Sunday, June 21, 2009

Project Green Leaf


The mission of Project Green Leaf is to promote and support a local agro-food system. Project Green Leaf is dedicated to sustaining local agriculture by strengthening community between farmers and consumers, thus providing for better quality of living.

By promoting various activities, such as direct marketing and educational/outreach programs, we assist in developing the connections necessary for a local agro-food system.

It is based at the University of North Carolina, in Greensboro, NC

Saturday, June 20, 2009



Imagine eco-friendly clothing with a kick - home décor that is more than a burlap sack. Step into an oasis where you can surround yourself in fashion forward lines such as Linda Loudermilk and Sameunderneath, or furniture and décor from Modern Bamboo and Green Glass.

Greenovation TV


Our mission is to provide practical information in an entertaining format to help green every home in America. There are 130 million homes in the United States alone. More than half are over 35 years old and 58 million have zero insulation!

Because homes in the U.S. use 22% of the nation’s energy, we must improve our existing homes so that they eventually use zero carbon. It is the best way to save money, help the economy, create jobs, make our homes more comfortable and help to avoid climate crisis.

Friday, June 19, 2009



Veggielution is a nonprofit seeking to create a sustainable food system in San Jose. We currently farm about 1 acre at Emma Prusch Farm Park in East San Jose. Veggielution empowers youth and adults from diverse backgrounds to create a sustainable food system in San Jose. Our urban farm engages the community by providing access to healthy and local food, creating youth leadership opportunities, and developing creative solutions to social and environmental justice issues.

Grow Food Party Crew Santa Cruz


A community gardening initiative in Santa Cruz

Friends of the Urban Forest


To promote a larger, healthier urban forest as part of the urban ecosystem, through community planting, maintenance, education and advocacy. Friends of the Urban Forest is a non-profit committed to the belief that trees are a critical element of a livable urban environment. Since 1981, we have offered financial, technical, and practical assistance to individuals and neighborhood groups who want to plant and care for trees.

SF Glean


For San Francisco to be more sustainable, we need to grow more of our own food. To plant more fruit trees, we need to show the city we can manage the harvest. SF Glean is a entirely volunteer project that harvests fruit and nut trees and donates the harvest to various food banks, pantries, and food programs in our San Francisco communities.

Permaculture SF


Organization offering Permaculture teaching and activities primarily focused on San Francisco, but may be open to the whole Bay Area.

Urban Permaculture Guild


Urban Permaculture Guild educates and inspires communities and individuals to creatively transform how they live and the urban places where they live. We facilitate artistic and ecologically-oriented placemaking and educational projects that honor the interconnection of human communities and the natural world.

The Urban Permaculture Guild is a project of Architects / Designers / Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR), an educational non-profit organization founded in 1982. ADPSR works for peace, environmental protection, social justice, and the development of healthy communities. The Guild operates under the direction of Katherine Steele.

Recycle Your Day


A blog about ecologically conscious parenting.

The Green Media Club


An online community devoted exclusively to media, public relations and marketing professionals (or business owners and executives) who have the job of communicating new developments and trends in what promises to become a Greener world.



WeEarth is a network of resources enabling us to explore our connectedness with each other and with our changing world. We aim to inspire our community to connect, learn, and grow. We encourage socially and environmentally responsible living. The features include a social network, online webzine, and a store of enviro-minded stuff.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Reducing water use for washing clothes

Washing the clothes is one of those core required energy and resource intensive things we do. Modern washing machines use a lot of water and electricity, as well as chemicals (laundry detergent) that may be creating unwanted environmental effects. Washing the clothes also involves drying them afterward, and this year I've been experimenting with energy efficient ways to dry my clothes (hint: clothes lines). Now a new process is becoming available that can use as little as a cup of water and use a different sort of detergent.

The product is by Xeros, a new company focused on the development of "virtually waterless" laundry cleaning. They are working from research by Professor Stephen Burkinshaw and the University of Leeds. (see Virtually waterless washing machine heralds cleaning revolution)

They claim to have developed a new way of cleaning clothes using less than 2% of the water and energy of a conventional washing machine. The process is based on the use of plastic granules (or chips) which are tumbled with the clothes to remove stains.

On Consumer Reports they explains that the chips, when in water, dissolves dirt and other stuff from clothes. The plastic chips somehow separate from the laundry and are collected by the machine, however I wonder just how the chips can be completely separated from the laundry. (see By the Numbers: Xeros hyperefficient front-loading washing machine)

The Xeros web site makes it clear this involves a specially designed washing machine, and that the machine still tumbles the laundry. One issue with modern laundry methods is that the machines damage clothes (but so does pounding clothes on rocks in a river). Their website makes it clear not all the beads will be removed from clothes by the machine.

The Xeros web site explains that the technology is applying the process of anchoring dyes in clothing, but doing it in reverse. The plastic chips absorb stains from clothes into the chips.

The nylon polymer has an inherent polarity that attracts stains. Think of how your white nylon garments can get dingy over time as dirt builds up on the surface despite constant washing. However, under humid conditions, the polymer changes and becomes absorbent. Dirt is not just attracted to the surface, it is absorbed into the centre. This is exactly what happens when Xeros nylon beads are gently tumbled with dampened garments.

