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Eco-Sustainability Snippets

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Eco-Sustainability Snippets.


Incredible video on how small changes in animal population change the very landscape; Food Waste ———————————–                                      ———————————-

Tackling food waste: The EU’s contribution to a global issue

Tackling food waste The EU's contribution to a global issue © Beaubelle / Fotolia In spite of the availability of food, there is still malnutrition in the world. Food is lost or wasted throughout the supply chain, from initial agricultural production down to final consumers. In developed countries, a significant amount of food is wasted at the consumption stage, meaning that it is discarded even though still suitable for human consumption. In developing countries food is lost mostly at the farmer-producer end of the food supply chain; much less food is wasted at consumer level. Experts assert that the largest part of food waste in developed countries is produced by households and is linked mainly to urbanisation, changes in the composition of diets, and large-scale mass distribution. Overall, on a per-capita basis, much more food is wasted in the industrialised world than in developing countries. In the EU, food waste has been estimated at some 89 million tonnes, or 180 kg per capita per year. Food losses and waste have negative environmental and economic impacts and their existence raises questions for society. The EU is contributing to reducing food waste mainly through its commitment to halve the disposal of edible food in the EU by 2020. Various national initiatives also aim to attain this goal. The European Parliament has called for 2014 to be designated as ‘European year against food waste’. Click here for the whole briefing

Share of global food loss and waste by commodity, 2009
Share of global food loss and waste, (100% = 1.5 quadrillion kcal)
Estimated total food waste in the EU, 2010 (kg per capita)

Environmental impact of food waste

  • Rising world food prices: causes and policy responses

 Water Issues;

Water-footprint calculator;



Energy production and distribution must be one of the least sustainable of all human activities. Even without any further discoveries of gas, oil, or coal we are committed to global temperature increase of more than 2oC ( Such a temperature increase will have potentially devastating impacts on agriculture, transport, health and political stability. The search for non-carbon based sources of energy would be the number one factor. Funky dashboard which shows the amount of electricity currently being generated in the UK, and whether it is being produced from coal, gas, nuclear or wind power; ==================================================================== Political The Yasuni case in Ecuador was interesting in that Ecuador requested financial compensation to not drill for oil in the Yasuni Reserve which is designated as one of the most bio-diverse places. unfortunately the rest of the international community unfortunately did not deliver. We need to have a more cohesive global approach to sustainability and climate change and not just focus on our own doorstep.


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New Natural History series on RTE 1 and Cape Clear courses

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IWDG were once again delighted to be invited to contribute to a Crossing the Line natural history production and the “whale” show recorded off Dunmore East on Martin Colfer’s MV Rebecca C back in Jan 2012 will air on Sun 9th June on RTE Radio 1 at 7:00 pm.  A full schedule of this 10 part series is given below.  For those of you who have missed the first two shows, they are available at:


10 x 30min Natural History Radio Documentary Series

STARTS SUNDAY 5th MAY 2013 on Radio 1 at 7pm

Bringing the sounds of Ireland’s natural world to Radio 1 listeners

This ten-part radio documentary series sees Emmy award-winning wildlife cameraman and television presenter Colin Stafford Johnson turn his talents to radio. Colin travels across the country on the hunt for some of our most remarkable animals and wild places. Tune in and allow yourself to be transported to Skellig Michael, with its noisy storm petrels, manx shearwaters and puffins; or into the midst of a grey seal colony on the windswept Inishkea Islands; venture below ground and imagine yourself being surrounded by swarming bats; or experience the sounds recorded inside a starling roost under a Belfast bridge. Over the course of ten weeks, Colin will guide his audience on an intimate tour of Ireland’s natural world.

A Crossing the Line Production on behalf of RTÉ Radio One & BAI Sound & Vision


A Night on the Skellig Rocks

In 600AD early Christian monks chose Skellig Michael, 11km off the Kerry coast, as a location for a monastery ‘on the edge of the known world’ which they believed would bring them closer to God. In this episode Colin Stafford Johnson spends a night on Skellig Michael, to record the wild sounds to be heard at this World Heritage Site – introducing the puffins, storm petrels and manx shearwaters who also choose to make their home on this rocky outcrop. In addition to meeting its wild inhabitants, Colin talks to OPW guides who spend the summer living on the island, and tourists who have made the day trip; as well as a local diver who describes the Skellig landscape below the surface.


