Apr
24
2012
0

Can you get “green energy” when the sun’s not shining?

green-solar-energyIt is sometimes claimed that it’s not possible for humans to depend entirely on renewable energy, because green energy is inherently unreliable and therefore it will always be necessary to have conventional power stations as backup. But this turns out not to be the case. Photovoltaic cells (“solar cells”) generate electricity from sunshine. Naturally, they [&hel[more...]

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Jan
01
2012
0

Are there any good beaches in the UK?

Damming the stream at Portheras Cove Beach (photo by Roger Browne - CC-BYAfter a news report about UK beaches whose water quality failed to meet regulatory standards, I heard someone say that they didn’t know there were any good beaches in the United Kingdom. There certainly are some fabulous beaches, but you need to know where to look. If you choose a beach to visit at random, [&hel[more...]

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Oct
17
2010
0

Why are netted fruit and vegetables sold in colored nets?

fruit-and-vegetablesFruit and vegetables are sometimes sold pre-bagged with fine plastic netting. The netting is usually colored, but how and why is the color chosen? Colored netting is used because it improves the appearance of the produce. For that reason, you’re likely to find yellow netting on lemons, orange netting on oranges, green netting on zucchinis [&hel[more...]

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May
21
2010
0

Does Ivy damage walls?

ivy on a wallThis has been a subject of debate for many years and has particularly exercised the minds of those involved in the heritage industry who protect, conserve and restore our architectural heritage. Ivy may add character to walls, but it is commonly thought that it will damage walls where the existing mortar is already weakened or [&hel[more...]

Feb
16
2010
1

What is guerilla gardening?

Photo by aldrin_muya - CC-BYGuerilla gardening is the greening of a blighted urban area by bypassing the official channels and taking direct action. Guerilla gardeners surreptitiously plant and maintain trees, shrubs and floral borders to brighten up local eyesores such as abandoned buildings, industrial units, car parks, and other parts of the concrete jungle. Strictly speaking it's not always [&hel[more...]

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Feb
02
2010
0

What do the hazard warning signs on UK lorries mean?

Hazchem warning sign (image by answerfinder PD)When travelling along the roads in the UK you may see orange warning signs on lorries, tankers, and other vehicles. The orange signs are known as Hazchem Emergency Action Code Signs and are used on domestic journeys. The law requires vehicles which are carrying dangerous goods to display a warning signs which reveal the material [&hel[more...]

Jun
21
2009
1

What is a green job?

Green job signs (Photo by greenforall.org - CC- BY)It seems everyone is talking about green jobs. Countries around the world are moving toward developing greener technologies and  individuals are striving to move into green careers. But what is a green job, exactly? How can one transition from a traditional job to a “greener” one? Green jobs are generally focused around  aspects of social [&hel[more...]

Mar
28
2009
0

Is “Earth Hour” meaningful, or just a stupid gimmick?

Ottawa Parliament Hill during Earth Hour 2008 (photo by David R Carroll - CC-BY)Earth Hour is a campaign to get everyone to switch off their lights for one hour. The 2009 Earth Hour runs from 8.30 to 9.30pm in everyone’s local timezone, on Saturday 28 March. But what’s the point? The organizers paint it as “the world’s first global election, between Earth and global warming”. They aim to [&hel[more...]

Feb
09
2009
2

Where is there a sea of trash?

I donThe Eastern Garbage Patch is a name for an area of the Pacific Ocean which has just below its surface, plastic waste and other debris twisting and turning in the slow moving vortex known as the North Pacific Gyre which is caused by the rotation of the currents in the Pacific. Rather like in an [&hel[more...]

Jan
30
2009
1

What is ethical banking?

Ethical Banking (photo by laurenatclemson - CC-BY)Ethical banking is a sector of the banking industry which takes ethical considerations into account when making business decisions. Sometimes it represents little more than a marketing catchphrase, but at the other end of the spectrum there are financial institutions whose entire reason for existence is to further a particular ethical goal. Ethical concerns may [&hel[more...]

Jan
14
2009
2

Should I install a domestic wind turbine?

More traditional wind power gathering. Jack and Jill windmills, Sussex (photo by david.nikonvscanon CC-BY)In the UK this is new technology in the domestic environment. According to BWEA, a renewable energy trade association, in 2007 approximately 3500 micro- and small-wind turbines were deployed with the UK. The 2008 figures are expected to be higher. Wind turbines providing “green energy” can now be purchased from DIY stores, but should be [&hel[more...]

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