Friday, August 31, 2007

Two related stories from Spain

People are allowed to kill us, each other and the place they are going to:

"...And, of course, "El Boom" has continued, with all the familiar consequences.

The Med can expect to receive 230 million visitors this year making it the world's most popular tourist destination.

It is predicted that by 2020 the influx will have risen to 350 million.

Already 22,000 sq km of this once beautiful and productive coastline are covered in asphalt and concrete and the urbanisation is bound to continue.
During a recent visit to the Costa Brava to report for Crossing Continents, I re-read a book by Norman Lewis who is, in my opinion, one of the best travel writers of our time.

In the 1950s, Lewis lived and worked as a fisherman in a small Spanish fishing village.

He was on the Costa Brava as the first wave of tourists arrived and in his book "Voices of the Old Sea", he quotes the reaction of a small-town mayor.

'Although we've come to live off these people, we intensively dislike them. Why? Because we resent what they are doing to us. It's a kind of sickness. Now we suffer from tourists. But it will die out in the end. This is only a passing fad, they'll all go and we'll be back where we were before.'..."

- By Julian Pettifer, BBC Radio 4's Crossing Continents

full article


.... but if there is some kind of other threat all of the sudden their safety is paramount:

"...The shark, which is said to measure around 1.5m (5ft), was spotted off the coast near Murcia on Wednesday and on Thursday. Its type is not known.

Several beaches have been closed as a result of the sighting..."

- BBC News , "Spanish beach shut as shark seen"

full article

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What's that you say? You're endangered? Oh, I couldn't hear you...

Pandawash? WWF Netherlands has made a deal with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. The deal is about carbon; this illustration is about something else. Read the press release (with translation help) and let me know what you think...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

UK: Fight to save 'set aside' schemes

The UK government has to make a decision very soon on the future of an arcane farming subsidy called set-aside.

Although it sounds of little interest to the non-farming public, conservationists say it has, accidentally, become a powerful environmental tool - and stopping it could be devastating to some of our rarest wildlife.

full article

Related article: EU proposes scrapping fallow land

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Halt all expansion of airports, & ban short-haul flights

"The Plane Stupid! agenda has two other demands: halt all expansion
of airports, and ban short-haul flights."

August 14, 2007
The Independent/UK

We Should All Be At Heathrow Protesting - It is collective pressure on government, not consumer choices, that the world needs now.

by Johann Hari

This week, two thousand people will gather at London’s Heathrow airport with tents and sleeping bags - not to EasyJet to the beach, but to alert their fellow citizens to the Weather of Mass Destruction we are unleashing.

If you need to know why this is necessary, take a look at the world the deniers are so glibly averting their eyes from. The two countries doomed to drown by global warming in my lifetime have already begun to disappear beneath the waves. Almost half of Bangladesh is under water as you read this, following monsoons four times more ferocious than they should be. Ten million people are now homeless in the
region. In the Maldives, a series of massive swell waves stretching to 4.5 metres drowned 68 islands this spring. The residents know the waves are getting bigger every year, and soon they will swallow their homes forever...

full article

Saturday, August 11, 2007

TrashTrain Praha 1/12

This is a concept for an all-electric & human-powered logistics system for Prague... it's called TrashTrain BUT it's much more than that...

... cities all over Europe (well, Western Europe, so far) restrict (not just) delivery vehicles based on their emissions. See plan for London ... Milano will be implementing something similar starting in 2008.

Of course it is certainly not just about emissions! The most recent - and exciting - development in what I call "street de-chaosification" AND emissions-free logistics is in Amsterdam, with City Cargo . See longer video here . In Switzerland electric vehicles have been used for years in the mountains, and there are also cargo trams in Zurich.

For more innovative concepts in urban logistics check out Bestufs .

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TrashTrain Praha 2/12

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TrashTrain Praha 3/12

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TrashTrain Praha 4/12

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TrashTrain Praha 5/12

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TrashTrain Praha 6/12

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TrashTrain Praha 7/12

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TrashTrain Praha 8/12

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TrashTrain Praha 9/12

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TrashTrain Praha 10/12

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TrashTrain Praha 11/12

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TrashTrain Praha 12/12

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Energy Use Rant

"Lance Armstrong pedalling a bike-driven generator can
produce about 350 watts and he can probably keep this
up for about 3 hours. That is, roughly, 1 kilowatt-hour.

If Lance drives to the gym in a Prius and he travels
10 miles round trip, he uses an average of about 10 HP
for a period of 10 minutes (assuming an unlikely average
speed of 60 MPH). At 746 watts/HP, this is 74,600 watt-min:

10 min * 10 HP * 746 watts

74,600 watt-min is 1243 watt-hours or 1.243 kWh

So, in ten minutes of driving, Lance uses more energy than
he can produce in 3 hours of pedalling.

Now, if it's YOU on the treadmill, how many watts continuous
can you produced for three hours?

If you power your car by pedalling a generator to charge
its batteries, you're going to have to pedal for, say,
one working shift in order to drive 10 miles back and
forth to work. Or, you could ride your bike for, say,
40 minutes each way.

We MUST get our heads around the notion of just how much
energy we are consuming. It's truly incredible. Think in
terms of reducing your energy consumption 10-fold in
your lifetime. Even THAT is probably not sustainable.

The fix we're in is so much worse than people think it is,
simply because they think it's quite normal to put 10 gallons
of gasoline in the car once or twice a week. The energy
content of that gasoline is just incredible; only since
the start of the industrial era have people been able to
consume energy at this rate. This has only been possible
because we have been burning fossil fuels created over a
span of millions of years during the course of a century...

...Life is going to change. Get used to it. Then figure out
how to enjoy it. That's not hard. Just imagine carfree cities."

- J.H. Crawford,

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Rome-Košice EuroVelo Bridge

This is part of the Bikes on Board! proposal... trains, buses and ferries - all with bicycle carriage - would form a "bridge" across up to five EuroVelo long-distance cycling routes...

Bikes on Board! (BOB) 1/6

A proposal for a European-level project to improve the on-board part of public transport and bicycle intermodality...

BOB 2/6

BOB 3/6

BOB 4/6

BOB 5/6

BOB 6/6

Kola na Palubě! 1/2

The Czech version... the local public transport company is discussing this next week...

Kola na Palubě! 2/2

Friday, August 3, 2007

Bio-Methane Multiple Unit - MMU

This is a concept for rebuilding of a first-generation light Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) train which runs in the Czech (West Bohemia) and German (Sachsen) border area... but something similar could happen anywhere, also with a new train... the main goal is energy-independence for the public transport needs of regions and rural areas.