Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Grandma's Brag Book

Sorry, I haven't posted for a while. Our computer died just after we sent the laptop in for repairs, and then my son and his family came for a visit and wanted to spend as much time with him as possible. My son is stationed in New York at Fort Drum and was able to get leave for about a week and a half. He spent some time with us and also his wife's family that live in Wendell.
And here is little missy, Isabelle. She is almost 7 months old.
Ya think Archie may be a little jealous.

And here is 8 year old Uncle Evan with Isabelle.

And Uncle Evan being used as a teether.

And finally, with Great Grandpa. Unfortunately, Great Grandma didn't get to see Isabelle. She got to spend the day with my son. He went to church with her and then had lunch at her house after, but Isabelle was with her mom in Wendell that day and my mom had to go to Seattle that night (she has a business in Seattle and flies back and forth between here and Seattle every couple weeks or so). Hopefully, it won't be too long before my son can get leave again. I want to make sure little Isabelle doesn't forget her Gma, Gpa and all her Aunts and Uncles.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Platic Recycling Voyage

SAN FRANCISCO, California (CNN) -- Imagine collecting thousands of empty plastic bottles, lashing them together to make a boat and sailing the thing from California to Australia, a journey of 11,000 miles through treacherous seas.

You'd have to be crazy, or trying to make a point. David de Rothschild is trying to make a point.

De Rothschild hopes his one-of-a-kind vessel, now being built on a San Francisco pier, will boost recycling of plastic bottles, which he says are a symbol of global waste. Except for the masts, which are metal, everything on the 60-foot catamaran is made from recycled plastic.

"It's all sail power," he said. "The idea is to put no kind of pollution back into the atmosphere, or into our oceans for that matter, so everything on the boat will be composted. Everything will be recycled. Even the vessel is going to end up being recycled when we finish."

De Rothschild's vessel, scheduled to set sail from San Francisco in April, is called the Plastiki. Its name is an homage of sorts to Thor Heyerdahl, the fabled Norwegian explorer who in 1947 sailed 4,300 miles across the Pacific on the Kon-Tiki, a raft made from balsa wood.

De Rothschild is something of an adventurer himself. The scion of a wealthy British banking family, he is one of only several dozen people to traverse both the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps. In 2005 he founded Adventure Ecology, an organization that uses field expeditions to call attention to environmental issues.

Joining him on the Plastiki will be a permanent crew of three sailors and scientists plus a handful of other crew members who will rotate through the voyage. The Plastiki is expected to stop in Hawaii, Tuvalu and Fiji on its way to Sydney, a trip estimated to take more than 100 days.

The plastic sailboat is taking shape in an old pier building not far from this city's famous Fisherman's Wharf. Here, thousands of two-liter soda bottles are being stripped of their labels, washed, filled with dry-ice powder and then resealed. The dry ice sublimates into carbon dioxide gas and pressurizes the bottle, making it rigid.

The vessel's twin hulls will be filled with 12,000 to 16,000 bottles. Skin-like panels made from recycled PET, a woven plastic fabric, will cover the hulls and a watertight cabin, which sleeps four.

"This actually is the same material that is made out of bottles," said de Rothschild of the PET fabric. "We actually wrap the PET fabric over the PET foam and then basically put it under a vacuum, heat it, press it and create these long PET panels. So that means the boat is, technically, one giant bottle."

Two wind turbines and an array of solar panels will charge a bank of 12-volt batteries, which will power several onboard laptop computers, a GPS and SAT phone.

Only about 10 percent of the Plastiki will be made from new materials, de Rothschild said. He declined to reveal how much it's costing him to build the boat.

"We could potentially put together a boat that costs a fraction of what normal conventional boats are made of," he said. "The idea is to take the Plastiki, break it down [after the voyage], and put it back into the system. So, it may come out being a jacket, a bag, more bottles. It's infinitely recyclable."

The ultimate goal of the Plastiki voyage is not just to encourage people to embrace clean, renewable energy but also to see consumer waste as a potential resource.
That's what this is all about -- showcasing cradle-to-cradle products rather than cradle-to-grave," de Rothschild said.

Whether the Plastiki will successfully complete its unique journey remains to be seen. But to conservationists concerned about the amount of energy required to manufacture and distribute plastic bottles, its symbolic message is a welcome one.
"Anything that gets in the news and makes people stop and think about plastic can be very helpful," said Betty McLaughlin, executive director of the Container Recycling Institute.
"But it strikes me as a long way to go. I flew from Los Angeles to Australia once, and it took forever. This trip strikes me as kind of dangerous."

Monday, March 2, 2009

Luxury Toilet Paper More Harmful to the Environment than Gas Guzzling Cars

Found this article in the Daily Mail (a newspaper from the uk)

Luxury toilet paper is more harmful to the environment than gas-guzzling cars

By Ryan Kisiel
Last updated at 1:51 AM on 27th February 2009

More than 98 per cent of toilet paper in the U.S. comes from virgin forests

Extra-soft toilet paper is more harmful to the environment than gas-guzzling cars, campaigners claimed yesterday.

An obsession by Americans for the expensive quilted and multi-ply paper means that thousands of trees are being cut down for the U.S. market every year.

More than 98 per cent of toilet paper in the country comes from virgin forests and uses hardly any recycled materials.

Toxic fumes are also released into the atmosphere because of the chemicals used in paper pulp manufacture.

In Europe, up to 40 per cent of toilet paper comes from recycled products.

Scientist Allen Hershkowitz of the Natural Resources Defence Council, said: 'This is a product that we use for less than three seconds and the ecological consequences of manufacturing it from trees is enormous.

'Future generations are going to look at the way we make toilet paper as one of the greatest excesses of our age.

'Making toilet paper from virgin wood is a lot worse than driving Hummers in terms of global warming pollution.

'I really do think it is overwhelmingly an American phenomenon.
'People just don't understand that softness equals ecological destruction.'

Greenpeace has launched an ecological guide to toilet paper in an effort to counter the multi-million pound marketing budget of luxury toilet paper manufactures.

Lindsey Allen, Greenpeace's forestry campaigner, said: 'We have this myth in the U.S. that recycled is just so low quality, it's like cardboard.'

Americans use more paper than paper than any other country - about three times more than people in the UK, and 100 times more than the average person in China.

Toilet paper manufacturer Kimberly-Clark denies that its products are damaging the environment.

Spokesman Dave Dixon said his company used paper from sustainably farmed forests in Canada.
He added: 'For bath tissue Americans in particular like the softness and strength that virgin fibres provides.'

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