Check it out! We will continue to bring you news about green things, good things, and everything in between.
Editor, TONIC News Network
Check it out! We will continue to bring you news about green things, good things, and everything in between.
Editor, TONIC News Network
DEATH OF A WIND SALESMAN
There are those days when you’re on the 5; your car swerves into the breakdown lane because another gust has picked up. Your arms strain from pulling the steering wheel opposite the wind as the gust picks up to a full blast. Those are Anish’s best days.
Instead of pulling out a road map, Anish Parikh, 29, pulls out a wind map indicating weather patterns and topography.
If you’ve seen the movie, “There Will Be Blood”, you’ll have an understanding of what Anish does (without the blood). In those days, prospectors made deals with land owners because they knew the opaque gold that lay underneath. Now, Anish, an MIT college graduate turned aerodynamicist turned wind developer, sees gold in the sky.
“These farmers are sitting on the lottery.”
Anish wants to be part of “cleaning up” the sky too.
When I first heard about his job, the term “wind salesman” kept echoing in my head.
“Do they have quotas…
A – Always
B – Be
C – Closing Wind Farms?”
Anish replied, “Kind of, some people in the industry treat wind developing like any other sales job, and are as paranoid and greedy as that Daniel Day Lewis character.”
Anish spends his days combing up and down interstate 5, deep in California’s central valley. He talked to me about his first deal, how he tried to convince the land-owner. He interrupted himself.
“No wait, I had to convince his Mom first.”
I found it rather interesting that a farmer’s mother was part of the decision making process, but then I learned that these farmers had their farms for generations, and having a 100 foot wind turbine that sits on your farm for thirty years is no easy decision.
“I told them that it wouldn’t affect any of his farming. We lease the land; they collect the royalties ($20,000 a year). “
Anish takes a final swig of the farmer’s mother’s lemonade, and drops off the contract.
It’s no easy decision for the wind manufacturer either. Each turbine costs $2.2 million, and generates enough electricity to supply about 1500 homes. Off this one plot of land, about 100 acres or so, the turbine will only occupy about an acre on the ground, but will be about a quarter mile away from any other turbines they place nearby. Wind technology has risen dramatically. However, if the wind patterns don’t hold, these alternative energy developers could stand to lose a lot of money.
“Wind is still about 30% more expensive than fossil fuels.” I started arguing back that coal has indirect costs revealing my bias.
It takes about 5 years even to begin receiving revenues off the turbine. Before they build the turbine, they take the first couple years to determine if the land is “wind-worthy.” And there’s years of government compliance. They have to watch for the migratory patterns of birds, for example.
Wind farms also suffer from “Not in my Backyard”, especially
after all the controversy when they wanted to develop in the waters of
. Anish thinks wind farms look beautiful.
Finally, there’s plenty of competition - over 40 wind
development companies in
alone. I had asked if he had seen other wind prospectors in the same town. I pictured Anish running into his adversary at local bars in the region (I was once a screenwriter.). He said no.
Anish returned to the farm. The farmer had read every page of 40-page contract, as had his lawyer – and they had questions. Anish was slightly jaded - he had been through months at a failed wind power startup. Earlier, I overheard Anish talking to a friend who was thinking about working in his field.
“It’s not like you’re staying at the Hilton, sometimes there’s nothing but a motel and the smell of cattle – or garlic, take your pick.”
It’s funny when a person’s idealism faces the obstacles of a regular job (screenwriting for me), but ultimately, what keeps Anish going is his idealism – the promise of clean energy.
Another 4 months of negotiations from when the farmer initially read the contract was when Anish closed his first deal. Did he jump-rope the shadows made by the propeller like I had seen in movies, I asked? He said no.
Nowadays kids in the UK are killing each other because they belong to different zipcodes. It’s called The Postcode Wars.
Multi-award winning jazz musician, Soweto Kinch, is a local to Birmingham - home to two parliamentary constituencies with the highest unemployment rates in the country – Ladywood and Sparkbrook and Small Heath.
