Walmart and organics – progress or hype?

In 2006, in an effort to modernize and broaden its appeal to a wider urban customer base, Walmart announced it was launching a push to sell more organic food. And although numerous consumer groups met the announcement with some skepticism, a number of manufacturers rushed to create organic versions of their products to meet the megaretailer’s demands.

Six years later, it’s interesting to look at how successful Walmart has been.

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Innovative Waterboxx can help make arid lands fertile again

The Goasis Waterboxx holds the key to turning arid lands fertile again

 
 

 

Deforestation and clmate change are two main contributors to the steady expansion of desertification around the globe.

The winner of the 2010 Popular Science Best of What’s New Innovation of the Year may well help to turn this potential global calamity around.

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Electrolux Vacs from the Sea – vacuums made from reclaimed ocean garbage

Plastic trash that's washed up on beaches off the coast of Baja, California

There’s a lot of garbage in our oceans.

The majority of it’s plastic. Marine life like sharks, dolphins, whales, fish, even birds mistake it for food and try to eat it, often suffering starvation because they can’t digest it.

Almost all our oceans contain plastic “gyres” – accumulated plastic trash that’s been swept out to sea or been dumped and carried by currents into a swirling maelstrom. Gyres exist in the northern Pacific Ocean (the Great Pacific Garbage Patch) said to be larger than the state of Texas), the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

Electrolux Vacs from the Sea collection are made with reclaimed ocean plastics

Swedish-based Electrolux – international manufacturer of quality appliances including their well-known vacuum cleaners – has taken on the issue, launching a global initiative to work with organizations to begin recovering plastic from the ocean.

For more on this story, see http://bit.ly/deRYeM. And to learn more information on Electrolux’s campaign to recover plastic from the sea, go to http://bit.ly/9G4wfL.

Senate fails to take on climate change legislation

Party lines seem more important to US Senators than climate change

In what can only be seen as a major failure on the part of our country’s top politicians to put the welfare of their constituents ahead of their own interests, the U.S. Senate has allowed a majority of its members to block that august body from taking up a comprehensive  clean energy and climate change bill.

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Three U.S. airlines sue UK over carbon emissions plan

Continental AirlinesIn typical fashion, three U.S.-based airlines – American, Continental and United Airlines have filed suit, along with the Air Transport Association, to stop initial implementation of EU emission trading regulations for the  aviation industry.

The EU’s cap and trade system caps CO2 emissions, requiring polluters  – including all airlines -to purchase offsets in order to continue operating within EU airspace. Earlier this year the UK started allowing its Environment Agency to fine UK airlines that don’t those emissions standards,

In their complaint, the three American air carriers and the ATA stated that the rules were in violation of a 2007 bilateral air transport agreement between the U.S. and EU. They argue that a flight from London to the U.S. would almost  exclusively occur outside EU airspace.

Ironically, the ATA has repeatedly called for a global solution to limit aviation emissions.

Seems like talk is one thing but actions are another animal altogther. Hmm – business as usual?

New process uses less energy for desalination

Desalination – the ability produce much needed freshwater from seawater – has always been an expensive and energy-intensive proposition. But Vancouver, B.C. cleantech company Saltworks Technologies (http://3.ly/TXO) is about to revolutionize the industry.

Utilizing an innovative thermo-ionic energy conversion system, Saltworks will be able to reduce energy by harnessing low.temperature heat and atmospheric dryness. The system works best in the dry regions that need water.

“The greatest challenge for the desalination industry is to increase the energy efficiency of the process faster than the price of generating electricity from fossil fuels,” says industry tracker Global Water Intelligence (GWI) http://3.ly/R2p.

With their innovative Thermo-IonicTM energy conversion system, Saltworks’ patent pending technology will use up to 80 percent less electrical/mechanical energy relative to leading desalination technologies by harnessing low temperature heat and atmospheric dryness to overcome the desalination energy barrier.

For more on this exciting breakthrough, see http://3.ly/V4h.

UN indicates lowered expectations from environmental summit in Copenhagen

Indications that this December’s  Copenhagen summit might not achieve its environmental goals came yesterday when Janos Pasztor, Director of the UN Secretary-general’s Climate Change Support Team, said he doesn’t expect any solid agreement to emerge, based on the lack of a comprehensive climate bill from the U.S. Congress and a lack of consensus from industrialized nations.

The UN still plans to push governments toward forging the content of an agreement, he said, even though the talks may not produce a binding treaty.

This is a discouraging prediction that, if true, hold serious global ramifications.