City Hippy

The diary of our struggle to live a green and fair life.

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CityHippy has posted its last post now (I now work for EMP plc, run At Home magazine online and more and personally blog over at Why? Click here to find out. We might be back. Keep our RSS feeds, keep us bookmarked, sign up for the news alert on the right. You never know...

We are dedicated to exploring how to live a greener and more ethical life. City Hippy is a growing collective of writers bringing you two types of content:

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Monday, November 07, 2005

FEATURE: Carnival of the Green #1

Carnival of the GreenCity Hippy & TriplePundit are delighted to officially open the Carnival of the Green. The Carnival of the Green is is a roving digest of the green (sustainable and environmental) blogosphere.

This week I (City Hippy) am hosting and next week Triple Pundit takes his turn fresh after his brilliant hosting of the Carnival of the Capitalists. After that we have hosts in place up until April 17th (Full list here).

So here it is...the waiting is over, the lights (energy efficient of course) are on, the coasters are oiled (biodegradable oil I'm sure), the smell of green cotton candy (candy floss to UK readers) is floating in the air. Ladies & Gentleman I am proud to present for your blogolicious entertainment the greatest bloggest greenest show on earth.

Welcome to the ... pause for effect ... Carnival of the Green! (Fireworks going off, clowns cartwheeling about in front of you, Stilt walkers, Unicyclists, Elephants...the works!)

We kick things off with a fantastic post from the co-founder of the Carnival of the Green. Triple Pundit has produced a superb video called Drawing a Line about the whole ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) issue.

I live in the UK so for me this totally serves to explain the issue for me and why it makes no environmental, energy or business sense to drill in the ANWR. Best 12 minutes I have spent online in months.

In Triple Pundit's words:
The 12 Minute Video "Drawing a Line" illustrates the economic folly of opening Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to Oil Drilling. It's not only an environmentlaly foolish thing to do, but it makes no sense economically. In fact, it's a downright backward move for the US economy. Watch the video and find out why! And please, if you're in the US, email the video to your local politicians, friends and associates.
CITYHIPPY NOTE: Sadly as many of you will know the Senate have now voted the US one more step closer to opening up ANWR for oil exploration. To find out how your representatives voted check out this great Grist post. And maybe send the link to the Triple Pundit post and video to them if they still do not get it. The budget can still be shot down...there is still hope so ACT NOW...or do nothing...maybe Big Business really will care for the environment up there.

The Hip & Zen Blog brings us their great post: My sister is planning to buy an SUV!! Why, Lord, why?.

It is a good post outlining what happened when the author's sister wanted to buy an SUV. Did the author succeed in influencing the purchase? You will have to read and find out. All I will say is that condemnation is easy (City Hippy is not into negativity and condemnation) & life is never black & white (real life is much more complex).

One of our favourite UK sites, TreeHuggerMum has commented, in a post called Retrofitting Suburbia, on David Holmgren's essay entitled Retrofitting the Suburbs for Sustainability.

Holmgren's essay focuses on how we can turn around the sterile wastelands, devoid of community that are the suburbs, and turn them into a permaculture paradise.

Well worth a read and I recommend checking out the actual essay itself. Very thought-provoking indeed. What a wonderful world it would be if we headed in this direction.

From the Common Ground blog comes Big Box Conversions, a head's up of a very interesting project in New York state. An artist has started a multimedia project to link communities across the country using creative ways to reuse abandoned big-box buildings. Very cool and creative. Shows how easy it can be to reclaim urban space.

My good mate Mary Ellen over at The Blue Voice brings us a great two-parter. Tremendous Opportunity Ahead (Part 1, Part 2) provides an optimistic look, inspired by Thomas Starrs' column in a recent issue of Solar Today, at ways to make people sit up and take notice of the coming post-petroleum crisis and how we can make the transition to a better life. We like it's positive tone...very City Hippy indeed. Nice one Mary Ellen.

From the World Bank's Private Sector Development blog we have some great news from Cambodia. Cambodia goes organic by Tim Harford draws our attention to how Cambodia is adapting to a changing garment sector. With an uncertain future ahead the country is diversifying it's income sources and a major possibility under consideration is organic farming. Cambodia's government feels it could become the "green farm of Asia", with customers in Europe and the United States.

