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After a day of slower-than-expected preparations in the Chukchi Sea, Shell Alaska officially began drilling into the seafloor above its Burger prospect at 4:30 a.m. Sunday, the company said.

The action marks the first drilling offshore in the Alaska Arctic in two decades and is being closely watched by Alaskans and the oil industry -- and criticized by environmentalists.

A YouTube video posted by Shell shows the drill bit, labeled Shell Burger "A" and dated Sept. 8, creeping down from the ship's center into the gray sea as the operation got under way Saturday. The drilling machinery clanked and whirred.

By 6:30 a.m. Sunday, crews had drilled more than 300 feet into the ground for a narrow pilot hole that will eventually be about 1,400 feet deep, Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said. It's used to check for unexpected natural gas pockets, oil or obstructions before a wider hole is drilled.

The actual drilling was supposed to begin mid-day Saturday but Shell and its contractors took time to reposition the drilling apparatus and make other adjustments, Smith said. A tool attached to the drill bit will allow Shell to collect data on the formation, density, pressures and other key attributes.

"Everything just took a little bit longer than they thought. There was certainly no rush," Smith said. "There was a collective thought that they were going to double- and triple-check everything."

Greenpeace, which earlier this summer had a research ship near the prospect site, said Shell's drilling began "after a summer of near-disasters and costly delays."

Shell began to drill almost two months later than planned because a key safety vessel, the oil spill containment barge Arctic Challenger, wasn't finished. It remains at a shipyard in Bellingham, Wash. It is scheduled to leave the dock Sunday evening for two to three days of inspections at sea by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

The Interior Department granted Shell a drilling permit that requires it to stop far short of oil-rich zones until the Challenger is in place.

Shell also notified regulators it couldn't meet some limits on air pollution emissions specified in an Environmental Protection Agency permit. The EPA issued a one-year order allowing Shell to operate, and said overall emissions should fall under the already approved cap.

In July, Shell's Chukchi drilling rig, the Noble Discoverer, dragged anchor while at Dutch Harbor. It wasn't damaged, and the Coast Guard cleared the ship to head to the Arctic.

Shell won't be able to complete a single well in the Chukchi Sea this year unless the Interior Department grants its request for an extended season. It still is waiting to hear back. As it stands, Shell must stop drilling into oil-rich zones by Sept. 24.

"Whatever Shell is able to do in the narrow window between now and when the sea ice returns, it won't erase the clear evidence we've seen in the past two months that there's no such thing as safe drilling in the Arctic," Dan Howells of Greenpeace said in a written statement.

Greenpeace is pushing a campaign to put attention on global warming and "save the Arctic," which it says is melting.

"The company's Arctic drilling program this summer has not only been an epic PR failure, but a dangerous logistical failure as well," Howells, who is the organization's deputy campaigns director, said. "They've only proven one thing this summer, that oil companies are simply not equipped to deal with the unique challenges of operating in the Arctic."

Earlier this year, Greenpeace activists including actress Lucy Lawless boarded the Noble Discoverer in New Zealand to protest Shell's Arctic drilling. Shell responded by going to court for a restraining order to keep Greenpeace away from its Arctic drilling vessels.

Shell says Greenpeace's assessment is dead wrong and the group is hurting its own cause.

"Important conversations are taking place in regards to the future of the Arctic and organizations like this one have, in essence, excluded themselves because of their illegal activities and reliance on mistruths," Smith said.

The burden is on Shell to perform safely and it is doing that, with intense oversight by regulators, he said. Two federal inspectors with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement are on drilling rig and others from the Environmental Protection Agency are set to come, he said.

"Ours is the most scrutinized exploration plan in the history of North America if not the world," Smith said.

Shell has invested close to $5 billion in its quest to drill in the Alaska Arctic. A federal government assessment last year estimated the Alaska Arctic offshore region holds nearly 27 billion barrels of "undiscovered technically recoverable" oil.


For those who’ve grown up constantly plugged into the power grid, it’s almost impossible to think of life without an endless supply of outlets, power cords, and technology. But for an estimated 1.5 billion people around the world, power—from cutting and burning firewood to lighting kerosene lamps, paraffin, and candles—doesn't come easy. 

According to the United Nations Foundation, almost 3 billion people rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating, about 1.5 billion have no access to electricity, and 1 billion more have access only to unreliable electricity networks. Smoke from polluting and inefficient cooking, lighting, and heating devices kills nearly two million people a year and causes a range of chronic illnesses and other health impacts.

In an effort to tackle health and development-related obstacles in developing countries, a company based in Germany and Ethiopia is bringing clean energy to “off-grid areas” around the world. Housed in a metal hut topped with a solar panel-filled roof, the designers have named their creation a "SolarKiosk," a small-scale power source for communities without electricity.

Each SolarKiosk is expected to provide enough power for villagers to charge their mobile phones and car batteries, run a computer, or power up a solar fridge. Goods sold from the Kiosk include solar lanterns, mobile phones, and cards to top-up cellular devices. Considering that the Kiosk's fridge may be the community's only one, it could be used to house everything from medication to chilled drinks.

The kiosk could also provide television, music, and internet depending on the locale. The creators project that a larger-size SolarKiosk could even produce enough energy to run a telecom tower reliably, while also providing security and maintenance. It will even be possible to connect multiple kiosks to create a local grid.

The world's first SolarKiosk set up shop on July 15 near Lake Langana in Ethiopia. Designed by Graft Architects, the project not only provides clean energy solutions to "off-grid" countries, but once installed, becomes a power-generating shop and business hub, providing jobs to community members and education on how solar products work. It also becomes a glowing, solar-powered light source at night.

Each kiosk comes in a lightweight, DIY kit, making it is easy to transport and build a kiosk in off-road, rural areas—the package could even be carried to its target location on the back of a donkey. With the exception of pre-manufactured electrical components, the kiosk's parts can be constructed from a range of local materials including bamboo, wood, adobe, stone, metal, or even recycled goods. Post-assembly, the entire structure is firmly anchored in the ground. 

SolarKiosk is now looking for business partners and NGOs to help their expansion to areas around the globe in need of clean, sustainable energy. Anyone interested in joining the cause should send an email to welcome [at] solarkiosk [dot] eu.


