Search Results for Tag: Europe
Does Going Green Pay Off?
We wanted to share an interesting article we found on the Wall Street Journal today about the costs of going green. Across Europe, towns and cities are investing in sustainable architecture – buildings that run on clean energy, like solar or wind power.
The article says even though we might assume eco-friendly buildings will save on energy bills and increase property values, that hasn’t actually been proven yet. The costs of constructing green buildings is in itself quite expensive, and it’s too soon to back up the claim that the investment pays off in the end.
So is Europe moving too fast with its boom in green construction? Or will lower utility bills and higher property value will make up for the costs quickly? Let us know what you think…
DateJuly 20, 2011
Ban on plastic bags?
“Fifty years ago, the single-use plastic bag was almost unheard of. Now we use them for a few minutes and they pollute our environment for decades,” says Janez Potocnik, Environment Commissioner of the the European Union. Each European uses 500 of these bags each year, most of them are used just once. In 2008 alone a total of 3.4 million tonnes of plastic bags were produced in Europe, that makes the same weight as two million cars.
Starting this week (18. May) the European Commission is seeking a solution. The approach is planed to be made with the help of European people and the bags manufacturers. The Commission calls everyone to a online-poll. Finally a tax or a ban on plastic bags is considered. The Commission called for suggestions on how to deal with the billions of bags used in the European Union each year. The public consultation will close at the end of August.
DateMay 20, 2011
Extinction in Europe
Biodiversity is important to protect, especially in the world’s rainforests, oceans and mountain ranges where we often find rare species. But biodiversity is important in “ordinary” places, too – like continental Europe. The region boasts a lot of its own unique species, like the Iberian lynx in Spain (pictured above) and the Bavarian pine vole in the Alps. But those animals might not be around much longer.
A new report from the European Union shows that hundreds of species in Europe are now facing extinction. In fact, that assessment includes about up to a quarter of the species native to the continent. All types of animals and plants could vanish, including birds, reptiles, mammals and butterflies.
The problem stems from a variety of factors, including pollution and climate change. The EU has set forth some targets to protect Europe’s biodiversity, like restoring ecosystems. But there is no funding to back those proposals, so some critics don’t believe anything will change.
DateMay 19, 2011
12 hour solar flight – Watch live!
The Solar Impulse project of Betrand Piccard and pilot André Borschberg is aiming to let a solar powered plane circle the world by 2014 at the latest. In his latest test flight – the first international one – Borschberg headed from Payerne airport in Switzerland to Brussels in Belgium.
GLOBAL IDEAS talked to André Borschberg while he was cruising 3,800 meters abover Switzerland. Listen to what he had to say:
DateMay 13, 2011
The Best in Sustainable Innovation
We told you about the EU Sustainable Energy Week that took place April 11th-15th and all the events that took place, right? Well, one of the last events of the week was the Sustainable Energy Europe Awards presentation. The prizes honor the best of the best in sustainable energy innovation in Europe. This year, 6 different projects were tapped as the top in their field.
The "Solar Decathlon Europe" from Madrid's Autonomous University won the award for best communication. It pits universities from around the world against each other as they compete to build the best and most innovative energy self-sufficient houses. "The Strawberry Tree" from Serbia won the award for the best consuming project. It involves a public solar-powered cell phone charging station in central Belgrade that also raises awareness about environmental issues and educates people about renewable energy sources.
One of the most active projects to be honored was the "Cycling City Councillors" (or Stadtradeln) from right here in Germany! This project, which won the traveling award, is as easy as it sounds: it focuses on promoting an easy, reliable and eco-friendly mode of transportation–the bicycle. Local leaders team up with citizens to go car-free and emissions-free, and it's been a huge success so far.
You can read about the rest of the Sustainable Energy Europe Awards here. Which one do you like the best? Or do you know of a cool, award-worthy project that wasn't honored?
DateApril 18, 2011