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Category Archives: Sustainability

Thoughts and (some) essays on sustainability.

Broody Hens

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Broody Hens;  By Michael Kelly of GIY Ireland.

Original article; HERE

Chickens that ‘go broody’ remain sitting on their eggs and stop laying for this period. When hatching a clutch of eggs, a hen will remain broody for 21 days at which point the eggs will usually hatch. Broodiness has been reared out of modern hybrid hens to a large degree, but it can still happen occasionally.  If you are keeping hens just for eggs and do not want them to hatch chicks, then broodiness is generally a big pain in the neck (and not so pleasant for the hen either I guess).

The health of your hen when broody is often a concern. They will generally eat very little or nothing at all while broody and only get up off the eggs once a day to get some food and water. They will also get pretty irritable if you go near them.

If you don’t want her to hatch eggs, the best approach is to lift her and let her cool down for a couple of days in a separate space, away from the nest and other hens. The key is to make her uncomfortable – make sure there’s nowhere for her to settle down to roost (so a cold floor with no bedding is the best bet).  Give her some water and feed and leave her be.   She will generally come out of the broodiness in 2-3 days. Dunking a broody hen in a bucket of cold water is an old wives tale for stopping broodiness which sometimes work and sometimes does not (and let’s be honest, it’s a little cruel!).


Irish Independent GIY Column

Good Life column and diary by author and GIY founder Michael Kelly.  Check out the GIY pages in the Health & Living supplement each Monday in The Irish Independent for a wheelbarrow load of information about growing your own food. Read about the Veg of the Week, My GIY Life – GIY profiles, GIY Toolbox, Jargon Buster  We’re out to take the mystery out of growing.

DIY; 20 uses for leftover fruit and vegetable peels.

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20 uses for leftover fruit and vegetable peels
The skins of fruit and vegetables are full of flavor and vitamins — and they’ve got a lot to give.

By Melissa Breyer

Original article; 

Related Topics: 

Photo: fdecomite/flickr

Don’t throw your kitchen scraps away; put them to work. The outer skins of fruit and vegetables are filled with flavor and vitamins, and most often have enough matter left in them for another go-round.
Some people are peelers, some people aren’t. Some people swear by the nutrients and fiber found in produce skins, others shy away from the taste or texture, or prefer removing the outer layer to reduce pesticide load. Regardless of your peeling preferences, citrus rinds, potato and other root/tuber peels, scooped-out avocados, and even cheese rinds all have more than one life.
Aim to use organic produce in these applications, and make sure to scrub well. And if you don’t have time or need for them at the moment, most of them can be frozen for future use.
1. Clean greasy messes: Before bringing out the big (toxic) cleaning guns in the kitchen, try lemon. Sprinkle affected area with salt or baking soda (to act as an abrasive) and then rub with juiced lemon halves. (Be careful using lemon on sensitive surfaces such as marble.)
2. Shine your coffee pot: For the old diner trick to make glass coffee pots sparkle: add ice, salt and lemon rinds to an empty coffee pot; swirl around for a minute or two, dump and rinse well.
3. Clean your tea kettle: For mineral deposit build up in tea kettles, fill the vessel with water and a handful of lemon peels and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let sit for an hour, drain and rinse well.
4. Dye fabric: Pomegranate peels make for great coloring material. Use a stainless steel pot large enough to cover the fabric, fill with hot water and add peels, let it sit overnight. Simmer the water and peels the next day and then remove peels and add wet fabric. Simmer gently for one hour and allow to cool overnight. Remove the next day, rinse in cool water — from thereon, wash with similar colors.
5. Make zest: If you’ve juiced lemons, limes, oranges or grapefruit but don’t have an immediate need for zest, you can make it anyway and dry or freeze it for future use. Zest is a versatile item to have on hand for a bright boost in any number of dishes. If you don’t have a microplane or zester, you can also use the small side of a box grater. Try to scrape just the outer layer, the white layer of pith is bitter. Freeze in an airtight container. To dry, spread the zest on a towel and leave until dried, then store in a clean jar.
6. Make citrus extract powder: Make zest or twists (lemons, limes, oranges or grapefruit) being sure to remove the pith and allow to dry, about three or four days for twists, less for zest. Put in a blender (or spice grinder) and pulverize into a powder. Store in a clean jar.
7. Make citrus sugar: Make citrus extract powder and add it to sugar, or you can use fresh twists, put them in a jar with sugar, let the oil from the peel infuse the sugar and remove.
8. Make lemon pepper: Mix lemon extract powder with freshly cracked pepper.
9. Make citrus olive oil: Pound citrus peel (pith removed) in a mortar and pestle with some oil added. Place in a jar with more oil and let rest for six hours. Strain into a clean jar.
10. Make infusions: Infuse honey or vinegar with citrus peels by placing twists and letting the flavors seep. Strain the liquid and store in a clean jar.
11. Make potato crisps: Mix potato peels with enough lemon juice and olive oil to evenly coat. Spread the potato peels in a layer on a baking sheet and cook at 400 degrees, stirring once, until golden brown (about 10 minutes). Season to taste.
12. Make stock: Boil potato peels, onion skins, carrot peels, leek ends, etc. for vegetable stock. (Also save fresh herb stems for this!)
13. Boost soup and stock: Cheese rinds (sans wax) can be placed in soup stocks for an awesome secret boost of flavor and texture.
14. Add “meat” to greens: Cheese rinds can also be added to braised greens for added depth of flavor.
15. Keep brown sugar soft: If you regularly fall victim to the brick in the pantry known as hardened brown sugar, try adding some lemon peel (with traces of pulp and pith removed) to keep it moist and pliable.
16. Make vanilla sugar: If you use fresh vanilla, after scraping the bean, add the pod to sugar to make vanilla-infused sugar.


17. Make a banana sugar scrub: Sprinkle sugar on the flesh side of banana peels and use as a soft, exfoliating loofa. Rub gently all over your body and then rinse in the shower.
18. Refresh your face: For a skin tonic, rub orange or grapefruit peels on your face (avoiding your eyes) and then gently rinse with warm water.
19. Moisturize: Rub the fleshy part of an avocado peel on your face for a rich moisturizer.
20. Relieve your peepers: Potato peels can reduce puffiness around eyes; press the moist side of the fresh peels to the skin for 15 minutes.
Related stories on MNN:
20 household things you can clean with salt
Add this kitchen mainstay to your arsenal of natural cleaners.
Thu, Jan 31 2013 at 3:52 PM