Saumya Mehrotra Aug 9 '12 · Rate: 5 · Comments: 1 · Tags: ethiopia, germany, power, solarkiosk, off grid, solar

Those who turn up their noses at garbage heaps in their neighbourhood should meet Veena Rajappa, 38. General manager of MindTree, Veena has not only thrown open a part of her house for waste segregation but also devotes prime time during weekends for waste management in her neighbourhood of Rajarajeshwari Nagar.
Veena’s efforts have got residents of 500 houses in her neighbourhood to segregate waste at source every day. The result is huge: the daily waste burden is reduced by two tonnes. Mavallipura, where the dumping of garbage has sparked off civic outrage, can breathe that much more easy.
“It is not only my effort. My neighbours have contributed too. I’ve visited all 500 houses in my locality and explained to residents the necessity of garbage management. Unless we, the educated citizens, start segregating waste at source, and give paper and plastic waste for recycling, issues like the Mavallipura dumpyard will remain,” says a modest Veena.
Veena’s hectic work schedule has not dimmed her enthusiasm for the weekend grind. She began collecting dry waste, largely recyclable plastic and paper, from 250 households in her locality on February 12, 2012. Faced with a lack of spaceto store dry waste, she turned a room in her backyard into a storehouse. Once a week, the collected recyclable waste is cleared by ITC Limited for further recycling. The company has distributed bags to every household to store dry waste, and pays for the waste it purchases. About Rs 2,500 is paid to the pourakarmika every month.

pramod Jul 31 '12

The Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, is proud to present the 2012 edition of India's largest startup search program: The Power of Ideas. After the runaway success of the 2010 edition of the programme, CIIE is once again partnering with The Economic Times and the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology to continue our efforts of strengthening the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The aim of the programme is to identify the most innovative ideas and early stage startups from India, and to support them through mentoring, incubation support, cash awards and seed funding. This year the corpus of the program has been increased to a total of INR 6.2 crore with 4 crore earmarked for seed funding and INR 2.2 crore to be disbursed as cash awards.  The program is sector-agnostic and hence entrepreneurs from all sectors (including non-technology based ones) can benefit from it.

For more information, visit,and to participate go to

The deadline for submission of the Business Summary Format is June 25, 6 PM.

For specific queries and feedback about the programme, get in touch with us at Economic Times) or

Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship

fostering innovation driven entrepreneurship

Find us on Linkedin, Facebookand Twitter

Hey guys it is a must read for everyone, especially all the members of Battigul!!

By Raashi Gaur Pathak

Nandini Gaur May 16 '12

Nissan recently sent out a release to the automotive press touting the fact that the company had sold 1,000 Nissan Leafs in Norway in just six months. The company went on to claim that the Leaf became the second-best selling Nissan in Norway and the ninth-best selling passenger car overall in February, claiming almost 2 percent of the total car market in February.

Big deal. Auto journalists are inundated with non-news stories like this everyday. Scanning the headline, ignoring the contents and pressing delete becomes all too routine.

But dig a bit deeper into the Nissan-Norway connection and the Leaf’s success becomes a bit more intriguing: The Leaf is selling so well because the country of Norway actually seems committed to a serious alternative fuel transportation strategy and has taken concrete steps to make electric vehiclesnot only viable, but an attractive, common sense choice for consumers.

How did they do it? Infrastructure and incentives.

Norway has the highest level of support in Europe for electric vehicle purchases. There’s zero value-added tax (VAT) and no new car tax. EV drivers also get free parking, exemption from some tolls and the use of bus lanes in Oslo. The existing on-street charging infrastructure in Oslo currently has approximately 3,500 public charging points in Oslo, many of them free to use.

Olivier Paturet, general manager of Zero Emission Strategy at Nissan Europe noted, “We are very happy to see that the ambition of the Norwegian government has matched our own with strong support for the widespread introduction of electric vehicles. The Norwegian package of incentives is unsurpassed and the recharging infrastructure is established and accessible. We can see that Norway is leading the way with its proactive approach to encouraging its citizens to drive electric vehicles. We hope it will continue with the further development and upgrading of the charging infrastructure.”

Source: theenergycollective

Jim Corbett is India’s oldest national park having a protected area for endangered species. My recent visit to this place was more of a trip with friends where I encountered a surprising thing. Right at the heart of the forest is a cafeteria meant for tourists to relax and freshen up. Near the entrance one would find these trash-cans labelled “Plastic waste”, “Biodegradable waste” and “Non biodegradable waste”.

It was quite an unexpected sight. I never really thought that in a place as insignificant as a cafeteria, that too in one of the smallest states of the country, one would find such classified trash-cans. I was more than impressed.


It is a much demanded need for significant places like airports, shopping malls and market areas to have these classified dust-bins so that the garbage is sorted out in the first level only. It would become a convenient, efficient and faster process to then recycle and re-use waste products.

Japan shut down its last working nuclear power station last weekend, culminating — at least for now — a national shift away from nuclear energy in the aftermath of last year’s Fukushima disaster.

The shutdown of the No. 3 Tomari reactor in Hokkaido will leave the country without nuclear power for the first time since 1970. Given public concerns about nuclear safety, it may become difficult to switch the plants back on if the country makes it through the summer months without power shortages or blackouts.

“Can it be the end of nuclear power [in Japan]? It could be,” Andrew DeWitt, a professor of energy and policy at Rikkyo University in Tokyo, told Reuters. Before the 2011 Fukushima disaster, Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors provided nearly 30 percent of the nation’s electricity.

While Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has suggested the country cannot afford to go without nuclear power for the long term, the government has no timetable to switch the plants back on and the country has yet to develop a long-term, nuclear-free energy policy.


There has been an ever before campaign around the world on promoting bicycle as a mode of transport for short distance travelling. Studying in Denmark, where bicycling is promoted big time, I got inquisitive on what is happening in India. I found a few interesting organization,

 Cycle chalo a for profit entrepreneurial organization that designs, builds and operates a bicycle program in growing cities in India by working with government, corporations, civil societies and cyclist. It must be definitely a great challenge to change the whole transportation system of India. But Cycle chalo is certainly a first step. It’s impressive to see the founder, Raj Janagam, 23year old young entrepreneur present his project among a diverse international entrepreneurial audience about his project.

