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globalbriefs


News and resources to inspire concerned citizens to work together in building a healthier, stronger society that benefits all.


Genuinely Greenwashed Six Ploys to Avoid in Eco-Purchases


A report by TerraChoice Environmental Marketing exposes these six “greenwashing” marketing ploys to watch out for when shopping:


1. Hidden Trade Off: A refurbished plasma TV might reduce the need of buying new at first, but new or not, such TVs are energy hogs.


2. No Proof: Can a third party verify claims such as “organic” or “all-natural”?


3. Vagueness: Beware of products claiming to be “chemical-free” or “no hormones added”.


4. Irrelevance: Claims that have no relationship to the product or might be made


Power Walking Shoe Insert Generates Electricity


Two Carnegie Mellon gradu- ates, Matt Stanton and Hahna Alexander, are the founders of SolePower, a company making a shoe insert that stores the power generated by walking and run- ning into a battery that can be in- stantly accessed via a USB port. Beta testing on the prototype has begun, with release expected next summer.


The insert can be paired with any shoe type and feels like a regular, cushy insole, accord- ing to Stanton. The battery at- taches to the ankle or the top of the shoe, and is charged after 2.5 miles of footsteps with enough power to run an iPhone. Runners needing to power heat-produc- ing mittens in the winter could also benefit.


Another application is


emergency charging of cell phones and radios during power outages. People in developing nations likewise will have a reli- able power source for mobile phones and other essential small electronics.


Source: SolePowerTech.com Contributing source: Utne.com natural awakenings December 2013 13


with any other product in the same category, such as [chlorofluorocarbon] CFC-free shaving gel.


5. Fibbing: A falsehood that can’t be backed up, such as “certified organic” for products for which no such certification exists.


6. Lesser of Two Evils: An attempt to put a green twist on a product that’s inherently harmful to humans and the environment, such as organic cigarettes.


Escalating Thirst Endangered Western Tree Habitats


A team of scientists at the University of Grenoble, in France, have isolated ultrasonic pops 100 times faster than what a human can hear in slivers of dead pine wood bathed in a hydrogel to simulate the conditions of a living tree. They exposed the gel to an artificially dry environment and listened for the noises that occurred as air bubbles built up, block- ing water uptake, similar to what occurs to trees during drought. As leaves on a tree col- lect carbon dioxide, they open their pores, a process that leaves them particularly vulner- able to water loss.


Douglas firs and pine trees can repair this damage as frequently as every


hour, says Katherine McCulloh, a plant ecophysiologist at Oregon State Uni- versity. However, the bubbles are deadly for other species. Today, the typical forest in the often thirsty American West contains an


unnaturally high density of 112 to 172 trees per acre. Besides intercepting rain and snow that would otherwise enter the groundwater supply, such an over- abundance threatens native species. “Deprived of [the effect of] low-intensity, naturally occurring fires, aspen, lupine, sequoia and fireweed can’t reproduce,” notes Jamie Workman, of the Environmental Defense Fund. “Deer lose edge habitat. Threatened owls and raptors can’t navigate through increasingly dense thickets.” Workman argues that thinning out small trees is the answer.


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