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Environment - Oct 8

Click on the headline (link) for the full text.

Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage


Wake up to IT's energy crisis

Continuity Central
Organisations are under mounting pressure to develop ‘greener’ approaches towards their information technology (IT) practices, and chief information officers (CIOs) need to wake up to the issues of spiralling energy consumption and environmental legislation, according to Gartner. Although technology can help reduce the impact of some environmental problems, its potential harmful effect is receiving increasing attention from environmentalists and policy makers alike.

Gartner said two factors are particularly visible to policymakers; the direct issue of electronic waste and the potential impact - caused by the electricity that computers consume - on global warming.

...Gartner said the electricity power needed for data centres is not the only issue. Power is also needed for technologies such as storage devices, networking controllers, uninterrupted power supplies and air conditioning. A realistic total figure for data centre power consumption is therefore at least double that used on servers alone.
(29 Sept 2006)
The Watt has some links on green computing initiatives.


Africa: Europe’s new dumping ground

Fred Bridgland, Sunday Herald
THE war-torn African state of Somalia could hardly have expected to be affected by the tsunami that struck off the Indonesian island of Sumatra on Boxing Day 2004, killing some 290,000 people.

But that tsunami wave powered 4000 miles westwards right across the Indian Ocean to sweep over Somalia’s pristine beaches, and killed nearly 300 people outright.

The tsunami, however, also uncovered a hidden and altogether more serious problem for Somalis: along more than 400 miles of shoreline, the turbo-charged wave churned up reinforced containers of hazardous toxic waste that European companies had been dumping a short distance offshore for more than a decade, taking advantage of the fact that there was not even a pretend authority in the African “failed state”.

The force of the tsunami broke open some of the containers which held radioactive nuclear waste, lead, cadmium, mercury, flame retardants, hospital waste and cocktails of other deadly residues of Europe’s industrial processes.
(1 Oct 2006)


Indonesian schools shut for haze

Brunei Times
More schools were shut in Indonesia yesterday, as travellers grappled with flight delays and face masks were donned to cope with worsening acrid haze from land-clearing fires, officials said.

The annual illegal burn-off in Indonesia, which officials here have been accused of doing little to stop, sees choking smoke billow across the region, with Malaysia, Singapore and southern Thailand also usually affected.
The fires typically rage on Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of Borneo island and Sumatra. Satellite images taken over Borneo last Wednesday showed that although the number of hotspots large areas with high temperatures indicating fires had dropped in West and Central Kalimantan to 395, the number in South Kalimantan had more than quadrupled from a day earlier to 561.
(6 Oct 2006)
See also Web Fire Mapper (click on Asia/SE Asia) for a view of the extent of the burning, Malaysia urges Indonesia to ratify trans-boundary haze pact, Acrid haze causes illnesses in Singapore.


Detroit’s lack of trees creates environmental crisis

Fall is the best time to plant most trees. And Metro Detroit needs lots and lots of new trees.
It is a crisis few of us are even aware of. Most of us know that the emerald ash borer has relieved Metro Detroit of more than 15 million ash trees. What is a bit more sobering is that in the past 20 years, Metro Detroit has been steadily losing trees in very large numbers to development. ..
The problem of lost canopy is so large that it almost defies description in terms we yardeners can even comprehend. The American Forest Association did a detailed study in 2003 that analyzed the urban ecosystem of southeast Michigan, including the city of Detroit. ..

The folks from American Forest did not simply record boring numbers to show the reduction in the tree canopy in southeast Michigan. They showed what that loss costs us in hard dollars.
Trees make an enormous contribution to the reduction of storm water runoff. Water sticks to the leaves, and then falls down into the soil filled with roots that grab some of that water and slowly let the rest seep down into the water table.

When those trees are replaced by a large parking lot for a mall, all of that water goes into the sewer system. The American Forest study estimates that the cost of additional sewer systems caused by the loss of tree canopy in the past decade is more than $1 billion; how's that for a kick in the tax base? ..
(7 Oct 2006)

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