Shanghai Gets a Wake-Up Call via Environmental Art, Hopefully

This August, a decrepit ark sits on the floor of Shanghai’s Power Station of Art (PSA), bearing a menagerie of taxidermied animals, sickly, frozen on the spot, and absolutely going nowhere.

Noah's Ark redux.  Or more harshly, inspired by the thousands of pigs dumped in the Huangpu river last year

Noah’s Ark redux. Or more harshly, inspired by the thousands of pigs dumped in the Huangpu river last year.  (Image from SmartShanghai.com)

It’s an art installation called The Ninth Wave courtesy of Cai Guo-Quiang from his solo exhibit also entitled the same. The New-York based artist, known for his audacious fireworks displays, is tackling the theme of nature and humans’ disrespectful ways towards it. One would think the animal-laden ark is Biblically-inspired, but the inspiration is actually a more recent and personal source: the tens of thousands of dead pigs dumped into the Huangpu river last year, their pale floating carcasses a grim contrast against the muddy water.  (For dramatic impact, the ark was first floated on a barge before finally making …

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Fitting In Embedded Energy in Our Consumerist Society

We live in a world of overconsumption; it’s no secret.

A sweet combination of technological progress and manipulation by media has enabled us to become rabid consumers. We’re buying more stuff than ever, out of a constant need to replace, upgrade, and be in possession of the latest and greatest.  There’s even a word for it now: upgraditis.

In our consumerist society, shopping is the new religion.

In our consumerist society, shopping is the new religion.

 

Manufacturers in turn have become more efficient at churning out their products, and meanwhile advertisers have gotten savvier in promoting a need and lust for products where none previously existed.

And us consumers are duly tantalized.

And that creates demand for more goods, and it becomes a cycle that feeds into itself.

 

Bleeding Our Earth Dry

All those products didn’t come from out of nowhere.

Resources had to be tapped to manufacture them—either raw materials which had to be extracted and processed, or recycled materials which have to be processed as well. We see no end to mining …

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Solar Cell Technology Advances with Spray-On Perovskite

Solar cell technology always excites us for the simple fact that the sun’s energy is too good to waste. Especially in places where the sun shines in abundance, solar cells are a great way to generate energy instead of relying on already dwindling fossil fuels.

Spray-on perovskite-based cells make solar energy cheaper to harness.

Spray-on perovskite-based cells make solar energy cheaper to harness.

THIS YEAR, RESEARCHERS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD ARE PERFECTING A BREAKTHROUGH SPRAY-ON PROCESS FOR CREATING SOLAR CELLS—JUST LIKE PAINTING A CAR.  It’s a process that’s been done before, but this time the researchers are using perovskite.

☉ ☉ ☉

If you’ll remember, perovskite made the headlines last year, hailed as an important breakthrough that’s set to improve efficiency and affordability of solar cell technology….

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Green News Roundup This July | From Trashy Buildings to Repurposing Stadiums

Here’s a look back at the five green news stories that caught our attention this month of July.

 

Air-conditioning an Entire Mini City

Dubai's temperature-controlled mall is set to be the world's largest.

Dubai’s temperature-controlled mall is set to be the world’s largest.

Forty Eight million square feet. That’s the planned area for the Mall of the World, Dubai’s most ambitious project yet.

Set to be the biggest mall in the world, the structure will accommodate hotels, apartment buildings, shopping centers, as well as hospitals that cater to the burgeoning trend of medical-tourism. The entire complex will be air-conditioned.

To offset energy consumption and carbon footprint, the builders are proposing modern sustainable strategies. Already the planned transportation is via electric streetcars.

Vaporware or not, it’s certainly interesting to see how the Mall of the World takes shape in the next few years. And hopefully, they make good on their promise of sustainability despite the sheer size of the project.

| via Treehugger

 

Energizing with Mobile Solar Stations

PowerCube

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Air-Conditioning for Buildings | Why Too Much Cool is Uncool

One hundred and twelve years since the invention of the air-conditioner—yes, it’s that old—and we’re still coming to terms with its uncool effects.

Back in 1902, Willis Carter only intended to control temperature and humidity inside a printing press to prevent paper from warping.  It was a reasonable enough purpose for a new radical invention.  Before long, AC crossed over from commercial and industrial use to our very homes, and life was never the same again.

Phoenix, Arizona: well alive at night (Image from Stadlerammon.wordpress.com)

Phoenix, Arizona: well alive at night (Image from Stadlerammon.wordpress.com)

Actually, I can’t be sure; I grew up in a home where it never occurred to us to install an AC unit.  Maybe my parents realized the monthly bill would fry us.  The only time I experienced air-conditioning is whenever I’d step inside a mall or get on the bus.  Back in our house, we had low-tech ways to combat the heat—a dependable electric fan, open windows, high-ceilings, and a lush garden outside.

 

The Power of Coolness

In many ways, I delight in the fact that our monthly bills have never amounted to more than thirty dollars.  There must be some sort of trickery going on, if not some serious Scrooge-like belt-tightening.  Yes, there are, but we don’t feel like deprived at all.  We still watch our TV, we still use the PC and washing machine and the fridge, but we also know when to turn off the LED lights and the fan, and curb our use.

They say air-conditioning empowered people, freeing us from the burden and limitations of the weather.  Air-conditioning …

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