Recently Cycle chalo has received a funding of 7Crore rupees to take their project a step further than their home market, Mumbai.

RideACycle-Foundation (RAC-F), a non-profit organization based in Bangalore is promoting the use of bicycles through awareness programs and workshops.

Namma Cycle is another bicycle sharing program initiative, initiatied by Indian institute of Science, Bangalore.

Around the world there are many such initiatives to promote bicycling. In Denmark, there are special program to promote students to use bicycle by lending them bicycle while they are students.

Although there’s a long road to go towards a more bicycle reliant transportation the changes are starting to be more visible than ever before. So how interested are you into bicycle? How do you think we can make this change bigger?

Visit us more often to read more on sustainable transportation updates in India ;) 

For the first time in half a century, Japan is without nuclear power

FOR decades few countries were more evangelical about the charms of nuclear power than Japan, and until the earthquake and tsunami in March last year nuclear plants generated almost 30% of its electricity. Yet by May 5th at the latest, the last of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors will be switched off. Besides those permanently disabled in the Fukushima disaster, the rest have been taken offline for “routine maintenance” and kept that way because there is not enough public confidence in their safety to restart them. In all, that will mean about 50 gigawatts of nuclear capacity has been snuffed out, for the time being. To get a sense of the scale of this, imagine Tokyo (whose peak requirement is around 50GW) without power: no air conditioning, no bullet trains, no neon lights.

Of course, Japan is not grinding to a halt without nuclear energy. Much of the capacity that has been lost or suspended has been replaced by carbon-heavy fossil fuels generating thermal power (and a hefty import bill). But the moment is historic. After Japan, in the mid-1950s, overcame its horror of atomic power from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, the country became an ardent fan. Until last year, it was planning to generate half its electricity from nuclear sources by 2030. The switch-off marks the death of that passion.

Opinion polls suggest that the public’s unwillingness to restart the reactors represents a silent rebuke—this is a country not given to mass demonstrations—to the way the authorities have handled the crisis. Until recently, analysts expected the Japanese to lack the appetite for a second year in a row with the threat of blackouts. Even now, many expect opposition to the reactors to wilt in the heat of summer.


So powerful is the symbolism of having no nuclear plants in operation that Yoshihiko Noda, the prime minister, has tried to get at least two reactors back up and running before May 5th. He has failed, and now his political opponents may try to make capital out of it.


In some respects, Mr Noda and his ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) can only blame themselves for the mess. Mr Noda has judged that the reactors he wants to restart are safe from an earthquake and tsunami as powerful as the ones that struck on March 11th 2011. Yet the safety tests have been overseen by the Nuclear Industrial and Safety Agency and the Nuclear Safety Commission, two regulatory bodies whose reputations were shredded by last year’s catastrophe.

The government’s attempt to restart the reactors comes even before a new regulatory body has been established with the transparency, independence and technical ability that its predecessors lacked; before any attempt has been made to clarify the chain of command for handling such accidents, which was a big source of confusion after March 11th; and before government and parliamentary investigations into the Fukushima disaster have been concluded. Their reports are expected to stress the importance of “defence in depth” when regulating the nuclear industry—first, attempt to prevent failures, but always plan for the worst. Instead, the industry remains in the hands of those who argued that the plants were too safe to fail.


To be fair, Mr Noda and his DPJ inherited the problems they are grappling with. During a half-century of rule by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the government joined bureaucrats and big business to promote nuclear power and ease regulations. It is little wonder that the LDP is keeping quiet about the government’s predicament. The Yomiuri Shimbun, a pro-nuclear newspaper, has urged the LDP to take a stronger stand in favour of restarting the reactors, to little effect so far.

What both main parties fear is that the nuclear debate could become an electoral issue in what promises to be a stormy summer. The chances are increasing that Mr Noda will have to dissolve the lower house of parliament, either as a condition for winning the LDP’s support for raising the consumption tax, on which the prime minister has staked his political capital, or because he may lose the vote on the bill.

The chances of an election increased further on April 26th, when Ichiro Ozawa, a staunch opponent of the tax increase who was recently suspended from Mr Noda’s party, was acquitted of allegations that he had broken a political funding law. The return to the DPJ of this heavyweight will increase his nuisance value.

Yet an election may play into the hands not of the LDP, the official opposition, but rather of a nationalist firebrand, Toru Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka. That big city gets its power from Kansai Electric, operator of the plant at Oi in Fukui prefecture that Mr Noda wants to restart. Nevertheless, Mr Hashimoto has loudly protested against the plan. He has called for stronger safety measures and demanded that cities like Osaka, within a 100-km (62-mile) radius of Oi, should have a say on whether they are adequate.

The government is trying to shrug off Mr Hashimoto. But analysts say that his Osaka-based party, though parochial now, could use the anti-nuclear issue as part of a platform to vault to national prominence in a general election. If the election became a vote on Fukushima, neither the DPJ nor the LDP would relish the result.


Hola everybody!!

The "greenhorns festival" is all about spreading awareness among the school students from the primary to the Sr. Secondary classes. 

Today (19th April) the events were held in Modern School, Barakhamba Rd. and DPS, Vasant Kunj! Undoubtedly an amazing experience!! :)

In Modern School there was screening of the documentary film called "There's no tomorrow" about the renewable sources of energy from a different perspective. It was a 34 minutes film, to be precise. The students were briefed through the film shown in parts which was followed by an interactive session by Saumya and Rozita Singh. Ah!What a response from the students!I see a smart future there ! :D After the main events students took a pledge towards a greener tomorrow by putting their thumbprints on the designed poster we had put. :)

The next visit was in DPS, Vasant Kunj. A GK Quiz for 9-12th standard around 11:30.The students students put thier inventive thoughts and keen intelligence to answer the questions correctly. I must mention the audience was Smart! :)

The winning teams were acknowledged with a gift and certificate. So started the 'greenhorns fest' in DPS, VK.

To sum up the post... I'd say Happy 'Green' Days...