They also talk about the savings potential:

There are multiple ways that Xeros will save you money. The dramatic water saving; reduction in electricity through shorter cycles; using less detergent. Even with the extra cost of the beads, we project Xeros has the potential to save up to 30% of direct operating costs. On top, there is the indirect cost savings of faster through-put, less effluent and no need to tumble dry.

Because the process uses so little water, there is little reason for machine based drying techniques. Hanging the clothes to dry them should be sufficient.

The Xeros product is not yet ready for consumer use. Their website repeatedly says it is in prototype development, then it will undergo testing. Further they are not immediately targeting consumer use, but instead industrial use. This includes hospitals, military, and the dry cleaning industry.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Frozen into inaction on green technology by a demand for complete solutions

There are lots of known solutions to the negative effects of the technologies currently being used. Unfortunately there are several kinds of resistance to deploying the known better technologies. For instance the purveyors of existing technologies would feel threatened by new green technologies, and try to fight against adoption. One of the patterns I see are comments about a technology saying approximately "that's not really green because of <fill in the blank>". It doesn't matter how clean the new technology is, the complaint is it's not good enough unless it solves the entire problem.

By way of example I want to look at discussions regarding the just completed TTXGP race. The TTXGP is a Grand Prix race featuring zero emission motorcycles. It's first run was today, June 12, 2009, as part of the overall TT races on the Isle of Man. The TT races have existed for over 100 years and is a 37 mile course spread out over the island. It's a very demanding race that has long been a proving ground for advancing motorcycle technology. For the first time electric motorcycles are competing on the race course with an eye to using this venue to advance the state of the art of zero emission vehicles.

As an electric vehicle advocate I am thrilled that this race occurred. I am in awe of how well the bikes did on the course. The winner performed at 87 miles/hr average speed over the 37 mile length of the course, mountains and all. It's a great huge step forward for electric vehicles to make such a showing.

The official TT Race forum has a thread on the TTXGP and there are a mix of comments. Many are complaining about the slow speed (gas bikes are doing 120 miles/hr or more over the same course), and many are recognizing the accomplishment of electric motorcyclists showing up and doing as well as they did. e.g. "Sounds like a cross between a jet engine and food mixer from what i can hear " and "all joking aside i am very impressed these things are very special indeed i am pleased to say i have seen them" and "That would have been a competitive senior lap speed in the 1930s - when they ran 6 more laps than the TTXGP bikes will, and on much worse roads. Nevertheless it's a great start, I say well done to them."

To look at some of the negative comments:-

All the organisers can claim is it is the first electric race but not the first green race, far from it

Depends on how you define 'green' but is this comment meant to say it's not worth holding such a race unless you can be pure green?

Its not very green as all you're doing is storing the energy spent elsewhere and releasing it later. And its efficiency is very poor indeed, I would say unless you used solar charges (Which would take weeks) or wind turbines to charge the fuel cells, then a normal engined bike is probably greener.

But it was originally billed as carbon neutral. So why all electric? Surely other technologies, such as compressed air, alcohol fueled, hydrogen, methane etc. ?

The green lobby can't claim any points with these electric bikes, but with say alcohol fueled bikes, they could claim the fuel is, say, fermented green waste and not fossile fuel based for instance. Of course that wouldnt qualify for this race as it would still have emissions, but it would be greener than these electric bikes powered from coal/oil fired power stations at poor efficiency.

There are several misconceptions here and again the intent may be to say let's not do this until it can be perfect.

First, the TTXGP organizers defined it as "zero emission" not "electric". Apparently several teams considered using other technologies such as the ones that commenter mentioned but it was only electric bikes which made it to the starting line.

It's been shown in studies that electric vehicles have a smaller carbon footprint than equivalent gas powered vehicle, even when the electricity comes from a coal plant. This is because electric vehicles are so much more efficient than gas vehicles, and transporting electrons is more efficient than transporting gasoline. And by using electrons the electricity can come from a wide range renewable resources.

The other named technologies also store energy spent elsewhere into some medium. It takes energy to compress air, brew alcohol, extract hydrogen, extract methane, etc. The real question is which of the energy systems offer better efficiency and better flexibility. In my mind electricity scores very highly on all counts.

All this makes electric vehicles a big improvement over existing vehicles. But ignoring them due to perceived imperfection leaves us without deploying or using existing technologies that can make a big improvement to our collective lives.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Holistic Twitter


Green Living, Responsible Consumerism, the Law of Attraction, Organic and Wild Crafted Foods, Raw, Vegetarian and Vegan diets, Attachment Parenting, Natural Birth Options, Extended Breastfeeding, Co-Sleeping, Alternative Schooling, Social Media, Blogging, Internet Marketing, EFT, Alternative Healing Methods, Green / Environmental Technologies, Activism, Earth Friendly Diapering, Elimination Communication, Environmental Conservation, Delayed/Informed/Non-Vaccination... all this and more!

Friday, June 5, 2009

808 Investments LLC


A Boutique Investment Banking Firm. Their current focus is on helping America to focus on Renewable and Green Energy, in order to help reduce our dependence on Foreign Oil. They claim to have committed to acquiring or building 100 new Green Energy Power Plants, focusing on Cogeneration and Solar Technologies.

That is they appear to be managing a portfolio of investments or full ownership in green energy production facilities. In turn they offer investors to buy into their investment portfolio.