Monday, 28 December 2009

Tsunami - Five Years Later

It was five years ago, at Christmas time 2004, that the tsunami struck in Indonesia. Photojournalist Abbie Trayler-Smith recently returned to the city of Banda Aceh, to discover how UKaid from the Department for International Development has helped people to rebuild their lives.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Green School in Bali, Indonesia

The mission of Green School Bali is to give its students a holistic and green education. The school made of bamboo has open classrooms covered by roofs of alang-alang, and there is greenery all around. The school founders, Canadian John Hardy and his American wife, Cynthia, put their jewelry business up for sale two years ago to get the funds for their green project.

They make sure that the students get a pragmatic education and first-hand exposure to the art of growing crops, understanding aquatic systems, appreciating renewable energy and endorsing waste and water usage. Green School aims to have the lowest carbon footprint of any international school anywhere, through use of bamboo and rammed earth for its buildings, growing its own food in its gardens, and plans to generate its own power from the river.

Now, the Paris-based group Akuo Energy has come up to set up a “renewable energy lab” for the children. Self-composting toilets are there to promote cleanliness, and a biodiesel generator and some solar panels ensure that the proposed “off the grid” building makes the most of clean energy.

The school has 150 students from 23 countries.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

African Children Are Being Poisoned By Discarded Electronics

A recent expose on revealed that many electronic products discarded by developed nations like Germany, the U.S. and Britain end up in Africa, and they’re poisoning the continent’s children with harmful toxins like lead, cadmium and mercury.

In a region of Accra, Ghana, nicknamed Soddom and Gomorrah, tons of the developed world’s electronic waste such as discarded computers is shipped there every year, with most of the items being disassembled and burned by local children. The poverty-stricken children, some as young as eight years old, even harvest the leftover scrap metal to sell, exposing themselves to large amounts of heavy metals and carcinogenic fumes.

This not only affects the health of young children, but a soil and river analysis conducted last year by a Greenpeace scientist also found extremely high levels of lead, cadmium, arsenic, dioxins, furans and polychlorinated biphenyls.

The same happens in other countries such as Nigeria, Vietnam, India, China and the Philippines. The UN estimates that about 50 million tons of e-waste is thrown away each year, with much of it ending up in developing countries. It costs about $5.30 to properly dispose of an old CRT monitor from Germany, but only costs about $2.20 to throw it on a ship to Ghana.

Although dumping unauthorized e-waste in poor nations is prohibited, the system is largely unregulated. It was recently found that Germany is shipping about 100,000 tons of discarded electronics south each year, even though the country has some of the strictest e-waste laws.

This e-waste problem doesn't seem to be getting much attention - perhaps it's time it was.

Via: ABC
Photo via: Guardian

Friday, 18 December 2009

Santa's High-Tech Eco-Sleigh

For years, Santa has been riding the same old wooden sleigh pulled by reindeer. But this year GE Global Research has designed a new Santa sleigh that comes with 10 of the company's green -focused ideas displayed this year.

The concept Santa sleigh has incorporated 10 of the best green ideas from GE. It has icephobic coating to keep it free from snow, self-powered OLED lighting in the front of the sleigh for better visibility, Ceramic Matrix Composites for sleigh blades and GE Sodium Batteries to store energy and supplement power. The sleigh has a frame made from carbon fiber composite materials and features like GE’s Trip Optimizer, wearable RFID sensor, wireless medical sensor, asset intelligent tracking tech to know his whereabouts and a 500GB holographic disk.

“We do have cool technology that could make Santa’s life a lot easier,” writes physical chemist Anit Duggal.

Via: GE Reports

Thursday, 17 December 2009

WFP Stove Initiative To Protect Women And Environment

This week the World Food Programme (WFP) launched a pilot project to provide fuel-efficient stoves to women in Sudan and Uganda, to reduce the risk they run of being attacked while gathering firewood and to protect the environment from desertification.

“Women and girls should not have to risk their lives and dignity – and precious trees should not be lost – in the simple act of trying to cook food for their families,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran during a press conference at the COP15 climate change conference in Copenhagen. "The SAFE stoves launch will help protect them and the environment with practical and urgently needed solutions."

Refugees and women who live in drought conditions are forced to walk far into the bush to collect firewood. They chop down trees and uproot grasses, harming the fragile eco-system and often go into unsafe areas, risking attack and rape.

