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Buy Nothing Day

Just remember that November 24th "Black Friday" is Buy Nothing Day, where you uh.. buy nothing!

All about Buy Nothing Day on AdBusters.org

Check out their 2006 TV Spots

*Investing Wuffie*

A greener alternative to MySpace

I've really been enjoying a new web service called Common Circle. It's similar to MySpace without the ethical issues. For one thing, it's not owned by wacky-righty Rupert Murdoch. But there are several other differences as well:

CommonCircle is a place for people from all walks of life, but the common goal we all share is a desire for positive social change and a strong belief in the 10 key values of the Green Movement; being:

1. Grassroots democracy
2. Social justice and equal opportunity
3. Ecological wisdom
4. Non-violence
5. Decentralization
6. Community-based economics and economic justice
7. Feminism and gender equity
8. Respect for diversity
9. Personal and global responsibility
10. Future focus and sustainability

We're a little different to most social networking services that have sprung up in recent times. For starters, the server the site is hosted on and our offices are all powered by 100% renewable energy - a wind and sun mix.

There are no external investors in CommonCircle - we're a true grass roots community steered by our members. We want and crave your input to help make CommonCircle a useful tool for you in your social activities and activist campaigns. Aside from your own profile page, we offer many features:

-Have an opinion or news? Post items on your very own blog
-Organizing an event? Publicize it using the events feature
-Forming or have a group? Our groups feature is just for you.
-Stuff/services for sale or trade? Try our free classifieds
-Looking for conversation? Post to our forums, or use chat
-Pictures to share? The gallery feature is awaiting you
-Wanting opinions? Try the CommonCircle polls
-We also provide guides for using each of the above features.

..and this is only the beginning! Tell us what you want from CommonCircle and we'll try to make it happen!

Whether you're an activist, community group, green business, or just want to connect with people who, like you, share an increased awareness of the state of our world and want to see things change - to make things change; we look forward to providing you with the tools to enhance your experience! Let's redefine the world together; one action at a time!

Future Solar Cells and YOU!

I am really excited about this technology!


Nanosolar can make photovoltaic solar cells without silicon by printing it on thin strips of metat. The thin strips of metal are then rolled up like a spool for easy transport. I don't have exact specifications, however they say real-world performance is the same or better as standard solar cells.

Watch the CNN Video

*The future looks sunny*


Hello fellow members,
         I work for a small non-profit climate change prevention network. Does anyone know of  climate change e-mail list-servs (outside the YahooGroups.com or Google groups) that are good to join?

Thank you,

Bush evolving on Global Warming?

Grist reported on the rumors that GWB may be changing his stance on the issue of global warming. It's hard to imagine that there is any honest or serious change going on here knowing Bu$h and Co.'s track record to date. Speculation on what kind of game or political strategy this might be can be found here.

One possible benefit from this might mean that those who refuse to believe anything said by anybody left of Bush might take the threat seriously now and attempt some changes.

Give CFLs as gifts

It's still a bit early to be thinking about the holidays, but they really aren't that far away. I personally try to make my holiday dollars do several things: help the planet, promote fair trade and educate people on how to do that, too.

Penny at TaraLuna has joined Jen's Green Journal and City Hippy in our holiday lights campaign. We're trying to eliminate CO2 in a big way, by encouraging people to give compact fluorescent lightbulbs as gifts.

TaraLuna is selling CFLs for a big discount ($3 vs. the $6 - $12 you find retail) as well as giving free CFLs to those who buy $50 or more of fair trade, earth-friendly and organic items. Looking through the TaraLuna website I'm getting all kinds of great gift giving ideas . . .


Taraluna's CFL action page

We'll soon have up a gift card PDF that can add the educational element to the gift -- explaining how much money and CO2 can be saved by this simple product. Stay tuned . . .


CFL facts:

If every household in the U.S. replaced one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL), it would prevent enough pollution to equal removing one million cars from the road.

For each incandescent bulb you replace with a CFL, you can save approximately 1000 to 1250 pounds of CO2 from being added to the atmosphere during the life of the bulb.

Each bulb can save you over $30 or £16 pounds over the life of the bulb in energy costs. That's because CFLs use 75% less energy and produce 90% less heat than incandescent bulbs.

CFLs are a gift that keeps on giving in money saved.

Do you have complicated or hard to reach light fixtures? CFLs can last 10,000 hours – 8 to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, which means a lot less labor and time spent on ladders and chairs.

An added bonus is that CFLs are safer than incandescents – they're cool to the touch and are less likely to cause burns or fires – although make sure you buy high watt CFLs to ensure they provide enough light for the person you are buying for. Here are some wattage equivalents for you:

15W CFL = 60W regular bulb
20W CFL = 75W regular
29W CFL = 100W regular
40W CFL = 150W regular
55W CFL = 250-300W regular

Ethanol bashing...

I've been saying similar things for a while based on my own research but I recently found this which points out a number of interesting points about the E85 wonderfuel...


The ethanol myth
Consumer Reports' E85 tests show that you'll get cleaner emissions
but poorer fuel economy ... if you can find it

The Bush administration has been pushing ethanol as a renewable,
homegrown alternative to gasoline. Now, the auto industry is abuzz
with the promise of its flexible-fuel vehicles (FFVs), which are
designed to run on either gasoline or the blend of 85 percent ethanol
and 15 percent gasoline called E85.

