Daily Green Wrap-Up 15.December, 2011

Designed by architect Karl Wanaselja and his partner Cate Leger, this house in Berkeley, CA embodies the idea that “reusing trumps recycling.” Most of the car parts were salvaged from old Dodge Caravans, including the car panels used for siding. Since the panels offer up different shades of gray, which Wanaselja compares to fish scales, the lighter ones went on the north side of the house to give the neighbors a bit more reflected light.
When forward-thinking Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) Commissioner Gabe Klein reported for work on May 16 as part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s new administration, it marked a sea change in the city’s priorities.
We have the pleasure of working with hundreds of people every day that want to reduce their energy bills, go green and jump on the solar power bandwagon. And the question we see over and over again is: Just how much do I need and what will it cost?
As more and more places in the developed world join those already heavily reliant on non-domestic resources, it’s no wonder that folks in some developing nations might be worried about the future — and in Brazil, they are. According to the results of a new poll, half of all Brazilians surveyed are either certain, or strongly believe that within the next 20 years an attack will be waged on their homeland for control of the resource-rich Amazon rainforest. But who would do such a thing? Well, 37 percent say the United States is a likely aggressor.

That’s why a new battery demonstrated by Sony at the Eco-Products conference in Tokyo is so exciting: It runs on shredded paper or cardboard and it’s only “waste” product is water.

The simple description of what happens is that the battery functions by a mechanism similar to the way termites digest wood. The slightly more detailed description is that a solution of water and enzymes eat the paper, breaking down the cellulose in it and generating a current.

While it’s fine to indulge in holiday food and festivities, we should also be conscious of the impact our activities have on the planet. Studies reveal that waste in the US increases by a shocking 25% between Thanksgiving and New Years – that amounts to 1 million tons of trash per week! This fab info-graphic by Jay Jay Pow Pow shows us what gets tossed and wasted each holiday season, so you can read up on the facts and educate yourself on how to cut down on waste this year. Jay Jay even has some crafty ideas over at his site, including how to make cute little porcupine dolls from recycled Christmas tree pine needles.

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