Green World Cup
Thanks to everyone who entered our contest during the World Cup to find examples of going green around the globe! Thanks also to the businesses that donated prizes: Seattle Sounders, Alchemy Goods and Energizer, and to our judges, Signe Gilson and Stokley Towles.
Do you have more ideas? Please send them to us!
First place: Irene Buenavista
Alexandra gave an exuberant description of how the soccer team she was on in Germany reduced car trips. They would put all the gear in one vehicle and players would walk to the game together (for games far away, they would carpool). Their two-legged, low-tech transportation helped the environment, was a bonding experience, and was also practical because, as she wrote, "after every good game came a nice glass of beer."
An avid soccer fan, Alexandra grew up in south Germany and, after several moves, settled in Renton with her husband and children.
Alexandra won a backpack made from bicycle inner tubes and other recycled materials, from Seattle manufacturer Alchemy Goods.
Bryn described how a non-profit organization set up solar panels in one of the poorest slums in Nairobi, Kenya, so the residents could watch free television broadcasts of the World Cup (this was the first time the World Cup was held in Africa). The organization hopes that the introduction of solar energy there will allow residents to cut back their use of dangerous and polluting kerosene lamps.
A Northwest native who was born in Oregon, Bryn now makes her home in Seattle.
Bryn won a solar-powered charger for cell phones and other portable devices, from Energizer.
These include contest entries and other examples. Do you have more ideas? Please send them to us!
The Dutch have made their cities "bike friendly" and invested extensively in alternative transportation systems such as light rail. A "green road tax" recently proposed in the Netherlands aims to reduce carbon emissions by ten percent.
Leftover food is used for animal feed, and manure from the farms is used to grow more food. Recycling and reuse is also practiced extensively. Recycled glass bottles are used to make new bottles or for glass art.
Paris and other French cities helped pioneer the concept of bike sharing, which has been spreading to a few American cities and across the world.
Curitiba, a major city with a population of 1.6 million, uses five different types of buses, with many dedicated busways.
Rather than being served in plastic take-out packaging, fish and chips are traditionally wrapped in a napkin and then in newspaper when sold in Britain, cutting down on plastic waste.
Tidal power is being considered as a source of energy around the world. The largest tidal power station in the world (and the only one in Europe) is in northern France, built in 1966.
For one town in Sicily, costs associated with fuel and garbage pickup are not a problem. Since 1996, Castelbueno has banned diesel trucks in favor of daily donkey trash pickup. Not only has the transition improved the air quality and reduced noise and traffic, but residents also separate their garbage for recycling more frequently.
A hand-washing sink on the back of the toilet tank routes the dirty sink water into the toilet tank, ready for the next flush. Common in Japan and a few other countries for decades, this concept then moved to Australia and is now starting to show up in the U.S.
Geothermal energy, which is power from the heat stored within the Earth, is viable in parts of the Pacific Northwest and in many other areas of the world. About 85 percent of all houses in Iceland are heated with geothermal energy.
Rather than measuring the Gross National Product, in Bhutan they use the concept of Gross National Happiness.
With skin cancer a major national health issue, Australia pioneered the concept of sun-protective clothing. Since there are many health concerns with sunscreen, this clothing can be a greener and safer alternative.
Updated: Apr. 11, 2013