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

They went to Jail, I wrote a Letter!

So here’s the story, at the UN Climate Summit last month in Copenhagen.  A group of four managed to get into a dinner party where world leaders were dining with the Queen of Denmark and they held up a banner demanding they take action against global warming.  I’m a Greenpeace member, so I while these people went to jail I sent the letter below when the Executive Director Kumi Naidoo reached out and asked its members.

To:
Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada
Barack Obama, President of the United States
Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia
José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission
Faced with the unique opportunity to stop climate change in Copenhagen, world leaders offered instead an historic failure.  In sharp contrast, we and the world’s environment, hunger, and justice groups are mobilizing the largest movement civil society has ever witnessed, to demand a fair, ambitious, legally binding climate treaty.
I stand in solidarity with those who have taken non-violent direct action or committed peaceful acts of civil disobedience to demand climate justice. That includes the four Greenpeace activists who were detained without trial in Denmark for holding up banners at a head of state dinner. I have contributed to their action by supporting Greenpeace — financially, morally, or in my day to day life.  If the response of governments to the threat of climate change is going to be preventive detention of those likely to support or commit acts of civil disobedience, count me among the 15 million people you may need to round up.
I urge you to recognise that civil disobedience to demand action against so grave a threat is an act of community service.
Yours faithfully,
*********

Update:

The four activists have been released.

January 12, 2010 Posted by | Carbon Credits, Clean Energy, Community Economic Development (CED), Government, Great Ideas, Inspiration, Life, Politics, Social Media, Sustainability, War | , , | Leave a comment

Google Strikes Back at Rupert Murdoch!

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, strikes back at Rupert Murdoch in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal (which is owned by Rupert Murdock by the way). Before we get to the good stuff I’ll quickly explain who Rupert Murdoch is for those who don’t know.  He owns lots of media outlets (Newspapers, Magazines, Radio Stations, TV Networks, Cable & Internet Companies etc.) He is the founder, a major shareholder, chairman and managing director of News Corporation (News Corp).  He’s been in the news lately because he wants to ban Google from searching his sites and has been trying to make an agreement with Bing (Microsoft).  I don’t think he should be able to control the message people can and cannot hear.  I think and I hope he loses big on this!

With dwindling revenue and diminished resources, frustrated newspaper executives are looking for someone to blame. Much of their anger is currently directed at Google, whom many executives view as getting all the benefit from the business relationship without giving much in return. The facts, I believe, suggest otherwise.

Google is a great source of promotion. We send online news publishers a billion clicks a month from Google News and more than three billion extra visits from our other services, such as Web Search and iGoogle. That is 100,000 opportunities a minute to win loyal readers and generate revenue—for free. In terms of copyright, another bone of contention, we only show a headline and a couple of lines from each story. If readers want to read on they have to click through to the newspaper’s Web site. (The exception are stories we host through a licensing agreement with news services.) And if they wish, publishers can remove their content from our search index, or from Google News.

here’s even better stuff:

It’s understandable to look to find someone else to blame. But as Rupert Murdoch has said, it is complacency caused by past monopolies, not technology, that has been the real threat to the news industry.

Kudos to the WSJ for running the piece—assuming some editor didn’t lose his or her job for doing this. I just can’t wait to watch Google and News Corp go at it.

December 4, 2009 Posted by | Ads, Blogging, Business, Business Development, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Government, Information Technology (I.T.), Inspiration, Marketing, Politics, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media, Sustainable Community Development, War, Website | | Leave a comment

Building a Park in Parking Lot

In San Fransisco, its not illegal to occupy a parking stop with something other then motor vehicle.

I like this because it’s playful activism towards the causes that we belive in. Sustainable Urban Planning, Sustainable transportation and the importance of green space.

September 9, 2009 Posted by | Community Economic Development (CED), Inspiration, Sustainability, Sustainable Community Development | , , , | Leave a comment

The USA now has a Social Innovation Office

It’s now official: Sonal Shah, former head of global development at Google.org, the search-engine company’s philanthropic arm, is head of the new White House Office of Social Innovation.

The Office of Social Innovation is under the  Domestic Policy Council.

