Will Sacramento be the next New Orleans? – California Prepares with Levees and Flood Insurance

In 2005 the world was aghast by the images seen on television and newspapers of the mass destruction caused to human life and the city of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. A recent report reveals that State authorities are bolstering levees around Sacramento to prevent it from experiencing Katrina-like effects during a flood. They also hope that severe storms don’t hit the capital city before the completion of projects planned to end by 2012. With the right combination of bad…

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Louisiana Coastal Protection Study Falls Short

A new report from the National Research Council (NRC) finds numerous problems with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ followup recommendations for restoring wetlands and protecting southern Louisiana from another Katrina-like disaster. Among the most worrisome findings in the paper: the Corps’ failure to “consider the potential for structural failure of levees and floodwalls.” “As a consequence,” the NRC report states, “the true risk to homes and businesses and people behind structures has not been determined.”

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Solar Energy Could Power U.S. Many Times Over

If the U.S. moved aggressively to start harnessing the solar power it receives daily, it could generate enough clean energy to meet the country’s needs many times over, according to a new report from Environment Florida. The report, “On the Rise; Solar Thermal Power and the Fight Against Global Warming,” touts the multiple benefits of solar thermal power that the U.S. has barely begun to tap. One, it’s a clean source of energy that could replace other power sources that…

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The Reuse People: Salvaging Building “Waste”

Every now and again, something really cool crosses my desk, and I think, “Wow, that’s really cool!” Just such an occasion happened this week, when a friend who works in PR sent over some information from The Reuse People of America, or TRP. Based in Oakland, TRP is a nonprofit organization that works to reduce the amount of useable construction materials that go into landfills. Since its founding in 1993, TRP has salvaged over 200,000 tons of reusable building materials.…

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60,000 CFLs and Counting

Green Light New Orleans Recently reached a milestone: 60,000 compact fluorescent bulbs installed for free in local homes since October 2006. The headline-making 60,000th CFL was installed earlier this month at the Jeannette Street home of Irene Green. Established in 2006 after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Green Light New Orleans is the brainchild of Swiss-born musician Andi Hoffmann, who’s now a resident of the Big Easy. Hoffman started the program first as a way to offset the greenhouse gas…

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Kansas City Comes Out for Greensburg Fundraiser

As I mentioned last week, I headed over to Kansas City last Thursday to attend the fundraiser for Greensburg GreenTown, a non-profit supporting Greensburg, Kansas’ efforts to rebuild green after a tornado leveled the town last May. Despite ugly weather, the ballroom at the Scarritt Building was packed for both the world premiere of the Sundance Channel’s web series The Good Fight, and a panel discussion with Greentown director Daniel Wallach, and BNIM Architects’ urban planner Stephen Hardy. Among the…

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Mega Solar: the World’s 13 Biggest Solar Thermal Energy Projects

Solar thermal energy plants focus the glare of the Sun’s rays on a central location to create heat, which is then turned into electricity. Various methods exist to concentrate the solar radiation, including parabolic troughs, power towers with mirrors that track the Sun (heliostats), parabolic dishes, and Fresnel reflectors. See a history of solar thermal energy. For comparison with solar photovoltaics, see the world’s 13 biggest photovoltaic solar energy projects. Location: Mojave Desert, USA. Megawatts: 500 MW, with plans to…

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Green Fishing, According to Islam

For every Muslim, Halal or ‘permissible’ in Arabic means that it passes the test, as far as food is concerned. This will certainly include correct handling procedures and many more practices. But the question that has dogged Muslims for centuries has always been how to catch fish, using permissible methods that do not damage the environment. “Lawful to you is the pursuit of water-game (fishing) and its use for food, for the benefit of yourselves and those who travel” (Surah…

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Tech Companies Fight Global Warming by Going Green

Some environmentalists feel strongly that companies should reduce their impact on the environment because it’s the right thing to do – going green because it benefits the bottom line somehow doesn’t count. Personally (and paraphrasing Oleta Adams) I don’t care how you get there, just get there if you can. Business events like the AeA soponsored, “How Does Going Green Affect the Bottom Line?” further the cause. Held on March 20th at UCLA, technology companies discussed their successes along the journey…

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Why I Localize

As you may know, blogging on is relatively new for me. Its been fun, but hey I think it could be better with a little more back and forth. So I thought I’d introduce myself one post at a time as I talk about localization here in the Bay Area. And I invite you to ask questions, make comments, and tell me what you think needs to be covered. If you’ve got a localization project in the Bay Area…

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Increasing Water Security with Rainwater Catchment

By Dave Room and Ingrid Severson, Bay Localize Rainwater catchment is an ancient practice used widely around the globe to harvest and store rainwater for human consumption and irrigation. Dating as far back as 4,000 B.C., it is now commonly used in Australia, New Zealand, parts of Europe, Japan, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand as well as the Caribbean, Central and South America. With more than 250,000 practitioners in the U.S. alone, rainwater catchment is experiencing a revival in parts…

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Dishing Up ‘Pizza With a Conscience’

The next time you’re in Minneapolis and struck with a craving for pizza, you can satisfy both your hunger and your desire to save the Earth by giving Galactic Pizza a ring. The uptown eatery, which was recently featured on, goes to exceptional lengths to be eco-friendly. When the Minnesota weather cooperates, for instance, Galactic Pizza employees (costumed as unique superheroes) will deliver your order by electric car. The restaurant also gets its power from wind energy, sends some…

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World’s 13 Biggest Solar Energy Plants, Photovoltaic

International demand for solar energy has been steadily growing by 20-25% a year for the past two decades. In the United states, solar energy growth is about 60% a year. Looking at how fast solar energy plants are growing and how large they’re becoming year by year is reveals that the future for solar is shining bright. World’s Largest Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Power Plants (Proposed and Operational)       By 2011, Deming, New Mexico, USA will be the home…

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Getting America’s Lawns Off Drugs

Last week I wrote about how the Chicago nonprofit Safer Pest Control Project has been working to protect people from the harmful effects of toxic pesticides. In talking with the organization’s Executive Director, Rachel Rosenberg, I learned about how common it is for people to be exposed to chemical pesticides in public places without being aware, and how dangerous this can be for children. But even more insidious than the harm posed by toxins used to rid our homes and…

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