Posts from — December 2008

Maverick millionaire
by NICK ROSEN on DECEMBER 30, 2008 - 0 Comments in PEOPLE, SPIRIT

Constantine: spending wisely
Sitting in his London office, Mark Constantine appears to enjoy the publicity generated by his decision to fund anti-aviation pressure group Plane Stupid.  Earlier this month they staged a sit-on on the runway at Stansted Airport which grounded hundreds of flights.

Together with his wife, Constantine is the majority owner of Lush, a chain of 600 cosmetics shops in 44 countries with an annual turnover of GBP144 million. (more…)

Geothermal land grab
by TECHSTAR on DECEMBER 29, 2008 - 1 Comment in ENERGY

How it works Associated Press in PROVO — Within months of discovering a massive geothermal field, a small Utah company had erected and fired up a power plant — one example of the speed with which companies are capitalizing on state mandates for alternative energy.  It is not know whether individuals could be doing the same thing on a smaller scale.

Anticipation of new energy policies has sparked a rush on land leases as companies like Raser Technologies Inc., based in Provo, lock up property that holds geothermal fields and potentially huge profits. (more…)

Steven Chu Interviews
by NICK ROSEN on DECEMBER 21, 2008 - 0 Comments in ENERGY, PEOPLE

The Taipei Times published the first interview with Nobel-prize winner Steven Chu since his appointment as President-elect Obama’s energy czar. In it, Chu forecasts “a gradual crash…predicted to accelerate.”  He says “we have to immediately start decreasing the amount of energy we use.” And he lays into powerful tech business United Technologies, as a case study of profligate incompetence.

That transcript  is followed by an old interview from Reuters wire which is very revealing of Chu’s point of view and his rational embrace of eco-principles that will be reflected from day one in his new post. “
“If I were emperor of the world,” he told Reuters last year, “I would put the pedal to the floor on energy efficiency and conservation for the next decade.”

Here are the transcripts, but first, Steven, if you are reading this, we’d love to interview you — anywhere, any time. (more…)

Green Gifts? Try Freecycle
by NICK ROSEN on DECEMBER 19, 2008 - 0 Comments in URBAN

If you want to engage in a traditional Christmas, but you are concerned about the environment, what gifts should you give, to whom should you give them and should you give at all?

A burgeoning industry of retailers, manufacturers and PR consultants is attempting to “green” the Christmas gift market. An Eco Gift Festival brought together “more than 15,000 consumers and 200 environmentally conscious vendors” at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium for an orgy of consumerism.  This writer received a copy of the “Green Christmas” guide. The pocket sized book ($7.95 in the US) arrived in a box big enough for 24 copies, and was delivered on a large truck.

Other companies offered similarly inappropriate recommendations under a green banner: (more…)

Simple Solar Homesteading Book Review

Before our big move off the grid, I did a lot of research to learn everything I could about living off grid. I used the internet as my main source of information. I quickly found a great source of info at LaMar Alexander’s website. In following with my Off Grid – On The Cheap message, this is a very practical, hands on approach to how to get off the grid without having to spend lots of money. (more…)

UK brown-outs looming
by LINDAM on DECEMBER 19, 2008 - 0 Comments in COMMUNITY

The head of Britain’s National Grid has admitted the company cannot guarantee an uninterrupted energy supply, and blamed the government for this failure. But he has not explained why private power companies or The National Grid are not investing more, especially since its profits were up to GBP 1 billion.

When huge new wind farms are built, it can sometimes take years to connect them to the grid, even if massive pylons are only a few yards away. (more…)

Make $$$ from solar
by TECHSTAR on DECEMBER 18, 2008 - 0 Comments in SOLAR, WORK

“rent without tenants”
Americans can make thousands from the subsidies paid to people generating renewable energy. But other countries receive far less.  And in Germany you get nothing unless you are connected to the Grid.

When Monica Ball and her husband, Bill, decided to hitch a 9,900-watt solar-panel system to their 4,000-square-foot home three years ago, they had some reservations. Even though the Sergeantsville, N.J., couple got a generous 70% subsidy from the state, they had to borrow $19,000 from their retirement savings to pay the balance. (more…)

Green Christmas starts here
by NICK ROSEN on DECEMBER 16, 2008 - 0 Comments in COMMUNITY

Now where can I get Green Snow? Its beginning to feel a lot less like Christmas.

As ecological considerations remain high on the agenda, its goodbye to pointless presents and gift wrap, a lighter touch on the table groaning with food, a new set of rules for the blazing log fire,  and a carefully considered decision to go without the traditional tree.

The equation is simple: Christmas is the time of maximum consumption each year. The environment is being damaged by overconsumption.  Therefore Christmas should be about consuming less. (more…)

Why “survival panic” is good
by NICK ROSEN on DECEMBER 16, 2008 - 3 Comments in SPIRIT

Watch out — there’s panic about
NEW YORK (Reuters) – In the coming months, mental health experts expect a rise in theft, depression, drug use, anxiety and even violence as consumers confront a harsh new reality and must live within diminished means.

But there will also be benefits from the new austerity – not least an end to “careless consumerism.”

For some however, there will be a painful period of readjustment: (more…)

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