Photo: Nenov Brothers Photography/Shutterstock

As an enthusiastic green-cleaning connoisseur, I’ve tried almost every DIY solution on the Internet. Vinegar, baking soda, washing soda and castile soap are my mainstays, but black tea, lemon juice and peppermint oil are tucked into my arsenal as well. My cleanser of choice is vinegar — I use it to clean almost every surface in my home, from carpets to counters, and oh but I love its cheap and powerful nontoxic goodness. And, I recently learned that I could pump up the potency of this antibacterial maverick with the simple addition of table salt. Amazing! An easy paste made from 1 part vinegar + 1 part salt will do double duty on those extra-tough stains, tarnish and mineral deposits. And that got me wondering: What else salt can clean? As it turns out … a lot!
cast iron skillet1. I love my cast iron cookware and I’m going to use this method next time I need to deep-clean it: fill the bottom of the pot/pan with oil, heat it up a bit and then add a few tablespoons of course salt. This will form a paste, which you can use to scrub-a-dub-dub. Rinse with hot water and then wipe dry.
2. To clean enamel cookware, a paste of equal parts salt and vinegar will do an excellent job.
3. For those burnt crusties on the bottom of pans, apply a sprinkling of salt as soon as you’re finished cooking. This will help the sticky stuff come up later.
4. To deal with extra-greasy pans, add a bit of salt and then use a piece of paper to buff. Follow with a normal wash.
5. Clean oven spills with a mixture of mostly salt and a dash of cinnamon. Keep this mixture on hand so that you can cover spills (both inside and stove top) as soon as they happen. The salt will absorb the liquid and both salt and cinnamon will fight any odors. Wait to cool completely before wiping away with water.
coffee pot6. To clean your automatic coffee maker’s coffee pot, add a few tablespoons of salt to the water and bring the whole thing to a boil.
7. To remove stubborn coffee stains from cups, use a sponge to rub them with a paste made from salt and vinegar. Rinse with water.
8. To shine most metals (steel, silver, gold, pewter), make a paste from equal parts salt, flour and vinegar. Use a cloth to rub it on, let it sit for an hour, then rinse with water and wipe dry.
9. Shine up your chrome (sink faucets and other fixtures) with a mixture made from 2 tablespoons salt and 1 teaspoon vinegar. Buff with a rag then rinse with water and wipe dry.
10. To shine up copper and brass, take half a lemon, squeeze out the juice, then sprinkle salt inside the rind. Rub this all over the brass/copper, then rinse with water and wipe dry.
11. To remove the tarnish from real silver flatware, put a piece of aluminum foil over the bottom of a pan. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda, fill with water and drop the silver in. Bring to a boil and watch the magic happen. After 5 minutes or so, remove from the heat and let cool before rinsing.
12. To remove rust from metal, make a paste from salt, cream of tartar and water. Apply the paste and then let the item sit in the sun to dry. Buff clean.
sponges13. Keep your sponges fresher, longer, by soaking them in a saltwater solution after cleaning with them.
14. Clean out your refrigerator with a simple mixture of salt and soda water. It works, and there’s no strange smells to infiltrate your food.
15. Buff and brighten your cutting boards once in a while after using them. Just rub with a damp washcloth dipped in salt.
16. To deal with water cup rings or other marks on the surface of your wooden furniture, make a paste of vegetable oil and salt. Use a rag to rub it in, then use a clean rag to wipe it off. This can also work for treating nicks and dents.
17. Treat your carpet stains with a paste of 1/4 cup salt and 2 tablespoons vinegar. Rub it in, allow to dry and then vacuum clean.
18. To treat mildew stains on cloth, make a paste of equal parts salt and lemon juice. Apply this to the stain and then hang in the sun to dry. Follow with normal laundering.
19. Freshen and whiten your faded or yellowed linens by boiling them in a salt and baking soda solution. In a washing tub or large pot, add 5 tablespoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Boil for 15 to 30 minutes, then remove and rinse in cold water.
20. Remove soap scum from bathroom tile by scrubbing with a solution of 1 part salt in 4 parts vinegar. Wipe clean with a damp rag.
Sayward Rebhal originally wrote this story for It is reprinted with permission here.
Related green cleaning stories on MNN:

Sustainability in Older Buildings.

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Improving the Insulation on Older/Poorly-Built Buildings.

AKA Raising the B.E.R. on (older) buildings.

The B.E.R. Rating. Building Energy Regulations of a building means to improve it’s insulation and ultimately to lower its eco-footprint and cost in terms of fuel-consumption. It’s a frightening thought that buildings bought before the UK building boom of the ‘80’s (Ireland of the late 90’s) now cost more to heat per year than the initial cost of the building itself. Fuel prices have risen at 1.5 times the rate of inflation over the last 30 years.

It is generally accepted (B.E.R. standards, LEED (US), SAEI- Ireland, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC); UK) that 35% of heat is lost from a building via poorly insulated walls.

Heat is lost in ALL directions.

Heat is lost in ALL directions.

The overall heat loss from a building can be calculated as

H = Ht + Hv + Hi   where H = overall heat loss (W)

Ht = heat loss due to transmission through walls, windows, doors, floors and more (W)

Hv = heat loss caused by ventilation (W)

Hi = heat loss caused by infiltration (W).

Heat-loss in buildings (or heat0gain in warm lands demands the value of the building every generation or less nowadays. (Protek-usa. Heat-Gain-Loss-Buildings.pdf). this pdf starts with a very good definition of heat loss via radiation, conduction and convection.

N.B. Sand-cement render on the exterior of a building (especially if insulating the interior) will result in the building ‘sweating’ and possibly developing Merulius lacrimans – dry rot – or -Serpula lacrimans – ‘Real-Dry-Rot’). Both will destroy a building and even its neighbours. If a house is to be ‘sealed’ great care must be taken that it remains “breathable”.

There are two (generally) accepted ways of insulating a building (insulating the envelope);

External; “Bubble-wrapping” the exterior – e.g. polystyrene slabs fixed to the exterior walls (using plastic ‘mushroom’ plugs) and plastering with a patent-polybond-skim over a mesh that holds all in place. This technique ‘defaces’ the exteriors and ‘technically’ needs planning permission.

Cross-section of external insulation.

Cross-section of external insulation.

Internal; fitting patent pre-insulated slabbing to interior walls (ceilings too if possible) to retain the heat generated within the building. Fixed as above or with laths between wall and slab this system is usually seen as the best as it retains heat before it hits the exterior wall and is absorbed (before being lost if there’s no external insulation). This system is often eschewed as it reduces the volume of the room (room-size) considerably in small homes/offices. It is seen as the most desirous in larger buildings as the heat is retained and in fact rather like any light-weight structure (boat-caravan) is easily heated very quickly.

In both cases however the incidence of leakage (drafts) and of course doors, window, and especially glazing must be considered. Poor glazing techniques (ie single-glazing or poorly designed/compromised/faulty) can cost 23% heat loss normally but even far more if the rest of the structure is well insulated.

From ; “Internal insulation systems involve using insulated dry-lining boards. These boards comprise of 12.5mm of plasterboard with insulation bonded to the back with a vapour barrier between the two. The insulation ranges in thickness from about 25mm to approximately 60mm though this depends on the make and availability. A lot of these boards would have similar levels of thermal conductivity because the main types of materials that are used, i.e. polyurethane and polyisocyanurate, have very similar thermal properties. However, it has the disadvantage of placing the thermal mass of the wall outside your heating envelope. External insulation is another option, which would have the added advantage of keeping the thermal mass of the concrete walls within your envelope. It is very popular method in Europe, and is becoming more common in Ireland. With external insulation, the insulation panels are applied to the walls, then a protective mesh that protects the insulation against impact damage is applied, then a basecoat and usually two coats of render”.

Floors are often disregarded as it’s generally thought that heat rises – which is true. But as temperature rises within a structure the heat will always seek to find a way out; even downwards. Floor insulation must reflect what is planned above. 15% heat loss is the accepted figure but again as the better insulation of the upper areas improves the rate of loss through the floor will increase.

Air Seal

A gap of just 1/8 of an inch under a 36-inch door lets in as much air as having a 2.4 inch wide hole in the wall. Since people often adjust the thermostat and leave heat running longer when they feel a draft, preventing air infiltration can greatly reduce energy usage. See ‘Notes’ below.

Air-pressure-tests and infra-red video cameras

will show leaks and vents as well as ‘cool-spots’ in covered areas that are lacking insulation.

Detailed business information on Air Pressure Testing Companies located in the UK, including photos, contact details and customer reviews.

Heat-Exchange Systems. aka Heat Recovery System.

No discussion on heating/cooling any building can Not but consider ‘heat-exchange-system’ see; Heat-Exchange Systems.




‘Geo-thermal’ means absorbing some of the latent heat from the earth (or running water/large body of water) and enhancing the heat by passing it through a heat-exchanger – the inverse of a milk pasteurising system. It’s usually used for underfloor systems (at about 33ºC) though new radiators are coming on the market to work with low-heat-radiators.

Geothermal-Heating-Systems simple


I opened a website on heating on old home and one thing jumped out at me – I hadn’t mentioned the last time – THE most obvious and the FIRST thing ones does – AUDIT. If it ain’t measured it won’t count (or get done).

