Cyntech’s solar PV module junction box reduces inventory through simple, flexible customisation

Milton Keynes, UK, 2011: Cyntech Components, a specialist supplier of electro-mechanical components, announces a universal junction box for silicon-wafer solar PV modules that can be quickly customised to suit each application. It comes with three surface-mounted bypass diodes as standard but up to six can be installed. There is a choice of soldered or crimpled contacts, and the boxes can accommodate standard ribbon cables or non-ribbon crossing cables. This easy customisation means that only one type of box has to be stocked to meet the requirements of a variety of applications.

Yamaichi_Solar_JunctionBox_webSealed with a Gore-Tex® membrane, the IP67-rated box measures 111mm x 140mm x 26.5mm and accommodates between 2 and 8 ribbons with a maximum diameter of 7.5mm. The conductor cross-section can be 4mm or 6mm. Depending upon configuration, overall current rating is 20A and the junction box is rated at 1000 V DC to TÜV EN50521.

Cyntech Components specialises in the supply of standard, modified standard or custom electro-mechanical components and power supplies. The company markets products under its own brand, and is also a manufacturers’ representative and franchised distributor. As industry experts and technical specialists, Cyntech Components provides customers with competent advice on the most suitable products for their applications. This is particularly valuable with respect to electro-mechanical components where relatively few standards exist, making product selection more complex. For suppliers, Cyntech Components provides expert demand creation and streamlined logistics to ensure that products reach customers in a timely and cost-effective way. More information can be found at

Source: TechnoPR

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“Only Sustainable 2011”, the Capital of Sustainable Energy for the Americas

  • Over 40 expert speakers and senior representatives of the energy industry
  • More than 400 professionals and companies expected to attend this year’s conference from Spain, U.S and Latin America.

    Only Sustainable 2011, one of the most prestigious events on American sustainable energy, will take place during November 7th – 9th in downtown Miami, FL. The international event will be held at the Wolfson Campus in Miami Dade College, calling out hundreds of participants from the United States, Latin America and Europe to discuss the latest sustainable energy trends in the region.

    As the industry with more growth projection within the next decade, Only Sustainable 2011 ( hosts not only a one-of-a-kind event in the Americas, but also a “vital meeting place for investors, banks, companies, scientists, governments and other actors within the renewable energy sector,” states Only Sustainable Director, Javier P. Palencia.

    This meeting has, for the second consecutive year, confirmed the potential of the region in this area as well as the appropriate and effective channel to build alliances and relationships between industry leaders. Its first edition in November 2010 marked a great success: more than 400 professionals and companies from the Americas and Europe gathered to learn about the latest developments in sustainable energy at the hands of more than 50 recognized leaders and energy experts.

    For three consecutive days of lectures, 40 public and private sector speakers, public authorities, regulators, businessmen and academics in the industry will discuss the most important aspects about projects, the present conditions, strategies, regulations, tax issues and future prospects related to sustainable energy production in the region.

    Among the top-level  speakers are also important representatives of public organizations and institutions in the sector of renewable energies such as Adam Putnam, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture (Department of Agriculture and Biomass), Florida, United States;;  Barry Moline, Director of the Municipal Association in Florida, United States; F. Javier Salazar, President of the Energy Regulatory Commission, Mexico; Spain; Ronald A. Brisé, Commisioner Florida Public Service and Member of the National Association of Utility Commisioners (NARUC), Florida, United States; Margaret M. Cullen, Development Commissioner for Energy, Canada; as well as senior executives from leading international firms such as Bankia, Gamesa, NextEra / FPL, FCC Energy, Banco Sabadell and Baker & McKenzi.

    According to Vicente López-Ibor, President of the Advisory Council for Only Sustainable: “This conference provides a great opportunity to discuss current challenges in the energy sector – from an economic, regulatory, technical and environmental perspective.”

    The International Conference has the support of the most recognized international institutions such as Miami Dade College, Madrid Network, Energy Cluster, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and Bankia, ranking Iberia as the official airline sponsor for the event.

    For more detailed information, please visit

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    Zeal Optics Launches New Line of Sunglasses That Offer High-Tech Sun Protection With Environmental Benefits

    ZEAL_PIC_300Debuting at International Vision Expo West, Zeal Optics of Boulder, CO, known for launching the world’s first snow goggles with GPS technology, will debut a new line of sunglasses, incorporating proprietary technology that enhances vision for people who Move at the Speed of Life™.  Zeal will be the first optical company to use a manufacturing process that is more environmentally friendly for production of its entire optical portfolio.

    New Hyperion™ Lens Technology: Clear, Light and Better for Your Eyes

    The new line of 18 colorful styles features the optical market’s newest lens technology that is exclusive to Zeal. Hyperion™ Lens Technology produces hybrid, injection-molded de-centered lenses. They have the lightness of polycarbonate materials combined with the optical clarity of glass, resulting in wide, crystal clear views with an abbe value of 38. They meet all ANSI, EU, and AU impact-resistance standards. Most styles in the line are available with prescription lenses.

    Unlike other manufacturers who apply film or coatings to sunglass lenses to improve eye protection, Hyperion Lenses embed new highly specialized SPF film and formulated resins to significantly reduce the sun’s glare by 99 percent, cut 100 percent of UVA, UVB and UVC rays and eliminate 95 percent of High Energy Visible wavelengths that can lead to serious eye diseases.

    The company will offer polarized and non-polarized styles in the line. “Some people prefer a non-polarized view of the world,” said John Sanchez, vice president of Product Development at Zeal, “but most companies achieve this by merely tinting their lenses. Instead, we literally fuse compounds into the lens material to protect your eyes from sun damage.”  For polarized models, superior polarization technology is built into each Hyperion Lens to block undesirable light waves and significantly enhance color so that you can live your life in high definition.

    Z Resin™ in Colorful Frames Reduces Carbon Footprint

    All sunglass frames by Zeal feature Z Resin™, the company’s proprietary, bio-based material made from the oil of castor beans. “Castor oil is a legitimate alternative to crude oil-based plastics because the castor plant does not compete with food crops and can be planted in places where other plants cannot grow,” added Sanchez. “By using this novel resin, Zeal is able to use significantly less energy in the manufacturing process which results in reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Our goal is to create the smallest overall carbon footprint for the company.”

    18 New Sunglasses for Movement at the Speed of Life

    The new line of Zeal Sunglasses features offerings for performance sports enthusiasts, as well as for people who like to blur the lines between adventure and routine. All lenses feature a mellow copper color that enhances vision in variable conditions, from bright sun to clouds. Selected styles feature Zeal’s exclusive My Fit Nosebridge™ technology that is ultra-adjustable, up to 50 percent vertically and horizontally, for a wide range of global facial features.

    The fashion-forward Lifestyle line is designed for living life to the fullest. These sunglasses are styled for work and play, from the office to the pub to the beach, and everything in between.  The styles hint at the past, but incorporate modern design and blended materials resulting in signature looks for men and women. Within this line, rounded and squared frames are detailed with aggressive striped patterns, accented with metals or mellowed with pastel colors. But don’t let their laid back style fool you, hidden behind each frame are high-tech features like hypoallergenic ProFlex Rubber™ details that help the glasses sit comfortably on the face and stay in place during activity. Styles in the Lifestyle line, priced from $99 to $139, include Re-Entry, Epic, Felicity, Brody and Penny Lane.

