This Week’s Top 10 (11/25/07-12/1/07)

1. What exactly is a “carbon offset” anyway? from Green Daily

Basically, a carbon offset is something you buy, or invest in, to counterbalance your own personal negative environmental impact, or carbon footprint, on the world. Most carbon offsets fall into one of these 4 categories:

  • Reforestation (planting trees)
  • Energy efficiency and conservation (using less fossil-fueled power)
  • Renewable energy (energy that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels at all)
  • Methane capture (helps prevent evil methane from entering the atmosphere)

2. The Wipe Stuff: A review of recycled toilet-paper brands from Grist

3. From Sewage, Added Water for Drinking from NYTimes

It used to be so final: flush the toilet, and waste be gone.

But on Nov. 30, for millions of people here in Orange County, pulling the lever will be the start of a long, intense process to purify the sewage into drinking water — after a hard scrubbing with filters, screens, chemicals and ultraviolet light and the passage of time underground.

4. 10 Solutions for Climate Change from Scientific American
Forego Fossil Fuels; Infrastructure Upgrade; Move Closer to Work; Consume Less; Be Efficient; Eat Smart, Go Vegetarian?; Stop Cutting Down Trees; Unplug; One Child; Future Fuels

5. MIT Cleantech Competition Gets Green from Earth2Tech

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has souped up its Clean Energy Entrepreneurship Prize Competition, offering $260,000 worth of prizes. The MIT $100K Business Plan Competition and the Ignite Clean Energy competition have joined forces and are working with the Department of Energy and Massachusetts energy company NStar. The DOE and NStar have each ponied up $100,000 for the competition’s grand prize.

Clean Energy Entrepreneurship Prize Competition
MIT $100K Business Plan Competition
Ignite Clean Energy

6. PICTURING GLOBAL WARMING: Greenpeace’s Photoclima from Inhabitat

Photoclima, a new photography book project produced by Greenpeace Spain, is a call to action for countries globally to examine and address the impact of global warming and climate change both locally and internationally. Photoclima features the eye-opening photographs of Pedro Armestre and Mario Gómez as a means to highlight the varied topography and rich landscape of Spain’s agricultural, coastal resort, and national park ecosystems. The beauty of the book’s images is subverted by a series of before and after photomontage shots of regions that might be impacted by catastrophic environmental alterations.

GreenPeace Spain PhotoClima

GreenPeace Spain PhotoClima

Photoclima report (pdf)

7. An old but v. interesting post
Snow plows needed in West Africa from FP Passport

Snow plows are making their way down the national highway in the West African country of Mauritania. But they aren’t clearing snow; they’re clearing sand.

Mauritania is getting buried under sand as Saharan dunes shift 3 to 4 km (2 to 3 miles) per year. Whole houses have been consumed, and entire cities have been abandoned.

8. Reverse Drain-Back to Africa for High School from Africa Unchained

Part of the long tradition of sending your kids back to the old country when they are being naughty.

From the Times UK:

Scores of British school children are being sent away to take their GCSEs in Ghana, exchanging truancy and gang culture for traditional teaching and strong discipline, including the cane.

For the parents it is a chance to save their children from the thuggery that has seen 21 teenagers shot or stabbed to death in London alone this year. Abena and three other British pupils at her school now believe they are receiving a rigorous education that was lacking in Britain.

“When your friends know that you’ve gone to Ghana they know that you’re going to get straightened up,” said Sienam, 17, from Edgware, north London, who has been at school in Accra for three years.

9. Indonesia Embarks on Tree-Planting Campaign from NPR

The Forest Ministry of Indonesia announces plans to plant 79 million trees in anticipation of a conference on global climate change in December. The move is part of a United Nations campaign to plant a billion trees around the world. Indonesia has been criticized for its failure to stem deforestation.

Deforestation Trends in Borneo
Deforestation Trends in Borneo from WRI

10. Chinese Students Taking a Stand to Stop Climate Change from It’s Getting Hot In Here

Universities across China are buzzing with green activity, says Peng Li. From book swaps and fashion shows, to climate conferences and the Live Earth concerts, student green groups are leading the way.