Wednesday, May 30, 2007

 
posted by Sarah Krasley @ 1:10 AM
As festival season approaches, sunscreen should be first on your shopping list. With so many choices, I sometimes want to throw up my hands and burn. Luckily the folks at Lime.com have prepared a good set of criteria.

Sunscreen 101
Posted by Su Avasthi on May 28, 2007 - 6:47pm.

When did buying sunscreen come to require an advanced degree? At least, that's what occured to me when I stopped at the drugstore to buy a bottle of sunscreen before going to the pool.

Overwhelmed by the choices, I left emptyhanded and borrowed some from a friend. Later, I hopped online and realized that my confusion was justified. We all know that sun protection is a necessity (and if you don't, check out the troubling statistics on skin cancer), so I decided it was worth the effort to wade through the hype. Especially because I recently read about a class action lawsuit against major sunscreen companies for false or misleading claims.

Here are a few things I picked up, but it is probably worthwhile to check out more comprehensive information posted at the Centers for Disease Control and the Skin Cancer Foundation websites:

SPF 15 or Higher: Experts recommend buying a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. An SPF of 30 or higher is a sunblock.

So, is a high SPF that much better? Theoretically, yes. The SPF number refers to the amount of time we can spend in the sun before burning. If you start to burn after 20 minutes, an SPF of 15 means that technically you should be able to safely stay in the sun for 15 times longer. It also reduces the percentage of UVB rays that reach the skin. Still, experts advise people not to push it.

Reapply Every Two Hours: The Skin Cancer Foundation says that all sunscreens need to be reapplied after two hours to be effective. I gather that it's better to reapply sunscreen often, rather than fool yourself into believing that a higher SPF offers extra protection.

Broad-Spectrum Protection: Buy sun broad-spectrum protection. UVA and UVB are two types of ultraviolet radiation; both damage the skin and increase the risk of skin cancer. UVA rays seem to cause wrinkles, and other types of photoaging, while UVB rays cause sunburn. UVA rays exacerbate the carcinogenic effects of UVB rays, and increasingly are being seen as a cause of skin cancer on their own.

Buy Water-Resistant: Even if you're not exercising or sweating, it holds up better outside. And it is less likely to drip into your eyes.

Other Chemicals: I encountered a few other new terms. According to ABC News, Helioplex is a breakthrough product because it blocks both UVA and UVB rays, and it blocks UVA rays for twice as long as other products because it doesn't breakdown in the sun. Mexoryl SX, long available in Europe, got FDA-approval last year. It's an organic filter that's meant to protect against short UVA rays and doesn't degrade quickly in the sun.

If you want nothing to do with these or other chemicals in sunscreens, there are other all-natural options.

Lastly: If you can't stay out of the sun, wear a hat. No sunscreen can offer total protection. Besides, isn't it better than wrinkles?

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posted by Sarah Krasley @ 12:35 AM
by Paula Alvarado, Buenos Aires on 05.29.07

mana_elpaisspain.jpg
(Picture by El Pais newspaper) During their recent tour in Latin America, musicians from the Mexican group Maná -one of the most popular bands in Latin America, which also filled the Madison Square Garden Stadium two nights in a row last March- used every chance they had in front of the press to bring up themes related to ecology and Global Warming. PR strategy? Not so much. That's actually how we found out about Selva Negra, an organization this group brought together over 12 years ago, in 1995, to canalize their environmental preoccupations and put their fame to use for relevant causes. The organization's main projects include initiatives to incentive environmental education (which is not provided to Mexican kids in school), actions to preserve turtles in camps in Nayarit and Jalisco (Mexico), economical support to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to carry on the project called The Growing Connection (aimed to the sustainable production of vegetables in areas like Ghana, Africa and Mexico), and several independent projects such as the re-construction of houses devastated by hurricanes in Chiapas, Mexico. All these might be the reasons Maná was called by former US vice president Al Gore to perform in the Live Earth concerts that will be held next July 7th: they will be the only Latins in the Germany edition of the event, which will be held in Hamburg. To find out more, visit Selva Negra's website (only in Spanish) or the band's (both English and Spanish). ::Selva Negra ::Maná official websit

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

 
posted by Sarah Krasley @ 8:43 PM

Thursday, May 24, 2007

 
posted by Sarah Krasley @ 12:03 AM
OK. As a tribute to one of my The Village Green Preservation Society (Hot Fuzz) by The Kinks"top ten favorite albums of all time, I had to repost this festival! It is going on May 24-25th.

From creativematch.com:

Visit London will be kicking off its “Village London” campaign by covering Trafalgar Square with 2,000 square feet of green turf on 24-25 May, transforming one of London’s most iconic attractions into “London’s village green”.

A leading global city, London can also claim to be a diverse collection of villages and one of the greenest capitals in the world. During the two-day event people will be able to take advantage of the green space to have a picnic or just soak up the atmosphere and relax in a deck chair.

A new section on Visit London’s website at www.visitlondon.com/villages will be dedicated to London villages. Visit London will also be producing 500,000 printed guides in association with Time Out. These will be distributed with Time Out and the Evening Standard as well as in Tourist Information Centres and through face-to-face distribution. There will also be outdoor advertising in London and South East England.

Visit London’s Chief Executive, James Bidwell, said: “From the rural feel of areas like Bexley Village and Wimbledon, to urban villages like Marylebone and even Canary Wharf, the campaign will help everyone discover Village London.”

After the event the turf, which will come from a sustainable source in the Vale of York, will be transferred to Bishops Park in Hammersmith and Fulham, where it will be planted beneath an avenue of majestic plane trees close to the River Thames and Fulham Palace.