That makes for a lot of food miles though so why not just supply more locally? Perhaps the value of the produce locally would not be enough to sustain the transition. Hmmm...tricky. But organic is always better than non-organic so good luck to them. This is a positive step indeed. Am right behind them.

Sticking briefly with the World Bank's Private Sector Development blog it seems that the IFC and World Bank now purchase 100% green power from Wind Current, albeit virtually i.e. as in offset. Very good news indeed!

Great Green Goods gives us two great green posts for inclusion. The first one we have seen before but wanted to include it in case you had not yet come across it. Check out their post about the Recycled Steel Fire Pit or if that does not light your fire (could not resist) then maybe this is the wind beneath your wings (groan, sorry). Recycled Bird Houses are clearly a great idea. So want one of these.

On the topic of shopping City Hippy firmly believes in giving our cash to companies whose ethics we agree with. Fellow blogger, Dave Pollard over at How to save the world has posted a superb take-away guide to responsible shopping across 17 categories including Travel, Clothing, Food and even Drugs and Healthcare and those companies who are socially and environmentally irresponsible.

The Boycott List (Updated from the 2003 version) is summarized from the Responsible Shopper database, supplemented with some assessments from the Better World Handbook, and a short list of companies and associations that offer exemplary socially and environmentally responsible solutions, taken from the Co-op America Green Pages.

And all in one handy chart that fits on your refrigerator. Superb!

A Concerned Scientist writes about a seminar given by guest lecturer Dave Foreman, founder of the Conservationist think tank The Rewilding Institute.

The post discusses the logic behind one of the best proactive approaches to wildlife protection and ecosystem rehabilitation.

Unapologetic appreciation for nature...a plan to save what remains...humans aren't the Earth's only inhabitants...all music to our little green ears.

Jennifer Killpack-Knutsen has written a great post on Toxic Neighborhoods about looking for ways to educate her neighbors on the dangers of chemical lawn treatments. Very useful info and advice for all of us. Save the world by starting with your own neighbourhood! Think global, act local indeed!

Jeff over at Sustainablog, one of our all-time favourite reads, has submitted three posts and told me I could pick one or use them all...he could not decide. And you know what...neither could I.

First up was a great post about a study on NIMBY attitudes towards renewable energy out of my very own Great Britain. Awesome stuff. It amazes me how small-minded and selfish people can be. But it goes the other way too. Not wanting wind turbines in your backyard is one form of madness as far as I am concerned...but what if someone wanted a Nuclear power plant in THEIR backyard???

I had a chat with a friend the other day...he is convinced Nuclear is the Green solution, our salvation to climate change. When I asked him if he would have a Nuclear power plant in his backyard he surprisingly said yes. That makes him nuts in my eyes. Why choose a Nuclear power plant when you can just have some harmless wind turbines in your garden or on your roof. Totally illogical...perhaps this will force a response from him? (Charles...are you reading this?)

Second up from Sustainablog is a post about how some retailers (other than Wal-Mart) are adopting renewable energy and other green technologies/principles. Jeff is right to say we should encourage positive behaviour and I agree with him about feeling uneasy feeling good about behemoths (great word) i.e. MacDonalds etc when they take a positive step. I guess they have such a negative account built up when it comes to the triple bottom line that they have to catch up before we will take them seriously enough.

And finally, Jeff's last submission for us was about how renewable energy fund managers are urging caution when investing in renewable energy. Jeff hits on the head when he discusses the possibility of fear a renewable energy "bubble"which may be scaring fund managers but overall the numbers and drivers do look good, for now. But that's the markets for you. They go up and down. My thinking? If I had spare cash (HA! - Baby due in two weeks knocks that dream on the head) I would be investing in wind/solar and fuel cell energy technology companies.

Steve from Balogh Blog attended a living off the grid lecture and wrote this piece about Living Off-Grid on locals using solar to power their home. The discussion focused on solar powered homes and "earth-berm" housing for maximum insulation. Great local examples of how you can lower your energy dependence and increase heating and cooling efficiency. Very good primer on alternative energy. Earth-berm houses seem like a great idea...use the earth to insulate. So simple.