WFP’s Safe Access to Firewood and Alternative Energy in Humanitarian Settings (SAFE) project will distribute of fuel-efficient and “improved mud” stoves to assist almost 100,000 women in North Darfur. These stoves consume less firewood and lower health risks associated with smoke.

Project partners include Women’s Refugee Commission, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Environment programme (UNEP).

Monday, 14 December 2009

Rebuilding Lives In Myanmar

This video is a glimpse of what life is like for the most vulnerable people in Myanmar - particularly those hit by the 2008 Cyclone Nargis in the Ayeyarwaddy Delta. The video was produced by the World Food Programme.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Copenhagen - CO2 CUBES: Visualize a Tonne of Change

The “CO2 CUBES: Visualize a Tonne of Change” is a live multimedia art exhibit that aims to transform peoples’ perception of climate change and to inspire sustainable solutions. The CO2 Cube shows just how much one metric tonne of CO2 is (1 tonne of CO2 = 8m³) - around the size of a three-story building. The interactive project shows the monumental scale of carbon dioxide released in the atmosphere by human activity.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Sustainable Fashion Show In Copenhagen

A fashion show 'Innovating Sustainable Fashion' was held in Copenhagen on December 3 prior to the conference. It was organised by the Center for Responsible Design in cooperation with Copenhagen Fashion Fairs, to support sustainable fashion in the lead-up to COP15.

The 19 collections on the catwalk were chosen from more than 60 entries to the sustainable design competition.

“We focus on design students, because they will be working in the industry very soon, and it is important that they make the right decisions,” said Peter Dammand, teacher at the Danish Design School, who sees environmental, ethical and financial concerns as the three cornerstones of sustainable fashion.

Five prizes were handed out in three categories: Design For Inclusion, Design Considering Use, and Design For Environment. Tobias Noe Harboe from the Danish Design School was awarded the first prize that came with a cheque of 15,000 Danish Kroner, for his sci-fi inspired design.

All designs are exhibited at the Danish Design Center from December 8 until January 31.

Story & Photo Via: COP15 Copenhagen

Friday, 4 December 2009

Solar Powered Camel Clinics

Some of Kenya’s camels are carrying the solar-powered mini fridges on their backs as part of a test project that uses camels as mobile health clinics. It is hoped that the eco-friendly transport system will provide a cheap, reliable way of getting much-needed medicines and vaccines to rural communities in Kenya and Ethiopia.

The Nomadic Communities Trust has been using camels as mobile health clinics in isolated areas with few roadways in Kenya, but up to now has been unable to deliver medicines and vaccines that require refrigeration. In 2005, Nomadic Communities Trust partnered with California’s Art Center College of Design’s Designmatters and Princeton’s Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials (PRISM) to create a lightweight and durable solar-powered refrigerator that can be strapped to camels’ backs in order to transport chilled medicines and vaccines.

The mini fridge is housed in a bamboo saddle that is lightweight and durable enough for camels to easily carry it across miles of rough terrain. The solar panels can also be used by the mobile clinics for lighting and refrigeration in the field.

Designmatters‘ executive director, Mariana Amatullo, said the project was designed with a budget of only a few thousand dollars and the device was tested on the Bronx Zoo's camels to save money.

The fridges are currently being tested on camels in Kenya and Ethiopia, but Amatullo says the system could be used by any rural communities with access to camels. If the project gets enough funding, it will be implemented in 2010.

Via: ChangeObserver
Photos: Designmatters

Monday, 30 November 2009

You Find Freedom Inside

Image: YPI
© The Prem Rawat Foundation

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Solar Powered Treehouse Classrooms

The Elleray Preparatory School in the Lake District National Park in the UK unveiled an incredible set of tree-top classrooms. The three green-built class pods stand on stilts connected by a central platform made from recycled plastic milk bottles and wood shavings. It has been built to have a low impact on the environment while accommodating the school’s expanding student body.

The three pods were designed and built by Robert Gaukroger of Kita Design Company. Each unit is constructed from a ribbed timber frame set upon Douglas fir stilts and then clad in English chestnut shingles. In the summer the deck will be used as an outdoor classroom.