It’s the most important thing to do – with any structure. Don’t waste money/time until you know where the leaks are. An ait-test and infra-red camera wre the best way to see where the warm air is leaking and where the insulation is needed. Before and AFTER remedial work; More information on blower door tests>>
See; Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency – Start With an Energy Audit!
  • Search for articles on old house websites such as the Old House JournalExit EPA Disclaimer
  • Reference books such as Greening Steam: How to Bring 19th Century Heating Systems in the 21st Century (and save lots of green!) by Dan Holohan
  • Ask a question online at
Get this article – very American but less chance that your lecturer will have seen it, excellent resource;  
It’s really difficult to super-seal an older structure though with stone there’s a better chance than wooden/timber-framed however there are a large number of green features and design principles are simply impossible to incorporate in any building after the fact. 
Scotland – links and news; Scotland.national-retrofit-programme 
Heat requirements for the building; Can I fit underfloor heating in an old house?
‘A major factor with UFH in a renovation project is the heat requirements for the building. A system will have a specific max. output, dependent on floor type, and if insulation is limited – e.g. if you have period single glazing and solid walls – it will be difficult to get comfortable room temperatures in very cold weather. Any company you work with must carry out a full heat-loss calculation room by room. It’s also best to have a temperature controller for every room.
‘The two main floor types in old buildings are screeded and timber-suspended. The screeded floor will give a higher heat output, but you will have more difficulties installing UFH, because you will have to dig out the original floors – or lose a lot of headroom putting down a new floor on the original. A timber-suspended floor will accept UFH onto your original joists and give a floor lift of about 1.5cm and so, in many ways, offers an easier option.’ However the insulation must be ‘top-notch- foil-backed etc to ensure heat doesn’t take the easy option of ‘heading South’ – literally. Heat will ALWAYS go to the cold(er) areas.
UK ‘Green Deal’ offers ideas, grants and actual help; Once again they start by demanding one gets an AUDIT first. If it ain’t measures it can’t be counted!! However there are pitfalls to be negotiated; See Gardian article;
Whilst double glazing and carpets are a good start, draught proofing and insulation of suspended floors will be a benefit and for solid floors, the addition of thick underlay and/or insulation. Internal or external solid wall insulation are required to make flats really low energy and will make them really cosy and eliminate many of the condensation and mould issues associated with cold walls, but this should be considered as part of a comprehensive low energy strategy, that in-cavity wall insulation can lead to damp issues in rare cases. For example, the insulation could offer a path for wind driven rain if the external wall is highly porous, poorly pointed or cracked, or the building is extremely exposed. This risk may be reduced if bead insulation is used instead of fibre, but there isn’t much research on this. Breathability is essential !!
In buildings where part of the wall is solid, for example in ring beam construction, the warmer insulated walls may accentuate condensation at the corner of the wall with the floors and ceilings. Finally, the insulation may reveal building faults such as blocked weep holes or missing cavity trays.cludes heating, ventilation, lighting, appliances and renewable systems.The most cost effective way of minimising draughts from a disused chimney is to use a chimney ballon. 1010global./energy-saving-old-homes;
Doing a bit is better than doing nothing – wearing a hat and no gloves is much better than no hat & gloves.
Schools, UK;  Here, Robert De Jong, LessEn programme manager at the ULI, explains the findings, outlines how Dorset topped the table through its sustainable property team and provides schools with tips on how to become more energy efficient.
Climate debate
A basic misunderstanding skews the entire climate debate. Experts on both sides claim that protecting Earth’s climate will force a trade-off between the environment and the economy. According to these experts, burning less fossil fuel to slow or prevent global warming will increase the cost of meeting society’s needs for energy services, which include everything from speedy transportation to hot showers. Environmentalists say the cost would be modestly higher but worth it; skeptics, including top U.S. government officials, warn that the extra expense would be prohibitive. Yet both sides are wrong. If properly done, climate protection would actually reduce costs, not raise them. Using energy more efficiently offers an economic bonanza–not because of the benefits of stopping global warming but because saving fossil fuel is a lot cheaper than buying it.

Passive-Solar Heating. (aka the No-Brainer).

What is a Passive House? It is a building in which a comfortable interior climate can be maintained without active heating and cooling systems. The house heats and cools itself, hence “passive”. By good design and an average 10% ‘extra-spend’ in design and building will eventually save many 10’s of thousands of Euro or Pounds in fossil-fuel heating-bills (and airconditioning). See;

However as we are discussing older buildings we must assume that other than physically turning a building on its axis to avail of ‘solar-gain’ and to build (sympathetically) around it possibly with a forest to cut-down on chill-factor to NW, N, NE. We must concentrate on apertures, walls, roof and flooring. Further measures – keeping the heating-bills down by reducing the temperature by a degree or two can be found in this pdf;

A book issued hand-in-hand with the Anglican Church offers help; Creed and Creation: A simple guidebook for running a greener church. 2007.

Flooring: When insulating the floor is it possible to add underfloor heating? Underfloor heating uses water heated to 33ºC as opposed to ‘normal’ heating (radiators) which runs at 65ºC.

Notes on insulation and ‘off-grid’ homes;

Australia; A push has been made to help homeowners in providing their own power.

In France A push has been made to tax energy wasters and feed that money towards homeowners insulating and providing their own power.;

A newly constructed apartment complex in Newport News, Va., proves that that future may already be on the way. The Radius Urban Apartment complex windows fabricated with Solarban 70XL glass and SunClean self-cleaning glass by PPG Industries. That’s right, windows that will shrink your energy bill and clean themselves. And they’re both Cradle-to-Cradle certified.

According to the company, Solarban glass is a transparent solar-control, low-emissivity glass that lets light through while also acting as thermal insulation. By transmitting high levels of daylight while blocking the sun’s heat energy, windows made with Solarban 70XL glass can reduce summer cooling costs by as much as 25 percent. PPG also claims that Solarban 70XL glass can cut furnace heat loss through windows in half, which can lower heating bills significantly in the winter months.

And now for the best part: SunClean glass is formulated with a proprietary coating that becomes “photocatalytic” and “hydrophilic” after prolonged exposure to sunlight. Photocatalysis enables the coating to gradually break down organic materials that land on its surface, while hydrophilicity causes water to sheet when it strikes the coating so that decomposed materials are naturally rinsed away when it rains.



Creed ; Creed and Creation: A simple guidebook for running a greener church, Gillian

Straine & Nathan Oxley, Aldgate Press, 2007

Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC);  Accessed 25/01/2013

Heat-Exchange Systems.

National Archives; Accessed 25/01/2013.


RESATS; Accessed 26/01/2013

Telegraph – radiators  Accessed 27/01/2013.

Links and Resources;

Dublin Heritage-Conservation

Heat loss for engineers;

How to get free cavity wall and loft insulation; It’s not too late to get free insulation installed in your home. And if you’re on a low income or benefits, you could get cash or vouchers as well.

Don’t qualify? You can still save on insulation: If you don’t qualify for free insulation for whatever reason, you can still get discounted installation with all of the major energy companies, and others such as Sainsbury’s Energy.

A detailed guide to insulating your home. ExternalWall Insulation Systems (EWIS) can be used on new or existing buildings;

Sempatap Thermal Solid Wall Insulation Materials & Tools;

Passive House (Passivehaus); For passive construction, prerequisite to this capability is an annual heating requirement that is less than 15 kWh/(m²a) not to be attained at the cost of an increase in use of energy for other purposes (e.g., electricity). Furthermore, the combined primary energy consumption of living area of a European passive house may not exceed 120 kWh/(m²a) for heat, hot water and household electricity. The combined primary energy consumption of living area of a standard house is approximately 220 kWh/(m²a) for heat, hot water and household electricity. External Links for more information: and  More info on ‘passivehaus’; The main design features of passive homes include: –

  • Positioning of homes and buildings to avail of free solar energy. Orientation and selection of the correct site for your home is imperative. Proximity to and height of adjoining buildings can reduce your solar gain.
  • Higher levels of insulation help reduce the cost of heating.
  • Air tightness of your home is crucial in keeping all that free solar energy within the home.
  • Locating the majority of your windows on south facing elevations and reducing the size of any north facing windows.
  • As your home is now extremely air tight, mechanical ventilation will need to be introduced. By ensuring that this ventilation has heat recovery the incoming fresh air shall be preheated by the extracted air. This simple measure helps keep your home warm without having to reheat the fresh air.
  • Correct detailing of junctions between the external fabric and windows and doors to reduce heat loss.
  • Introducing solar panels will help produce approx. 70% of your required hot water once sized correctly and positioned to face south to optimise the solar gain.
  • Other simple measures such as using A rated kitchen appliances and fitting low energy light bulbs will help ensure your new home is both comfortable and warm to live in.


Ireland; Better Energy Homes Scheme; see:-

UK; Solid wall insulation – Energy Saving Trust

Solid Wall Insulation Grants, Home Insulation Grants;

Cavity wall insulation –  Homes – Energy Saving Trust;


Air-pressure Testing;

Reasonable behaviour;

Make sure that there are no unnecessary obstructions in front of radiators, heaters and air ducts. · Bleed and clean your radiators on a regular basis to ensure water circulates properly. Clean off the fluff and dust from the grill and filters of convector radiators and heaters.  Install thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) to prevent spaces from becoming overheated.

