Beware of Greenwashing: Green-Living with Confidence

Originally posted on Green Living 4 Live:

What is Greenwashing?
Greenwashing refers to how companies take advantage of consumers with false or misleading claims about their products being environmentally and personally safe. They make claims about being “green” or “environmentally clean”-or even…

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Deep sea bacteria could provide breakthroughs for solar panels

simonhamer:

Solar starting to get into the news.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Bacteria that live almost a mile under the surface of the ocean, where light is scare, have adapted biological ways to harness tiny amounts of light very efficiently, and in some cases can use photosynthesis to convert 100 percent of the light they find into electricity. In contrast a typical solar panel commonly converts around 15 percent of sunlight into electricity.

Now researchers at the University of Cambridge are studying the light-harvesting proteins of the deep sea Green Sulfur Bacteria to see if they can provide breakthroughs for solar energy and other electricity devices. The research is in an area called quantum biology, and the scientists say it falls outside of ‘classical’ physics, and into quantum physics.

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Organisms that do photosynthesis use a network of pigments held in place by protein structures, or what scientists call pigment-protein complexes, where electrons are harvested. In many organisms as the electrons move through…

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Warren Buffett shines on solar sector

simonhamer:

Well done Warren. Perhaps he believes in global warming.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

When the Oracle of Omaha makes an investment, others follow. Even if it’s in a sector that’s been hammered in recent months: solar. This week Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company acquired two massive solar panel plants — which together represent some of the largest solar assets in the world — from SunPower. The Antelope Valley Solar Projects, to be built in Southern California, are worth some $2 billion to $2.5 billion collectively.

Buffett has been bullish on solar for awhile. A year ago around this time, MidAmerican also bought the $2 billion Topaz Solar Farm, in Southern California, and a 49 percent interest in the $1.8 billion Agua Caliente solar project, in Arizona.

Following news of the deal, solar stocks are up collectively across the board. As Forbe’s Eric Savitz point out: SunPower, JA Solar, Yingli Green Energy, Suntech, and First Solar are all up. And newly…

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Cloud Forest Trees Depend on Fog

simonhamer:

Sadly humanity will find out all these things too late.

Originally posted on memoirs on a rainy day:

Cloud Forest Trees Absorb Water Through Their Leaves From Fog

Trees in Costa Rica, as well as a number of plant species, in the tropical cloud forests quench their thirst by directly ingesting fog droplets through their leaves. These forests are in danger because of climate change, and a new study indicates that they’re even more fragile than previously thought.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

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Our garden haven

We have now lived at our present house for well over a decade.

I am a lazy gardener, my wife is a green fingered wonder.

We seem to be in a rare minority these days, everyone else is chopping their trees down, we look after all self planting newcomers. Newly accumulated self planted are 3 lilacs, a goat willow, a pear and an apple tree all in the rear garden. In the front we have a Hawthorn and a small cherry.

For about 5 years we have gradually increased our bird feeders, nuts, seed, sunflower and a few others. We now have about 20 different birds visiting the garden, many of which I’m sure have survived the winter only because we chose to supply food. Our garden is such a flutter with birds with now have a regular sparrowhawk that visits to feed.

In a world where most people are increasingly impatient and unhelpful to other humans, I wonder how many people make similar choices or simply think that material things are more important?

We have just decided to install solar panels on our roof, it is a decision that if considered over a 10 year period is just plainly good sense. Until the end of June the tariff is higher and the 25 year income is tax-free. Surprisingly the costs have declined dramatically, about 40% since we had a quote a year ago. It is another decision my good lady and I are delighted to have made.

As Dad used to say “if you get it for nought, it is usually a good deal” and with electricity rising each year the benefits will be amazing in the long-term.

Our small pond which was created from our sons sand pit, now has newts, frogs and pond skaters and always provides a good bathing place for the birds. Our original apple tree is gradually dying but is loved by woodpeckers, tree creepers and robins for all the bugs burying into the dead wood.

Life is very special, and watching our wildlife thrive in out little haven makes my life much better, but how many still appreciate these free gems of nature? Life in the fast lane quite often leads to crashes, so I gladly live my life in the slow lane. I’m often asked what I do, but I’m never asked what I add to the world. When we pass through life perhaps it is time to decide what truly matters to us. Most people when asked simply blurt out money, cars, or things, but if they received all those things tomorrow would they be any happier? As a baby boomer I was lucky enough to realise I derive my pleasure from people, relationships and those things for which I have passion.

If you have a passion for your garden please add your thoughts.

As ever, Simon