Thursday, August 27, 2009

Eco Nation

just thought i'd try to make these important issues a little more fun to get into. it appears that afrikan bambaataa must be my spirit animal.

'Artificial trees' to cut carbon

By Judith Burns
Science and environment reporter, BBC News

artificial trees
Artificial trees could be used in areas where carbon emissions are high

Engineers say a forest of 100,000 "artificial trees" could be deployed within 10 to 20 years to help soak up the world's carbon emissions.

The trees are among three geo-engineering ideas highlighted as practical in a new report.

The authors from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers say that without geo-engineering it will be impossible to avoid dangerous climate change.

The report includes a 100-year roadmap to "decarbonise" the global economy.

No silver bullet

Launching the report, lead author Dr Tim Fox said geo-engineering should not be viewed as a "silver bullet" that could combat climate change in isolation.

He told BBC News it should be used in conjunction with efforts to reduce carbon emissions and to adapt to the effects of climate change.

Many climate scientists calculate that the world has only a few decades to reduce emissions before there is so much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that a dangerous rise in global temperature is inevitable.

for more on this story, click here

my response:

unless the tree has the ability to convert that carbon into oxygen (photosynthesis) these people are wasting time and resources that could be better spent replanting REAL trees. It's bad enough we have to pay to drink water, are we going to be taxed on carbon free air as well? I certainly hope this isn't a project that's being publicly funded. i did like the idea however of putting solar panels and wind farms, even the smaller blades along highways and high rise buildings. if they offered a public incentive to build a grid that way, i might even build something just to be a part of that process. while i'm thinking about it, is there a reason why we haven't started a "micro" solar or windfarm industry here. if the larger models cost too much to produce, perhaps they might offset the overhead costs by producing mechanized portable units. if you could power the production facility with this technology, you might even find a bigger selling point.

New Video: What Is Aquaponics?

What is Aquaponics? from OrganicNation on Vimeo.

In the Chicago neighborhood where I live, I'm lucky to have a small Green Grocer that specializes in local organic food and drinks. When Mark and I recently tried some tilapia fillets from Aquaranch, we were blown away by the freshness and flavor of the fish. We asked Green Grocer's Cassie Green about the product and she referred us to Aquaranch owner Myles Harston, an innovator in aquaponics who grows fish and organic vegetables just a few hours south of Chicago, in Flanagan, Illinois.

As Mark explained in a recent post, Aquaponics is a relatively new approach to food production that utilizes the symbiotic cultivation of plants and aquatic animals in a recirculating environment. The beauty of aquaponics is that it offers a solution to a major issue in raising fish: what to do with fish waste. Instead of polluting the surrounding area with tons of raw sewage, the waste becomes a beneficial fertilizer for plants.

Myles Harston of AquaRanch Industries has been working with aquaponics 1992. At his innovative facility, he grows tilapia and a wide variety of certified organic vegetables including lettuce, kale, chard, herbs, tomatoes, and hot peppers. Myles is hoping to become certified for organic fish production as soon as that standard, currently under development, is finalized by the USDA.

Because all inputs can be measured throughout the lifespan of the tilapia, Myles can guarantee a product free from heavy metals like Mercury (which wild-caught fish are often exposed to in our oceans and lakes) and free from hormonal manipulation. Many people are not aware that farm-raised fish often undergoes a sex change to the gender which grows the fastest. For example, in tilapia, the males grow faster so conventional producers change all the females to male. At Aquaranch, Myles spawns the fish himself to ensure that his process is all-natural.

While touring the facility, it occurred to me that Aquaponics could be a great solution for urban land-locked environments in need of safe, fresh food. Myles mentioned that this process could be done in old warehouses with rainwater collected on the rooftops!

If you're having trouble with the video player above, try viewing it on YouTube.


for more on this piece, click here

my response:

I'm trying to put together all of the resources I need for a hydroponic window farm. i wanted to use legume water, but it might be a better experiment to see if i could compare the growth of both the legume water and the poo water from the aqua culture pond. if this is true, i might also want to consider the advantage of not having to use dirt if the poo water is as good as they say that it is. has anyone else tried this?


