Most tools that allow you to calculate your impact on the environment
soon ask for non-specific pledges, contact information, and money to
offset your impacts on the environment. Well, Bello Mundo
) has created an airline travel carbon calculator
instead of giving you abstract numbers and asking for monetary offsets,
tells you exactly how to change your lifestyle to offset your plane
For example, my recent honeymoon to Italy could easily be offset by
BIKING (instead of driving) FOR 16,000 MILES! OK, maybe that's not a
good example. How about using a CFL
for 12,000 hours...that's easy. That's just two bulbs in my house for one year!
The Bello Mundo
calculator actually helps a guy understand what 10,000 kg of carbon
dioxide means, and how airline travel relates to car travel and
household power use. It makes things seem less abstract making it, in
my opinion, a noble and useful tool.
Who doesn't love Google Earth
. It's beautiful, it's powerful, it's
surprising and interesting. But now, because of a collaboration with
the UN Environment Programme, Google Earth has gone green. Start up
your copy and then check the 'featured content' area under layers.
You'll find there a UNEP layer which, if you click, will give you areas
all across the world where you can observe the effects of humans on
the Earth with satellite imagery.
The expansion of Las Vegas, the deforestation of the Amazon, the
recession of glaciers in Greenland. Be patient with the loading, as it
can take a little while, but this is really powerful stuff. Every time
something a little bit evil comes out of Google, twenty amazing
projects like this show up. In fact, I think there'll be another green
announcement from Google later on in the day. So keep your eyes out.
I know the figures. Ever hour of every day, thousands of people are
born and over a million tons of carbon dioxide are used. As for people
dying, well, there's a lot of that too, just not as much as there are
people being born.
But David Bleja
, a student at Monash University
in Melbourne Australia has put together a flash
of all of this and it is riveting. Load up
and watch as carbon dioxide is exhaled, babies are
born and people die. Sometimes it's creepy, to think of the hundreds
of lives you've watched snuff out. And then for a while, it was just
really scary. A country flashes red every time it finished producing
1000 tons of CO2. The US flashes every 5.4 seconds, more than any
other country, while you'd have to wait 11 days for Vanatu to flash.
But, after a while of watching (and really, for a long time I couldn't
stop,) I started feeling rather inspired and impressed. This is what
our Earth can handle. Billions of people doing their thing. Babies popping out of moms all over, several times
per second. Eyes going dark, tears falling. People working, and
living, and laughing, all a part of eachother's lives. All unavoidably
clueless of things going on just miles away, nevermind on the other
side of the earth.
I often catch myself thinking that the most profound affect of
technology on the environment will be to help people understand the
truth of the situation I'm in. That's what the Breathing Earth
Someone has just done a cool thing with Google Earth. I just can't figure out who that someone is... all I can find out is they have a parent company, Geosign
, that is, according to their website "privately held and highly profitable."
Well, we don't know where the high profit comes in with The Renewable
, but we like it a lot. The site is based on the Google Earth
API and is basically a mapping of a ton of renewable energy projects
around the world.
Montana, my state, is a little light on projects (only two,
apparently). But, if I had the inclination, I could add projects to
the listing. And since just about everyone here is talking about biodiesel
, I probably wouldn't have a hard time finding some good ones.
The system makes it very easy to submit new projects along with links
to project websites and pictures of the project. It's also really easy
to browse projects by location, category, size. A very cool use of