Global Cool, the celebrity backed climate change campaign, will be working with Visit London to make the Trafalgar Square village green carbon neutral. Global Cool will advise Visit London on how to reduce the event’s carbon footprint before offsetting any remaining emissions.


www.visitlondon.com

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

 
posted by Sarah Krasley @ 11:04 PM
Over a sweeping glance of my office where I am writing this piece, I realize that I do not know where the majority of my stuff comes from. My desk, my stool, my floor--even my pencil were once trees chilling in the forest.

The same is true with your musical instruments. Do you know where your beloved acoustic guitar grew up? Do you know where she is from? Well, now you can.

Chances are your old girl’s curvaceous figure is partly a soundboard made of Sitka spruce which means that your beloved probably grew up in Alaska. Sitka spruce is currently the dominant wood used for soundboards for acoustic guitar and pianos and much of the supply comes from Southeast Alaska.


A visit to the Music Wood website will give you a virtual tour of a guitar and tell you the regions where the wood was sourced. The website is part of a really cool partnership with the major guitar manufactures in the United States aimed at producing new guitars that send a message against clear-cut forestry (i.e. A former forest on which all the trees have been cut down. Think about it like all trees from an area of forest fall to the ground in a single cut--yikes! not cool!).

Scott Paul (SP), Greenpeace Forest Campaign Coordinator, took some time out to answer some of my questions about the campaign.

SK: Who are the major players in the Music Wood Campaign?

SP: Greenpeace, Gibson, Martin, Taylor and Fender.


SK: How did the Music Wood Campaign begin?


SP: In 2003 Greenpeace turned its attention to the Southeast Alaskan rainforest, the northern most extent of the North American great coastal temperate rainforest – considered too be the rarest forest type on Earth. Once stretching unbroken from northern California to the Alaskan panhandle this region is home to an amazing variety of wildlife but has experienced decades of government subsidized, highly destructive clear-cut logging. Coastal temperate rainforests are a unique global anomaly occurring along the thin stretch of land – the fertile valley bottoms and estuaries – between high coastal mountains and the sea. In Alaska the Pacific Coast Mountains trap moisture rolling in from the ocean, as storms drench the region with as much as 200 inches of rain a year. The ancient trees of this forest live from 200 to 700 years, and one species can survive for 1,000 years or more.

For two years Greenpeace quietly investigated the international market for Alaskan forest products. The organization has become the global leader running international markets campaigns documenting destructive, and often illegal, logging practices in one part of the world and following the product to the international marketplace. The Alaskan research confirmed what Greenpeace largely already knew. Roughly 80% of all trees cut are destined for the Asian market for home construction, temples, shrines with much of the remainder finding its way to the North American market in the form of doors and windows.

However the research also uncovered a comparatively very small market flow, Sitka spruce destined for international renowned musical instrument manufacturers. As it turns out Sitka spruce is currently the dominant wood used for soundboards for acoustic guitar and pianos and much of the supply comes from Southeast Alaska. Prior to World War II Adderondack spruce had been the dominant soundboard wood but a post-war building boom largely whipped that that species out for large-scale music quality production and the market shifted westward to Sitka spruce.

Armed with its new research Greenpeace contacted Henry Juszkiewicz, the CEO of Gibson Guitars, asking if he would arrange a presentation for rival manufacturers at the January 2006 NAMM, the industries biannual tradeshow. Juszkiewicz responded inviting Chris Martin, Bob Taylor and Matthew Janopaul, respectively the CEOs of Martin, Taylor and Fender guitars. Greenpeace presented its finding and chronicled the demise Sitka spruce quickly getting the attention of the manufacturers. Unlike other users of Sitka spruce both tradition and tonal characteristics makes substitution extremely difficult for instrument manufactures. By the close of the meeting a new and unprecedented coalition was formed designed to find win-win solutions for the Alaskan rainforest seeking reform in the logging sector that provided the wood.

SK: How did the collaboration take place?

SP: In 2006 Greenpeace arranged a one-week tour of the Alaskan Rainforest for senior executives from Gibson, Martin, Taylor and Fender. During this tour a meeting was arranged between the MusicWood coalition and the logging company marking the 1st time that the manufacturers meet face to face with the logging company.

In 2006 Greenpeace arranged for representatives of the logging company to tour three FSC certified forest operation in California, Oregon and British Colombia Canada.

SK: How often did the task force meet?

SP: Since the first January 2006 NAMM meeting we have meet every six months at the NAMM (Austin July ’06 and Anaheim January ’07). Greenpeace also travels to the manufacturers periodically and communicates regularly via email and telephone calls.

SK: What other species are next?

SP: The MusicWood coalition is eager to expand beyond Sitka spruce to address other traditionally used species. Greenpeace recognized that we may need to part ways pertaining to specific species, species where logging has decimated populations to the point where we may believe that no logging, certified or otherwise, should take place. However we all agree that the coalition can be a powerful force driving reform in the logging sector. There are many species that we can address.

SK: What industries are the major contributors to the plight of the Sitka spruce tree?

SP: Home construction, temples, shrines, doors and windows.

SK: I have heard that the age of the wood affects the sound of wooden instruments like guitars, violins, and cellos. Has the music community embraced the sound of the new sustainably produced guitars?

SP: As a rule of thumb, acoustic guitars rely on Sitka spruce soundboards that are at least 250 years old to produce the desired sound quality. Keep in mind that Gibson, Taylor, Martin and Fender only need 150 trees a year. That is not a lot on the grand scheme of things but the profile of the coalition is strong enough that we can effect change on the ground.

SK: What advice do you have for musicians searching for new and used guitars? What criteria should they keep in mind when purchasing new instruments?

SP: No one should feel bad about having an old guitar that made of this or that species. There is an expression “highest and best end use” and if an old-growth tree was cut to make a guitar that is a hell of a lot better than if it were cut for plywood or disposable products. A guitar produced from an FSC certified well-managed forest is the same quality as one taken from a clearcut.

SK: What are the next steps for this campaign?