The Burren: a special place for bumblebees, plants and people

Colin Stafford Johnson visits Slieve Carron Nature Reserve in the Burren, Co. Clare. The Burren is unique and is known throughout the world for its vast limestone pavements, but far from being a barren landscape, as Dr Brendan Dunford explains, the Burren holds a diverse flora, a mix of Mediterranean and alpine plants found nowhere else in Ireland. It is also home to some of Ireland’s rarest bumblebees. When you hear Ecologist Dr Jane Stout’s take on bumblebees you will never see a passing bee the same way again, but as furry, endearing creatures!

Colin learns about the Burren Farming for Conservation Programme and meets local farmer Pat Nagle. We also meet 13-year-old Jack McGann, graduate of Ecobeo, a course for young people on the natural, cultural and archaeological heritage value of this landscape.


The Seal Colony of the Inishkeas

Colin Stafford Johnson joins grey seal expert Dr Oliver O’Cadhla on a visit to South Inishkea, off the Mullet Peninsula, home to one of Ireland’s largest grey seal breeding colonies. Having spent years researching the seals at this colony, Oliver is passionate about this place and these animals and explains their struggle to survive in this harsh environment. It’s mid-October and very cold. There are lots of pups on the beach, but they won’t all make it. The mothers are busy feeding their young, while the large dominant male seals protect their harem. On this remote wild island, we get a peek into the secret lives of the grey seals that are born there.


Species in Danger

In this episode of ‘Nature on One’, Colin Stafford Johnson seeks out one of our most endangered species, the curlew. Searching across bog in Co. Mayo, Colin sets out to record the once familiar call of this iconic bird of Irish peatlands and Ireland’s largest wader. Anita Donaghy, from Birdwatch Ireland, explains why the curlew is in decline and their ‘Cry of the Curlew’ campaign. [see]

Colin also wants to find out how some of our smaller, lesser known species – our snails and slugs – are doing. With a third of Irish mollusc species facing extinction, Colin is delighted to hear some good news for one species in Co. Longford as he meets up with Evelyn Moorkens to investigate a recently discovered site for one of our most rare animals, Desmoulins Whorl Snail, Vertigo moulinsiana.


Rise of the Pine Marten

Historically widespread throughout the country, the pine marten suffered serious population decline due to habitat destruction, hunting for the fur trade; accidental poisoning and persecution by game-keepers so that, by the 1950s, it had become one of our rarest animals. But now the pine marten is on the rise once again and sightings are increasing across the midlands. Colin visits a small school in Co. Leitrim, in which a female pine marten chose to set up home and the pupils explain how they felt about this new addition to their school. Colin also explores the impact of this spread of the pine marten on other animals, meeting up with Emma Sheehy from NUI Galway in an Offaly woodland, where she is studying the interesting relationship between the pine marten, the red squirrel and the introduced grey squirrel.

EPISODE 6   Sunday 9th May, 7:00 pm

Whaling off Hook Head

Colin Stafford Johnson heads offshore with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, from Dunmore East, Co. Waterford, to try to find the second largest animal on earth, the fin whale. No less than 24 species of whales and dolphins have been recorded in Irish waters, ranging in size from the harbour porpoise to the blue whale, the largest animal that has ever lived. Will they manage to track down what is known as the greyhound of whale species, the fin whale?


The Secret Life of Irish Caves – from swarming bats to ancient bones

Late one Autumn night, Colin Stafford Johnson heads underground to explore what wildlife might be found in Irish caves. Colin meets bat specialist Conor Kelleher in Dunmore Cave, Co. Kilkenny, where they hope to witness the autumnal swarming of Natterer’s bats. This phenomenon of Autumnal swarming in caves was only discovered in Ireland last year, and it is still not known why the bats do it – using up valuable fat reserves just as their winter hibernation approaches.

In addition to this living wildlife spectacle, caves are also important repositories for our extinct fauna. To find out why this is and what has been found in Irish caves, Colin heads to the Natural History Museum to meet Nigel Monaghan, Curator, and to examine some of the ancient remains found in Irish caves.


The Wild Side of Belfast

We tend to think of wildlife as living in pristine countryside, in woodland, rivers and bogs, but this week Colin Stafford Johnson heads to the bustling city of Belfast to find out what wild stories it might have to offer. The River Lagan flows right through the centre of the city. Ronald Surgenor, is a Wier operative, Department of Culture, Arts, and Leisure, and RSPB volunteer, who knows the river intimately and Ronald kindly takes Colin out in his rib, to visit Albert Bridge, the site of an amazing wildlife display, a starling murmuration, and they venture right under the bridge for a close encounter with the birds as they roost for the night.

Colin also meets Lucille Coates and some children from ‘Watch this Space’, a Belfast City Council monthly nature club; as well as a team of volunteers who are hedgelaying, with the Laganscape Project, which works to manage Lagan Valley Park, with involvement from local communities, school groups, businesses and volunteers.

