Wednesday, June 30, 2010

American Solar Challenge 2010

Today we recognize multiple Sustainos from the 2010 American Solar Challenge. This is a competition to design, build, and drive solar-powered cars in a cross-country rally event. Teams compete in a 1,100 mile drive from Broken Arrow, OK to Naperville, IL. The route was chosen to combine pieces of old routes used in previous events, giving a bit of an historical tribute for the 20 years of organized events in North America.

The winner was University of Michigan's Infinium car. It was U of M's third straight national championship and sixth overall. The car crossed the line after six days on the road with an average speed of 40 mph. The second place winner was University Minnesota with their 400-pound beast of fiberglass composite. The next Challenge is set for October 2011. The competition, billed as the world's premier solar racing event, runs every two years.

Source: Treehugger and American Solar Challenge

Food Solutions

Can the food you choose play a role in chronic pain and symptom management?

Join Dr. James N. Dillard, formally and uniquely trained in three health professions—acupuncture, chiropractic and conventional medicine—for a day of discovery and innovative hands-on cooking in a supportive environment. Dr. Dillard will discuss evidence-based causes of chronic pain, explore pro-inflammatory dietary habits and explain how he helps patients navigate from illness to wellness with conventional and unconventional modalities. The day will close with a panel discussion of medical, nutrition and culinary experts.

Early Registration : $60 (by July 16th). Registration : $80 per ticket
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
9AM – 2:30PM
Urban Zen Center at the Stephan Weiss Studio
711 Greenwich Street at Charles Street
New York, NY 10014

For more information, please email or call 1.212.414.8520.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunshine Bamboo Inn

A team of Chinese students from Tongji university has designed and built the Sunshine Inn (aka uber cool bamboo house) as an official entry into the first European Solar Decathlon in Madrid, Spain. Of course it is made of bamboo; however, the reduced carbon dioxide levels throughout the whole production phase. The raw material is also locally cultivated and has a very short and efficient renewable cycle of 5 years.

The house also features two curved roofs and a solar-facing wall which are covered top to bottom with PV panels that can generate enough energy to sustain the house, and potentially sell back to the grid. Another highlight is the innovative interior wall covering, which utilizes phase change materials (such as those used in heat packs) to heat and cool the house.

Source: Design Boom

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I recently came across the Zerotracer, a two-man electric motorcycle with an uber, exterior, kevlar shell. The motorcycle is the creation of four, young Swiss designers at DesignWerk who created the vehicle to compete in the ‘around the world in 80 days’ electric vehicle race.

The design has some serious stats including a 350km range with a top speed of 250 km/h. Can you say X-Prize? It certainly seats two in tandem inside, and with lithium ion batteries that can be fully charged in 2 hours. When you watch the video, be sure to note design feature of unique training wheels that move out when traveling at low speeds.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Power of DC

The Power of DC is an annual racing event. This year it took place in Hagerstown, Maryland (June 5-6) and what attracts car enthusiasts to this event is pure electric! Production electric vehicles, some modified, batteries, and racing all in one. It's one of the best events for electric and hybrid autocross along with the NEDRA drag race. Check out Don Auker's electric Tesla vs Shawn Lawless' (OBS-Orange Blossom Special) electric junior dragster driven by Chip Gribben in 2009. While the goal is to win and beat the clock, the spectators appreciate the more quite sound of the zooming engines.

Nokero LED

Can you image paying $15 for a light bulb?

What if I told you that it is rainproof, made from impact resistant plastic, has four solar panels, a replaceable and rechargeable battery, plus five light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

The Nokero LED is the world's first solar light bulb, and the company is on a mission to replace kerosene lanterns and work with NGOs. To see some of the everyday applications from natural disasters, to recreation and domestic living, check out their site here.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Chevron Spills in Salt Lake City

Our corporate entities have been in a new rhythm as Chevron joins the pedestal with their Salt Lake City oil spill. A underground pipeline has leaked at least 400 to 500 barrels of oil into the Red Buttle Creek leaving the Canadian geese and ducks with a new brown glow. Spewing about 50 barrels per minute, this unique pipe flows to Salt Lake City from Colorado and feeds the city's oil and gas refineries. The birds where taken to Hogle Zoo, dead fish were already found in Liberty park, and oil has been spotted four miles down the Jordan River.

One would question that with the recent Deep Water Horizon disaster, that corporations would be investigating and monitoring their operating lines/wells. However, that would call for more money to pay wages to weekly employees or outside contractors. Week after week our nation seems to have a crisis - explosion at WW Massey coal mine, Deep Water Horizon, methane explosion in Texas, Marcellus Shale drilling, etc. If you believe that all of this is simply out of your control, then I would strongly urge you to get off your seat and change your attitude. Thousands are disgusted; yet many are organizing a coordinated march to Washington, D.C. The goal is to demand transformation on energy reform and request immediate change in the handling of the Deep Water Horizon event. Join us and Reclaim Our America!

