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Penguins galore!

Originally uploaded by BrynJ

I was not supporting that idea, but when I received an email from Linda Capper of British Antarctic Survey (BAS) a few days ago I was excited about the news and I am now really looking forward to watching their first ever live concert from Antarctic.

OK, so they’re not rock stars. But scientists with the British Antarctic Survey will guarantee Al Gore’s promise that the Live Earth concerts on July 7 will be performed on all 7 continents. They’ll be performing during the dead of winter at the Rothera Research Station. In fact, it’ll be the first time anyone outside the station has heard the indie rock-folk band, Nunatak, play at all. (Nunatak, by the way, is a Greenlandic word that means an exposed summit of a ridge mountain or peak within an ice field or glacier.) […] Gore personally reached out to the band, not that he had many alternatives. “We were invited by former Vice President Gore, who has followed our research for some years and knows us,” says BAS spokeswoman Linda Capper. Live Earth organizers did originally explore the idea of flying in performers, but quickly dropped that when told the continent is pretty much inaccessible during the winter.

Don’t forget that there are more hard working scientists in Antarctic. It would be great if they joined the gig via their satellite link.

Bryan Jones, whose photos I used in this post and previous one, has a great set of photos from his time working for BAS in Antarctica. Check them out.

In the surrounding Antarctica, commercial tourism, whaling, and politics which was reminded by the 25th anniversary of the end of Falklands War are still a bit concerned.

Oh, BTW, Al Gore’s plan to have a symbolic switch-off of lights across the UK during the Live Earth gig in London has been vetoed by the National Grid.

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Neon Green Light Switch on Wall
Originally uploaded by EltonHarding

On Thursday June 21 – Midsummer’s Night – Lights Out London will take place between 9 and 10pm. Londoners and businesses are invited to turn off all lights and non-essential appliances between 9 and 10pm.

I will definitely take part in the event. Will you?

I will also check out the realtime electricity demand chart at the National Grid UK after the event. I hope they will release an official data as they support the event.

Do you remember Sydney’s Earth Hour?

On Saturday March 31 2007, more than 2 million Sydney residents took part in the event between 7:30 and 8:30pm and they observed impressive 10.2% drop in energy usage which represents a reduction of 24.86 tonnes of carbon dioxide – the equivalent of taking 48,613 cars off the road for an hour!

[via thelondonpaper.com]

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Tea On The Square
Originally uploaded by MykReeve.

I really loved its stunning visualisation of life by numbers in The Human Footprint.

Have you ever wondered what it would look like if all the things you produce and consume in your lifetime were piled up outside your door? All your clothes, all your electrical goods, all your worldly goods laid out before you? This remarkable film tells the story of an average life, a 2,475,576,000 seconds journey from the cradle to the grave. revealing the extraordinary impact that each of our lives has on the world around us. It is the story of our human footprint. [Touch]

I wish they showed those images in the Human Footprint Calculator. There are some numbers and images available online. How did they lay out 75,000 cups of tea in Trafalgar Square? Watch this.



Battersea Power Station and Grosvenor Bridge
Originally uploaded by Dave Gorman.

Did you know you can download electricity demand data in Excel from National Grid UK ? How interesting. You can even view them in real time.

Real time data is available for system frequency and electricity demand. Demand data can be viewed over three separate time intervals: 60 minutes, 24 hours and the last 8 days. Frequency traces track movements over the last 60 minutes.

Dynamic Demand has a cool “frequency” web-meter operating directly from National Grid data. They also show how past events, such as the silence for London bomb victims, have affected the grid. It would be very interesting to see the effect on the demand if we organized an event like Earth Hour.

I will try uploading some data to Swivel or Many Eyes when I find spare time so that someone can create interesting graphs.



Emperor Penguins
Originally uploaded by BrynJ.

Live Earth is a series of concerts planned for WikipediaJuly 7, 2007 (7/7/07) to raise awareness of global climate change.

SOS, Save Our Selves is designed to trigger a mass-scale movement to combat our climate crisis.

SOS hope that Live Earth will become the model for carbon neutral concerts and other live entertainment events in the future.

  • All electricity that powers the shows will be from renewable sources, either through utility supplied renewable energy, biodiesel generators, or renewable energy credits.
  • Concessionaires will be encouraged to use and directed to suppliers of agricultural / biodegradable plastics (i.e. made from corn). Also, concessionaire waste will be minimized through a comprehensive recycling system organized at the venue.
  • Venue offices, walkways, etc will be retrofitted with compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs, where possible.
  • The entire production design will follow sustainable light design principles. Production lighting will include the use of LED light bulbs and production/artist trailers will be incorporate low impact technology in areas such as air conditioning units.
  • SOS staff and artist air travel will be offset through carbon credits.
  • Ground travel will be hybrid or other clean fuel where possible.
  • Hotels will be directed to change light bulbs to CFLs, use nontoxic cleaning products, and have recycling containers present in the rooms.