SP: In the beginning we really disciplined ourselves, to keep our eye on the prize, to focus on Sitka spruce and the Alaskan rainforest. It is easy to get distracted by all the shinny objects in the music business. We did not want to think about the endless possibilities of “what is next” until we gave our best shot to addressing the Alaskan rainforest. Now however things are looking promising, by no means a sure thing, but promising. Thus we are now starting to really consider other species and other ways to utilize our partnership.

SK: How can musicians and music fans get involved in this campaign?

SP: In the MusicWood case everyone appears to sincerely want to really address the problem, the manufacturers, the logging company, etc. At this stage pressure is not needed so it is all about public awareness. Check out musicwood.org, link to it, inform yourself and realize that you can exact change through education. There is a societal shift taking place and people are realizing that milk does not come from Safeway and wood does not come from The Home Depot. Look for the FSC logo and buy products that carry it where you can.

SK: What is your favorite song of the moment?

SP: My wedding anniversary is coming up so I have been listening to Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” off Time Out Of Mind.

SK: Is there a song out there that inspires you to continue protecting the environment?

SP: Too many to count. There is a lot of environmentally inspired music out there and hopefully more to come. Music inspires emotion. Emotion inspires action. Whatever rocks your boat.

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posted by Sarah Krasley @ 11:01 PM

"Hey You," Madonna's Got a New Song-repost from E! Online

by Sarah Hall

The Material Girl has released some new material.

In honor of the upcoming Live Earth concerts, Madonna has penned a new single, "Hey You," which she will perform at the July 7 event at London's Wembley Stadium, her record label said Thursday.

Fans can download the Pharrell Williams-produced track for free on liveearth.msn.com through May 24. For the first million downloads, Microsoft has pledged to donate 25 cents per download to the Alliance for Global Climate Change.

"The early release of 'Hey You' is an incredible boost to our efforts to get people engaged in the environmental cause," Live Earth founder Kevin Wall said in a statement. "We are thrilled that Madonna donated her art to Live Earth and is a part of this movement for us."

The song is a stripped-down folksy ballad, featuring lyrics like: "Hey you/ Don't you give up/ It's not so bad/ There's still a chance for us." Which is to say, it's unlikely to inspire listeners to hit the dance floor.

Initial response on various Madonna fansites was mixed, with some fans decrying the track's message as overly sentimental and the lyrics as weak, while others defended the song as "sweet" and "not that bad," while commending the singer's commitment to charity.

The charity single is not expected to be included on Madonna's next album, which is tentatively slated for a November release. In addition to Williams, Justin Timberlake and Timbaland have reportedly been collaborating with the singer on the project.

Meanwhile, in other Live Earth news, Warner Bros. Records has confirmed it will release a live CD/DVD of the July 7 concerts around the world.

Earlier this week, organizers announced that Istanbul would be the site of another Live Earth leg, in addition to the concerts taking place in London, New York, Sydney, Shanghai, Tokyo, Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro and Hamburg. Additionally, several research scientists in Anarctica have formed their own band to make sure all seven continents are represented.

So far, only the U.S., U.K. and Australian lineups have been revealed, with organizers promising to release additional artist rosters in the coming days.

Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow and Kanye West are among the acts playing Giants Stadium, while the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Black Eyed Peas will join Madonna at Wembley Stadium. Crowded House, Jack Johnson and Wolfmother lead the lineup at Sydney's Aussie Stadium.

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posted by Sarah Krasley @ 10:46 PM

taxi51.jpgMany a New York evening did I utter the words "I need to go to Brooklyn by way of the Manhattan bridge" after I night of adult beverages and good tunes. So, as a nod to my roots, I was very glad to read that New York City’s entire taxi fleet will be converted to gas-electric hybrids by 2012, CNN reports.

Per Environmental Leader: Mayor Bloomberg will begin a cycle of replacement that will see 20 percent replaced each year until all of the city’s approximately 13,000 taxis are hybrids in 2012.

The vehicles approved for use on city streets include four SUVs - the Toyota Highlander, Lexus RX 400H, Ford Escape and Saturn VUE Green Line - and four four-door sedans - the Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Honda Civic.

I wonder if they'll change the color?


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posted by Sarah Krasley @ 10:41 PM
An interview from Grist with Mr. Bird himself:

Bird Watching-Nine things you should know about musician Andrew Bird

By Sarah van Schagen
04 May 2007
Andrew Bird
Andrew Bird.
Photo: Cameron Wittig/andrewbird.net

Meet Andrew Bird. He's a musician and songwriter who artfully combines his talents on multiple instruments -- violin, guitar, glockenspiel, his own flute-like whistling -- to create an eclectic, memorable sound that defies typical terms like "indie" and "folk."

Over the last decade, Bird has been gaining momentum, releasing eight studio albums and performing at progressively larger venues -- including Bonnaroo last summer and Coachella just last weekend. Now he's on a U.S. tour in support of his latest album, Armchair Apocrypha (and hitting Seattle tomorrow for a show sponsored in part by Grist).

As Bird's following grows, so does the size of his tours -- and his footprint. "I was relieved and happy to be doing well enough to afford a bus," Bird said when I caught up with him via phone this week. "But after that, I was depressed about just going down that prescribed path of bigger production and bigger waste. I wanted to do something proactive and not just accept that this is how it's done."

Disgusted with the disposable and temporary nature of life on tour -- "touring promotes apathy," he told me with a sigh -- Bird decided to partner with Reverb to load up a biodiesel bus and let his fans know that he cares about green issues. Here are nine more things you should know about him.




