Archive for March, 2007

Sport Utility Bicycle (S.U.B.)

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

Sport Utility Bicycle (S.U.B.) from xtracycle.com 6 new S.U.B. models starting at $599.00
Much of urban driving is just running errands to various stores to get a few items. Why use a truck disguised as a car to carry a few groceries? More people are dumping the gas guzzling SUV’s for the clean and green S.U.B.’s. These bikes are built not only lightweight, compact and strong but can easily carry your groceries, supplies, even another passenger. Xtracycle has a photo gallery that shows images and videos of creative uses of the S.U.B. to carry an amazing amount of stuff, one photo shows a guy with a kitchen table and chairs on the back. If more people used bikes to get around not only would there be less pollution, we could see a lot more people in shape and having healthier lifestyles. Here is another link to their page on the bicycle lifestyle.

Online Climate Challenge Game

Friday, March 30th, 2007

Climate Challenge
The BBC has a new online game that makes you president of the European Nations and must tackle global climate change from 2000 to 2100. You choose the policies that will hopefully avoid ecological disaster. If you go to far people will vote you out of office – if you don’t do enough… well, you don’t need a game to tell you what happens with that, just read the news or look out your window!
via: ecogeek
and cocolico

Earth friendly Lawn mowing

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

The Brill Push mower
The Brill Luxus reel mower at Clean Air Gardening $219.00

Noisy lawnmowers will soon be belching smelly greenhouse gases and stressing out busy homeowners who would rather be doing almost anything other than mowing the lawn. In our previous post we looked at the many environmental problems of the traditional lawn and glanced at some alternative approaches and gave some great links to sites looking at this issue in a more comprehensive manner.

Here we want to look at some new advances in eco-friendly tools for lawn care. The most affordable and most environmentally sound way to cut your grass is with a manual/push reel mower. Good state of the art push mowers have advanced quite a bit from what was available 20 years ago, they are now highly efficient, very easy to use and very quiet. It is also a great way to get some exercise and check out what’s going on in the neighborhood.

There are many models to choose at clean air gardening.com as well as lots of useful information about eco-friendly ways to take care of your yard. They also offer cordless electric push mowers which eliminate most of the pollution commonly found in gas-powered mowers. They are good for the smaller – medium sized yard and are priced more affordable compared to robotic electric and solar mowers.

Husqvarna Automower

The Swedish company Husqvarna makes a solar powered robotic mower which is probably the most eco-friendly option but sadly is not available in the United States and is more expensive than most of us would find feasible. They make another robotic auto-mower model, while not solar, is still less polluting than the gas-powered. It is amazing to think that once you set up the instillation, with basic guide wires that define your yards perimeter – you can then just sit back and let the robot take care of your yard. All you have to do is routine maintence and follow the instructions for proper care – and you can reclaim your weekends again. However, despite what they say about how completely safe these robots are – I would still prefer to keep a watchful eye out that the robot isn’t going after the cat when I wasn’t looking! The Hasqvarna website explains in detail how it works and where you might find dealers.
ConsumerSearch.com has some useful information and reviews on the various robotic electric mowers here. And here is link to another company, Friendly Robotics, which also carries a robotic electric mower worth considering.

Time to plan for a greener lawn

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

Earth-Friendly Lawns, Lawn Alternatives and Lawn Care Gadgets

Spring is a good time to start thinking about how to handle the yard this year. GreatGreenGadgets will celebrate spring with a two-part article on greening your lawns.

Increasingly, people today are starting to reconsider the traditional lawn. Lawns have only been around for most middle class people for 100 years or so in the US. Suburbian lawns as we know it today really became widely popular after WWII. to the extent that now lawns are the largest irrigated crop in the United States, three times larger than corn.

According to the wiki on lawns “Approximately 50-70 percent of U.S. residential water is used for landscaping, most of it to water lawns.” Vast amounts of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides are applied over lawns creating significant hazards to the environment and to people. The average suburban lawn received 10 times as much chemical pesticide per acre as farmland. Greenhouse gas pollution from lawn mowers is yet another major problem. The EPA estimates that gasoline-powered mowers and other lawn care equipment – accounts for more than 5 percent of urban air pollution. Per hour of operation, a gas lawn mower emits 10-12 times as much hydrocarbon as a typical auto. Lawns also use up large areas of land that might otherwise be used for crops. Additionally, some people are starting to question if lawns even look that great, and look to creative alternatives with native grasses, flowers and other plants instead of the uniform blandness of suburban lawns.

However, lawns also have many benefits and positive features such as it helps to prevent erosion, with oxygen conversion, helps with cooling the air and surface and offsets asphalt, cement and rooftop heat traps. In comparison to bare dirt, a lawn may be 20 degrees cooler on a hot day, and up to 40 degrees cooler than cement surfaces. Not the least is the fact that grass is fun for kids, pets and all people to hang out in. Clearly lawns are a significant force to reckon with.

If you live in a desert or drought prone area then you will may want to join with the many who have turned to native desert landscaping or Xeriscaping instead of the traditional lawn. Here is a link that takes a look at this trend.

Here is a link to Eartheasy.com where they talk about many earth-friendly alternatives to the traditional lawn. However, when all is said and done, most people today are going to prefer to stick with the traditional lawn in some form or other. You can certainly make your lawn care environmentally responsible in a variety of ways. Another Eartheasy page comprehensively discusses ways to make your lawn green. If you live in the country or just adventurous you might find this Grist article on goats as the new hip way to manage weeds in an earth friendly manner.

Here are some more links to eco-friendly lawn care sites:
Extremely Green Organic Gardening Supplies
New American Dream Lawn Care

Our next post looks at various gadgets and devices for greener lawn care.

Lightweight, waterproof and rollable Solar Panels

Monday, March 26th, 2007

Brunton SolarRolls

The Brunton SolarRoll is an earth friendly solution for people needing a powerful but lightweight power supply when hiking, camping or boating. No heavy batteries to lug around or to wind up in landfills. The waterproof SolarRoll has been used by sea kayaker’s as their power source for photographic equipment on long voyages in extreme environments. Other uses have been to power satellite phones, and in mountain climbing expeditions. Can also be used to recharge batteries, recharging digital and video cameras, charging laptops, charging cell phones and many other electric needs.

Comes in three sizes the SolarRoll 14 $339.95 (the largest) 12″x57″ open weighs 17 oz. with a maximum output of 14 watts, SolarRoll 9 $239.95 10.6 oz with 9 watts, and the SolarRoll 4.5 $149.95 at 6.4 oz. and max output of only 4.5 watts (enough to recharge a pda and cell phones)
greatoutdoorsdepot.com sells them for the above prices (prices are much higher on the Brunton website)

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