    Ten new styles in the Active line are designed for more aggressive wear. These are the sunglasses for life on the go. Put them on to slide into home plate, spike a volley ball or take a spin on your beach cruiser.  Frames in the Active line hug closer to the face and incorporate ProFlex Rubber throughout the inside of each frame to securely hold them in place. Nearly all of these styles use My Fit Nosebridge technology for a custom-feel fit. Styles in the Active line, priced from $99 to $149, include Ridgeline, Backyard, Snapshot, Essential, Zeta, Takeoff, Insomnia, Upside, All In and Boundary

    Three Performance styles – Eos, Equinox and Helix (left to right) priced from $79 to $149 – are designed for the most rugged wear.  The streamlined profile of these glasses is designed to improve aerodynamics. Unique temple designs enhance ventilation. A crisscross nose bridge increases the overall strength of the glasses. Near-rimless frames offer the widest field of view. And, inside the frames, added ProFlex Rubber enhances stability and gripping power.  The Performance styles are not available with prescription lenses.

    Sunglasses from Zeal are available from opticians, optical and sportswear stores nationwide. For more information on Zeal Optics, visit or follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Don't be just bricks and mortar blinkered, says Minister

    Housing Minister to give more powers for communities to choose boats on water alongside bricks and mortar

    By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

    Houseboat_Thames_Windsor1_sml Housing Minister Grant Shapps urged local authorities on August 27, 2011 not to become landlocked in their quest to meet local housing needs – but to consider how new powers restoring local control over housing provision and planning can enable people to choose boats on water alongside bricks and mortar.

    Mr. Shapps said that more people than ever are choosing to make a boat their home and that boats with residential moorings could be an example of how unconventional housing can allow people to live in areas of the country where perhaps they couldn't afford to do so otherwise.

    And as new moorings could be eligible for the New Homes Bonus, the Minister said that there was a strong incentive for councils and communities to grant planning permission for more residential moorings. The money that they receive could be invested in new marina facilities or waterside recreational activities that everyone could benefit from, as well as being used to attract further private investment and drive the regeneration of the often-Brownfield land around parts of the country's waterways.

    Half the population live within five miles one of Britain's waterways and so not just those living on the water could benefit from the fresh injection of funding; water based recreation and tourism is thought to generate over £1billion for local economies, and supports 24,000 jobs.

    Mr. Shapps said that the Government's commitment to Localism could be an opportunity for living on boats to be given a new lease of life, and allow people to secure a residential mooring that would allow them to live closer to their jobs, family, or children's school.

    Citing the inexorable shift in power down to councils and communities, he said that where boaters, councils, navigation authorities and local communities work together, they could create more residential moorings as part of the contribution to increase the housing supply in their area and house more families:

    * new powers in the Localism Bill restoring local control over housing, and untying the hands of communities that will allow them to find innovative ways to meet local housing need and regenerate their area

    * handing over control of British Waterways in England and Wales - the country's biggest navigation authority - to the voluntary sector from April 2012, giving local communities a stronger role in determining the future of their waterways

    * the Government's commitment to a new, simpler planning system better tailored to the needs of communities

    * greater transparency from councils and other public bodies on their public property ownership - including on the waterside - allowing them to identify new development opportunities.

    And emphasising the need to find a mooring with residential consent before choosing to live afloat, Mr Shapps said that creating more residential long-term moorings could also help reduce the numbers resorting to unlawful overstaying on the towpath.

    Grant Shapps said: “Whilst they will never overtake bricks and mortar in putting a roof over the heads of families, innovative new ways of housing families - such as residential moorings - play an important role in allowing people to live near to their place of work, children's school, or family, and where perhaps they would not be able to afford to otherwise.

    “Around 15,000 people live on our waterways and many more would like to do so. The Government's commitment to Localism could be an opportunity for living on boats to be given a new lease of life. Where houseboats pay council tax, communities will be eligible for the New Homes Bonus, so the potential economic benefits are huge.

    “Landlords, councils and communities all have a clear incentive to get more mooring sites in their areas and not become landlocked in their quest to meet local housing needs.”

    Sally Ash, Head of Boating at British Waterways said: “The number of people visiting and enjoying our canals and rivers has grown in recent years and this waterways renaissance has triggered strong demand from people wanting to live afloat. We welcome the Minister's encouragement to local authorities to support the creation of purpose built residential mooring sites which we hope will help to alleviate localised congestion along the towpaths. We are also pleased to note the reassurance from Mr Shapps' department that people can qualify for housing benefit for help with mooring fees.”

    Alan Wildman, Chairman of the Residential Boat Owners' Association (RBOA) said: “Living afloat is arguably the most sustainable, lowest impact way to live, whilst still being able to enjoy 100 per cent of the modern amenities that are available to those who live in conventional housing.”

    While talking about houseboats, for instance, to be given a go ahead for planning and use as homes when the Gypsy & Traveller Community wish to make their own provisions with their own caravan sites spanners are thrown into the works time and again. It was thus by previous British governments and is the same with the new Con-Dem regime of Cameron-Clegg.

    I am not just here talking about the Dale Farm Irish Traveller Village but also about the many other instances and cases, often also by Romani families, where the government, and especially the local and regional councils time and again are negative.

    Dale Farm has been claimed by Basildon Council to have been greenbelt land but nothing could be further from the truth. It was, in fact, until settled by the Irish Travelers, a huge scrapyard and, more than likely, with serious ground contamination. This was never green belt land nor can it ever be.

    It would appear that those who can afford a boat will be permitted to make their own provisions – as they will have to pay mooring fees – while the Gypsy and Traveller communities will not be permitted to do so. No income for the councils, I guess.

    It has always been one law for some and then an entirely different one for we the Gypsy. I hasten to add though that I do not condone, in the slightest way, the “settle first and apply later” strategy so often applied by the Gypsies and Travellers. Then again, if they start the normal way they often, though, don't even get a look in and are refused immediately. So, what chance?

    It is amazing though how government can and does work on two different levels when it comes to provisions for housing. Something that could also be seen very well in the case when some Traveller families were forced off their own land, in the Midlands I believe this was, which they managed to “sell” to the council who then did the pitches already in existence up a bit and put the previous owners (and others) onto that site, now a council owned and run one, charging the previous owners rent.

    Let's create a an even playing field please and have the same rules apply and applied for and to all. Then we can talk again.

    © 2011

    Things we should all do as regards to recycling paper

    By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

    Recycling is important, no doubt, but reuse is better. However, when it comes to paper, many people hesitate on what exactly to do with it. Should they throw the shiny junk mail in the trash? What about magazines, let alone books? How about paper filled with staples? These are some pretty common questions, and they shed light on the fact that paper is a huge part of our lives, perhaps more than we realize. Because of that, it deserves some much needed attention.

    First, the best way to recycle paper is to, for lack of better words, not to. What do I mean with that?

    The first this to do is to take as much paper out of the process as possible. To start with start you r subscriptions to magazines that you rarely read and which are of no real use to you. Instead of buying newspapers read your news online. Read books at the library or online, and only print when necessary.

    Having said that, however, I am someone who does love books and also to have books at home, and I am not too great with reading too much online or even on screen. It is a proven fact that people can only concentrate on twenty or so paragraphs and that's it. After that no one takes anything in any further.

    The idea is here, in not using much paper, is that if you haven't got anything to recycle that is the best form of recycling. But, we should also keep in mind that the paperless office and the paperless life is highly unlikely to ever occur.

    If and when you print, try, as much as possible, to print double sided and, in order to save ink. Try to print, if it does not have to be in color and in the best print, to print only in black and in draft mode.

    When it comes to the junk mail that you receive, I personally always check as to whether there is any usable paper in the envelopes and often the paper is printed only on one side. Those pages I reuse as notepaper in various forms. Other, non-gloss paper, gets shredded and used as bedding for animals. This bedding gets then, later, composted.

    Shiny glossy paper can in most instances and location not be recycled and, unfortunately there is but one place for it to go; the landfill.

    Also to be noted must be the fact that many paper printed with ink jet printers may cause problems for recycling in that, often, the ink is water soluble and thus can contaminate the batch for recycling.

    Here is a quick list of what to recycle: envelopes, plain printer paper, colored and glossy papers, phone books and books of the like, soft cover books, magazines and catalogs, newspapers, cardboard egg cartons, corrugated cardboard, smooth cardboard, cardboard food packages, construction paper, and copy paper.