1
He has a recording studio in a barn, and says he gets inspiration from working there. "Definitely when I moved out there ... it had a dramatic effect on my music. It could kind of finally breathe and finally became fully honest -- just relaxed enough to be what it is."
2
He recruits fans to support alternative energy. During every show, Bird plays a song called "Dear Dirty," from one of his live albums. Then he tells his fans about his partnership with Reverb, asking them to support alternative energy by buying a magnet that says "Dear Dirty, be carbon neutral."
3
He keeps his backstage requests simple, asking for rice cakes, goat cheese, mixed greens, and LÄRABARs. Instead of consuming a dozen half-bottles of water and forgetting whose is whose, his crew requests several-gallon containers of water to refill their individual Nalgene bottles.
4
He's an avid cyclist. Bird describes biking in his not-so-bike-friendly home of Elizabeth, Ill., as "an extreme sport trying to get across town." But, he says, there's still a strong bike culture and some good bike shops. "Every time I see people unnecessarily in their cars, I think, 'Gosh, what a shame, what a waste.'"
5
His favorite summer drink is a Pimm's Cup, made with Pimm's liqueur, Reed's Jamaican Ginger Brew, and fresh cucumbers (organic, of course).
6
He argues with global-warming skeptics. After one fan posted a comment to his MySpace page accusing him of "buying into this whole Al Gore propaganda," Bird says he wondered how anyone could be arguing against sustainability. "It's just very shortsighted, that argument."
7
He loves Green & Black organic chocolate and Chicago's Intelligentsia coffee. In fact, that's all he'd want with him if he were stuck on a deserted island: "I really don't have much need for material possessions."
8
He reads Grist. "My manager, Andrea, turned me on to Grist, and I've been following it for a while."
9
He hates lists.

Sarah van Schagen is Grist's assistant editor.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

 
posted by Sarah Krasley @ 12:50 AM

OK. You get it. There is a growing relationship between music and the environment. While it's often reported as a new environmental movement within a industry, actually, it has been a relationship that has been going on for some time. For example, this year marks the ninth year that the Taos Solar Music Festival will take place. Since its inception, the festival has worked to build awareness for solar power as a viable form of energy generation and bring together a community of music fans who embrace environmental ideals and like to have a good time.

True to form, the festival main stage is powered by photovoltaic cells. Adjacent to the stage is the Solar Village, an area where festival goers can get information about solar power and other important sustainable energy solutions. Festival producer Dawn Richardson explains, “We are really proud of the Solar Village – and hope that it helps to inspire and nurture sustainable communities in the region and throughout the nation. We think the Solar Village is what makes this festival stand out from so many others around the country.”

Sounds good to me. In my experience, the things I learned while having fun always stick in my memory the best. Here's a great opportunity to test that theory out:
9th Annual Taos Solar Music Festival

June 29, 30 and July 1

Kit Carson Park in Downtown Taos

Tickets are on sale now. For information visit www.solarmusicfest.com

Kids 10 and under free

Visit www.solarfestmusic.com for tickets, lodging recommendations, and more.

Confirmed line-up includes: Michael Franti & Spearhead, John Butler Trio, Big Head Todd & The Monsters, and many others.

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posted by Sarah Krasley @ 12:27 AM

SELF-SUFFICIENT SKYSCRAPER. German architect, Eckhard Gerber, wants to build self-sufficient office towers in Riyadh, Dubai and Bahrain that produce 100% of their own electricity supply. The first tower would be 68-storeys, making it the 22nd tallest building in the world, and he is currently in talks with potential investors for the $406 million project. The cylindrical shape presents the minimum surface area to the sun, and a solar shield covers 60 degrees of the building. This will reduce the need for air conditioning.

Seawater will be used to cool air, as well as three large cooling units in the building's cellar. The roof will house a 197 foot wind turbine and 161,459 square feet of solar cells. The additional energy requirements will be handled by a floating solar panel island which drifts in the sea, close to the tower. Any excess electricity will be used to extract hydrogen from sea water, which is used by fuel cells to generate power at night. ::more ::Spiegel Online

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

 
posted by Sarah Krasley @ 10:58 PM
NUGS.NET ENLISTS DAVE MATTHEWS BAND, JACK JOHNSON
PHISH, GRATEFUL DEAD & OTHERS FOR A
LIVE DOWNLOAD COMPILATION TO BENEFIT ROCK THE EARTH
MUSIC FOR THE PLANET: a nugs.net BENEFIT ALBUM FOR ROCK THE EARTH
TO SUPPORT ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION IN THE UNITED STATES

Los Angeles, CA Nugs.net, the leader in live music downloads, has assembled another all-star compilation of exclusive live tracks to raise money for several Rock the Earth campaigns to defend environmental resources in the US. Nugs.net artist partners donated the recordings for this compilation, including an exclusive release from Jack Johnson. Other artists contributing to the benefit compilation include Dave Matthews Band, Grateful Dead, Phish, Widespread Panic, The String Cheese Incident, The Disco Biscuits, The Radiators, Trey Anastasio, Gov't Mule, STS9 (Sound Tribe Sector 9), Zero, Umphrey's McGee, moe. and ALO. Nugs.net and the 15 artists featured on the benefit release organized this compilation out of their dedication to providing continued support for the worldwide environmental community.

Nugs. net and all the artists involved will donate 100% of all profits from the sales of this environmental resources compilation to Rock the Earth, a registered 501 (c)(3) non-profit charity. Director Marc Ross proudly claims, "Rock the Earth champions environmental and public health issues, and all the artists on Music for the Planet and nugs. net wanted to help these worthy causes for Earth Day 2007. We work closely with the music industry and its fans, many of whom are concerned with the fate of our public lands, air and water. We act as advocates to ensure the existence of a sustainable and healthy environment for all. Further, we aim to represent those individuals and communities whose environment or natural surroundings are directly and adversely affected by the actions of others." Nugs. net founder Brad Serling adds, "We feel extremely fortunate to have the unwavering support of our artist clients for this fundraiser." This two CD benefit compilation album will be available for $10.95 as MP3 downloads and $15.95 as CD-quality FLAC downloads. It is also available in a two-CD format for $25 which includes a one-year membership in Rock the Earth. To purchase, go to LiveDownloads.com and help support nugs.net's efforts to defend our natural resources.

