is sparsely populated limiting human impact, however the environmental harm created is vast. Lake Erie’s algae bloom is a natural reaction catalyzed by human activity, whereas this disaster is a direct effect! Carelessness, and laziness are two qualities the future of our planet strongly relies on, and yet they were not shown. Read Think Progress’s full article here.
The United Kingdom’s energy strategy for the future is heavily reliant on off-shore wind turbines. The unknown element here is how the underwater noise of these turbines, during construction, and in usage, will effect the environment. The University of Newcastle’s Sustainability blog posted about the preliminary challenges of these turbines.
The masts which hold the turbines must initially be hammered into the sea floor, destroying habitat space, and causing loud echos and rippling waves from it’s center. In coalition with other University research teams, Newcastle’s research team spent four days on the water collecting samples of species and water with various technologies in order to map the ecosystem before construction, during, and usage periods. This will help them understand the effects of underwater noise in their marine ecosystems, and design ways of limiting potential issues into the future. Read their blog post for more information on this endeavor, and other sustainability news.
In July 2013 the RV Princess Royal was home to a group of UK underwater sound specialists, called the Bio-Acoustic Research Consortium (BARC). This new project is led by Dr Per Berggren from Newcastle University’sSchool of Marine Science and Technology and it brings together a range of noise specialists, ecologists and industry professionals with a common aim: to better understand the impact of underwater noise on marine ecosystems.
The consortium has attracted grant funding from the Natural Environment Research Council’sMarine Renewables Knowledge Exchange Programme to explore the environmental challenges associated with offshore wind development, an industry that continues to grow rapidly. The Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability (NIReS), also supplied a small grant towards equipment costs which has funded the purchase of six hydrophones, called C-Pods, for detecting marine mammals. It is hoped the knowledge gained from the project can be fed directly back to industry…
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