    And here is a similar list of what not to recycle: food wrapping that is contaminated (or soiled), hardcover books, plastic coated papers (laminated paper, milk containers), and soft paper products like toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, napkins, and tissue paper.

    Get the most out of the paper and therefore, before you send it on its way to the recycling center, consider using it for home projects, scrap paper, note taking paper, and even packaging material. Believe it or not, but pre-Hallmark and corporate Christmas, presents where simply wrapped in a light tissue paper or plain newspaper. This was a great way to reduce the production of papers as well as a great way to keep existing paper in the cycle as long as possible.

    What is wrong with wrapping gifts in newspaper or other wastepaper. It is, after all, the gift that matters and not the wrapping paper. I must day that I cannot, for the life of me, understand why people insist on wasting money on something that is going to get ripped off and the tossed; I am speaking here of the wrapping paper, the so-called gift wrap.

    Rethink how you use paper and use it to its full potential, and that includes the junk mail that you cannot get stopped.

    Despite the many lists you can go on to stop, supposedly, junk mail arriving in your mailbox, in Britain that just does not seem to work as the Royal Mail, the official mail carrier, is the biggest culprit here as to them it is advertising revenue and they will, despite what you may ask, deliver the garbage into your mailbox.

    So, always check what's in there and then reuse what can be reused and shred the rest if it is usable for animal bedding and for composting.

    Waste not, want not!

    © 2011

    To Live a Creative Life


    Bio-diesel made from food in oil-rich UAE

    By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

    The Middle East is a region where car is king and fuel is cheap, often leaving little incentive to find more environmentally-friendly ways of moving around.

    But this year, as protests across the Middle East have pushed up the price of oil, the issue of finding alternative sources of fuel has come into sharp focus.

    In a region that has one of the highest carbon footprints in the world, one business is taking advantage of the growing pressure to find alternatives to oil. It's set up the Middle East's first scheme to recycle cooking oil into biodiesel. It's proving profitable too, already their client-list contains McDonald's.

    One can but wonder as to whether those Arab oil nations that are headed the way of alternative energy and biofuels know something that they – or at least our governments – are not telling us.

    That, namely, oil is coming to an end and especially here plentiful and thus cheap and easily affordable oil, and, according to some studies, in 2010 we used 40pecent more oil around the world than which was produced globally. Now somewhere along the lines this does not compute and means that (strategic) reserves have been brought into use.

    It is being estimate that in 2011 probably 50 to 60 percent more oil will be needed than will be produced. Things are, certainly, getting tight, it would seem and thus it is time we all looked for alternatives.

    However, not alternatives to keep on driving our cars – it will simply not work – but alternatives to our transportation in all. The motorcar, whether with the ICE or as EV, will not play a role in that transportation future for the masses at all and we better all get used to that.

    © 2011

    Can biochar, or even charcoal in general, help suppress greenhouse gases?

    By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

    Charcoal While some reckon that general charcoal does not have the same effectiveness and does not work in the same way as does general charcoal I cannot see how they can claim that. They tend to claim that the black earth regions in the Amazon Jungle were created by the use of biochar and then claim that biochar is made differently to ordinary charcoal.

    The truth, I would say, is that the charcoal used in the Amazon would have been ordinarily created lump wood charcoal and the gardeners on many of the big estates in England also used charcoal in the garden to improve the soil.

    Nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas and a precursor to compounds that contribute to the destruction of the ozone. Intensively managed, grazed pastures are responsible for an increase in nitrous oxide emissions from grazing animals' excrement. Biochar is potentially a mitigation option for reducing the world's elevated carbon dioxide emissions, since the embodied carbon can be sequestered in the soil. Biochar also has the potential to beneficially alter soil nitrogen transformations.

    Laboratory tests have indicated that adding biochar to the soil could be used to suppress nitrous oxide derived from livestock. Biochar has been used for soil carbon sequestration in the same manner.

    In a study funded by the Foundation for Research Science and Technology,scientists at Lincoln University in New Zealand, conducted an experiment over an 86-day spring/summer period to determined the effect of incorporating biochar into the soil on nitrous oxide emissions from the urine patches produced by cattle. Biochar was added to the soil during pasture renovation and gas samples were taken on 33 different occasions.

    Addition of biochar to the soil allowed for a 70% reduction in nitrous oxide fluxes over the course of the study. Nitrogen contribution from livestock urine to the emitted nitrous oxide decreased as well. The incorporation of biochar into the soil had no detrimental effects on dry matter yield or total nitrogen content in the pasture.

    Arezoo Taghizadeh-Toosi, who conducted the study, says that under the highest rate of biochar, ammonia formation and its subsequent adsorption onto or into the biochar, reduced the inorganic-nitrogen pool available for nitrifiers and thus nitrate concentrations were reduced. Such effects would have diminished the substrate available for microbial nitrous oxide production."

    Research work is ongoing and still required to determine seasonal effects. The study was published in the March/April 2011 issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality.

    It is a shame, however, that no one has tried to use “ordinary” charcoal in this study for I would venture that the same results would be found using just normal charcoal.

    I have, personally, conducted a study, though not a very scientific one, in my “allotment” at home using biochar (Carbon Gold) and just adding ordinary lump wood charcoal and the improvement in soil quality and productivity is about to exact equal.

    The charcoal that I have been using was, in fact, charcoal that has been used in outdoor cooking and that would have been the same what the old gardeners of the English estates used, namely used charcoal.

    I cannot vouch for carbon sequestration but the soil improvement and thus fertility is very much improved and especially also the water retention. In other words, do not waste the charcoal from your cookouts and barbecues. Put it into your compost or rake it into the soil in your garden.

    © 2011


    GDLB_ham2011 Grand Designs Live, returns to Birmingham for its 6th year at the NEC from Friday 7th until Sunday 9th October 2011. With over 500 exhibitors showcasing the latest interior products, and FREE expert consultations on offer for every visitor, Grand Designs Live is the ultimate consumer home show, boasting everything needed to build and furnish a home – all under one roof.

    This year’s Birmingham show will be spread over six different sections: Grand Build sponsored by VELUX, Grand Interiors sponsored by Dulux, Grand Kitchens sponsored by Miele, Grand Bathrooms and Grand Gardens which this year will feature a spectacular night garden display in the heart of the NEC.  The highly anticipated House of the Future, brought to you by Virgin Media, also makes its return to the Grand Technology section sponsored by Virgin Media, showcasing the latest – and soon to be available – domestic gadgets and gizmos. Kevin McCloud and an array of guest speakers will take to the public Grand Seminar Theatre stage to discuss the hottest industry topics and debates with visitors in the Grand Village which will also be packed full of live demos of sustainable build and green technology.

    Grand Designs Live and the GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW are offering two lucky readers a pair of tickets to this year’s show which is hosted by Kevin McCloud.

    To be in with a chance to WIN, simply answer the question below:

    Question: How many exhibitors will Grand Designs Live Birmingham have?

    *Terms and conditions

    1. This offer is only open to UK residents. The prize is 2 x Grand Designs Live tickets per winner. Two winners will be selected only.

    2. Competition winners’ tickets are valid for any one day of the show between the 7th and the 9th October 2011, to Grand Designs Live at the NEC, Birmingham.

    3. Tickets are non-transferable.

    4. Complimentary tickets obtained through this offer may not be duplicated.

    5. All tickets will be scanned on entry to the show.

    All you need to do to take part is to put the answer to the question into a comment below, together with a valid email address.

    Good Luck…

    Over 8.6 million people watch Al Gore challenge skeptics with new presentation

    Al_Gore Al Gore uses recent weather devastation to challenge climate skeptics and urge people to face up to Climate Reality.

