Willow Is the New Wood of the Coffin Business

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A 200-year old willow processing company has recently targeted the coffin business, and apparently had great success.

P H Coate & Son’s English Willow Coffins, from Somerset, England,  has started offering dead people an alternative to traditional wooden coffins. Some individuals are just bored by the same old wooden coffins, as if they died and have been buried in them too many times. Anyway, John Parfitt and company say willow is the more popular pick these days, because of it alluring aesthetics (cough!) and environmental reasons.

Willow coffins are hand-crafted by skilled willow basket masters (that explains why they look more like coffin-shaped baskets), using a traditional method, and clients have a selection to pick from. Environmentalist are going to go mad for these babies, but what about those artistic wooden coffins from Ghana, what happens to them?

Photos by Matt Cardy/Getty Images Europe via Zimbio

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Coca Cola-Powered Cellphone

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Chinese designer Daizhi Zheng has created a mobile phone that uses sweet drinks like Coca Cola instead of lithium batteries.

Zheng has been working on this revolutionary device for Finnish cellphone giant Nokia, and claims he has come up with a way of using sugar-based drinks to power mobiles. Any sweet drink, even sugar-sweetened water would be enough to keep the phone running much longer than lithium batteries.

The bio-battery invented by Daishi Zheng generates electricity from carbohydrates, using special enzymes as catalysts. In the process, the device generates oxygen and water. The designer claims his sugar-based bio-battery lasts up to four times longer than a fully charged lithium battery and is much easier to recharge: just pour some more sweet fuel.

Lithium batteries are very expensive and harmful for the environment, so if Zheng’s Coke-powered cellphone turns out to be real, it would be a significant breakthrough.

via Dezeen

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Post Yule Pyre 2010

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The yearly event organized by the “Friends of the Rootless Forest” is just a nice way of parting with the evergreens that were once adored Christmas trees.

But you know how we humans are, we like things just as long as they serve a a purpose. Same thing with Christmas trees, once the holiday season has passed, most of us just abandon them on the street corners. The Friends of the Rootless Forest patrol the streets of San Francisco, gather all the trees they can find and give them a proper “burial” by setting them aflame.

The tradition of the Post Yule Pyre began in 1990 and more and more people have joined the ranks of the Friends of the Rootless Forest, since then. Every year, after the holiday season, they stack the evergreens on Ocean Beach and watch them burn. But what’s even more impressive is these guys actually clean the ashes off the beach, after the event is over, and plant a number of trees to compensate for the gases released during the Post Yule Pyre. How commendable is that!

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Artist Turns Caravan into a Mobile Garden

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Kevin van Braak, a young artist from the Netherlands, has transformed his common caravan into an extensible garden he can take anywhere.

In a world where real gardens, with trees and grass are still available, Kevin’s creation can seem a bit odd, but in a few years, it might be the closest many of us will come to real nature.  It looks just like any other caravan, from the outside, but the artist cut it in two, so it would reveal the lavish garden inside, when open.

Kevin van Braak’s mobile garden comes with fake trees, silk grass,  stuffed animals, an electric barbecue and even bird-songs coming through the van’s speakers. It sounds fake, but the young Dutch says many people prefer his garden over the real thing. His caravan garden is for sale, he just hasn’t fixed a price yet.

via Daily Mail

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China’s Most Graceful Ballet Dancers

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Sure, they’re not exactly members of the Balsoi ballet, but you have to admit fat guys never looked better in a tutu.

In an effort to raise awareness to the protection of Pinglu Wetlands, five Chinese members of the workers’ union dressed in ballet costumes and danced gracefully in front of the cameras. I have to say they picked a wacky way to protest against pollution, but hey, whatever gets people’s attention to the environment issue, right?

Here are the chubby performers:

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World’s Largest Solar-Power Hotel Opens in China

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Using thousands of permanent solar panels to harvest energy, the Solar Valley Micro-E Hotel is the largest solar-power hotel on Earth.

Built by Himin Group, China’s leading solar products manufacturer, the Solar Valley Micro-E Hotel opened its gates Dezhou City, eastern China. It covers 75,000 square-meters and features thousands of solar panels and solar heat pipe collectors that harvest and store enough energy to sustain 70% of the hotel’s needs.

