Son of Five Rivers Blog

For the advancement of Entrepreneurship, Sustainability & the Ecology of Everyday Life

This Site has Moved to SonOfFiveRivers.com

Click Here to Vist NEW Site: www.SonOfFiveRivers.com

I’ve been blogging for several months now and I’m glad to have recieved the feedback I have.  I’ve enjoyed the experince and for that reason I’ve decided to take blogging to another level.  I’ll be self hosting my blog and that means you’ll see a lot more creativity in the design, functionality and layout of the new blog.

Check it out: www.SONofFIVErivers.com

Cheers

January 22, 2010 Posted by | 1, A Thought, Ads, Agriculture, Art, Blogging, Books, Brochure, Business, Business Cards, Business Development, Business Model, Carbon Credits, Clean Energy, Co-op, Community Economic Development (CED), Computer Networking, Construction, Creativity, Data Recovery, Definitions, Earth, Economics, Education, Electric Cars, Email, Entrepreneurship, Family, Finance, Geothermal, Government, Grants, Great Ideas, Green Roofs, Human Resources, Information Technology (I.T.), Inspiration, Investment, LEED, Life, Marketing, Micro Credit, Not for Profit, Open Source, Packaging, PDA's, Philanthropy, Photography, Politics, Power Piont, Products, Project Management, Quotes, Sales, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Services, Social Enterprise, Social Media, Solar, Sustainability, Sustainable Community Development, Taxes, Venture Capital, Videos, War, Waste, Water, Website | Leave a comment

Rare Tiger Dismembered at Zoo

This is shocking to me…. but I know it shouldn’t… its a sign of the times we live in…

It reminds me of a great quote:

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.

Mahatma Gandhi

rare-sumatran-tiger-killed photo

Photo via My Opera

Well, it might be, but this is pretty despicable, too: just over 5 years ago, the Zoological Society of London had used this particular tiger to help train Indonesian veterinarians and zoologists. And one of those very veterinarians may be responsible for killing it, skinning it, dismembering it, and putting it up for sale on the black market.

According to Bloomberg:

The female Sumatran tiger, which ZSL used in 2003 to train Indonesians in veterinary care, was drugged and skinned at a zoo in Sumatra … The body parts were likely sold on the black market as there is “high demand for their use in Chinese medicine,” the London zoo said.

And while police are currently investigating a veterinarian and 5 workers at the zoo where the tiger was killed, the entire tragic episode points to the fact that the illegal trade in “wildlife parts” should see tougher enforcement, according to the Zoological Society of London. From Bloomberg:

September 4, 2009 Posted by | Earth, Economics, Education, Life, Quotes | , , , | Leave a comment

Sustainable Living
Leadership Program

Live • Learn • Lead

Experience the Fraser River
“The World’s Greatest Salmon River”

August 6th to 30th, 2009

Follow this year’s trip down the Fraser on Granville Online.

Journey by canoe, raft and on foot 1,400 km down the Fraser River from Mount Robson to the Pacific Ocean. Participants take in breathtaking scenery along the way, from ancient rainforests to grasslands, sage brush and floodplain.

The program covers key sustainability concepts such as food security, voluntary simplicity, stewardship and green economics. Students learn how to lower their ecological footprint and design a project to take back to their community or stewardship group.

Geared to those interested in fisheries, environmental education, outdoor adventure tourism or project planning, the SLLP includes team building exercises, conflict resolution, communication skills and critical thinking. Camping along the banks of the Fraser, students study the fauna and flora, watersheds, ecosystems, the water cycle, resource management and what a truly sustainable fishery would look like. They meet with the RSBC’s extensive network of First Nation and Non-Native Fraser River community stewards as they pass through their communities.

http://www.youtube.com/user/RIVERSHEDSOCIETY

http://www.rivershed.com/

August 29, 2009 Posted by | Community Economic Development (CED), Creativity, Earth, Life, Sustainability, Videos, Water | , , , , | Leave a comment

Sheltering the Urban Homeless

Here’s an Idea, an inflatable igloo-looking shelter, the ParaSITE is meant to attach to the exhaust points of urban buildings’ heating and cooling systems – in a sense, making a parasitic relationship to the air needed to inflate the shelter.