Air Seal

A gap of just 1/8 of an inch under a 36-inch door lets in as much air as having a 2.4 inch wide hole in the wall. Since people often adjust the thermostat and leave heat running longer when they feel a draft, preventing air infiltration can greatly reduce energy usage. Sealing up those cracks will make you feel comfortable and keep more money in your pocket. Remember for every cubic foot of heated or cooled air (that you have paid to condition) that leaves your house, one cubic foot of outside air enters!

Looking for just one thing you can do to improve your home’s energy efficiency? Significantly reduce air infiltration. Gaps or cracks in a building’s exterior envelope of foundation, walls, roof, doors, windows, and especially “holes” in the attic floor can contribute to energy costs by allowing conditioned air to leak outside.

Most Common Sources of Air Infiltration:

  • Bypasses (attic access door, recessed lighting, plumbing stacks, dropped soffits, open frame construction, duct penetrations, electrical penetrations, etc.) in the attic floor regardless of the presence of insulation, which by itself is not an air barrier. If you see dirty insulation, air is getting through.
  • Between foundation and rim joist
  • Crawl spaces
  • Around the attic hatch
  • Between the chimney and drywall
  • Chimney flue
  • Electrical and gas service entrances
  • Cable TV and phone line service entrances
  • Window AC units
  • Mail chutes
  • Electric outlets
  • Outdoor water faucets entrances
  • Where dryer vents pass through walls
  • Under the garage door
  • Around door and window frames
  • Cracks in bricks, siding, stucco and the foundation
  • Mudrooms or breezeways adjacent to garages

How radiators work; Telegraph (UK);

As the water flows through the radiators it gives up its heat to the rooms, thus returning to the boiler at a lower temperature. Designed by the Prussian-born Russian; Franz San Galli

A Low temperature heating system requires a larger surface area to provide enough heat energy. Radiators need to be up to 100% bigger to compensate for the lower temperatures. In other words it contains more mass and area.


London Care of Churches Team

November 2007

The Engineering Toolbox; provides;

1. Heat loss through walls, windows, doors, ceilings, floors, etc.>

The heat loss, or norm-heating load, through walls, windows, doors, ceilings, floors etc. can be calculated as

Ht = A U (ti – to)         (2)

Where; Ht = transmission heat loss (W)

A = area of exposed surface (m2)

U = overall heat transmission coefficient (W/m2K)

ti = inside air temperature (oC)

to= outside air temperature (oC)

Heat loss through roofs should be added 15% extra because of radiation to space. (2) can be modified to:

H = 1.15 A U (ti – to)             (2b)

For walls and floors against earth (2) should be modified with the earth temperature:

H = A U (ti – te)             (2c)

Where; te= earth temperature (oC)

Overall Heat Transmission Coefficient

The overall of heat transmission coefficient – U – can be calculated as

U = 1 / (1 / fi + x1 / k1 + x2 / k2+ x3 / k3 +..+ 1 / fo)             (3)

Where; fi = surface conductance for inside wall (W/m2K)

x = thickness of material (m)

k = thermal conductivity material (W/mK)

fo= surface conductance for outside wall (W/m2K)

The conductance of a building element can be expressed as:

C = k / x         (4)

Where; C = conductance, heat flow through unit area in unit time (W/m2K)

The thermal resistivity of the building element can be expressed as:

R = x / k = 1 / C         (5)

Where; R = thermal resistivity (m2K/W)

Using (4) and (5), (3) may be modified to

1 / U = Ri + R1 + R2 + R3 + .. + Ro             (6)

For walls and floors against earth (6) should be modified to

1 / U = Re + SR             (6b)

2. Heat loss by ventilation

The heat loss due to ventilation without heat recovery can be expressed as:

Hv = cp ρ qv (ti – to)         (7)

Where; Hv = ventilation heat loss (W)

cp = specific heat capacity of air (J/kg K)

ρ = density of air (kg/m3)

qv = air volume flow (m3/s)

ti = inside air temperature (oC)

to = outside air temperature (oC)

The heat loss due to ventilation with heat recovery can be expressed as:

Hv = (1 – β/100) cp ρ qv (ti – to)         (7)

Where; β = heat recovery efficiency (%)

An heat recovery efficiency of approximately 50% is common for a normal cross flow heat exchanger. For a rotating heat exchanger the efficiency may exceed 80%.

Notes & References; Sustainable Tourism; by Peter O’Connor.

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Notes & Refs; Sustainable Tourism; by Peter O’Connor.


Table of Contents

Notes & Refs; Sustainable Tourism; 1

Strategic Planning. 3

Community Involvement; 4

Brundtland Report. 5

Technology, Museums and Sustainability; 5

Birth of the Participative Web; 6

References. 7

Resources. 8

The Museum as Lived Place: Bunratty Folk Park, Ireland. 9

Sustainable tourism management practice; 9

Tourism Policy and Planning: 10

Tourism Ireland; 10

Birth of the Participative Web. 10

 Sustainable Tourism

In the very first volume of Journal of Sustainable Tourism 1993 the co-editors of the journal pointed out that over the last half century of peace the developed nations have enjoyed “exceptional periods of both peace and economic expansion …. The post-war era has brought beneficial changes, notably in decolonisation and self-determination”. (Bramwell,B. & Lane, B. 1993). Added to that is ease and speed of transport. For the first time in man’s history we are free to roam the entire world at relatively low-cost and with great ease. For much of the post-war period the growth models of Rostow and Myrdel were unchallenged. Bramwell & Lane; Journal of Sustainable Tourism. Volume 1, Issue 1, 1993. The desire to push for change and economic development was “unchallenged”. However from the mid-6o’s onwards the ideas of continuous growth began to be questioned as unrestrained growth was seen to have the potential to cause irreversible damage Environmentalism was born when scientist Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring 1962 was printed and began to inroads in the thinking of many – even the Times of London started to feature articles from 1953 onwards but though that was minimal and steady there was a(modest) explosion of 300% from 1965 to 1973 (Brooks et al 1980). Sandbach and others point to similar phenomena in other ‘developed’ countries. With this came the rapid development of environmental pressure groups – leading eventually to Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, CND and ever more radical groups. The later publication of The Ecological Principles of Economic Development  by Dasman, Milton and Freeman developed work carried out by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources at (IUCN) Geneva. They in turn developed The World Conservation Stratagy – launched in 1980 on the global stage and this in turn lead to the Brundtland Report in 1987. However even in 1990 when Nelso Mandela was released amid a wave of optimism as Conor Mark Jameson reminds us in Silent Spring Revisited pg 151of the situation in Britain of the Green Bill which did nothing about the shortcomings of the SSSI’s at a time when the industrial-scale stripping of the peatlands (just like currently in Ireland) had become frightening in scale. Even the then prime minister was encouraging people to buy peat – to burn. Prince Charles was a lone figure standing against this – in the end less than 4% of raised peatbogs survive in Britain. In Ireland the figure is (currently) much higher but only because foreign (Dutch mostly) groups have bought parts of bogs and bequeathed these to the state with the proviso that they (and the surrounding areas) must be maintained (this has forced the Irish authorities to protect large areas of peatlands – to comply with the terms of the bequeaths). Around this time 10% of all UK corncrakes survived in Co Fermanagh. Researchers worked with farmers yet in 2 years the numbers fell from 70 to 17 and in the rest of that part of the province went from 60 to 10 even in spite of help from RSPB and late harvesting. Scotland and the free-part of Ireland followed these studies with their attempts the following year – to mixed response.

To put this into perspective – according to RSPB; sand martins have declined in numbers by 92% since the publication of Silent Spring.

Around this time a ‘league table’ of Europe’s offenders against nature saw Spain heading the league with 57 threats of legal action for violation of directives- ignoring legislation and putting roads across wetlands. 12 of the most important wildlife sites in European Mediterranean area were under threat. This compares to legislation against Belgium (46 warnings) and UK (31 warnings). EU figures.

Strategic Planning.

