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Cannes Catches Freak Waves. Is it Global Warming?

The Cannes Film Festival is set to begin on May 12.
Freak waves battered the southern French coast between Cannes and Nice on Tuesday afternoon, causing major damage to beach constructions.  We're just a few days away from the start of the 63rd Cannes Film Festival, and some businesses don't feel they can re-open in time.
Is it global warming? Or is it just Mother Nature?

Ten-metre-high waves (33 feet) battered the coastline, leaving one woman with a fractured leg and causing major material damage.  From France 24:
"There were very big waves this afternoon that caused major material damage to beach constructions, but there were no disappearances," regional authorities told AFP.
In Cannes, some 20 restaurants were damaged and several cars overturned.
In Nice, not only the beaches were closed but also part of its famous Promenade des Anglais.
The timing of the natural disaster – days before the opening of the tourist season – could spell economic disaster for the French Riviera.
The owner of Castel, a trendy beachside restaurant in Nice, told local daily Nice-Matin he was unsure whether his business could reopen this year.
“It’s terrible. We feared for our lives when the waves turned into seven to eight-metre-high monstrous bombs. It was out of question to resist”
Read More Here >>>
Anne Thomspon, of IndieWire, also reported on the freak waves. Anne is scheduled to moderate a film panel during Cannes Film Festival's Critics' Week. In a related post, to be found on her TOH blog, she noted that Roger Ebert was named Webby Person of the year:
Writes TOH, 'In his much-retweeted post entitled The Golden Age of Movie Critics, Ebert serves a feast of wisdom both about film writing and life in general. He closes his post:"
That’s what an education is for. That’s what life is for. That’s the discovery made by these extraordinary writers I’ve found on the World Wide Web. Find out all you can, and see what you can do with it.

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Olivia Munn Maxim Hottie Hosts CapCom Lost Planet 2 Launch 4 MusicForRelief

Capcom Lost Planet 2 launch party at the Roosevelt Hotel May 6th in Hollywood was hosted by Maxim hottie Olivia Munn.

The 29-year-old host of G4’s Attack of the Show is getting a spin-off called It’s Effin’ Science, where two hosts will conduct wacky science experiments. Premiere date is June 15!  Launch party benefitted Music For Relief [for Haiti].

Munn spoke out for PETA on April 27th when she unveiled her billboard Stop The Circus. Olivia Munn in black unveiling her PETA billboard in LA – Apr 27. PICS >>>

Gossip Girl's Ed Westwick stopped by the Capcom Celebration of the Launch of Lost Planet 2 video game at the Roosevelt to say hi to some friends before a night out on the town.

DJ Cobra started playing the new single “City of Angles” at the Capcom Celebration for the Launch of Lost Planet 2 and noticed Seth eyeing the crowd for reaction… Looks like  Seth “Shifty” Binzer was pleasantly surprised - he may be heading for another number 1 single!

Olivia Munn was the perfect host of the Capcom Celebration of the Launch of Lost Planet 2 video game - in between announcing the different rounds of the tournament and starting an impromptu karaoke session with fans, Munn hopped off the stage to sign autographs and pose for pictures with partygoers.

Nickelodeon hunk Robbie Amell, in stripes, from True Jackson, VP  tweeted, “Off to Anchorage, Alaska tomorrow to help a great cause. Can’t wait! Go to to find out more!”

While female fans tried to get the attention of the newest member of the Twilight wolfpack, 16 yr. old, Booboo Stewart was more focused on learning how to play the new Capcom Lost Planet 2 video game at the launch party at the Roosevelt Hotel - eventually he'll know to pay a little more attention to the girls.

Girls Next Door's Shannon twins debuted new boys last night at the Capcom Lost Planet 2 launch party at the Roosevelt, and they were nothing like their recent fella Hugh Hefner.

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The Butchart Gardens, An Ecological Landmark

Out on Saanich Peninsula, on Vancouver Island, is the ecological landmark that is the Butchart Gardens.

Butchart Gardens are a window into nature's beauty - and resiliency.

To state that the Butchart Gardens are beautiful is to utter a redundancy. To point out that these lush, exquisite – privately owned and maintained – gardens were once an environmental eyesore, a cement quarry whose blighted exterior belied any vestige of nature or beauty still existing within, or that nature or beauty could thrive on the grounds ever again, is to begin to see why the beauty of the Butchart Gardens is an ecological landmark worthy of the world's distinction.

