Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Caring for planet increasingly tied to faith groups

By Nancy McLaughlin
Staff Writer at

"Abraham sits at the oaks. Deborah holds court under a palm tree. Moses speaks to a bush.

'I would say connecting this to the Bible is important for some people,' said Dr. Matthew Sleeth, a former hospital chief of staff who couldn't shake the faces of patients with seemingly increasing environment-related illnesses. So he quit his job, gave away half his belongings and began spreading the word on the urgency of people paying more attention to the environment.

Pointing out the symbolism of trees in Scripture has helped Sleeth link faith with personal responsibility. His book, 'Serve God and Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action,' is in its seventh printing. Sleeth also has a prominent role in the publication of an upcoming 'green Bible.'"

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Video - Veg My Ride - How to convert a diesel engine to run on vegetable oil - Instructional Video

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Iceland Has Power to Burn: The tiny island nation can teach the United States valuable lessons about energy policy

By Daniel Gross

at Newsweek

"The Blue Lagoon, Iceland's largest tourist destination, is a 100-degree melting pot. On a cold March day, as driving rain blows wisps of vapor from the nearby geothermal power plant, a group of Brazilian twentysomethings, a Japanese couple and teens from St. Paul's, the New Hampshire prep school, wade through the milky water and coat themselves in silica mud.

The lagoon was created entirely by accident. In the 1970s, the Svartsengi geothermal plant began to discharge water rich in salt, algae and silica, which turned into a kind of caulk. A pool formed in the featureless lava fields in western Iceland, and when locals jumped in, they found that it cleared up symptoms of skin ailments like psoriasis. Today, the Blue Lagoon sports a 15-room clinic and a spa that attracts 407,000 tourists annually. With revenue of $21 million and 200 workers, the Blue Lagoon is an Icelandic blue chip. "We are one of the 300 largest enterprises in Iceland," says Anna Sverrisdottir, managing director of the Blue Lagoon."

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Gadget Watch: Inflateable Solar-Panels and Eco-Laptops Have Arrived

Original post by Teresa Herrmann

"Blowing up over your water heater bill?

The UK-based engineering firm Industrial Design Consultancy (IDC) has plans to mass produce inflatable solar panels that will provide hot water at a fraction of the cost of conventional solar heaters.

The SolarStore panels, as they're called, use clear and black layers to create heat and insulation around water. The system, when inflated, measures 6 feet by 6 feet and can heat three full tanks of water per day. When deflated, it can be stored in a backpack.

Racking up temperatures of close to 176 degrees, each unit can curb carbon emissions by 0.2 tons a year, the company claims.

At a cost of $200, the trial data predicts the product could pay for itself in six months and be more cost effective than solar panel-based water heaters, which can cost upwards of $4,000.

Though the product could one day replace conventional solar water heating systems everywhere, IDC envisions the inflatable panels being used in developing nations where remote locations often lack access to reliable electricity supplies. "

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Wall Street Tells Big Coal: Not So Fast

Original Post by Jeffrey Ball

"Investors like certainty -- and if they aren't going to get it from Washington, they'll try to impose it themselves.
That's one lesson from today's announcement, first reported in the WSJ, that three big Wall Street investment banks are rolling out a new set of environmental standards to tighten their financing requirements for coal-fired power plants in the U.S.

Citigroup Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and Morgan Stanley say they expect a federal greenhouse-gas-emissions cap in the next few years that will make conventional coal-fired power plants riskier investments. Given that no one knows exactly what such a cap will look like, the banks say they’ll make some conservative assumptions as they screen power-plant financing requests starting now."

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Climate Change Reflections of the Pope's Visit to the US

Original Post by Carolynn

at The Skywriter, 1Sky's Blog

QUIZ: Who said the following?

“Indeed, the challenge of climate change is at once individual, local, national and global. Accordingly, it urges a multilevel coordinated response, with mitigation and adaptation programs simultaneously individual, local, national and global in their vision and scope.”


a) Stephen Johnson, Head of the EPA
b) Gillian Caldwell, Executive Director of 1Sky
c) Arnold Schwarzenegger
d) United Nation representative for the Pope
e) Van Jones, Green for All

The answer is D. Although the title of this post would give you a clue, this quote is from Monsignor Celestino Migliore, the UN representative for the Pope.

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Clergy urged to speak on environment

By Yonat Shimron
Staff Writer at
The Rev. Sally Bingham is the godmother of the environmental movement in the religious community.

Back in the 1990s, when religiously based environmentalists were still viewed as nature worshippers, she founded Episcopal Power & Light. Now called Interfaith Power & Light, the nonprofit organization has 27 chapters across the United States, including North Carolina. The mission of the organization is to mobilize a religious response to global warming through the promotion of renewable energy and conservation.

Bingham, the president of Interfaith Power & Light and the environmental minister at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, met with 20 religious leaders at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Raleigh last week. She said religious communities have made remarkable strides in addressing the intersection of faith and global climate change, and she encouraged them not to give up.

"You clergy need to talk about it," she said. "I think it should be in every single sermon.

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Friday, May 9, 2008

Gas Tax Distractions

Original post by Jason, May 1, 2008

"Oil is nearing $120/barrel, food prices are going up, ice sheets six times the size of Manhattan are falling off of Antarctica, and election season is in full swing. Now, more than ever, our politicians will respond to big problems with short term pandering. Case in point: increased demand for gasoline will make summer gas prices go up, and instead of telling us to drive less, 2/3 of the presidential candidates promise us two weekends of artificially low prices: (video).

Obviously this is a bad idea. and there are plenty of people backing that up. But to be honest, it's more of a symptom than anything else. Our leaders are responding to desperation with false hope at a time when we need some straight talk: 'Gas prices are high because global demand is high, because the entire world is replicating the unsustainable American way of life. To free ourselves from dependence on mostly and unpredictably priced commodities, we're going to need society-wide commitment to a long-term strategy that will wean us from our addiction to fossil fuels.'"

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Counting the Omer and Lent: New Eco-Spiritual Customs

"There has been a resurgence of interest in Sefirat HaOmer of late, as people are striving to reconnect with agricultural, natural cycles. While the Omer focuses on the maturation of the barley crop in Israel (as Liore taught a few posts ago), many of us have added a local focus as well. I live in Philadelphia and the Omer brackets a period of phenomenal greening and flowering as every dogwood and azalea struts its stuff. I love the progression of each flower and plant in a beautifully synchronized symphony of color, shape, fragrance and inflorescence."
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The Dream Reborn

"Reflections on the Dream Reborn"

Original post by Van Jones on April 11th, 2008

"This year, I was proud to help launch a new, national organization, Green For All. Our advocacy organization is committed to building an inclusive, green economy, strong enough to lift millions of people out of poverty.

Green For All wanted to do something special on April 4, 2008 - to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

So we did something unusual. We brought more than 1,000 people to Memphis, the Southern city where he was assassinated.

And then and there: we declared the Dream ... REBORN."
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