    • The ten hottest years on record occurred between 1998 and 2010, with 2010 being the hottest.

    • 400 million people were affected by serious drought between January and July 2011

    • 2010 floods in Australia covered a size bigger than France and Germany combined.

    Al Gore included these shocking facts in the global launch of his new Climate Reality Project, 24 Hours of Reality. 14 – 15 September saw his new presentation delivered live in a different city around the world, every hour for 24 hours, spanning every time zone and 13 languages.

    “The only plausible explanation for the rise in weather-related catastrophes is climate change. The view that weather extremes are more frequent and intense due to global warming coincides with the current state of scientific knowledge as set out by the Fourth IPCC Assessment Report.” Munich RE (Reinsurance Company), 2010

    Billed to offer skeptics irrefutable proof and highlight the urgency for tackling climate change, the presentation projected devastating photographs and graphs linking extreme weather and anthropogenic climate change, and undermined the ‘red herrings’ such as impact of solar flares and volcanic eruptions.

    Although visually spectacular and factually shocking, there is concern about the ‘doom and gloom’ tone and whether the focus on extreme weather linking to climate will successfully convert skeptics.

    “For the skeptics, the international ambition of the campaign opens it up to localised ridicule. I can already see the emails about the images he uses of a virtually empty UK reservoir that this year is probably brimming at the seams. The heavy focus on wind farms will also be an open door for criticisms around cost, a pylon-pillaged countryside and security of supply.” Trewin Restorick, CEO, Global Action Plan in Climate Reality blog (

    The live London UK event included clear calls to action from UK delivery partner, environmental charity, Global Action Plan - offering practical steps people can take to combat climate change and a more positive outlook.

    “24 Hours of Reality will be a catalyst for action at work and at home. As the UK partner, Global Action Plan will make it easy for people to deliver tangible change within their community and help solve the climate crisis.” Trewin Restorick, CEO, Global Action Plan

    Global Action Plan’s calls to action for business, government and people are available at

    “Extreme droughts, terrible storms, and larger floods are devastating many parts of the world. Today, climate change is no longer a prediction: It’s a reality.” Al Gore

    Global Action Plan is the UK’s leading environmental behaviour change organisation and, since 1993, has helped businesses, schools, and communities reduce their carbon footprint to positively impact on the environment. Global Action Plan consistently achieves significant environmental and financial savings in the UK by empowering people to take action on energy, waste, water and transport. Global Action Plan is the only charity in the UK to be supported by the United Nations Environment Programme.

    Founded and chaired by Al Gore, Nobel Laureate and former Vice President of the United States, The Climate Reality Project has more than 5 million members and supporters worldwide. It is guided by one simple truth: The climate crisis is real and we know how to solve it. The Climate Reality Project is bringing the facts about the climate crisis into the mainstream and engaging the public in conversation about how to solve it. We help citizens around the world discover the truth and take meaningful steps to bring about change.

    Trewin is the CEO of independent environmental charity, which he founded in 1993. Trewin is the Chair of the Environmental IT Leadership Team (EILT), sits on the Defra Third Sector Advisory Board, is a trustee for Sustainability and Environmental Education, and co-chaired Defra’s Compact Group which won the National Compact Award for Excellence. Trewin has been trained as a Presenter for Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project and is a frequent media commentator on environmental issues appearing on Channel 4 News, Sky News, BBC Breakfast. Trewin is a regular contributor to the Guardian’s Sustainable Business network.

    This press release is presented without editing for your information only.

    Full Disclosure Statement: The GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW received no compensation for any component of this article.

    Professional bodies unite in concern over proposed planning reforms

    Six bodies representing a range of environmental professions have united in a joint letter to planning Minister, Greg Clarke MP, expressing their concern over the current planning reform proposals from Government.

    In the latest of a wave of expressions of concern, the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, Royal Meteorological Society, Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, Institution of Environmental Sciences, Arboricultural Association and Institute of Fisheries Management challenged the proposals under the draft National Planning Policy Framework as they currently stand.

    The signatories urged the Government to exercise due caution in rushing out the reforms and in particular to re-examine its use of the term ‘Sustainable Development’, which they consider to be a “gross mis-representation” of the principle. They also questioned the “draconian” rationalisation of planning guidance, which sweeps aside many safeguards established over generations, arguing that its removal will leave the planning system ill-equipped to consider a range of strategic-level threats facing society, including Climate Change.

    The group considers that the Government’s proposals represent a capitulation to a powerful commercial lobby group and will result in a “builders’ charter” to develop at the cost of wider local and environmental interests as opposed to considering economic, social and environmental factors in a balanced manner which respects the principles and recognised definitions of Sustainable Development, and the best interests of all in society.

    A copy of the letter can be found via the following link:

    The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) is an independent professional body and a registered charity, advancing the science and practice of water and environmental management for a clean, green and sustainable world

    The Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (IEEM) is the professional body that represents and supports ecologists and environmental managers in the UK, Ireland and abroad

    The Royal Meteorological Society (RMetS) advances the understanding of weather and climate, the science and its applications, for the benefit of all 

    The Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM) is an international organisation of people sharing a common interest in the modern management of recreational and commercial fisheries  

    The Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) is a charitable organisation which promotes and raises public awareness of environmental science by supporting professional scientists and academics working in this crucial arena

    The Arboricultural Association was founded in 1964 and is the largest body in the UK for the amenity tree care professional

    This press release is presented without editing for your information only.

    Full Disclosure Statement: The GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW received no compensation for any component of this article.

    UK business failing to meet challenge of climate change






    Britain’s companies are failing to meet the challenge of climate change, according to a report published today which assesses the sustainability performance of UK business.

    Despite encouraging progress in many areas, it finds that UK plc is “nowhere near the path” to achieving government targets for an 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

    Sustainable Business 2011: Reflecting on Progress is the first independent indicator-based assessment of UK business sustainability. It is published by environmental information specialist ENDS (Environment Data Services), in collaboration with Forum for the Future.

    The report finds that in the last year UK business has slipped back on industrial carbon emissions, energy efficiency, decarbonising electricity generation, and greenhouse gas emissions from freight transport – all areas which are crucial to the fight against climate change.

    It states: “Electricity carbon intensity will have to fall by 17 grams of carbon dioxide per year, every year, to 2020 to support a halving of UK emissions, according to the Committee on Climate Change. The average annual fall since 2000 has been 6.7gCO2. Industrial energy intensity has not shown a net improvement since 2007. Road freight carbon intensity has retreated to 2007 levels.”

    Nick Rowcliffe, Editor-in-Chief of ENDS said: “Current business efforts to engage with the climate change dimension of sustainability are not sufficient. Radical action is needed, including rethinking of business models.”

    David Bent, Forum for the Future’s deputy director of sustainable business, said: “More and more companies are seeing that sustainability makes good business sense, but UK plc as a whole is risking its long-term future by not acting fast enough to meet the challenge of climate change.”

    The report tracks 16 indicators, each representing an important aspect of environmental, social and economic sustainability, to capture a snapshot of the state of UK business. It gives a mixed picture of companies’ performance on sustainability and creating a green economy.

    Indicators tracking business capacity to engage with sustainability are improving rapidly, providing hope for the future. They show rapid growth in the number of companies obtaining environmental management certification and publishing sustainability reports – although these are still a small minority of all companies. The number of workers with sustainability skills is also rising, and more than 10,000 students qualified in relevant subjects in 2010.

    Care of the environment is generally improving. Since last year major UK pollution incidents are down 17.3%; there’s been a big fall in the amount of hazardous waste produced and sent to landfill – down 30.6% on a composite indicator; and companies are using less water.

    But despite progress on the green economy, there’s a move away from sustainability in indicators looking at wider economic and social issues. Pay inequality, spending on research and development, and companies’ social performance (on human rights and labour and supply chain standards) have all fallen over the past year.