Under the heading Sustainable Tourism: An Evolving Global Approach the point is made in the introduction that reference to sustainable tourism is now made in most strategic tourism planning documents. Yet, despite its common use, definitional arguments exist over its meaning and subsequent operational functionality. In addition to this, literature on sustainable tourism rarely discusses its development prior to the publication of Our Common Future (World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), 1987) and its relevance to current conceptualisations of tourism. Sustainable Tourism


Indeed, the mid 1800s saw the focus of economics rest squarely upon industrialisation, economic-growth and prosperity. … Economic models such as those by Rostow (1960) and Myrdal (1959, cited in Oppermann, 1993) were based upon this notion and were successful in developing a form of “colonial-style tourism that created little value for the denizens of the area visited. Nor indeed little understanding of the local issues learned by the visitors. In their excellent workbook on Sense of Place the Lake District, Cumbria Sense of Place Toolkit points out that each and every area/locality has particular distinctive qualities that make it special in some way. “By recognising and valuing these qualities, tourism businesses can use them to improve their marketing and promotional activities and enhance their customers’ experience of the area”. A ‘Sense of place’ can be hard to describe, but essentially it covers all those attributes that make a locality special and unique and give it a sense of identity. (

Community Involvement;

A paper by Anne Hardy, Robert J. S. Beeton & Leonie Pearson (pages 475-496) analyses the context within which sustainable tourism has been developing and the conceptualisations used. The paper argues that sustainable tourism has traditionally given more focus to aspects related to the environment and economic development and that more focus should be given to community involvement. (Hardy, Beaton & Pearson) 2002). This is a major theme in the paper by Stoma Cole who spent time in Indonesia working with various villages 2006 – ‘08 (among them; Wogo & Ngadha villages) to develop sustainable tourism ventures that were in the community, run by the community and were seen as independent of government administration in a country where this author felt that the government seems to micro-manage to the nth degree during an extensive visit in mid-1990’s. Community-managed tourism businesses tend to work well especial outside of urban areas because they are seen as providers of employment, economic-drivers but just as importantly they bring a sense of local pride that is inestimable in value as was seen in late 1960’ – early 70’s Co Clare when Bunratty Castle became famous. Alongside the castle is an extensive folk park, particularly popular with families, tourists and schools. It provides visitors a glimpse into Irish life in the 19th century: This features reconstructions of historical cottages and buildings, recreating the general feel of the 19th century with a period style village main street. Old tools, furniture and artefacts are displayed, with the village kept alive by some inhabited shops, an old home bakery and peat fires in cottages. Recently the governing body of Bunratty has installed QRcodes and many other technically advanced ‘gadgets’ that allow visitors a chance to ‘go deeper’ into the history or technique of a particular artefact or building/feature.

Often the sight of participants scanning QR codes, recording comments, or opening a token also led onlookers to strike up conversations. People were particularly interested in the content recorded by others; their stories, comments, and reflections provided different perspectives on what they encountered.  ().

Brundtland Report.

Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development; Our Common Future

In the Brundtland Report we read “Environmental degradation, first seen as mainly a problem of the rich nations and a side effect of industrial wealth, has become a survival issue for developing nations. It is part of the downward spiral of linked ecological and economic decline in which many of the poorest nations are trapped … Despite official hope expressed on all sides, no trends identifiable today, no programmes or policies, offer any real hope of narrowing the growing gap between rich and poor nations. And as part of our “development”, we have amassed weapons arsenals capable of diverting the paths that evolution has followed for millions of years and of creating a planet our ancestors would not recognize.”

The downward spiral of poverty and environmental degradation is a waste of opportunities and of resources. In particular, it is a waste of human resources. These links between poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation formed a major theme in the analysis and recommendations of the Brundtland report which stated that “what is needed now is a new era of economic growth – growth that is forceful and at the same time socially and environmentally sustainable”.

Technology, Museums and Sustainability;

We see more and ever more technology in use in museums and folk-parks (eg Bunratty Co Clare) where QR codes, re cording comments (see above) are in use but also becoming more common and viable is a technology that one carries with them on a note-book, smart-phone or other device where one can listen/watch articles/notes/videos about a section of wall/building/tree/top of a mountain ot whatever. GPS-enhanced one simply walks/drives along routes where experts/locals have told their stories/played music/sang or other media-enhancements mean that one has a ‘personal-guide’ with one and can accept differing layers of knowledge – from superficial to extremely in-depth at the touch of a (virtual) button. These media-units can be played before –during or after a visit and of course can be upgraded 24/7. An excellent example of this technology is supplied by John Ward of Navigatour ( The company offers native apps for both Android and iPhone, cross platform apps that work on most GPS devices and are also partners with Trip Advisor to allow for maximum tourist exposure with your app. Navigatour claim that pride themselves in producing native apps that truly reflect the character of an area, rather than simply offering tourists a variety of commercial partners selling their wares. The visitor needs to know what makes a place special and that is what can be highlighted – the quirky, the hidden, the unique brought together through text, pictures, audio and visual media that will enthuse visitors to an area. This author can be heard speaking about the area on various clips of the Blackwater Valley. ( ‘Meandering of the River’, ‘Dromore View’, ‘Kiltera Standing Stones’, ‘Villierstown’, ‘Dromona Gate Lodge’, ‘The Henley of Ireland’, ‘Glenribbeen’.

In recent years there has been a dramatic rise in the number of participatory media technologies that museums have begun to use to engage with the visitors and indeed to ensure these visitors promote the venture/museum while or shortly after attending. The use of; Web 2.0. Blogs, wikis, podcasts, vodcasts, photo and video sharing, virtual environments, tagging, annotation and other authoring tools offer people better and more immediate ways to engage with museum content processes through co-creation and interactive cultural experiences and not rely on the written word/tour-guide alone. (Russo & Peacock; 2009). Arguably, these platforms and tools are creating new relationships between institutions and the public. We contend that to create sustained participation in social media spaces, museums need to reconsider their relationships with the public and thoroughly explore user motivations and intentions for participation in social media activities. We suggest some ways in which museums might design and evaluate their social media initiatives to ensure their success and sustainability, and offer some questions for further research.

Birth of the Participative Web;

Great Expectations: Sustaining Participation in Social Media Spaces; Museums and the Web; Angelina Russo, Swinburne University of Technology, and Darren Peacock, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.

See Resources below or go direct to; Birth-of-the-participative-web


Bunratty; Bunratty Castle”. 2011-05-18 also Shannon Heritage;

Bramwell,B. & Lane, B. Sustainable Tourism: An Evolving Global Approach; Journal of Sustainable Tourism. Volume 1, Issue 1, 1993

Brundland Report; Oxford University Press. 1987 Accessed 12-01-2013.

Carson,R. Silent Spring; Houghton Mifflin, Cambridge, Ms, USA 1962.

Ciofli,L.&McLoughlin, turf-fires-fine-linen-and-porter-cake M. FORUMS XIX.5 September + October 2012, Page: 18.

Cole, Stroma; Information and Empowerment: The Keys to Achieving Sustainable Tourism 1998

Cumbria Tourism; Accessed 12-01-2013.

Hardy,A. Robert J., Beeton S. &  Pearson,L. Sustainable Tourism: An Overview of the Concept and its Position in Relation to Conceptualisations of Tourism; Journal of Sustainable Tourism; Volume 10, Issue 6, pages 475-496;  2002.  DOI:10.1080/09669580208667183

Jameson, Conor Mark;  Silent Spring Revisited; Bloomsbury NY, Berlin, London 2012.

Kiel, C. Sightseeing in the mansions of the dead, School of Environment, University of Gloucestershire, UK.

Ward, J. Navigatour

Russo, A., & Peacock D. Great Expectations: Sustaining Participation in Social Media Spaces; Archives & Museum Informatics, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA 2009. ( – accessed 13-01-2013).



Cumbria Tourism is committed to developing ‘sense of place’ as an asset for visitors and tourism businesses to use. This toolkit provides you with the means of accessing the rich environmental, cultural and historical facets of Cumbria for yourself. Discover woodlands brimming with wildlife, upland hay meadows awash with wild flowers, sandy expanses of beach backed by rolling dunes, ancient prehistoric stone circles, Roman forts, Anglian and Norse art, Norman churches, medieval abbeys, classical Georgian elegance, Victorian architecture, not forgetting the distinctive flavours of traditional and modern Cumbria foods. The historical, cultural and environmental resources of Cumbria are just waiting to be tapped to enhance your customer’s experience of all the county offers.                     

Sense of Place by Cadwyn Clwyd – Rural Development Plan for Wales.

Summary of project

The project aims to develop a sense of place in rural Flintshire through combining the area’s unique natural, cultural and heritage assets to develop the tourism product in the area. The project will seek to develop a sense of place in all areas within rural Flintshire. It will also use environmentally designated areas such as the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Halkyn Mountain SSSI and SAC and the Dee Estuary SSSI and Natura 2000 site to develop a sense of place in the area. It is noted that the project does not intend to create a new brand for the area, its intention is to develop the tourism offer and foster a sense of place in rural Flintshire within the context of Borderlands – the North Wales regional marketing initiative and Visit Wales.

