Experimental Green Flight Across the Atlantic

American Airlines is about to test eco-friendly new technology on it’s regular flight between Paris and Miami this Thursday.

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Home – World Premiere, on World Environment Day

I’m receiving congratulatory notes – in the age of Facebook and Plaxo there is no hiding.  Oh, well, I’m happy to have reached 21smile_wink, at least I can get a drink now.

But June 5th is a memorable day for other reasons. This year it is the 20th anniversary of the of Tiananmen Square  crackdown in China.   June 5th is also World Environment Day, which this year has the theme:

Your Planet Needs You – UNite to Combat Climate Change

On this day an amazing film, simply titled HOME is released.  Directed by internationally renowned French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, produced by world famous director Luc Besson and narrated by five-time Academy Award® nominee Glenn Close (Dangerous Liaisons), Home aims to change the way people see the planet and their impact on it. Shot in high definition in 54 countries and 120 locations over 217 days, the unique and first-time ever all-aerial filming style highlights the Earth’s wonders as well as its wounds and provides a necessary perspective to approach the changing environment.

The World Premiere will take place in more 100 countries and in 23 languages, with free screenings  at the base of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, in New York’s Central Park,  London’s Trafalgar Square and Omaha, which is North America’s host city for the United Nations World Environment Day.

And now we can share it here, as the film is available in full length, amazing quality on Youtube until June 14th, 2009.

Update: apparently the film itself is not embeddable, so all I can include here is a a video on the shooting itself.  But the real film is worth clicking through and watching on Youtube – in full screen mode, ideally HD.

Enjoy. And Think.


The Green Fight: Solar Panels vs. Trees

We’re supposed to save trees – not only because there are laws against cutting them, but it’s the right thing to do. So Sunnyvale couple Richard Treanor and Carolynn Bissett were doing a good deed by planting a bunch of redwood trees between 1997 and 99.

Their neighbor, Mark Vargas must also be environmentally conscious, as he installed solar panels on his roofs in 2001.  There’s only one small (actually large) problem: solar panels don’t work without exposure to the sun.

The redwood trees grew to be giants, some reaching 400 feet, and they cast a shadow on the solar panels.  The neighbors have been fighting for years and finally Vargas filed a lawsuit.  Last December a judge ordered the couple to remove the trees. They won’t appeal, as after spending $37,000 in legal bills and can’t afford the lawsuit anymore, so they will abide. 

The lawsuit, and decision was based on California’s Solar Shade Control Act, which requires homeowners to keep their trees or shrubs from shading more than 10 percent of a neighbor’s solar panels.

Now, here comes the controversial part:

Existing trees that cast shadows when the panels are installed are exempt, but new growth is subject to the law.

CA state Sen. Joe Simitian (D) of Palo Alto plans to change it.  The bill he introduced this week would protect trees that were planted before the installation of solar panels. Those planted next to already existing solar panels would still be subject to removal.

Here’s the NBC11 video.

Update:  2009-10 will be the perfect time to install solar, as supply is expected to exceed demand.