Music For The Planet: a nugs.net benefit for Rock the Earth

DISC ONE
1) Widespread Panic: From The Cradle 04:43 11/3/06 Austin, TX
2) moe.: Blue Jeans Pizza 07:59 2/9/07 Boston, MA
3) Phish: Tube 10:44 12/29/97 New York, NY
4) Zero: Ermaline 11:00 2/2/07 San Francisco, CA
5) Jack Johnson: Banana Pancakes 03:10 4/22/06 Waikiki, HI
6) STS9: Hi-Key 05:31 12/29/06 Atlanta, GA
7) Gov't Mule: Unring The Bell 09:20 10/22/06 Portland, OR
8) The Radiators: River Run 10:17 2/16/07 New Orleans, LA

DISC TWO
1) The String Cheese Incident: Piece of Mine 06:55 3/24/07 Denver, CO
2) Grateful Dead: Eyes of the World 12:20 12/31/76 San Francisco, CA
3) Umphrey's McGee: Morning Song 07:35 12/30/06 Chicago, IL
4) Trey Anastasio: Simple Twist Up Dave 12:03 10/27/06 Las Vegas, NV
5) The Disco Biscuits: Helicopters 09:56 12/31/06 Camden, NJ
6) ALO: Plastic Bubble 05:29 6/1/05 Berkeley, CA
7) Dave Matthews Band: Warehouse 09:58 8/7/04 Alpine Valley, WI

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

 
posted by Sarah Krasley @ 10:14 PM
BEIJING - China's smog-choked capital and the financial hub of Shanghai have agreed to close their roads for the country's first "no car" day, along with over 100 other cities, the official Xinhua agency said on Saturday.

On September 22 private cars will be barred from some roads, forcing people to walk, use public transport or get back on the bicycles for which Chinese cities used to be famous.

Officials are struggling to clean up the grey skies of its major cities, as pollution takes a rising toll on health and growth, while supporting an industry key to its booming growth.

The country's car fleet has been growing, with an estimated 1,000 new private vehicles hitting the streets of Beijing alone each day, the report said.

But for those members of the growing middle class who have been car owners too long to face being crammed into a bus or train, taxis will still be allowed to ply the otherwise car-free streets.


Source:REUTERS NEWS SERVICE-5-07-07

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posted by Sarah Krasley @ 9:51 PM
by Fred Mills-repost from HARP Magazine
May 4, 2007

Looking for a quick, E-Z way to blow your mind? How does this grab ya: In Dub, Infected Mushroom, Amon Tobin, Girl Talk, The Juan Maclean, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Bassnectar, King Brit, Hanging Brains, Zilla, Eoto, The Join.

Oh, and do not forget the Disco Biscuits. They are hosting Camp Bisco 6, August 16-18 at the Indian Lookout Country Club in Mariaville, New York. Disco Bicuits, are one of the most popular trance-fusion bands in the biz, huge on the live-electronic, jamband and Bonnaroo circuits and still going strong after 12 years.

For three nights of music and camping, you get all those sonic visionaries (more t.b.a.) plus plenty of food and craft vendors, all located on 200 green acres of countryside located about a half-hour from Albany and 3 hours from Boston and New York City. All the amenities included.

We are additionally told that this year, Camp Bisco will Go Green. Camp Bisco 6 will be powered by 100% renewable energy, thanks to sponsors Green Mountain Energy Company and Sustainable Waves. Green Mountain Energy Company and Sustainable Waves are pleased to offer Camp Bisco attendees the opportunity to green up their concert experience by purchasing a Green Ticket. When you buy a Green Ticket, Green Mountain will green-up the Camp Bisco concert experience by providing, on behalf of the ticket buyer, 250 kWh of Green-e certified renewable energy made from sources like wind and bio-energy. By purchasing a Green Ticket, each individual can help offset an estimated 348 lbs of CO2 created by activities like driving their car to the show.

Not-for-profit Conscious Alliance will also be on site to host a food drive. As in years past, food donations collected will go to benefit local food pantries in their effort to help feed hungry Americans. Attendees are encouraged to bring 10 non-perishable food items redeemable for a limited edition Camp Bisco 6 / Conscious Alliance poster.

Presale tickets have already been launched at the DiscoBiscuits.com site, and general public tickets go on sale today. Go to Bisco Tix website.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

 
posted by Sarah Krasley @ 8:30 PM

Rupert Murdoch launches effort to green News Corp.'s operations and programming

By Amanda Griscom Little

Today, the fast-growing cadre of corporate leaders pressing for climate action welcomes a new member: Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corporation, the media empire that encompasses Fox News, 20th Century Fox, HarperCollins, MySpace.com, and dozens of newspapers in Australia, the U.K., the U.S., and beyond.

Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch.
Photo: Kelly Kline/WireImage.com
At an event held this morning in midtown Manhattan and webcast to all News Corp. employees, Murdoch launched a company-wide plan to address climate change that includes not only a pledge to reduce the company's emissions (which has come to be expected at such biz-greening events) but also a vow to weave climate messaging into the content and programming of News Corp.'s many holdings.

"The challenge is to revolutionize the [climate change] message," Murdoch told the crowd. He emphasized the need to "make it dramatic, make it vivid, even sometimes make it fun. We want to inspire people to change their behavior."

Grist obtained an exclusive advance copy of Murdoch's speech and the company's energy plan.

While not groundbreaking, Murdoch's strategy to cut News Corp.'s own emissions is nothing to sneeze at: The company will reduce its carbon footprint 10 percent by 2012 via energy-efficiency efforts and use of renewable energy, and it will become carbon-neutral even sooner, in 2010, by buying emission offsets from projects such as wind farms in India.

