Archive for July 2011
Hamburg has vision, measurable goals and definitive strategies to get, keep it on track and ultimately reach its enironmental goals. All cities can achieve that if they aspire to and enforce their collective will.
“Taking over the crown from Stockholm, Hamburg has emerged the European Green Capital 2011 in the competition organised by the European Commission. The European Commission believes that the future of European environmental protection lies in the hands of its cities who have to manage its resources of energy and combat issues of climate change since they have the most potential to develop and apply solutions to battling matters that harm the environment.
That’s why its creation of the title European Green Capital has a three fold objective of rewarding cities who have shown environmental awareness and a consistency in green practices, to encourage them to act as role models to other cities in Europe and set plans to achieve optimum environmentally friendly standards of living and functioning. Hamburg with its population of about 1.8 million has aimed to reduce its green house gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050. Its climate change combat plan for 2010 was a comprehensive one. Hamburg’s long term vision and future strategies for its environmental initiatives saw it emerge a winner.
More than rewards
But winning here isn’t just about prizes. The city now has to frame and implement intelligent solutions to its issues of urban living, development of its renewable energies and aim to increase sustainable consumption.”
via Hamburg is the European Green Capital 2011 | Going Green | The Earth Times.
The concept that greenspace and urban_forests can act as a carbon sink in cities is helpful to consider . Any promotion of greenspace and additional tree plantings in cities should be encouraged.
“Urban sinks are not by themselves a solution to the billions of tonnes of carbon emitted globally, but can help mitigate their impact, especially if gardeners grow trees, which absorb far more CO2 than grass and shrubs, she says.In the case of Leicester, most of the publicly-owned or -managed land in the city comprises lawns. But if just 10 per cent of this land were planted with trees, the citys carbon storage would leap by 12 per cent.”If more trees are planted in urban areas for their carbon storage value, they must be the right kind of tree planted in the right place so that they have a long, productive lifespan, and when trees die they should be replaced,” says Davies.”
via Cities can be carbon sinks too: study › News in Science ABC Science.
Dynamic Spanish guitar style duet cover of ” Stairway to Heaven “.
Rodrigo Y Gabriela | Stairway to Heaven | Live – YouTube.
A facinating story of two cities , Cheonggyecheon , S. Korea and Los Angeles California , transforming a freeway back into a waterway.
“Today, cities have started to realize the importance of coexisting with nature, moving towards more livable, green urban areas. Theres a popular push to restore neglected aspects of local environment like rivers in order to promote public space, tourism, and healthier living. In cities like Seoul, the “modern” solutions were only in place a few decades before they began to threaten the safety of citizens. By 2000, the elevated Cheonggyecheon Freeways supports and structure were cracking and beyond repair. What was left of the Cheonggyecheon riverbed was polluted with heavy metals like lead and chromium, while carbon monoxide, methane and other underground gases were accelerating the breakdown of the freeway structures. The area surrounding the freeway river was shabby and industrial. No longer a marvel of engineering in Seoul, the covered river was an eyesore–and a dangerous one at that.”
via From Freeways to Waterways: What Los Angeles Can Learn From Seoul | Production Notes | Departures | KCET.
New tools for archaeology …space satellite imagry . Tested and proven in Egypt.
“… Dr Parcak said the most exciting moment was visiting the excavations at Tanis.
“They’d excavated a 3,000-year-old house that the satellite imagery had shown and the outline of the structure matched the satellite imagery almost perfectly. That was real validation of the technology.”
The Egyptian authorities plan to use the technology to help – among other things – protect the country’s antiquities in the future.
During the recent revolution, looters accessed some well-known archaeological site .
She also hopes the new technology will help engage young people in science and will be a major help for archaeologists around the world.
“It allows us to be more focused and selective in the work we do. Faced with a massive site, you don’t know where to start.
“It’s an important tool to focus where we’re excavating. It gives us a much bigger perspective on archaeological sites. We have to think bigger and that’s what the satellites allow us to do.” “
via BBC News – Egyptian pyramids found by infra-red satellite images.
Dig deeper into permaculture ….
“Fourteen of us had assembled to learn permaculture, a simple system for designing sustainable human settlements, restoring soil, planting year-round food landscapes, conserving water, redirecting the waste stream, forming more companionable communities and, if everything went according to plan, turning the earth’s looming resource crisis into a new age of happiness.
It was going to have to be a pretty awesome ditch.
That was the sense I took away from auditing four days of a weeklong Permaculture Design Certificate course led by Wayne Weiseman, 58, the director of the Permaculture Project, in Carbondale, Ill.
The movement’s founders, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, coined the term permaculture in the mid-1970s, as a portmanteau of permanent agriculture and permanent culture.