As with many of Gaukroger’s projects, the Treehouse School is focused on “up-cycled, re-cycled and low-impact Architecture and design”. The pods feature a high efficiency heating and cooling system that utilizes a ground-source heat pump. Rainwater is collected to cut down on potable water use, and solar panels are mounted along the centre of each roof to provide lighting for each building.

Rob Gaukroger says, “It wasn’t a state funded project and the budget has been tight from day one, I didn’t charge a design fee for the three years it took to take this project from an idea, through the planning process to the built solution today. I have constructed a lot of the building myself with a small team of joiners on site. The bursar at the school has kept a tight hold on the purse strings and he has got good value for money.”

Via: Dezeen
Photos by Sean Conboy

Monday, 23 November 2009

Ecovative Design Wins Opportunity Green 2009 Competition

Earlier this month, the Opportunity Green Business Conference 2009 was held in Los Angeles. At the conference the 25 finalists in the Opportunity Green Competition (OG25) were showcased and the winner, Ecovative Design, was announced.

The OG25 open business competition recognizes the most promising start-ups committed to building a new green economy and highlights initiatives in clean technology, product design, mobility, social innovation, water and resource conservation, food systems, community development and more.

Below, you can see a video about the Ecovative Design product EcoCradle™ . From creation to composting, EcoCradle™ packaging fit into nature's recycling program. The materials that go into EcoCradle™ are all naturally occurring waste products, like buckwheat hulls, rice hulls, or cotton burrs. Because materials are grown without lots of heat, pressure or petroleum, the process is extremely energy efficient. And once youre done with an EcoCradle™ packaging buffer, it can be used as mulch in your garden, composted or even thrown away.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

World Toilet Day

World Toilet Day may sound like a joke, but for the 2.5 billion people in the world who don't have access to toilets and sanitation, it certainly isn't. November 19, 2009 is World Toilet Day.

I would just like to post some facts here for you to think about.

2.5 billion people worldwide don't have access to proper sanitation, risking their health, stripping their dignity, and killing 1.8 children a year.

Diarrheal diseases kill five times as many children in the developing world as HIV/AIDS.

That's 5,000 children DYING EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Disease kills more children than either malaria or AIDS, stunts growth, and forces millions - adults and children alike - to spend weeks at a time off work or school, which hits both a country's economy and its citizens' chances of a better future.

The majority of the illness in the world is caused by fecal matter.

Lack of sanitation is the world's biggest cause of infection.

One gram of feces can contain 10 million viruses, one million bacteria, 1,000 parasite cysts and 100 parasite eggs.

Safe disposal of children's feces leads to a reduction of nearly 40% in childhood diarrhea.

If you would like to find out more or get involved, you can visit the World Toilet Day site or the WaterAid site. Take a look at this short video as well - and share it!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Cow Dung To Heat 1,100 Homes In Netherlands

A cow dung-powered plant opened last Friday in the Netherlands, which hopes to provide 1,100 homes with the heat generated via anaerobic digestion of cow dung.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Solar Parking For Electric Cars

This design offers a dual solution to parking and charging of electric vehicles. It proposes wireless transmission of charge from the solar canopy to the charging coil embedded in the asphalt and later, to the car battery. After sensing an electric car parked, the parking system automatically starts the wireless charging process. Once the car’s battery is full, the sensors embedded in the asphalt stop the charging process.

Romanian designer Nejur Andrei said this about his design is "A parking place designed to promote electrical cars by offering free electricity produced by the sun. Owners of electric cars dont have to worry about fuel anymore when parked here."

Via: Designboom

Thursday, 12 November 2009

The Journey Of A Biscuit To The Philippines

The World Food Programme (WFP) has distributed over 230 tons of High Energy Biscuits in the Philippines as part of its response to the recent typhoons. The video below shows how the biscuits travelled the 9,374 kilometres from the factory to the beneficiaries, and in particular, one little boy called Antonio (photo above).

These biscuits (HEBs) are ideal for the sort of relief operations that follow natural disasters because they’re easy to transport and they don’t require cooking. In addition, they are full of minerals, vitamins and energy so they can keep people going for several days if there's no other food available.

In the Philippines the biscuits have also been useful as a way of making sure mothers and children don't lose out on important nutrients as they deal with the floods and devastation left behind by a series of typhoons.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

LightSail: New Project By Planetary Society

LightSail-1 Artists rendition of LightSail-1 by Rick Sternbach. Credit: Planetary Society

The Planetary Society, with its new project called LightSail, announced its plan to propel a spacecraft on sunlight alone by the end of 2010. Under this new programme, three separate spacecrafts will be launched over a period of several years.