    The report also finds a clear imprint of the Great Recession of the 2000s on business sustainability. For example the carbon intensity of road haulage worsened during the downturn after improving almost continuously for at least 15 years. Recession is not good for sustainability, even if it leads to short-run reduction in greenhouse gas emissions or pollution, the report concludes.

    ENDS and Forum aim to publish the report annually to track progress on sustainability in UK business.

    This press release is presented without editing for your information only.

    Full Disclosure Statement: The GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW received no compensation for any component of this article.

    Is there lead in your garden?

    By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

    Lead is not really something that you want to have in the soil of your garden, and definitely not if you are wanting to grow food there.

    But, how do you know the site you have chosen for my garden is 'safe'?

    When you move into a new house you more than likely will have no idea what the previous owner had there and if it is a new development you definitely, more often than not, do not know what was there previously.

    The soil, therefore, could contain contaminants of various kinds and I remember trying to do a garden for some people, some years back, who had only recently moved into a house on a new development.

    Well, let's say that grass and flowers were, sort of, fine for that garden but you could not have done food growing there and that for more than one reason. The first was that you could not even get a spade depth into the ground. The builders had simply buried all the rubble in the backyard just under about half a food of soil and the stuff that had been buried could have leached into crops and caused health risks.

    In addition to that the development in question also was on an old industrial site that had, however, been declared safe. But what does that really mean?

    The problem is that there could be, especially where there have been industry, lead in the soil and lead contamination in backyards is a teal problem when it comes to the growing of food since lead can remain in soils for hundreds of years.

    The potential for soil contamination from heavy metals and oil is higher in urban areas, older homes where lead paint was used and may have flaked off or leached into the soil, and near highways left over from the days when leaded gasoline was the norm.

    According to a recent article in the Boston Globe, there’s also potential for contamination is suburban developments built on the site of former orchards. This is because lead arsenate was once a commonly applied pesticide.

    The US Environmental Protection Agency considers garden soil contaminated if it has 400 parts lead per million parts of soil and if you find that your soil is contaminated, there is a solution: Raised beds filled with clean soil like the ones pictured above.

    The area within 6 feet of the house is often the most contaminated if the source of the lead is paint. Choose an area well way from the house and the likelihood of contamination is less, but still possible. If you have any doubts, have your soil tested at a professional lab or at your local cooperative extension office.

    Personally I use planters rather than raised beds and while the likes of the woven polypropylene builder's bags that I use rather a lot are not the best things to look at, maybe, the do a great job, keep the soil from mixing with any possible contamination and also keeps the moles from plowing through any veg you have grown.

    I have had crops in the few raised beds that I still have devastated by a mole who thought he was helping in plowing the entire bed up and down.

    Honestly, I would not have objected to him doing it had it been before the planting season. It would have saved me work. But when plants are in and growing I do not appreciate such acts.

    © 2011

    Patagonia Takes Fashion Week as a Time to Say: 'Buy Less, Buy Used'

    In a novel bid to lower the environmental impact of its products, outdoor-gear maker Patagonia is telling its customers to "Buy less, buy used." To make it easier for them to do so, the Ventura, Calif.–based outfitter set up an online marketplace in collaboration with eBay.

    The tie-up marks a first for eBay, as the auction site's first-ever venture where its listings are available via another company's web presence. Used goods can be listed on either site show up at both.

    An auction function may not sound revolutionary in the retail world, but Patagonia's broader agenda here is an unorthodox, perhaps even radical, act for the fashion industry.

    Indeed, unveiled in New York last night, against the backdrop of fashion week -- that annual blitzkrieg of "toss those togs from last season, here's what to buy now" -- Patagonia's program points in the opposite direction.

    Read more here...


    NCTLogo The rising cost of living and tough economic climate mean many families are having to tighten their belts. NCT Nearly New Sales are a haven for cash-strapped parents, offering a brilliant alternative to trawling the high street for pricey baby products

    Becoming a parent is exciting, but it can be an expensive time too. At NCT Nearly New Sales, expectant and new parents can buy top quality baby and children’s toys, clothes and equipment straight from their loving owners, saving around 70% on what they would set you back brand new.

    Meanwhile, local families can clear out their clutter and make some cash at the same time by selling the baby goods they no longer need. Clothes and equipment must be in excellent condition, and most sellers make more than £60. Sellers keep up to 70% of the proceeds while the rest is returned to fund NCT’s vital services and support for parents.

    NCT Nearly New Sales, sponsored by Persil, are also great news for eco-conscious parents, because every item bought from an NCT Nearly New Sale is an item which isn’t thrown away. Every year the Sales prevent over 300 tonnes of baby clothes and equipment ending up as landfill.

    Clare Lawson from Leatherhead, Surrey, currently six months’ pregnant, said: “The list of things we needed seemed endless, and I was worried about how much it would all cost. I focused on finding a few key items at my local Sale, such as a changing station and high chair, and was delighted with how much we saved. I’ll definitely be coming along to the next one to buy clothes and toys!”

    The Sales are not just for NCT members and are open to everyone. On average, parents spend £25, which could buy bedding, a changing station, a moses basket, travel cot or baby bath.

    For details of your local Sale, visit or call NCT Enquiries on 0300 330 0770. With over 750 Sales a year, you’re sure to find one near you!

    Timothy Todhunter, Branch Fundraising Manager says: “There are so many benefits to NCT Nearly New Sales. Some parents sell items they no longer need, others pick up a bargain for the kids – all while helping to preserve the environment for their future and supporting NCT to boot.”

    Last year more than 200,000 parents attended an NCT Nearly New Sale, raising more than £1 million for the charity.

    Funds raised from NCT Nearly New Sales go towards the charity’s vital services and support for parents including providing evidence-based information, running national helplines, local services such as breastfeeding and coffee mornings and training antenatal and postnatal teachers.

    This press release is presented without editing for your information only.

    Full Disclosure Statement: The GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW received no compensation for any component of this article.

    Free filtered water for reusable bottle users

    The trend grows and this is good

    By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

    Certain places hold us captive to buying bottled water – which if you've seen the documentary Tapped you'll likely not want to do. Airports are generally the worst - if you unthinkingly purchase bottles in the terminal before passing through security, your very expensive water will basically go straight into the trash. Adding a reusable bottle to the things we all cart around sometimes feels like a drag, but hopefully a new trend makes humping the reusable lifebottle or other stainless or glass bottle, (or even plastic, like the Aquatina), much more rewarding.

    The Chicago Department of Aviation has installed filtered water stations especially designed for reusable bottles at both O'Hare (Terminal 2) and Chicago Midway airports. Not only is this a boon to those of us with reusable bottles and a real aversion to buying bottled water. It's also saving CO2 emissions. Yes, a drop in the proverbial bucket, but a start in turning back the massive tide of bottled water that is so damaging to our environment and so unnecessary.

    At both the airports, there's a Liquid Disposal Station before security lines, and refill stations are located right next to the regular drinking fountains (a big plus, as it is quite difficult to refill bottles at the regular fountains). You simply set your bottle onto the station's metal tray and refill happens hands free.

    Redesigning the fountains in such as way, as they used to be in Britain, that one can use a bottle might not be a bad idea either. The kind of fountains that are common in the USA I have but seen in school yards in Britain. Proper tap types where much more common where one would cup one's hands in oder to drink or use a cup or whatever. Why reinvent the wheel?

    The Dept. of Aviation estimates the water stations, installed after Earth Day 2010, will save approximately 17,000 pounds of greenhouse gases from being emitted, and 29 fewer tons of trash from going to landfill annually.

    In San Francisco, Virgin Airways is sponsoring a similar filtered water refill station.

    Washingtonians are also extremely lucky – the TapIt initiative means there are more than 60 spots in the city, (participating businesses) that will allow you to fill your reusable bottle for free.