Sayonara! :)  


In late 2008, a fast-food burger restaurant in Sweden received an odd complaint letter. It was from a mother of two, asking the chain to get rid of the boxes that its kids' meals were packaged in. Her children only wanted the fries and toys, she said, and she was annoyed at having to throw the boxes straight into the recycling bin. It was an unusual request with an unusual outcome. Max Burgers — Sweden's No. 1 burger chain — decided to do away with the kids'-meal boxes in all of its 75 restaurants, explaining to customers that it was reducing waste. No one complained. In fact, sales of kids' meals rose. The company had turned sustainability into a selling point.

Max didn't just get rid of its kids'-meal boxes, though. Since 2006, the chain has reassessed its entire enterprise, searching for ways to reduce its environmental footprint. It has installed energy-efficient grass roofs on 12 new restaurants and cut energy consumption by 20% company-wide. The chain buys only wind power and offsets all its carbon emissions by planting trees in Uganda. And in 2008, Max started putting CO2 labels on its menus, quantifying exactly how much carbon dioxide, from field to fryer, is emitted in making each dish. "One of the problems being a burger business is, of course, the beef," says Max's chief sustainability officer, Par Larshans, noting that the meat industry is responsible for about 18% of global greenhouse-gas emissions. By showing that its Grand de Luxe Cheese 'n' Bacon beef burger produced five times more carbon dioxide than its vegetarian burger and six times more than its fish sandwich, Max hoped to nudge customers toward a more sustainable choice.

It worked. Customers started eating more nonbeef burgers, causing sales of the low-carbon alternatives to jump by 16%. Meanwhile, Max began eating up the competition. From 2005 to '11, the chain opened 45 new restaurants and more than doubled its market share in Sweden. In 2008 — the year it put its carbon labels on menus — Max became Sweden's most popular burger chain, according to a survey of 250 brands carried out by the market-research firm ISI Wissing, trouncing McDonald's despite the fact the American chain has three times as many restaurants in the country. With a 16% operating profit, Max has also become the most profitable burger franchise in Sweden. And after opening its first franchise in Norway last year, it's eyeing expansion across Europe.

So how did the company do it? For one thing, the green initiatives seemed to boost customer loyalty, which increased by 27% from 2007 to '09, according to a survey by the global media network Mindshare. But the real key was drawing in new customers. Vegetarians who might never have set foot in a fast-food restaurant now drop into Max for its veggie Greenburgare, bean salad and a Lyxshake Jordgubb (strawberry milk shake).

Max Burgers isn't alone — fast-food chains elsewhere have also started burnishing their green credentials in recent years, with positive sales results. In the U.S., the Mexican-food chain Chipotle — which sources many of its ingredients locally and buys nearly half its beans from organic farms — has tripled its revenues since 2006 to $2 billion and now has more than 1,200 stores. Naked Pizza, which launched in 2009 in New Orleans and serves pies topped with hormone- and antibiotic-free meats, has plans to expand to 500 stores worldwide from its current 24. And in 2010, a vegetarian chain called Otarian launched in New York City and London with menus showing the amount of carbon dioxide emitted while making each food item (1.37 kg for a mushroom-quinoa burger) as well as the amount emitted by the typical fast-food equivalent (2.96 kg for a beef burger). Customers can store up the difference on a "Carbon Karma" card and redeem it for a free menu item of their choice.

Major companies have also experimented with measuring carbon emissions. Walkers (Britain's biggest potato-chip manufacturer) and Coca-Cola have both begun monitoring the carbon footprint of their U.K. products with the help of the Carbon Trust, a British nonprofit group. For the companies, it not only improves their corporate image but can also save money. Walkers, for example, noticed it could cut costs by asking its farmers to water their potatoes less. "When you're making [potato chips], you're trying to get rid of most of the water," explains John Kazer, a carbon-footprint-certification manager at the Carbon Trust. Drier potatoes take less energy to transport and bake to a crisp.

While carbon labeling and other environmental initiatives have caught on in some corners of the fast-food industry, however, they're still not a huge selling point in the U.S. "Ultimately, with Chipotle, it's a 1¼-lb. burrito," says Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, a consultancy that monitors food-industry trends. "I think they're going to win on portion and value more so than the environmental integrity." In fact, the numbers show that diners interested in sustainable food are in the minority — only 27% of U.S. consumers feel it's important that their restaurants be environmentally conscious, according to a 2010 Technomic survey.

This may change slowly, however, as the eco-minded Millennials — a third of whom report they want restaurants to be socially responsible and environmentally conscious — move through the workforce and begin earning higher salaries. "Every year, we are seeing more shift of the Millennial generation toward these concepts and spending their dollars there," Tristano says. "Over time, it's inevitable."

For Max, pushing through new policies in recent years was a way of getting ahead of the curve. "When we introduced our carbon label in 2008, we were afraid that someone else would come in ahead of us," Larshans says. Four year later, however, Max still hasn't been joined by many others. "I don't understand why more places aren't doing this," he says. "For us it's a very good part of the business."


As we proudly announce our partnership with for the upcoming Greenhorns Fest in Delhi schools, we interviewed the team behind the company to share their fantastic ideas and work in the field on environment and sustainability.

What is Green 'n' Good?  Please tell our readers more about your concept & organization.

In this day and age of climate change and global warming, individual actions are as important as actions of large corporate. History has proved that it is the assertion of individual actions and choices that dictate what governments and businesses do. From winning freedom for countries to banning bottled water in cities, collective choice asserted by millions across the world is capable of solving the biggest of problems.

One such force powerful enough to change the way our economic engines churn is the power of consumerism.

Responsible consumerism or consuming with a concern for environment and societal welfare is one such phenomenon that promises to turn the gigantic wheels of capitalism in favour of sustainable development.

The vision of is to enable a happier and healthier world for all by leveraging the power of consumerism. Central to this vision is the idea of sustainable development. Today, technology is making it possible for people to live comfortable and happy lives without compromising the environment or their luxury. Products exist that are not only healthier for people but also save money and the planet in the long run. However, these are still not main stream and for a significant positive environmental impact such products must replace conventional and non-green products.