LightSail-1 Prior to Sail Deployment Credit: Planetary Society

The project was unveiled on the 75th anniversary of astronomer Carl Sagan ’s birth and will start with LightSail-1, which will demonstrate that sunlight alone can propel a spacecraft into Earth orbit. It will use three Cubesat spacecraft, out of which one will form the central electronics and control module, while the other two will house the solar sail module. Cameras, additional sensors, and a control system will be added to the basic Cubesat electronics bus.

The solar sails are propelled by reflected light pressure and not solar wind. The LightSail-1 will launch with its four triangular Mylar sails packaged in a volume equal to about three quarts and unfurl to an area of more than 340 square feet, resembling a giant diamond-shaped kite. It will orbit at an altitude of nearly 500 miles and operate for just a few days to determine if it can be controlled, and to measure the orbital acceleration.

The LightSail-2 spacecraft is planned for higher altitude orbits, while the LightSail-3 is intended to be sent to the Sun-Earth Libration Point, L1, where solar sails could be permanently placed as solar weather stations, monitoring the geomagnetic storms from the sun that potentially endanger electrical grids and satellite systems around Earth.

Via: UniverseToday

Saturday, 7 November 2009

TPRF: Food for People raises most funds in Causes Giving Challenge on Facebook

Following my previous post about TPRF:Food For People participating in Cause's Giving Challenge on Facebook, I wanted to follow up to say that the Challenge ended yesterday and TPRF:Food For People raised the most money - $222,950! However, since the challenge was based on numbers of donations and not amount, they didn't win the first prize of $50,000, but won $25,000 which will be added to the amount of donations!

TPRF have said that, thanks to the tremendous effort and generosity of donors, they can now start planning the third Food For People facility. To see more about the Food For People programme go here.

To see the unofficial results of the Causes Challenge, take a look here.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Wind Turbine That Flaps Like A Bee

Inspired by the wing movements of bees, Green Wavelength have designed the XBee Wind Turbine, the prototype of which they recently showcased. Green Wavelength have said that they are “committed to finding ways of applying nature’s solutions to our man-made energy problems,” and the small, 19-foot wind turbine was designed with inspiration from the movement of bumblebees, hummingbirds, and dragonflies.

The wings are made of aluminium and carbon fiber and rotate to and fro (like bees, hummingbirds and dragonflies) to produce wind power suitable for homes and small businesses.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Portable Light Blanket Helping Africans With Info On HIV And TB

The iTEACH program and Project Masiluleke in South Africa are piloting a project with the Portable Light iTeach Blanket to tap the mobile device as a high-impact, low-cost way to broadcast healthcare information encouraging positive actions such as HIV testing, and connect patients to their care providers.

The project will bring together health care information dissemination via text-messages, clean solar energy with a renewable home lighting and cell phone charging system and a comprehensive home-based MDR TB treatment training program in KwaZulu-Natal.

Local women integrate flexible solar kits into a locally produced African cloth fastened to an emergency blanket, making a detachable solar textile lantern. By day, the patient uses the blanket to stay warm while exposed to the outdoors. Sunlight charges the unit in three hours, creating 6 watt-hours of energy stored in a rechargeable battery. At night, Portable Light powers a cell phone and provides ten hours of bright white light to facilitate the night time home care treatment established by the iTEACH Program.

The next day, the Portable Light blanket is recharged by the patient, who helps to power his or her own treatment, while providing renewable energy and light for family members.

Monday, 2 November 2009

TPRF: Food For People On America's Giving Challenge

Many of you - especially those of you on Facebook - may already be aware of America's Giving Challenge. It is a 30-day national competition that encourages people to help win cash awards that will total $245,500 on behalf of their favourite nonprofit.

Participating causes in the Challenge are competing for daily and overall cash awards based on the number of donations generated for a cause, not dollars raised. Awards will be given to the nonprofit beneficiaries of the causes that garner the highest number of unique daily donations (the same person can donate every day and it's considered a unique donation each time) between 3:00 p.m. EDT October 7, 2009, and 2:59pm EST on November 6, 2009.

