Safeguarding Biodiversity – The Conference of Parties on Biodiversity, Hyderabad, 2012

Today, the CoP on Biodiversity Convention of 2012 starts in Hyderabad. To last till 19th October 2012, the CoP is going to be one of the largest activities in the world to safeguard and promote bio-diversity. The World at Risk! Life on Earth can be as simple as a fly, or as complex as an ecosystem of coral reefs. The most unique feature of Earth is the existence of life, and the most extraordinary feature of life is its diversity. Tragically, today biodiversity is disappearing at 1,000 times the normal rate due to human civilization. As human population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, the biodiversity crisis will only get worse as more people consume more resources. When one species disappears, it imbalances the food chain, which may cause some critters to over populate while others starve – the loss of one can impact many. The major causes of biodiversity decline are Habitat loss and destruction, Global climate change, Invasive alien species, Over-exploitation, Pollution and contamination. Even our …

Too May Eco-Labels ‘Overwhelming,’ Companies Say

Source: Environmentalleader.com Consumers and companies alike are becoming “confused” and “overwhelmed” by eco-labeling, according to a survey of more than 1,000 international companies including Hewlett-Packard, Nestlé, Canon, Sara Lee and E.On. The joint study by the International Institute for Management Development and the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne concludes that eco-labeling has nearly reached the saturation point with companies and consumers increasingly concerned about the practice’s over-proliferation and credibility. Germany’s Ministry of the Environment introduced the world’s first eco-label, the Blue Angel, in 1978. Now more than 400 are used across 25 industries in 250 countries. Only a minority of customers, called “dark green” in the report, are especially cognizant of the notion of sustainability. Their “light green” counterparts are unaware or uninterested, while “mid-green” consumers may think sustainability is important but they don’t want to take the time to find out why. Because of this, study authors say the idea that the average buyer will spend time sifting through eco-labels is unrealistic. In interviews, companies listed brand strengthening, addressing consumers’ sustainability demands and …

How Coca-Cola, McDonald’s worked with nonprofits to get greener

Source: Greenbiz Businesses and nonprofits used to have a one-way relationship: Nonprofit asks for donation; business says yes or no. That relationship has evolved dramatically as the two sides found ways to develop mutually beneficial relationships, and — more recently — collaborative partnerships. In this model, the goal is to create shared value. Nowhere is this more relevant than in the environmental and sustainability arena, where conveying and exemplifying true green value has such a critical impact on the triple bottom line. Of course, no single nonprofit, business or group can do it alone. Solving problems requires the strengths, perspectives and talents that each type of organization brings to the table. When we developed our Impact Awards program, for example, our primary focus was to brainstorm with our corporate partners to create online collaborations resulting in compelling and beneficial experiences for their brands, their consumers and the participating nonprofits. True collaboration So what is true collaboration? Mark Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy [TNC] – a founding EarthShare member charity – believes when we move past donating …

Cost-effective solar power module could also serve as an eco-friendly furnace

Source: Gizmag Borrowing technology from sophisticated telescope mirrors as well as high-efficiency solar cells used for space exploration, a group of students and researchers at the University of Arizona is putting the final touches on a novel power plant that promises to generate renewable energy twice as efficiently as standard solar panel technology with highly competitive costs and a very small environmental impact. Curved mirrors in solar power plants usually concentrate the sun’s rays along a water pipe, heating the water into steam that is then fed to power-generating turbines. But rather than distributing the power over the area of a water pipe, researchers at the University of Arizona are working on focusing as much as possible of the sun’s captured energy onto a precise point in space. The target is a small glass ball that is only five inches in diameter. The ball contains a specially coated lens that redirects the light to an array of 36 small, high-efficiency solar cells, which were originally developed for space applications, that …

In Brazil, prisoners’ pedal power shaves time off their sentence

Source: springwise Film lovers in the UK have already experienced screenings projected the environmentally friendly way with the pedal-powered Cycle-in Cinema. In Brazil, the Santa Rita do Sapucaí prison has taken a similar approach in its attempts to produce green energy – harnessing the pedal work of its inmates. According to reports, two exercise bikes have been placed in the courtyard of the penitentiary and are hooked up to batteries. Cyclists’ kinetic energy is converted into electricity which charges the battery and a device on the handlebars alerts the rider when it’s time stop. The fully charged batteries are then taken into the city and used to power street lamps – one day’s cycling can provide enough energy to run six light bulbs. On a mass scale, the country’s prisoners could be a source of alternative energy for illuminating a city’s worth of street lights. In order to incentivize use of the bikes, city judge José Henrique Mallmann is waiving a day off the sentence of prisoners for every 16 hours pedalling they …

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..

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