Easy Transportation

This is a cool bike we noticed from Alternative Consumer. A look at one of the UK’s best selling, fold-able bikes that comes with a nifty handle/shoulder bag. Use the bag to carry or store your bike. When ready to roll, zip open the bag and it doubles as a backpack to carry any incidentals you might need to bring along.

Bike in a bag is available in two models: Compact and Touring.

Compact, single-speed bike weighs 26 pounds (11.8kg), can accommodate riders up to 6’1? and sells for $250.00 €179.95

The new Touring 6-speed Shimano gears bike weighs 30.4 pounds, can accommodate riders up to 6’8? and sells for $327.00 €239.95. available @ bike-in-a-bag.com or here.

hippy shopper

Powerful Poop

If you have dog then you already know how much crap those animals can produce. Imagine if that poop was worth something more than putting in a brown bag and lighting it on fire, like kids do. The guys over at inhabitat had a cool write up on some new initiative in San Francisco. Anyone who’s ever spent time in San Francisco (and perhaps stepped in a stinky patch in Duboce park) knows that this is a city that loves its dogs. So much so that dog poop is a real issue in terms of urban cleanliness — pet feces currently makes up nearly 4 percent of San Francisco’s residential waste! So its about time then, that someone came up with the brilliant idea to put San Francisco’s dog poop to work and find a better use for it than simply filling up garbage cans (and getting stuck on people’s shoes). The forward-thinking environmentally-friendly city will be the first in the nation to use dog feces as a renewable energy source through the production and combustion of methane gas.

6,500 tons of dog poop is produced in the San Francisco Bay Area every year. Rather than view this waste as a problem, San Francisco’s waste management contractor, Norcal Waste, saw this as an opportunity for the already environmental city to go a bit greener. Since January 2006, Norcal has been collecting dog feces throughout the city and now has dog-waste collection carts with biodegradable bags set up in Duboce Park, one of city’s most popular dog parks.

The poo-to-energy scheme works like this: the pet poop is first put into an anaerobic digester, which uses bacteria to convert organic waste into methane gas. Burning that gas produces energy in the form of electricity, natural gas, and liquefied natural gas. This gas is then captured and used to power equipment that normally runs on natural gas, such as a kitchen stove or a heater. The 2 week long “digestion process” also produces valuable compost for agriculture.

Despite the chuckles this project may elicit — it will provide a very tangible benefit to San Francisco by helping the city reach its goal of diverting 75 percent of its waste from landfills by 2010, also providing a clean new energy source! The city piloted another innovative bio-recycling program in 1996, collecting food scraps from houses and restaurants and turning them into fertilizer for local farms and vineyards. This project was very successful and still continues to this day.

OPEC says Bio-fuels Could Push Oil Prices Up

The head of the OPEC oil cartel just said that investing in biofuels could push oil prices “through the roof,” the UK’s Financial Times reported yesterday. OPEC secretary general Abdalla El-Badri had the nerve to say that moves to use biofuels would make his members consider cutting investment in oil production.

Even US Oil Tycoon Texas Cowboy/President Bush says the US will aim to cut its petrol use by 20 per cent in the next ten years, partly through increased use of biofuels. Opec members control about 40 per cent of the world’s oil production. El-Badri said that while OPEC members had so far maintained their investment plans, he added: “If we are unable to see a security of demand we may revisit investment in the long term.”

This warning comes as leaders of the G8 industrialized nations gather for their summit in Germany. Environmental issues are high on the agenda and the use of biofuels is central to the attempts of many G8 countries to cut their carbon emissions. Biofuels can be anything made with vegetable matter that burns.

The US is not the only nation that depends on Opecs oil, Gabrielle Reilly at Gift of Gab brings up that China alone is reshaping the global oil relationships in and of itself. This year China has become the second largest user of oil outside of the US surpassing Japan. As China’s economy grows and technology improves, the Chinese are setting aside their bikes for cars. Although it may still be two decades before many of the peasants laboring in the manufacturing sectors become consumers, with a population of well over 1 billion people, it would only take a small percentage of the population to consume as much as the U.S. does. Will this bring China into closer relations with the Middle East in preference to the U.S.? Only time will give us the sure answer to that question.

So OPEC is feeling the pressure? Let’s see how they act when their is actual competition on the field. In my opinion, if the Americans paid what Europeans pay at the pumps for gasoline, they would drive less and be looking for way more alternative fuels and modes of transportation. Pushing the envelope further towards bio fuels, maybe even passing positive laws to help enforce them.