Through his company, Soweto Kinch Productions, he is dedicated to fusing education and arts to contribute to the local communities. The Flyover Project is a block party event bringing world class jazz, hip hop, poetry, dance and theatre to inner-city areas of Birmingham such as Hockley which are run down and neglected. With notable artists such as Bashy, TY, Eska Mtungwazi, Jonzi D and Zena Edwards, the day will bring art to an otherwise gritty, urban landscape. As Soweto explains, "My area only ever receives negative press for gun crime and unemployment; I want to use our art to inspire and challenge notions of privilege."
This event comes with full support of the local community, residence association and the local council, making a bold statement about how one person’s fear for his community got him to pick up his instrument to make a change. It is an example to other segregated communities in Britain of what is social possibility and creative opportunity means.
The pound is stronger than the dollar right now and the credit industry is in shambles having this knock on effect with a range of economies. With the Leisure industry the first sector to suffer a recession, most people figure they should starve themselves of a good old fashioned break and stay in the trappings of work.
Here we give show three alternative ways to take a break without breaking the bank:
The Japanese showed us that small can be functional, comfortable and get us a little bit closer to snuggling up to our loved ones. The Das Park Hotel is one of the first to offer pod-hotel rooms in a recycled concrete drainage pipe. When you book online you, guests are given a door code and pay a donation for what they think is worth the value of their stay. There is also a window, showers and toilets – so it’s not like you’re a prisoner of that scary man in Austria who locked up his daughter in the dark basement for 25 years.
You have to love how they have used alliteration here in naming this hostel located in an old lava field. With a choice of staying in either a yurt or one of the several old camper vans which have been converted into twin rooms, there is also a communal kitchen, a compost toilet and an outdoor lava rock shower. Rooms have wireless and are only $35 per night!
Surfing’s big in OZ and Apollo Bay is on the seasonal calendar for surfers on the Great Ocean Way. This hostel is solar powered, designed for using minimum energy and has a kitchen where you can make your own bread using organic herbs right from your very own garden! The rooms are layed out in dorm style so its about like going back to school but a chance to share in bed time stories at night!
via Jamble Magazine
Melanie Dizon was inspired to create eco-friendly fashion brand Eairth, a combination of ‘earth’ and ‘air’, during a road trip through her native Philippines. Her own line is a mix of jeans, cotton jersey tops, dresses and bags which she customises through embroidery, cutting and slashing, to ensure each piece is unique.
Whilst learning to surf in the Philippines, Melanie ran out of clothes and was forced to work with local t-shirts to get some funky gear that was comfortable yet functional. "They're more organic chic than resort wear," she has said. "You can wear them anywhere depending on how you put them together with other pieces. No two pieces are exactly identical." With colorways of earthly tones in muted khakis, greys and blues, she uses organics sources such as indigenous barks, sedds and plants which are abundant to her local homeland.
After dropping out of Parsons with an F to her name she still managed to go on to work for established names such as Todd Oldham, Theory and BCBG.
Seems like Melanie didn't stray to far to find her own success.
Available online at www.valleynyc.com
Climate Counts is a non-profit organisation, funded by organics yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm and launched in collaboration with Clean Air-Cool Planet. With a mission to get consumers considering how businesses are affecting the everyday, they recently released their rankings of companies who have reduced emissions and attempt to attack climate change over the past year.
Nike scored 82/100. Other top scorers: Google, Hewlett-Packard, Anheuser-Busch and Levi Strauss.
Five companies scored one or zero points: Jones Apparel Group, Burger King, Darden Restaurants (owns Red Lobster and Olive Garden), Yum! Brands (parent to Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC) and Wendys.
Cimate Counts is offering a wallet size version of the guide for free for all consumers who want to be reminding on a daily basis which of the current businesses out there are jeopardising the state of the environment. Checking on a company by text is also an available service: text ‘cc (company name)’ to 30644 and you an receive the score for that company as long as they were considered in Climate Counts’ 2008 Scorecard.
“Business is being pushed by consumers to do its part to solve the climate crisis,” says Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield Farm’s CEO and chair of Climate Counts. “The Scorecard allows consumers to make good climate decisions in their everyday purchases, and it’s having an impact.”