EPISODE 9       

Birdsong – why do birds sing and what does it mean to us humans?

Colin Stafford Johnson explores that wildlife sound we often take for granted – birdsong. At the Devil’s Glen in Co. Wicklow, he meets up with Animal Behaviour expert and Head of the Zoology Department in Trinity College Dublin, Dr Nicola Marples, to ask her why birds sing, and how they learn their tunes. Colin also travels west to meet with Gordon Darcy, Natural History author, artist and environmental educator, to discuss what birdsong might mean for human beings and how it may enrich our lives, whether or not we recognise it.


‘An Amphibian Love Story’ – Singing frogs and Nattering Toads

How does one attract the opposite sex? It could be good looks, physical fitness, a nice home, or even how you smell! But what about how you sound? In some animals it’s all in the voice. Toads and frogs have developed impressive calls to attract a mate. In this episode, Colin Stafford Johnson looks at two of Ireland’s amphibians, the common frog and the Natterjack Toad, and sets out to record their unique calls. In February he explored a mass frog spawning site at Glendalough in Co. Wicklow with Rob Gandola, from the Irish Herpetological Society; and in April, Ferdia Marnell, National Parks and Wildlife Service, and local conservation ranger Pascal Dower visit a Natterjack Toad breeding pond at Glenbeigh, Co. Kerry.

IWDG Cape Clear Whale-Watching courses

There are still some places left on the 1st of our summer weekend whale-watching courses May 31- June 2nd on Cape Clear, Co. Cork. These courses are available for members at a discounted rate of €70.  Over the weekend participants will learn both practical field-skills during land and boat based watches, as well as attend a series of talks covering cetacean ecology/biology, species identification and whale watching.  Given reasonable weather conditions these weekends generally provide sightings of porpoises, common dolphins and minke whales and at this time of year, we can’t rule out basking sharks, although admitedly this has been a very poor year to date for this species, due to the lower than normal water temperatures.

Enquiries to email: or Ph. 353 (0)86 3850568

Whale Watch Ireland 2013, Sunday 18th August 2013, 2:00-5:00 pm

We are once again delighted to announce that Inis, Cologne are providing funding support for All-Ireland whale watch day on Sunday 18th August. As always this event requires watch leaders willing to lead and promote your local watch.  If you have land- based whale watching experience, are good with crowds and have some energy and time to spare, we’d appreciate your contacting us, so we can start to compile a list of sites that we can cover on this event, which is one of the largest events on the Irish wildlife calender.  Please contact event organiser on email: or Ph. 086-3850568

Swimming pool – au natural

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A Natural Swimming Pool That Works for You

By John Robb (Resilient Communities).

Robb writes on all sorts of interesting topics – here he teams up with  Shlok Vaidya as contributer

When I was a pilot, I spent years surveying the built environment from above.

One thing that amazed me is how many people own swimming pools.  In some areas of the country, it seems that nearly everyone has a pool (in some cases, the pool is almost as big as the footprint of the home itself).

But things have changed.  We don’t have the luxury of allocating that much space to a sterile, unproductive pool of water that requires constant attention and financial support?

We need to put that space to work.

But are there any other options?  Is it possible to build a pool that does more than just support our playtime?

I believe there is.   It’s called a natural pool.


The natural pool, doesn’t fight nature tooth and nail.  It embraces it in a very tangible way.

Instead of engaging in chemical warfare, the natural pool uses an ecosystem of plants to cleanse and filter your swimming water.  To do this, designers create a wetland in a shallow and distinct area of a pool to act as a biological filter.


This include the following components:

  • Microorganisms. For example, zooplankton eat algae to keep your water clear.
  • Aquatic plants. They absorb the nutrients that the bacteria break down. Indigenous plants are used as much as possible. You can also grow edible plants, for example, rice, watercress, or wasabi.
  • An inert substrate. This way the plants are forced to draw their nutrients from the water itself, thereby keeping the water clean.
  • Retaining wall. Enables water flow between the two areas but prevents the plants from doing so.

In practice, the shallow water of the wetland area is circulated into the deeper water of the swimming pool.

This circulation enables your bio-filter to cleanse the water as it goes. Upkeep is minimal – one simply has to trim the plants as necessary and remove fallen leaves.

There are no chemicals to buy, minimal electricity costs (one pump), and no PH level monitoring. If needed, the bio-filter can be supplemented with an automated skimmer or UV sanitizer.