But Murdoch said that News Corp.'s hundreds of millions of viewers and readers represent the most fertile ground for change: "Our audience's carbon footprint is 10,000 times bigger than ours ... Imagine if we succeed in inspiring our audiences to reduce their own impacts on climate change by just 1 percent. That would be like turning the state of California off for almost two months."

These might be surprising observations coming from any media titan, but all the more so from a man who has long worn his conservative politics on his sleeve and whose company owns outlets like Fox News and The New York Post, which are widely considered right-leaning. Murdoch is an outspoken supporter of President Bush, and just last month criticized the press for being too hard on Dubyah. "[T]here's a sort of monolithic attack on him every day of the year," Murdoch told a meeting of business leaders.

While Fox News ran a surprisingly fair and balanced news special on climate change a year and a half ago, and has journalists like Shepard Smith who seem to take the problem seriously, the channel is better typified by conservative commentator Sean Hannity, who recently bashed Al Gore and others who are concerned about climate change as "liberal global-warming hysterical people."

So what's motivating Murdoch?

While he voiced concerns that "climate change poses clear, catastrophic threats," his emphasis was on opportunities to fatten the bottom line. "Our advertisers are asking us for ways to reach audiences on this issue," Murdoch said. He also argued that the new climate strategy would reduce energy costs, help the company recruit top talent, and provide "a chance to deepen our relationships with our viewers, readers, and web users."

And yet the strategy for boosting climate-related content throughout News Corp. divisions is still vague. Murdoch mentioned new green programming on the car and motorcycle cable network SPEED, a "Preserve Our Planet" program on the National Geographic Channel, and a channel dedicated to climate change on MySpace, but the larger vision is not yet defined by a quantifiable target.

News Corp. Vice President of Business Development Roy Bahat told Grist that the company will not try to awkwardly wedge the issue into programs, but said, "It will naturally become more prevalent throughout our programming, be it sitcoms or news. We are asking all of our creative leaders to incorporate climate change in ways that would make drama more dramatic, or comedy funnier, or news more relevant -- ways that inspire viewers to bond with the program."

Coverage of global warming in News Corp. outlets has already gone up considerably in the last year, Bahat said: "For example, The Times of London had roughly 50 percent more climate-related stories last year than the previous year. It wasn't because of a mandate, it's because the audience wants to hear about it. The audience drives us as much as we drive the audience."

But Murdoch himself seems very comfortable with the notion of driving his audiences, describing his goals in terms that smack more of a Greenpeace activist than a corporate boss: "The climate problem will not be solved without mass participation by the general public in countries around the globe. And that's where we come in."

How long, then, before American Idol participants are tasked with creating a snappier climate anthem than Melissa Etheridge's "I Need to Wake Up"?


Full disclosure: Amanda Griscom Little has a book contract with HarperCollins, a News Corp. company.

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Sunday, May 6, 2007

 
posted by Sarah Krasley @ 7:26 PM
About 90% of my friends are musicians. Throughout my life, I have seen some friends with album budgets that brought forth the best engineers at the best studios with the newest coolest packaging and others with barely enough money to self-release their record and pay for the ink-jet cartridges they used to print their liner notes. I have also seen lots of bands with budgets in between.

When I talk to my friends about switching to eco-friendly packaging or electricity they often say it is out of their price range and they cannot afford the extra cost of buying products that are more sustainable. I will definitely admit that I have been in that position, too---looking at the Prius price tag comes to mind….. Luckily, the price of eco-friendly materials is getting lower by the day and I am in a position to give you some low cost resources to green your music habit. I promise I will not include anything that does not look cool.


Let us start with CD packaging:


  1. For bands who do not carry their own equipment and get to roll off as much K at sound check for as long as they like.

PaperFoam CD Trays: The Millennium Collection started using these for some of their "Best Of" collections---the CD tray is biodegradable and is fused to the CD cover and backing that is made from recycled board.

  1. For bands who carry their own equipment but do not sweat over the rent at the practice space.

Arigato Pack: This is by far my favorite option. Not only are these totally awesome looking, they are made from recycled content and do not even require glue. They are the brainchild of an amazing company called Stumptown Press. Stumptown will send you 50 blank Arigato paks for 20 bucks, or you can work with them to do some lovely letterpress printing with vegetable-based inks. They also roast coffee

Here is the price list (it is a PDF): http://www.stumptownprinters.com/pdf/pricelist.pdf

Here is more information on the Arigato pak ! DO it!


  1. For bands that have never had a sound person at their shows and are still waiting for a yummy record label lunch.

The RESLEEVE: The RESLEEVE is the newest creation from Sustainable Group, a company from which I buy my binders and folders. Their folders look really sharp and are made from 16pt bending chipboard (100% Recycled Fibers ---56% Post Consumer Recycled / 44% Post Industrial Recycled). The RESLEEVE has a round die-cut hole in the center to view the front of the disk. The back is solid, embossed with the message "RESLEEVE 100% Recycled"). These are brand new, so I have not seen a sample other than on their website, but they are made from the same stock as the folders I use and love.

Get 50 RESLEEVEs for $16 bucks


GreenDisk Jewel Cases: GreenDisk takes unused jewel cases that would otherwise sit in landfills and rot and ships them directly to you. The jewel cases they use are sourced from outdated tech products that have been pulled from the shelves - but they are in perfect condition because they have never been directly handled. The Hidden Tracks , one of the green rock pioneers, used GreenDisk for their last release and won themselves an ADDY award. SWEET.

Get 100 for $39.99

While you are at it, get 17 Hidden Tracks songs for free --this will make you cool, but green only by association.


Sustainable Paper: Bands that self-release their albums and subscribe to a full home DIY method can use sustainable 8.5" x 11" paper to load into their home printers to print out liner notes. You can grab all those jewel cases from your own music collections, clean them up, and re-purpose them yourself.