Three artists make use of the discarded of the everyday, to make art.
Raising dead hub caps from the dead and re-incarnating them into everything from griant dragon flies, fish, dogs and crocodiles is the art that Ptolemy makes.
From scrabble pieces, to boxes, to yardsticks to bottletops, Clare utilises common everyday pieces into playful re-inventions of stylish interior design.
Zhan Wang is one of China’s most celebrated artists – his ‘scholar’s rock’s’ sculptures creates a replica of China’s topographical models of urban landscapes by using mirrored utensils, steel pots and pans.
Gordon Ramsey is known for his fiery tongue but as long as he’s not firing yet another waiter in his kitchen, its absolutely fine. In a recent BBC interview he waxes lyrical on the need for every British restaurant to respond to the seasons and serve on the fruits and vegetables available at that time.
"Fruit and veg should be seasonal," he said. "Chefs should be fined if they haven't got ingredients in season on their menu.
"I don't want to see asparagus on in the middle of December. I don't want to see strawberries from Kenya in the middle of March. I want to see it home grown."
Ramsey claims that chefs have a social responsibility to lead the nation in a movement towards healthy eating where substance and quality prevail over food fads.
On the other side of the debate, Oxfam’s head of research, Duncan Green said he was sure ‘"the million farmers in east Africa who rely on exporting their goods to scrape a living would see Gordon Ramsay's assertions as a recipe for disaster". Read more here
What on earth are food miles?
They are the distance that your food travels from the grower to your plate, including travel to and from processor and retailer.
Why should I want to reduce them?
Because transporting your food long distances involves lorries and aeroplanes. And lorries and aeroplanes use lots of fuel and emit tons of CO2 emissions, contributing to global warming. But that’s just the starting point. Other reasons why we should be reducing food miles wherever possible include wanting to eat fresher food, in season; supporting local and regional producers and the economy; and preventing 3rd world countries from cutting down forests and losing their own food, because big companies see food as a commodity, rather as a way to feed the people of that country.
How to reduce food miles:
1. When shopping in supermarkets, check the labels. Buy food that comes from the country you live in. Failing that, look at the options and buy the product that comes from the nearest source, i.e. choose Mexican rather than South African apricots. Carry a small world map in your handbag or pocket for these occasions.
2. Eat what’s in season. It won’t have travelled as far as out-of-season fruit and vegetables.
3. Visit your local Farmers’ Market. Most towns have one, and they are a great source of truly local produce, not to mention a fun outing.
4. Find your local farm shops, producers and pick-your-own farms.
5. Get a veg box delivered to your door.
6. Grow your own. Get an allotment, or start a veggie patch in your back garden. If you have leftover seeds, give them away as gifts to local neighbours.
7. Support your local greengrocer, butcher and fishmonger, and ask them to stock more local produce.
8. Visit your local Country Market for really local produce.
9. Some rare breeds farm parks and city farms offer their local, non-intensively reared meat for sale. If you have one near you, ask them.
10. Walk or take the bus to your local shops. This way you won’t add to the food miles already accrued.
Developing nations still make their billboard signs out of heavy material. When the city of Sao Paulo in Brazil banned billboards, there were reams of material left as waste. TOUCH and StraaT joined forces with a group of artisans lead by Dona Jaci in the outskirts of Sao Paulo to design and produce tote bags using the surplus material.
Starting today in New York is TOUCH NYC, a collaborative 3 day showcase of new designers who focus on handmade sustainable products which benefit the environment. Read more here
China still stands as the land of bicycles, having produced up to 78 million of them in 2003, one third of the world’s total, whilst in 2002 every 100 household had up to 143 bikes. In the rise of China’s surge of economic development and cultural consumption, the car has entered the roads as a signal to the newly modernised people. It joins the new industrial shift of the country from one of the leaders in manufacturing, consumerism, business development and most unfortunately – as a key driver of smog and pollution in the environment.
Watch The Guardian's video article on the changing face of the streets