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U2 Criticized for 360 Tour Carbon Footprint


U2 is being criticized for their overindulgence on their 360 Tour with the band’s custom-built “Claw” set which gives concert goers an unobtrusive view of the stage, carries a huge price tag as well as a hefty carbon footprint. The set is three steel structures that cost around $32 million each.

Critics are saying that the band’s lavish stage goes against the group’s humanitarian platform and that there are better ways to blow $32 million than on one piece of steel.

U2’s The Edge said: “We’re spending the money on our fans, I don’t think there’s a better thing you could spend it on.” Um, really? Nothing?

“I think anybody that’s touring is going to have a carbon footprint,” he added. “I think it’s probably unfair to single out rock ‘n’ roll. There’s many other things that are in the same category but as it happens we have a programme to offset whatever carbon footprint we have.”

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Hemp Houses Have Negative Carbon Footprint


With recent research coming out of the UK that shows that houses made of hemp can actually leave a less than zero carbon footprint, it’s truly a shame that industrialized hemp is still illegal in the US.

The hemp homes used in the study were built using Hemp-lime, a lightweight composite building material made of hemp fibers which are bound together by a lime-based glue.

Since the plant stores carbon during while it grows, the lime has a very low carbon footprint, and the material has excellent insulating properties, the product actually has a combined footprint that’s actually “better than zero carbon.”

British homes will start being built with the material as soon as possible as soon as final testing is completed by a consortium out of the University of Bath.

It is truly bizarre that the US still maintains law against using industrialized hemp. The US continues to fail to make a distinction between hemp and marijuana which is ridiculous since hemp is just the general term used for plants of the Cannabis genus. Marijuana is in that genus but that doesn’t mean that all hemp can get you intoxicated. There are numerous varieties of hemp that have no drug effects but have all the incredible properties that make it such a valuable industrial plant, yet federal drug enforcement laws prohibit the growing of all Cannabis plants.

For those interested in trying to help change US policy on the use of industrialized hemp you can do so at the Vote Hemp website.

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Study Warns of Global Shipping Pollution


For those of us who take the time to track our carbon footprints concern over how far a product has been shipped is nothing new. But a recent study shows that the total environmental impact from commercial shipping is greater than had been previously thought.

The American Geophysical Union recently found that cargo ships, tankers and cruise ships produce as much particle pollution as half of the world’s automobiles.

The research examined the exhaust of over 200 ships in the Gulf of Mexico in the summer of 2006 with a specific focus on the amount of sulfates emitted in the exhaust.

The results were an estimate that cargo ships emit approximately 2.2 million pounds of particulate pollution each year.

This was the first such study of its kind and the results are pretty staggering.

Since over 70 percent of all shipping happens near coastlines (within 250 miles), it’s the coastal areas that are most affected. One of the researchers of this study had done previous research that linked levels of particle pollution with premature death in coastal areas.

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Carbon Fasting For Lent


I don’t think I can give up my daily caffeine or my nightly glass of red wine for Lent, which is from February 25th to April 11 and is a 40-day liturgical season of fasting and prayer. The thing is, I’m not what one would call a religious person, so it wouldn’t make too much sense for me. But, as it turns out, there are lots of folks who take Lent pretty darn seriously, and for those people, I recommend a different kind of fasting (actually, maybe everybody should try this, religious or not.)

Tearfund, a UK-based religious organization working in 64 countries around the globe, is calling on its supporters to do a Carbon Fast for Lent, and they are encouraging their supporters to undertake a daily eco-action to reduce their carbon footprint.

Carbon Fast’s suggestions include unplugging one light bulb in the house, giving up bottled water, reducing energy consumption in the house, recycling, giving up meat, not using plastic bags, eliminating food waste, starting a compost, and the list goes on. All great ideas and there’s one for each of the 40 days.

“Climate change can mean our neighbors go hungry because of drought, or lose their homes because of floods. Faced with that reality, there are many things we can do, acting as part of the global church’s response, to change the way our lives impact poor communities” said Tearfund about their suggested Carbon Fast.

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