Posts Tagged ‘city’

Environmental News : : Los Angeles Going Green

TOMS Shoes are preventing HIV

 Charlize Theron, TOMS, TOMS Shoes, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, fashion philanthropy, HIV, AIDS, Africa, Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, eco-friendly shoes, sustainable shoes, eco-friendly celebrities, eco-celebs, green celebrities

It just had to happen. Last week I voiced my opinion that TOMS was inherently flawed and that they were not helping fix world issues. With the help of actress Charlize Theron, TOMS is unveiling a new limited edition shoe that funds the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, a non-profit charity that helps protect youth’s against HIV. Unfortunately, the shoes only come in women and child sizes. This hasn’t stopped me from wearing women’s clothes before though.

Theron says, “The relationship I have with TOMS is one that I cherish because none of us can do it alone”. 

You can buy your pair right here.

Los Angeles Mayor announces City will be “coal-free” by 2025

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has followed suit to many cities and announced LA will be coal free by 2025. The city currently gets 40% of its energy from two (out of date) coal plants. These plants are unsustainable, both economically and environmentally. Political plans along with the Department of Water have already delayed the initial coal free deadline by 5 years (previously the aim was 2020). Nothing yet has been set in stone, but there is a unanimous decision that the two 40 year old coal plants are just that, too old. Another step in the right direction for the green party.

50% of all food produced is wasted

Researchers at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers recently discovered that over 2 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year. This accounts for 30%-50% of all food produced. The main causes have been pinned down to;

1) Over cautious sell by dates.
2) Buy one get one free deals.
3) Everyone’s sudden obsession with vegetables.

Furthermore, 30% of crops manufactured in the UK are not even harvested due to the fact they don’t meet the immensely strict cosmetic standards set by food companies. This wasted food inevitably ends up in landfill sites where it produces mass quantities of methane, a gas that has many negative environmental effects. If this doesn’t concern you, then maybe the 1 billion people will who went hungry in 2010.
You want to know what you can do? Stop buying food in bulk and stop taking advantage of every “buy one get one free deal” just because you can. You may argue that we can’t control what the food companies produce or what their policies are. However you are the person buying the food, you control what ends up in your bin.
I leave you with

Buy glasses, save animals
Swim like a turtle with this wetsuit
The best iPhone case you can buy

 

Environmental News : : Is TOMS shoes

Is TOMS Shoes a failure?

Yes, we all love them. Yes, we all love the ‘one for one’ scheme. No, you cannot wear them with socks! TOMS shoes have become more popular than sliced bread, but is the one-for-one scheme that hooked us all bringing the demise of the company? Many people have started to agree that simply donating a pair of (let’s be honest, flimsy) shoes does not solve the poverty, health or education issues that encapsulate these lower economically developed countries.

Cheryl Davenport of Mission Measurement argues that TOMS does not help these countries economically, but rather makes consumers feel “morally superior”. Instead of figuring out a long term solution, we the consumers have been tricked into thinking we have immediately solved these countries problems by buying an overpriced piece of fabric. Don’t get me wrong, children walking around barefoot is not ok, however, the mindset that we have made enough of a difference with out purchase is wrong.

We all thought TOMS would be special at the beginning, providing those in need with a beneficial service. Doing all this with locally sourced materials but also creating jobs and building small businesses. However, most shoemakers have lost their jobs in these affected countries.

It’s certainly a controversial point of view, given all the good that TOMS have achieved since their opening in 2006. You just have to ask yourself, how good should I really feel about buying these shoes?

Town in Germany generates 100% of its energy form renewable resources

It’s no secret to most of you how often I rave about Germany and the sustainable milestones then continue to set. After the Fukushima disaster, Germany agreed to invest heavily in sustainable energy, wary of a similar disaster. In February of 2013, the dream became a reality as the small town of Feldheim (60km from Berlin) now runs off 100% sustainable energy.

