3 of the World’s Most Ambitious Green Buildings

sustainablog –

The race to go green has driven the construction of several enormous projects around the world. Some have failed, while others have been resounding successes. While some people have made changes in their own lives to go green, such as driving more fuel efficient cars and switching to organic produce…

Continue reading “3 of the World’s Most Ambitious Green Buildings”

We and the Earth are largely made up of water – which can be changed with our thoughts!

Water…

The Earth is largely made up of it.
As are we…

And yet about it we know significantly little.

This is a picture of a water crystal after pronouncing the word LOVE to it. Isn’t it amassing?

Until the groundbreaking work of a pioneer Japanese researcher whose astonishing discovery about water, documented photographically, changed most of what we didn’t know…and led to a new consciousness of Earth’s most precious resource.

Dr. Masaru Emoto was born in Japan and is a graduate of the Yokohama Municipal University and the Open International University as a Doctor of Alternative Medicine. His photographs were first featured in his self-published books Messages from Water 1 and 2. The Hidden Messages in Water was first published in Japan, with over 400,000 copies sold internationally.

What has put Dr. Emoto at the forefront of the study of water is his proof that thoughts and feelings affect physical reality. By producing different focused intentions through written and spoken words and music and literally presenting it to the same water samples, the water appears to “change its expression”.

Essentially, Dr. Emoto captured water’s ‘expressions.’ He developed a technique using a very powerful microscope in a very cold room along with high-speed photography, to photograph newly formed crystals of frozen water samples. Not all water samples crystallize however. Water samples from extremely polluted rivers directly seem to express the ‘state’ the water is in.

Dr. Masaru Emoto discovered that crystals formed in frozen water reveal changes when specific, concentrated thoughts are directed toward them. He found that water from clear springs and water that has been exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex, and colorful snowflake patterns. In contrast, polluted water, or water exposed to negative thoughts, forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colors.

The implications of this research create a new awareness of how we can positively impact the earth and our personal health. The success of his books outside Japan has been remarkable. Dr. Emoto has been called to lecture around the world as a result and has conducted live experiments both in Japan and Europe as well as in the US to show how indeed our thoughts, attitudes, and emotions as humans deeply impact the environment.

read more > What the Bleep

 

How Water Works – do you know?

In its purest form, it’s odorless, nearly colorless and tasteless. It’s in your body, the food you eat and the beverages you drink. You use it to clean yourself, your clothes, your dishes, your car and everything else around you. You can travel on it or jump in it to cool off on hot summer days. Many of the products that you use every day contain it or were manufactured using it. All forms of life need it, and if they don’t get enough of it, they die. Political disputes have centered around it. In some places, it’s treasured and incredibly difficult to get. In others, it’s incredibly easy to get and then squandered. What substance is more necessary to our existence than any other? Water.

Read More:  How Stuff Works

What To Buy Organic: The 8 Most Buzzed-About Organic Foods

What Should We Be Eating?

If you try to Google for information on the food that’s most important to buy and eat organic, it’s a tad confusing. Every list seems to focus on a few different things, usually driven by nutrition and meal plan bias. So rather than dig through a lot of conflicting lists, I thought it would be interesting to see what organic foods consumers discuss the most.
organic food

I was amazed to see that these main food categories all have similar volume. As consumers, we’re buzzing about a wide variety of organic foods. Interestingly, animal products are the big winners, even if by a small margin. There has been ample coverage, mostly in books and films, on the state of the meat and dairy industry in the US; perhaps there is slightly more consumer awareness that drives these conversations.

Per Capita Buzz

I thought it would also be interesting to look at volume of conversation per capita to see if there are any states that stand out in their conversation around, or awareness of, organic. 

The standout regions are the West Coast and Northern New England/New York State. Indiana, Wyoming, and Georgia were also standouts (though worth noting that Wyoming had a total of 94 mentions to Texas’ 1,000+).

Noteworthy Themes

Apparently, as consumers we talk about chicken more than beef. And we’re really interested in information that includes scientific backing, or at least mentions scientists. Also interesting that the UK’s Organic Trade Board, tweeting under @whyiloveorganic, pops up.

While I don’t have the answer to what exactly are the best products to buy organic, I will be interested to see how these trends change over time. Right now, the volume of conversation is lower than I expected, at just over 100,000 mentions in 6 months in everything from tweets to recipe blogs to Facebook conversation. I think we will see volume growth as consumers continue to get more education on the importance of organic, and brands like our client, Horizon Organic, have the kind of distribution that make organic increasingly accessible.

This article was originally published on Capture The Conversation.

Leaf-Mimicking Design Boosts Output of Solar Panels

e360 digest

Leaf Mimicking Solar Panel

By adding microscopic folds onto the surface of photovoltaic materials, a design variation borrowed from a natural leaf, researchers say they have been able to boost the solar output of flexible plastic solar cells by 47 percent. According to the scientists, who published their findings in the journal Nature Photonics, the folds acted as a sort of “wave guide,” channeling light waves and increasing the material’s exposure to light. “I expected that it would increase the photocurrent because the folded surface is quite similar to the morphology of leaves, a natural system with high light harvesting efficiency,” said Jong Bok Kim, a researcher from Princeton University and lead author of the study. “However, when I actually constructed solar cells on top of the folded surface, its effect was better than my expectations.” And since the researchers used relatively inexpensive plastic materials — as opposed to the more expensive silicon commonly used in panels — they hope their findings will help lead to a cheaper and efficient source of solar power.

Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
.

Esther Dyson on Charter Cities

Charlotte van den Hout –

The Long Now Foundation:

In a recent article on Slate, Long Now Board member Esther Dyson takes up the concept of Charter Cities – Paul Romer’s model for the creation of prospering, sustainable zones of urban life, about which he spoke at a 02009 SALT lecture. Dyson suggests that Romer’s business-model approach to the construction and functioning of urban centers could work not only for new cities, but for old ones as well.

