Uttar Pradesh: The soil’s thirst quenched

Source: The Hindu Micro water harvesting projects have turned around rural life in the water-starved Bundelkhand region The Patha area in Uttar Pradesh’s Chitrakoot district was for long regarded as one of the most water-scarce areas from where stories of thirsty people and animals searching for water in scorching summer have been told time and again. Large tracts of cultivated land remained barren due to lack of water and moisture. A prolonged drought-like situation in recent years had further worsened the situation. It was against this backdrop that a voluntary organisation — Akhil Bhartiya Samaj Seva Sansthaan’s (ABSSS) — promising effort to conserve and harvest rainwater has brought hope to three panchayats and water-shed areas of Manikpur block. These three small projects together has shown the usefulness of small-scale water harvesting projects when implemented and managed properly. The three projects taken up in Mangavaan, Ittwa and Tikariya panchayats in the Bundelkhand region were supported by Dorabji Tata Trust, NABARD and the District Rural Development Agency. The projects (two of which are …

NREL Publishes Cradle-to-Grave Assessment of Greenhouse Gases from Energy Sources

Source: CleanTechnica Renewables are widely assumed to generate far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels, but a precise accounting of the differences in energy generation technologies has never been completed — until now. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed a new approach to determine the cradle-to-grave emissions profiles of various forms of energy generation. The results are not surprising, but will serve as an important input on long-term energy infrastructure decisions. Continue Reading..

Microsoft Commits to Carbon Neutrality in FY 2013

Source: Environmental Leader Microsoft will charge an internal carbon offset fee starting in fiscal year 2012-2013 in its effort to be carbon neutral beginning July 1, according to the company’s blog. The carbon price will be based on market pricing for renewable energy and carbon offsets, and Microsoft will apply it to operations in more than 100 countries. The pricing is part of the software company’s strategy to achieve net-zero emissions in its data centers, software development labs, offices and employee air travel, outlined in a white paper published this month. Continue Reading..

Get smart: Charge your phone while walking in this shoe

Source: CNET Love walking and texting? Still haven’t done a faceplant on a streetlight? Well, this sneaker from Kenya can power your phone so you’ll never have to look up from that screen again. Inventor Anthony Mutua, 24, has been showing off his recharging sneaker at the first-ever Kenyan Science Technology and Innovation Week, held in Nairobi. It’s another way of using your body’s own energy to fuel electronics. The shoe apparently has a very thin “crystal chip,” perhaps a piezoelectric device, that generates power when the sole bends. It can charge phones via a long cable to a pocket while the user walks, or store power for later charging. Continue Reading..

Airborne windmills produce fifty percent more energy

Source: Springwise The benefits of wind energy have long been harnessed as a useful power source. Now a Californian company aims to increase the energy output of this resource. Rather than situating windmills on the ground, as tradition dictates, Makani Power has created a tethered wind turbine that generates power by flying aloft in large circles, much the way a kite does. The Makani Airborne Wind Turbine flies at between 800 and 1,950 feet above ground level, meaning that it stays well below normal commercial and civilian aviation. At the same time, it flies at an altitude above that of most birds, meaning that any potential harm to flying creatures is minimized, it says. Meanwhile, at these heights the wind is stronger and more consistent than that which terrestrial wind farms encounter, and 90 percent of the material used in conventional wind turbines can be eliminated. Continue Reading..

With Canal Hydropower, Still Waters Make Electricity

Source: CleanTechnica A modest-looking canal hydropower project in Oregon could be the start of the next big thing in alternative energy in the U.S. Instead of requiring the construction of a new dam, the new Klamath Irrigation District “C-Drop” project scavenges power from an existing canal system. It’s a relatively cheap, painless way to provide affordable, sustainable energy to rural communities, so what’s not to like? Continue Reading..

Excessive Water Use ‘Threatening Business in Major Economies’

Source: Environmental Leader Unsustainable water use is threatening agriculture, other business and populations in China, India and the US, according to a study by risk analysis company Maplecroft. The Water Stress Index calculates the water stress of over 168 countries by evaluating renewable supplies of water from precipitation, streams and rivers against domestic, industrial and agricultural use. The arid Middle East and North Africa region is the most at-risk region in the index, with Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Libya, Djibouti, UAE, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Egypt categorized as the 10 most water-stressed countries, listed in order of risk. Continue Reading..

The world is running out of water — now what?

Source: GreenBiz Last weekend, Jessica Yu’s new water documentary “Last Call at the Oasis” took us on tour of the impacts water scarcity is creating around the globe, from the parched pastures of Australia’s farmlands to the sewage-polluted banks of the Jordan River. This film shines a much-needed light on the various water challenges we all now face at a critical time. The numbers alone are eye-opening. If current water usage trends continue, by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population — or 5.3 billion people — will be vulnerable to water shortages. What many here in the U.S. may not know is that we are far from immune to water stress. One need look no further than Texas, where a record-breaking drought last year created massive water shortages that significantly impacted the state’s water supplies, agriculture and industry. Continue Reading..

Innovating business models for sustainability

Source: Carbon Trust Regulation, cost, reputation, revenue and risk management are driving many organisations to cut their carbon emissions, and become more sustainable. More businesses are looking at how they can put environmental sustainability at the heart of their existing business models. A fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company, for example, may improve manufacturing processes, minimise (or share) logistics, outsource the provision of physical assets used in manufacturing, reduce packaging, or educate consumers in minimising the in-use phase (e.g. use of water) and encourage consumers to recycle. To maintain competitive advantage and mitigate reduced demand from a saturated or simply more tentative market, incremental improvements may not be sufficient, and step changes may be necessary. As increasing resource scarcity becomes a significant issue, and more businesses start to understand the cost savings that can be realised through minimising resource use, businesses are turning to disruptive innovation for sustainability. Continue Reading…

Puma Earns A, Apple Takes Home D in EIRIS Sustainability Rankings

Source: Environmental Leader German sportswear manufacturer Puma tops EIRIS’ Top 10 Global Sustainability Leaders list while Apple earns a D, in a ranking that sees UK and European companies receive higher marks than their US and Asian counterparts. With the UN’s 2012 Rio+20 Earth Summit coming up in June, the research house applied its Sustainability Ratings methodology to measure the sustainability performance of 2,063 global companies from the FTSE Aall World Developed Index. The report, titled “On track for Rio+20? How are global companies responding to sustainability?” identified 10 sustainability leaders and analyzes the performance of 50 of the world’s largest companies (by market cap). A fifth of UK companies scored As, the highest ranking, based on their sustainability performance, followed by 12 percent of mainland European ones. But only 2 percent of US companies and 1 percent of Asian ones make the top grade in EIRIS’ Global Sustainability Ratings. Continue Reading…

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