Techno Event Horizon has a great post called Decentralized Energy Economy that explores the possibility that sometime in the near future it will be possible for the average American household to produce all of their energy at home. The post considers how this will likely happen and also contains a number of links to developments in this area. Energy devolution is very close to City Hippy's heart indeed.

Continuing the devolving energy theme Enviropundit gets the last word and let me tell you what a collection of words it is. Anatomy of a Distributed Grid IS a manifesto for a new energy system. So comprehensive and well thought out. If a country were looking at installing a new energy policy from scratch they would be nuts to not adopt this mechanism.

Well...have really enjoyed putting the carnival to bed. To host the Carnival or to find out how to submit a post for inclusion please read this post for more information. The Carnival of the Green is nothing without you hosters and posters!

Having completed the first Carnival of the Green I think there are testing times ahead but that the answers are right before our eyes. Our strength lies in our numbers, clarity and unity.

Whilst our eyes may be open clearly not everyone's eyes are. Forcing the eyes of others open too fast creates a negative backlash but open their eyes we must. So we must open their eyes gently. How I hear you ask? Well so often in my life I seem to come back to my favourite poem which for me serves to explain why a gentle approach is the key and how best to approach issues gently. Take it away Emily!
Tell all the truth but tell it slant
success in circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm delight
the truth's superb surprise
As lightening to the children eased
with explanation kind
The truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind
Emily Dickinson
Namaste to you all!


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At 10:34 AM, Blogger City Hippy said...


Thanks mate...could not have done it without all those great posts...



At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wanting to live near a nuclear plant is not strange. Close to where I live there is a three reactor plant totalling more than 3000 MW. I much prefer a safe, clean nuclear plant to 3300(!)* giant (rotor diameter 104 meters!) spinning wind turbines.

* 3,6 MW each, 25 % assumed capacity factor.

At 4:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forcing the eyes of others open too fast creates a negative backlash but open their eyes we must. So we must open their eyes gently.

So true. Unfortunately, we're up against balancing tact with trying to stay ahead of the folks that are redefining "truth" for their own purposes. Organizations like the U.S. Organic Trade Association have been coopted and developers here are regularly gaming the LEED standards for green building.

Nonetheless, I see a great movement growing and gaining strength. It's heartening to see such a great community growing on the web and in the real world.

Thanks for starting the Carnival! Laura and I look forward to the coming weeks.

At 5:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on a great green link fest! We've added it to the Blog Carnival archives for Carnival of the Green.

At 6:05 PM, Blogger marigolds2 said...

Fantastic fun at the Carnival! I'll have to be sleep-deprived for a week, or quit my job, but I'll read all of these, you betcha! - Mary Ellen (marigolds2, from The Blue Voice)

At 8:03 PM, Blogger ElisaC said...

Congrats on the inaugural Carnival of the Green! I look forward to my turn to host.

At 9:29 PM, Blogger j&c said...

Thanks for hosting! Hopefully we can make this a successful endeavor!

At 9:51 PM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Hi Anonymous

Glad you like living near a Nuclear Power Plant. Which plant is it? Wonder what other residents think?

As far as I am concerned Nuclear power plants are dangerous places and I would not want to live anywhere near a Nuclear power plant based on what I know. Do not even want to be anywhere near it.

I appreciate what you are saying but until the UK Prime Minister spends 75% of his time with his family and kids near a Nuclear plant I refuse to accept it is safe. I do not ever see that happening.

Sorry...just do not buy it. Am sure you can give me lots of info. What I cannot get past is that:

a) the waste is dangerous and we still do not know what to do with it.

b) the plant is dangerous and leakages occur.

c) alternative energy is safer.

Turbines do not bother me at all! Want three small ones for my home and the energy I need. As soon as I can afford them I will have them.



At 9:54 PM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Hi Mattie, Denise, marigolds, elisac and j&c

Thanks for all your good wishes...really had great fun with the carnival.



At 7:35 PM, Blogger Transmogrifier said...

Congratulations on the first Carnival of the Greens! All the posts are very interesting. Keep it going!

At 7:41 PM, Blogger Transmogrifier said...

Would you also list the Carnival on the UberCarnival page at TTLB? I think it would give it some more publicity. They require a link back to the uber carnival page. So people hosting it: please check it out.

At 7:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Outstanding work sir! Until next week!

At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice one, City Hippy! Enjoyed that!


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