Going Green: I Suck At It (But This Might Help!)
by A Real Person on July 20, 2010
I try my best to be a “green” consumer. I really do. But as a wise green philosopher once said, “There is no try.” In other words, I can buy as many reusable tote bags as I want, but it won’t do anyone any good unless I actually use them, instead of leaving them in the kitchen cupboard. I also can’t, for the life of me, remember to buy new Brita filters (not carried at my crappy nearby grocery store), so my eco-guilt turns to eco-anxiety every time I buy another plastic jug of water.
As another wise green philosopher once said, “It’s not easy being green”. I don’t think he was referring to this type of situation, considering the lack of electrical outlets in the swamp, but the phrase still applies.
Fortunately, there are some pretty neat gadgets out there that can help.
Printer-company-turned-electronics-company Brother is developing AA and AAA batteries that renew their energy by making your lazy ass provide a little. How? Simply shake the battery, and the electromagnetic induction generator installed inside the casing will provide the rechargeable battery with power. With current technology, the power of the batteries will be limited to devices with occasional use under 100mW…meaning all they will be good for is remote controls, LED flashlights, and the like. Still, never having to buy or replace (or throw out) batteries for your TV remote ever again sounds great to me. Plus, the first thing I do when my remote stops working is shake the bejeezus out of the thing anyway, so it’s not like I have to change my habits.
[via Tech On!]
But what about all the stuff I have plugged in? Those batteries won’t help with the power consumption from essentials like my TV, refrigerator, and lava lamp farm.
Regular energy usage meters are boring, so you might want to go for an “Energy Orb” instead. The Energy Orb is a creation of Southern California Edison worker Mark Martinez, who modded an Ambient Orb to change color based on energy use. The result is this:
The orb will remain a soothing blue or green color as long as you watch your juice. Use up too much power, and it will start flashing an accusatory red. I’m sure with a little work you could install speakers and have it play a recording of your dad yelling “turn off that light when you leave the room!” if you want.
This won’t help you in your home, but it’s pretty cool:
This is QinetiQ’s Zephyr, a completely solar-powered UAV that is setting a flight record right now by attempting to fly for two weeks straight! Assuming nothing happens by the time this article goes up, it will have been flying for nine days. I know, I know, it’s unmanned, but it’s still pretty cool. If you want to see a solar plane take on some passengers, you’ll want to keep an eye on the Solar Impulse project, which hopes to be the first to have a manned solar flight around the world. The best part? One of the project leaders is Captain Bertrand Piccard. Captain Piccard. Swear to god. And he’s bald, too.
Got any green tech tips? Or green tips in general so I can stop flaying myself for using paper towels? Leave them in the comments!