As an added bonus, because the wetland is a distinct area, it can be added to an existing pool in a retrofit with minimal additional digging.

Resiliently Yours,

 JOHN ROBB;- Resilient communities.

PS: Because the pool is designed for circulating water, the threat of mosquitoes is minimized.  Additionally, wildlife (frogs, dragonflies) will be attracted to the vegetation-filled part of the pool you don’t swim in. They’ll provide a free pest management service.  In contrast, when a chemically treated pool isn’t maintained, it can quickly collapse into a cesspool of larva (as we saw during the foreclosure tsunami a couple of years ago).

PPS:  I’ve been experimenting with aquascaped environments over the last couple of months, and I can attest that these systems can take care of themselves if you build the system correctly.

Resilient communities editor, Shlok Vaidya, contributed to this letter.


Natural swimming pools provide all of the fun of a standard swimming pool, but without the chemicals and the maintenance.    As you can see below, a natural pool system can turn a recreational pool into a productive asset rather than merely a chemically laced cost center.

Planted ponds

The secret to a natural pools is something called a biofilter.  To clean the pool, you pump water through the biofilter (images via Gartenart).


What is a biofilter?  It’s usually made with porous rocks or gravel.  Essentially, any material that has nooks and crannies that bacteria can breed in.  With a biofilter, you actually want the bacteria to grow because they eat the pollutants in the water, cleansing it in the process.

Eco News and Gadgets

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I ofttimes find interesting articles on eco – gadgets that excite or interest me. I thought to share a few.


A Waterless Dishwasher You’ll Never Have To Empty

There are some chores I’ve just never stopped hating. Dishes are one of them, making the bed is another. Although we’ve got a fairly new dishwasher it still takes some doing to get me motivated enough to start the process. We have to be down to our last couple of forks. Even after they’re clean, there’s still the task of taking everything out, making sure it’s really dry, and putting it away.

Although using a dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand, it’s still a major consumer of both water and electrical energy in the household. But what can we do? Dishes have to be clean, and the only way to do that is with hot, soapy water, right? Wrong. The DualWash Bipartite Dishwasher is a complete reinvention of the humble dishwasher. Not only does it operate without water, it doubles as the cabinet so once it’s loaded, the dishes are already put away.


Image via Gökçe Altun, Nagihan Tuna, Pınar Şimşek, and Halit Sancar/Tuvie

I know you’re desperate to know how it works (I was too), so here it is: Instead of hot water, the dualWash would use carbon dioxide. When the washing cycle starts, the carbon-dioxide cycle is activated, and supercritical carbon-dioxide  (liquid CO2) is pumped to the cleaning chamber. “Supercritical carbon-dioxide has a very low surface tension, meaning instead of beading up into a ball like water, it spreads out widely covering all surfaces,” explain the designers. As this review points out, should there be solid particles, the supercritical carbon dioxide is returned to carbon dioxide’s gas phase, and forces and stubborn particles into the filter. When full, just remove the filter and clean it.


Image via Gökçe Altun, Nagihan Tuna, Pınar Şimşek, and Halit Sancar/Tuvie

The great part is that this futuristic dishwasher has not one but two cabinet areas. Simply slide the door over the side that’s due for cleaning, while the clean dishes in the other side are on display. This concept is perfect for single individuals or couples, because it allows you to wash just a few dishes without the guilt of wasting water and energy.

DualWash uses the Carbon-dioxide cleaning rather than water-based cleaning as a reaction to the water shortages of coming decades. When the washing cycle is started, Carbon-dioxide cycle is activated, and Supercritical Carbon-dioxide is pumped to the cleaning chamber. Supercritical Carbon-dioxide has a very low surface tension, meaning instead of beading up into a ball like water, it spreads out widely covering all surfaces.

During the washing cycle, Carbon-dioxide flows around the machine and cleans it. For solid particles, Supercritical Carbon-dioxide is turned to gas phase and food particle filter holds contaminates. The filter can be removed and cleaned.


Environmental concerns drive innovation

zeolite technology;

Revolutionary new developments are rare in the home appliances sector, which makes the BSH dishwasher with Zeolith® Drying System all the more remarkable. The zeolite dishwasher won the inaugural German Innovation Prize for Climate and Environment (IKU) awarded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) and the Federation of German Industries (BDI) in February 2010. This innovation promises to change the market altogether.


Award-winning zeolite technology

Our novel drying technology uses zeolite minerals to reduce dishwasher electricity consumption by 20 percent as compared with what were previously the most efficient appliances in the top efficiency class. All in all, our engineers have managed to halve the electricity consumption of our dishwashers over the last 20 years. Zeolite, a substance formerly used only in industry, adsorbs moisture and releases heat in the process, making it ideal for use inside our dishwashers. The hot air produced dries the load after the rinse cycle without any additional energy input.

