Glastonbury may be resting this year, but that's no reason to sit at home and use your regular shower. Nor is cavorting at V festival, Oxegen or the Carling Weekend: Reading and Leeds festivals, or camping, a reason to smell (bad, that is; we have no objection to your actual use of your nose). With that many people packed into such a tiny area, you're doing your fellow man a favour (as well as exciting his envy, you sinful creature) by using the Portable Car Shower from Maplin. It comes complete in its own carry bag - just add water - and is heated up by either your car battery or using 4 D cells (which we prefer since then they can be rechargables with that great solar charger. £19.99 well spent. [GT]
This Solarin Turtle is being touted as the 'world's first solar scooter', and apparently already has a pre-order of 100,000 units from China. There's still a lot of information missing about the Turtle, but we do know that the scooter will have a max speed of 55(not sure if that's mph or km/h?) and you'll be able to recharge it via thermal heat or an electrical source. All this for no more than $820.
via Techie Diva
You commute less than twenty kilometers to work, but for various reasons it's not practical to take public transit, so you've been stuck driving a car, getting tangled in traffic snarls, paying huge amounts for parking and even more for petrol. Well, has eGo got a solution for you! The Helio electric scooter can go up to 25 miles on a charge (optional extra battery pack available to double that range) and since it's as small as a bicycle, you'll find it way easier to find somewhere convenient to stow it that won't have quite so dear a cost. It's also got a nice little government grant to help you defray the cost.
So you're on your bicycle. And you're in an American state that has Better World Club insurance. And you get a flat. Call 'em up and they'll come over and fix your tire. Twice a year. (Assuming you have the version of their insurance that covers bikes.) Naturally that's not all that they do. 24 hour emergency assistance, coverage in any car, family coverage, flat tire change, battery jumps, emergency tows (depending, again, on the level of insurance), fuel delivery service, and $100 locksmith benefit. Then there's the actual cash and benefits for hybrids in particular.
The Scholar Ship is a passenger ship converted into a floating semester abroad for undergrad and grad students. Completely outfitted with all the things of a typical dorm: laundry, bookstore, coffee shops, and so on. Housing 600 people from all around the world, it will visit eight countries on five continents during its sixteen week expedition. The idea is that you get to see how other people live, and you get to hang out with some other smart people from other places in hope that some of it rubs off on you and some of it rubs off on them, and then, like a desirable avian flu, you take it home and infect your countrymen with brainy tolerance.
The Autopia blog from Wired has a bunch of interesting little pieces right now, ranging from the top story on how China will be using zinc-powered shuttles to move athletes about during the 2008 Olympics to notes on a short documentary titled Who Killed the Electric Car, on the GM EV1, to developments in plug-in hybridization technology for conventional automobiles. But my favourite is from a few days ago, on how how SUV owners are trying to make money from their gas guzzlers.
Bike Friday is a comfortable, full-size bike. Also, in 30 seconds, the Bike Friday folds down to fit in an airline-size suitcase, so you can very easily take it with you, on planes, on trains, even into your office. No oversize expensive weird luggage that they charge you an arm and a leg for (if they even let you take it on). Plus they're hand-made in Eugene, Oregon (where I ex-lived with the ex-Mr Taylor, who is delightful in his own way but not my adorable John) so you can feel entirely good about owning one. But why trust me when you can test-drive one?
Biome Lifestyle has a pair of well-developed camping kits for the ethically minded (and if you're going camping to begin with, surely you do intend to get in touch with nature and not just drink beer in your underpants while roasting weenies?). The standard version, £155, includes an organic roll-up bed, a Freeplay wind-up radio, a solar-heated shower capable of holding enough for 2-3 economical showers, a water-powered clock, a wind-up torch, and a nice lightweight bag to put it all in. But, you say, you'll eat bugs, so long as you can do it in just a little more comfort? (via Hippyshopper emeritus Adam at thegreenguy)
One of the best ways to reduce emissions is to use human-powered transport, like a bicycle. Spring is nearly over, so if you don't have your bicycle out yet, you may be hopeless (like me). But if (like me) you're procrastinating because the bike needs an overhaul and you're a bit unclear on what's involved, Bicycles West has a terrific checklist. It tells you what to do every ride, every month, every six months and every year, from making sure the chain is lubed to, er, checking the spoke nipples for cracks. (It's less exciting than it sounds, but it can also save your life. Cracked spoke nipples can kill!) (via Armchair Environmentalist)
The French Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development has a set of colour-coded labels that all French cars are now required to display. The labels indicate how bad (or good) the car's emissions are. French cars made today produce around 152g of CO2 per kilometer on average, compared with the general EU average of 160g/km. They figure by naming and shaming the red-hot offenders, consumers will be drawn to more cheerful shades. (via WorldChanging)
Sierra Club launched a miles per gallon calculator (although the rest of the world wishes they'd also made a kilometers per liter version - it's just math, guys!). You plug in the make and model of your car, and it tells you how much you would save on gas, how much less gas you would use, and how much less evil you would release into the environment if automakers were forced to make better vehicles. (Given that we identified yesterday that finding fuel efficient cars is a problem in the UK) we could use a calculator like this that worked globally.) How much savings?
...and if you get it, won't you tell me how? 'cause despite recent green insurance plans, in the US, anyhow, sales of fuel efficient vehicles are - despite US prices of petrol being more insane than ever and approaching 70's energy crisis levels - fuel efficient vehicle purchases are in decline. Why? "Most people who wanted (a hybrid) already have one," said Jesse Toprak, an analyst for Edmunds.com.
If you have a hybrid, say, or a fuel-efficient diesel, has ClimateSure insurance got a deal for you. The lower the emissions generated by your vehicle, the better the insurance policy they'll give you, plus they donate a percentage to their parent company, Climate Care for carbon-offset strategies. "An average driver with a family car such as a Ford Mondeo will see about 10% of their premium go towards offsetting their emissions." And their rates are competitive - "A couple in their sixties driving a Toyota Prius are quoted a premium of £162 a year, compared with a cost of £164 from the AA and £175 from Direct Line." How serious are they? Well, check out their rates for people who are not green.
Topa verpakking is an industrial packaging company in the Netherlands that has the single best book mailing box I've ever seen - every book company should use these. Instead of a fixed size box filled with packing materials, the books are stacked on each other and then the cardboard packaging is wrapped around - you adjust it dynamically to be as big or small as needed - and then you tape it up. (If you're in a position to order these dynamic boxes for your own office, their "T-wikkel no." is 70790.)
Platial: the People's Atlas (still in beta, one should note, but making a pretty good show of itself nonetheless) is a very neat repurposing of Google Maps to allow people to annotate the maps with their own points of interest. Being able to mark your own house on Google is pretty cool (and of course, I did so, as shown to the right) but that's only part of what makes this site interesting.