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Roundup: Renewables, Bike Stunts, Bee Gardens and More

Solar Sketch
Over on Freakangels, our heroes are experimenting with post-apocalyptic solar power. (AS)

FREAKANGELS is a free, weekly, ongoing comic written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Paul Duffield.

Bike Parkour
Check out these British cyclists going nuts with crazy urban stunt biking. Hollywood needs to snatch that stuff up: how about an action film in a car-free city?
(Thanks to ally Kai-Uwe Bergman for sending this!) (AS)

Scale-Based Antitrust
Jamais brings to our attention Zephyr Teachout's interesting idea: a new way to keep businesses from becoming "too big to fail" (AS)

"Instead of imposing after-the-fact regulations on corporations, why not pass a new antitrust policy that limits the size to which companies can grow? Current antitrust law limits a variety of anticompetitive behaviors, like price fixing, and is focused on consumer welfare and market manipulation. But antitrust could become a tool for limiting size qua size, not just size when it becomes anticompetitive. It would require a major overhaul, but in the long term a size-based antitrust policy might actually be simpler than the complicated and often unworkable measures of market share and examinations of inchoate consumer needs."

A Setback in the ‘Nuclear Renaissance’

"A Missouri utility said Thursday that it was suspending its efforts to build a new nuclear reactor, making its proposed plant, Callaway 2, the first of the “nuclear renaissance” reactors to fall by the wayside. The industry has been looking forward to its first construction start in 30 years." Read more. (AL)

livewithinskin.jpgLive Within Skin
In his newsletter this week, Worldchanging ally Blaine Brownell pointed us toward the Live Within Skin vertical garden wall system (pictured left). This innovative four-layer wall from Freya Bardell of LA-based Greenmeme makes installing an indoor or outdoor living wall a pretty straightforward process. The modular wall units are custom-cut to accommodate plants of specific sizes, with growth space and irrigation built in. They can also incorporate rainwater harvesting and catchment systems. (JL)

Pairing Gardens With Food Banks
Demand at food banks has risen sharply due to the economic crisis. But fresh produce can be difficult to keep in stock at these facilities because of its price and limited shelf life. The Arizona Republic reports on one food bank that has started up its own 21-square-foot community vegetable garden this year, a project headed up by a local chef/gardener. We've previously covered other produce-to-food-bank initiatives here in Seattle, including a startup program to distribute seeds and gardening advice at food distribution centers, and efforts to collect fruit tree and garden excess for emergency food services.

But one factor that can put distance between fresh vegetables and the neediest people is lack of access to a kitchen. One thing we'd be interested to see: a shared kitchen facility where people without a home can prepare freshly harvested produce from a community garden. Though certainly not as efficient in terms of scale as a community feeding facility like the Langar in Delhi, it seems that a kitchen for preparing food would provide a bit of dignity, stability and choice in the lives of the people who used it. What do you think? (JL)

Bee Gardens
WhiteCosmos.jpgThis site from the University of California at Berkeley shares some interesting facts about native bees: for example, they don't all live in hives, and -- like so many elements of healthy ecosystems -- they don't thrive on lawns. Dr. Gordon Frankie, the researcher behind UC Berkeley's California Native Bee Garden recommends bee-friendly native plants and other incentives gardeners can offer if they want to enlist the help of these notoriously hardworking pollinators. Though this site is region-specific, bee gardening is a smart strategy for urban ecology as we seek ways to revitalize the world's honeybee populations. We hope to see it spread! (JL)

stoptraffik.jpg480 People Were Trafficked
Global non-profit STOP THE TRAFFIK, which works to educate, advocate and raise funds toward stopping human trafficking worldwide, recently selected this winning entry in its its awareness-raising poster contest (pictured right). You can purchase or download posters on their site -- all proceeds go to their work. (We included putting an end to human trafficking as one of our goals in this week's feature, "Earth Day: 10 Big, Really Hard Things We Can Do To Save the Planet.") (JL)

The Vatican Converts to Solar
Vatican officials announced earlier this week that the world's smallest country will soon be home to Europe's largest solar plant. Leo Hickman of The Guardian reports that the Vatican plans to spend €500m to build a 100-megawatt solar power plant, which will supply electricity to 40,000 homes:

Once the 100-megawatt plant opens in 2014, the Vatican will become an electricity exporter to Italy supplying enough power for the needs of 40,000 households. It is latest in a string of pronouncements by the Holy See – or should it now be known as the Holy E? – that suggests it is serious about improving its environmental legacy. (Although still no word yet on how it aims to tackle global overpopulation through its policy on forbidding the use of contraception. Or on whether it's having second thoughts about the wisdom of launching Vatican Airlines.)

Let the conversion jokes begin...(SK)

Pink Dot: No Agenda But Love
pinkdot On May 16, LGBT rights advocates will mob the streets of Singapore adorned in all things pink to show support for the freedom to love. Motivated by the government's recent announcement that they will no longer prosecute private, consensual, adult sex between two people of the same gender, LGBT supporters are organizing the nation's first public show of support with an event called Pink Dot. Supporters are encouraged to dress in all pink and will use smart mob tactics to gather at Hong Lim Park Field around 4:30 p.m. Soon after, the Pink Dot site states that attendees will form a human pink dot and a photograph will be taken from a nearby vantage point. Michael A. Jones from write:

This will be "a gathering of people who believe in the freedom to love and to lend their support towards open-mindedness and understanding." In other words, it's open to anyone and everyone, straight or LGBT, who want to move Singapore one step closer to fully recognizing LGBT rights.

Organizers have a countdown clock to the event here, and a Facebook group here. (SK)

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Thank you for the interesting synopses of important article, wbhich do not appear in the media.

Posted by: John Pelley on 25 Apr 09

I really like the "Pairing Gardens With Food Banks" idea/link. Nice one ;) Worth passing on to community gardening friends & advocates locally.

Posted by: Patrick from Adelaide, AU on 26 Apr 09

wow! so good to find your site. such good food for thought! such steady-state sense and nonsense. thanks

Posted by: garden of self defence on 27 Apr 09

Cool blog, we need more people working to help us live greener. I entered this competition last year and while I didn't win, the ones who did made some great work:

It was all about motivating young people to send scripts or videos on water efficiency or flooding from global warming. Worthy causes for sure. Check them out! If you like them, spread the word cause these kids deserve to have their work seen.

Posted by: mark on 28 Apr 09

Hey - those solar panels are facing the wrong way. Look at the shadows!

Posted by: TomFid on 29 Apr 09

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