Reuse .. .. rain !

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(Re)Make it Rain: Rainwater Reclamation Designs

Here in the sunny South East of Ireland we get 1/4 the rainfall of the West and we have run out of rain water in the 2.5Ton water butts 6 times in the last 20months. Some of these have me thinking (again)!

Posted: 12 Sep 2011 10:00 AM PDT

[ By Steph in Art & Design & Home & Garden. ]

Big, bulky plastic rain barrels have their place, but there’s more than one way to capture and store rainwater, as these 12 innovative and versatile designs and concepts prove. Dual-purpose garden furniture and rain cisterns, personal catchment systems that attach to water bottles, beautiful self-watering planters and towering public installations harvest the most precious resource of all, and they do it in style.

Rain Harvesting Garden Table

(images via: green launches)

Cisterns take up a lot of room, and not everyone has a huge backyard. This brilliant concept doubles the function by turning your rainwater reservoir into a garden table; the slanted surface of the table captures water. Great for those who only need to harvest small amounts of rainwater, or as a supplement to additional systems.

Downspouts Double as Water-Recycling Planters

(images via: seattle times)

This cool concept for urban gutter downspouts turn an otherwise unremarkable element of the exterior of a building and turns it into a decorative planter, routing some of the water to the roots of the plants along the way.

Lush, Elegant Rainwater Harvesting System

(images via: inhabitat)

Save space and beautify your garden with CISTA, a decorate rain reservoir and planter that stretches tall to take up less valuable room. Industrial designers figforty and architects MOSS SUND designed the 8-foot stainless steel column to hold up to 100 gallons of water; a climbing vine is planted at the base and allowed to take over the frame.

Agua in Situ: Rainwater Purifying Trees

(images via: coroflot)

Blending in with nature and providing a potentially life-saving function, Agua in Situ is a tree-like vertical rainwater harvester made of stainless steel with a UV-resistant polycarbonate internal layer. The opening is shaped like leaves or the petals of a flower to capture rainwater naturally, and a carbon filter on the end of each tower sterilizes the water for safe use.

Accumuwater Water Tower

(images via: coroflot)

Doubling as public sculpture, the Accumuwater is like a smaller, household version of the Agua in Situ without the filtering capabilities. The towers independently capture rainwater for those who, for whatever reasons, can’t use their roofs; a hose or spigot attaches to the base.

Rain-Collecting Skyscraper

(images via: design boom)

When water is needed on a large scale – as it already is in many areas of the world – why not devote an entire skyscraper to the job of harvesting rainwater? ‘Capture the Rain’, by Ryszard Rychlicki and Agnieszka Nowak, has a dish-shaped roof and an exterior shell consisting of gutters to do just that. Under the surface of the roof is large reservoirs with reed fields that botanically filter the water for use in toilets, washing machines, cleaning and other domestic applications.

RainDrops: Reusing 2-Liter Bottles

(images via: yanko design)

Not only does this innovative system reuse disposable 2-liter bottles, it adapts to an existing gutter system, providing individual-sized amounts of captured water at a very low initial cost. Designed by Evan Gant, the ‘Rain Drops’ concept could be adapted for use in developing areas where fresh, sanitary water is scarce.

Vertical Garden & Rain Collector

(images via: treehugger)

‘Vert’ is a vertical garden, a way to capture and use rainwater, and a potential screen for unsightly outdoor areas, all in one simple wooden structure. A cotton wick at the top draws water from a tank up to a self-watering planter; the cedar planter boxes can be arranged as desired. Such a system could allow users to grow food in small spaces without increased usage of tap water.

Inverted Umbrella & Cistern Chair

(images via:

Like the rain cistern/garden table, the ‘Volume Chair’ takes a functional object already found in most yards and turns it into a storage tank for water. In this case, an inverted umbrella (which also functions as a sun shade) captures rainwater and transports it with a hose to the chair-shaped tank.

Petal Drops Personal Rain Harvester

(images via: quirky)

Even if you don’t have a single square inch of outdoor space to call your own, you can harvest rainwater for a variety of uses with the clever ‘Petal Drops’, a flower-shaped funnel that attaches to standard water bottles. Made of 100% recycled high-density polyethylene, the design is simple and elegant and takes up very little space when not in use.