Whilst the town is small in size (150 inhabitants), it is large in optimism. In 2010, all residents chipped €3,000 to build their own power grid. The end result? Residents now pay 30% less on their energy bills.

Not only are there more wind turbines than houses but also, a €1.7 million biogas facility was built in 2007 that converts pig manure and unused corn into energy. This lowers their heating costs by a further 10%. Do not let the small size of this town mislead you, this would be more than capable of pulling off at a larger scale. Feldheim have simply shown us what kind of a future we can have should all people believe in this goal.

India set to install 40,000 solar panels and save $1 million per year

Anantapur District solar power, India solar power, solar project India, solar panels, India renewable energy sources, clean energy, India carbon emissions

The southern Indian district, Anantapur, is set to link 40,000 solar panels to their power grid that will power street lighting and water pumping facilities. These will be spread over 10,000 acres of barren land and are set to reduce greenhouse emissions by 180,000 tons during their 25 year life span. They are also the first to use Abound Solar Cadmium Telluride, the new type of thin solar panel that are most cost effective to produce.

The total energy savings will amount to over $1 million every year, a worthy investment to say the least. The project itself will cost around $11 million, making the recovery cost to take around a decade.

New York Mayor signs green bill that addresses climate change into the law

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is trying to turn the Big Apple into a beautiful green Granny Smith Apple as his third term comes to a close. He recently signed 3 green bills that involve combatting climate change along with providing more green space and eco-education to the residents.

After Hurricane Sandy, one of these laws is understandably the production of a stormwater resistant plant. Another law involves the National Park’s having to redesign their layout to include as many diverse species as possible whilst also creating new green spaces. The mayor’s advises stressed that soil acts as a terrific sponge against stormwater. Finally, a renewable energy web-portal has been authorised.

It is unfortunate that it took a natural disaster to spark this environmental attention, however there will no doubt be an increase of ‘environmentalists’ now in NYC. Using Hurricane Sandy as motivation for a greener future is a good move. I’m sure all residents do not want a repeat and are willing to do what is necessary to confirm a brighter future.

I leave you with

10 easy ways to save money by going green
The best eco friendly food for vegetarians
The bed your children wanted for christmas

The beauty of live music.

Image

Over the last year I have been lucky enough to see my 4 favourite bands. This has been possible mainly due to an iTunes app, Songkick. The app scans your iPhone/iPod’s music library and then presents you with dates and locations for every band in your library. It takes about 20 seconds. You can then search for a band, a venue, a date, anything.
This meant that it was immensely easy for me to find out when Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver, Joshua Radin, Death Cab for Cutie, Coldplay, The Avett Brothers and City in Colour were playing. The app then gives you links to buying the cheapest tickets.
I have been to many gigs before but never this many in one year. The app makes it so easy to find tickets that I am constantly updating it each day to see which new bands have been added.
Finally, there are many nights when I am exhausted and i don’t feel like trekking into central London or driving all the way to Los Angeles from San Diego, but, there isn’t much in this world that rivals seeing your favourite band life. Let alone seeing all 4 of your favourite bands live in one year.
My closet is now filled with band T-shirts, jumpers, bags and almost a custom Avett Brothers Skateboard (seriously). Live music is something that everyone should experience on a regular basis. Songkick merely makes it easier for this to happen.

I leave you with links to videos I took from the bands I saw over the last year:

Death Cab, City in Colour, Bon Iver and Joshua Radin – here.
Death Cab’s Transatlanticism – here.
Sufjan Steven’s Vesuvius – here.  
Avett Brothers and Coldplay – here.

Westbrook scores 43 but Miami go 3-1 up.

   Russell Westbrook put in a monster performance finishing with 43 points. Just like Rajon Rondo’s perfomance, it was not enough. Heat go up 3-1.

