This Week’s Top 10 (8/19/07-8/25/07)

3 weeks of backlog…

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. São Paulo Stripped Of Outdoor Ads from Good Magazine

     São Paulo No Logo

    The Brazilian metropolis of São Paulo banned all outdoor advertising in January. The city’s populist, right-wing mayor, Gilberto Kassab was fed up with what he felt was “visual polution.”

    São Paulo No Logo (Flickr user Tony Demarco)

  2. Electricity in Africa: The Dark Continent from the Economist

    Few Africans in rural areas have access to electricity. Connecting them to national grids will be slow and expensive. Yet Lilliputian windmills, water mills, solar panels and biomass furnaces could have a big collective impact. The cost of lighting a shack takes 10% of income in the poorest households and the kerosene lamps are highly polluting. In response, the World Bank has rolled out “Lighting Africa”, an ambitious effort to get 250m of the poorest Africans on clean-energy lighting by 2030.

    Talk of the mass production of biofuels in Africa is premature, but advances have been made. Some investors are backing jatropha, a plant whose seeds produce an oil for burning in generators. There is also an effort to tap geothermal energy. The Great Rift Valley, from Eritrea to Mozambique, could produce 7,000MW. Kenya hopes to get 20% of its energy from geothermal sources by 2017.

    Definitely check out the rest of this article. It gives a nice overview of options that various African nations are weighing to fulfill their energy needs and where renewable energy/boosts in energy efficiency could fit in the mix.

  3. Uncovering an Ancient City Felled by Urban Sprawl from Treehugger

    With a population that approached 1 million and a surface area of more than 115 square miles, the Khmer city of Angkor in Cambodia was the largest preindustrial settlement on the planet. After coming into being during the ninth century A.D., it thrived for 6 centuries as a central hub for commerce and art — rising to eventually become the capital of the Khmer Empire — before it started its rapid and heretofore unaccountable decline. Until very recently, archaeologists had suspected warfare and changing religion were at the root of the settlement’s collapse.

    More on Jetson Green

  4. High Energy Thursday: Chad tries to go straight from Managing Globalization

    The story of oil in Chad is a tortuous one… But now, Chad’s government has agreed to participate in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which promises to track and trace every dollar of oil revenue in developing countries where corruption might be a problem. Is this a solution that can stop the oil curse?

  5. Bush Administration Declares War on Mountains and the People Who Live There from Wired

    President Bush is poised to issue regulations that will permit and encourage mountaintop mining, a controversial practice in which the tops of mountains are blasted off and dumped in nearby valleys.

    A relatively new practice, mountaintop mining was introduced two decades ago in the coal country of Appalachia. Since then, and in the absence of clear legal and regulatory guidance, it’s become a viciously controversial issue.

  6. Potato chip bag technology enlisted for solar industry from CNET

    The secret to producing thin-film solar cells comes in part from the snack food industry, says Ascent Solar.

    The Littleton, Colo.-based company says it will deploy high-speed thermal evaporators–the same equipment used to seal Doritos bags–to produce copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) solar cells.

  7. World Bank and Global Warming from Gristmill

    “Wolfowitz attempted to censor World Bank report on global warming,” from Greenwire ($ub req’d)

  8. India At 60 by Amartya Sen from Forbes

    It is 60 years now since I, like many other schoolchildren, stayed up till midnight, bleary-eyed, to hear Jawaharlal Nehru, soon to be prime minister of India, give his famous speech on India’s “tryst with destiny.”

  9. Aid Groups Urge U.S. to Revise Plan to Screen Their Workers from NYTimes

    A Bush administration proposal to screen foreign aid workers and recipients for possible ties to terrorists has drawn criticism from private and religious aid groups, but there were indications that it might be revised before being adopted, aid organizations and administration officials said Thursday.

  10. BOP Innovation Helps Kids Breathe from Next

    In high-income countries, asthma is usually a nuisance, but among the rural BOP, asthma can be a costly and deadly disease for victims who are unable to access treatment locally.

    Eric Green, a medical student at Stanford University, traveled to Mexico last year as part of a group from his “Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability” class. In Mexico, he found inspiration for the invention of a very low-cost asthma inhaler spacer, an apparatus that attaches to the medicine canister and enables young children to take the medicine. He named the apparatus “Respira!,” Spanish for “Breathe!”