I have been supporting the cause TPRF: Food For People - "Helping to break the cycle of poverty through nutritious food and clean water... Because everyone deserves a life of dignity and hope." You can see a short video about their work here.

The cause with largest overall number of donations (not necessarily dollars raised) by November 6th will receive the $50.000 in addition to the donations given. TPRF: Food For People is currently lying 3rd and we are trying for a final push to get more unique donations ($10 minimum) and reach overall 1st place to get the $50.000 for the cause. There are also 3 awards of $1500 for those that get the most donations on particular days - TPRF: Food For People won that yesterday!

To find out more and help this cause, you can visit the page on Facebook here TPRF: Food For People Watch Matt Damon talk about America's Giving Challenge on this short video.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Being Free

Image: YPI
© The Prem Rawat Foundation

Friday, 30 October 2009

Reverse Trick-Or-Treating

Ten to twenty thousand groups of children will hand chocolate back to adults during their regular neighborhood trick-or-treating rounds this Halloween. The children will distribute Fair Trade certified chocolate attached to a card explaining the labor and environmental problems in the cocoa industry globally and how Fair Trade provides a solution.

The event, Reverse Trick-or-Treating, was launched three years ago to raise awareness of the pervasive problem of child labor, forced labor and trafficking in the cocoa fields, to empower consumers to press the chocolate industry for more fair cocoa sourcing policies, to shift the industry toward sourcing Fair Trade certified cocoa, and to inform consumers about Fair Trade companies that are leading the way to industry reform.

The Reverse-Trick-or-Treating program has joined nonprofit organizations, such as Global Exchange, with Fair Trade Certified chocolate companies such as Equal Exchange, Alter Eco, and Sweet Earth, and local schools, faith groups and youth organizations to raise public awareness about Fair Trade Certified chocolate.

"Kids have a well-developed sense of fairness. I regularly hear stories of US schoolchildren who are really outraged to learn that mainstream chocolate companies are making them complicit in the enslavement of their peers," said Adrienne Fitch-Frankel, Director of Global Exchange's Fair Trade Campaign, "Kids are eager to show solidarity and make it possible for their peers to do go to school and go out and play. That is why so many kids are thrilled to participate in Reverse Trick-or-Treating and make a difference. Now, it's up to the chocolate companies to listen to their important message."

The Reverse Trick-or-Treating campaign is an initiative of the human rights advocacy group Global Exchange.

Nearly a quarter million Fair Trade Chocolates and informational cards have been provided in the United States by Equal Exchange, Alter Eco, and Sweet Earth, and in Canada by La Siembra, under the leadership of Equal Exchange. Equal Exchange is a full service provider of high quality, organic coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate and healthy snacks. 100% of Equal Exchange products are fairly traded, benefiting over 30 small farmer cooperatives in 16 countries around the world.

The national organizations with a lead role in Reverse Trick-or-Treating are Africa Action, Fair Trade Federation, Global Exchange, Green America, International Labor Rights Forum, Not for Sale, Oasis/Stop the Traffik, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, and the United Methodist Church.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Turning Air Into Water

Marc Parent and his company Eolewater, located in Sainte Tulle, France, have invented a fresh water wind turbine which makes water from ambient air and also generates electricity. This could be beneficial especially in dry, remote and arid regions that need both drinking water and electricity.

The wind turbine blade powers the generator, which in turn powers a cooling compressor that converts gaseous water in atmospheric air into liquid water. The largest eolewater wind turbine produces 4597 litres / 24 hr of water in desert conditions and 33,131 litres / 24 hr of water in coastal climates.

The wind turbine makes electricity and water with zero emissions and can provide sustainable drinking water to a huge number of communities. The three mobile versions of the turbine can be used in disaster relief situations to provide fresh water and electricity.

Via: Reuters

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Flexible Paving Stones Create Energy From People Walking On Them

A paving stone on a busy street is stepped on by more than 50,000 pedestrians every day and Laurence Kemball-Cook of Pavegen Systems Ltd has designed a way to harness that pedestrian power. Every time the rubber Pavegen stone is stepped on, it flexes 5mm and the dynamo technology stores the kinetic energy produced.

The Pavegen System could power lights, computers, automatic doors and ticket machines at tube stations information displays, street lighting, shop frontages, train and bus timetables and wayfinding solutions.

The slab glows when stepped on indicating that energy has been generated to users. Five paving slabs distributed over a section of a pavement will provide sufficient power to illuminate a bus information panel overnight.

