Wednesday, December 17, 2008

1 MILLION New TREES!!! How cool.

I know I am a little behind on this news, it was originally released back in October. But this morning I drove by people planting truck loads of new trees along the high way and drainage canals by my house so I did a little digging and found out what it is all about.

This is an article from

A million new trees will thicken our canopy
By ALLAN TURNER Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle
Oct. 6, 2008, 11:23PM

Conceding it never will have mountains nor the Mediterranean, Mayor Bill White on Monday boasted Houston is "a green city that is beautiful to look at from the air and from the ground."

White's comments came as he announced city participation in Million Trees + Houston, a multimillion-dollar public-private partnership to plant more than a million trees in the city in the next five years.

"Our big public goal," said White, "is to plant more trees than we ever have."

Starting with a $750,000 budget, the city plans to plant at least 150,000 trees, starting in September, White said.

Joining in the effort are the Texas Department of Transportation, which has agreed to plant 513,000 trees on highway rights of way; Harris County, planting 275,000-plus trees; Trees for Houston and Texas Forest Service, each planting 10,000-plus trees; and corporate sponsors, management districts and other civic groups, planting more than 150,000 trees.

Other cities do the same.

Launch of the project, modeled after similar efforts in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City, coincides with the loss of tens of thousands of trees during Hurricane Ike.

At city parks and golf courses alone, Parks and Recreation Director Joe Turner said, more than 3,500 trees were lost.

Mack Fowler of the Quality of Life Coalition in Houston said the effort would help "put Houston on the map as an extraordinary tree city." The city's goal, he said, is to plant the trees in five years — half the time earmarked for similar projects in the larger cities.

"You're going to see trees in a very near term," Fowler said.

White endorsed trees as boons to the environment because they absorb carbon dioxide, aid in flood prevention, provide shade and serve as buffers against violent winds.

White said he has solicited the participation of large businesses in the program, asking that they give their employees "the gift of trees" in the coming holidays.
"I'm not saying turkeys don't have their place," he said, "but trees are a gift that lasts 70 to 80 years."

This year and next, the city will match one-third of corporate donations of up to $1.5 million. Among the areas the city plans to target for tree plantings are Wayside Drive, Dairy Ashford and Cullen Boulevard. On Cullen, the city intends to plant 4,500 trees on 38 esplanades.

White said a variety of trees in a variety of sizes, from seedlings to trees in 15-gallon containers, will be planted.

"We're going to plant like crazy from mid-September through February," he said.

White lauded the efforts of the Texas Department of Transportation, which has planted more than 600,000 trees along Houston roadways since 1999.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pagoda Trees

A few years back (2006) I purchased a packet of 10 Pagoda tree seeds on ebay. I planted them and decided that It would be pretty cool to take photos of their growth. Five of the seeds made it and below is a collection of photographs documenting the growth and life from seed of those Pagoda trees. I started taking photos every day, and then every week, and currently I am taking photos every month. It is pretty amazing how a little tiny seed can transform into a tree in just a matter of time.

The Pagoda Tree (Chinese Scholar, Japanese pagodatree; syn. Sophora japonica), is native to eastern Asia (mainly China; despite the name, it is introduced in Japan), is a popular ornamental tree in Europe and North America, grown for its white flowers, borne in late summer after most other flowering trees have long finished flowering. It makes a broad, spreading tree to 10-20 m tall and as much broad.

The Pagoda Tree is widely used in bonsai gardening. The Guilty Chinese Scholartree was a historic Pagoda Tree in Beijing, on which the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Chongzhen, hanged himself.

Click below to see all of the Pagoda photos:


Sunday, December 14, 2008

How to grow your own, apple.


It is easier than most people think to plant and grow an apple tree. The biggest part is just patience. If you plant a small apple tree, it will take about three to four years for the tree to mature and start to bear fruit. Growing apple trees from seeds will take upwards of ten years before your trees will produce a edible crop.

Apple seeds need to be started indoors. This can be done in one of two ways: you can place some apple seeds into a paper towel. Fold the paper towel over into a small square. Keep the paper towel wet, and place it in your refrigerator. Keep checking the seeds and keeping them moist. In a week or so, your apple seeds will sprout. They are now ready to plant outside. Or, you can use a paper cup filled with potting soil to start your seeds. Dig a shallow hole in the middle of the potting soil and plant the apple seeds there. Set the container on a sunny windowsill and keep the soil moistened. In a week or so, the apple seeds will sprout. They will then be ready to plant outside.