"Shamans heals themselves. By working through their pain, they learn to help others."
-Wounded Healin'-

"But the primitive magician, the medicine man, or the shaman is not only a sick man; he is, above all, a sick man who has been cured, who has succeeded in curing himself."

-Author Unknown-

Shamanic healing is a spiritual and medical practice based upon the belief that all healing includes a spiritual dimension. Shamans enter altered states of consciousness to communicate with other realms of reality. The shaman's journey is to help the patient or community to rediscover their connection to nature and spirit.

Shamanic medicine is a tradition dating back 25000 years. The shaman is responsible for the health of the individual as well as the community. This is a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance. Shamans are the ritual leader, herbalist, and mediator between the community and the spirit world. The spiritual healing methods of shamanic are now receiving increased and significant attention in our culture, because shamanic healing affects the energy field of a person.

To better understand how a shaman heals it is important to understand some of the fundamental concepts of what shamanism is. It is a specific set of methodologies for accessing the spirit or energy field of anything or anyone. The shaman heals by working unseen/inner/spiritual reality to crate changes, which in turn crate changes in see/physical/everyday reality.

The essential perspective of the shaman is:
1. Everything is alive. Everything has spirit and awareness.
2.Energy and matter are the same. Everything is vibration.Everything that exists is an energy system within a greater energy system.
3.Everything that exists is connected to everything else in a web of energy or life.
4. Unseen/inner/spiritual reality affects visible reality.

Working within this system of perceptions, the shaman strives to create balance and harmony of the spirit. This can be focused on the individual or the community. This also can be applied to anything that exists.

For more info on this piece, click here

I added this info because I read this description and was taken aback at how being a conscious environmentalist is so similar to the lifestyle practices of the native shamans. I haven't been affiliated with a religion in so long that I'm always blown away when I discover some other ideology or spiritual practice that aligns with my own belief. Ironically I began with Science, and Evironmental Systems and the rest just sort of found me. I think the quote above about self healing is the most important facet of this, and it took me a long time to be able to fully appreciate how learning how to self heal or heal others teaches the principles needed to be able to cultivate the environment necessary for sustainable growth in our external environments. So does this mean that I'm a pseudo shaman? Probably not. But what it does mean is that we're probably batting for the same team. I just find it intriguing that the key to ecological sustainability in a technological and industrial age can be found in the parabolic bell curve of industry requiring us to once again during time of depletion return to the lifestyle behaviors of our ancestral sources. Perhaps this is how these people lived for so many generations and if we don't learn to have more reverence for ourselves and how we treat each other and the land, we will inherit the karmic misfortunes of those tribes that some of our ancestors may have brought upon us through their destructive guidance and teachings. kinda makes you think...

Green Wont Be The Norm, Until We Stop Calling Things Green

by Adam Shake


green certification

The word “Green” has become a separatist adjective. A term used to separate something from the norm. Until products become Green by default, Green will always be an outsider.

Editorial by Adam Shake

It’s a random Tuesday evening and I am watching Sweat Equity with Amy Mathews. Amy is showing a young couple how to install flooring and kitchen counter tops in their new home. She’s using terms like “Eco Friendly Counter Tops,” and “Sustainable Wood Flooring.”

I turn to my wife and I say, “Until the day when all counter tops are made Eco Friendly by default and all hardwood floors are made from Sustainable material, and people quite tagging them as Eco and Sustainable, the whole shift is doomed to something other than normal.”

Imagine a world in which you go out to buy a new counter top or install hardwood floors or get a new stove. You don’t have to shop for a green product, you don’t have to look for environmental certification, you don’t have to pay extra to make sure something is Energy Star rated. You know that your purchase is what it should be. You can tell your friends that you purchased this or that without having to launch into the fact that it is Green, Eco, Sustainable, Earth Friendly…. It’s a given.

Unless… the product is not all of those things.

For more on this piece, click here

my response:

i just assume anything labeled green is done so to encourage consumers to purchase it. but the really sustainable lifestyle is not built around a consumer culture, but rather how to heal, respect, and cultivate our environments at a minimal cost and maximize the efficacy of the energy we used by mimicking the sustainable patterns of behavior in technology found in nature.


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