Though the creation of permanent housing must always be of first priority Parasite propose a possible temporary solution. The paraSITE units in their idle state exist as small, collapsible packages with handles for transport by hand or on one’s back. In employing this device, the user must locate the outtake ducts of a building’s HVAC system. The intake tube of the collapsed structure is then attached to the vent. The warm air leaving the building then inflates and heats the double membrane structure.

August 26, 2009 Posted by | Community Economic Development (CED), Creativity, Earth, Family, Government, Great Ideas, Not for Profit, Packaging, Products, Sustainability, Sustainable Community Development | , , | Leave a comment

Disposable Biodgradable Mug for 3rd World

This may not make sense to you because of where you live and how you were raised, but imagine the hygiene and environmental factor for people in third world countries.  Plus this would be good for camping and your home emergency/ earthquake kit.

Disposable Mug1

Disposable Mug


Paul Sandip’s design, nominated for INDEX:Award 2009, is a collapsible one-use mug meant for washing after using public lavatories on India’s trains. It is inexpensive, holds more than a liter of water and disintegrates less than an hour after use, answering price, hygiene and waste-disposal challenges.

“When I was a student,” Paul Sandip recalls, “I had to travel by trains. And because of our large population here in India, you normally don’t get reserved-ticket service. In fact, you normally have to travel sitting in the aisles.

“So lots of travelers, like me, had observed this pressing need of people who use the public toilets in these trains. We Indians prefer to use water to  wash ourselves, instead of using toilet paper. But there was no product that was catering to this need. So people would carry maybe empty water bottles or teacups, something like that.”

Water, Sandip clarifies, is supplied on the trains, with taps in each public lavatory. But without containers, it’s useless to travelers.

“I investigated more into the matter,” Sandip says, “and I found that yes, indeed, the trains did have toilet mugs. But most of them were stolen. So even though the railway had given toilet mugs, they were not there because of this vandalism.”

“So I started thinking, why not have a product a person could buy inexpensively on a platform? Something nice and portable. It needed to be foldable because you’re traveling and you don’t have much space. It also had to be something you could throw away. You wouldn’t want to use it again because it would be very dirty. So you wanted something you would throw off the train.”

“But then, you had to think, when you say you’re going to throw it off — a very huge concern arises because you have to ask if this product is going to harm the environment or not. A lot of people would want to use this, and it might create a lot of nuisance.”

“That’s when I started exploring materials and came across a particular type of paper which had both the strength to withstand 1.2 liters of water, but which could also be glued with organic glue, and thirdly, that it would disintegrate after some point in time. I needed to connect these three different ideas of hygiene, portability and eco-friendliness.

“The place I come from is an ancient part of India,” the Kolkata region of portable in West Bengal, known to some by its anglicized name, Calcutta. “And there, we have a type of paper for vendors to use in selling food. After you use it, you can just throw it away. And those packages are made from recycled newspapers.”

Using this paper as his starting point, Sandip has test-marketed his Disposable Mug with the state railway’s cooperation on one of its longest lines. What the railway authority has asked is that private vendors make Sandip’s mugs available on the train platforms. Sandip’s effort now is to find sponsors who will pay for the paper and glue in exchange for advertisements printed on the mugs. To move to this next phase, Sandip has a business partner, a brother of his wife.

“My brother-in-law has been thinking on how this can be manufactured,” Sandip says. “Because this product is needed all over the country — and that means logistics could be a huge problem. So the idea is to have it manufactured by the people who live in slums by the train lines.  They live in unemployment and poverty, and this would give them something to sell. It creates the product all over the country. We just need the funding for purchasing the raw materials.”

Sandip and his brother-in-law, then, are working on finding advertiser-underwriters of the product, to get the paper and glue into the hands of the slum dwellers who will make and sell it.

“And you know,” Sandip says, “I normally deal with housewares and utensils as a designer. I have a small range of products, things housewives use at home. But for me, it’s not enough just to think about styling in design.  You also want to put heart into it. That’s the real difference.”
Designed by: Sandip Paul, Noida, India.

