December 2008


Both France and Germany have called for a deal on a new EU climate agreement to be reached at a Brussels summit coming up shortly. This raises the heat on eastern European countries to come to the table. Frances’ President, Nicolas Sarkozy, spoke with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel by phone within a day of his meeting with the leaders of nine eastern European countries. The meeting had been called to address their objections to the plan to to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The French President issued a statement to the effect, “They confirmed their shared desire to see that an agreement is reached at the European Council on the energy and climate package.” This statement voices a new hope that these smaller and still developing countries will be able to come to terms with an agreement soon. EU leaders will be holding a summit this Thursday and Friday, December 10th and 11th, in Gdansk, Poland, with the hopes of agreeing on a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions a whopping 20% by the year 2020. They hope to set new targets for developing forms of renewable energy and switching to more efficient uses of energy.

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Amancio Ortega, the billionaire who runs Spain’s Intidex textile empire and founded the Zara fashion chain, is suddenly moving into alternative energy. He is creating a global network of renewable energy sources. The name of this new company is Capital Energy and Mr. Ortega is the Chairman and chief shareholder. He appears to have been motivated by an offer made by Galicia’s regional ministry for innovation and industry. In response, Capital Energy will provide up to 2,323 megawatts of energy from various alternative sources and independently set up some 20 energy “parks”.

Mr. Ortega is the richest man in Spain, having founded Zara fashion years ago from a kitchen table in his sister’s home in La Coruna. He is launching this new venture from the same modest area, Galicia, which is in northwest Spain. So far he has produced a handful of projects and established energy bridgeheads in three continents. The beginnings may be modest but his worldwide ambitions are obvious. I am sincerely hoping he is as successful with this new project as he has been with pantsuits in the past. As a measure of earnestness, he has said that he intends to invest more than 2.54 billion in Capital Energy over the next 18 months, which is more money than many struggling countries could provide for their own initiatives. Think of the lives that can be changed with this. Mr. Ortega obviously believes that renewable energy production on a world scale as the next big thing.

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I thought my readers might like to know about this neat new site that helps people go green. How does it do that? Well, it actually occurs on the idea level, where things are engineered and developed. If you can imagine it, it can be designed with nature in mind. In fact, nature provides the best model for all developing ideas and has been the design that most architects and engineers have copied over time.

This is referred to as “biomimicry” and it works very well. The site is designed with biomimicry in mind, presenting solutions to problems and generating concepts from basic ideas. Innovators throughout the world will find this site extremely useful, putting brilliance at their fingertips when they had to read a million books and study as many models before. Basically designed for Biologists, Architects, Engineers, Chemists and Designers, the site aggregates the entire history of the natural world in one usable design model. Sound incredible? I guess it does. But here it is from their website:

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I know this man is still in that office another month or two but I can hardly stand it. How much more damage can he do? Everyone says he’s a “lame duck” which usually means he’s ineffective.. but, somehow, this awful person is still managing to get horrible stuff done. I mean, I should not be surprised… but somehow I am… that he is making a huge personal effort to just tear apart our environment, as if it were some cause of his or a personal mission. Seriously. I know he doesn’t believe in global warming. I mean, really, he thinks he knows everything, so how on earth could he be wrong? I am sorry but this crap amazes me. Stupidity, it seems, knows no bounds and is exceedingly dangerous.

In his waning days, he is making sure that oil shale mining in the Rocky Mountains gets a go-ahead and he is recreating regulations to dismantle environmental safeguards. Everyone is calling this “midnight regulations” because he’s doing it in secret, under the cover of the night I guess. Again, I’m sorry, but what a creep. America just voted a new President into office in what could be called a landslide and this new President has professed environmental initiatives a priority to our overall approval and this person in the White House is still acting on his own! I mean, the American people be damned!

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Although it’s kind of cool to look at and is almost a form of art, the bamboo bike is practical enough for not only biking around but for racing bikes as well. There are several companies making this bike and Calfee Bamboo Bikes has won awards for the Best Road Bike, Best Off-Roead Bike and People’s Choice Award at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. Check this out:


Ghana Bamboo Bike by Calfee Design

Have I got your attention now?

According to Calfee, bamboo is an ideal material for bicycles. The vibration damping is a performance advantage on longer rides. It is also stronger and lighter than most metals. This is a green product and most people who buy it are making a statement even though the quality of the ride is primo.

Another great project involving the Bamboo Bike is going on at the Bamboo Bike Project. These folk are making bikes as a sustainable form of transportation for poor people in Africa. They are also attempting to stimulate a bike building industry in Africa to satisfy local needs. You can donate or help out by going to the website and making a donation.

For years the use of monosodium methanearsenate, or MSMA, was prevalent in British Columbia as a means to control Pine Beetles. Sold for a long time under the trade name, Glowon, it was considered safe and useful, posing no threat to the environment or to human health. This sounds like a song I’ve heard before, how about you? Even though this product was no longer in use as late as 2005, mainly because the manufacturer did not renew the permit, the residue of this product remains all throughout the region. IN fact, they are now issuing maps of areas that they are urging loggers to avoid because the residue is that bad. And what is the residue? Arsenic.

Now, my first question, as an intelligent, alert individual with common sense, is to ask how on earth anyone could think that arsenic, a known volatile and dangerous poison, could be environmentally safe and non toxic to humans? Seriously. To it’s credit, the US EPA decided in 2006 not to re-register MSMA as a pesticide because it “posed a cancer risk”. This is because of it’s potential to “transform to a more toxic inorganic form of arsenic in the soil with subsequent transport to drinking water.” Yep. You heard right. Drinking water is likely contaminated with this poison through natural run off.

And the Forest Practices Board recommended, in it’s 2004 annual report, that the ministry track MSMA treated trees to ensure they are not harvested or milled. This board found, in it’s studies, that MSMA was used near human habitation and that treated trees had been logged and milled within the past year. Therefor the restriction on access to these trees was decided upon.

Guess what? MSMA is still being sold in the US. I don’t know if anything will amaze me but this does upset me… does it you?

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