CR Quick Take

Despite the avid support of the Bush administration and major
American car companies, E85 is unlikely to fill more than a small
percentage of U.S. energy needs.

* E85, which is 85 percent ethanol, emits less smog-causing
pollutants than gasoline, but provides fewer miles per gallon, costs
more, and is hard to find outside the Midwest.
* Government support for flexible-fuel vehicles, which can run on
E85, is indirectly causing more gasoline consumption rather than less.
* Most ethanol is being blended in a 10 percent mix to reduce
smog-producing emissions and stretch gasoline supplies.

GM's advertising says, "Energy independence? The answer may be
growing in our own backyard," and has coined the slogan "Live green,
go yellow," referring to the corn from which most U.S. ethanol is
made. DaimlerChrysler, Ford, and GM have said that they plan to
double production of FFVs and other biofuel vehicles to 2 million by

A recent Harris Interactive study of vehicle owners found that more
than half were interested in purchasing an FFV, mostly for reduced
dependency on petroleum and improved fuel economy.

But after putting a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe FFV through an array of fuel
economy, acceleration, and emissions tests, and interviewing more
than 50 experts on ethanol fuel, CR determined that E85 will cost
consumers more money than gasoline and that there are concerns about
whether the government's support of FFVs is really helping the U.S.
achieve energy independence. Among our findings:

* The fuel economy of the Tahoe dropped 27 percent when running
on E85 compared with gasoline, from an already low 14 mpg overall to
10 mpg (rounded to the nearest mpg). This is the lowest fuel mileage
we've gotten from any vehicle in recent years.

* With the retail pump price of E85 averaging $2.91 per gallon in
August, according to the Oil Price Information Service, which tracks
petroleum and other fuel prices, a 27 percent fuel-economy penalty
means drivers would have paid an average of $3.99 for the energy
equivalent of a gallon of gasoline.

* When we calculated the Tahoe's driving range, we found that it
decreased to about 300 miles on a full tank of E85 compared with
about 440 on gasoline. So you have to fill up more often with E85.

* The majority of FFVs are large vehicles like the Tahoe that get
relatively poor fuel economy even on gasoline. So they will cost you
a lot at the pump, no matter which fuel you use.

* Because E85 is primarily sold in the upper Midwest, most
drivers in the country have no access to the fuel, even if they want
it. For our Tahoe test, for example, we had to blend our own (see The
great E85 fuel hunt).

* The FFV surge is being motivated by generous fuel-economy
credits that auto-makers get for every FFV they build, even if it
never runs on E85. This allows them to pump out more gas-guzzling
large SUVs and pickups, which is resulting in the consumption of many
times more gallons of gasoline than E85 now replaces.

We put the Tahoe through our full series of fuel-economy and
acceleration tests while running on each fuel (see our test results).
When running on E85 there was no significant change in acceleration.
Fuel economy, however, dropped across the board. In highway driving,
gas mileage decreased from 21 to 15 mpg; in city driving, it dropped
from 9 to 7 mpg.

You could expect a similar decrease in gas mileage in any current
FFV. That's because ethanol has a lower energy content than gasoline:
75,670 British thermal units per gallon instead of 115,400, according
to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. So you have to
burn more fuel to generate the same amount of energy. In addition,
FFV engines are designed to run more efficiently on gasoline. E85
fuel economy could approach that of gasoline if manufacturers
optimized engines for that fuel.

When we took our Tahoe to a state-certified emissions-test facility
in Connecticut and had a standard emissions test performed, we found
a significant decrease in smog-forming oxides of nitrogen when using
E85. Ethanol, however, emits acetaldehyde, a probable carcinogen and
something that standard emissions-testing equipment is not designed
to measure. But that might be a relatively minor evil. "Acetaldehyde
is bad," says James Cannon, president of Energy Futures, an
alternative-transportation publication, "but not nearly as bad as
some of the emissions from gasoline."

How to be a carless family

I've been contemplating what it would take for our family to go carless. We have a 12 year and nearly 3 year old which makes this a difficult problem. My 12 year old is capable of riding here bike fairly safely -- but how do we get my 3 year old around and do the grocery shopping? I'm willing to get the little yellow trailers, but they seem kind of unstable unless you are in full control of the bike at all times.

I saw this "trike" on Tree Hugger created by Christiana Bikes and realized how perfect this is for small families. The trike is made in Denmark and I'd have no idea how to get a hold of one of these here in the U.S. -- I wish I were a bit more enterprising and handy with tools because I think that there could be big market for something like that here.

I couldn't find any references to cost, but I'm sure they aren't cheap. Importing it from Europe could get pretty pricey too.

Electrical Excitement...


Thinfilm Solar Cells that print directly onto metal foil... No silicon required, no difficult and expensive vacuum systems needed.


EEStor, of Austin, TX, isn't releasing much info about their "solid state battery" system. If it's all that it apears to be it'll be a wonderful thing though!


Electric supercar anyone?

Put 'em together and what have you got?

solar powered generator for less than $300

Did you you know that you can build a solar powered generator for less than $300?