Rainwater Hog

(images via:

The Rainwater Hog may not exactly be a stunning sculptural object to beautify your outdoor area, but it’s not quite as ugly as many rain barrel designs. Better yet, its vertical design saves space, and multiple units can easily be placed side-by-side. Made of UV-stabilized, food-grade plastic, each 50-gallon unit is 100% recyclable.

Massive Glass Funnels at Shanghai Expo 2010

(images via: tonylaw)

At the 2010 Shanghai Expo, massive glass funnels imbedded with LED lights, overlapped with tent structures, served a double purpose: harvesting rainwater on a massive scale, and letting natural daylight into the shaded area while maintaining protection against the elements. The rainwater was channeled into a 7,000-cubic-meter storage tank and used throughout the grounds to water plants.


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What lies beneath.

A few of Ireland's many many wrecks.

A plaque on the propeller of UC-42 reminds divers this is a war grave. Photograph: Graham Ferguson/

From Spanish Armada shipwrecks to sunken U-boats and Viking vessels, Ireland’s waters are a dream for divers of all abilities, writes BRIAN O’CONNELL

HMS Vanguard

HMS Vanguard was en route to Cobh, Co Cork, with its sister ship, Iron Duke , in September 1875. They were a new type of steamship, with full sails, heavy armour plating and ram bows. Outside Codling Bank, off Co Wicklow, a heavy fog descended. With visibility poor, Iron Duke rammed Vanguard , causing the ship to sink in an hour.

Where? 19km east of Bray.

Diving You’ll need a licence, as the ship is over 100 years old; divers can see where the ship was damaged, as well as its 9in guns. The mostly intact wreck is one of Ireland’s best dives, especially in May or June, when underwater visibility is at its best.


The best-known shipwreck off the Irish coast, Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat, in May 1915, resulting in huge loss of life. The sinking would prompt the US to enter the first World War and so change the course of history. The most recent diving expedition on the wreck took place this month; it was filmed by National Geographic . Some items relating to the ship’s navigational instruments were recovered.

Where? 18km off the Old Head of Kinsale, Co Cork, in about 90m of water.

Diving The wreck is owned by an American millionaire, Gregg Bemis, who bought it in the 1960s and has taken several court challenges to assert his rights to dive on it. Next year, the results of the most recent dive will be aired on US television.


Previously named Helga II, Muirchú , took part in the shelling of Liberty Hall during the 1916 Rising. After the foundation of the Coastal and Marine Service, in 1923, the ship was renamed; it continued in service until 1947. In May that year it set sail from Cobh for Dublin. A combination of temporary repairs and worsening weather meant the vessel took in water and sank. A group of local divers who bought the wreck have recovered the steering binnacle, among other items. The binnacle is on view in James Kehoe’s pub on Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford.

Where? East of the Saltee Islands, Co Wexford, in 57m of water.

Diving Permitted, but the ship is lying on its port side and is badly broken up, making it a tricky dive.


In November 2010, UC-42 was discovered during a survey for pipelines to the Kinsale gas field. It was a U-boat that may have been laying mines at the entrance to Cork harbour in 1917 and subsequently went missing. It was later discovered and depth-charged, although the exact location was not recorded and the position was lost over time. When it went down, possibly after detonating one of its own mines, 27 crew were lost.

Where? Just off Roches Point, Co Cork, sitting in 27m of water.

Memorial plaque to the war-dead.

Diving UC-42 is in good diving range and is therefore popular with divers, who are entitled to dive on the wreck so long as they respect the fact it is a war grave. The wreck is in good condition, sitting upright on the seabed. Some of the mines are still visible, and reports from dives suggest human bones can be seen. It may still be dangerous to enter, but the hull is relatively intact, despite being pierced in places.

River Boyne shipwreck

This wreck was found during dredging of the River Boyne in Drogheda in December 2006. In 2007 the Underwater Archeology Unit spent six months excavating the ship’s remains and taking it apart, plank by plank. It dated from the 1530s and had overlapping planks, in the Viking tradition. The remains of 14 barrels were found on it and later analysed. At the time it appeared to be carrying wine or herring.

Where? It is undergoing conservation, and the hope is that the public will be able to view the partly reconstructed boat in a museum in the near future.


Pipeline work in Kinsale uncovered another vessel in 2010, U-58 , the first U-boat sunk by the Americans in the first World War. U-58 , which had been patrolling off the south coast, was lining up to attack another ship when the USS Fanning spotted it. The U-boat dived but was depth- charged and forced to surface. All on board surrendered to the Americans; a photograph of the scene was used on propaganda for decades. As the Germans left the U-boat, they scuttled it so it wouldn’t get into the hands of the US navy.

Where? In 60m of water, off the coast of Kinsale.