The beautiful Butchart Gardens were once a gutted cement pit, barren of plants and flowers.

During an era when there is much conversation around “reclamation” and “stewardship,” the Butchart Gardens offer a tactile experience of just how resilient nature is. What's more, the gardens are lovingly maintained, carefully cultivated with year-round plantings, with sound stewardship of the land, the soil and the plants in full practice. This stewardship of the gardens, like the ownership of the land, has been passed down through generations, father to son to granddaughter. Beauty can be and is in harmony with nature and the Butchart Gardens are a living example of this.

Butchart's Famous Sunken Garden. Once upon a time, the cement quarry.

Nurturing nature.

Butchart's Japanese Gardens.

In an average year The Butchart Gardens recycles approximately:

  • 29 metric tonnes of cardboard
  • 5 metric tonnes of glass, metal and paper
  • 57,000 deposit beverage containers

These items are among the higher volume recyclables processed on a daily basis.

Sustainable Gardening at Butchart Gardens

  • Wood flats are used instead of plastic flats.  They last for five years or more and are made on site.
  • The majority of fertilizers used are organic based; many are custom blended for the gardens.
  • Wood waste and branches are ground for mulch or compost.  Leaves are collected and used for mulch.
  • The Gardens continues to test new methods of pest control with safety for their staff,  visitors and the environment as priority.
  • They have a woodland management plan to ensure the health and longevity of the natural forested areas.
  • The Gardens has implemented an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, using biological and environmentally safe methods of pest control to reduce the effect on the environment while maintaining the high quality of plant display. The gardening department has both an indoor (greenhouses) and outdoor (gardens) IPM coordinator.
  • Composting is integral to recycling, and all green wastes are turned into useable growing media. The Gardens is now self sufficient in producing a high quality product to meet all of its greenhouse production soil requirements.
  • Drip irrigation is used where practical.

The ampitheatre at Butchart Gardens is a popular place to gather with friends and family.

A Family Affair

In our passion, however, for eco-speak, we would be remiss to gloss over how attractive the gardens are for families and for afternoons of Family Fun. The season is just kicking into gear and the faster that summer approaches, the more opportunities there are to enjoy the outdoors at Butchart Gardens, gardens that are, in fact, open year-round. The rose gardens, it is advisable to note, begin their blooming in late June and go through late August.

When the roses are in bloom at Butchart Gardens.

Gardens represent love. Love does not necessarily mean romantic love. It can be love for family, love for friends, love for fragrances, fresh air, colorful blooms. Gardens by their very being reflect nature's love for itself, for growth, for sunshine and rain and seasons; for simply reflecting beauty back to life itself and to those who may take a moment to enjoy and breathe it in.

Weddings are hosted at Butchart Gardens, including the wedding reception.

The new carousel is sure to be a cherished addition for generations to come. It is most certainly one of the only carousels to have an Orca as one of its mounted animals. It is so fitting, of course, since you can walk a few hundred yards down to the Ocean Bay that hugs along the coastline that Butchart Gardens calls home. Likely on the ferry over from the “mainland” you will have seen some whales, Orcas or seals. They used to even keep fish in the small lake on the gardens' grounds but have since stopped because the seals from the ocean bay would squirm their way somehow into the lake to have a feast of fresh fish.

The new Carousel at Butchart Gardens, complete with Pacific-Northwest Orca.

Eco-tours that launch from the Butchart Gardens bay every hour - right there on the grounds - will take you, in electric powered boats, around the inlets and scenic coastline that the gardens are uniquely privy to. Another summertime fling to look forward to are the Saturday night fireworks. People begin gathering sometimes as early as noon, staking out a place on the grounds with their blankets, so as to have prime seating for the fireworks show that begins around 9pm in the height of summer.

Fireworks on Saturday nights at Butchart Gardens.

The Butchart family once owned the Vancouver Portland Cement Company.

The flowers are enchanting and offer sensory delight to distraction. But if you take a bit of time on your way out to look through some of the museum-like memorabilia the Butchart Family has decoratively placed in what was once their personal living quarters, you may just spy the letter from the Mayor of Victoria to Mrs. Butchart dated 1920 that reads, “The children are all agreed that it was the most pleasant outing they have ever experienced...”.

Mrs. Butchart was fond of serving tea in the afternoons to guests in her gardens.

Click here for Butchart Gardens' Calendar of summertime events.

