Link of the Day: NPR's Climate Connections

NPR Climate Connections

NPR, in partnership with National Geographic, [has launched] a year-long journey around the globe to explore how climate is shaping people and people are shaping climate.

Climate Connections from NPR and National Geographic

Also of interest from National Geographic:
Forces of Nature

Weekly Intern Update (06/26/07)

from Nick Bianchi (Benny’s on vacation)

Here’s a snapshot of what the interns are doing this week in Xela:

Elena: Stove construction and training XT on stove making. Writing up stove production manual. Google mapping. Leaving Xela Friday!!

Nick: meet with ECAO regarding biodigestor site and future community surveys, AIDG accounting for June, develop XT GNUcash training and work schedule, draft articles for XT newsletter, scan important XT docs to foldershare, fix AIDG bikes.

Finalize and submit Cantaro Azul agreement??

Kristen: developing survey questions for wind turbine needs, calibrating anemometer, working with Jose on 3 phase controller, searching for small ACDC motor, starting Spanish School, continue to assist with biodigester installs (including XT demonstration).

Alia: Teco Tours logistics and planning! Setting up SolidWorks for work on Hydro, continue Spanish classes.

Alissa: Send out Solar Hot Water Heater design to Berkeley Group for approval and feedback. Get to work on pricing, developing budget and purchasing materials.

Blaze: ongoing roof construction work! Getting materials for walls, managing Fiona, and Carlos and their help in volunteering. Follow-up on past AIDG Community visits to determine project sites; work with others to develop community survey materials for various appropriate tech. products.

Carlos Poza: Roof Construction and materials procurement (possible surveys)

Fiona Wholey: Roof Construction and materials procurement

Interesting Goings On at Celsias

Celsias Exciting things are happening over at one of my favorite blogs, Celsias. They are relaunching their site this July and will be offering individuals, NGOs, companies, etc. opportunities to showcase their climate change projects online as well as solicit help from the masses.

Here are excerpts from their most recent press release:

Do you have a great idea for a climate change project?

Celsias ( is inviting individuals, not-for-profit organizations, companies and government departments to register their climate change projects online at Celsias. Celsias is compiling among the world’s first registers of projects that combat global warming. “Ordinary people all over the world are doing extraordinary things well away from the headlines,” says Nick Lewis, Celsias’ CEO. “We want to use the power of the Internet to multiply their effect many-fold by showing what a community of millions can do to address a global issue like climate change. It’s all about individuals each making a difference.”

Projects might include cleaning up a waterway, organizing an eco-conference on campus, providing low-emission stoves, writing a petition to stop the use of plastic grocery bags, bringing photovoltaic solar energy to villagers, or creating a website for young environmental professionals. “We are looking for projects that will inspire others to do the same in their communities, and the possibilities are endless. By registering your project on Celsias, you will soon be able to share your knowledge, learn from others, and avoid pitfalls,” explains Lewis.

Project leaders will also be able to raise the visibility of their projects, recruit volunteers, attract resources and solicit funding. “Think of Celsias as the ultimate climate change project planning resource,” says Lewis. “We urge people to register their climate change projects at today.”

Click here for more info.

New Uses for Old Shipping Containers (Photo & Video)

A quick survey of the many uses for recycled shipping containers. We’re interested in alternative structures for future AIDG shops.


Los Angeles

Architects are designing modern homes from the millions of excess shipping containers that are piling up at the port of LA due to the US trade deficit with China. By using the steel shipping containers as building material, homes can save 50% of construction costs, while reducing the waste and blight caused by trying to store them.

Container City, London (Dockland’s Area)

Container City, Trinity Buoy Wharf, London
Photo by Flickr user Pappa99

A clip from History Channel’s “Modern Marvels” about London’s Container City – a project which utilises end of life shipping containers into habitable accomodation.