While most people do not contest the importance of such products, the main reasons for low adoption of such products are

1. Poor awareness

2. Affordability

3. Access

4. Perceptions

5. Trust was started to address these concerns and make green products a part of everyday life. is an ecommerce store that exclusively sells environmentally responsible products of high quality at affordable prices.

The name “GreenNGood” signifies the intersection of responsibility towards the environment and the society. Thus the products on the store are not only ecofriendly but are also made with a concern for social empowerment, equity and preservation of traditional knowledge. Products sold are mostly certified organic, vegan, cruelty free and natural. They are sourced from Green entrepreneurs, NGOs and artisan communities. Most are fair trade certified.

How did it all start? How did the idea come up and what is your team/management? 

Founding team – Aparna Bhatnagar, Vinay Choletti  (Co-founders)

We started the Green and Good Store in September 2009. The reason for starting the store came out of our personal desire to do more than just switching off lights and fans for the environment. We both felt that unsustainable consumerism was at the root of many of environmental and social problems and the solution too lay in addressing this. We started with trying to change the way we lived. Wearing organic cotton clothing, to using organic soaps, foods, or products made from recycled materials. Choosing hand made over machine intensive products and looking for products with a social impact. However, we found it very difficult to locate such products and buy them. Some that we did come across were priced out of a common mans budget.  We also realized that there were many other people like us who wanted to contribute to social and environmental causes but could not do so due to time and financial constraints. Green and responsible consumerism would give them a chance to make a difference by an action as simple as buying a product.  We realized that if given a choice and other things being equal, most people would prefer products that were environmentally superior and socially responsible. However, they faced the same problems of awareness, access and affordability. That got us started on creating a shop where people like us could make the switch to more environmentally and socially responsible lifestyles.

How has the response been since launch?

The response has been really excellent! People from across India have found us and shopped on our store! Many of our customers have given us excellent feedback and often come back to us for repeat purchases.  we have an active following of over 16000 friends on Facebook!

Tell us about how your brand and initiative is helping environment in its own way.

The reason for to come into existence was to promote sustainable development through responsible consumerism.

We believe that for development to be truly sustainable it has to take into account all four aspects of sustainability namely environmental, social, economic and cultural as all the four are interlinked. Environment sets the limits within which we must maximize social and economic welfare. Therefore our focus is on promoting green or eco-friendly products that also create a healthy society and economy while protecting the traditional knowledge of communities.

We also want to make our business as sustainable as possible. We have made a beginning and will keep continuously working in this direction.

1. We use biodegradable material (including plastic) for packaging

2. Our tags are larger than usual so that they can be used as a book mark before being thrown away.

3. Being an online store our energy consumption is very low as we don’t consume energy for lighting or air-conditioning

4. We have our site hosted on a certified green webhost.

5. We provide customers with detailed information on the product, its attributes and impact,  so that they can make a more informed choice

6. Through our plant a tree project we have planted over 10,125 trees in Rajasthan.

What are your plans for the future?

Future Plans are to increase our product line to include a wide range of green products that people cannot find today. We also want to create awareness about how consumption choices affect environment and what choices people can make today.

Here's congratulating the team for their work and wishing then best of luck for the future. We encourage everyone to make more environmentally conscious choices in their lifestyle and support initiatives taken towards the same!

‘Because we don’t think about future generations, they will never forget us’

-Henrik Tikkanen

It is said that changes are always good but I disagree as this is incomplete without taking the responsibility of its consequences. Industrial revolution is the reason why we are here with all this modernity and easy accessibility to all the worthy luxuries of life. But we often fail to realize that our planet might come to its end soon.

As Victor Hugo said, ‘Nature, like a kind and smiling mother, lends herself to our dreams and cherishes our fancies’, Mother Nature has always tried to provide her children with the best, however, natural resources are bound to be depleted beyond repair if industrial progress is driven for long by a hedonistic pursuit of profits.

The industrially advanced countries took more than two centuries to realize that their material progress has been achieved at the cost of the environment. India and other developing countries should not ignore or tolerate environmental degradation in the race for development. It is only for the good of the country and humanity if the gap between development and environment is narrowed down to minimum.

Now, witnessing the dearth of this issue, all the nations had come together to fight this adversity in the form of the Climate Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark. Also the concept of Carbon Credits was much earlier originated, which allowed nations or people to reduce their carbon footprint in a smart way. To protect our ailing planet their have been, from time to time, a number of movements going on in different parts of this planet.

But now the question arises, how in this process of ‘Helping Ailing Planet’ can the youth contribute? Since, childhood we have been aware of some of the remedies like planting trees, using public transportation, saving electricity etc. which actually are sometimes practical and sometimes not. As for a person who needs to reach his/her office in an hour and distance is of more than 20kms, one cannot be expected to use public transport every time.

I feel their can be more innovative, better and nano-easy ways by which we as youth of the world can contribute to reduce ours as well as the nation’s carbon footprint and help our planet get well soon. Measures like these can be put into consideration-

* In today’s world when technology is everybody’s power and internet a magical broom to fly on, we can use it to help reduce carbon footprint and that is possible by using Google facility with black screen(Blackle) which helps save energy and thus helps the environment.

* By using either solar either cookers or heaters, which are cheap and easy to construct, work for long hours, and are relatively cheaper. The main problem being the time taken to cook food.

Change your Kitchen Habits: Use reusable containers for food storage instead of wrapping food in foil or plastic wrap. You can also use unbleached coffee filters, which does not produce the deadly toxin dioxin in its manufacturing. Use rags to wipe up spills instead of paper towels, and use biodegradable wax paper and bags.

Check your hot water heater: Did you know your hot water heater accounts for about 20% of all the energy used in your home? There are a few simple things you can do to save energy and save money. Turn your water heater down to 130 degrees, which is hot enough to kill deadly bacteria, and still save energy. Also, insulate your heater with a pre-fab ‘blanket,’ but be careful not to block off air vents on gas heaters. This can save you 7-8% of your energy usage. You can also drain 2 quarts (or 2 liters) of water from your hot water heater every 2 months from the valve at the bottom of the tank. This prevents accumulation of sediment and prolongs the life of your water heater.

