ngm.nationalgeographic.com - National Geographic Society
Explore the world’s new coastlines if sea level rises 216 feet. The maps here show the world as it is now, with only one difference: All the ice on land has melted and drained into the sea, raising it 216 feet and creating new shorelines for our continents and inland seas. There are more than five million cubic miles of ice on Earth, and some scientists say it would take more than 5,000 years to melt it all. If we continue adding carbon to the atmosphere, we’ll very likely create an ice-free planet, with an average temperature of perhaps 80 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the current 58.
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“Meet ‘photoswitches,’ a breakthrough set of materials that act as their own batteries, absorbing energy and releasing it on demand.
The next big thing in solar energy could be microscopic.
Scientists at MIT and Harvard University have devised a way to store solar energy in molecules that can then be tapped to heat homes, water or used for cooking.
The best part: The molecules can store the heat forever and be endlessly re-used while emitting absolutely no greenhouse gases. Scientists remain a way’s off in building this perpetual heat machine but they have succeeded in the laboratory at demonstrating the viability of the phenomenon called photoswitching…”
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Jean plant pots
How cool are these! Making smaller ones for the kids would be fun as well.
Posted in Garden | Tagged Garden | 1 Comment »
“The seed lending library will provide free seeds on ‘loan’ to library members, encouraging them to grow healthy food and to provide them greater access to fresh fruit and vegetables.
Those people who are successful in harvesting the high-quality, non-hybrid seeds will simply be asked to return some of them to the library. People will also be asked to share excess seeds, seedlings and produce with their local community gardens, neighbours and services such as soup kitchens and refuges.
Library staff will manage the cataloguing, storage and loan process and will also develop educational tools to teach people how to successfully grow from seed.
The library’s new community garden has been established on the northern side of the library (fronting Gordon Street) and consists of a number of raised beds. It has already been planted by volunteers.
The garden will be managed and maintained by volunteers and will be used to promote the growing of food, healthy eating and exercise. Library staff will assist by developing educational resources and running workshops to teach people about gardening.”
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“There has been a lot of discussion recently (in January 2002 that is) over the merits of permaculture and how to measure its success. Conventional measures such as yields don’t really capture the benefits of permaculture so instead we gathered some messages about some really good examples of permaculture obtained from a discussion on the subject on the permaculture mailing list at ibiblio.org. Below you’ll find some of the contributions made in the course of the discussion.”
“…Toby Hemenway writes: “The best ones I’ve seen are: Flowering Tree in New Mexico, Roxanne Swentzell’s place designed by her and Joel Glanzberg. Rox has taken a 1/2 acre of bare gravel desert and, starting with swaling, mulching, and lots of N-fixers, now has a nearly closed canopy of walnuts, fruit trees, N-fixing trees, with fantastic habitat and more food and mulch than she can deal with. Permaculture Institute of Northern California, Penny Livingston’s place, an acre of suburban jungle with chickens, ducks, and again, more food and biomass production than she can use. It’s got a cob office, and two load-bearing straw-bale buildings, a marsh and pond system that handles all the greywater and supports the duck and some irrigation. There’s a Bed-and Breakfast attached, so lots of visitors come away inspired. Too bad Penny just dropped this list, but she’s busy with a thriving design business. The Bullock’s property on Orcas Island, north of Seattle. 10 acres that’s the best developed food forest I’ve seen, plus several acres of wetland that has chinampas in it (mostly for wildlife). They hold classes for 3 weeks each summer with 30 students, and there’s enough fruit to support grazing for the whole class the whole time. They’re off the grid, and supported by a nursery business and teaching. These are all very attractive sites, too. None of these people are measuring yields, though I think they all have some idea of rough quantities of certain crops. I’m sure that converting each property into a conventional, row-crop farm or orchard would generate more total output (ignoring inputs) than they are currently getting, but at a severe loss of habitat, multiple function, and education about integrated systems. And that reminds me of Jerome Osentowski’s Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute in Colorado. The particular interest here is that Jerome’s income source for about a decade was a many-specied salad-growing operation he ran in raised beds and two large greenhouses (a real feat, going year-round at 7000 feet elevation). He sold to tony restaurants in Aspen. He got sick of the huge amount of work, and demoralized by the vast quantities of organic matter that he was importing, burning up, and exporting as C02 and salad. Really high inputs. So he shifted to a food forest, which is just reaching good production now and supported a lot of heavy grazing during a class I helped teach there last summer. Again, no hard data, but his decision to shift from intensive row-cropping to food forest, and his enormous happiness with the result, is a powerful statement.”
Posted in Permaculture | Tagged Permaculture | 1 Comment »
A low-tech water filter system made from a branch of a tree can filter up to four liters of water per day, removing up to 99% of E. coli bacteria and producing fresh, uncontaminated, drinking water.
A team at MIT used a small piece of sapwood, which contains xylem tissue that transports sap inside the tree, to build an effective water filter that could make a big difference in places where contaminated water is the norm. By using this type of filter, rural communities may be able to solve some of their water issues in a low-cost and efficient manner.
“Today’s filtration membranes have nanoscale pores that are not something you can manufacture in a garage very easily. The idea here is that we don’t need to fabricate a membrane, because it’s easily available. You can just take a piece of wood and make a filter out of it.” – Rohit Karnik, associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT…
Posted in Permaculture | Tagged plants, Water | 1 Comment »