Engineers and Environment

Who killed the electric car?

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 10, 2006

Blog

Who Killed the Electric Car?

The year is 1990. California is in a pollution crisis. Smog threatens public health. Desperate for a solution, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) targets the source of its problem: auto exhaust. Inspired by a recent announcement from General Motors about an electric vehicle prototype, the Zero Emissions Mandate (ZEV) is born.

It was among the fastest, most efficient production cars ever built. It ran on electricity, produced no emissions and catapulted American technology to the forefront of the automotive industry.

Fast forward to 6 years later... The fleet is gone. EV charging stations dot the California landscape like tombstones, collecting dust and spider webs. How could this happen? Did anyone bother to examine the evidence? Yes, in fact, someone did. And it was murder. The electric car threatened the status quo.

WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? is not just about the EV1. It's about how this allegory for failure - reflected in today's oil prices and air quality - can also be a shining symbol of society's potential to better itself and the world around it. While there's plenty of outrage for lost time, there's also time for renewal as technology is reborn in WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR?

http://www.sonyclassics.com/whokilledtheelectriccar/electric.html

( The above review is from http://www.wildfilmnews.org)

 

Wildlife Poaching

Penalty increased

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 09, 2006

Blog

The Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2006 (No. 39 of 2006) has come into force on 4th September 2006. The Act provides for creating the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Tiger and Other Endangered Species Crime Control Bureau (Wildlife Crime Control Bureau).

The penalty for an offence relating to the core area of a tiger reserve or hunting in the reserve has been increased. The first conviction in such offence shall be punishable with imprisonment not less than three years but may extend to seven years, and also with fine not less than fifty thousand rupees but may extend to two lakh rupees. The second or subsequent conviction would lead to imprisonment not less than seven years, and also with fine not less than five lakh rupees, which may extend to fifty lakh rupees.

Interlinking of Rivers

Flash floods

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 09, 2006

Blog

Ramaswamy Iyer, former chief secretary in the water resources ministry said that there is an inherent conflict of the flood control objective with the other objective of trying to maximize hydro-power and irrigation in dams.

Iyer said while flood control demands that dams allow adequate space to receive flood flows, the objective of maximizing hydro-power potential means that water level in dams is kept as high as possible.

''As there is greater pressure to increase power generation, the objective of flood control gets lesser attention. This can lead to a situation when water has to be released suddenly on a large scale leading to disastrous flash floods,'' he said. Iyer added that the changing pattern of monsoon has put the last nail in the coffin of that fraudulent Interlinking of Rivers proposal, as those basins identified as "deficit" by National water development Authority have witnessed floods while those that have been marked as "surplus" have shown shortfall."

( Quoted in a meeting on flash floods and dams organized by Intercultural resources in collaboration with South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People )

Eco-tour

A Greener way to Fly!

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 05, 2006

Blog

Expedia.com®,  became the first online travel agency to offer travelers the ability to purchase carbon offsets -- carbon dioxide reduction measures used to help cancel out the greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming.
Expedia® is offering the service through TerraPass, the leading
retailer of greenhouse gas reduction projects in the U.S.

"Expedia is dedicated to promoting responsible tourism, and we're
proud to extend environmentally conscious options to our travelers,"
said Steven McArthur, President, Expedia® North America Leisure
Travel Group. "We are committed to making a positive impact on
travel and tourism through industry advocacy, destination support
and the promotion of responsible tourism. Offering TerraPass carbon
offsets is just one way we invite our customers to join us in this
endeavor."

Airline travel currently accounts for about 13 percent of U.S.-
transportation-based emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary
greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. To help address this,
Expedia is partnering with TerraPass to make it simple for
environmentally conscious travelers to be carbon-balanced travelers
by purchasing a TerraPass from Expedia as part of their trip.

Expedia travelers can now pay a small fee to sponsor a measured,
verified reduction in greenhouse gas emissions directly proportional
to the emissions created by their plane flight. TerraPass funds
domestic clean energy projects, such as wind farms, innovative "cow
power" methane capture plants on American dairies, and the
retirement of carbon offsets on the Chicago Climate Exchange.

One year ago Expedia formed the World Heritage Alliance in partnership with the United Nations Foundation to support sustainable tourism to World Heritage sites.

Expedia.com travelers can choose from three levels of TerraPass to
purchase during the process of booking a flight or package, or as a
standalone component on Expedia's Activities page (
http://www.expedia.com/activities ). Prior to checkout, Expedia
customers will be offered a chance to purchase a TerraPass that
funds enough clean energy to balance out the CO2 emissions caused by
their flights.