The Museum as Lived Place: Bunratty Folk Park, Ireland

A concern for place experience, or how people connect to locations in ways that are personal and meaningful, is key when designing the augmentation of visitor activities at a heritage institution, especially one specifically trying to communicate authenticity and character through the physical environment and its fittings. The curatorial goal of living history museums is to provide reconstructions of everyday life in times past by showcasing material and engaging visitors through costumes and crafts. Living history museums offer a unique multisensory and immersive experience often not possible in enclosed museums that includes smell and taste as important ways of exploring what is on display. A living history museum showcasing a collection of 32 historic dwellings with period-appropriate fittings, Bunratty Folk Park is appreciated by many visitors for its authentic charm and for allowing the exploration of ways of life of Ireland’s rural past. The park comprises farmhouses and craftsmen cottages (shown in Figure 1), a manor house, a fully reconstructed village street, and other environments, such as farmyards, gardens, and animal enclosures;

Sustainable tourism management practice;

 Sustainable Tourism Management, CABI, 1999  John Swarbrooke; Sustainable tourism is attracting enormous attention today throughout the world. This book provides an up-to-date, comprehensive coverage of the practice and management of the subject. It offers a range of definitions of sustainable tourism from different sectors of tourism and different parts of the world. Key issues and current debates are also discussed and a range of examples of sustainable tourism management practice are given. The book is designed to be interactive, with group and individual exercises and discussion points to further understanding of the subject.

Tourism Planning;

Tourism Planning: Policies, Processes & Relationships; Pearson Education, 2008; By Colin Michael Hal. Seen as the core learning resource for students of tourism planning; with, a wide range of international case studies and examples.

Tourism Policy and Planning:

Tourism Policy and Planning: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow; David L. Edgell, Sr., Maria DelMastro Allen, Ginger Smith, Jason R. Swanson; Routledge, 2008. “From the perspective of economic policy, tourism for local communities is a vital economic development tool producing income, creating jobs, spawning new businesses, spurring economic development, promoting economic diversification, developing new products, and contributing to economic integration. If local and national governments are committed to broad based tourism policies, then tourism will provide its citizens with a higher quality of life while it generates sustained economic, environmental, and social benefits”.

Tourism Ireland;

Tourism Ireland (Fáilte Ireland’s ‘foreign wing’) Marketing Plan sets out our priorities for marketing the island of Ireland overseas, on a market-by-market basis and has been developed as part of a three year strategy.

Birth of the Participative Web

The second generation Web, or the ‘participative Web,’ can be dated from shortly after the turn of the millennium, although the term Web 2.0, by which it is also often known, was not coined by Tim O’Reilly and Dale Dougherty until 2004.  In 2007, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) offered the following definition of the participative Web as,

…characterised by increased participation and interaction of Internet users who use it to communicate and express themselves.

See; Birth of the Participative Web; Birth-of-the-Participative-Web

Plato’s Symposium contrasts two odes to Love, one presenting Love as sophisticated and reasonable and luxuriously fused in beauty the other as a street kid starved for beauty. And Plato opts for the latter as more real.

International Review of Sociology, Monographic On Modernization

Theory: Monographic Series, 3, 1991, Rome: Borla, 213-226.The Gro Brundtland Report (1987)

Or, The Logic of Awesome Decisions, By Joseph Agassi, Tel-Aviv University and York University, Toronto, Canada.  Critique of Brundtland Report.


Origins of the Sustainability Concept

It is generally acknowledged that the Club of Rome’s (1972) book ‘The Limits to Growth’ was the first modern day use of the term as we know it.  It subsequently came to public attention with the publication of the World Conservation Strategy (WCS) in March 1980.  The WCS was a strategy for the conservation of the Earth’s living resources in the face of major international environmental problems such as deforestation, desertification, ecosystem degradation and destruction, extinction of species and loss of genetic diversity, loss of cropland, pollution and soil erosion and was developed by a combination of government agencies, non-governmental organisations and experts from over 100 countries.

The WCS defined conservation as: “the management of human use of the biosphere so that it may yield the greatest sustainable benefit to present generations while maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of future generations.” (IUCN, 1980)

and had three specific objectives:

1.         To maintain essential ecological processes and life support systems (such as soil regeneration and protection, the recycling of nutrients and the cleansing of waters) on which human survival and development depend

2.         To preserve genetic diversity (the range of genetic material found in the world’s organisms) on which depend the breeding programmes necessary for the protection and improvement of cultivated plants and domesticated animals as well as much scientific advance, technical innovation and the security of the many industries that use living resources

3.         To ensure the sustainable utilisation of species and ecosystems (notably fish and other wildlife, forest and grazing lands) which support millions of rural communities as well as major industries

Following the WCS, in 1983 the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) was created as an independent commission reporting directly to the United Nations Assembly with Cro Harlem Bruntland as its chair.  By 1987 the WCED report ‘Our Common Future’, commonly referred to as the ‘Bruntland Report’ was published and sustainable development entered popular language.  According to the report, sustainable development is development that:

“meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Five basic principles of sustainability were identified in the report, which notably took the sustainability concept beyond the specifically environmental:

1.         The idea of holistic planning and strategy making

2.         The importance of preserving essential ecological processes

3.         The need to protect both human heritage and biodiversity

4.         To develop in such a way that productivity can be sustained over the long term for future generations

5.         Achieving a better balance of fairness and opportunity between nations

Supporters of the report point out that it included essential principles of intra-generational and inter-generational equity and persuaded many governments to endorse the notion of sustainable development

Critics of the report argue it contained inbuilt assumptions about the need for continued expansion of the world economy and that it failed to stress the radical changes in lifestyles and society that would be required to overcome the problems inherent in the western model of development (Mowforth & Munt, 2008)

The next notable stage in the development and dissemination of the sustainability concept was the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (popularly known as ‘The Earth Summit’) which was held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992, attended by 178 governments including 120 heads of state.  The purpose of the conference was to:

“elaborate strategies and measures to halt and reverse the effects of environmental degradation in the context of strengthened national and international efforts to promote sustainable and environmentally sound development in all countries.”

The results of the conference were seen to take six parts:

a)         An ‘Earth Charter’ or declaration of basic principles

b)         Agreements on specific legal measures

c)         An agenda for action – Agenda 21 – and the means to implement this agenda

d)         New and additional financial resources

e)         Transfer of technology

f)          Strengthening of institutional capacities and processes

Rio +20 will be held in June 2012.

The scope of the challenge of sustainable development was soon after outlined by Ekins (1993) who argues certain conditions need to be adhered to with respect to resource use, pollution and environmental impacts:

a)         Destabilisation of global environmental features such as climate patterns and the ozone layer must be prevented

b)         Important ecosystems and ecological features must receive absolute protection in order to maintain biological diversity

c)         Renewable resources must be maintained with sustainable harvesting measures rigorously enforced

d)         Non-renewable resources must be used as intensively as possible

e)         Depletion of non-renewable resources should proceed on the basis of maintaining minimum life expectancies of such resources, at which level consumption should be matched by new discoveries of these resources and technological innovation

f)          Emissions into the biosphere should not exceed the biosphere’s capacity to absorb such emissions

g)         Risks of life damaging events from human activity e.g. nuclear power generation must be kept at a very low level


Ekins, P (1993) ‘Limits to growth and sustainable development: grappling with ecological realities’.  Ecological Economics 8 pp 269-88

Meadows, D. Et al. (1972) The Limits to Growth, Universe Publications

Mowforth, M. and Munt, I., (2008) Tourism and Sustainability, Abingdon: Taylor and Francis

WCED (1987) Our Common Future Oxford: Oxford University Press.


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1987 Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED)

Sustainable Globalization – A Contradiction or a Target ?

2009-05-19:  Globalization is not just an economic concept … it is a social reality in the 21st Century …

In discussions about Sustainable Human & Social Development … it is the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) and its 1987 (Brundtland) Report: Our Common Future which tends to attract most attention … that is, if people have gone to the trouble of actually reading the report!

However, fast forward to November 2001 … the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization (WCSDG) was created by a decision of the Governing Body of the International Labour Office (ILO), in Geneva, Switzerland.  Its brief was to prepare an authoritative report on the social dimension of globalization, including the interaction between the global economy and the world of work.