Cities already behave a bit like corporations, she writes. With greater flexibility and open borders, cities can compete for “customers” in a way that countries cannot, and are more directly involved in the daily lives of citizens. Dyson argues that a little more market-style competition can compel existing metropolises to improve their infrastructure and resources as a way to attract potential citizens. This investment will pay off in the form of flourishing residents, who in turn will bring in additional resources and allow the city to prosper. On a larger scale, a prospering city will then compel its neighboring towns to improve their own functioning as well, to become better competitors on the market of citizens and resources.

In the end, it’s all about the long view: it’s about encouraging civilization to prosper as a whole. Cities are an appropriate unit of civilization to work with, Dyson writes, because they have shown more long-term stability than countries or empires:

“Most cities have grown, through evolution, from unpremeditated beginnings. Moreover, they rarely die. Cities (and their imperfections) persist in a way that large political entities, even those of which they are a part, do not. Compare, say, Athens, Jerusalem, Vienna, Beijing, Moscow, or Istanbul, to the Roman Empire, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, Imperial Russia, the Third Reich, or the Soviet Union. And, as we are seeing worldwide nowadays, national governments are difficult to overturn and also difficult to (re)build. Democracy does not always lead to liberty or good outcomes. So, perhaps cities are the right place and have the right scale for massive social change.”

Wastewater treatment…evolved

Living Machines –

The idea of using wetland ecologies to clean polluted water was first conceived by Dr. Käthe Seidel, a biologist at the Max Plank Institute, in the early 1950s. Though she was often opposed by colleagues (who sometimes disparaged her as “Bulrush Kate”), Dr. Seidel conducted experiments throughout the 1950s and 60s which showed that plants and microorganisms could clean water much more effectively than had previously been thought.

The idea was taken up by many ecological designers in the 1970s and 80s. One of these was Dr. John Todd, who designed what he called living machines which sought to marry technology with natural processes to create an environmentally responsible way to treat wastewater on site.

Early model Living Machine®, Findhorn Foundation, Moray, UK

The vegetation in Todd’s systems required greenhouses, and were planted on top of “activated sludge” containers. To produce usable water, they required a settling tank called a Secondary Clarifier, which separates a large amount of messy, smelly sludge from the water. The sludge produced by these systems must be disposed of frequently.

Todd’s versions of the Living Machine® were an innovative effort, but they didn’t get consistent treatment, and could not be made to be simple and cost effective. In 1999, Tom Worrell, an investor and partner of Dr. Todd’s, acquired the Living Machine concept, the company, and all of its intellectual property from Dr. Todd. He then put his engineers to work making the technology practical, reliable, and cost efficient.

One of Worrell’s first ground rules was “No Clarifiers.” He wanted a system that would not depend on activated sludge to do the core of the work. The result was the first Living Machines® that used a wetlands model to treat the water without generating troublesome biowaste that needs disposal.

Wetlands Living Machine® at El Monte Sagrado Resort, Taos, NM

The Next Generation Living Machines® developed by Worrell Water Technologies use beneficial microorganisms (incorporated via engineered biofilms), wetlands plantings, and sophisticated control systems to reliably and efficiently produce water treated to the highest standards. They are stable, healthy, living ecosystems which require less energy to operate, and less work to maintain, than competing treatment systems. They also have a much smaller footprint, and operate in a way that produces no excess waste to be carried away.

Next Generation Living Machines® can be designed for indoor or outdoor applications across a wide variety of climates. For a description of how they work, see our How it Works page.

To read about The Living Machine® in action, go to our Portfolio page.

For more technical information, see our Resources page.

The Sustainability Sweet Spot

Alison Singer – Worldwatch Institute –

What does a truly sustainable country look like?  How do you measure true sustainability in a country? One way has been to compare how well a country achieves human needs, and at what ecological cost. Continue reading “The Sustainability Sweet Spot”

Ancient Hawaiian Civilizations Reveal Ways to Manage Fisheries for Sustainability

Science Daily –

Ancient Hawaiian Fisheries a Model of Sustainability
Ancient Hawaiian Fisheries a Model of Sustainability

“Ancient Hawaiian society effectively practiced what we now call Ecosystem-Based (Fisheries) Management, which is something that modern society often struggles to achieve,” … “Incorporating some of these ancient techniques into today’s policy may be the key to sustaining our fisheries.”

Ancient Fisheries Management

Green Building and the Divine Feminine

by: Elizabeth Diane

Many people have raised evocative discussions about Green Building lately, dissecting, analyzing and attempting to define exactly what it means.  Does it mean racking up as many LEED points as possible?  Reversing the greenhouse effect by installing solar panels and insulating well?  Or to build like indigenous cultures, with what local, natural earth and organic materials are available?

Perhaps there are many “shades of green” for all the definitions. However you define “green”, it is important to remember why we are even having this discussion.  It has everything to do with our relationship with nature and the imbalanced societies we have created.  When we produce and build on a massive scale with no sense of “enough”, we have tipped the scales and now we are seeing the results in ever-degraded global environments.  Since we live in a material world of opposing/complimentary forces, it is relevant to look at the Divine Feminine and the Sacred Masculine to illustrate what is happening on Gaia, the ancient name for Mother Earth.  Most ancient cultures, such as the Greeks, Egyptians, Hindu, Aztecs, Chinese, Norse, Mayan, Celtic and many others, had their gods and goddesses that together balanced their cosmology and affected their societies.  Those societies that ignored the lessons of balance created either a matriarchy or a patriarchy. Continue reading “Green Building and the Divine Feminine”