    In London, UK, and hopefully soon elsewhere in the UK, we have Find-A-Fountain and who are creating a chain (or chains) of refilling stations where people can refill their reusable water bottles, of whatever kind, for free.

    Reviewing some of the highlights from the documentary mentioned for your information as to bottled water (don't let me spoil your enjoyment though):

    • A large amount of the water you are buying in bottled water comes from the same sources as tap water.

    • Bottled water is more than a $10 billion annual business, with the biggest corporate players being Coca-Cola, Pepsico, and Nestle.

    • Approximately 18 million barrels of oil are used each year to transport water for bottled water consumption.

    • Eliminating or minimizing bottled water usage would be a huge boon for the ocean where lots of plastic ends up circling endlessly in loops like the Pacific Gyre.

    • Storing water in plastic is a very risky business, as toxic chemicals have been shown to leach from the plastic in to the water, especially over time (including bisphenol-A).

    And, most relevant for consumers, bottled water costs from 240 to over 10,000 times more per gallon to purchase than tap water and that really should make enach and every one of us sit up. And no, in 99.9% of all places in the USA, Canada, and Western Europe, bar, maybe, some Mediterranean countries, such as Spain, tap water is better than bottled even as far as being healthy is concerned.

    So, don't get conned. Tap it instead.

    © 2011

    Local Harvest in London Fields

    LondonFieldsLondon Fields Farmers’ Market celebrates the Harvest Festival with hyper-local food with the help of Mayor-backed Capital Growth project. Several community food growing spaces in Hackney will be selling their surplus fruit, vegetables and preserves on Sunday 25th September.

    Louis Schulz of London Fields Farmers’ Market says “I think it’s fantastic that you can now buy food that has never left Hackney. If you don’t have your own allotment or back garden where you can grow food, this is where you are going to get that super-fresh, low-food-mile vegetable or fruit.”

    As well as live music and lots of delicious food, the market will have lots of other Harvest Festival activities, including a scarecrow-making workshop, with the resulting scarecrows donated to local Capital Growth sites. The Capital Growth stall will be offering only Hackney-grown produce, with local honey and pickles.

    “Last week we joined in the Capital Growth Pop Up Pickle, making jams and chutneys out of our surplus and now we're selling our jams on the Capital Growth stall. It's been a great opportunity to add value to our glut of runner beans!' says Kate Poland of Cordwainers Garden, Mare Street.

    Eloise Dey of Captial Growth says “The Capital Growth team recognises the importance of financial viability for community food growing spaces. By selling their surplus produce they can make enough to buy the tools and seeds they need for the following season.”

    Capital Growth has now launched a Garden Hero competition to find and celebrate those people who stand out due to the effort they make to help their community growing space. This might be someone who puts in the extra time to keep the growing space tidy, is always there with a cup of tea when you need one or who has been really successful in making links with the local community (or growing where no-one has grown before!) Get more details from from Tuesday, 20th September, and the deadline for nominations is 10th October.

    Capital Growth is a partnership initiative between London Food Link, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, and the Big Lottery's Local Food Fund. It is championed by the Chair of the London Food Board Rosie Boycott and aims to create 2012 new community food growing spaces across London by the end of 2012. Capital Growth offers practical help, grants, training and support to groups wanting to establish community food growing projects as well as advice to landowners. There are already 1267 plots in a wide range of places including plots at schools, housing estates, homeless hostels, universities and even in skips!

    Throughout the growing season Capital Growth has facilitated trading between restaurants and their local Capital Growth food growing spaces. These spaces offer a super local, super fresh source of ingredients. The team is also hosting a series of Pop-Up-Pickling sessions at The Table Café in Southwark training food growers in how to add value to their glut.

    Source: Capital Growth

    This press release is presented without editing for your information only.

    Full Disclosure Statement: The GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW received no compensation for any component of this article.

    TWO local families in Northampton wanted to test ‘homes of the future’


    Registration for families opens at Grand Designs Live Birmingham on 7th October at the NEC

    Think new builds are predictable and cookie cutter in style and layout? Think that sustainable living comes with lifestyle compromises? Well, think again…

    Setting out to prove once and for all that sustainable housing can be a practical, affordable and a mass market new build solution in the UK, VELUX has built two fully furnished zero carbon homes in Rothwell, Northamptonshire, and is launching a search at Grand Designs Live Birmingham this October for two local families to test drive them for a year.

    The VELUX CarbonLight Homes will set a new carbon neutral benchmark in the UK, and will transform the way the industry perceives sustainable homes. They offer a credible eco- family home model that can be economically replicated to mass market appeal without compromising on quality, style, comfort and efficiency.

    These pioneering homes are part of the VELUX Group’s Model Home 2020 project – an initiative that consists of six experimental buildings constructed across Europe to “Active House” principles – a more comfortable and user friendly sustainable concept that is driven by emotion and quality of life – so the homes are not just eco-friendly, but human friendly too.

    Keith Riddle, Managing Director from VELUX adds: “Unlike traditional new build UK homes nowadays that commonly have reduced glazed areas to keep the heat in, an ‘active home’ like ours for example, is flooded with daylight and fresh air – whilst still not compromising on efficient insulation. An ‘active home’ will feel brighter, larger and full of ‘clean air.’ These homes prioritise home ambiance and promote a healthy indoor climate as well as protect the environment.”

    To prove the enhanced practicality and functionality of these stylish new build homes, VELUX will launch an official campaign at Grand Designs Live Birmingham, running from the 7th – 9th October at the NEC, to find real families to test drive these ‘real homes’ that aim to harness nature intelligently and include ‘smart’ technology that automatically operates windows and blinds to maintain a comfortable living temperature inside.

    At the award-winning consumer home show, hosted by design guru Kevin McCloud, VELUX (also sponsors of the Grand Build section), will officially open its registration for the ‘family of the future’ search. Families at the NEC will be the very first to apply to become test residents of the properties, which were designed by award-winning architects HTA, via a series of casting interviews.

    Riddle from VELUX comments: “The CarbonLight Homes are the result of committed teamwork between architects, engineers, researchers and the building industry. Our priority now is to prove that they work in practise, not just theory.”

    “Our search for families to test drive these homes will provide us with a chance to further drive consumer awareness of affordable and sustainable future living practises. The test residency would be ideal for anyone in the region currently planning a house move or undertaking a self-build project and in need of a new temporary home base for 12 months.”

    Entries via Grand Designs Live and over the coming months will be shortlisted by VELUX with two regular families finally chosen later this year to move in to the 3 and 4 bed new build homes, to monitor and assess the house’s performance and mass market practicalities.

    The homes achieve ‘Level 4’ of the Code for Sustainable Homes with aspirations to achieve ‘Level 5’ and are truly a community project. Each home, complete with sustainable garden, reduces CO2 emissions by 70 %, and the remaining 30 % of emissions are offset through local government agreements to improve the energy efficiency of other homes in the area. The house produces its own energy using the solar thermal array coupled with an air source heat pump.

    In addition to the homes ‘smart’ temperature controlling technology, lights will also go on and off automatically depending on available daylight and activity in the room, ensuring cuts in energy consumption and household running costs.

    Interior furnishings within the CarbonLight Homes will be a mix of new and “upcycled” to further minimise the carbon footprint.

    Families interested in applying to be a ‘Family of the Future’ can do this at Grand Designs Live Birmingham between the 7th and 9th October or via, entrants must apply before 31st October 2011. To be eligible, families must:

    - Be a two adult / two children family unit or a two adult / one child family unit

    - Possess at least a basic understanding of eco practises

    - Be prepared to review and diarize their time spent at the CarbonLight Homes

    - Be prepared to move in to the property in March 2012 for a complete 12 months period

    The VELUX CarbonLight Homes have already received industry praise emerging in 2010 as the winner of the Innovation Award for Building Technology at the prestigious British Homes Awards (BHA). The designs for the two carbon neutral Rothwell homes near Kettering were commended by a panel of judges for its original use of building technology and the exciting way it captures natural daylight and ventilation to minimise energy consumption.