Later, in February 2002 … Ms. Tarja Halonen, President of Finland, and Mr. Benjamin Mkapa, President of Tanzania, accepted the ILO Director-General’s invitation to act as Co-Chairs of the Commission.  Nineteen other members were appointed from across the world’s regions, with a diversity of backgrounds and expertise.

The WCSDG’s Report: A Fair Globalization – Creating Opportunities for All was published in February 2004.

Before the current dark days of global economic crisis, financial meltdown, consumer spending collapse and spiralling unemployment … the WCSDG’s Recommendations might have appeared somewhat radical.  Now, however, they are too tame by far …

” We seek a process of globalization with a strong social dimension based on universally shared values, and respect for human rights and individual dignity; one that is fair, inclusive, democratically governed and provides opportunities and tangible benefits for all countries and people.

To this end we call for:

–         A Focus on People

The cornerstone of a fairer globalization lies in meeting the demands of all people for: respect for their rights, cultural identity and autonomy; decent work; and the empowerment of the local communities they live in.  Gender equality is essential.

–         A Democratic & Effective State

The State must have the capability to manage integration into the global economy, and provide social and economic opportunity and security.

–         Sustainable Development

The quest for a fair globalization must be underpinned by the interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars of economic development, social development and environmental protection at the local, national, regional and global levels.

–         Productive & Equitable Markets

This requires sound institutions to promote opportunity and enterprise in a well-functioning market economy.

–         Fair Rules

The rules of the global economy must offer equitable opportunity and access for all countries and recognize the diversity in national capacities and developmental needs.

–         Globalization with Solidarity

There is a shared responsibility to assist countries and people excluded from or disadvantaged by globalization.  Globalization must help to overcome inequality both within and between countries and contribute to the elimination of poverty.

–         Greater Accountability to People

Public and private actors at all levels with power to influence the outcomes of globalization must be democratically accountable for the policies they pursue and the actions they take.  They must deliver on their commitments and use their power with respect for others.

–         Deeper Partnerships

Many actors are engaged in the realization of global social and economic goals – international organizations, governments and parliaments, business, labour, civil society and many others.  Dialogue and partnership among them is an essential democratic instrument to create a better world.

–         An Effective United Nations

A stronger and more efficient multilateral system is the key instrument to create a democratic, legitimate and coherent framework for globalization.”

Sustainable Economic Development means … Economic Development which is compatible with Sustainable Human & Social Development !

That was the easy part … but try explaining it to economists ?!?!

Sustainable Globalization … much more than an economic concept, but a social reality in our time … means Globalization which is also compatible with Sustainable Human & Social Development … each co-existing with the other in harmony and dynamic balance … and – together – providing a high level of Social Wellbeing for All.

Unfortunately … while economists can readily understand Individual Welfare …

a person’s general feeling of health, happiness and fulfilment

… they are not familiar with the concept of Social Wellbeing …a general condition – in a community, society or culture – of health, happiness, creativity, responsible fulfilment, and sustainable development.

Assassination attempt

Brundtland (nee Harlem) led three Labour Party governments in the 1980s and 1990s and is often called “mother of the nation”, narrowly escaped assassination by Anders Behring Breivik on 22 July 2011. She had been on the island of Utøya hours before the massacre there to give a speech to the AUF camp; Breivik stated that he originally intended for Brundtland to be the main target of the attack, but he had been delayed while travelling from Oslo.[8] Breivik arrived on Utøya at 17:18 that day; Brundtland had left the island about two hours earlier.

During his trial in 2012, Breivik revealed detailed assassination plans for Brundtland.[9] He told the court that he had planned to handcuff her, and then record himself reading out a prepared text detailing her “crimes”, before decapitating her on camera using a bayonet and uploading the footage to the internet. Breivik said that while Brundtland had been his main target, he had still planned to massacre everyone else on the island. orway-shooting-killer-confirms-Gro-Harlem-Brundtland-was-main-target


Nested Envelope Design Could Slash Heating Costs

by    (Original article;

With winter is just two weeks away, researchers in Toronto, Canada, will soon begin testing how a simple design change in home construction can significantly reduce heating bills during the coldest months. Called the Gemini Nested Thermal Envelope Design, the strategy merges three key green building concepts: efficient insulation, the use of a heat pump and a reduction of unused living space.

The project is the brainchild of Russell Richman, a professor in the Department of Engineering and Architectural Science at Toronto’s Ryerson University. He theorizes that if a home is divided into a core interior zone and a lightly used perimeter zone, only a small heat pump would be needed to maintain a comfortable temperature in the main living areas at a cost savings of about 80 percent, compared to using a conventional furnace.

Nested Thermal Envelope 1Image via St. Bernard Project/Flickr

According to Richman and his team, about 60 percent of energy usage in a typical house is used on space heating, most of which is channeled inefficiently to rooms that don’t need heating or slowly escapes through small gaps in the outer insulation envelope. The Ryerson group is trying to solve this problem with the zonal system, consisting of a heavy layer of insulation around the core interior—usually containing high-traffic areas such as the kitchen, living room, bathrooms and bedrooms—and another thinner layer of insulation around the outer rooms of the home. These areas would include formal dining rooms, sunrooms, enclosed porches and guest rooms that are not occupied every day.

The heat pump in this arrangement would not only send heat into the interior core, it would also be programmed to capture heat seeping to the exterior rooms and recycle it back into the core before it has a chance to escape through the outside walls. The interior rooms would be maintained a comfortable 21 degrees C (roughly 70 degrees F) while the outer unoccupied rooms would be kept at 5 degrees C (about 40 degrees F). In warmer months, the process could be reversed, with the heat pump allowing the exterior zone to heat up while it maintains a comfortably cool temperature in the core.

Nested Thermal Envelope 2The Toronto house that will test the Gemini nested envelope system (left), and a diagram showing the two-zone configuration. Image via the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“In the winter, you could get savings by living in a smaller space, period,” Richman was quoted as saying to “But you can’t just heat one room, because there is no insulation between one room and the outside or other rooms. To do it really well, you need to insulate the room and then insulate the whole house. As we explain it, zonal heating is just a house within a house, or a box within a box.”

With grants from the Ontario Power Authority’s Technology and Development Fund and the University of Toronto, totalling about C$300,000, the Gemini design will soon be retrofitted into an 1870s-era Victorian-style masonry home in down-town Toronto. The team will choose volunteer subjects to live in the house over a five-year period and monitor their behaviour to see if the zonal theory works in the real world.


Here’s a simple efficiency hack.  Bubble wrap insulation for windows.


Here’s how to do it:

  1. Cut the bubble wrap to the size of the window pane with scissors.
  2. Spray a film of water on the window using a spray bottle.
  3. Apply the bubble wrap while the window is still wet and press it into place. The bubble side goes toward the glass.

It can cut the heat loss from a window in half while letting ambient light in…


Unexpectedly Cool Alternative Natural Fuels

influenza virus microscopeDon’t look now, but there are some seriously unique ways scientists are discovering to power our gadgets, appliances, homes and cars. Good thing they aren’t contagious.

Virus of Power

If you have ever had nightmares of a super virus wiping out mankind, this news of a positive use of viruses may offer some solace.

Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have been making news since at least 2008 for their efforts related to using viruses to create a battery.

In 2012, nanotech scientist Angela Belcher continues to spearhead the effort which utilizes genetically modified viruses to create batteries smaller than 1/10 the width of a human hair (1). Using the genetic code of viruses, scientists can manipulate them to create various shapes, attract metals, and build such things as the anodes and cathodes needed to create batteries (2).

So far, Angela Belcher has created three variations of virus power: a lithium battery, a virus nano-tube solar cell, and water-splitting virus fuel cells.

Piezoelectricity picture of animated GIFOther researchers have found another way to use certain organisms to create electricity.

This type of virus is capable of creating electricity when it is bent, poked, or squeezed, a trait known as piezoelectricity. This technology has been harnessed into powering an LCD screen by placing the viruses into a wafer between electrodes. If more strides are made in the field of viruses in the creation of power, the next time you speak of viruses, it may be in a positive way rather than related to illness. After all, Angela Belcher’s dream is to drive a virus-powered car (3). Here she is in a 10 minute, very fascinating lecture on virus and nano technology.

VIDEO; Uning nature to grow batteries.