Diving The wreck is not subject to licence rights and is relatively intact. It appeals mainly to technical divers, as its depth puts it out of reach of sport divers.

RMS Justicia

RMS Justicia was owned and run by White Star Line, the British shipping company most famous for the ill-fated Titanic . It made several trips carrying US and Canadian troops between Europe and the US. On July 19th, 1918, the ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat. It survived the attack, but, while being towed to Lough Swilly, Co Donegal, it was again attacked and sunk by a U-boat. The wreck is in poor condition, but its majestic bow remains intact.

Where? 70m underwater, off the coast of Malin Head.

Diving Permitted, although the depth makes it more appealing to experienced divers.

Empire Heritage

The cargo area of Empire Heritage holds army tanks that it was transporting from New York during the second World War. The ship was sunk on September 8th, 1944, by a single torpedo from a German U-boat, as was a convoy ship, Pinto , that was sent to rescue survivors. Rediscovered in 1995, tanks and trucks are still visible, scattered to the starboard side of Empire Heritage . Pinto lies nearby, with only its engine block visible.

Where? Almost 30km off the coast of Malin Head, Co Donegal, in 67m of water.

Diving This is one of Ireland’s best wreck dives.

Possible Armada wreck

An excavation was carried out this summer on a potential Spanish Armada shipwreck off Co Donegal. It is one of the biggest finds in years, and all the information so far indicates it dates to the time of the Armada. After fighting in the English Channel, the Spanish ships tried to retreat the long way around; many took refuge on the west coast of Ireland. The weather battered some; others were scuttled or lost during a storm in September 1588. Part of this ship’s lower hull, rudder and keel have been found. Bricks from the galley, which would have housed ovens, were also located, as well as musket balls and a large amount of pottery.

Where? Off Rutland Island, close to Burtonport, in 4m of water.

Diving You’ll need a licence from the Department of Heritage. Because it is over 100 years old, the site is protected under the National Monuments Acts.

Pee Your Way to Greenery.

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Public Urinal Feeds Plants With Pee

by Sami Grover, Carrboro, NC, USA  on 06.20.11

when nature calls urinal image
Image credit: Tuvie/Eddie Gandelman

The idea of urine separation to ward off peak fertilizer is not exactly new. But while some of us get to pee on our garden mulch, or urinate on our compost heaps, infrastructure for large-scale urine collection in an urban environment still seems a ways off. But here’s a more decentralized option from designer Eddie Gandelman in the form of a public urinal that filters pee on site, and uses it to feed plants.

Posted over at design site Tuvie, the When Nature Calls urinal is in the concepting stages right now. While us TreeHuggers may focus on the tantalizing idea of resource efficiency and offsetting fertilizer needs, the primary motivation of the designer seems to be making public toilets a more pleasant place to be, and pee:

By setting up the restroom in pod format with 4 urinals on every pod, the users can enjoy more space and privacy. This system as well paves way for both peeing and watering the plants. Approved by a professor of toxicology, the project employs 3 processes. The urine thus collected is filtered, which is then used for the plants. Peeing, besides being a waste process becomes a nurturing one, which appears to be a great advantage here. This idea will certainly make the very notion of urination a better experience.

We’re not the only ones to wonder if this could be taken a step further though. Michael Hines over at Trend Hunter writes about When Nature Calls, suggesting that restaurants and bars could could grow vegetables or fruits, cutting “costs and carbon at the same time.” Of course some fairly careful monitoring would need to be done to ensure that the systems’ filter mechanisms can get rid of potential pathogens or medications. And whether or not the public would be ready to accept such a direct and immediate connection between human waste and food remains to be seen—however safe it proved to be.

4 X Harvest of Tomatoes.

Tomatoes Love Urine: 4x increase in Yield!

Research shows a huge benefit from using urine as fertilizer.

Sami Grover

By Sami Grover
Fri Sep 18, 2009 15:55

tomato plants photoSami Grover

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It looks like my DIY biochar/urine experiment may have been a good idea. A very good idea. According to, researchers from Finland are claiming that tomatoes fertilized with urine show a four-fold increase in crop yields. And it doesn’t end there – the same tomatoes also showed higher beta-carotene than unfertilized ones, and much more protein than traditionally fertilized plants. A panel of (presumably unsqueamish) blind tasters also attested to the fact that the flavor was just as good too.

In a way it’s no surprise – studies have already shown that urine in the garden is a good thing, and Josh has given us some guidance on how to garden with pee. But a four-fold increase in fruits?! That’s huge.