Russell Westbrook - 2012 NBA Finals - Game ThreeRussell Westbrook’s performance was very similar to that of Rajon Rondo’s during the Eastern Conference Finals, however, the result was the same. Miami finish with the win and go 3-1 up in the finals. This was the closest and most fast paced game of the finals so far. If you don’t enjoy watching basketball after that game, you should be watching Golf. There are, yet again, far too many talking points to cover, therefore this post will cover some of the key aspects that I thought decided the game.

 Russell Westbrook
As soon as Westbrook shot his first jumper of the game, I along with most Oklahoma fans screamed “no!” at the television. He has dribbled the ball up the court and shot within a few seconds without passing. This is exactly the type of play that did not fall for him in recent games and what drew plenty of criticism from viewers everywhere. The shot was good. As were his next 3. He in fact had 10 1st quarter points and was the main reason why Oklahoma had their first 1st quarter lead all series. Westbrook ended on 20-32 shooting, an incredible way to answer the critics. Unfortunately, Oklahoma could not defend Lebron James and James Harden had a terrible game.  Make no mistake, without Westbrook putting in the performance he did, Game 4 would have been over by half time. It is just a huge shame that Westbrook did not realise the shot clock was only at 5 seconds during the final play. His intentional foul on Chalmers was due to the fact that he thought there were 24 seconds on the shot clock.

Lebron JamesLeBron James - 2012 NBA Finals - Game Four
James finished with 26 points and 12 assists. He abused the post all night long   making Harden and Sefolosha look foolish more often than not. As a counter, Oklahoma had no option but to double team him. With Battier, Chalmers, Cole and  Jones all on the floor at times for the Heat, their 3’s began raining down, mostly in the  2nd quarter. Miami had 18 points from the arc alone in the 2nd quarter. This quickly  obliterated Oklahoma’s early lead and gave them a lot to think about through halftime.  Mainly, “How the hell to we guard Lebron?” Lebron then was screaming on the  sideline due to an intense cramp in the 4th quarter and missed the last minute of the  game. This was after he hobbled on to drain a 3 and put Miami up by 4. If Skip Bayless  tries to argue that he wasn’t clutch, ignore him. That said, Lebron seemed to be trying  to act like Jordan when he played with the flu.

James Harden

Harden finished with 8 points and 2 assists. He also seemed very scared of Miami. He missed 3 wide open 3’s and went 1-5 from downtown. He also shot a shocking 2-10 from the field, including one wide open from the elbow towards the end of the 4th. He had 3/4 seconds of being wide open and hesitated far too long before finally throwing up the brick. His dreadful performance was epitomised by the wide open layup he missed in the 4th. This would have given the Thunder their first lead in 22 minutes and could have changed the entire game. I was perplexed as to why Harden was man marking James late on. Harden does not have the physical capability to defend a player like James. Harden is yet to play to his potential. If Oklahoma are to steal a win in Game 5, Harden will need to achieve his regular season averages.
James Harden - 2012 NBA Finals - Game Three

The Officials
     After a lifetime of watching nothing but football (soccer for you Americans), I grow tired of complaining about referees. However, the Miami Heat seem to get every 50-50 call go their way, including some blatant bad calls. To name a few from Game 4:

  • The double-dribble missed on Lebron James in 2nd that led to a James layup.
  • Loose-ball foul not called on Derek Fisher off a rebound in the 4th. The ball fell to Chalmers who buried a 3.
  • Many fouls (seemingly) not called on Westbrook or Durant throughout the game.

I honestly hate to use the officials as a way of complaining but even my twitter feed was filling up with people that were bemused with some of the calls. What is your take on it? Am I wrong? Are Miami getting an unfair advantage from the officials?


Mario Chalmers

Chalmers has been due a good game. Wade spoke highly of him during his post game interview (why wouldn’t he?) after he played a huge role in the Game 4 win. He ended with 25 points off an efficient 9-15 night of shooting. He made a tough layup in traffic the possession after Lebron was carried off due to cramp and then sank a couple of clutch free throws a few possessions later, maintaining the lead Miami had. Chalmers was the deciding factor. The unpredictable deciding factor. Game 1 had the support players of OKC step up. Game 2 had shane Battier. Game 3 had Oklahoma’s rare low free throw percentage. Game 4 had Mario Chalmers go off for 25 points.

