Posts Tagged ‘new’

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

I Am Alive : : Don’t wait for The Last Of Us

I Am Alive is probably a game that you won’t ever play. The next 5 minutes will hopefully convince you otherwise. The simplicity of the game is what makes it such fun to play. For £8 you’re getting a single player experience that easily rivals that of the £40 titles out there at the moment. It’s certainly been the most enjoyable single player I have played in 2012. So what exactly makes it such a joy to play? Why should you not just wait for The Last Of Us? 

The opening hour is more or less of a climbing tutorial. In I Am Alive you have a stamina bar that slowly decreases as you traverse the terrain in front of you. Therefore, if you are acting like Nathan Drake for too long, then you’ll eventually fall. This makes the climbing sequences not only exciting but also challenging. Figuring out what path to take across (the George Washington?) bridge will act as a lovely tutorial for this.

These climbing sequences usually space out the main events of the story which see you meeting many people. Some need your help, some can help you but most just want to kill and loot your body. This part of I Am Alive is where the game comes into its own. You usually want to help those in need after you experience how difficult it is to stay alive (especially in the harder difficulties).

Every meeting with hostile civilians is dealt with differently than in previous encounters. That said, there is only ever one solution towards coming out alive after each encounter. These meetings with people pop up at a brilliant pace, you’re not waiting long between meetings but you’re waiting long enough to enjoy the other aspects of the game like climbing, scavenging and exploring. The variety between who you come across is also very refreshing.

It’s been a very long time that I’ve played a video game that had me thinking about what will happen even when I am not playing it. Most nights I often found myself thinking about how this man would find his family, which parts of the map I hadn’t explored and what I needed to scavenge for as soon as I resumed playing. It was nice to be so passionate about a single player game since I played the Uncharted series.

Scavenging is another part of I Am Alive that the producers seemed to have pulled off brilliantly. Your character starts off with nothing. Everything from water to camera batteries to first aid must be found. The rare items like bullets and adrenaline shots are usually found in hard to reach places. They often require the player either helping out a person in need or exploring a part of the map that does not tie in with the story line. That said, it is worth your time to go this extra mile. You see, an empty gun is handy to keep away people with a machete. But should you raise your gun towards someone who also has a gun, then expect to die, quickly. Should you find yourself cornered by three enemies, you should shoot and kill the one person with a gun first and then aim your gun menacingly at his two friends that only have knives. They don’t know you just ran out of ammo and they sure ain’t going to call your bluff. Usually, you won’t ever have more than 1 or 2 bullets. Heck, most of the time you won’t have any. I vividly remember the time I managed to scavenge 5 bullets in the space of 15 minutes, I couldn’t stop screaming “5 F**KING BULLETS?!” The amount of power I had was silly. Like a school boy I ran into my next engagement as 4 men slowly cornered me. They were joking with one another about how I probably had nothing for them to loot and how my body would keep their fire warm that night. 3 seconds later they were all dead and I only had one bullet left. The regret seeped into me immediately….

The game later brings in other elements, like a bow and arrow in which you can pickup your arrow again after each use. This means you have unlimited ammo in one way, but can only use it effectively once per engagement. This brought a new element to the game as there were now numerous ways to deal with hostiles. Not only did I have my machete for close engagements but now I had 2 bullets and my bow and arrow?! Before the excitement got too much, I realised that now there was usually an extra person in each group of enemies and a couple of extra guns between them. This made each encounter much more difficult. Yet I must commend the game, the pacing is superb along with the increased difficulty as the game progresses.

I Am Alive is a game that far exceeded my expectations. When a game is only available on the PSN store for £8 you probably wouldn’t bat an eyelid. However, I Am Alive could be the most under-rated game of the last 5 years. Many people will unfortunately miss out on this experience due to its lack of coverage along with the release of The Last Of Us just around the corner. However, you will not be disappointed. It was, without a doubt, the best £8 I ever spent.

Environmental News : : Bloody Ivory and Extinct Polar Bears.

Elephants killed for religious craftsmen

Picture of mature African elephant bulls with long ivory tusks

In January of 2012, hundreds of armed men rode into Cameroon’s Bouba Ndjidah National Park. They murdered hundreds of elephants, entire families with AK-47’s. Tens of thousands of elephants are killed every year in Africa for their ivory. Horrifically so, this ivory is then used as material in which to carve religious objects out of. Ivory smuggling is illegal and yet the Philippines still manage to have a huge ivory trade going on. A reporter from National Geographic found a street merchant selling iconic religious figure in ivory. I somehow doubt that any religion would condone the slaughtering of thousands of elephants for this purpose.
Ivory has turned into a drug. There has been a global ivory trade ban intact since 1989 but that seems not to have had an effect.
Do your part and adopt an elephant now.

Arctic Ice will be gone in 4 yearsArctic ocean warming, Arctic ice, Arctic ice sheet, Peter Wadhams, Global warming feedback, Methane permafrost

According to Professor Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University, the entire Arctic ice shelf will be gone in just 4 years. Just 5 years ago it was predicted that the ice would survive until 2060. Now it won’t just be the polar bears that are gone by 2016, but it will also initiate a negative feedback loop that would heat up our planet much quicker.
The loss of ice will cause the ocean water to warm up, which then warms the ocean floor. Much of the Arctic continental shelf is composed of offshore permafrost which contains methane, a very powerful greenhouse gas. I don’t need to tell you how bad it would be if this gas was released.
What’s that? You don’t want to adopt an elephant because you like polar bears and penguins more? Just make sure you get your adoption money back in 4 years…

90,000 lbs of trash collected at Sierra Nevada

Over 2,500 volunteers collaborated to clean up thousands of pounds of garbage that clogs up this picturesque Californian landscape. Over two thirds of Californians get their water from the Sierra Nevada. It’s truly amazing how 571 tonnes of trash has been cleaned in the last 4 years. That is, it’s amazing how it becomes so littered in the first place as well as the effort of the volunteers. I helped take part during an ocean clean up in California. Never have I picked up so many cigarette buts or 6 pack holders in my life. The beach is not a trashcan.

Image

 

Gary Neville turns from United-Red to Eco-green

No, he hasn’t signed with Celtic or Panathinaikos, don’t worry. Instead, Neville is building his own house, a house that meets the highest UK environmental standards. He built his first two homes when he was just 22 and 26. Both of these experiences have helped him realise what needs to be done in order to save the planet.

“So I have had a transitional period in my personal life, from car to home, to become as efficient as I could.”

Side view of the proposed development
                                                         Gary Neville’s new home.

Many people won’t just be surprised by his sudden intelligence as a football pundit. They also will be shocked by his plethora of knowledge towards the environment. He is fully aware of how loud his voice is:

“We believe in the power of sport to deliver a message. You have seen over the past 12-18 months, the way that the Olympics and football transcends all social issues. In fact, it brings social issues that are a problem in society to a head through football.”

 

I leave you with,

The deadliest air fight in the world.
The epic migration of hundreds of thousands of hermit crabs.
Dumpsters transformed into beautiful gardens.