Articles Posted in the Green tips, Lifestyle category

New carbon footprint calculator for cellphones launched by WWF

October 22, 2008
Posted in Green tips, Lifestyle

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has launched an easy-to-use carbon footprint calculator for cellphones in partnership with – the first of its kind in South Africa.

Called MyCO2Print, it is far simpler than the carbon footprint calculators on the web, says Carolyn Cramer of the WWF. “This is intentional. We wanted a tool which would enable South Africans to measure their carbon footprint in terms of travel and energy use and to try to improve it on a monthly basis.”

MyCO2 footrprint asks just five easy questions:

  • how many people there are in your household;
  • how many kilometres a month your household drives and in what kind of car (small, medium or large);
  • what’s your household air travel in kms;
  • how much you spend a month on electricity; and
  • how many kgs of gas you use.

It will then calculate how many kgs of carbon your household produces per month; how much carbon you as a member of that household contribute per month, which you can compare to an average user; and what your approximate cost to the environment is per month in rands. (This calculation is based on figures derived from the Stern Report, the WWF says.) Then it’ll tell you whether you’re doing well or not and offer a useful energy saving tip.

A very handy feature is that it remembers your data so next time you use the calculator you can compare your results, this is a quick and easy way to measure how lifestyle changes you and your family make benefit the environment.

The WWF hopes the MyCO2Print will appeal to young people in particular. “We envisage school teachers using it as a innovative tool in the classroom to educate on climate change and the environment,” says Cramer.

To try out the MyCO2Print calculator, sms CO2 to 34017. Your phone must be wap-enabled. SMSs are charged at R2.00.

Stressed forest plants emit their own form of aspirin

September 19, 2008
Posted in Green News

Plants in a forest respond to stress by producing a chemical form of aspirin, scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in the United States have discovered.

The plants were found to emit the chemical methyl salicylate, which is a form of acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirin, into the atmosphere in significant quantities in response to drought, unseasonable temperatures, or other stresses.

NCAR scientist Thomas Karl, who led the study, and his colleagues speculate that the methyl salicylate has two functions. One is to stimulate something analogous to an immune response to help the plants both resist and recover from disease.

The other may be a way for a stressed plant to communicate to neighbouring plants, warning them of the threat. Read more

New coal-fired power plant for Mozambique

July 3, 2008
Posted in Green News

A new 2,000MW coal-fired power station is to be built in the northern Tete province of Mozambique, Reuters reports. Australian coal mining company Riverside Mining has obtained licences to start building the R2-billion plant. The feasibliity study will reportedly be finished by December and construction should start early next year. It looks like 500MW will be exported to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia. Read more on Engineering News