Be aware of your paint you use: Use latex paint instead of oil-based paint. Oil-based paint is highly toxic, and its manufacturing produces nasty pollutants. Dispose of paint as hazardous waste, or with latex paint you can let it evaporate outside for one year. Then, you can dispose of it with the rest of your trash. Don’t clean your paintbrushes outside, because this can contaminate groundwater; clean them in a sink. Instead of trashing excess paint, you can donate it to a school or to someone else who needs to use it.

Tires Every 2 weeks, we wear out nearly 50 million pounds of rubber off their tires. This is enough rubber to manufacture 3 and a quarter million new tires from scratch! To help prevent this, you can inflate your tires well. This preserves the life of the tires and saves gas, which ultimately saves money.

Recharge Your Batteries: Batteries contain heavy metals, such as mercury and cadmium, which have become a major source of contamination in dump sites. They either break apart and are released into the soil or are incinerated and the deadly heavy metals are released into the air. Here is what you can do to help: use batteries which are rechargeable. Recycle alkaline batteries if you can. They can extract the mercury and cadmium for reuse.

Shopping Bags: Plastic bags are not biodegradable even if they say they are, they do not decompose fully. Also the ink is made up of cadmium, and is highly toxic when it is released. Whereas paper bags are reusable and biodegradable. However supermarkets use paper that has never been recycled before and they always say “recyclable” not “recycled”. Here is what you can do: if your purchase is small don’t take any bag, this alone could save hundreds of millions of bags. Bring a cloth bag when you shop, or use string bags.

These were few of many steps which we, as youth of this nation, can put into practice to help our Ailing Planet Heal. These might not be the best steps, but if you haven’t started yet, these will be good points to start from.

‘We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children’

Native American Proverb

My article elucidates one of many ways to safeguard our ecosystem. This is on the pretext that, a lot of discussion, thought and debate is being put into finding ways to reduce damage of any sort done to our natural habitats.

“We are in danger! And, we are digging traps for ourselves through our ignorant deeds!!”

We might not plant some trees to feed the environment crying for its survival, but we are no-one to cut, harm and endanger the natural aestheticism.

But, now it’s high time that we react. React sensibly and act accordingly.

We may go for shopping without a friend, but not without a plastic carry bag, which is not supposed to do anything good other than being economic. (In 1980, many supermarkets switched from paper bags to plastic (polyethylene) bags as they are less expensive.) Trend reversal to paper bags doesn’t seem to be a remedy. Some shoppers choose paper assuming it as an environmentally better alternative.

But is this the case?

  • In a comparison of the two types of grocery bags, Franklin Associates* concluded that the manufacture of plastic bags produced considerably less air pollution, water borne wastes, and industrial solid-wastes. Because plastic bags are lighter, they also produce less post-consumer solid waste, taking up less space in landfills.
  • Energy-wise, it is a tie. Plastic bags required slightly less energy to manufacture at a use rate of 1.5 to 1 compared with paper and more energy at a use rate of 2 to 1. Paper bags are better because they are made from wood, a renewable resource, while plastic bags are made from petroleum. Also paper grocery bags are recycled at a higher rate and are reused more frequently, since many home kitchen trash containers are designed with paper grocery bags in mind.

The main reason most people choose paper bags over plastic is due to recycling. Here are some others:

  • Are made from a renewable natural resource
  • Can be reused again and again
  • Can be shipped to paper mills to be made into new paper
  • Require less energy than plastic to be recycled
  • Are biodegradable
  • Are safe for small children to play with
  • Pose less of a threat to wildlife

In the end, it is a toss-up whether paper or plastic grocery bags are better for the environment. The important thing is to reuse paper and plastic bags over and over. Best still is to bring your own cloth bags or ask store clerks to hand you easily transportable items without bags.

So, neither is a better option.

We don’t have to do something with extra effort, what we are supposed to do is to go to another shop, which has handmade products.

With the aim to minimize the amount of paper waste produce by office, Eco India had created the Handmade Paper. With this project , offices particularly in India will now be able to minimize the need of paper, the possibility of cutting more trees and help save the forest.

With the fact that making a single tonne of paper from virgin pulp does require 17 large trees, that large number simply means that deforestation is not impossible that will eventually destroy natural habitats.

With the presence of the Handmade Paper, these unwanted acts towards our forests will be minimized dramatically. Other global benefits that the handmade paper provides include the reduced use of energy by at least fifty percent, up to ninety percent of wastewater, and air pollution reduction by seventy percent. These benefits may not be noticed immediately but in the end people will know how these green deeds affect the environment and the world.

You might wonder why this handmade paper is eco-friendly. Firstly, since it is handmade, it does use less energy in manufacturing. Next is that, these papers use non-wood raw materials, which obviously does not require the manufacturers to cut some trees, and thus, saves many trees we have in our beautiful forests. Another feature why this handmade paper is eco-friendly is the manufacturer’s extensive use of solar energy, which is obviously a pollution-free method.

Aside from the green features these handmade paper has, it also boasts off its quality. Compared to a mill made paper, these papers are more tensile and is not easy to tear because of its double-fold strength.

Finally, apart from those interesting green features that the Handmade Paper has, it also has a fine and elegant quality that will surely satisfy everyone’s need when it comes to paper. It is whether the users are corporate groups or students, the handmade paper will surely provide the right quality that the users may want and need. Even manufacturers can use this wonderful paper, which is also ideal in creating numerous paper products.

The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.

Ever had a plastic bottle fly out of a car window and almost hit you in the face as you walk on the pedestrian walkway? You go to a supermarket, do some shopping and you are charged three rupees extra on your bill for a plastic bag. You head out for your Saturday night party and hear the crank of a bursting diet coke tin when your car runs over it. Sounds regular? On the one side, when the whole world is talking about tackling this problem of waste management and making grave decisions, we are continuing to do what we have been doing all these years. As a result, we are only helping in damaging our own environment.

There may be two probable reasons for this. One is that we have a society where the educated are few and far between, and the second could be that we carry a lackadaisical attitude towards this, and that we hardly care. We do not realise that it takes about 400 years to decompose a plastic cup and the otherwise-harmless paper bags take even more time to decompose! The landfills are now filled to the brim by a number of usual trash items like plastic bags, plastic bottles, and also electronic wastes like old cell phones and television sets, aluminium frames, scraps of fabrics and the regular cheese pizza box, all of which can cause untold harm to you without you even realising it.