It’ll be interesting to see what comes out of here in the coming years…

September 4, 2009 Posted by | Business Development, Entrepreneurship, Inspiration, Life, Social Enterprise, Sustainable Community Development | , , | 2 Comments

The mindset of India (Then & Now)

The Political Mindset of India then:

Roti, Cupra and Makan

Translation: Food, Clothing & Shelter

The Political Mindset of India Now:

Bigili , Sark and pani

Transaltion: Electricity, Roads & Water

August 28, 2009 Posted by | Government, Inspiration, Life, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chulha (Traditional Stove in India)

Research cited by the World Health Organization indicates that nearly half the world continues today to cook with solid fuels including dung, wood, agricultural residues and coal. Such “bio-mass” fuels are blamed for diseases that result in deaths numbered in more than one million per year.

The Chulha is a stove designed to limit the dangerous health conditions caused by traditions of indoor cooking in many rural areas of the developing world.

BIO-MASS BREAKTHROUGH

The way the design teams behind the Chulha stove design like to put it, they’re “helping 400 million people give up smoking.”

What at INDEX: is called Design to Improve Life is termed, at Philips Design, “Philanthropy by Design.” And Philips’ teams in India and the Netherlands have worked together to create this smokeless response to a vast health problem.

Initially intended for rural and semi-urban parts of India, the design is intended to take the dangers of indoor cooking with bio-mass fuels out of an equation that health officials say affects the health of millions of people each year.

Bio-mass fuels include wood, dung and other substances which, when burned give off an array of particles dangerous to human respiratory systems. Adequately ventilated in an outdoor setting, there usually is no problem with such cooking. But by one estimate, as many as half the people of the world may still be cooking indoors with bio-mass fuels. And trapped inside, the smoke involved can become a lethal mix of indoor pollutants.

As the Philips design teams have noted, once they began to study the problem, the range of application was a huge issue. “The stove would have to accept different bio-mass fuels,” the teams wrote, “be widely available in different seasons and locations, adapt to people’s needs when cooking chapatti (bread), steaming rice, boiling water, and be able to accept different non-standard cooking vessels.”

The improved stove directs the smoke out of the house through a chimney. Philips went on to make its intellectual property on the design available free of charge – even working to develop molds that would allow NGOs (non-governmental organizations as identified by the UN) to make the stoves for people who need them the most.

One of the NGOs Philips has identified as a partner in the development of the Chulha is the Appropriate Rural Technology Institute of India.

Chulha

Chulha1

August 26, 2009 Posted by | Community Economic Development (CED), Creativity, Education, Family, Government, Great Ideas, Inspiration, Life, Not for Profit, Packaging, Philanthropy, Products, Sustainability, Sustainable Community Development | , , , | 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

Green Roof on Chicago City Hall

It was 2000/ 2001 and the this project caught my eye.  The city of Chicago wanted to put a garden on top of there city hall building.

So the next couple of posts regarding green roofs are dedicated the citizen and public servants that started thinking outside of the box.   It was Mayor Richard M. Daley and the City of Chicago who began construction of a 38,800 square foot (total roof area) semi-extensive greenroof in April 2000. It was completed at the end of 2001 at a cost $2.5 million, funded by a settlement with ComEd.

Here are some Before and After Photos.

Project Name: Chicago City Hall
Year: 2001
Owner: City of Chicago, Dept of Environment
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Building Type: Municipal/Government
Greenroof Type: Semi-Extensive, Test/Research
Greenroof System: Single Source Provider
Roof Size: 20300 sq.ft.
Roof Slope: 1.5%
Access: Accessible, By Appointment
Submitted by: Linda S. Velazquez

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:
Greenroof System: Roofscapes, Inc.
Roofscapes Contractor: Church Landscape
Landscape Architect: Conservation Design Forum
Architect: McDonough + Partners
Project Engineer: Roy F. Weston, Inc.
General Contractor: Bennett and Brosseau Roofing
Waterproofing: Sarnafil

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July 30, 2009 Posted by | Government, Green Roofs, Inspiration, Sustainability | , | Leave a comment

You don’t need to Worry.

arkitip0.jpg

July 28, 2009 Posted by | Inspiration | | Leave a comment