In practice, permaculture is a growing and influential movement that runs deep beneath sustainable farming and urban food gardening. You can find permaculturists setting up worm trays and bee boxes, aquaponics ponds and chicken roosts, composting toilets and rain barrels, solar panels and earth houses.”
via The Permaculture Movement Grows From Underground.
Testing your vertigo on the new Toronto CN Tower EdgeWalk.
“There was a time when simply riding the exterior glass elevator to the top of the CN Tower was considered something of a daredevil act. That was before bungee-jumping and swimming with sharks became pastimes for the adrenaline-addicted. On Wednesday, CN Tower staff raised the stakes, allowing members of the media to experience the new EdgeWalk attraction. The Post’s Steve Murray must have annoyed someone in the newsroom, because he was chosen to take a walk on a thin ledge high above Toronto. He lived to tell the tale.”
via Steve Murray: My Spidey sense above Toronto | Posted Toronto | National Post.
A very cogent analysis of the Norway massacre and Andhers Behring Breivik , the declared perpetrator of the massacre.
“This delusionary triumvirate — ignorance, hate, megalomania — is the calling card of all mass murderers and dark prophets who seek to rid society of some imagined contaminant — whether the targeted group is Jews, gays, blacks, “infidels,” Muslims, kulaks, feminists, or the mentally ill.Even when the killing is done, such fanatics expect the world to thank them for their campaign to sterilize humanity, in the same manner that one might thank a doctor for amputating a gangrenous leg. In his final political testament, Hitler expressed pride that he had stood up to world Jewry, and wrote that “[Our] six years of war, which in spite of all setbacks will go down one day in history as the most glorious and valiant demonstration of a nation’s life purpose.”Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian killer, similarly defines his killing spree as an act of “martyrdom,” and apparently suffers under the delusion that his actions will be excused once his fellow Norwegians realize that he has saved them from the Islamic bacillus. If Breivik’s embrace of such beliefs qualifies him as “insane,” as his lawyer suggests, then the same adjective applies to Hitler, Osama bin Laden and Charles Manson.Where does this obsession with murderous “sterilization” originate? A close reading of Mein Kampf and Breivik’s manifesto gives us a clue.”
via Jonathan Kay on sex and slaughter: How Breivik’s STD-obsessed manifesto echoes Mein Kampf | Full Comment | National Post.
A facinating back stage view of India through the profile of Gautam Adani.
“This nexus between tycoons and powerful politicians courses through the public-private relationship in India and forms the crux of a continuing debate on whether the rise of India’s billionaires is a sign of dynamism or cronyism.
India’s billionaires control a considerably larger share of the national wealth than do the superrich in bigger economies like those of Germany, Britain and Japan. Among the Indian billionaires included on the most recent Forbes rich list, a majority have derived their wealth from land, natural resources or government contracts and licenses, all areas that require support from politicians.”
via Billionaires’ Rise Aids India, and Vice Versa – NYTimes.com.
Some interesting statistics on the growth and palate of the wine and spirits market in India and its relative development to China.
““An increasing number of young people like to have wine, because wine is seen as up-market, sophisticated,” said Alok Chandra, a wine consultant with Gryphon Brands Inc. in Bangalore. “There are two or three levels of consumers. One is the 50- year-old guy who says ‘wine is good for health, let me change to wine.’
“The second is women. Spirits are something they don’t want.”
Mumbai-based Sula’s 1,500 acres of vineyards are in Nashik, the country’s largest wine-producing region. India, which produces as much as 11 million liters of wine yearly, grows wine grapes on about 6,000 acres, according to estimates by Indian Wine Academy, a New Delhi-based consulting company.
Faster Than China
Overseas companies including Pernod Ricard SA, maker of Chivas Regal whiskey and Absolut vodka, have a combined share of India’s alcoholic-beverage market of less than 23 percent, Euromonitor data show.
The top-selling imported wine in India is Pernod’s Jacob’s Creek, with a 1.5 percent market share, according to the data. Pernod CEO Pierre Pringuet in February forecast India will be among its top three markets in five years.
While the South Asian nation outpaces the expansion in Chinese wine consumption, the size of India’s wine market by volume is less than 1 percent that of China, which had 13 percent growth last year to 3.48 billion liters, according to data from Euromonitor. Wine consumption in Japan may fall 2 percent to 885 million liters in 2012, from 903 million liters in 2010, the data show.
Indian wine consumption will probably grow between 15 to 20 percent every year for the next decade, and Sula may outpace the industry, Samant said.
28 Different Countries
“We really dominate, at this point, India people’s preference for good Indian wine,” Samant said. “For every one bottle all the other wineries sell, we sell two.”
Yet even Sula’s cheapest wine is out of reach for most people in India, where 828 million live on less than $2 a day, according to World Bank estimates.”
via India Winemakers Tap Growth as Duties Boost Import Prices – Bloomberg.