Celebrities Share Solar Energy

From the Treehugger blog:

Sitting on the Board of Directors for Friends of the High Line wasn’t enough for Edward Norton. He’s also spreading his greenness to the other coast with a plan that lets celebrities help low-income families in Southern California get cheap solar power for their homes. Norton, a Trustee of the Enterprise Foundation since 2000, negotiated with that organization, BP , and the Environmental Media Association to create the BP Solar Neighbors Program. For each celebrity who has a solar system installed in their own home under the plan, BP donates a system to a low-income family. This can save them around $1000 on electricity each year.

He concocted the idea when he had his own solar panels put in, and now Pierce Brosnan, Daryl Hannah, Danny DeVito and Rhea Pearlman, and Larry Hagman are amongst those who have jumped on board. Eleven families qualified for the program last year, and higher numbers are expected for 2004. It’s not just celebrities that can help out, either. BP donates $100 each time anyone buys a solar system after signing up through their hotline.

Link: Treehugger: Ed Norton, BP Solar and the High Line.

Making Plastic from Corn

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 11, 2004 – Metabolix, Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland Company have agreed to establish a 50,000-ton production facility to commercialize a new generation of high-performance natural plastics from corn.

The new facility, part of a 50/50 joint venture to manufacture and market natural PHA polymers for a wide variety of applications, including coated paper, film, and molded goods. Natural PHA polymers are produced using a fully biological fermentation process that converts agricultural raw materials such as corn sugar into a versatile range of biodegradable and compostable plastic.

Link: GreenBiz News | New Partnership to Commercialize Plastic from Corn.

Show Your Children, They Will See

From Denise Levertov:

Very few people really see things unless they’ve had someone in early life who made them look at things. And name them too. But the looking is primary, the focus.

Link: Wisdom Quotes – Denise Levertov Quotation

When I was growing up, my father took my sisters and I riding through rural Virginia almost every weekend. We learned to appreciate the beauty of the rolling Virginia countryside. He would point out a pretty horse, a recently cut hayfield, a hawk in a dead tree, a groundhog feeding at the edge of a field, a scenic farmhouse, a bull in a pasture.

Now, many years later, my sisters and I still ride through the countryside when we gather in Virginia at Christmas, enjoying the beauty of the surroundings and the memories of our childhood.

Migrating Buzzards

High above our home in Woodstock, GA, is a north-south flyway for migrating birds. I love to hear the sound of sandhill cranes singing (National Geographic’s Crane Cam) as they make the long trip to and from South America. I watch with wonder as a flock hits an updraft, circles upwards for several hundred feet, and then continues on their way, slowly losing altitude until they find the next updraft.

Last weekend the flyward was full of turkey vultures, aka buzzards. I watched hundreds of buzzards heading south. They used the same updraft strategy as the sandhill cranes, but they flapped their wings much less and produced no music for those of us bound to the earth.

Buzzards aren’t my favorite bird, but I have to admire their itinerary.

RIP White Rabbit

When I visited my sister Billie in Saratoga, CA, in September, she introduced me to the neighborhood bunny. A domestic rabbit was living near her home, apparently able to avoid cars, dogs, cats, raccoons, and coyotes. Billie often took the bunny a carrot when she walked through the neighborhood.

While I was there, we walked down to the bunny’s territory and he appeared. Billie put some small carrots on the ground and the bunny came over, picked up each carrot with it’s front paws and gnawed happily. He stayed just out of reach, enjoying the gifts.

Billie called me this morning with bad news. She hadn’t seen the bunny in several weeks. Yesterday, she saw a letter in the Saratoga News from another friend of the bunny about it’s death. Someone had killed the rabbit, skinned it, and hung it’s skin on a gate. Billie was upset.

In a world where large-scale violence is commonplace, the killing of a friendly rabbit living in freedom is not news. Why anyone would want use an animal’s trust to destroy it is difficult to comprehend. Only a very warped individual would execute such an ugly plan. I hope that the act boomerangs on that individual soon.

HP Plans Biodegradable Printer

For years, Hewlett-Packard has encouraged its customers to recycle their ink cartridges, and it even pays the shipping costs for sending them back.

But now, HP is embarking on an even more ambitious recycling program. For starters, HP has already undertaken a program in which it uses a wide variety of recycled consumer goods to build scanners. Now, the company has a prototype of a biodegradable printer made out of corn.

"You can’t throw it in your backyard," said HP spokeswoman Lynelle Preston, adding that the prototype on display was a very early version of the printer. But "given the right conditions, it would disappear."

Link: Wired News: Everything Is Green at This Fair.

via TreeHugger

Wild Turkeys Visit

Ann was taking Scooter out the front door when she ran back inside and yelled "Turkeys in the driveway." I grabbed the digital camera, turned it on, and ran downstairs to give it to her. Then I went to the kitchen to look out through the garage to see the turkeys.


Three wild turkeys, two hens and a gobbler, were in our driveway just outside the garage. The gobbler was strutting and keeping an eye out for danger.

Then the scene turned into a Three Stooges movie. Ann yelled that the batteries in the digital camera were dead. I ran to the front door, got the camera, and ran upstairs to my office where the charger is located. I opened the camera, pulled the four batteries out, opened the battery charger, extracted each of the four batteries, and loaded them into the camera. When I stood up, the strap on the camera hooked around a drawer knob and jerked the camera out my hands. It fell on the floor, dumping the four batteries onto the floor. I growled some ugly expletives, put the batteries back in the camera, locked the batteries into the camera, and ran downstairs. I gave the camera to Ann and went to the kitchen to watch.

About 30 seconds later, the gobbler took off, followed by one of the hens. The other hen ran up the driveway towards the street, then back down the driveway and took off.

Ann got one picture. 🙁