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Yesterday, I've spent 3 hours only at the Paris Auto Show. My focus : the "green" cars. No deception : Hybrids, electric, and hydrogen prototypes, pre-production units, and production cars were all over the place. See my Flickr set for a brief overview.
Among several really interesting machines and concept cars, the Solo 2008 imagined by the Hungarian Antro Group is the one which kept my attention. Not only because of its exterior and interior designs, which both are eye-catching: the overall concept of the project seems to be drafted from scratch, as true breakthrough innovations always are.
Read the short story here.
That's from Hungary, folks. Not Silicon Valley or France (I have quite some doubts such an initiative would be possible here, for French generally dislike open non-profit ideas).
Of course, I discussed a while with the booth attendants. A young and shy Hungarian guy, who doesn't speak french at all (I imagine his nightmare on the week-ends at the show, when Mr. & Ms. Dupond of Aubervilliers - or any other place in France, no offense folks - stop by his booth), and a pretty nice Hungarian woman, speaking english and french like me. Both smiling and engaging, which is rare in such crazy environment such a crowdy day.
For sure, I didn't get her business card, but Antro' s managing director' s : Zsolt Magyar. Google this name, and you'll find this Zsolt Magyar. Can a "Hungarian born, Los Angeles based Production Sound Mixer with more than 7 years of experience" (imdb.com dixit) be also the lead economist at a green tech startup based in his mother country ? Why not. I'll find out this soon, as I'll get in touch with Antro for some sort of new venture I have in mind for the Pau Broadband Country.
Anyway, the actual team is impressive, although I'm definitely not familiar with Hungary and its ecosystem. At first sight, it proves the project to be really serious.
Now, why this free ad for an unknown startup in an unknown country ? Because of the Antro' s booth at the Paris Auto Show is made of... carton. Carton, wood, rope, linen fabric. Amazing. They've pushed the concept of sustainable development to the overall product marketing process. That's the clever thing. I never saw a exhibit in carton before. That's why I think those guys got it right. They understand the true meaning of being green. For them, "Green" is not just a marketing gimmik to gain customers 's attention. It's their philosophy.
See it by yourselves :
the door of the cabinet
Now you get it too, right ? So, next time you do think about being green, think Solo 2008.
Since beginning of this year I owe have sent approximately 5 tons of CO2 to into the precious air of Mother Earth to date.
I'd better define my compensation plan quickly, shall I want to stick with the Sustainable Development concept...
According to Yahoo! a few minutes ago : Oil Futures Rise to $100 a Barrel. Read here. Better consider swapping your 4x4 truck for an hybrid.
On Lunch Over IP : Picnic07: Stefana Broadbent and why everything is moving into the background.
I read Bruno Giussiani's running notes just before watching Jerry Maguire again. Kind of interesting answer to the question at the end of Bruno' s post : " how important something is to you to makes you make that specific choice of focusing on it? "...
On TechITeasy : Sustainable, Information Technology?
A detailed fact sheet by Jeremy Fain of Microsoft on Green IT. Among lots of other pretty serious stuff, this one : " Every second that passes sees 24 Kg of PCs produced, 1.8 tons of raw materials aimed at the Information Technology market, half a ton of CO2 generated by hardware heat, 108 Kg. of PC-related garbage."
On How To Change The World : Ten Questions with Chris Brogan.
The Social Media expert answers Guy Kawasaki' s famous ten questions (which are eleven, by the way) on Twitter. You've got to like the twittering app after that (don't miss the comments).
" For the hundreds of climate-change activists who have camped out near Heathrow Airport for the past week, there is only one way to reduce the carbon footprint of aircraft: Stop flying so much. "
Must we quit flying to save the planet? the article published yesterday on the Seattle Time, by Mark Rice-Oxley is a must-read for all of us, especially those whose wallet sports one or more Gold/Platinum/Whatever-metal frequent flyer card.
Here's the conclusion :
[He noted that] 45 percent of all flights in Europe are less than 310 miles. "The French and Germans are showing that if you invest in good railways, you can persuade people to travel by rail and not by air."
But it's not only about leisure travel. Business travel makes up, by some estimates, 40 to 50 percent of all air travel. One element of the British OMEGA project is a study that looks at how business can reduce its aviation carbon footprint.
Keith Mason, who is leading the study, said it involves persuading businesses to measure the carbon they consume, choose flights that are not just the cheapest but are least environmentally damaging, use rail when possible and make greater use of videoconferencing and Internet solutions.
"We are aiming to come up with a range of practical tools that will help companies start managing their carbon consumption," Mason said. He noted that one company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, has introduced an internal "carbon budget" whereby its 1,000 top travelers must reduce their CO2 footprint by 20 percent.