Additional credits: Bhushan Bawankule; Indian Railway Authority.

www.coroflot.com/paulsandip

Written by Porter Anderson

August 26, 2009 Posted by | Business Development, Creativity, Earth, Education, Life, Packaging, Products, Sustainability | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lights without Light Pollution

I consider my self an amateur astronomer,  so I was pleseantly surprised when I read this in a newsletter from my local electricty supplier, BC Hydro.  (and Yes I’m susbscribed to the online newsletters of my Gas & Electricty suppliers, doesn’t it just make sense?)  Enjoy the article & some pictures I found:

Light Polution

Light Polution STreet Lights

Astronomers big on Power Smart’s battle against light pollution

Rob Klovance
bchydro.com

Detail of a photo of the Pelican Nebula taken by John McDonald through a telescope at Astronomy Hill near Victoria in 2007. (W.J. McDonald photo)

It took a trip to Saltspring Island for amateur astronomer John McDonald’s grandkids from Vancouver to see the milky way for the first time. But for McDonald, it’s the story of a group of visiting Tokyo schoolkids that hammers home the allure of the elusive dark sky.

“These kids were staying at a fairly dark place up island,” says McDonald, a retiree who lives in Victoria. “Someone took them out at night to show them the milky way… and they couldn’t’ get them to go back in.

“These kids had never seen a star except the sun.”

McDonald and other B.C. star-gazers couldn’t be happier to hear that BC Hydro Power Smart has launched a campaign to fight light pollution that includes rebates on flat lens streetlight products. To them, the need is significant and the timing is perfect – the United Nations has declared 2009 the International Year of Astronomy, an initiative that coincides with the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s use of the telescope.

It’s not just about dark skies

And if you’re thinking that an astronomer’s battle against light pollution is just a tad self-serving, think again. Before we start talking about the stars, McDonald has already dealt with a laundry list of light pollution costs – wasted energy, wasted money, dangerous glare for drivers and detrimental effects on wildlife, including birds and fish.

“I think most of us are very keenly aware of the fact we’re using up energy, and that there’s a cost to it,” says McDonald, fresh off a trip to Costa Rica in which he shot a mind-blowing time-lapse video of the sky throughout the night. “And the amount of energy that is wasted in lighting up the bottoms of clouds and sending light off into space to do nothing is a considerable expense. It’s billions of dollars in North America.”

Our ‘addiction’  to light

Most of us think that the brighter the outdoor lighting, the better. McDonald thinks that attitude is a byproduct of growing up in an age here in B.C. where “hydro power has been basically a free service”. He speaks of us being addicted to light while largely ignoring the costs of that addiction.

In 1996, at the request of the US Congress, the National Institute of Justice conducted a landmark assessment of crime and violence in the United States. The study found little research to support the idea of “brighter-is-safer”, and even suggested that in some circumstances poorly designed illumination might actually increase personal vulnerability.

“There’s nothing worse than having somebody with motion security lighting,” says another astronomer, Paul Greenhalgh of Abbotsford. “To me it’s not security at all, it’s illumination. The day that a streetlight walks into court and testifies that this guy did what he did – that he stole that car – is the day I’ll eat my telescope.”

A billion bucks in wasted energy

Inefficient and excessive night lighting causes significant loss of energy globally. In North America, the energy wasted in illuminating the sky is estimated at a billion dollars. Good, clean outdoor lighting improves visibility, safety, and a sense of security, while minimizing energy use, operating costs, and ugly, dazzling glare.

There are three types of light pollution:

  • Light trespass, which occurs when light crosses property lines. Poor outdoor lighting shines onto neighbours’ properties and into bedroom windows, reducing privacy, hindering sleep, and giving the area an unattractive look.
  • Glare, which comes from an overly bright source of light compared to background lighting levels. Glare  is light that beams directly from a lamp into your eye. It serves no purpose and hampers the vision of pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. If you can see the bright lamp from a distance, it’s a bad light. With a good light, you see lit ground instead of the dazzling lamp.
  • Sky glow, which spills upward from urbanized areas and blocks the view of the stars

If we were to think of lamps as taps and leaking light rays as drops of water, we would never tolerate it. But, we seldom think about the impact of light pollution.

Reducing light pollution has a variety of benefits, including energy savings and helping eliminate light exposure that disrupts sleep cycles, causes fatigue and strains the immune system.