    Grand Designs Live Birmingham takes place from 7 - 9 October 2011 at Birmingham’s NEC. It is the UK’s No.1, award-winning consumer show for design and inspiration for your home, based on the hugely popular and successful Channel 4 TV series presented by design guru Kevin McCloud. The live show brings together over 500 exhibitors across six separate sections including Grand Build sponsored by VELUX which will offer FREE expert advice and consultations in a dedicated Ask an Expert Centre for those aspiring self-builders or homeowners looking to take on a home build or renovation project.

    There will also be a number of guest speakers who will appear at Grand Theatre to discuss the hottest industry topics and debates with visitors in the Grand Village which will also be packed full of live demos of sustainable build and green technology.

    For more information about the show go to

    This press release is presented without editing for your information only.

    Full Disclosure Statement: The GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW received no compensation for any component of this article.

    U.S. Food and Job Crises Spawn New Green Farming Coalition

    The Recirculating Farms Coalition Launches U.S. Campaign for Local, Fresh Food and New Jobs

    A new organization, the  Recirculating Farms Coalition, is officially launching a national campaign to promote growing local, fresh food and create green jobs. Its focus is on eco-friendly farms that use clean, recycled water in place of soil to grow plants (hydroponics), fish (aquaculture), or a combination of both plants and fish (aquaponics). The new collaborative brings together educators, farmers, fishermen, chefs, non-profit organizations and many others who are working to create an accessible, sustainable and healthy food system in the United States.

    Marianne Cufone, Executive Director of the Recirculating Farms Coalition, said, “The current U.S. unemployment rate is 9.1 percent, and about one in six people are struggling to buy food. Building recirculating farms in diverse communities nationwide can provide fresh, local food and create stable jobs in a sustainable business, two things the U.S. very much needs right now.”

    Recirculating farms use innovative ways to be space, energy, and water efficient. They can be as small as a desktop for personal use, or large enough for commercial operation. Well-designed farms re-use up to 99% of their water, and recycle waste. They can run without antibiotics, or other drugs and chemicals, and use renewable energy. Recirculating farms can grow fish, vegetables, flowers, fruits, herbs and more.

    “I have been developing and using water reuse, recirculating systems for almost 15 years to produce food responsibly in urban settings.” said Dr. Martin Schreibman, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biology at CUNY’s Brooklyn College and the founder and Director Emeritus of their Aquatic Research and Environmental Assessment Center. “People are just recognizing the many incredible advantages of these systems as a novel method of farming. Now, we are joining together with others – farmers, chefs, fishermen and a new wave of aware students – in this coalition to highlight the benefits of using clean recycled water, without soil, to grow food locally, virtually anywhere, year-round. This is very significant.”

    Farms and other groups all around the country are supporting the Recirculating Farms Coalition and its work:


    New York




    The Recirculating Farms Coalition was created to be a hub for farmers, policy and law makers and consumers; a way to make connections, learn and join together in supporting recirculating farms. The organization also plans to provide training for farmers, build a model farm for teaching and demonstration and actively engage the public on recirculating farming issues.

    Cufone explained, “The United States is in one of its worst economic situations ever. We need change, now. Building recirculating farms will help address the food and job crises by empowering communities to create new jobs growing their own food, in a way that is healthy for both us and our planet.”

    The Recirculating Farms Coalition is a collaborative group committed to building local sources of fresh, accessible food. Through research, education and advocacy, we work together to support the development of energy and space efficient farms that use clean recycled water to grow food. We believe that these recirculating farms can create stable green jobs and supply sustainably-grown plants, fruits, vegetables, and humanely-raised seafood in diverse communities nationwide, and someday, worldwide.

    The Recirculating Farms Coalition is headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana.

    Wisconsin: James Godsil of the aquaponic farm Sweet Water Organics in Milwaukee, Wisconsin said, “The expanding web of Sweet Water partners, organizing around the work of Sweet Water Organics and the Sweet Water Foundation, is happy to support the inspiring vision and action plans of the new Recirculating Farms Coalition.  Partnering with the coalition will accelerate our collaborations, and the diffusion of these earth friendly food production methods which are of great importance for healthy families, job growth, and community development.”

    New York: Lee Mandell, Founder and Chief Hydroponicist of Boswyck Farms in Bushwick, Brooklyn said, “Our mission is to bring high quality food to people who don’t have access to it, and teach people to grow their own food, rather than rely on industrial production. Being a part of this new coalition, and joining with fishermen, educators, chefs and others will be a huge aid in spreading and strengthening this mission across the U.S.”

    Texas: “I am a fourth generation farmer, and I converted to recirculating agriculture over six years ago. People are now recognizing the many advantages of these farms,” said Susan Bedwell, Co-founder and President of Premier Organic Farms in Texas.  “We farmers are joining together with others – academics, chefs, fishermen – in this coalition to raise awareness about using clean recycled water to grow food locally, virtually anywhere, year-round. This is a very significant step in changing the quality of our food here in the U.S.”

    Louisiana: Sanjay Kharod, Executive Director of the New Orleans Food and Farm Network said, “We are a food justice organization that sees food security as a basic human right, and our primary goal is to ensure that everyone can live with enough food, regardless of economic constraints or social inequalities. We support the sustainable growing of food in backyards, community gardens, and on nearby farms, which is an important way for communities to directly increase fresh food access. We look forward to supporting the good work of Recirculating Farms Coalition in and around New Orleans.”

    California: “Fishermen are joining together with others – academics, chefs, farmers – in this coalition to raise awareness about how recirculating farms use clean recycled water to grow fresh local food and importantly – do so without hurting our oceans or the fishing communities that rely on them,” said Zeke Grader, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations.  “This is the direction our nation needs to take to increase overall fish supply without polluting our bays and oceans or endangering wild fisheries.”

    Source: Recirculating Farms Coalition

    Consumption gone wrong... not that it ever was right

    By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

    consumtion gone wrong Every year, a typical TK Maxx customer will save 850 British Pounds on purchases of items that they he or she does not need. And this is a statement that just about sums up all that is wrong with our attitude today as to consumption.

    TK Maxx is a – sort of – discount clothing, etc. store in the same way as it Primark and one or two others and people tend to go and buy because “it is a bargain at that price”. It is a bargain, however on something they do not (really) need and could well do without.

    The problem is that we are so seriously conditioned to spend, spend, spend, and that even and especially by our very governments “in order to revitalize the economy”.

    Even amongst the “greenies” there is a competition going on, it would seem, as to who can buy the newest and greenest gadgets. And that in such a way that we have now added greensumption to ordinary consumption. This is silly in the extreme.

    We must get away from consumption including greensumption and recapture the spirit of what the green movement and the environmental movement was all about; namely reducing consumption and waste, for one.

    © 2011

    Washing dishes by hand can use less water than a dishwasher

    By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

    Dish_washingIt is often being claimed, even by greenies, and green folks thinking themselves experts, that doing dishes by hands is more wasteful as far as water and energy are concerned than using a dishwasher. I, however, would like to dispute that.

    A standard load of dishes, including pots and pans, can use around one to two gallons of water, maximum. In comparison, a standard dishwasher uses 15 gallons of water per load and even an energy-efficient dishwasher still uses around 9 gallons per load.

    In addition to this you also have to consider that, theoretically, a dishwasher also has to heat the water each and every time during its various wash and rinse cycles.

    It is said that using a dishwasher saves more water than doing a similarly sized load of dishes by hand, but that is assuming you fill an entire sink with water before starting and running your faucet to rinse throughout the process. That, however, is not necessary anyway.

    My approach is to fill not the sink but a washing-up bowl; I would never use the sink directly for reasons of cultural taboos, and I use washing-up liquid and a dash of vinegar. Any vinegar, even the cheapest, will do here.