Fuel on the Rocks

With the abundance of methane gas available due to hydraulic fracturing methods used in fields such as the Bakken Formation in North Dakota, some would see little need of looking for additional sources. However, as one technology expert points out, waiting until you need something is not the best time to search for it (4). That is why the U.S. Department of Energy and its partners have been looking for methane gas in some rather strange places, namely ice. Not all ice is simply a frozen form of H2O. Certain ice is made of methane hydrate.  Eliminate the water, and you have methane gas!

Research is being conducted to replace the methane particles with carbon dioxide, recovering the methane without displacing the ice.

methane gas trapped in ice

Roll, Tide, Roll

Constant and ceaseless: two adjectives that describe the come and go of the tides give good reason for research into harnessing that constant motion for powering the contraptions of modern man. According to researchers, the world’s tides are capable of producing 800 Terawatt hours of electricity per year, in a precise and predictable fashion far different than the variations of wind power.

The world’s first tidal current power plant was designed and developed by Marine Current TurbinesLtd. off the Irish coast (5). U.S. companies such as Siemens Energy see great potential in this clean new source of power. The first North American turbine kicked into duty off the coast of Maine in December 2012.

power created by tides

Importing Trash

While most countries are battling waste management issues to include overflowing landfills and an abundance of garbage, Sweden is begging for garbage from surrounding countries, currently importing from Norway, and hoping to bring it in from countries such as Bulgaria, Italy, and Romania. And what is the purpose of all this trash? To create energy for the homes of Swedish residents.

In a case of one person’s waste being another person’s treasure, Sweden has been incredibly successful in its production of clean fuel and has seen a dramatic decrease of greenhouse gas emissions (6). Perhaps other countries should follow suit.

Carl Jung and others on a ‘Sense of Place’.

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Carl Jung and others on a ‘Sense of Place’.

Some thoughts from figures of note (and a tiny contribution from this writer) on philosophical Sense of Place as well as the physical.

Note; Jung, Carl– from his Collected Works (cw) edited by Meridith Sabrini, North Atlantic Books, Berkley. California,2002.

Reading around the subject – on “A Sense of Place” – I found some interesting comments by Carl Jung where he writes/speaks about returning – usually to nature something that he sees as a place or entity ‘Mother Nature’. Concern for the loss of connection with this ‘place’ runs as a (non-musical?) leitmotif throughout Jung’s entire opus; “Our task is not to return to nature in the manner of Rousseau[i], but to find the natural man”. Jung believed that the loss of emotional participation in nature has resulted in a sense of c (lack of a sense of place), matter was to him the tangible exterior of things and the spirit the non-visible interior.

By way of compensating for the loss of a world that pulsed with our blood and breathed with our breath, we have developed an enthusiasm for facts – mountains of facts, far beyond any single individual’s power to survey … . the facts are burying us. (c.w. 11 par 797), Jung, C. 1939. (There’s a much quoted child’s question that asks; “If adults know so much why aren’t they happy?”). “The development of consciousness is a slow and laborious process that took untold ages to reach the civilised state (±6000 years ago – the invention of writing). This development is far from complete as indefinably large areas of the mind still remain in darkness”.  Jung goes on to explain that civilisation is a most expensive process & its acquisition has been paid for by enormous losses (see the video “The Story of Stuff”) the extent of which “we have largely forgotten or have never appreciated”. (c.w. 10, par 154-5) Jung, C 1928.

Of course classical sciences propensity for viewing a present state in its environmental context persisted down throughout the centuries. (Phil Myrick, Power of Place, 2011). He goes on; We see Placemaking as one solution to these problems. ‘Placemaking is the nexus between sustainability and livability: by making our communities more livable, and more about places, we also are doing the right thing for the planet. Placemaking provides concrete actions and results that boost broader sustainability goals such as smart growth, walkability, public transportation, local food, and bikes, yet brings it home for people in tangible, positive ways.  We feel it is important to give people a proactive approach to sustainability in their hometowns. Creating lively town centres and neighbourhoods that enhance pride of place and promote local economic development is critical to improving local quality of life as well as quality of the environment.  In fact, we can reinvent entire regions starting from the heart of local communities and building outwards’.

However in Winifred Gallagher’s book The Power of Place, ( 1993, Possidon Press USA), there is a strong echo of Jung’s ‘cosmic & social isolation’, Gallagher reinforces the need to stay in touch with our environment, especially for city dwellers who tend to be overwhelmed with intellectual stimulation and lack stimulation from nature. She too feels we need to find a place that is removed from the ‘facts of civilisation’ Gallagher claims, “So yes, we do need that trip to the countryside once in a while”. She goes further to hope for a change in a later work; “In the future I’m planning on searching within the field of architectural psychology. I want to know how urban planning, architecture and interior design affect us. I’ll be looking at academic works but also at other philosophical or spiritual concepts such as the Asian Chi”.

Hippocrates too observed that our well-being is affected by our settings –( The Hippocratic treatise Airs, Waters, Places served as a template for viewing the relationships between places, health, disease, and the physical and mental constitutional nature of people and nations up to the early twentieth century. Central to this conception of the body and its environment is the perception of causal connections between a place Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies) so this is not a new concept. This writer has oftimes observed that in Northern Ireland the richer, “settled” communities that were ‘given’ the best land in the valleys became introspective and dour while the native people were left to settle the hills and upper poorer land. These produced far great percentage of thinkers and visionaries not to mention musicians and

poets of note. People who could see farther than their own microcosm.


On a lighter note; from Bryon, A.T. Don Juan, “What men call gallantry and gods adultery is so much more common where the climate’s sultry”.

“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!”
― Dr. SeussOne Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish


Many others have had difficulties with a ‘Sense of Place’ too;

“I am here, and here is nowhere in particular” Golding William, The Spire,

“There is no mysterious essence we can call a ‘place’. Place is change. It is motion killed by the mind, and preserved in the amber of memory.”  Baker, J. A. , The Peregrine

“The universe is a big place, perhaps the biggest.”
― Kurt Vonnegut



Winifred Gallagher, The Power of Place, Harper Perennial, 1994.


Myrick; The-power-of-place-a-new-dimension-for-sustainable-development/




[i] Les Reveries du Promeneur Solitaire;

I used to sit on the beach by the lakeside in some hidden refuge. There, the sound of the waves and the stirring of the water held my senses still, drove out of my mind all other kinds of agitation, and immersed it in a delightful reverie. Night often crept upon me without my noticing…

Sustainability & Rabbis by Environmental Leader, Lester Brown

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Eminent Environmental Leader, Lester Brown, Urges Religious Leaders to Act Now on Threats to Food, Water and Security

Speaking to a national gathering of the Central Conference of American Rabbis in New Orleans, Brown warned that climate change and population growth will mean widespread, worldwide food and water shortages. Urging the religious community to engage fully to help prevent widespread environmental and economic collapse, Brown asked: if we continue business as usual, how much time do we have left before our global civilization unravels?…April 7, 2011 Lester Brown, President of Earth Policy Institute and described by the Washington Post as one of the world’s most influential thinkers, has urged Rabbis, American Jews and the interfaith world community to take bold action now on issues of food, water, and family planning.

Speaking to a national gathering of the Central Conference of American Rabbis in New Orleans, Brown warned that climate change and population growth will mean widespread, worldwide food and water shortages. Urging the religious community to engage fully to help prevent widespread environmental and economic collapse, Brown asked: if we continue business as usual, how much time do we have left before our global civilization unravels?…Brown’s visionary Plan 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization warns that the perfect storm or the ultimate recession could come at any time: It will likely be triggered by an unprecedented harvest shortfall, one caused by a combination of crop-withering heat waves and emerging water shortages as aquifers are depleted.


Population Pressure: Land and Water

In 1950, Rwanda’s population was 2.4 million. By 1993, it had tripled to 7.5 million, making it the most densely populated country in Africa. As population grew, so did the demand for firewood. By 1991, the demand was more than double the sustainable yield of local forests. As trees disappeared, straw and other crop residues were used for cooking fuel. With less organic matter in the soil, land fertility declined.

As the health of the land deteriorated, so did that of the people dependent on it. Eventually there was simply not enough
food to go around. A quiet desperation developed. Like a drought-afflicted countryside, it could be ignited with a single
match. That ignition came with the crash of a plane on April 6, 1994, shot down as it approached the capital Kigali, killing President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu. The crash unleashed an organized attack by Hutus, leading to an estimated 800,000 deaths of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 100 days. In some villages, whole families were slaughtered lest there be survivors to claim the family plot of land.