Once the apple seeds have sprouted, you will be ready to plant them outside. Choose a location that receives a lot of sunlight. Use a shovel or a rototiller to loosen up a fairly good size patch of soil. Rake the rocks, sticks, and other debris from this patch. Dig two shallow holes. Divide your apple seeds and plant them between the two holes. Cover around them with dirt firmly. Keep them watered and keep the ground free of weeds. You can place a clean glass jar upside over each apple tree to help protect it from the elements and from animals. If you are planting several rows of trees, as in an orchard, the rows should be planted approximately thirty to thirty-five feet apart. This will give you plenty of room to spray, prune, and otherwise care for the apple trees after they have matured.

After your apple tree has grown up to a height of about two or three feet, it is now time to stake it up. Simply use a stake or a thin strip of sturdy wood that measures about four feet long. Pound the stake or wood strip into the ground about four inches from the apple tree. Leave about three and a half feet of the stake or wood strip exposed. Use a piece of an old rag, or, a leg of an old pair of pantyhose to loosely tie the tree to the stake or wood strip. The rag, or pantyhose, and the stake will help support the apple tree and help it to grow straight. Wind, heavy rains, et cetera, can bend the young tree over if it doesn't have anything to support it.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

20,000 New Trees For Detroit...

Joe Rossiter from the Detroit Free Press writes,

The future of Detroit looks much greener, ecologically speaking, thanks to a budding partnership between the city and the Greening of Detroit announced Wednesday in a park on the city's west side.

The Walter Meyers Nursery, an abandoned 125-acre parcel in Rouge Park that has been dormant for more than three years, is to be used to provide the city with an efficient means of reforesting the landscape. Plans call for the planting of more than 20,000 trees on nursery property in the first eight years. The trees would be grown from young seedlings for three to five years before they are replanted in public places like parks and school grounds.

"Today is a cause for celebration because it presents a great opportunity for a partnership to blossom," said Rebecca Salminen-Witt, president of Greening of Detroit.

The partnership was blocked in July by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the union with the largest number of city workers. The union objected to the use of private workers, even if volunteers, to do nursery work once done by city employees.

But an arbitrator ruled against the union, which also is objecting to a plan to have Greening of Detroit plant trees in city-owned rights-of-way.

Greening of Detroit is a nonprofit organization established in 1989 to promote the reforestation of Detroit.

With the help of volunteers and community organizations, the group has been planting nearly 2,000 trees a year in the spring and fall.


Greening of Detroit is a 501 (c)(3) not for profit organization, established in 1989 to guide and inspire the reforestation of Detroit. Our latest strategic plan reflects commitment to a clear sense of direction that will guide the organization's development over the next five years.

A new vision was established, expanding The Greening's mission to guide and inspire others to create a 'greener' Detroit through planting and educational programs environmental leadership, advocacy, and by building community capacity.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Give me some O2

Air filtration is becoming a huge business today. With the EPA finding indoor air up to 90% more contaminated than the air outside, People are developing asthma and allergies at higher rates than ever before. Here is a very cool way to help the air in your home or office with no electricity needed at all.

Holga thumb

Yup. Good ole plants to save the day. Now don't get me wrong, if you can afford to have a powerful air filtration unit in your home or office then by all means go for it, but if your on a budget or just want to green the place up a bit, then pay a visit to your local green house or plant supplier and get some live plants in your place.

NASA has even researched the use of plants for a number of great uses. They have found that living plants are so efficient at absorbing contaminants in the air that some will be launched into space as part of the biological life support system aboard future orbiting space stations. NASA is also looking at using plants to grow food in space for the astronauts to eat. Which brings us to another awesome benefit.

Spicer Getting ripe

Not only can you have plants in your home for cleaning the air but depending on what your growing, you can spice up your meals as well.

Share your plants with us Here


Monday, December 8, 2008

And you thought LEDs were efficient...

GE leaves behind the old school light bulbs for LEDs and OLEDs (Organic Light Emitting Diodes).

GE Has been working on OLEDS for a while now and they hope to have them for sale by 2010. Below is an interesting article about this technology.

OLEDs are thin, organic materials sandwiched between two electrodes, which illuminate when an electrical charge is applied. They represent the next evolution in lighting products. Their widespread design capabilities will provide an entirely different way for people to light their homes or businesses. Moreover, OLEDs have the potential to deliver dramatically improved levels of efficiency and environmental performance, while achieving the same quality of illumination found in traditional products in the marketplace today with less electrical power.

“Researchers have long dreamed of making OLEDs using a newspaper-printing like roll-to-roll process,” said Anil Duggal, manager of GE’s Advanced Technology Program in Organic Electronics. “Now we’ve shown that it is possible. Commercial applications in lighting require low manufacturing costs, and this demonstration is a major milestone on our way to developing low cost OLED lighting devices.”

Duggal continued, “Beyond OLEDs, this technology also could have broader impact in the manufacturing of other organic electronic devices such as organic photovoltaics for solar energy conversion, sensors and roll-up displays.”

