Eye Opening Night Friendly Lighting

115213514_b2e1fa5081.jpgI’ve never really given much thought as to how we could improve on existing night light pollution, with neon light advertising and full illumination of roads and buildings in and around our cities, but my eyes have been opened, excuse the pun!

Please note this is a sponsored post, paid through ReviewMe

One of the best things about having moved to a rural centre is truly the lack of light pollution. I mean, sure there’s a McDonalds here, but there are no high rise buildings, minimal neon advertising lights and there are enough trees around to feel like you are out in the woods. You can look up at the night sky and see stars, millions of them.

And one of the things I first noticed about Calgary, when I moved there six years ago was how bright the city was, it literally glowed ahead of us as we flew in across the Rockies in the fading winter’s dusky light. I’d lived in bigger cities in Australia that seemed to have less lighting, I was shocked at the waste, I couldn’t understand the mentality that insists, we have lights and the must be turned on. Read more after the jump…

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Seven Sustainability Predictions for 2007

Christmas 2006 is here, and it’s time to spin the wheel of fortune and see what the year ahead has in store for sustainability, technology and the environment, globally, but with a focus on Australia, (cause that’s where I’ve been). If you’ve arrived from the problogger group writing project, welcome and have a look around!

When I look at the year that has been and the posts that have been floating around, there’s been some great developments, but equally, it feels that nothing has changed, and we’ve still got so far to go. Here’s my take and tips on what might happen in 2007…
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  1. Solar power will reach the masses. Silicon Valley has quietly been undergoing a transformation from being the computer-chip hub of the world into another serious industry that uses silicon wafers – Solar Power. Billions of dollars are being spent creating higher power efficiencies and thinner photo voltaic cells through processes that can increase production significantly. OAll this money and effort will have to translate into consumer spending soon.
  2. Eastern Australia will remain in drought. While the authorities fight over the best way to manage water supply and usage, the country is getting drier. Whole cities are on the verge of being declared un-sustainable up and down the coast. Cities like Sydney and Perth are in the process of considering desalination plants and water reuse and recycling schemes. But ultimately, 2007 won’t bring the rains needed to replenish dams and aquifers for our overpopulated catchments. The farmers might get a break, but the cities will remain dry. More after the jump…

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Early Adopters of Sustainable Energy

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Are you an influencer?  Do people ask you for your opinion on technology or new products, (and you give it!). I’m interested in the new environmental influencers, those that don’t necessarily fit into the traditional green demographic, but those who are aiming to make smart purchasing decisions to help to environment. If that’s you…

  • What would it take for you to adopt sustainable energy supply? 
  • At what point would it become feasible for the “average person”?
  • What are the barriers you see?

Of particular interest to me is the role of small scale power generation, on the household or small community scale. Wind, solar, hydro, whatever can be harnessed in your environment. Send me an email or leave a comment, thanks!

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Australia to Build World’s Largest Solar Plant

 About time! Check out these two articles on the project…

Australia will build the world’s biggest solar power plant amid warnings of blackouts within five years unless it can increase electricity generation to meet growing demand for air conditioners.

With climate change becoming a major issue in Australia as a severe drought eats into economic growth and cities impose water restrictions, the government has begun to support alternative forms of energy. Besides the new $420 million ($318 million) solar power plant, the government also announced on Wednesday a A$360 million pilot project to produce cleaner energy through brown coal drying and carbon capture and storage.

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Oil Sands and The Environment

Most people I talk to in Australia have no idea about the Oil Sand reserves in Alberta. In fact, even when I moved to Calgary six years ago, I had not heard of anything but conventional oil industries in Alberta. 

But it is big, really big.

While in Calgary I worked on a couple of environmental, geotechnical and materials projects for Syncrude, one of the big corporations running Oil Sand production out of Fort McMurray. I recently spoke with an engineering firm in Western Canada who is working in the Oil Sands and one of the anecdotes of Fort McMurray that was relayed to me is that the speed of growth is coming as a shock to the planners and local government as well; the recently upgraded sewerage treatment plant was already undersized on the day it opened.  Most upgrades to sewerage infrastructure are calculated with a lifespan of 10 – 20 years, not “only just, but maybe not quite” big enough.

This is the story of the world’s fastest growing industrial area, from an environmental perspective, read on after the jump…

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