For example, a typical flight from New York to Los Angeles creates
about 2,000 lbs. per passenger of carbon dioxide (CO2), the
principal greenhouse gas. Pricing starts at $5.99 to offset about
1,000 lbs of CO2, the approximate amount per passenger emitted by a
2,200 mile round-trip flight. A TerraPass to cover cross-country and
international flights is $16.99 for up to 6,500 flight miles, and
$29.99 for up to 13,000 flight miles. Travelers who purchase a
TerraPass for cross-country or international flights will receive a
luggage tag that indicates their contribution to green travel.
Travelers who purchase a TerraPass for short-haul flights will
receive a decal.

Expedia is offering TerraPass to its customers at cost, so all
proceeds will go towards TerraPass' greenhouse gas reduction
efforts.  For more
information, visit http://www.expedia.com/activities

Climate change and Global Warmimg

A Greener Way to Fly

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 05, 2006

Blog

Expedia.com®,  became the first online travel agency to offer travelers the ability to purchase carbon offsets -- carbon dioxide reduction measures used to help cancel out the greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming.
Expedia® is offering the service through TerraPass, the leading
retailer of greenhouse gas reduction projects in the U.S.

"Expedia is dedicated to promoting responsible tourism, and we're
proud to extend environmentally conscious options to our travelers,"
said Steven McArthur, President, Expedia® North America Leisure
Travel Group. "We are committed to making a positive impact on
travel and tourism through industry advocacy, destination support
and the promotion of responsible tourism. Offering TerraPass carbon
offsets is just one way we invite our customers to join us in this
endeavor."

Airline travel currently accounts for about 13 percent of U.S.-
transportation-based emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary
greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. To help address this,
Expedia is partnering with TerraPass to make it simple for
environmentally conscious travelers to be carbon-balanced travelers
by purchasing a TerraPass from Expedia as part of their trip.

Expedia travelers can now pay a small fee to sponsor a measured,
verified reduction in greenhouse gas emissions directly proportional
to the emissions created by their plane flight. TerraPass funds
domestic clean energy projects, such as wind farms, innovative "cow
power" methane capture plants on American dairies, and the
retirement of carbon offsets on the Chicago Climate Exchange.

One year ago Expedia formed the World Heritage Alliance in partnership with the United Nations Foundation to support sustainable tourism to World Heritage sites.

Expedia.com travelers can choose from three levels of TerraPass to
purchase during the process of booking a flight or package, or as a
standalone component on Expedia's Activities page (
http://www.expedia.com/activities ). Prior to checkout, Expedia
customers will be offered a chance to purchase a TerraPass that
funds enough clean energy to balance out the CO2 emissions caused by
their flights.

For example, a typical flight from New York to Los Angeles creates
about 2,000 lbs. per passenger of carbon dioxide (CO2), the
principal greenhouse gas. Pricing starts at $5.99 to offset about
1,000 lbs of CO2, the approximate amount per passenger emitted by a
2,200 mile round-trip flight. A TerraPass to cover cross-country and
international flights is $16.99 for up to 6,500 flight miles, and
$29.99 for up to 13,000 flight miles. Travelers who purchase a
TerraPass for cross-country or international flights will receive a
luggage tag that indicates their contribution to green travel.
Travelers who purchase a TerraPass for short-haul flights will
receive a decal.

Expedia is offering TerraPass to its customers at cost, so all
proceeds will go towards TerraPass' greenhouse gas reduction
efforts.  For more
information, visit http://www.expedia.com/activities

 

Any other

A unique solution to Human-Elephant Conflict

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 02, 2006

Blog

A three phase project to protect  tribals and earmark biologically sustainable forests for an elephant reserve, is taking shape in Chattisgarh. 

'Chhattisgarh has been attracting migratory elephant herds displaced from Jharkhand due to mining and deforestation since the early nineties.  Today the State has about 130 elephants and this has led to frequent man-animal conflicts. 


Helping Chhatisgarh in solving the "HEC' is Mike Pandey, his Earth Matters Foundation and a team of veteran elephant and habitat experts, including former Project Elephant Chief Vinod Rishi. 

The three phase plan involves:


  • Rapid mapping of conflict zones and positioning trained kunki elephants from Southern States or Assam at strategic points so that they can push back wild herds.

  • Short-term study to ascertain location-specific problems and find solutions (electric or chili fencing, dithches, buffer crops, fire crackers) and restructuring compensation models.

  • Long term study to find appropriate forests: possible locations include Timur Pinga, Guru Ghasi das, Badlkhol amd Samer Sot.  Examining the possibilities of insulating breached corridors or creating artificial ones for setting up an elephant reserve and introducing strategic water bodies, elephant- friendly plantations and natural fodder plants in that designated reserve."