The top of the slab is made from recycled rubber car tyres, and recycled aluminum is used for the inner surface. The exterior housing is done with marine grade 316 stainless steel. Each slab generates 2.1 watts per hour when located in an area with high footfall. The system requires annual servicing and is designed to withstand 5 years of use equating to 20 million steps in interior and outdoor environments.

Trials will take place in several locations throughout the UK in early 2010 with local authorities, schools and airports.

Via: World Architecture News

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Human Voices: a wake up call to climate change

Leading up to the international meeting in Copenhagen on Climate Change, Oxfam has created this video to demonstrate the human impact of climate change. Climate change is happening now, and is affecting the world's poor - wherever they are - first and worst.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Needy Argentines Receive Solar Stoves And Showers

The EcoAndina Foundation - a local NGO - has taken a green initiative and is installing solar showers and donating solar-fired stoves to the needy villagers in the llama-herding communities of Misa Rumi in Argentina. It will provide relief for the Andean communities who rely on forests for their energy requirements.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

350 Islands For Change

In Auckland, Pacific Islanders wade out into the sea and hang up 350 T-shirts on a giant washing line, signifying that the Pacific Islands are being hung out to dry. Each shirt has the name of a different island printed on it.

The event is part of the 350 International Day of Climate Action, a global call to bring greenhouse gas pollution back down to a level that is safe for survival.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Finding Peace Within

I've previously posted about Prem Rawat and his message of peace and would like to add here that he doesn't just limit himself to words. He offers anyone who is sincerely interested a practical way to find the peace he talks about within themselves. He calls this Knowledge and I, myself have been able to feel this peace in my life for many years now and would encourage you to discover this possibility for yourselves.

Prem Rawat, widely known as Maharaji, has produced a series of videos - The Keys - designed to clarify key points of understanding about this possibility.

If you would like to watch a video online introducing the Keys, then please go here.

You may also visit the website Words Of Peace Global to find out more details about his message of peace and the humanitarian initiatives of The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF).

Other post about Prem Rawat:

Be In The Moment Called Now
International Day Of Peace - Words Of Peace
You Breathe. You're Conscious
Wish For Peace And Contentment
What Is Peace?
Prem Rawat Speaks In Sicily And Israel

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Concrete Mushrooms: Albanian Deserted Bunkers To Be Converted Into Eco-Hostels

There are 750.000 abandoned concrete bunkers throughout Albania, serving as reminders of their recent dark history. Two Albanian graduate students of Politecneco di Milano, Elian Stefa and Gyler Mydyti, under the guidance of architect Stefano Boeri, came up with the idea to convert these deserted bunkers into appreciable tourist destinations.

The transformation will allow trekkers a shelter in the shape of these hostels, dubbed as Concrete Mushrooms. Other possible transformations include info points, kiosks, gift shops and cafes.While promoting eco-tourism, it will also let the dwellers have a look into the past of Albania.

Concrete Mushrooms Trailer - Albania's 750,000 inherited bunkers. from Concrete Mushrooms on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

World Food Day Is No Food Day For 1 In 6 People

October 15 was World Food Day, but as World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Josette Sheeran said - World Food Day is actually No Food Day for almost one out of every six people around the world this year. As the number of hungry people reaches record levels, the UN WFP called on the world to remember the more than one billion urgently hungry people with inadequate access to food.

In the video below Ms Sheeran says that our challenge is to turn No Food Day back into World Food Day for the hundreds of millions without food on their table tonight.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

2010 Medals To Be Made By Recycling

The medals at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010 will be made from recycled electronics. Vancouver company Teck Resources has joined forces with the Royal Canadian Mint to transform trash into medals for the athletes - by recycling old computer parts.

Monday, 19 October 2009

WaterAid Launch Global Strategy For 2009 - 15

This month, WaterAid launched their new global strategy for the years 2009 - 15. The 4 main aims are -

  1. To promote and secure poor people's rights and access to safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation

  2. To support governments and service providers in developing their capacity to deliver safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation

  3. To advocate for the essential role of safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation in human development

  4. To further develop as an effective global organisation recognised as a leader in our field and for living our values
You can see an interactive version of the strategy here and watch a short video about the importance and necessity of WaterAids work below.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Generator Powered By Kites

An Italian company, KiteGen Research, is using an innovative technique to develop a generator that is capable of harnessing the wind through kites. The prototype recently created flies 200-square-foot kites to altitudes of 2,600 feet. At such high altitudes, wind streams are four times as strong as they are near ground-based wind turbines, so a larger amount of power can be generated using the kite-powered generator.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Fragile: The Human Condition

World Food Programme Ambassador Against Hunger, Howard G Buffett in his new book, called Fragile: The Human Condition, brings together personal stories and compelling images of people for whom the world is a fragile experience.