Did any of you predict any of these things? This series is impossible to call, still. Ibaka could go 11-11 from the field in Game 5, it’s been that kind of series. The unpredictable nature is making it one of the best series I have ever watched. Either team could have won by a sweep already. It’s times like this that you wish it was a best of 13.

Oklahoma City come up short with free throws.

It was a night where defence was the real winner. Both Miami and OKC upped their defence in Game 3 that saw Miami come through victorious. Miami now lead 2-1 in this series involving two of the most well matched teams the league has seen for a while. Make no mistake, every game so far between these two giants has been decided by 1, maybe 2 possessions. So when Oklahoma shot 62% of their free throws, it’s stunning that they only lost by 6 points considering Miami hit almost 90% of their free throws. This, ultimately was where Game 3 was won and lost.

Kendrick Perkins Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat gets set to attempt a technical free throw attempt in the first half against Kendrick Perkins #5 and James Harden #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Three of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 17, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.

    Miami started strong again. The 1st quarter was filled with points in the paint for Miami. they made 10 of 11 shots in the paint and missed 10 of 11 jumpshots. 20 of their 26 first quarter points came from inside. The play by play read, “James layup, James layup, Wade layup, James layup”. I was initially very worried things would crumble for Oklahoma again. However, Oklahoma made many of the shots they missed….check that….they made many of the make-able shots they missed in Game 2. So at the end of the 1st the score was 26-20 Miami.
OKC then sharpened up defensively. Switching between a zone and man-to-man defence, Miami began to struggle getting into the paint more as they started to take more jumpshots. Sefolosha had a wonderful highlight play by stealing the ball of Lebron and sprinting up the other end for an alley-oop. Sefolosha was fantastic again all night defensively. The steal on Wade in the final minute gave OKC a huge chance to win the game.
Derek Fisher also added a lot to the game. He made a three with 5.19 on the clock in the second period. This was the same 3 that he missed in Game 2, the same three that, had he made, Oklahoma would have won Game 2. Not only that but he did something he never accomplished at LA. He played very, very well defensively. Playing full court on Chalmers was genius. It meant that by the time Chalmers had found Lebron or Wade, there were only 10/11 seconds left on the clock. This led to numerous shot clock violations and turnovers for Miami.

   We’ve already covered the free throws as why Oklahoma lost, but there was one other deciding factor.
Kevin Durant’s foul trouble. He lost 8 minutes of playing time in the 3rd quarter after OKC were up 60-53 when he took a seat on the bench. The Heat then went on a 16-7 run and led at the end of the third 69-67.
My opinion? His 4th foul was complete bs. I refuse to believe that it was a foul considering it was near identical to the foul that was not called on Lebron at the end of Game 2, as Durant put up the game tying shot. What is extremely endearing is Durant’s reaction to both the Lebron foul at the end of Game 2 and his foul trouble in Game 3, “I just try to play aggressive on both ends of the floor”, “I just missed the shot”. He makes no comment on the officials decisions, something incredibly rare in sport today.
In contrast, what does Lebron do after he missed a 50 foot buzzer beater in Game 3 at the end of the 2nd? Immediately complains to the ref after no foul is called…

Yes, Miami were the better team again but only thanks to some moo points ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLwYpSCrlHU)
Durant has been in foul trouble before but he wont be every game. Oklahoma will not shoot 62% from the free throw line again. Harden will not finish in single digits again. Both of these teams are so evenly matched that it takes something out of the ordinary to win games. Game 1 was decided by Nick Collison’s offensive rebounding. Game 2 by Battier’s shooting, and Game 3 by rare free throw misses. Both Miami and Oklahoma are so well matched that this Championship will not be won by skill, because that is a given. It will be won by unforced errors and who doesn’t drink their Gatorade.