Some experts think similar personal carbon budgets — rationing — may be the solution.
"It's too late for voluntary mechanisms," Anderson said. "Carbon allowances are the only fair way to deal with this."
I wonder if I would still be able to collect 150 boarding passes in a year, as I did back in 2000.
On the other hand, flying every two days or so is exhausting - ask your captain the next time you get in an airplane. And opportunities to create new businesses out of this new situation (i.e. Global Warming) are tremendous...
The wind power industry made big strides last year, reports Jennifer Guevin for C|Net
15,200 megawatts of new wind turbines were installed around the world last year, representing a 26 percent jump in global wind power capacity, according to the Worldwatch Institute' study released yesterday.
By year's end, total wind power capacity exceeded 74,200 megawatts, enough to offset 43 million tons of carbon dioxide, the institute said.
Germany, Spain and the United States are currently the world's top wind power producers, putting out 60 percent of the global total, but the report says the alternative energy winds are shifting eastward. India and China were No. 3 and No. 5, respectively, in a list of countries installing new wind turbines. Senior Researcher Janet Sawin predicts the U.S. and China will compete for the top spot in window power output in the coming years.
More details from the report at the Worldwatch Institute's Web site here
"A power outage hit downtown San Francisco Tuesday afternoon, leaving thousands of residents without power and knocking popular Web sites such as Craigslist, GameSpot, Yelp, Technorati, TypePad and Netflix offline for a few hours", says Erica Ogg for C|Net
Anyway. " Never Give Up " was the title of this never-to-be-published post. So, never give up, Folks !
Martin LaMonica for C|Net posts :
" Recently published research confirms what any venture capital investor would tell you: clean tech is hot.
The Cleantech Network and Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) published a report summary on Tuesday fing that VC investment grew 78 percent in 2006 to $2.9 billion. Most of that money went into energy-related technologies.
That investment growth is anticipated to continue: the report expects numbers to climb to $19 billion by 2010.
The authors cited a few reasons for the investment boom in clean, or green, tech: concerns over global warming, higher energy prices, improved technology and changing public policies.
A lot of the money spent in venture-backed companies last year went to a handful of energy companies. With funding, those companies were able to ramp up their businesses from technology pilots to full-scale productions. A collection of solar and biofuel companies--Cilion, AltraBiofuels, Bloom Energy, Renewable Energy Group and Nanosolar--accounted for $600 million of investment in 2006.
Shall you have the idea of a solar panel producing biofuel together with a micro-yet-powerful wind generator serving as a WiMax basestation, it's time to call on the VC firm next door ;-)
Although there is clearly a bull market in clean tech, there are also regular concerns over a bubble, particularly in solar and biofuels. There is also the concern that lower energy prices could make alternative energies and fuels less economical. "
The Venturi Eclectic has been introduced last year by the Monaco-based luxury car maker . The very first autonomous energy vehicle gets its power from a wind generator and from solar cells atop its roof. 3-seats, 50-km autonomy, the Eclectic is the ideal car for city transportation, and short drives in the countryside, like to pick up the kids at school.
First series of 200 units to be sold next month, at the quite high price tag of 24k euros. The next generation, using a new type of batteries, is scheduled for release in 2009, at 15k euros.
Press release here - pump up the volume, and click on the green arrow ;-)
When I discuss with friends, neighbors or colleagues, about Global Warming and the necessary changes in our way of living, I often hear the same reactions : it will cost us more money, it will force us to shut down hundreds of industries, it will create legions of jobless people, etc. I keep answering : "no". For me, the question is pretty simple : either we continue as in the past and we go right into the wall, either we all stand up together for a dramatic paradigm shift and we save the Planet, thanks to... Technology. New technologies coming out of R&D labs, old technologies used a different way, etc. : those will lead us to innovate and... create new tasks, new functions, new jobs.
Al Gore, speaking at the Silicon Valley Joint Venture event in San Jose, Calif., said there's still time to combat the expected effects of climate change. He said the investment and innovation that built the high-tech and biotech industries is now needed for green tech. Watch the video posted on C|NET here.
The Toronto-based online newspaper globeandmail.com has issued a Special report: The new climate. It is an interesting complement of Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth, for you can save the html files for education purposes.
See the thrilling video here, about the World's most polluted city - Linfen, China. See some dramatic effects of Global Warming in the diaporama here. See also the beautiful illustrations describing how the planet is warming up, why Greenland will turn green land again soon, and how we can all make our house green.
Bruno Gussiani of Lunch Over IP posted a very interesting article on how the seasonality of the fruits & vegetables has been neutralized by air transport.