Image Source: Huffington Post

Friday, June 11, 2010

Why Food Matters

It is remarkable how much progress the sustainable food movement has made in the last 18 months. Only a few years ago, in 2006, Michael Pollan’s best-selling book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma was published, highlighting 40 years of a movement and building off the wisdom of J.I. Rodale, Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson and countless other visionaries who believed that growing food in ways that improved human health, the environment, soil and communities was the best approach to an agriculture that could renew the American spirit rather than degrade it.

After years of wandering in the wilderness, the sustainable food movement has gone mainstream. Just last month Time magazine celebrated four sustainable food thinkers and doers among The 2010 Time 100 List. For those who still haven’t seen a copy of the magazine, joining Michael Pollan in the 2010 Time 100 List are Will Allen, Milwaukee urban farmer and MacArthur Genius award winner, Temple Grandin, the renowned animal scientist and Kathleen Merrigan, current Deputy Secretary at the U.S Department of Agriculture. Together, we continue to make history, proving that a united community can make positive change.

Source: Food Democracy Now and Babble Photo

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dirty Dozen - Part Two

You know the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, how about peeling that apple before you eat it to avoid the nine potential pesticides that it contains in a single serving. Don’t take it from me - take it from the U.S. government that has conducted over 87,000 tests confirming this residue.

The Environmental Working Group has reviewed this information in detail before contacting ABC News and CNN, who showcased the “Dirty Dozen” fruits and vegetables that contain a super high amount of pesticides. And while 2/3 of our produce has no pesticide residue, the remaining 1/3 is known to cause endocrine-disruption, hormone imbalances, cancer, depression, miscarriages and skin allergies.

What fruits and veges are on the Dirty Dozen? Celery, Peaches, Strawberries, Apples, Blueberries, Nectarines, Bell Peppers, Spinach/Kale/Collard Greens, Cherries, Potatoes, Imported Grapes and Lettuce

Theme: usually those with soft skin that should be peeled, yet most still absorb common pesticides and insecticides which are harmful carcinogens

Source: Environmental Working Group, ABC News and CNN

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Farmers, Feds and Your Food

Ten days after the Department of Justice (DOJ) and USDA’s joint hearing on antitrust abuses in the poultry industry, folks are still appalled at the stories of threats and intimidation that farmers face from poultry companies in the U.S.

In the past 40 years, the poultry industry has become one of the most consolidated and abusive industries in agriculture, using their power and market influence to force unfair contracts on family farmers, deny them a fair, living wage and force them into a life, described by one producer as “indentured servitude.” More specifically, agribusiness corporations have been allowed to consolidate whereby its market power influences unfair prices that farmers are paid for their goods, the prices they pay for inputs and the price that consumers pay at the grocery store. Unfair market concentration has also created an overly centralized food system which is no more evident than in the poultry industry.

There has been limited, aggressive action to enforce existing laws such as the Packers and Stockyards Act as a means to prohibit unfair and deceptive trade practices by poultry companies, prohibit poultry companies from requiring growers to install expensive upgrades in poultry house at their own expense, and end the current system of payment for poultry growers. Overall, the current system is unfair and deceptive, giving companies free rein to manipulate payment to growers based on factors completely out of growers’ control.

On the day of the DOJ/USDA hearing, an alert was distributed asking citizens to stand up for America’s chicken farmers and more than 16,000 people responded, telling the DOJ that, “It is time for these abuses to end!” Once again, farmers are asking you to help and stand up to the powerful companies that determine their fate every day. If you haven't signed the letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack telling them to investigate these monopolistic abuses and then enforce existing laws on the books, please take a moment to do so now, then please ask your friends to do the same. Please sign and add your comments, click here.

Source: Food Democracy Now

Three Rivers Arts Festival

The Three Rivers Arts Festival begins, June 4, 2010. Check out the EcoArcade by the Pennsylvania Resources Council, the solar powered windmills, traveling freshwater aquarium, and classic games with an eco-twist over the next few weeks.

Be sure to check out how the waste is being collected at the festival. Do you sort your waste? If so, how much of it do you recycle, re-use or compost? I spent an hour watching the waste sorting going on at the main trash area by the food stands several years ago. It is fascinating to think about the total process from where seeds come from, food production to where our waste food goes. And watching folks discard their food at the festival, with all those bins is especially fun, at least from my perspective!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Earth From Above

Picture Earth is a non-profit that I stumbled upon recently that has a breathtaking collection of large-scale aerial photography, Earth From Above-USA, by French environmentalist Yann Arthus-Bertrand. A visual record for future generations, this outdoor public art exhibition presents inspiring portraits of our planet, and a new perspective on the need for sustainable living. It is free to the public, day and night, experiential, and green by design. The 8-week exhibition features 150 images from around the globe captioned by sustainable development experts.