Archive for July, 2007

People power

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

If you think people have an energy deficit when it comes to improving the world, read on.

The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is attempting to set a world record by planting 10 million trees in a single day on Tuesday. Officials say the plantings are designed to raise awareness of the need to protect the environment.

In all, 10,266,736 saplings will be planted at 9,320 sites across Uttar Pradesh’s 70 districts. The record stands at 852,587 trees, planted in 6,284 locations in Tamil Nadu state over three days in 2006.

Forestry officials told the BBC’s Ram Dutt Tripathi, in Lucknow, that the location of the sites would be recorded using GPS technology so the record can be independently verified.

Many people have been contacting forest officials wanting to plant trees. Nearly half the trees will be planted by local farmers, officials said.

The Guinness Book of Records told the BBC they had been notified of the world record attempt and were waiting for confirmation.

“The forest department need to put together all their information,” a spokeswoman said. “Once they send us their verification pack we can go through all the evidence and decide whether to accept the record.”

From today’s BBC Online; thanks to Marion Drobig for the link.


Driving on sunlight

Monday, July 30, 2007

If it’s this simple, why – asks ‘Richard’, who converted his car to run 40 miles on one charge of electricity – aren’t more people ‘driving on sunlight’?

Via Got2BeGreen.

If you think this is funky, check out the suggestion to hook up electricity-generating stationery cars to the electricity grid.

Deakin’s ‘Wildwood’ pt.II

Monday, July 30, 2007

Twilight, the gradual softening of the day into darkness, is surely the gentlest, most natural way to prepare for sleep. And yet it is a pleasure we deny ourselves with the switch on the bedside lamp. Even the guttering of a candle or the afterglow of a paraffin lantern is less abrupt. A couple of generations ago most country people went to bed when it was dark, at least in summertime. And so we miss the time of darkling shades in which our pupils dilate by slow degrees and dreams drift in as, wide-eyed, we enter the rook-black night.

– from the late author, Roger Deakin’s recently-published ‘Wildwood – A Journey Through Trees’ (pp.47-8).

Deakin’s ‘Wildwood’

Monday, July 30, 2007

I may have assumed for too long that trees are passive bystanders in relation to human society. Yes, they breathe out oxygen, but they just stand there, and occasionally wave about in the wind, right? Well, not quite. The ‘widow-makers’ alluded to by the late Roger Deakin, in his recently published, and enthralling book, ‘Wildwood – A Journey Through Trees’, puts such an assumption into perspective:

Some of the other trees, mostly cherries, lean at odd angles, monuments to past storms. These are called widow-makers by lumberjacks because of the explosive energy in the sprung trunk, coiled to kick back and fling the saw in your face or just knock you flat. (p.47)

20th September 2001

Monday, July 30, 2007

Via Memex 1.1.

Also of interest might be…

…the US Public Broadcasting Service’s documentary on the media’s incredible lack of questioning (aka complicity?) in the run-up to the Iraq war…

… and the interview with the founder-director of the Real News, on why he set it up.

Seduction rather than statistics

Monday, July 30, 2007

Lovely article by Madeleine Bunting, writing in today’s Guardian on the writing genre that puts ‘centre stage the interconnectedness between human beings and the wild’. Some of its commenters question whether the genre is really that new, which seems a fair point – but the article’s worth reading in full.

Renewing our relationship with the natural world, on which our wellbeing depends, is at the heart of this genre of writing – but it presses its case not with statistics and fear of apocalyptic scenarios of global warming, but with seduction, urging on readers an aesthetic case for the spectacular beauty that lies beyond their windscreen if they can be bothered to stop the car and get out.

Another quote of the day

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Elspeth Thompson writing about her coastal home, having been reading about the likely effects of global warming:

Suddenly, I’m inordinately glad that our plans for the house include bedrooms upstairs. The initial motive was the sea view, but safety now seems the prerogative. All the scare mongering in the world won’t stop me wanting to live in this beautiful place. But the sound of the sea as I lie in bed at night is no longer the soothing lullaby it was.

Sunlight between the rains

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Britain has been deluged, like other parts of the world. Floods in northern counties a few weeks ago, west of England last week… and the rains continue. Maybe this is the sign of things to come. (Something I’ve been meaning to do for a while has been to check the height above sea level of my home: 43 metres, according to Earth Tools.)

Despite finding a leak in my bedroom when the rain has been particularly torrential, I like the nest that is my flat, with its two skylights letting in welcome sunlight between the downpours-


These shelf-steps and mezzanine level have proved a nifty design solution for an awkward space, providing storage space for coats, shoes and bits and bobs –


Quote of the day

Saturday, July 28, 2007

There are no existing formulas for new thinking.

From the well-named website of the US advertising agency, Fusebox, where they recommend running a mile should an advertising agency claim they have a patented process for generating ideas. ‘Such processes are designed for efficiently replicating past ideas and leave little room for the unique and novel.’ The website begins with stories or aphorisms connected to electricity – which are different each time you visit (just refresh the page for a different angle).