Reading this post, my early days with HP/Agilent came back to my mind. I was traveling all around Europe, Middle East, and Africa, I was three or four times a year in the US. No matter the place/country I was visiting, no matter the season, I could have the very same breakfast all over the Planet : tomatoes, berries, grapes, melons, whatever fruit and vegetable was available. I didn't realized that strange fact - how come you can eat strawberries in London in January - until a certain day in October 2000 (I was then almost 2 years with the company). I was coming back home for the week-end, and I saw the trees around : losing their leaves. It was autumn, and I never figured it out before. I didn't saw the whole year at all, except 3 weeks during summertime because of the Tour de France. I was working like crazy, I was traveling like hell (hey, 150+ boarding passes collected in Year 2K, that's flying at least twice a week ;-), and... I was eating the same things at breakfast all over the year. Something was wrong, right ?
My take is that going Carbon Neutral will force us to change our habits dramatically. Work at an office close to your home, travel less and compensate each flight, and eat only season' s fruits & vegetables. Looks like we're back to 1950 !!!
ps : another very interesting post on the same subject here, where Bruno describes how the concepts of "carbon footprint" and "carbon neutrality" and "carbon offsetting" have become mainstream in Britain.
I am 46 since a couple of days. Thanks God, I'm not a victim of the Alzheimer's disease so far. That is why, when seeing temperatures here in France dropping from +15°C last Friday down to -15°C today, I do believe in the Global Warming phenomenon : I never saw such of abrupt climate changes in this part of Earth since my memory is 'on'. That is why Al Gore' s message is worth listening, again and again...
The Stop Global Warming Virtual March is a non-political effort
bringing Americans together to declare that global warming is here now
and it’s time to act. You can become part of the movement by clicking here. Thank you, on behalf of our children's children.
French adventurer and television presenter Nicolas Hulot, also one of France’s most influential ecologists, has launched its lobbying campaign for the French Presidential Elections, scheduled May 2007. So called " Le Pacte Ecologique " ( " The Ecologic Pact " ), this campaign is pretty much on the same wavelength than Al Gore' s " Unconvenient Truth ".
Something' s happening on this Planet, finally. No matter our political colors, there is only one thing that matters today : Save the Planet, for the sake of our children' s children.
For my fellow French readers : please go here to sign up the Pact and watch (and listen to) Nicolas Hulot explain why we are all in danger.
US residents and al. : please don't forget the Stop Global Warming Virtual March here.
Thank you so much, on behalf of Mother Earth.
This is my own reference number at the Stop Global Warming Virtual March which I learned of after seeing " An Inconvenient Truth ".
The Stop Global Warming Virtual March is a non-political effort bringing Americans together to declare that global warming is here now and it’s time to act. Hey, I am French, and I was able to sign up and participate ! That is the true meaning of the Internet, right ? Bring people together, wherever they live and work.
My Wife and I went to the Gaumont Multiplex " Parc Millesime " in Reims to see " An Inconvenient Truth ", the movie that was a wake-up call for America and Global Warming skeptics all around the Planet. I cannot say more than what have been already said and written about Al Gore's traveling global warming show. The former Vice-President is really * a man with guts *, unlike too many people today. His presentation is a must for everyone above 14.
More about the movie and its purpose here : www.climatecrisis.net
How to take action here.
To download the pledge widget featured on the right side of this page, go here. By the way, you may want to click on it and pledge yourself ;-)
Environment and green/renewable energies are one of my favorites topics of interest since a couple of years. I will come back to that soon, and often. For the time being, and to start with the subject on this blog, here is a pretty interesting video from Discovery Channel on Sunlight Direct's fiber optic sunlight transport system. That is the Future, Folks, altough William Wheeler patented the idea in... 1880 !
ps : it is interesting to see that first ideas are always the right ones, right ?
Recently, the nonprofit organization Green Wi-Fi introduced its solar-powered Wi-Fi router. Their objective : to bring the Internet to schools in developing countries via cheap Wi-Fi networks. Of course, that is a excellente idea, which is explained in details in the article here on CNET.
There is another solution that I suggested a year ago to the PLC Powerline Communications vendor LEA : a PLC router powered by a wind generator coupled to a WiMax antenna. Imagine you live in the country side : no way to get a FTTH connection someday; enters WiMax, which is, among other things, aimed at bringing high-speed internet access to rural areas. Then, imagine you generate your own power for your domestic apps such as computers with a wind-generator. It's easy to combine the WiMax antenna with that wind generator and to a powerline router, which will broadcast all the Triple or QuadPlay services into your home...