Despite Industry Opposition, Scientists Report Formaldehyde Causes Cancer

A new NAS report said that formaldehyde, which can be present in common households items such as clothing, wooden furniture and beauty products, is conclusively a cause of rare forms of cancer of the bones, head & neck and nasal passages.

via Despite Industry Opposition, Scientists Report Formaldehyde Causes Cancer | EcoWatch.

Respect: Separating New Zealands aging population?

I came across some interesting statistics from the Ministry of Social Development:

The population aged 65 years and over has increased from 11 per cent of the total population in 1991 to 13 per cent in 2009. It is expected to reach 21 per cent by 2031. The number of people aged 65 years and over is projected to increase from around 550,000 in 2009 to 1 million in the late 2020s, when they will outnumber children.

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For First Time, California Gets Ready For Mandatory Water Restrictions

California has some water issues for some time but now it’s official. That does however not come as a surprise.

I suggest you watch “Last Call at the Oasis”, a documentary from 2011. It was already quite clear back then that Lake Mead had issues and would not be able to deliver enough water in the foreseeable future.

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Harvard Fossil Fuel (un-)Divestment Statement

Fossil fuel divestment  has been a big subject lately. Several large institutions and companies have moved away from any fossil fuel investment (divested).

And yet Harvard is happily investing into it or accepting money from such industries, even despite of petitions from staff and students and own Harvard articles. Why? Money rules, at any price for the advancement of education.

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Wreck the environment – drive an electric car – REALLY?

Some time ago I was pointed to an article that outlined the environmental issues and hazards of electric cars. You read the headline above.
Some of the content (please feel free to read the original article):

But while electric cars hold such promise, they are also environmental vandals, especially when the electricity that feeds them comes as it does more often than not from coal-fired and gas-fired power plants, which are themselves global warming bandits.

So says one new study, which concludes that in the current coal and gas reliant electricity landscape, the world is better off simply improving the conventional engine than it is shifting to EVs.

Initial reaction: What a misleading silly title.
If you carry on reading, then it’s getting a bit clearer. They can be bad (of maybe not as good as the could be) to the environment, but that’s not necessarily the case.
At the end of the day, it all depends on your electricity generation. Which we have to change anyway. Many countries are already on a good way, Denmark exceeded their targets already. Not all countries are as bad regarding their energy mix compared to the US.
So my suggestion would be: Clean up your act. Just because power companies are polluting the environment does not mean that cars can continue to do so too. We have to break to chain somewhere.
If you get a EV, make sure you buy power from renewables too. You have the choice. Simple.

Toxic batteries: The battery in my hybrid car is 11 years old. It can be refurbished. Individual cells can be replaced. It drives as well as on day one.
It’s petrol consumption is about 5l/100km or 20km/l. It’s odo is at 250,000km. It saved 12,500 l of petrol over it’s lifetime (based on usually 10l/100km for an “ordinary” car of that size and age).
Does anybody really think that the production of this battery had more impact than those burned 12,500l or petrol? Please get real.
Once the battery will really be at it’s end, it can be recycled. The material is not gone, the 12,500l of petrol are.

via Wreck the environment – drive an electric car – SmartPlanet.

Nicaragua’s National Development Plan Aims To Be 94% Powered By Renewable Sources By 2017

The Central American country of Nicaragua has never been as fortunate as its neighbors when it comes to energy reserves. In fact, most commercial electricity is generated by imported petroleum while a small portion of domestic energy is generated through hydropower and geothermal power. However that’s set to change with the country’s National Development Plan, which calls for 94% of the country’s electricity needs to be sourced from renewables by 2017.

via Nicaragua’s National Development Plan Aims To Be 94% Powered By Renewable Sources By 2017 | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building.

World Council of Churches Endorses Fossil Fuel Divestment

The Central Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC), a fellowship of over 300 churches which represent some 590 million people in 150 countries, endorsed fossil fuel divestment this week, agreeing to phase out its own holdings and encourage its members to do the same. The WCC Central Committee is made up of dozens of influential religious leaders from around the world, meaning the decision could resonate far and wide.

via – World Council of Churches Endorses Fossil Fuel Divestment.

A businessman tries to break through a line of Occupy Wall Street protesters who had blocked access to the New York Stock Exchange

The open source revolution is coming and it will conquer the 1%

I have been used to the term “open source” so far rather in relation to software projects (sourceforge, Linux, MySQL, Apache, …) come to mind. Sometimes non-software related variations of open-source pop up, for example for construction or housing.

I found this great article in The Guardian by Nafeez Ahmed. This is about security and policy making and also mentions the “precautionary principle” and sustainability. Is says that we are on the verge of a revolution, a revolution from secrecy to open-source and transparency.

It makes sense, open-source software has been showcasing it for decades. Most of the worlds intranet and servers including its security, architecture etc is based on open-source.

Read the original article, it’s well worth it.

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* a term combined from the word "Environment" and the greek "logos" (word, reason, plan)