The electric light bulb has been in existence for 131 years, but its dominance may be drawing to an end.
We have often written in the past about the lightemitting diode (LED), which can end the darkness for poor villages in the third world, slash energy consumption in the wealthiest parts of the West and give you long-life illumination for very little energy consumption if you are off-grid.
In truth, the light bulb was a great idea but never a very good technology(except for manufacturers of light bulbs who made billions). Worldwide about 20% of all electricity generated is used for lighting. Now several studies reckon that LEDs could eventually cut that amount in half. (more…)
Alastair Sawday’s latest guide book covers eco-lodges round the world. If his previous books are any judge, each listing will be of superior quality and well worth a visit, but remember they do pay to be included, and standards can go down as well as up.
Trericket Mill Vegetarian Guesthouse, Powys
Part guesthouse, part bunk house, part campsite – all Grade II* listed. The dining room has been created amid a jumble of corn-milling machinery: B&B guests, campers and bunkers pile in together for delicious and plentiful veggie food – fair-trade, wholefood and free-range – from a chalkboard menu. Stoves throw out the heat in the flagstoned living rooms; the bedrooms are simple pine affairs, well insulated and efficiently lit. On an SSSI – Skithwen brook runs through the property – the mill hosts a breeding colony of bats in the roof each summer, quite a sight at dusk.
56. Singles 38. trericket.co.uk, 01982 560312.
Cornwall without the crush. Deep in woodland, a mile from any road, 13 eco-cottages sit in a Celtic land of coves and sun-dappled creeks. Paints are organic and high-spec showers and baths are fed with reclaimed rainwater.
From 425 per week for 2. trelowarren.com, 01326 221224.
It looks like a vast garden shed. Within, splashes of colour (bright red sofas and armchairs, chunky blue checks on the bedcovers) set off white lime-plastered walls and ash floors. Tiles are hand-made, fabrics are natural and organic, toiletries biodegradable, the cooker “slow”. It is light, earthy, fun and refreshing. There is even an “honesty” store for your shopping.
90-105. 420-575pw ecocabin.co.uk, 01547 530183. (more…)
Author Tom Hodgkinson is a mass of contradictions famously lazy, he still finds time to write a book a year. He moves in caf society but never misses an opportunity to denounce smart metropolitan living, white middle classes rushing about their business himself included.
How to be free contains his latest clarion call to down-shifting, as he expounds both the philosophy and lifestyle of slacking. His code could be summed up as Freedom through Merriment.
Light a Candle he implores readers at one point electric light is so harsh, and ugly and it shows the dirt, thereby inducing feelings of guilt. Stop voting. Stop working. Grow vegetables. Play an Instrument. Make Compost. Bake Bread. His list of injunctions become longer and more demanding as the book proceeds. The irony is that there is no way this champion idler would ever follow his own advice. (more…)
A frozen “Noah’s Ark” to safeguard the world’s crop seeds from cataclysms is being built on a remote Arctic island off Norway, but the operation seems badly misconceived. It will replace a smaller facility currently on the same site. (more…)
Croc hunter Steve Irwin, whose Memorial service is taking place in Australia tomorrow, lived off-grid with his mum and dad for the first few years of his life, in a caravan on what they then called Beerwah Reptile Park.
Steve takes up the story:
Dad and Mum bought our original four acres of land (more…)
Discarded human waste has become a mounting problem in Scotland’s national parks since new land access laws, combined with last summer’s glorious weather, encouraged a minority of dumb assholes to spoil it all for the rest of us who want to camp overnight in beauty spots.
Now the authorities are planning a trial of “human poop-scoops” involving supplying plastic trowels and bags to the thoughtless minority of campers so they can either bury the waste before they go home or take it with them for later disposal. (more…)
The US Army in Iraq may soon be using a $100,000 per unit solar-panel and wind-generator power system that fits in a standard shipping container, according to The Christian Science Monitor. It can be dropped onto a mountaintop or into the desert. The solar panels and wind turbine deploy in minutes. And where there’s water, a micro-hydro unit can be dropped into a stream for an added boost. Its successful deployment would mean civilian versions would follow quickly. (more…)
Editor’s note: this article by Zachary Nowack is reprinted from The Energy Bulletin.We published this story last year. Now oil is again at $77 a barrel, and Goldman Sachs are predicting $95 a barrel before the year end unless OPEC increases production. While we do not necessarily agree that Peak Oil has been reached or an economic crash is inevitable, it is worth factoring the possibility into your thinking:
I am often frustrated by the lack of practical suggestions for what to do to survive the Peak and the Crash. Recently I read a list of things that the people who participate in the forum of a noted Peak Oil site were doing to prepare for a future that can no longer depend on cheap oil.These included having a rain barrel, a one-month supply of canned goods and a one-week supply of bottled water, adjusting my stock portfolio with more energy and other commodity stocks, setting the thermostat at 62, and replacing the light bulbs in the house with compact fluorescents. (more…)
Shon Rainford and Rani Colbert moved themselves and 10-month-old Amelia Rose in to their new house near Charleston in mid-June. First they bought 21 acres of woodland in Colleton County. Then they bought a supersize, two-story shed from Home Depot. Then, with help from friends, the 768-square-foot shed went up, the radiant barrier went in, the hardwood floor went down and the sheetrock was installed. (more…)
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