As a follow up much earlier post here on RGdot I was contacted about an extended list that we can all use as reference. Some very simple like turning off lights when not in use to sometimes not so easy ones like using organic products the list includes 70 things we can all do. A few like using less packaging requires more consumers becoming conscious and vocal to influence change but doing even one or few of the list will help the environment.
Was recently contacted about an article titled 200 Ways to Save Planet Earth. It is a good compilation of ways to help the environment easily and doing our part as much as possible. Some on the list like shower together may be less practical but others like reducing paper usage, collecting rain water and eating locally all help bit by bit and soon will make a difference. Read the list, it is worth it.
The Carbon Footprint Calculator (Version: 2.1 as of this post) is a small and simple tool that helps act as a rough guide to how much Carbon Dioxide emissions a person or household is responsible for.
Environmental concerns and the issue of climate change are often debated and mentioned, even here on RGdot.com, and some of us believe that the time for debate has long passed and we must act quickly to ensure a better and healthier future. That debate aside, The Carbon Footprint Calculator provides rough estimates and is educational at least.
It asks and uses numbers for fuel efficiency of owned vehicle(s), total distance driven, flown, traveled by rail and by bus in one year. Other numbers used for the calculation are the amount of electricity, gas and oil used. More curiously it also asks about the types of bank accounts one uses, the type of clothes one buys and also about the types of appliances purchased and recreational and food eating habits too. The final result is given in the standard unit for emissions, tons. The program is free of spyware – this can be checked on softpedia.com for example – and it does not ask any personal details so it is safe to just play around with it.
Reports can be printed and/or saved in its own cfc format and a details or summary pie chart is generated too. The Carbon Footprint Calculator is good for a simple look at what harm each of us do to our planet.
Nissan Leaf (Leading, Environmentally friendly, Affordable, Family car) begins its US roll out very soon and it will be available in some other world wide markets before a more widespread roll out. It is Nissan’s all electric car with a range of 100 miles (160 km). It has a top speed of over 140 km/h (87 mph). Its motor is rated at 80 kW (110 hp) and 280 Nm (210 lbft).
Some responses to electric cars can be paraphrased as such:
The electricity you are using to charge your car is produced in a non environmentally friendly manner, such as coal, so you are still polluting
That shouldn’t diminish the importance of electric cars and additionally it is the job of the consumer and the voter to make sure electricity comes from clean sources. That is done by voting for the politicians who would make sure clean energy happens and also those would make sure that electric cars, such as the Nissan Leaf, make it to dealerships near you in mass numbers and are not dismissed or removed from the market place altogether.
A presentation was launched last month by the UK climate ministry. It is a Google Earth (*.KML file or plugin) which ‘highlights some of the changes that may occur if the global average temperature rises by 4°C above the pre-industrial climate average.’
It spurns us, not just in the UK or the US – where a potential congressional climate bill was recently abandoned due to mostly right wing opposition – but everywhere to make sure we do our part not only at the ballot box but by our daily actions to help alleviate or eliminate such bleak future scenarios.
The Mercedes SLS AMG E-CELL is a prototype and one of the cars in line to take Mercedes-Benz and it’s subsidiary Mercedes-AMG into its promised fully electric line. At one point it was mooted that Mercedes will be free of fossil fuels by, a now impossible, 2015 but a move in that direction is in the works and the “AMG Performace 2015” motto is now geared more towards big reductions in emissions.
A limited supply of the E-CELL line, featuring high voltage (400V) liquid-cooled lithium-ion batteries, will be ready for 2013. They will boast 526 horsepowers thanks to 4 electric engines which combined can achieve an equivalent maximum of 12,000 RPM with top speeds of 155 miles per hour. The cars also do 0 to 100Km/hr in 4 seconds, well in line with other non-zero emission cars. The one ‘advertised’ limitation, that of range, is around 90 miles on a charge for the first of Mercedes SLSs. This will improve in future generation green cars.
This Mercedes SLS is certainly a car with luxury specs but one with a giant step towards the green future where charging stations will be the norm instead of gas stations and the moving part monstrosity that is a combustion engine will be a thing of the past.
…is a free program that allows you to take control of your monitors built-in energy saving features
Even though all computers and operating systems come with power management features that allow a user to turn off a hard disk or put a computer into standby or hibernate mode it is often more beneficial, sometimes even more reliable, to turn off a monitor via a dedicated third party tool. Monitor Off achieves this energy and money saving task in a light weight and freeware download.
This small download, available both as an installer and a stand alone zip file, Monitor Off offers a user configurable method of turning off a monitor or if desired to activate a screensaver. Many combination of keys, like Ctrl+Alt+L, can be configured and a delay in seconds chosen to put any monitor into stand by mode. It is also possible to lock the work station – when in the stand by mode – to protect the computer from prying eyes while one is away.
Monitor Off makes the ever critical issue of power and energy savings just one bit easier and it is therefore worth having the program start with Windows and to have it remain in the system tray. It also supports several command line options that are documented in its Help menu. It requires the .NET Framework 2.0 or later and as of this post works on Windows 98, 2000, ME, XP and Vista.
Reducing power usage and consumption is one of the best, easiest and immediate measures we can take while politicians wrangle through their greedy needs. Two large corporations that, along with IBM, have set up internal goals and business models based on selling and promoting green products are Google and Cisco. Two tools released by the aforementioned that have the power (pun intended?) to affect everyday electricity usage both at home and at work are Google’s PowerMeter and Cisco’s EnergyWise.
Google’s PowerMeter is a tool that Google has released free and made available to consumers in partnership with power utilities and government agencies. It provides probably the most useful way to monitor electricity usage. By giving access to and showing near real time stats on electricity usage it can help any body get a picture on when and how much power he or she is consuming at home and to help him or her plan and manage usage with a better understanding of what uses more and what uses less power. Google has a few partners lined up and more jurisdictions and local power producers will follow sooner or later. For this to work a local utility must install smart meters and also get on board with google.
Cisco’s EnergyWise is a set of tools that Cisco has integrated into its catalyst switches and routers with the aim of better monitoring their power usage and then managing their consumption and even turning them off when idle. This tool can manage, via set policies that include such criteria as device priority and location, other compatible devices (IP phones, PCs, etc.) on the network as well and using a new domain naming system to gather information on all those devices. All the information gathered can then create a bigger picture for analysis over time. It is an open architecture that enables other devices, built by others, to hook into it and make it more widely usable.
Burning fossil fuels has contributed immensely to the problem of climate change or global warming as some call it. It is clear that some countries have contributed far more in terms of pollution and emissions. One of the big political debates hampering progress in the ‘climate debate’ is the acceptance of the share of responsibility and any extra costs for those more responsible. In the final analysis important conferences like the upcoming Copenhagen 15 or COP15 need to produce near term and tangible results if we are to survive.
The Washington Post science section has produced an interactive global emissions chart. Using the chart it is possible to visualize pollution levels per country or region since 1950 and track changes through the decades to the present time by using a slider. No prizes for guessing the present top 2 or top 3 polluters.