Promoting Sanitation in Bangladesh [World Bank, YouTube]

Building latrines, et al was the easy part. Getting community members to change behavior en masse was another matter entirely. The end results are great, but goodness social marketing (like any other type of marketing) is a manipulative undertaking.

Duration: 9min 44sec

Awakening – Total Sanitation in Bangladesh – Part 2
Awakening – Total Sanitation in Bangladesh – Part 3

[tags] World Bank, Bangladesh, sanitation, video [/tags]


This Week’s Top 10 (11/18/07-11/24/07)

  1. Bangladesh’s cyclone: Yet another calamity from the Economist

    THE heinously overcrowded patch of delta that is Bangladesh found itself in a painful and familiar position on Monday November 19th. The country is struggling to cope with the aftermath of a natural calamity—in this case cyclonic winds that tore across the southern coastline four days before, killing several thousand people.

    The government estimates that over 3,000 people have been killed, although many afflicted areas are still out of reach to rescuers. The Bangladeshi Red Crescent society predicts that the toll will climb above 10,000. The government also estimates that around 3m victims of the storm will need feeding and rehousing.

    See also: Cyclone Sidr: A hurricane by any other name from How the World Works

  2. New York Manhole Covers, Forged Barefoot in India from NYTimes

    NYC Manhole Covers

    Definitely view interactive video.

    NEW DELHI — Eight thousand miles from Manhattan, barefoot, shirtless, whip-thin men rippled with muscle were forging prosaic pieces of the urban jigsaw puzzle: manhole covers.

    Manhole covers manufactured in India can be anywhere from 20 to 60 percent cheaper than those made in the United States, said Alfred Spada, the editor and publisher of Modern Casting magazine and the spokesman for the American Foundry Society. Workers at foundries in India are paid the equivalent of a few dollars a day, while foundry workers in the United States earn about $25 an hour.

    The men making New York City’s manhole covers seemed proud of their work and pleased to be photographed doing it.

    NYC Manhole Covers

    Thanks Megan.

  3. China On Pace To Become Global Leader In Renewable Energy from The Sietch

    China will likely achieve-and may even exceed-its target to obtain 15 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020, according to a new report released by the Worldwatch Institute.

  4. …and the flip side.
    Coal Creates Legacy for China’s Past, Future from World Changing

    Acid rain and air pollution, mainly from the burning of coal, have contributed to the degradation of more than 80 percent of China’s 33 designated World Heritage sites, according to the Associated Press.

    But China’s rising energy demand isn’t just leaving its mark on the country’s heritage. Every 30 seconds, an infant with birth defects is born in China, according to Jiang Fan, deputy head of the country’s National Population and Family Planning Commission. The rate of birth defects nationwide has soared 40 percent in the past five years, from 105 defects per 10,000 births in 2001 to nearly 146 in 2006.

    Birth defect rates are highest in the northern province of Shanxi, an area that is also home to some of China’s richest coal resources.

  5. How Chocolate Can Save the Planet from NPR

    Chocolate is a wonderful thing, but how can it help combat global climate change? Cacao trees — the source of chocolate — grow well in rainforests, and rainforests store carbon. So researchers are working to help preserve the forest and to grow more chocolate.

  6. Climate wars threaten billions from the Guardian (UK)

    A total of 46 nations and 2.7 billion people are now at high risk of being overwhelmed by armed conflict and war because of climate change. A further 56 countries face political destabilisation, affecting another 1.2 billion individuals.

    via Digg Environment

  7. Mexico City Aims for Water Self-Sufficiency by 2020 from Treehugger

    The top environmental official in the Mexico City government, Martha Delgado Peralta, said recently the city was launching a new water sustainability policy to guarantee self-sufficiency and supply for future generations. The target is ambitious — to reach self-sufficiency by 2020 — and the government faces many serious hurdles.

    The pressures on the water system are such that the city’s burgeoning population now extracts water from its aquifers more than twice as fast as they are replenished. As a result, the city is sinking on top of the aquifer that supplies it. It has fallen nearly 30 feet in the last century and drops as much as 15 inches a year in some areas.

  8. How to Recycle Practically Anything from E-magazine
  9. Polar Bears for the South Pole? Biologists Debate Relocating Imperiled Species from Der Spiegel

    If this were the Onion, the next sentence would be “The Penguins are Toast. Nom, nom, nom”.

  10. After the Caudillo from the NYTimes

    Bona fide examples of poetic justice in politics, where the innocent are vindicated and the wicked get their just deserts, are about as rare in real life as they have been commonplace in popular culture, dating at least as far back as “The Count of Monte Cristo.” And yet to the extent that such things do occur, the political triumph of Michelle Bachelet, the current president of Chile — and the first woman in South America who can be said to have earned the title on her own merits — has been just such an event. The woman who was, as a 23-year-old medical student, briefly imprisoned along with her mother by the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet and whose father, Air Force Gen. Alberto Bachelet, was tortured and died in military custody in 1974, is now Chile’s chief of state — while the dictator died, his reputation in tatters, shortly after she took office.