What we can do to helpIllustration shows full cutoff streetlamp

Greenhalgh’s Fraser Valley Astronomers Society has successfully lobbied the City of Abbotsford to apply a new policy to streetlighting. All new streetlamps in the city will be fitted with full cutoff lighting, which all but eliminates light not central to the task of lighting the street. And all existing lamps will be retrofitted with full cutoffs as part of their ongoing maintainence cycle.

Power Smart is out to remind people that we all have the power to help reduce light pollution and save energy and money, both with the lighting choices we make at home and the choices we make at our businesses.

Here’s a short list of things we can do:

  • Assess your requirements. Ask yourself if the lighting is really needed. If so, determine what area has to be lit, how much illumination is needed, and when is the lighting required.
  • Adopt “part-night lighting” by turning off non-essential lights after midnight. You save energy and money.
  • Install timers or motion sensors to turn your security lighting on only when needed. You save energy and money.
  • Adjust your security and outdoor lights so that they do not trespass into your neighbours’ house. Casting light onto adjacent areas is a waste of energy
  • Direct light where it is needed. Use lights that shield the lamp and direct the light down rather than out and away.
  • Avoid glare. A luminaire that emits a concentrated beam of light offers better visibility than one that shines light in all directions. In certain cases, glare can compromise safety.
  • Choose the most efficient lamps. Certain types of lamps consume less energy than others with the same light output. Choose lamps with a high lamp efficacy such as CFLs.
  • Choose the right luminaire. Light directed towards the sky does not improve night vision.
  • Choose luminaires that have a flat lens and a shield that completely shades the upper surface of the lamp or are classified as cut off and full cutoff by IESNA (Illumination Engineering Society of North America). The lamps sit back further in these luminaires causing the light to be cast down rather than out to the side. Therefore light cannot escape above 90 degrees horizontal plane. You can even install the lights under balconies and eaves.

How BC Hydro is fighting light pollution

BC Hydro is doing its part to reduce light pollution and help its customers save energy and money. Some of BC Hydro’s initiatives that help customers reduce light pollution and save energy include:

  • In-store instant discounts on ENERGY STAR light fixtures and ENERGY STAR Specialty CFL lamps. These lamps use up to 75% less energy than regular incandescent lamps.
    Mail in rebates for the purchase of ENERGY STAR CFL lamps.
  • Funding for studies to determine how municipalities can use adaptive street lighting to reduce street lighting levels without impacting safety. This will help municipalities dim their street lights by up to 50% during low traffic periods.
  • Incentives for business customers to install lighting controls such as timers and occupancy sensors to turn of lights when lighting is not required.
  • Incentives for municipalities and businesses to install ornamental streetlights with high efficiency lamps with flat lenses. The fully-shielded flat-lens lamps do an equally good job of illuminating the road by directing the light to where it is needed without sending light up into the sky or out into your eyes. The ground and roadway will be well illuminated. And, because no light is wasted, a lower wattage lamp can be used to illuminate the desired area.
  • Technical and financial assistance to customers who plan to reduce their lighting energy consumption by re-designing their lighting and de-lamping to reduce over illumination.
  • Lighting design tools and financial incentives for developers and builders of new buildings.
  • Funding for energy managers who target energy efficiency measures at customers’ facilities.
  • Training and development opportunities on energy conservation for businesses and their employees.

Source: BC Hydro

Other Cool Links:

Our Vanishing Night (National Geographic article)

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (Vancouver)

International Astronomy Day, HR MacMillan Space Centre, Vancouver

The Sky Tonight (Diagram of constellations in current evening sky, Vancouver)

August 26, 2009 Posted by | Art, Business, Business Development, Clean Energy, Community Economic Development (CED), Construction, Creativity, Earth, Education, Family, Geothermal, Government, Great Ideas, Green Roofs, Human Resources, Inspiration, LEED, Life, Philanthropy, Products, Solar, Sustainability, Sustainable Community Development | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Earth at Night

Earth at Night

August 14, 2009 Posted by | Earth | Leave a comment

The Living Earth

The Living Earth® image is a composite of Earth satellite imagery developed by The Living Earth, Inc.

