Daily Green Wrap-up 29.November, 2012

Wow! We launched this new fossil fuel divestment campaign this November 7 and in less than a month campaigns have sprung up on over 100 colleges and universities across the country. From big schools like the University of Michigan to small liberal arts colleges like Amherst, the idea of divestment is spreading like wildfire.
Worldwide attention is particularly focused on climate after a number of respected and typically conservative global institutions — including The World Bank, United Nations Environment Program, International Energy Agency, PwC — in reports released in the weeks leading up to Doha painted grim pictures of the risks of extreme climate change.
Our friend Elizabeth from Streetfilms has created a great video on how East Harlem had to fight to get the safe streets it deserves. In 2010, New York City’s Department of Transportation originally had planned separated bike lanes that went all the way up to East Harlem only to later change its plans. But thanks to the local community putting pressure on elected officials, East Harlem has finally gotten ‘complete streets’ that are safer and more convenient for cyclists.
A number of towns around the country have put their bid in for “capital” of particular renewable energy technologies: Rock Port, Missouri, for instance, is completely powered by wind, and Reynolds, Indiana was shooting for the title of Biotown USA. Solar’s still competitive on this front, but, today, Riverside, California tossed its hat in the ring for the title of America’s Solar City (or however you want to phrase it).
“I was not vegetarian till about five decades ago, but when I saw hens being abused on an animal farm, I decided to become vegetarian,” he said. ”The media must play an important role, and even the younger generation must be informed about moral ethics through education.”
  • (Ally)GreenJoyment: What an incredibly interesting article! As a vegetarian myself, I agree that vegetarianism is a great choice if you’re worried about animal cruelty or the scary realities of factory-farming. I think it’s important to consider the varied reasons that people choose a veg lifestyle. For me, I’m concerned about hormones in meat and sketchy processing practices. At the bottom of this article, there are several comments disparaging the Dalai Lama’s personal flip-flopping on the issue, but it’s imperative to keep in mind the importance of cultural differences relating to food and hospitality among Tibetan monks. I fully support vegetarianism, but it seems close-minded to eschew cultural relativism in this case.
Solar technology is beginning to heat up, thanks to researchers at Rice’s Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP). Scientists have developed a method of solar thermal heating that generates steam at the nanoparticle level. The new “solar steam” process is so efficient that vapor can be created from icy cold water. In addition to electricity generation, the new technique also has applications in water purification and sanitation.
The latest round of ARPA-E grants was just announced and among the 66 cleantech projects that received funding was GE’s latest wind technology development: fabric wind turbine blades. When I first read this, I was imagining something that looked like sails, but the structure of the blade will remain pretty much the same except instead of fiberglass, a super-strong architectural fabric will be wrapped around the blade frame.
The installed cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) power continues its precipitous decline, mostly due to falling prices for PV panels. Pushing solar forward in coming years will involve driving down the other costs — the non-panel costs.

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