Being Green: Turning Back the Clock

Hi Folks:

Friday once again, and time for this week’s ‘Being Green‘ post.  Before I get to that, however, I wanted to add in the following link: How to say “peace” in 100 languages.  Always a good idea…

Much of the cosmetics industry seems to revolve around the idea of being able to turn back the aging process a few years… I’m getting a little grayer around the muzzle myself (I’m the wolf part of but I’m rather proud of those white hairs – and not just because it makes me look like Santa Claus.  However, that’s not what this blog post is about.

My mind often works in a ‘ping-pong’ fashion (some might call it ‘cascade failure’  instead 😉 ) and while I was fishing around for an idea for this week’s ‘green’ post I found myself thinking about the webinar with Dr. Jennifer Languell I watched last week.  One of the things she mentioned was our (over)reliance on technology such as air conditioning systems when we could choose instead to incorporate passive systems that require no energy generation.  That got me thinking about an episode I’d seen on television once about a house that had incorporated waterways and gardens within the main floor of the house; one that essentially required intensive airflow modification to keep the temperature and humidity in check.  It was an engineering marvel that worked very well… as long as the electricity to run the system wasn’t lost.  That got me thinking about different technologies, including methods used by ancient cultures, that don’t rely on such elaborate mechanical systems.  Many people tend to see ancient and especially aboriginal cultures as being ‘primitive’, but in many cases their technology and their Ways of being equalled or surpassed our own.  For example, the Hopi people of the American southwest have been growing corn in a desert for millenia. Continue Reading →

Being Green – Green Walls

Hello, Dear Reader!

A few weeks back I did a post on roofing materials; one strategy for a roof is a ‘green roof’ or a vegetated roof. Green roofs have many advantages, but one need not stop there. Vegetated walls are also an option. Sometimes called living walls or biowalls, green walls can be used inside or outside a building. Used outside, green walls can help to control stormwater runoff and to cool the building. Used inside, a living wall can help cool the building, purify the air, lower energy costs, and improve people’s health and morale. I recently watched a TED talk by Kamal Meattle on ‘How to Grow Fresh Air‘. The first such ‘natural air purifier’ I heard about is at the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto, ON. Their living wall was designed into the structure, completed in 2002. Another living wall in Toronto is located at The Robertson Building, and there’s also a green wall at the Integrated Learning Centre at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON and at the Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo in Waterloo, ON. In Madrid, the CaixaForum gallery space has a very large outdoor living wall, and in Paris, the office wing of the Quai Branly Museum has an outdoor green wall as well. Both of these walls were designed by Patrick Franc of Paris. Also in Paris, the Pershing Hall Hotel has a large green wall in the patio area of their dining room.

Speaking of dining, one possibility for an indoor green wall is to grow food plants. At Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles, a green wall installed by Tournesol Siteworks is used to grow rosemary, lettuce, etc. Going beyond that is the idea of a ‘Vertical Farm’, which is basically a multi-storey greenhouse. More information on that may be found at ‘The Vertical Farm Project‘. In a similar vein, there’s a plan in the works to convert some Detroit neighbourhoods into urban farms, but that’s getting away from green walls per se.

More information on green walls can be found here:

Okay, other news and information I’ve come across this week includes:

Okay, that’s it for today. Have a great week, and if you have any links to add, feel free to leave us a comment!

Take care,

P.S. Since I’ve been talking about living walls ‘n’ things, I came across an interesting article in National Geographic on ‘Terra Preta‘. Terra preta is a Portugese term for ‘black earth’; basically, it’s an ancient technique that was practiced in the Amazon basin, adding charcoal, bone and organic matter to the rainforest’s relatively infertile soils. It’s a practice that built up the soil over generations. Some of the terra preta soils discovered are 2 metres deep. Scientists today are trying to tease apart this puzzle, in part because the process sequesters much more CO2 than the slash and burn agriculture practiced today in much of the Amazon.