(Excerpts Indian Express Sep 1, 2006)

Ezine

Advanced search on archives

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 31, 2006

Blog

Did you know that the IWC ezines for the last 5 years + are searchable for content?  All vistors to IWC.com can freely avail of the 'Advanced Search" button at the bottom of our homepage http://www.IndianWildlifeClub.com

Try searching for general topics like 'Climate change, Pheasants, Amphibians .......or more specific topics like Golden Emperor Moth, Hoolock Gibbon, Leh trekking......

The results will throw up articles from our archived ezines, quiz programs and chat programs!!

Interlinking of Rivers

Flood Control through Dams?

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 31, 2006

Blog

"Almost every year, floods ravage various states. According to news reports in most of the cases, the flood disaster has been caused by panic release of water from dams since inflow to the reservoir was very high. Maharashtra and Gujarat, both hit by floods this year, together have more than half of the country's 4,500 large dams, so it is a moot point whether dams provide protection from flood.

Flood, a natural phenomenon, becomes a disaster when large quantities of water arrive very quickly or do not recede quickly. Rainwater comes too quickly either because of unprecedented rainfall and/or due to deforestation that causes very fast arrival of water in the main rivers. A large dam can "control" flood only if the reservoir has sufficient empty capacity to absorb the sudden arrival of water. But in practice, reservoirs are never emptied in anticipation of flood because water from the reservoir is required for irrigation or power generation. (If it is a low rainfall year
and the reservoir is empty, the flow will merely fill the reservoir and the downstream river will get no water at all). When the flood does arrive, the sluices are opened to save the dam and people, assured of protection from flood, who have occupied the flood plain below the dam, suffer because of the sudden release of water from the reservoir.

Thus, while large dams may offer flood management advantages in a limited temporal or spatial context, they also create larger magnitude problems that are not generally recognized. Flood management and the performance of India's large dams for flood "control", irrigation and power generation over the past few decades needs urgent and transparent review."


-Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd) is a military engineer holding a PhD in Structural Engineering from I.I.T., Madras.
E-mail: sgvombatkere@hotmail. com



Interlinking of Rivers

Flood control

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 31, 2006

Blog

Barney Flynn, a former prune and almond grower, used his experience as a farmer and businessman to come up with an inventive way to help California farmers transform unprofitable land, save endangered wildlife, boost the local economy, and provide flood control - all at the same time.

In 1998, after years of experiencing the annual flooding of farm land from breached levees, Flynn co-founded River Partners, a nonprofit organization that helps farmers navigate state regulations and craft deals to restore flood-prone riverfront acreage as habitat for wildlife, much of it endangered, while providing a sustainable flood-control alternative to levees and dams. River Partners also implements the restoration plans, pioneering the use of modern agricultural techniques to cut the costs of river restoration. To date, River Partners has restored about 4,000 acres and planted 510,000 native trees and shrubs.

Visit http://www.riverpartners.org/  for more on this.

Tiger Task Force Report

Ullas Karanth on Tiger

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 31, 2006

Blog

Wildlife biologist Ullas Karanth on Tiger

Q: What's wrong with the concept of sustainable use and the idea of financing projects for local people to make money from the forests, and in turn protect the animals?

A: It's naïve. People and tigers have never coexisted harmoniously.

They compete for land, protein, resources. In a country like India where there are so many people and so little land, sustainable development is actually a recipe for wiping out the protected areas.

If you want tigers, you can't have people sweeping through the reserves cutting down trees, gathering forest products, hunting for protein and creating gardens that fragment natural areas.

Moreover, you definitely should not be paying forestry officials - charged with protecting wildlife - to do rural economic development.

If you do it, their mission drifts toward development and the wildlife conservation part gets lost.

To protect wildlife, you have to do the harder thing, which is set aside some areas where human activities are reduced or eliminated. At present, about 5 percent of the country is designated as protected. But I estimate that 75 percent of that "protected" land has been compromised by human activity. This needs to be halted.

Q: Do you think the Indian tiger can be saved?

A: Certainly. If there's the will. One thing that gives us a head start: India actually has more wild tigers than our neighbors. We won't need to reintroduce them. Also, tigers reproduce easily; they are not like pandas.

Also, I believe that there are aspects of Indian culture that can be mobilized for conservation. If you look at the Hindu religion, there's real guilt associated with the killing of an animal.

Another thing, at the core of our religion is the belief that man is a part of nature. This supports the idea that wild animals have a right to survive. 

 Read the full interview at

http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/08/16/news/tigers.php




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