Compiled in 64 countries as part of a personal journey that started when the author was five years old, Fragile paints a vivid – and sometimes painful – picture of what happens when the world fails to meet the basic needs of its most vulnerable people.

“Please don’t forget me. Please don’t let the world forget us," an old man said to Buffett, when he was in Chad a few miles away from the Sudanese border. This book is honouring this request. With contributions from Bono and Shakira, Fragile aims to raise awareness about those who face poverty, hunger and desperation, in the hope that knowledge will lead to change.

As Bono said after reading the poignant portraits in the book: "These portraits are the reason why we must not rest in the comfort of our freedom."

Friday, 16 October 2009

Design Green Buildings With Google SketchUp

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory launched an updated version of their plug-in for SketchUp, Google’s open-source 3D building modeling tool. It has several new features, which will facilitate architects to develop more detailed simulations of their design’s energy efficiency. NREL aims to provide advanced green building design tools that are readily available at low or no cost.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Hunger Bytes Video Competition For Hunger

Video competition

Hunger Bytes is an international video competition hosted by the World Food Programme, in partnership with YouTube. Starting October 16, filmmakers around the world are invited to submit short videos about hunger.

WFP says - We need you to make the edgiest, most provocative videos about hunger. Whatever it takes to make people think, and to change attitudes. The videos with the most views will be judged by a celebrity jury and the winner will get to travel to a WFP project.

Submissions begin on October 16th – World Food Day.

  • The closing date for entries is midnight, December 31st 2009.
  • The nominated videos in will be made into a playlist on WFPs YouTube Channel, where the 5 videos which receive the most views in each category will go on for judging by our panel of celebrity judges.
  • Celebrity judging begins February 14th 2010.
  • The winners will be announced on March 1st
For more information about Hunger Bytes go here.

One Of Last Year's Top Videos

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Add a Hunger Counter Widget to Your Site!

I previously posted about the World Food Programme's A Billion For A Billion here, trying to inspire the billion people online to help the billion people that are hungry in the world. Now, you can help by having one of these counters below on your site to help raise awareness. Just go here to grab them.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Emergency Blankets Made From Recycled Bottles

Volunteers at the Taiwanese recycling center of the Tzu Chi Foundation are transforming discarded plastic bottles into soft blue polyester blankets.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Tck Tck Tck - The World Is Ready For Climate Action

Join the call for a global climate deal at

Tck Tck Tck is a global alliance of civil society organizations, trade unions and individuals calling for a fair, ambitious and binding climate change agreement at the international meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009.

The TckTckTck site uses the Open Campaign, where organizations or individuals can take the branding and toolset, for use in their campaigns to educate and encourage their supporters to demand action on a climate change agreement.

Partners of Tck Tck Tck range from some of the largest civil society organizations in the world, including the World Wildlife Fund, Oxfam, and Amnesty International, to individual, local, and national partners, like Presencia Ciudadana Mexicana. It brings together faith groups, like the World Council of Churches, anti-poverty groups, like the Global Campaign Against Poverty, and science organizations, like the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

TPRF Gives $25,000 To St.John Of Jerusalem Eye Hospital

The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) has given a grant of $25,000 to the St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital (SJJEH) to provide eye care for 30,000 children in the East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza area - where blindness is ten times higher than in the West. It is the second grant that TPRF has made to the hospital.

Chairman John Talbot said, "Congenital eye disease and disfigurement are rife amongst the younger generation in the Holy Land, and our work ensures that many young people grow up with more opportunity to learn and become productive adults in an already difficult environment.”

SJJEH is the only charitable pediatric ophthalmic provider across the West Bank, Gaza strip, and East Jerusalem and expects to treat over 30,000 children this year. Open to people of all religions and ethnicities, SJJEH serves the area with two hospitals, two clinics and two mobile outreach clinics.