The solar energy is used for a variety of functions, including air-conditioning and water heating.

via ImagineChina

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Melting Polar Bear Sends Grim Message

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A polar bear statue, carved out of a nine-ton block of ice and placed outside Copenhagen climate change conference center, sends a frightening environmental message.

Mark Coreth, the artist behind the Ice Bear Project created the sculpture in the hope of raising awareness to the melting of arctic ice due to increasing temperatures. A huge pool of water and the bronze skeleton of a polar bear is all that will remain as the ice statue gradually melts, revealing the fate of all real life polar bears, unless the global warming issue is addressed.

Coreth is urging all passers-by not only to look at the bear-sculpture, but also to touch it and help it melt, in the hope that more people understand how mankind “contributes” to the melting of the Arctic. Asked when his ice polar bear is going to completely melt, the artists said it is impossible to tell, just like nobody knows how long the Arctic will last.

Photos by XINHUA/ZHANG YUWEI

via People.com.cn

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Log Radio – A Wooden Radio That Works

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Created by Solene le Goff and Christophe Gouache, out of an oak log, Log radio might just be the world’s “greenest” radio.

The Log Radio features a long, thin solar panel that charges it with energy, and if there’s no sunlight available, it also has a built-in dynamo, that will keep it running with minimum energy. The bottom left button, the one with the finger hole in it,handles the dynamo, the top left one turns the radio on and controls the volume, while the top right button is used as a tuner.

This amazing radio needs no wires or batteries and was conceived as a statement against the use of plastic and metals. Incredibly enough, 80% of the Log Radio is made of wood, while the other 20% is made up of basic radio components.

via designboom

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The Trash Temple of Rotterdam

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Judging by the amount of trash we generate every day, it’s no wonder people are beginning to build structures using it.

100 tons of PET bottles, pressed into bales, were used to create the Temple of Trash, presented at the 2007 Follydock Festival, in Rotterdam. The idea behind this project by Salzig Design is future generations might actually end up believing human kind worships the trash it produces and dumps into landfills.

The Temple of Trash was a temporary installation, but, although it’s not standing anymore, it can still be admired on the official site of Salzig Design

via Treehugger

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Care for Some Malaria Infested Water?

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You can buy a bottle a bottle of Malaria-infested water, as well as well as many other potentially fatal diseases at vending machines across Manhattan, New York.

UNICEF has devised a very original way of raising awareness to the water problem millions of people across the globe are facing every day. The Dirty Water campaign gives people the chance to buy a bottle of disease-infected water, other people are forced to drink on a daily basis. The water-bottles are kept in vending machines across Manhattan and can be purchased for $1 each.

Of course, the water isn’t really poisoned, but it does look very dirty. The campaign has been very successful so far, exceeding all expectations. Passers-by are encouraged to make a donation through the vending machines, by SMS or online.

Here’s what is written on the Dirty Water vending machines:

“Thirsty? So are millions of people around the world with no access to clean drinking water. 4,200 children die of water-related diseases everyday. Help provide safe drinking water to developing countries. Donate today. You wouldn’t drink dirty water. No one should. Donate now by texting TAP to 864233 (UNICEF) or visit tapproject.org.
Just a dollar provides a child with 40 days of clean drinking water.”

photos via Ochevidec

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Bambgoo – The Bamboo Car

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Developed by Kyoto University Venture Business Laboratory, Bambgoo is a fully functional vehicle that runs for 50 kilometers on a single charge. This ecological concept car is 270 cm long, 130 cm wide, 165 cm high and only 60 kg heavy. That’s what’s so special about Bambgoo, its body is made out of bamboo. If you happen to pass through Japan these days, you might want to check it out and maybe even take it for a short drive-test.

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Photo Credits

Sea of Garbage

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No matter how much you love swimming I’m willing to bet the farm you wouldn’t dare do it here…unless you have a death wish!

This is the Citarum river, in Indonesia, possibly the most polluted river in the world, due to mankind’s greed and insensibility regarding environment. Once one of the most beautiful waters in Asia, now the Citarum is a graveyard of debris, where locals, who can no longer fish, risk their lives scavenging for bottles and anything else they might sell for a small profit.

excavator in Citarum River

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