Musings, politics and environmental issues

Archive for June, 2014

Renewable energy for “cold” areas

My article on renewable energy for “cold” areas, i.e. those without access to geothermal space heating, was published on Friday on the Inter Press Service website. I think it’s really interesting, and would like to get it published elsewhere too as I have a lot more material I can use. Most of the article concentrates on energy solutions for the island of Grimsey, just above the Arctic Circle, where oil is currently used for energy – one of the few places in Iceland that still uses oil. But the use of heat pumps is covered too. Check it out.

Farming newspapers carry a wealth of environmental information

Don’t discount the farming newspapers for information on environmental matters. The Icelandic farming paper, Baendabladid, usually comes out fortnightly and carries a wealth of information. Besides information on topics such as equestrian tournaments, haymaking and sheep farming, the current issue covers GMOs in livestock feed; withdrawal of organic certification of an Icelandic company because they continue to use mushroom compost; disappointment of local farmers to the placement of a potential hydropower site (Hvammur) in the Thjorsa river in the utiilisation rather than pending category of the Master Plan for utilisation of hydro and geothermal power stations; how whaling for no reason is spoiling Iceland’s image (Icelandic lamb is no longer advertised in the US Whole Foods chain of shops); killing of dolphins by tuna fishing boats; forest fires in oil palm plantations in Indonesia due to farmers burning forests to provide agricultural land – the fires also create bad air pollution; how investors and multinationals who buy up large tracts of agricultural land and get others to manage the properties for them are likely to use eco-unfriendly methods, which can also be detrimental to the health of the farmhands; eco-tourism; use of wild angelica (Angelica sylvestris) for treatment of prostate cancer; the need for an alternative way of thinking to stop the spread of cow parsley (Queen Anne’s lace) in North Iceland, WITHOUT using the herbicides Roundup or Clinic; and the possibility that hydrogen sulphide in the air in Iceland could be causing a high incidence of inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis) and dry eye. Some of this information is covered elsewhere too in the Icelandic press, but much of it is not. Animal welfare issues are also covered.

The paper frequently covers energy-related topics as well, such as farmers who utilise their local area for energy, as well as farmers who revegetate barren areas. Some of the information is translated from foreign media, so the Icelandic newspaper is obviously not alone in its coverage of environmental matters.

Baendabladid is free and widely available. For those living elsewhere, a visit to the local library may be in order.