St. John Eye Hospital states its goal: “For our patients, lives can be transformed through treatment and surgical intervention. Children’s sight will be saved, and many more will simply be able to lead normal lives, going to school and able to function in the adult world. Our goal is to eliminate preventable blindness in the Palestinian Territories.”

Photos: St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital

Other posts about TPRF:

Friday, 9 October 2009

20 Million People Need Food In Horn Of Africa

The World Food Programme has sent a warning that more than 20 million people in the Horn of Africa need food aid because of two years of poor rainfall. According to the WFP, people across Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea, and Djibouti have been increasingly living on the edge, afflicted by natural disasters, wars, endemic poverty and malnutrition. The World Food Programme says an added problem is that congestion in Djibouti's port is holding up the flow of relief supplies.

For more information visit the WFP site.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Smart Trash Can

Above is a smart garbage can in Elgin, Illinois. It takes power from the sun to automatically compact trash. What is even more interesting is the fact that whenever it is full, it sends a signal to the garbage crew saying ‘Come pick me up’!.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Carlisle School Cuts Heating Bills With Wind-Powered Heat Pump

Stoneraise School at Durdar near Carlisle, England has brought in a heat pump that is powered by a wind turbine, producing nearly 5kw of heat for every 1kw of electricity consumed. E.On, a power company, gave a £4,400 donation allowing them to purchase a pump that is capable of cutting down the electricity consumption by 25 percent. The annual saving is estimated at £4,000.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

William Kamkwamba, 22, of Malawi is an amazing person. He lived in extreme poverty and yet in 2007, with no money and no experience, he studied a DIY book and built a wind turbine out of a tractor fan, shock absorbers, PVC pipes and a bicycle frame. His creation was able enough to light up four bulbs and a radio. He was invited to give a talk at TED after this. / CC BY 2.0

Later in 2008, he built a Green Machine windmill, pumping well water to irrigate his maize crops. Finally this year, he erected an actual size 5 metre windmill.

His next plan is to build a drilling machine. This is what he says. "Right now I am interested in building a drilling machine. I want to build a machine that can drill wells for water. With this problem of water in many places in Africa, we need to find a solution for how you can dig wells so you can be pumping water from deeper places"

Kamkwamba also states that while he's busy with school and can't help other people who want to create windmills, he has taught his cousin and plans to teach more people in Malawi how to build their own windmill so they can generate electricity on their own.

He has written is own autobiography, The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind and has his own blog. Below you can see a short video Moving Windmills.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Loulou - Musicians Have Unique Opportunity To Raise Awareness About Hunger

Loulou - vocalist with the band Thievery Corporation, believes musicians have a unique opportunity to raise awareness about hunger. She says Thievery’s partnership with the World Food Programme is one of the reasons she’s in the band.

Loulou says that musicians can create more awareness and build an ever wider community of people who want to help get the problem solved.

Fans of Thievery Corporation are often shown videos about WFP’s work and encouraged to take part in fund-raising initiatives.

“When you have an audience that is receptive to everything you have to offer, it’s nice to give them something more than music’s good vibrations – something that makes sense in this day and age,” she says, noting that hunger and poverty are a recurring theme in the band’s lyrics.

Loulou says the band’s involvement with WFP has affected her life in many ways. For example, her eight-year-old daughter and some friends have produced 12 paintings that they aim to sell to raise funds for WFP.

Thievery’s partnership with WFP started in early 2005, when the group’s founders Rob Garza and Eric Hilton threw a fundraiser for WFP’s tsunami operations at Washington’s popular 9:30 Club. They have since recorded video and audio public service announcements for WFP and done other fund-raising events.

Garza says, “I think compassion for the hungry is universal … and yet the kind of hunger and poverty I’ve seen on my trips with WFP remains invisible to most people living in the developed world."

Other posts about WFP:

A Billion for a Billion - Help Eradicate Hunger
Bob Dylan Partners With The World Food Programme
Fatuma Omar - From Squalor To Scholar
Cooking Things Up - To End Child Hunger
Walk The World: End Hunger
Number Of World's Hungry Now Over A Billion
Monster Truck Madness In Congo!
Reaching The Hungry In Gaza
This holiday season, YOU are the perfect gift!
World Food Programme Delivers Food for 50.000 in Congo

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