Not a blog about the science or practice of travel through books, but perhaps rather about science, practice and travel through books.

Archive for the ‘environment’ Category

Cycling on the lawn

The next big thing..? Very eco-friendly:


The creator is unknown..


It's all chemistry

I normally prefer organic products, not because I’m so worried about food additives or ionizing radiation, but because of the potentially environmentally harmful synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides used in conventional agriculture.

But sometimes the marketing depts go too far. Like when they promote 100 % chemical free compost. Unfortunately, many people appear to be afraid of chemicals in general, but everything around us is chemicals: you, me, compost… Another funny example is the carbon-free t-shirt, given that humans consist of ~ 18 % carbon by mass. By the way, we consist of 65-90 % dihydrogen monoxide 🙂

Writing about organic, I just learned that Cuba is in the lead when it comes to organic farming — because of the US trade embargo! The country is beeing looked at as a model for other nations. Indeed, necessity is the mother of invention.

"Green cars"

More and more ads nowadays contain the word “green”. The world has woken up, environmental-friendly products sell, and advertisers understand that. Which is all good. But “green cars”? What is a green car?

Manfred Braunl, head of marketing in Germany for BMW, says that rather than try to impress TV viewers with ads about new fuel-saving technologies BMW is experimenting with “metaphorical” ads that aim to put viewers in a positive mood about the company and its approach to reducing fuel consumption (via Environmental leader).

And most green car ads are highly metaphorical. If a car company has developed one car that is “greener” than the others, they use this for all it’s worth to promote themself as a green and idealistic company. Like this ad for Toyota Prius.

But the good news is that there are reactions on these ads. Some days ago, Friends of the Earth told Saab to stop portraying its cars as environmentally friendlys or face legal action for misleading advertising.

In Norway, the producers of the electric car Buddy complained about these ads in April last year. What I didn’t know before today what that new guidelines were set into force in Norway in October that states that no car can be called “green”, “clean” or “environmentally friendly”. “Cars cannot do anything good for the environment except less damage than others,” Bente Oeverli, a senior official at the office of the state-run Consumer Ombudsman, told Reuters.

Green car

A single tin of paint…

… or a single can of dissolvent can pollute millions of litres of water. Effective message from the World Wildlife Fund:


Via Sensibilid (where one more ad from Tokyo is shown). Norwegians wondering what to do with their paint remnants should check out this recycling guide.

Where to get your timber?

Let’s say you need to import timber for some reason. Although there are a lot of timber in Norway too, there are not very many species, so certainly some branches need to import their timber. Well, where should you import it from? From one of the few remaining rainforests that contains the largest biodiversity on the planet? Hmm… is that a good idea? Well, so you just decided to import your timber from a rainforest because you had to have that color (and you couldn’t fix it with funny chemicals :)). So what rainforest do you choose? Maybe that in Burma? Hmm.. is that a good idea? The military dictatorship there has monopol on selling rainforest timber, so that means you don’t just destroy the rainforest, but you also support a military dictatorship. That’s killing two birds with one stone, you might think – if you are one of the Norwegian companies that import rainforest timber from Burma… or probably you didn’t think?

Dry "water"

Despite it’s boring name, Novec 1230 (C-6 fluoroketone) is a really fascinating chemical. It’s liquid at room temperature and looks and acts very much like water. But it’s not wet! It’s also generally very little reactive, so you can sink your LCD in it while keeping it powered on! You can also sink books in it, and it appears that the liquid doesn’t get adsorbed or make any damage. I don’t know why it doesn’t wet, maybe because of very high surface tension? Anyway, that makes it perfect for putting out fires without damaging the interiour like water does. And unlike other halogenated fire suppression agents, like halon, it doesn’t deplete ozone! Finally it appears to be non-toxic and easy to handle. Hm.. Could someone send me a sample? 😀

Novec 1230

Debt for carbon

Maria is at a debt conference in Equador this week and tipped me about this very interesting case.

Ecuador is burdened with over 15 billion dollars of external debt. The Ecuadorian state-owned oil company Petroecuador have just discovered the largest untapped oil field in Equador (ITT), estimated to contain ~ one billion barrels of oil equivalent. With todays oil price, that is worth ~ 70 billion USD. Of course, there are also lots of costs linked with oil production (Petrobar estimates 5 billion USD), but still tapping the field would make a huge difference for the Equadorian economy!

Unluckily the oil field is located in the Equadorian rainforest, part of the Amazon-belt. But the Equadorian government have come up with an original solution: they will leave the oil field untapped if the international community offers to compensate the country with half of the forecasted lost revenues! President Correa estimates the compensation at around .35 billion USD per year.

“Ecuador doesn’t ask for charity,” said Correa, “but does ask that the international community share in the sacrifice and compensates us with at least half of what our country would receive, in recognition of the environmental benefits that would be generated by keeping this oil underground.”.

Read more at Environmental Newswire