Friday, August 26, 2005

Friday Hope Blogging

Giving the rather dour tone of my last few posts - and the fact that this feature still appears erratically - I'll believe I'll skip the long-winded preamble.

There's been some improvement in the state of Iraq's marshes, which are some of the most beautiful and important wetlands on earth:

Of the almost 3,600 square miles of marshes in 1970, the area shrank by 90 percent to 300 square miles in 2002. As recently as 2001, some experts forecast the marshlands would disappear by 2008.

Instead, the new satellite imagery shows a rapid increase in water and vegetation cover in just the past three years, with the marshes rebounding to about 37 percent of their 1970 reach, the United Nations Environmental Program said Wednesday.
You can see photos and videos of the marshlands here. And you can get more information from Eden Again.

Treehugger reports that an increasing number of suburbanites are choosing to grow their own food.
Jules Dervaes and three of his four grown children work tilling their urban garden full-time. The garden produces about 6,000 pounds of food a year — enough to feed the Dervaes, their menagerie of ducks, chickens and bunnies and even some diners seeking organic meals at local restaurants.

"We're farming on just a 10th of an acre here," Dervaes said. They're at the forefront of a small but growing number of city dwellers who are ripping out lawns and replacing them with vegetable beds and fruit trees.
Treehugger also has a thought-provoking article on how North America's rail system might be improved. Giving trains a more prominent role in local and interstate supply chains, while increasing their energy efficiency, sounds like a pretty good idea to me. (A train comprising, say, 98 cars has a lot of room for solar collectors on the tops and sides, which ought to be able to power something, one would think.) The Treehugger article talks about running trains on biodiesel, which doesn't exactly enthuse me; other possibilities are more exciting, but more elusive. Seems to me like some form of electrification with regenerative braking would be the way to go, in the near term.

In Eritrea, a new stove design has reduced the need for firewood in that heavily deforested land, and reduced the emission of toxic combustion byproducts and greenhouse gases:
The original mogogo stoves are smoky and dangerous and often difficult to start, sometimes needing kerosene to get going.

The award-winning new mogogo uses half as much firewood, insulates the flames and makes better use of ventilation....Thick smoke from stoves and fires inside homes is associated with around 1.6 million deaths a year in developing countries, two United Nations agencies said last year.
Another nice thing about this story is that villagers are being taught to make these stoves, so that they can pass the knowledge on.

Last, Echidne's got some good news, too, and she's promising more of it.

1 comment:

Engineer-Poet said...

No mention of gobar gas as a wood-free cooking fuel?