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Greening NYC - Eco Style Spring Cleaning

by Mike Morone

Give Your Stuff Away Day - free stuff all over the place

Free stuff will be available in neighborhoods all over America on May 15, 2010. It’s an event Mike Morone is hoping to establish world-wide twice annually. The event could eventually help millions, while diminishing landfills, reducing clutter, and boosting the economy.  Give Your Stuff Away.
Facebook -

Many of us own valuable stuff we just don’t want anymore. But instead of giving it away or selling it, we allow it to clutter our households and businesses. Billions of great items are just wasting away, taking up space.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could magically shift ownership of this stuff, in one weekend, coast to coast, with zero effort, little time, and at no cost?

Cool happens on May 15, 2010. It’s called Give Your Stuff Away Day and it will work (almost) like magic, as long as we promote the idea and follow common sense procedures.

On May 15, bring your valuable, but unwanted stuff to your curb. Some guidelines - no trash, recyclables, illegal or dangerous items. No food, drugs, chemicals, or weapons. Just safe, valuable items we would like to donate. Then watch the fun – or better yet, take a walk and find some free stuff you can use.

A few warnings: Give Your Stuff Away Day can get a bit messy, but it’s worth it. Trash hauling expenses could spike that week. But in the long run, fewer items in landfills equate to lower hauling expenses.

Local governments won’t like it – until they understand how beneficial it can be. Last month, Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell became the first elected official to understand that. Read about it here, and please call Mike Morone if you would like to discuss this event.


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Eureka! Tehachapi Renewable Energy Transmission Project

It's one thing to generate clean energy. It's a whole other thing to get it it to the people.
In California, with the cooperation of Southern California Edison and Gov. Schwarzenegger's Green Team, progress is showing its face on both fronts.
"...We need transmission lines, just like the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project, to bring the clean electricity to the cities where people live and work." - Gov. Schwarzenegger

Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project

Today, May 4th, the Gov. of California and SCE executives gathered in a Greening The Grid event to announce the completion of the first phase buildout for the Tehachapi transmission lines that are being built to deliver clean wind energy to people who live in urban areas. Since the significant population concentration live in cities and extended urban areas, this means delivering clean energy to outlets where people can and will use it.

Tehachapi is the second largest collection of wind turbines in the world with around 5,000, right behind the world's largest, the Altamont Pass near the Bay Area that has around 7,000.

Southern California Edison's Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project is the first major transmission project in California to be constructed specifically for accessing a renewable-rich resource area. Once the entire project is completed, it will be capable of delivering 4,500 megawatts (MW) of clean electricity, enough to power about 3 million homes in Southern California. This first phase is capable of carrying 700 MW of clean electricity.

The Tehachapi project will also transport electricity from several large-scale solar projects currently in development.

Related Reading:
SB X8 34 paves way for California renewable energy buildout.

Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS): Governor Schwarzenegger signed an Executive Order directing the California Air Resources Board to adopt regulations increasing California's Renewable Portfolio Standard to 33 percent by 2020. This will ensure California will have the flexibility needed to use renewable energy sources for 33 percent of our energy consumption by 2020


Whistleblower Warning re: Gulf Disaster


Deepwater Horizon Accident Foreshadows a Potential Disaster Waiting to Happen in the Gulf

Food & Water Watch and Safety Engineer Warn of Consequences of a Lack of Critical Safety Documents, Fear Disaster Possible for BP Atlantis

BP Atlantis Platform, Gulf of Mexico
Washington, D.C.—Following [April's] explosion on the Deepwater Horizon Platform, leased and operated by British Petroleum (BP) in the Gulf of Mexico, the national consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch is warning of the possibility of a similarly tragic disaster involving the company’s Atlantis Project— one of the world’s deepest semi-submersible oil and natural gas platforms, located 150 miles south of New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico.
Last year, a whistleblower and former company contractor alleged that the Atlantis platform has been operating without a large percentage of the engineer-approved documents needed for it to operate safely. An independent engineer later substantiated these concerns, concluding that a BP database showed that over 85 percent of the Atlantis Project’s Piping and Instrument drawings lacked final engineer-approval, and that the project should be immediately shut down until those documents could be accounted for and are independently verified.
“The tragic explosion on the Deepwater Horizon platform is an urgent reminder of the calamity that could occur if BP’s Atlantis platform is operating without the approved documents necessary for ensuring its safety,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “This accident and the recent Massey mine disaster in West Virginia underscore a complete lack of regulatory oversight over the operations of the fossil fuel industry.”
BP has denied the whistleblower’s assertions regarding Atlantis, going so far as to write a letter to Congressional staff saying that they are “unsubstantiated,” even though internal documents show that in August 2008, BP management was aware of the problems and believed that the document deficiencies “could lead to catastrophic Operator error.” An investigation conducted by the company’s Ombudsman in April 2009 seems to substantiate the charges, although the investigation’s results did not become known until this month. BP has never acknowledged that the Ombudsman conducted an investigation of the project’s document deficiencies.
“BP’s recklessness in regards to the Atlantis project is a clear example of how the company has a pattern of failing to comply with minimum industry standards for worker and environmental safety,” said Mike Sawyer, an Engineer at Apex Safety Consultants, who verified the contractor-turned-whistleblower’s concerns about the company’s lack of proper documents.  Read More Here >>>
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Clean Tech In B.C.