People have been thinking about recycling wastes from centuries ago, but the topic got into active discussion only in the 1970’s. According to the popular propagation of being socially responsible, the idea of protecting oneself should be spread. This is because the damage would takes its toll one each and every individual of this planet. And moreover, each action of every individual makes a difference, whether it is for the good or for bad. Do we ever realise that it is us who can one day be surrounded by garbage if we don’t take recycling seriously? Do we know that scores of bags, other items made up of plastic and large amounts of paper thrown in the water bodies kills about 1,000,000 sea creatures a year? This does not just harm the ecology, but also turns the water toxic, harming people who consume the fish and other seafood.

It is believed that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is twice the size of Texas. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimates that in 2005, the US generated 2.63 million tons of e-waste, out of which only 12.5% of that was collected for recycling. The other 87.5% went to landfills and incinerators, despite the fact that hazardous chemicals in them can leach out of landfills into groundwater and streams, or that burning the plastics in electronics can emit dioxin. So what can we actually do?

We could keep recycle bins in our vicinity and learn to separate the recyclable materials; make sure that we send all our recyclable trash to the recycling centres in and around our cities. Moreover we should stop using paper bags and plastic bags altogether as they take years to decompose. Afforestation should be encouraged and green world should be promoted. We can use more of glass utensils as they can always be recycled. The idea is to be aware of our surroundings; the idea is to recycle, reduce and reuse.

SUNNY countries are often poor. A shame, then, that solar power is still quite expensive. But it is getting cheaper by the day, and is now cheap enough to be competitive with other forms of energy in places that are not attached to electricity grids. Since 1.6 billion people are still in that unfortunate position, a large potential market for solar energy now exists. The problem is that although sunlight is free, a lot of those 1.6 billion people still cannot afford the cost of the kit in one go, and no one will lend them the money to do so.

Eight19, a British company spun out of Cambridge University, has, however, devised a novel way to get round this. In return for a deposit of around $10 it is supplying poor Kenyan families with a solar cell able to generate 2.5 watts of electricity, a battery that can deliver a three amp current to store this electricity, and a lamp whose bulb is a light-emitting diode. The firm reckons that this system, once the battery is fully charged, is sufficient to light two small rooms and to power a mobile-phone charger for seven hours. Then, next day, it can be put outside and charged back up again.

The trick is that, to be able to use the electricity, the system’s keeper must buy a scratch card—for as little as a dollar—on which is printed a reference number. The keeper sends this reference, plus the serial number of the household solar unit, by SMS to Eight19. The company’s server will respond automatically with an access code to the unit. 

Users may consider that they are paying an hourly rate for their electricity. In fact, they are paying off the cost of the unit. After buying around $80 worth of scratch cards—which Eight19 expects would take the average family around 18 months—the user will own it. He will then have the option of continuing to use it for nothing, or of trading it in for a bigger one, perhaps driven by a 10-watt solar cell. 

In that case, he would go then through the same process again, paying off the additional cost of the upgraded kit at a slightly higher rate. Users would thereby increase their electricity supply—ascending the “energy escalator”, as Eight19 puts it—steadily and affordably. Simultaneously, the company would be able to build a payment record of its clients, sorting the unreliable from the rest. 

According to Eight19’s figures, this looks like a good deal for customers. The firm reckons the average energy-starved Kenyan spends around $10 a month on paraffin—sufficient to fuel a couple of smoky lamps—plus $2 on charging his mobile phone in the market-place. Regular users of one of Eight19’s basic solar units will spend around half that, before owning it outright. Meanwhile, as the cost of solar technology falls, it should get even cheaper. The company hopes to be able to supply users with a new, low-cost and robust sort of solar cell, printed onto plastic strips, within two years.

The scheme has so far been tried out among a couple of hundred Kenyan families. With the aid of a charitable loan to accelerate its roll-out, Eight19 is planning to disperse 4,000 solar units in Kenya, Malawi and Zambia over the next two months. If the idea works, solar power will have a whole, new set of customers and the days of the paraffin lamp may be numbered.

Money may not grow on trees, but for a time it appeared to grow on bushes - specifically, a tropical shrub called jatropha curcas.

Over the past decade, jatropha was planted on millions of acres across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa after research showed that oil from its crushed seeds makes an excellent biofuel. Because jatropha can tolerate dry, rocky soil unsuited to agriculture, boosters said, subsistence farmers could grow it as a cash crop without denting food production. And with governments worldwide pushing renewable fuels, investors in jatropha-oil ventures looked set to win, too.

So far, the jatropha boom has produced more losers than winners. Many projects have foundered as seed production has failed to meet expectations, and India, China and other countries have scaled back plans for additional planting. Farmers have discovered that while jatropha can indeed grow on barren land, it doesn't flourish there, says Promode Kant, director of the Institute of Green Economy in New Delhi and co-author of a report titled "The Extraordinary Collapse of Jatropha as a Global Biofuel."

Says Kant: "Without moisture it does not seed, or it seeds extremely poorly."

Moreover, some jatropha ventures appear to have harmed the environment and the poor people they were supposed to help. In 2006, 11 villages in Tanzania agreed to let BioShape, a Dutch company, develop a jatropha plantation in exchange for jobs and aid. BioShape logged the land but planted jatropha on only a small portion of it, then shut down in 2010, says Stanslaus Nyembea, an attorney with the Lawyers' Environmental Action Team, an advocacy group representing BioShape workers who lost their jobs.

"The company was not interested in jatropha, they were interested in the timber," Nyembea says.

BioShape's telephone in the Netherlands has been disconnected.

Other jatropha ventures in Tanzania and Mozambique were left in limbo when Sun Biofuels, a British company that had planned to produce biodiesel for aircraft, ceased operations last fall after failing to obtain financing. Lion's Head Global Partners, a London investment fund that acquired Sun's Tanzanian assets, wants to restart operations but is having trouble finding investors, says Christopher Egerton-Warburton, a partner in the fund.