Some final points for you to mull over and respond to;

  • Did you notice all the empty seats at the beginning of second half? I guess mohitos take a while to make!
  • The technical foul called on Scott Brooks in the 2nd was bs. The ball was deflected out off Haslem but was called Miami ball. Brooks got frustrated and started arguing it should be OKC ball…just as all the OKC players did. The call was immediately reversed and it was an Oklahoma inbound. Yet, the technical foul was given.
    This is the NBA Finals. We all know that every possession counts. So are you really going to call a technical for a coach being passionate on a call that he was right on?! At least Wade missed the free throw.

Who will win the 2012 NBA Finals?

Miami win Game 2, just.

     An article written after the game was titled, “Miami tie the series, barely”. I wrote in my previous two blogs about how Miami would have to be almost perfect in order the beat Oklahoma. They had to play to their fullest potential. This is exactly what happened and it was only just good enough against a less-than good Oklahoma side. Erik Spoelstra said in his pre-game speech “every play matters, the game will come down to 5 plays.” He was right. If Fisher would have made that wide open 3, if Westbrook drained any of the missed jumpers he put up in the 1st, if OKC missed two less free throws…
It’s very easy to look at each individual play, especially when games often finish with a points difference of under 7 or 8 points. However, this is a 48 minute sport, and for 36 of those, Miami were much better. We know that OKC like to stay within striking distance before taking over in the 4th, they were just too late in reaching their “striking distance”.
Miami went up 18-2.
18-2.
They were much more fired up than Oklahoma. Everything that needed to happen for the Heat to win, happened.
Lebron had another fantastic shooting night, finishing on 32 and making 4 clutch points at the end of the game. Wade stepped up 24 points and Bosh finished with 16. 72 points all together, 5 more than their regular season average of 67. This was not where they won the game as Durant, Westbrook and Harden finished collectively with 80. The big three will consistently cancel each other out. Harden stepped up in game 2 just as Wade and Bosh did. No, Miami did not win because of the shooting from their big three, they won because of two more important reasons:

1) Shane Battier’s 17 points. 
Battier has suddenly become the best 3 point shooter in all the land. He is 10-13 from 3 pointers in the Finals so far with no signs of letting up. It makes me worry about the IQ of some basketball players. To consistently leave Battier open from 3, do they even learn? Battier stepped up as the “supporting player” in Game 2 like Collison and Sefolosha did in Game 1 for Oklahoma. His 17 points were the difference. Although you have to think, will he keep shooting about 75% from 3’s for the rest of the finals? Probably not. Which means Chalmers or Haslem have to step up and score more than 3 or 2 points respectively as they did in Game 2.

2) OKC’s fast-break points – 7
They had 24 fast-break points in Game 1 as they found it very easy to abuse the defensive slack of Wade and Chalmers. The 7 fast-break points they had in Game 2 was not only far less than the 24 in Game 1, but they all came in the 4th quarter. They caused 5 turnovers, had 8 more shots and out-rebounded Miami….only in the 4th quarter.

Durant said it perfectly in his post game interview, “we can’t get too down [about the missed shots in the 1st] instead stay positive and understand what can be changed for Game 3.”

That is exactly what they must do. Understand what needs to be changed, because there isn’t much. Miami had to break their backs to get the Game 2 win and they were playing against an OKC side that didn’t show up for the whole of the first 12 minutes.

Let’s not forget the game-tying shot Durant had where he was clearly fouled by Lebron.

That said, Miami did deserve to win Game 2 but it took them far more effort than I thought it would.

My friend told me he thinks OKC will find it difficult to beat Miami at their home arena since they are so efficient at home. However, if Miami can beat OKC in Oklahoma, then OKC can certainly beat Miami in South Beach, especially with their 21-12 record on the road.