Check out:

Neenah Paper: Such style. Such grace! Neenah paper makes me giddy with joy. They are also the largest renewable energy purchaser in the entire state of Wisconsin. Pick from their Environment or Eames (yay!) lines of papers


New Leaf Paper: I use New Leaf recycled paper in my own home printer and am quite pleased with its performance. New Leaf Paper pioneered the Eco Audit label that quantifies the environmental benefits of using their paper. Check it out.


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Friday, May 4, 2007

 
posted by Sarah Krasley @ 6:11 PM



































It's hard to avoid the controversy surrounding carbon offsets these days. Most of the arguments I've read liken buying carbon offsets from carbon offset retailers to buying indulgences from the Catholic church--you buy carbon offsets because your polluting activities (like driving or taking commercial plane trips) have caused greenhouse gas emissions to be released. Similarly, people bought indulgences from the Catholic church with the promise that their purchase would absolve their sins. Conceptually, I can see why that parallel is drawn in the media time and time and time again (yawn!)....until you take it to the next step.

From what I remember from my "blue ribbon" Catholic high school education, the Catholic church acknowledges the act of selling indulgences as a not-so-great part of the Church's history. The scrilla in town square indulgence boxes went largely into church officials' pockets and more importantly, the effects felt by the families of the sinners (like how a cheating parent's infidelity will seriously bum out a whole family for a long time) didn't go away. How could a behavioral reformation within an individual occur if a donation was all it took to put them back in good standing with God? Did those that sinned attend the new churches and reform, lessening the effects that their possible future sinning activities caused? Were the new churches built specifically because the Catholic church saw an upward redemption demand curve in the brand new crop of sinners they saw putting hard-earned coins in the indulgence box? Most importantly, did the money from the indulgences pay for the new churches? Too bad additionality tests weren't in place back then!

A new "offset provider" has emerged which gave me a good laugh and gave my boyfriend a start when he saw me looking at the website while researching this piece. Visit cheatneutral.com and as always make sure to read the small print.

I applaud Cheat Neutral's efforts to illustrate their ideas about the conundrums of carbon offsetting and bring levity to the whole situation--however, their "model" is flawed. C'mon, dudes...you were so close!

My problems with the parallels they draw are as follows: The "project" couples are happy and monogamous. I can tell you from being in a happy monogamous relationship for quite some time: since I met my boyfriend, I have never been tempted to cheat on him. The fact that I am making that statement in a public forum, should attest to this. My monogamy is operating as life as usual. I'm not exerting any additional effort to remain monogamous. Throughout the entire life of our relationship, there have been no temptations to cheat.

From what I gather from the Cheat Neutral website--their project couples are the same as me. No additional effort is taking place for the couples to remain monogamous. I'm not getting any details of opportunities where the project couples might have succumbed to infidelity. If I saw something like "Suzie has seen every Jude Law movie ever made and she has pictures of him hung all over her cubicle. One night, a very intoxicated Suzie was in a pub all alone in a very short skirt. Lilly Allen was playing and Jude Law asked her to go on a moonlit cruise and neck on the deck of his private yacht. Through her alcohol-induced haze, Suzie's libido screamed 'Yes,' but her husband Saul's sweet, fat face popped into her mind and she declined Jude's offer." If I saw transparent details like that --OK-- legitimate offset project (under the context of Cheat Neutral). Because I'm a somewhat cautious consumer, I may also look for a third party endorsement: Jude Law's publicist; an eye witness at the pub; a co-worker who has heard Suzie go on about how sexy Jude Law is, etc.

Here's where the flaw in parallelling these two offset types comes in: most major carbon offset retailers will give you lots of details about the project where the offset originated. On a carbon offset retailer's website, you'll learn about what type of project the offset came from, who certified the project, and how the creation of the project wouldn't have occurred if not for consumers who purchased carbon offsets in response to the greenhouse gas emissions associated with driving their cars, taking plane trips, etc. Consumers have the opportunity to find out about the certifier of the project and look at the criteria they use to judge the validity of carbon offset projects. Bottom line: a good carbon offset is real reduction in greenhouse gases and the project it came from came about because of concerned consumers who wanted to clean up after themselves--they are not business as usual projects.

While I don't liken anyone to divinity, I've had the good fortune to meet many of the major carbon offset retailers in person. I've also had the good fortune to meet a couple of the people who think carbon offsets are bogus. With the disclaimer that I am known for having a damn fine judge of character, I must say that without exception or hesitation, every blessed carbon offset retailer I've met impressed me by the fact that they are in business for the right reasons. They are not dripping with jewels and expensive cologne--they are normal people who are selling a product to help people who can't live net-zero emissions lives without the help of an offset here or there. They realize--as should you and I --that it's pretty damn difficult to not emit greenhouse gases in your daily life. Without the help of carbon offsets, it is currently impossible to take a commercial airline flight without emitting greenhouse gases. Without owning your own home and living off the energy grid, it is impossible to have the electricity that powers your home result in no greenhouse gas emissions without purchasing offsets or renewable energy certificates. That's why concerned consumers and businesses who have already done energy efficiency improvements buy renewable energy certificates and carbon offsets to bring them up to net-zero emissions. Some people can't afford an electric hybrid when they choose a car they need to get to and from their job--enter in carbon offsets. Get my point??

Everywhere I've looked, environmental groups advocate modifying your lifestyle as the first step. Even most of those that think carbon offsets are bogus agree about this. However, even if you reduce your greenhouse gas emissions through behavior changes like: being mindful of your electricity and heating levels, washing your clothes in cold water in lieu of hot water, carpooling and taking public transportation, switching to compact flourescent lightbulbs, and driving hybrids--I hate to break it to you, but it's a good chance that there are still greenhouse gas emissions heading upstairs.