Clean tech in BC

By Florian Guhr Axel Schaefer  

In the summer of 2009, the National Research Council of Canada and the Centre for Sustainability and Social Innovation at the Sauder School of Business conducted an industry survey with the purpose of defining the needs of BC clean energy companies. 61 entities, including clean energy companies, research institutes, investors and associations responded to this survey.

The clean energy technology companies showed a promising picture with their ability to develop and market innovative technologies to global customers, but most are still relatively young and are working to become established in the market.  Focused on the evolving clean energy markets of North America, Europe and Asia, such companies are at the heart of BC’s green economy – an industry that accounted for about $8.8 billion in provincial GDP in 2008, accounting for 3.1% and 71,734 green economy jobs in total.[1] Since clean technology is not easily defined, these numbers can vary according to the definition. The target of the survey was clean technology companies with can be divided into the following groups: distributed power generation, clean transportation, bio energy, clean transportation and remediation.

Even during this time of economic recession, clean technology is said to have the potential to be one of the first industries to recover. BC’s greatest advantage as a clean energy hub is its abundance of energy resources, a skilled work force and the capabilities of its research institutions. Major disadvantages include the lack of access to capital and the absence of tax incentives which forces most of the companies interviewed to finance their R&D through their operational cash flow. The survey showed that financial aid, export aid and support for faster commercialization pathways are a high priority for these companies.

BC’s clean energy technology companies have felt the impact of the global economic slow down and are struggling to find funding sources and industry partners to build demonstration projects in the first place.  Through initiatives, such as the BC clean energy technology cooperative BC CETC and the UBC – CIRS, BC’s clean energy companies have opportunities to outsource parts of their technology development which allows for increased resources and focus on the commercial side of their activities. Other groups such as Cleanworks BC and the Cleantech CEO alliance focus on the promotion of BC’s clean tech strengths to the international markets. These opportunities allow for added freedom and a faster development cycle through the use of experts in clean energy technology fields. Cost and resource savings as well as reduced time to market will help BC’s clean energy companies to increase market shares, revenues and create new green jobs and services and help BC to move into a modern clean energy economy. BC, which already has an abundance of resources for renewable energy and research, is moving steadily in the direction of becoming a clean tech hub in North America.


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Can I Recycle My Straw? Top 12 Recycling FAQs

Can I Recycle My Straw? Top 12 Recycling FAQs Answered Once And For All

Even the most seasoned ecoista can be stumped by a bottle cap or shampoo bottle. Which bin? Do I need to wash it out? And what about the straw?
by Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, Founder, Publisher of Eco Stiletto