All right. How about audience? I am sure people who really care about the climate change will make an effort to make them carbon neutral.

However, the organizer even plans to stage the first-ever rock concert on Antarctica! Don’t be so ridiculous! Don’t bother making it carbon neutral. Just leave Antarctica well alone!

“We have to get the message of urgency and hope out,”

Mr Gore said. Why not air “An Inconvenient Truth” on that day? 2 billion people will watch it, right? People are still searching for the free film even after it’s removed from YouTube.

For those who are interested in the film, there is a set of the graphical images in the film. (via Infosthertics)

BTW, the website is another wordpress site like Ford Mortor’s. Check the url (not using pretty permlinks) and the page source code if you need.



Canary wharf
Originally uploaded by revone_uk.

While Paris and other Europe cities organisedFive Minutes of Respite for the Planet” on the eve of the release of the 4th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on climate change, Switched On London, a lighting festival, is taking place in the WikipediaPool of London, between Tower Bridge and London Bridge on the Thames.

This is a seven night celebration of the relationship between light, architecture and the city consisting of temporary lighting installations and a series of light related events with an overall concept theme of ‘theatre’. So, the ‘Gods of Light’ willing, London’s first festival of light will run from the 8th to the 16th February 2007 in conjunction with ARC 07 at the Business Design Centre.

Concerning environmental impact? This is an environmentally friendly event according to WiewLondon

The project uses 320 LED light strips, each one of which only uses about 8 watts of electricity. Over the ten days of the festival, it’s estimated that the running cost will be only £20.00 – less than many Londoner’s electricity bills.

Okay, let’s enjoy it. I hope that they will light you up a bit during the dark depressing winter. It would be perfect if they were powered by solar or wind. Lighting is essential in our modern society. What we need to consider is its use in the right place at the right time in the sustainable way.

Personally I would like to see London switched off for a short period of time next. Sydney is going to turn off their lights for an hour, Earth Hour, between 7.30 and 8.30 pm on 31 March 2007 to reduce their greenhouse gas emission from Wikipedialight pollution [via TreeHugger]. I wish them great success and hope someone takes satellite photos at that night.

Via Starry Night Lights, I found a fantastic Earth at Night image created by Earth Observatory at Nasa. There are many fascinating images at Nasa’s Astronomy Picture of the Day. It’s a shame that they don’t have a rss feed.



Dear Mother Earth
Originally uploaded by deestea.

An Inconvenient Truth is now posted to YouTube in nine 10-minute installments [via Jeff at sustainablog].

[Update: They have been removed for an obvious reason]

I don’t link all here as YouTube shows them in the related videos list. This is being spread among environment bloggers. I thought I ought to spread this a little.

They were posted on November 9, 2006. I don’t think this is an official release. I heard many negative reviews of the film, but just watch it (again) before deleted. You will agree with Michael who argued Al Gore should make the film available for free as an educational campaign on global warming.

At the end of 2006, climate change still remains a controversial issue with arguments from both sides. BBC has an excellent review of Climate 2006 “Rhetoric up, action down“. A quote from Britain’s Environment Secretary David Miliband sums it up quite well, “The gap between what the science tells us is necessary and what the politics is delivering is still signficant.”

Also worth mentioning, the Scientists have discovered that an enormous ice shelf broke off an island in the Canadian Arctic last year, in what could be sign of global warming. How many more evidence do we need to take environmental political actions to save the mother earth?

Don’t forget to read deestea’s essay of the above photo: “You are so big, round and voluptuous. Maybe it’s Your size that gives we humans the illusion that we can ravish You without any repercussions. …”.

By the way, Al Gore used Apple’s Keynote on his PowerBook for his presentation. Unfortunately Apple products still contain toxic chemicals and
they are ranked at the bottom of the latest Greenpeace’s Green Electronics Guide. The iconic Apple store on 5th Avenue in New York is bathed in green light to highlight that Apple should go green.



Photo by Tim Ockenden/PA
Originally uploaded by vivido.

More than 1,000 flights were cancelled run-up to Christmas because of dense fog. Why do such weather conditions result in chaos at airports at Heathrow?