    The vinegar serves two purposes: one as a sterilizing agent and secondly it has the suds run off the dishes and thus makes rinsing nigh on unnecessary.

    If you start with glasses and cups first, followed by plates and such, and then by cutlery. After that put in pots and pans and that way you can do everything, with, basically, the same water, adding every now and then a little more hot. This way you can wash dishes more efficiently by hand than by any dishwasher.

    A side benefit of washing by hand is that you never have to rewash food items that a dishwasher was unable to remove.

    I have worked in places before where there were dishwashers in use and all plates and such needed to be, basically, rinsed clean before even putting them into the machine. That is something that, in my view, is a total waste of water and time.

    © 2011

    Rock Croft Safe® Eyes – Product Review

    Un-Fog-Able protective eye wear that will not fog, scratch or smear.

    Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

    SafeEyes1 Most, if not indeed all, ordinary safety goggles and -“glasses” have one major drawback, when you discount that the lenses scratch very easily indeed, and that is the fogging up in a variety of conditions, leading to loss of vision.

    Safe® Eyes mesh safety goggles by Rock Croft, on the other hand, eliminate both of these problems. No fogging and they also are not affected by scratching. On both counts this is due to the fact that the “lenses” are not lenses but are made of a blackened stainless steel mesh. They will also not smear.

    While seeing through the mesh takes a little getting used to, much in the same way when using a mesh visor on a chainsaw helmet, one soon does not even really notice the mesh pattern anymore.

    The Safe® Eyes goggles are, basically, your mesh visor in goggle/safety glasses format, with the “lenses” being very strong and resistant to many a thing.

    Read more here...

    © 2011

    You do not have a fundamental right to grow or eat healthy food, says FDA. It is a privilege!

    By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

    fda-logo_web1 The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has stated categorically, and in legal terms, that the people have no fundamental right to to grow or eat healthy food. According to the FDA it is a privilege and not a right.

    This, at least, is the way, I think, we have to interpret the ruling made as regards the raid on the Rawesome Food Club raid, when we see the following statements released by the Food and Drug Administration regarding the raid.

    NB: ‘Plaintiffs’, in the text below, refers to James Stewart, Rawesome’s founder, Sharon Palmer, owner of Healthy Family Farms, and Victoria Bloch. The trio were charged with the production and sale of unpasteurized goat milk, goat cheese, and other products; and with “mislabeling cheese.” They were also charged with four counts of conspiracy to commit a crime.

    According to the FDA…

    “Plaintiffs’ assertion of a new ‘fundamental right’ to produce, obtain, and consume unpasteurized milk lacks any support in law.

    “There is no ‘deeply rooted’ historical tradition of unfettered access to foods of all kinds.”

    “Plaintiffs’ assertion of a ‘fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families,’ is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish.”

    If the above statements released by the FDA does not freak any of the readers out totally then I do not know what's wrong with everyone.

    Seeing that they seem to be able to, legally, state that all Americans do not have a “fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families” is nothing short of downright dictatorial. In fact it is dictatorial.

    Apparently the powers that be can decide what we may or may not eat, even if we grow this ourselves. They may even, as has been seen recently also in several places in the USA and in Canada, prevent us from actually turning our backyards (and out front yards) over to food growing.

    If the Constitution does not protect the American sovereign (remember that is what you are meant to be and not a citizen) with respect to what you choose to eat or not eat, then it is a useless document, and it is useless because it would appear that those who rule over the USA have no reason to abide by it. Then again, as a sovereign you should have no one rule over you at all, bar, maybe the Lord G-d.

    America and Americans, you have a problem and a serious one. Not that we in the EU have less of a problem or problems but...

    The problem is everywhere and it is the people who simply are too lazy to think and act for themselves and demand that government do it all for them. By doing that we have allowed the rulers to become dictators by all but name.

    It is time that we all – everywhere – took power back into the hands of the people and away from the professional politician who, all too often, is in the pay of big business such as Monsanto and the oil companies, etc.

    That, however, will mean that we, the people, actually have to do things for ourselves and that we also will not longer be able to demand that government does this and that for us “because we are entitled to it”, as is so much the attitude today.

    If statements such as this one are not serving as a wake-up call to all of us them I really do not think that we will ever be free again.

    © 2011

    Sustainability enters the fast lane at the Frankfurt Automobile Show

    By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

    As already earlier this year seen in Geneva and New York, sustainability is more important to the automobile industry than ever before, and it is a continuing trend. Not that that is going to save us, though.

    At the 64th “Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung” in Frankfurt, Germany's annual auto extravaganza, nearly all of the significant vehicles revealed have a sustainability story to tell.

    Small (and light) is beautiful in the new automobile market

    Sustainability is the dominant theme in the auto industry of today because of aggressive legislation that targets manufacturer-average fuel economy of 54.5 mpg by 2025 in the U.S. and an equivalent of 57.6 mpg in Europe by 2020.

    But to meet new regulations, automakers have to first satisfy the laws of physics. Moving more mass takes more energy, which consumes more fuel. After decades during which car model became heavier with each generation, we're finally seeing the trend reverse. The new Porsche 911, for example, is 100 pounds lighter than its predecessor while Daimler's Smart Forvision concept – a hint at the

    next-generation iconic city car – features extensive use of weight-saving plastics, including what partner BASF calls “the first all-plastic wheel suitable for high-volume production.”

    The stunning i3 and i8 concepts from BMW preview the production cars that will arrive in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Aside from their EV credentials, both vehicles feature weight-slashing carbon fiber as replacements for the steel used in conventional vehicles.

    The Audi A2 concept follows a similar theme but hints at less carbon fiber and more aluminum, with a minimalist design direction compared to the curves of the BMWs.

    Even Land Rover, previewing the 2015 replacement for its venerable Defender (which can easily trace its routes to the 1948 original) showed a DC100 concept that features “a lightweight, mixed-alloy platform” with “cutting-edge, sustainable, hi-tech materials taken from aerospace industries.” it is suggested that this may drop more than 1,000 pounds; critical to meeting fuel-economy targets.

    Beyond the news on direct weight-saving measures, some of the most interesting and well-received vehicles at the show have the common virtue of small size, showing the direction in which the overall industry is headed.

    Also on display at Frankfurt were a number of “urban mobility concepts” vehicles that combine the light weight and efficiency of a motorcycle with the all-weather capability and packaging of a car. Audi, Opel, and Volkswagen each showed various takes on this sub-1,000-pound vehicle segment, but none is immediately slated for production.

    Meeting the significant sustainability challenges for personal mobility will require a combination of engineering solutions like weight reduction and light weight construction per se (maybe the Trabant was an idea before its time?), electric drive, and integrating technologies to improve the transportation system overall. There isn't a single silver-bullet solution.

    Often overlooked, however, is driver demand. We need to want a reason to move from our bigger vehicles to smaller, more efficient ones. Fuel prices are one factor in that equation, but the desirability of smaller cars is another. The exhibition in Frankfurt shows that the smaller cars coming soon to Europe (and, in some cases, the U.S. as well) are very desirable indeed.

    In using plastics, however, in order to reduce weight automakers do seem to be putting the horse before the cart, especially if those plastics rely on oil for manufacture.

    Talking of the animal and the cart; it is that that we must be considering going back to as, in due course, and this is something that be better face and the bullet that we better bite, petroleum products will be too expensive for the ordinary person.

    In addition to that we will. Have to reconsider – as many already are doping – human-powered vehicles for personal transportation and also for business use. The motorcar is on its last legs and with it the motor industry. This is a fact, however, that the governments are not prepared to acknowledge, at least not publicly.

    Electric vehicles and hybrids are NOT the transportation future. They will not, regardless what claims to the contrary are, play any part in it.

    © 2011