* The hours are listed in Universal Time (UT), which is the same as Greenwich Mean Time. It is the same moment everywhere on earth when times are given as UT or GMT.

August 14, 2009 Posted by | Earth | | Leave a comment

Worls Population 7 Billion by 2011!

A new study by the Population Reference Bureau shows that by 2011 world population will hit 7 billion people. That’s just twelve years after it hit 6 billion, and 24 since it hit 5 billion:

Majority fo the growth is happening in the developing world.   For example look at how the African population is growing. The entire continent now has a human population of one billion, with the PRB predicting that in will double by 2050. Crazy!

Here’s an interesting fact for you.  90% of the youth are developing nations.  That’s an astounding 1.9 billion people of the current 6 billion population.

That means they will have the same thoughts we had growing up and some of these youth will want to leave for the big cities to seek of training, education, jobs, health care etc.

This will have a huge impact throughout the world… Imagine youth leaving small villages, leaving behind the knowledge of agriculture and immigrating to new countries to push paper.

PS

It’s also estimated that be 2011 the virtual population will reach 50 million.  I might just have to get my Son of Five Rivers Account on Second Life now…


August 14, 2009 Posted by | Earth, Life | , , , | Leave a comment

If the World were a Village of 100

Logo Miniature EarthThe idea of reducing the world’s population to a community of only 100 people is very useful and important. It makes us easily understand the differences in the world.
There are many types of reports that use the Earth’s population reduced to 100 people, especially in the Internet. Ideas like this should be more often shared, especially nowadays when the world seems to be in need of dialogue and understanding among different cultures, in a way that it has never been before.

The text that originated this webmovie was published on May 29, 1990 with the title “State of the Village Report”, and it was written by Donella Meadows, who passed away in February 2000. Nowadays Sustainability Institute, through Donella’s Foundation, carries on her ideas and projects.

IF THE WORLD WERE A VILLAGE OF 100 PEOPLE

In the world today, more than 6 billion people live.
If this world were shrunk to the size of a village of 100 people, what would it look like?

59 would be Asian
14 would be American (North, Central and South)
14 would be African
12 would be European
1 would be from the South Pacific

50 would be women, 50 would be men
30 would be children, 70 would be adults.
70 would be nonwhite, 30 would be white
90 would be heterosexual, 10 would be homosexual

33 would be Christians
21 would be Moslems
15 would be Hindus
6 would be Buddhists
5 would be Animists
6 would believe in other religions
14 would be without any religion or atheist.

15 would speak Chinese, Mandarin
7 English
6 Hindi
6 Spanish
5 Russian
4 Arabic
3 Bengali
3 Portuguese
The other would speak Indonesian, Japanese,
German, French, or some other language.

In such a village with so many sorts of folks, it would be very important to learn to understand people different from yourself and to accept others as they are. Of the 100 people in this village:

20 are underonurished
1 is dying of starvation, while 15 are overweight.
Of the wealth in this village, 6 people own 59% (all of them from the United States), 74 people own 39%, and 20 people share the remaining 2%.
Of the energy of this village, 20 people consume 80%, and 80 people share the remaining 20%.
20 have no clean, safe water to drink.
56 have access to sanitation
15 adults are illiterate.
1 has an university degree.
7 have computers.

In one year, 1 person in the village will die, but in the same year, 2 babies will be born, so that at the year’s end the number of villagers will be 101.

If you do not live in fear of death by bombardment, armed attack, landmines, or of rape or kidnapping by armed groups, then you are more fortunate than 20, who do.

If you can speak and act according to your faith and your conscience without harassment, imprisonment, torture or death, then you are more fortunate than 48, who can not.

If you have money in the bank, money in your wallet and spare change somewhere around the house, then you are among the richest 8.

If you can read this message, that means you are probably lucky!

(The statistics were derived from Donella Meadows “State of the Village Report” first published in 1990)

The Original Report

July 26, 2009 Posted by | Agriculture, Clean Energy, Co-op, Community Economic Development (CED), Earth, Economics, Education, Family, Inspiration, Life, Not for Profit, Open Source, Social Enterprise, Social Media, Solar, Sustainability, Sustainable Community Development, Videos, Waste, Water | , , | Leave a comment