“For businesses, architects, lighting designers and anyone interested in pushing the envelope to achieve increasingly energy-efficient lighting — and vastly expanded lighting design capabilities — today marks the day that viable, commercialized OLED lighting solutions are coming into view,” said Michael Petras, GE Consumer & Industrial’s Vice President of Electrical Distribution and Lighting. “We have more work to do before we can give customers access to GE-quality OLED solutions, but it’s now easier to envision OLEDs becoming another high-efficiency GE offering, like LEDs, fluorescent or halogen.”

The demonstration of a low-cost, roll-to-roll process for OLED lighting represents the successful completion of a four-year, $13 million research collaboration among GE Global Research, Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENER) and the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The goal of the collaboration was to demonstrate a cost-effective system for the mass production of organic electronics products such as flexible electronic paper displays, portable TV screens the size of posters, solar powered cells and high-efficiency lighting devices.

ECD Senior Vice President Nancy Bacon said, “This program was a major step in developing high volume roll-to-roll manufacturing for OLEDs and other organic semiconductor devices. The success of this program is testimony to the effectiveness of NIST’s advanced technology program model, and our 20-year history of pioneering research in roll-to-roll technology. We currently are utilizing this technology to mass produce our flexible, durable and lightweight UNI-SOLAR brand solar laminates. ECD looks forward to continuing collaboration with GE to further develop this technology for future commercialization.”

GE researchers provided the organic electronics technology and were responsible for developing the roll-to-roll processes, while ECD provided its unique roll-to-roll equipment-building expertise to build the machine that manufactures the OLED devices. The machine is being utilized for further manufacturing research at GE’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna, New York.

The development of this low cost roll-to-roll manufacturing process has the potential to eliminate the manufacturing hurdles that currently exist in preventing a more widespread adoption of high performance organic electronics technologies such as OLED lighting. The unique commercial equipment and technology needed to enable high performance-based organic electronics products does not currently exist. The few organic electronics products on the market today are made with more conventional batch processes and are relatively high cost. A roll-to-roll manufacturing infrastructure that enables high performance and low cost devices will allow a more widespread adoption of organic electronics products.

GE’s OLED Research Program

GE, as part of its ecomagination initiative, has made substantial investments in OLED research that has resulted in world records for OLED lighting device size and efficiency. In 2004, researchers were able to demonstrate an OLED device that was fully functional as a 24-inch by 24-inch panel, which produced 1,200 lumens of light with an efficiency on par with today’s incandescent bulb technology. This was the first demonstration that OLED technology potentially could be used for lighting applications. Since then, GE has more than doubled the level of OLED efficiency using device architectures that are scalable to a large area and can be produced cost-effectively.

The efforts to increase the efficiency and performance of OLED lighting have coincided with the development of a low-cost, roll-to-roll process for manufacturing these devices. The ultimate goal of GE’s research program is to introduce OLED lighting products to market by the year 2010.

About GE Global Research

GE Global Research is one of the world's most diversified industrial research labs, providing innovative technology for all of GE's businesses. Global Research has been the cornerstone of GE technology for more than 100 years, developing breakthrough innovations in areas such as medical imaging, energy generation technology, jet engines and lighting. GE Global Research is headquartered in Niskayuna, New York and has facilities in Bangalore, India, Shanghai, China and Munich, Germany. Visit GE Global Research at

About Energy Conversion Devices

Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (Nasdaq: ENER) manufactures and sells thin-film solar laminates that convert sunlight to energy using proprietary technology. Distributed globally under the UNI-SOLAR® brand, the company's products are ideally suited for cost-effective solar roofing solutions because they are lightweight, durable, flexible, can be integrated directly with building materials, and generate more energy in real-world conditions. ECD also pioneers other alternative technologies, including a new type of non-volatile digital memory that is significantly faster and less expensive, and is ideal for a variety of applications including cell phones, digital cameras and personal computers. For more information, visit



Friday, December 5, 2008

Act The F*&k Now!

I saw this and thought it was really well done.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Houston Greens its traffic lights

I thought this was super cool. Houston has approved changing every single traffic light in the 500 square mile city from the old school 135 watt bulbs to 10 watt LED lights. This is costing the city 16 million to do, but it will save the city 10,000 dollars a day in electricity. What a great investment, within 4 years not only will these wattage savers completely pay for themselves but they will be putting about 3.6 million dollars a year after that back into the cities budget. Now that's smart.

Holga Downtown Nights

In other cool news for Houston's Green efforts check out this article.

Houston is retrofitting municipal buildings to save not just the greenhouse gasses produced from wasted energy but to create a surplus of money saved in the process.

Good job Houston. Let's hope other cities follow suit. With all the economic issues we face today, it makes sense to do things that SAVE money.