As the controversy about carbon offsets continues, keep that in mind. If you want to make a point by walking your talk and dealing with your contributions to climate change, do you want to jam it at 5 or at 10? In this case, please kiss and tell.

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posted by Sarah Krasley @ 5:55 PM

Tragically, the Fillmore Andrew Bird show was sold out by the time I caught wind of it, but my friend went and said it was magical. Amidst Bird's live versions of his album songs, he talked about his carbon neutral tour and sold offsets to fans at the merch table. My friend bought one to offset the emissions associated with her car travel to and from the event.

Apparently, Mr. Bird's song "Dear Dirty" was inspired by a letter he found laying on the ground about cavemen and their hunting practices. Mr. Bird paralleled cavemen activities to modern-day human activities and their contributions to global climate change. Just to give a shout-out to conceptual unity and empowerment to fans through pleasant experience, I thought I'd share the image on the left with you all. This is the flier that my friend received in conjunction with her offset purchase.

This awesome outreach effort was done through a partnership between Mr. Bird, Native Energy, Stonyfield Farms and Reverb. Check out how you can get involved as a fan and as a band.

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posted by Sarah Krasley @ 1:32 PM
A friend of mine sent this article from Reason Magazine along to me this morning:

May 4, 2007, 10:20am
beerpowerGreg Rehmke passes along this story with the comment, "Finally! A product that mixes biotech, alternative energy, waste reduction, clean water, and...beer."
Scientists and Australian beer maker Foster's are teaming up to generate clean energy from brewery waste water -- by using sugar-consuming bacteria....

The complex technology harnesses the chemical energy that the bacteria releases from the organic material, converting it into electrical energy.

The 660-gallon fuel cell will be 250 times bigger than a prototype that has been operating at the university laboratory for three months, [Professor Jurg] Keller said.

"Brewery waste water is a particularly good source because it is very biodegradable...and is highly concentrated, which does help in improving the performance of the cell," Keller said.
Before you stiff the power company and outfit your house with beer batteries, note that Keller also says this isn't "going to make an enormous amount of power." Not just because it's a small, subsidized pilot project that might or might not turn into something larger, but because "it's primarily a waste water treatment that has the added benefit of creating electricity." Which would make a fine slogan for Foster's, if it ever wants to retire "Australian for Beer."

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

 
posted by Sarah Krasley @ 10:14 PM
Remember furbies? Remember how annoying they were? How small children would dote on them in the hopes that they would flourish? Well, here's a similar concept, but not at all annoying....well, they are kind of annoying because I want one and they are not in production yet, but, wow! The device pictured to the left will water and feed a small tree according to its owner's environmental footprint. Things like energy usage, home heating and cooling, and recycling efforts will effect whether or not the tree is given sustaining nutrients and water or damaging poison.

Awhile back I attended a lecture series where
Kalle Lasn, the Founder of the Adbusters Media Foundation spoke. During one of the most engaging PowerPoint presentations I've ever seen, he showed some pictures of his friend's house--she had installed her electric meter right next to the front door to remind her to turn off the lights and cut down on the phantom power that goes to appliances in their rest positions.

This Energy Tree works on the same principle--its goal, simply put, is to make its owner more efficient. Here's a report of the story that ran on Treehugger.com today:

THE ENERGY TREE. Every once in a while, we like to feature an interesting bit of conceptual design. Like the Energy Tree. Apparently in an effort to truly unite technology with the physical environment, designer Ben Arent has created a system that contains a real tree connected to a microprocessor. The device controls the watering and feeding of the tree depending on your energy usage, and also monitors your appliances, heating/cooling, and recycling habits. It uses this information to feed and water the tree, but only if you are efficient with your energy use. If you aren't, the Energy Tree will poison and malnourish the tree, eventually killing it.

The system will also be online, using something known as "the collector." The collector is there to encourage people to recycle; Once at the depot the collector will unit will be radioed indicating that you did your job. This system has the added benefit that someone can take your recycling to the facility, while you can still get the credit. You know, to keep your tree alive.

It's a visceral idea, and (natch) still on the drawing board. According to the article, "The EnergyTree will change the perception and view of how power is being used, implementing a complete system looking at device consumption, home consumption and long term sustainability." If you got this far, I think it just did that. ::more ::Ben Arent

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posted by Sarah Krasley @ 1:27 AM

According to the Bonnaroo website, there are 44 days and 13 hours left before the first sounds of Bonnaroo echo across the Manchester, Tennesee festival grounds. While many festivals will offer advice on being a sustainable festival goer, Bonnaroo is taking it one step further and has partnered with the likes of Grist, Stopglobalwarming.org, NRDC, and Rock the Earth to deliver a sustainable event and a call to action to its concert goers.

From the Bonnaroo website:

The future of our planet is a big deal for Bonnaroo - and it should be for you, too. We need all of our fans at Bonnaroo to help counteract global warming and the devastation of our environment through conservation; reduced and sustainable living; and the preservation of our natural resources, wildlife, and biodiversity. And the only way to do this is to get the word out there and find both big and small solutions we can implement in our everyday lives. It's the toughest challenge of our generation, but we have a chance to make the difference. All we need is leadership, and we look to our Bonnaroo community to provide it.

In this section, we’ll provide greening tips to help you get started, and we'll spotlight our Green Partners, who are educating the world and doing so much for our environment. You’ll learn about all of the green initiatives that Bonnaroo will be implementing to reduce our own impact. In June, we'll be able to translate these ideas into reality on-site at Planet Roo, where we will feature host speakers and activists presenting essential information about these critical issues. So fight the good fight and join us as we strive to make Bonnaroo the greenest - and greatest - festival on earth.

Nice! The last time I went to a music festival, there were composting toilets with bunches of lavender on the doors, recycling bins galore, bicycle-powered smoothie stands and roped off protected areas on the beach where native birds nested. What's the best sustainable practice you've seen at a festival?

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