Despite planes have the ability to fly blind and all aviation technology, pilots still rely a surprising amount on a very simple piece of technology – their eyes when landing and taxiing planes. So with less visibility, traffic controllers increase the airspace between planes. This means less aircraft can use the airport resulting in cancellations.

The Heathrow airport operates at 98% capacity and severe weather and new security measures throw things into chaos and cost economy.

The infrastructure needs to be expanded in a sustainable way. Obviously it needs an another runway, which the government has reaffirmed. The terminal 5, which is surprisingly 11 months ahead of schedule and going to be opened in May 2010, can accommodate more passengers, not in marquees in the event of an emergency.

There has been an inconsistency in the government’s policy, future aviation growth and climate change. More flights and more vehicles in and out of the airport will increase carbon emissions. It’s not a bad idea to charge airlines (or even passed to passengers) and vehicles reaching to the airport under the missions trading plan.

I might be talking rubbish. But, here is my two cents.

The number of flights should be limited (by law if necessary) to 70% capacity (this is my wild guess) or a rate where the airport can operate all flights on time towing every airplane to a runway with its main engine off as a trial by Virgin Atlantic. That could save two tonnes of fuel per airplane. Environmentalists complain that is only 3% of fuel for a transatlantic flight, but that’s what we can do right now to reduce carbon emissions before a major breakthrough in renewable energy technologies.

It’s a bit off topic, but most of passengers’ complaints in recent airport chaos were lack of information about their flights. TV and news coverage of the chaos provided a free phone number and websites for the latest information, but I doubt if they were effective. Presumably most passengers have mobiles with them and airlines or BAA could provide a mobile text service to keep them updated with their flight and other essential information. In fact, BAA has Flying Messenger Plus service (costs 75p plus network charge). Why can’t they provide this service free of charge in the event of an emergency?

I am delighted to see quietrevolution wind turbines and Smart cars in a picture of “House of the Future” in thelondonpaper. The picture is what the average semi-detached house will look like in a 2106. This is a study from Zurich UK.

Hmm, but in 100 years? I will second a comment from Simon Reddy of Greepeace. We should be reducing the energy demands of existing buildings rather than wait 100 years. Arup, the designer of house of the future, predicts its design will become the norm with stamp duty exempt on green homes. I don’t think so. It’s still too expensive to install these technologies. Chancellor Gordon Brown’s announcement that he wants all new houses built by 2016 (in 10 years!) to be “zero-carbon” appeared to take the industry and other government departments by surprise.

I am also disappointed that Micro-CHP (Combined Heat and Power) is not mentioned at all in the study.

I am the proud owner of Smart ForTwo, on which more later.



061109spirit_of_dubai03
Originally uploaded by alanconnor.

“A pioneering airship adventure is being launched in London. ‘The Spirit of Dubai’, the largest commercial airship in the world, will begin a unique journey from London to Dubai, visiting many of the world’s most famous landmarks on the way. It is planned that the journey will take in landmarks including Big Ben, The London Eye and Tower Bridge in London, the iconic Selfridges building in Birmingham, Stonehenge, the White Cliffs of Dover, the Eiffel Tower and Versailles in Paris, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Colosseum in Rome, the Acropolis in Athens and the Great Pyramids in Egypt.”

Great. I have never enjoyed stressful and noisy air travel. It would be fun viewing those landmarks from the sky.

The official website is a bit flashy, but I would read the captain’s blog of her 42-days journey if they had a rss feed. You can track the airship in Google Earth. I would like to see more photos of inside of the airship and views from from the airship (again a rss feed would be great) as well as people’s snaps (subscribed). It would be very interesting if they were geotagged

This BBC article has more.

“It is a staple of the genre known as “alternative history“. Anybody wanting to conjure up the idea of technological cul-de-sacs reborn or to represent the ostentatious luxury of the 1930s goes straight for the airship.  […]  The Spirit of Dubai boasts that during a week of operations it uses less fuel than a Boeing 767 uses to get from gate to runway. But the real, glittering possibility for the airship aficionados is that future advances in solar panel technology could render them light enough to plaster over the airship’s large surface area and make it an effective means of mass transport.”

I really hope so, but it’d be financially very difficult. I hope someone like Richard Branson shows some interest in this.

The airship carries only 13 passengers. Is she carrying any passengers in her journey? I have entered a competition to win a flight over London on the Spirit of Dubai airship on Wednesday, November 15. Wish me luck.

There is a better chance to win this than the EuroMillions, which rolled over again. If no one wins the jackpot next week, an estimated £120 million will be distributed among the next tier of winners. Will you buy one?

Originally via Londonist

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