Popular Science's Best of What's New 2007 is heavy on the green

Popular Science magazine recently released its “Best of What’s New 2007”. While green tech has its own separate category, many winners in other categories definitely had a green tinge as well. Here are a few:


Chevy Volt

Chevrolet Volt Concept: The plug-in revolution is coming
Electric hybrid that “will manage a 40-mile round trip on electricity alone”.

Honda i-DTEC Diesel: Green[er] diesel without the upkeep (I had to add the “er” in there)

Honda’s new Intelligent Diesel Technology (i-DTEC) engine will be the first diesel that meets toughened 2009 emission standards in all 50 states without carrying urea, saving you that extra annual trip to the dealer.


SunPower Tracker: The most efficient solar panels in the world

This year, SunPower installed 70,000 solar panels, producing 15 megawatts over 140 acres, at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, the largest installation in North America. About a quarter of those panels will use SunPower’s new solar cells to convert the sun’s rays into electricity at 22 percent efficiency, the highest of any commercial solar cells yet.

Marine Current Turbines SeaGen: Making energy while sparing dolphins

The blades of the first commercial tidal stream turbine, the 134-foot-tall SeaGen will spin about 12 times per minute—too slow to injure passing sea life—and churn out 1.2 megawatts, enough to power 1,000 houses. The first turbine should go online this month in the Strangford Narrows near the coast of Northern Ireland.

Home Tech

NatureMill Automatic Composter: Indoor compost without the odor

After a year of stinking up his kitchen, Russ Cohn finally figured out how to turn trash into fertilizer without the rotting stench. His NatureMill pumps fresh air into a basket that rotates organic waste at evenly timed intervals while maintaining a temperature of 140ºF. The heat, air and agitation destroy the compost-munching microbes responsible for emitting stinky methane.

For a lot less than the $300 that this composter will cost you, let Martha Stewart show you the way.

via EcoGeek

[tags]popular science, chevy, volt, hybrid, compost, honda, cars, solar[/tags]

Live like the Elves in Lothlorien? [Video]


Anyone who has been reading this blog long enough will have noticed that I looooove sci-fi/fantasy. So when I saw this video about Terreform’s grow your treehouse idea, I was tickled pink. Integrating living elements in your building design? That’s so like the elves in Lord of the Rings.

Duration: 4 min 54sec

From Inhabitat:

In order to build the arboreal frame, the designers utilize “pleaching” – a gardening technique in which tree branches are woven together to form living archways. Trees such as Elm, Live Oak and Dogwood bear the heavier loads, while vines, branches and plants form a lattice for the walls and roof of the house. The interior structure is made of cob (clay and straw), a tried and true green building approach, that lends itself to customized shaping of walls and ceilings.

The trees that form the frame and the plants that grow on the external walls are meant to provide sustenance for the inhabitants and other living creatures who interact with the structure. On this level, the designers aim to demonstrate that natural building materials, when utilized in their living state, can create a “superstructure” that is biologically pure and contains no unknown substances. They point out that new building materials, even those that champion sustainability, are nevertheless industrially manufactured and contain components that are not fully understood in terms of their longterm impact.

Terreform Fab Tree Hab

Terreform (not sure why the designs on their front page look like something out of War of the Worlds, but there you are.)
More Terreform video

[tags]terreform, lotr, lothlorien, video, environment, architecture[/tags]

Top 10 Most Read Posts for October 2007

  1. Appropriate Technology Roundup 6/3/07
  2. A 60 MPG Greasecar hydrogen hummer hybrid
  3. Carnival of the Green # 86
  4. Appropriate Technology Roundup 07/27/07
  5. With help from Cuba, Haiti tries a switch to CFLs
  6. Update: Car Wars
  7. Development Porn: NGO Imagery
  8. Appropriate Technology Roundup 10/19/07
  9. Congrats to Shawn Frayne, One of Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award Winners
  10. More pics from the Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards

Hmm, there seems to be a trend here. Y’all like tech and cars.

Wood Charcoal in Haiti [Video, French]

Duration: 4min 55 seconds

Comme il ne reste en Haïti que 2 % de couverture forestière, le charbon est appelé à disparaître. Nous avons rencontré des producteurs de charbon de bois qui connaissent les conséquences de leurs activités sur l’environnement, mais qui nous expliquent qu’ils doivent nourrir leurs familles et envoyer leurs enfants à l’école. La conscience est là, il y a des efforts de reboisement, mais la pauvreté pèse comme une chape de plomb.

Rough translation: Given that Haiti retains only 2% of its forest cover, charcoal is likely to disappear. We met some wood charcoal producers who understand the environmental consequences of their work. They explained to us, however, that they needed to feed their families and send their children to school. The awareness is there. There are reforestation efforts, but poverty is a burden like a lead weight.

To learn more about environmentally friendly charcoal alternatives in Haiti, see Bagazo and Amy Smith’s work at MIT.

[tags]Haiti, charcoal, deforestation, video, environment[/tags]