British Columbia, Canada


Emergency Shelter/housing

Sean Godsell’s Future Shack

Sean Godsell's Future Shack

See Washington Post article: Future Shack: Home for the Displaced

Retail space


Coke Emblazoned Shop in Recycled Shipping Container
Photo by Flickr user tmms

Singapore (Puma Concept Store)

Puma Concept Store in Singapore
Photo by Flickr user pastrami44


Temporary Uniqlo Store
One of a few temporary locations for new UNIQLO stores in NYC. Source: PSFK


Designed with Haiti in mind

This is the TV segment of our final review at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, our 3rd and 4th year vertical studio designed and built a medical facility from a 20 foot shipping container.

For more information on the Doc in a box concept, see their project page on the Open Architecture Network.



Shipping Container/Karaoke Bar
Photo by Flickr user troutfactory

Data Center

Project Blackbox, Sun Microsystems

Project Blackbox from Sun Microsystems

Project Blackbox from Sun Microsystems

More Photos from CNET

See Lot-ek for more examples.

Shipping container home/research facility adjacent to World Heritage Rainforest site

This Week’s Top 10 (6/17/2007-6/23/2007)

Here are my favorite environment, health, climate change, international development or country specific blog posts (and articles) for the past week in no particular order.

  1. Snapshot Global Migration from NYTimes
    Snapshot: Global Migration
    This interactive map displays “the flow of people around the globe.”

    Also related: This past June 20 markedWorld Refugee Day.

  2. Vanity Fair’s Africa Issue via Green Options
    Vanity Fair's Africa Issue 2007

    And for you world music aficionados, see Senegalese singer, Youssou N’Dour’s music playlist that you can buy from iTunes for a tenner. Some of the proceeds go to help the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Good stuff.

  3. Senate Passes Energy Bill from Washington Post

    The Senate passed a sweeping energy legislation package last night that would mandate the first substantial change in the nation’s vehicle fuel-efficiency law since 1975 despite opposition from auto companies and their Senate supporters.

    Also see Democrats Celebrate Senate Energy Vote from NPR
    Among other things, the law mandated an increase of CAFE standards from 27.5 mpg for cars to 35mpg by 2020. Okay, progress on this issue is good, but a measly 35mpg! That’s the best we good do? Grrrr arrrggh!

  4. Wal-Mart banks on cashless society from PSD Blog

    Wal-Mart extends financial services to low-income customers. The world’s largest retailer will sell prepaid payment cards at over 3300 of its discount stores in the U.S.

  5. China overtakes US as world’s biggest CO2 emitter from Guardian (UK)
    Alas. Repent, for the end is nigh!

    Some less doomsday insights from Gristmill: One more truth about China and climate change

  6. World Economic Forum: Towards an Electranet? from World Changing
    An interesting discussion on the feasibility of decentralized energy production in Africa.

    [Currently] Africa is 20% electrified, and that figure includes South Africa and the wealthier countries of North Africa – the electrification figures in poor countries is probably under 5%.

  7. Study Says 13 Million Deaths a Year Could Be Prevented from Treehugger

    A recent report out of Europe indicates that tackling air pollution, contaminated drinking water and other environmental risks could save 13 million lives annually around the globe. Released by the World Health Organization, the report shows that Angola, Burkina Faso, Mali and Afghanistan to be among the countries most affected by environmental risk factors including noise pollution, hazardous working conditions, problematic agricultural methods, and climate change. Interestingly, in 23 of the 192 countries on which the report focused more than 10 percent of deaths can be traced to just two factors, unsafe drinking water and indoor air pollution because from the burning of wood, cow dung or coal. [Emphasis added]

    And lest those of us in the first world come away with the impression that we’re immune to environmental problems, the report also highlights the fact that an estimated 1.8 million deaths could be prevented each year in the 53 nations spanning the greater European Union if more efforts were made to create a healthier environment in that part of the world as well.

  8. Stick a fork in it – it’s done from Mangaging Globalization
    It’s not looking so good for this round of WTO talks.

    The United States, which once offered to drop all farm subsidies (if the European Union would as well), is now saying it can only cap its subsidies at $17 billion. That’s $6 billion higher than they are now. And that’s a lot of cotton.

    Also interesting from Managing Globalization: Q & A with Than Trong Phuc on the success of Intel in Vietnam.

  9. BOP Business School for Rural Women from THD Blog
  10. Water for free means no water at all from Acumen Fund