Investors have suffered, too. Shares of jatropha companies Gem BioFuels, a planter in Madagascar, and D1 Oils, which had a joint venture with oil giant BP, now trade as penny stocks in London.

Still, potential customers remain keenly interested. Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that by 2018 jatropha-based aircraft fuel could be produced for 86 cents per liter, about the same price as conventional jet fuel today and far less than fuel made from soybeans or palm. Last August a Boeing 777 aircraft owned by Aeromexico made the first intercontinental flight powered by a jatropha-based fuel, from Mexico City to Madrid.

Jatropha's commercial future could hinge on plant science. SG Biofuels, a San Diego company, is developing hybrid strains that it says will produce more seeds. In January the company received $17 million in venture capital to expand jatropha research and planting in Brazil, Guatemala and India.

"We are in full-court commercial mode," says SG Chief Executive Officer Kirk Haney.

Market data provided by Bloomberg News Carol Matlack is a Bloomberg Businessweek contributor.

Read more:
Diksha Jhalani Mar 22 '12 · Tags: jatropha, green fuel

In what was once a Polaroid factory 50 miles south of Boston, a high-tech company is printing sheets of solar cells made of plastic, trying to create tomorrow's energy source amid the tumult of today's energy market.

The solar collectors made by the Konarka company in New Bedford, Ma., are thin and transparent. They curl into lightweight rolls and can be unfurled and put on a wall or a tent or an impoverished hut to begin producing electricity – though feeble electricity at this point – from sunlight.

This will be 'energy to go.' 
- Steffanie Rohr,

Scientists in university and private labs worldwide have raced to make these plastic solar cells practical for 30 years. A recent succession of efficiency gains has researchers, investors and companies convinced the effort is finally close to success.

"This will be 'energy to go,'" said Steffanie Rohr, head of marketing for Heliatek, a German company that also has plans to begin commercial production of 1-foot by 4-foot plastic solar strips this year. 

Heliatek, Konarka, and spin-offs from labs at Princeton University and the University of California, Los Angeles, have been leapfrogging one another to announce new gains in efficiency, starting from barely 3 percent five years ago. Heliatek announced in December it had achieved a sunlight-to-electricity efficiency of 9.8 percent in their lab. "Ten percent is a psychological barrier to be on the market," Rohr said. "We are scratching that."

But their advances are coming just as the commercial market for solar cell manufacturing is in a tailspin. Prospects for the market success of the plastic photovoltaics are dimmed by plunging prices of silicon solar modules, which have fallen from $4 per watt in 2008 to just over $1 a watt now. 

Researchers talk about promise and potential. But year after year the graphs always look the same – the potential is always three or four years out. 
- Jonathan Melnick,
 Lux Research

Oversold technology

"This technology has been oversold," said Jonathan Melnick, an analyst for Boston-based Lux Research who follows the plastic solar industry. Researchers, he added, "talk about promise and potential and show very intriguing graphs. But year after year the graphs always look the same – the potential is always three or four years out."

solar roof

shelter-400aBut researchers – and companies putting their bet on the product – plunge ahead with the stubborn faith of all new inventors who have faced skeptics. 

Vishal Shrotriya, a vice president of Solarmer Energy, created by researchers at UCLA to develop the plastic solar cells, argues that lightweight, portable solar will create markets where bulky, rigid silicon panels cannot compete.

"Asia and India are going to be a huge market for low-cost solar energy," he said. "There are plenty of places off the grid there that could use this." He envisions the material providing portable power for military uses, rescue missions, sailors. It can be mounted on the wings of drones or on backpacks to power portable electronics, among other possibilities.

Non-toxicity as advantage

John Warner, founder of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry near Boston, welcomes alternative energy but said caution is needed before embracing the new molecular materials of organic, or carbon-based, photovoltaics.

"We need solar panels now. I don't want in any way to detract from the great work going on now in organic photovoltaics," he said. "However, we have not invented the ... things necessary to do it in an environmentally benign way."

But Howard Berke, co-founder and CEO of Konarka, the company manufacturing the new material in Massachusetts, said the non-toxicity of a carbon-based solar cell is one of its advantages.  

"We have the lightest footprint of any photovoltaic material," Berke said. "Our material is cadmium-free, lead-free, arsenic-free, and uses no harmful gases. It's got the lowest carbon footprint relative to other solar technology, and we have the shortest energy payback."

Tools of nanotechnology

The big, big thing is for the one-and-a-half billion people who do not have electricity. Organic is going to be the best application for them. 
- Alan Aspuru-Guzik,
 Harvard University

Scientists have long known that the energy of sunlight stirs faint movement of electrons in many materials. These include organic materials – ones that contain carbon molecules – and the complex organics called polymers, which include plastics.

Working at a molecular level with the tools of nanotechnology, researchers have been trying to find – or construct – the right substance to most efficiently stimulate those electrons and convert sunlight to electricity.

But their competition – traditional silicon solar panels – has an in-lab efficiency of about 20 percent. And once erected, the rigid, glass-encased silicon solar cells can stand for 25 years or more, whereas photovoltaics printed on plastic tend to deteriorate within five years – though Berke said Konarka will soon announce a breakthrough that gives flexible solar cells a 10-year outdoor life.

With lower efficiency and shorter lifespan, organic photovoltaics "just don't make sense," said Lux's Melnick. 

solar-rollAll solar manufacturers are further threatened by a flood of cheap silicon solar panels from China that have undermined American manufacturers even as solar installers and homeowners have rejoiced. Skeptics say that flood leaves little room for a less-efficient challenger. 

But plastic photovoltaics can be made with reconfigured paper printing presses, and Solarmer Energy's Shrotiya is confident that, even with lower silicon prices, plastic can undercut them by two or three times.

Proponents foresee room for both technologies.

"I don't think we are going to have our roofs covered with organic solar" instead of silicon panels, said Alan Aspuru-Guzik, an associate professor at Harvard University, working with IBM to stretch plastic solar's efficiency further. "But the big, big thing is for the one-and-a-half billion people who do not have electricity.... Organic is going to be the best application for them."

(Source: The Daily Climate)

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