We all know the drill: Reduce, reuse, recycle. But there may be a bit of confusion on that last part. Even the most seasoned ecoista can be stumped by a bottle cap or a straw. Does it go in the blue bin or the black? If I’m recycling, do I need to wash it first? We’ve got answers to the top 12 questions we get asked on a daily basis. Drumroll, please!
1. What do those arrows and numbers on the bottom of plastic bottles mean?
That’s the “chasing arrow” symbol, and the number in the middle indicates the type of plastic the container is made from. Typically, numbers one and two are the most widely recyclable plastics, but there are exceptions: For example, one through seven are recyclable in the City of Phoenix, but in Scottsdale (a suburb of Phoenix), they only take one (polyethylene terephthalate or PET, used for soda bottles) and two (high-density polyethylene or HDPE, used for milk and detergent bottles). Some recycling programs even take Stryofoam!
2. Why should I wash out my recycling?
First, to remove possible contaminants and second to keep your recycling bin from getting stinky. However, you won’t prevent a can from being recycled if you leave it dirty.
3. Can I recycle small pieces of paper-like facial tissues?
Facial tissue can’t be recycled. The fibers are too weak to be turned into usable paper. And tissue is often contaminated with oils that make them unable to be recycled-the same problem is inherent in trying to recycle paper towels.
4. What about plastic bags?
Plastic bags can be recycled. However, unlike plastic bottles, many curbside programs will not accept plastic bags. Because they’re so light, these bags can get stuck inside machinery during the recycling process. The good news is that many major grocery chains now accept plastic bags and plastic wrap at their stores. Look for special bins outside. Or, better yet, decline the bag and carry a reusable one!
5. Can I recycle small pieces of plastic? What about bottle caps?
Yes, you can recycle small pieces of plastic like bottle tops. Bottle caps are metal, but they’re typically lined with plastic-items made from mixed materials can’t be recycled because the materials can’t be separated. Same thing goes for juice boxes and coated cardboard drink containers-although there are new versions specially marked for recycling or composting, which are indicated on the label.
6. I’m buying a soda. Bottle or can?
Can, definitely. Most cans contain 50% or more recycled aluminum. And a used aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf as a new can in as little as 60 days.
But wait, there's more! Find out what you can recycle in your bathroom, closet and office at


Worse Than You Think

Obama: "I continue to believe that domestic oil production [drill baby drill!] is an important part of our overall strategy for energy security."
Gore: Says Maggie Fox, president of Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection: "This tragic event is a deafening wake up call that America's dependence on fossil fuels cannot continue. We know this dependence is a direct threat to our national security. This massive spill is a stark reminder of the environmental and economic dangers we face as well."
Ian R. MacDonald, an oceanography professor at Florida State University, said his examination of Coast Guard charts and satellite images indicated that 8 million to 9 million gallons had already spilled by April 28. ...
Alabama's governor said his state was preparing for a worst-case scenario of 150,000 barrels, or more than 6 million gallons per day. At that rate the spill would amount to a Valdez-sized spill every two days, and the situation could last for months.
From Grist:
If he [Obama] was looking for an opportunity to drive home the clean energy message, this was it -- the Katrina of fossil fuels. Yet all Obama has done is blandly reaffirm his support for offshore drilling. I haven't heard a word about clean energy alternatives or, God forbid, efficiency...
Lifted off of the comments at DailyKos, this one originated on Grist:
It's even worse than Devilstower thinks From a commenter at Grist, and this sounds correct. A reader who is an engineer of considerable experience says watch this one evolve carefully because it is destined to continue to grow and he shares this long (but worthy) explanation why: "Heard your mention of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico this morning, and you (and most everyone else except maybe George Noory) are totally missing the boat on how big and bad of a disaster this is.
First fact, the original estimate was about 5,000 gallons of oil a day spilling into the ocean. Now they're saying 200,000 gallons a day. That's over a million gallons of crude oil a week! First, the BP platform was drilling for what they call deep oil. They go out where the ocean is about 5,000 feet deep and drill another  30,000 feet into the crust of the earth.
This it right on the edge of what human technology can do. Well, this time they hit a pocket of oil at such high pressure that it burst all of their safety valves all the way up to the drilling rig and then caused the rig to explode and sink. Take a moment to grasp the import of that. The pressure behind this oil is so high that it destroyed the maximum effort of human science to contain it.
When the rig sank it flipped over and landed on top of the drill hole some 5,000 feet under the ocean. Now they've got a hole in the ocean floor, 5,000 feet down with a wrecked oil drilling rig sitting on top of is spewing 200,000 barrels of oil a day into the ocean. Take a moment and consider that, will you!
First they have to get the oil rig off the hole to get at it in order to try to cap it. Do you know the level of effort it will take to move that wrecked oil rig, sitting under 5,000 feet of water? That operation alone would take years and hundreds of millions toaccomplish. Then, how do you cap that hole in the muddy ocean floor?
There just is no way. No way. The only piece of human technology that might address this is anuclear bomb. I'm not kidding. If they put a nuke down there in the right spot it might seal up the hole. Nothing short of that will work. If we can't cap that hole that oil is going to destroy the oceans of the world. It only takes one quart of motor oil to make 250,000gallons of ocean water toxic to wildlife.
Are you starting to get the magnitude of this?

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