When I first heard about a human powered Ferris wheel, I assumed it was powered by people pedaling some gizmo to make the wheel turn. Instead, a fair operator in southern India has devised this ride, in which five people propel the wheel by taking turns spinning the wheel with their full body weight. Now that's one way to have zero emission fun, but it looks a little dangerous too. I don't think I would let my kids ride on it.
I learned a new word today: hypermiling. Hypermiling refers to techniques used to save fuel, such as putting your car in neutral as you coast down a hill. If you own an iPhone (sadly this Mac lover does not), then you can choose from five applications to help you save fuel! From finding the cheapest price per gallon to graphing your fuel economy, these iPhone apps can help you find out what your car's gas mileage really is so you can be a better hypermiler!
I thought I got my wine in a low carbon manner by walking to my neighbor's cabin, but the French have outdone my efforts. A three-masted, 19th century barque transported 60,000 bottles of French wine from Bordeaux to Dublin. The delivery by ship took longer than a flight, but it saved 18,375lb of carbon or about 4.9oz of carbon per bottle. Each bottle was labeled, "Carried by sailing ship, a better deal for the planet." Further voyages are planned to Bristol, Manchester, and Canada.
In the 1950s, Israel experienced a fuel shortage, and residents responded by installing solar hot water heaters on their rooftops. By 1983, 60% of homes had solar hot water heaters, and current law requires their installation. Jerusualem's skyline is beautifully cluttered with 90% of homes' rooftops adorned with solar hot water heaters. Perhaps Hawaii's new solar hot water heater law will one day bring the Aloha State up to par with Israel.
I have a drawer full of cell phone power adapters, camera adapters, and of course, my laptop and modem have different power adapters too! Each time I get a new electronic device, I keep the old adapter thinking I might need it some day, but it never fits the new phone, camera, etc. Green Plug, a start-up company, proposes we use one universal power adapter for all our electronic needs, which would help the environment by eliminating the need to produce and ship a new power adapter with each device. Green Plug explains:
Billions of devices including laptops, printers, speakers, routers, modems, cell phones, entertainment devices, power tools, cameras and so many other portable electronic devices require a power source that converts between 90V and 254V wall power to device-specific DC power. That means that these devices require unique power converters, and that is very costly, is extremely inconvenient and contributes to wasted resources and pollution.
According to MacWorld, Green Plug's universal adapter will also eliminate phantom power draws:
Green Plug's technology allows each device to communicate its individual power requirements to the power adapter, allowing several devices to share one adapter...Each adapter will act like a hub that several devices can plug into... The adapters also will shut off the power supply when a device has finished charging or is turned off, giving further energy savings.
USBCELL AA Rechargeable Batteries are like other rechargeable batteries in the sense that you can use them hundreds of times; however, these batteries can be recharged using the USB port of your computer. There is no need for a separate charger, and they are easy to use. Just pop off the cap and plug them in to your computer. Over 15 billion batteries are discarded each year. Don't toss 'em, recharge 'em!
The compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) has become the poster child for the green movement, specifically the small steps individuals can do to lessen their carbon footprint. One Billion Bulbs is trying to mobilize people around the world to replace one billion incandescents with CFLs (of course, some of you may be forced to by law). "It would make a difference to the environment - preventing greenhouse gases equivalent to the annual emissions of millions of cars." By signing up at One Billion Bulbs and tracking your light bulb changes, you can quickly see how this small step really does have an impact! "Your grand kids will thank you for it."
Did you know that CFLs contain small amounts of mercury and should not be thrown into your household garbage can? CFLs have to be disposed of at hazardous waste material sites; however, the amount of mercury in a CFL is still significantly lesser than the pollution caused by the power plants needed to power your old incandescents. To put it into perspective, the Green Guide states:
The amount of mercury in CFLs is relatively small, approximately 5 milligrams (mg), which is roughly equivalent to the mercury in two cans of albacore tuna. Older mercury-based thermometers contained about 500 mg...Depending on where you live (and the mixture of your local energy supplier), you could be releasing as much as 18 mg of mercury into the atmosphere to operate one incandescent bulb over its lifespan. A CFL, on the other hand, produces an estimated 4 mg over its lifespan as a result of burning coal (9 mg total when added to the 5 mg that exist in the bulb). If one billion incandescent light bulbs were replaced with CFLs, we could prevent 100 million grams of mercury emissions.
I live off-the-grid, where every watt of power usage counts. For months, I have used this excuse to prevent my husband from buying a flat panel TV. Starting in March, I won't be able to use this reason, as Phillips introduces the Eco TV.
The Eco TV has several features that reduce its power consumption to about 75 watts; that's about as much power as an incandescent light bulb and 30 watts less than other 42-inch LCD TVs. One such feature is the ability to dim the back light during dark scenes or in a dark room. There is also a power saving mode that limits peak light output. All of these features can be controlled by the user. Furthermore, when the Eco TV is on standby power (when you think it is turned off), the phantom power draw is 0.15 watt, among the lowest in the industry. The Eco TV is a 42-inch, 1080p resolution, flat-panel LCD, model that will sell for about $1,399.
The Eco TV comes in a box made from recycled materials. In addition, it is made from lead-free materials and contains only traces of mercury. Despite all the great power saving features of the Eco TV, I still think I need to wait until our current television dies before we make the jump to a LCD flat panel.