Blogroll Review: Vegan Power, Lasers, & 18 Seconds

Going Green? Go Vegan.

Who says grocery shopping can save greenhouse gas emissions? Perhaps those who just buy vegan.

That’s right. Choosing the right products at your supermarket can impact your carbon footprint. Jessica Marmor at the Wall Street Journal provides an in-depth analysis of different strategies at home, on the road and in the grocery store.

Mark Gongloff, staff writer at WSJ, says that “the most-difficult at-the-grocery store tactic is to go vegan, which could save 3,000 pounds of CO2 a year, or about 8% of the average American’s annual production of 40,000 pounds of CO2. The easy way? Eat whatever you want, but only as long as it’s locally made (thus cutting down on transportation). Such a tactic might keep 60 to 242 pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere a year.”

Beam Me In

Lasers have come a long way since Charles Townes’ discovery. They are used for everything from supermarket checkout scanners to removing fat in liposuction, but a Silicon Valley startup PowerBeam has found another use: energy transmission.

Matt Marshall at Venture Beat says that “Using a laser to beam light, the energy of which would be used to power your laptop or other device without having to plug it in.”

Although the idea has been around for a while, beaming lasers raises concerns of safety, which the company claims to have addressed. Matt adds that “if the laser power itself were to come from solar panels, the entire energy transmission system would be solar. With venture capitalists so passionate about the clean energy area, Powerbeam may just find some backing.”

18 Seconds

18 seconds may be enough time to eat an entire hotdog, but according to Yahoo, that’s also enough time to reduce 450 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.

Many of us already know that by simply changing a bulb from the conventional incandescent lamp to the newer compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL), we can reduce electricity use and emissions by two-thirds or more. But on this week’s Switched, Phillip Crandall also showed us other earth friendly tips.

Frank Ling is a postdoctoral fellow at the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) at UC Berkeley.