And for those wondering why I’m mixing urine with charcoal – there’s some evidence to suggest thatDIY biochar can help retain nutrients for longer, and it can also provide a habitat for important microorganisms. I’ll let you know if it works out for me.

A Short Description of How Greenhouse Gasses Make a Difference

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Greenhouse Gases and their Effects: Full Original Essay:- LINK

Earth’s atmospheric GHG constituents are: Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous Oxide (N2O), and Flourocarbons (typically chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)).  This paper focuses mainly on CO2, the largest contributor (See Fig1).

Not long ago physicists discovered a simple equation regarding incoming power (light waves) from the Sun:  Power in = power out.(iii)  Earth is in a radiation power balance with the Sun.  Power comes in from the sun, some energy is stored in Earth’s surface and atmosphere, and then infrared radiation (IR) radiates out to space.  When Earth’s atmosphere is devoid of GHGs, there is good drainage of power-out from the Earth.  But when GHGs are added, it restricts power from exiting; thereby building pressure and temperature until power-out equals the incoming power (See Fig2).

If GHGs failed to exist in Earth’s atmosphere Earth’s surface temperature would be colder than temperatures during an ice age.  With roughly 200 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere, Earth’s temperature would roughly be freezing (350F).   Clearly, we need GHGs in the atmosphere to sustain our life on Earth, but excessive GHG saturation generates negative effects.  From the Industrial Revolution until the end of the 20th century CO2 in the atmosphere increased by 30%, likely because of humans.  Humans contribute to CO2 when they burn fossil fuels for: heating their homes, driving their cars, turning on lights, manufacturing goods, and transporting those goods.  If CO2 production keeps apace, the average global temperature could increase 10.4° F, by the end of the 21st century.(iv)  An increase in temperature holds potential consequences for forests, such as slower tree growth.  According to Stan Wullschleger, “…a tree may experience reduced growth because of an inadequate supply of nutrients.  Also, because leaf pores tend to close under drought conditions to hold in what little water the tree has, the tree’s uptake of photosynthetic CO2 will be reduced, further slowing its growth.” (v) Reducing a tree’s CO2 intake will force humans to find another means by which to covert CO2 into oxygen (see Fig3 for a causal loop diagram showing the relationship between CO2 and forests).

Fossil fuels, rich in carbon because they are primarily made up of decayed plants from millions of years ago, combine carbon with oxygen to form CO2, when they are burned. (vi)  The process of deforestation results in fewer plants available to convert CO2.  The problem of CO2 production rate, therefore, begins to grow exponentially because as deforestation adds to the total CO2 in the atmosphere, simultaneously the only known CO2-converter is depleted.   Once in Earth’s atmosphere CO2 contributes to the greenhouse effect for fifty to two hundred years.  Understanding this relationship between CO2 and forests is of great importance because it is estimated that deforestation is responsible for 25% of global CO2 emissions. ii   If humans can significantly reduce deforestation, then the resulting greenhouse effect can plausibly be manipulated before irreversible damage occurs.

One obvious option may jump out:  plant MORE forests and green plants to offset any greenhouse effect resulting from humankinds’ addiction to fossil fuels.  Unfortunately soil erosion and urbanizations prevent reclaiming land to use for planting forests.  According to, the original amount of forest area in the U.S. as a percentage of total land area was: 53.5%; as of 1996 the current amount of forest area in the U.S. as a percentage of the original amount is 60.2%.  This means in roughly 200 years the U.S. wiped out 40% of its forests.(vii)  To give you an idea of the amount of forest destroyed, the U.S. (50 states and D.C.) is 9,161,923 square miles (sq/mi) of land; 53% (4,855,819 sq/mi) originally was forest.  Today, however, remains 2,913,491.5 sq/mi of forest.

Plans for Ireland’s first tidal energy farm under way

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Plans for Ireland’s first tidal energy farm under way

12.01.2011   Original Article ; HERE

Board Gais will invest €1m in OpenHydro and a further €1m when milestones in developing the tidal farm are reached

Bord Gais Energy has become a shareholder in OpenHydro and will invest €1m in the company as part of a joint venture aimed at developing a utility scale tidal farm off the coast of Ireland.

Bord Gáis Energy will initially invest €1m in OpenHydro, whose business is the design and manufacture of marine turbines forgenerating renewable energy from tidal streams.

Bord Gáis has also agreed to invest a further €1m on achievement of certain milestones relating to the tidal farm development.

“We are delighted to have secured this investment from Bord Gáis Energy and to have established this exciting new joint venture focused on the development of Ireland’s first utility scale tidal farm,” James Ives, chief executive at OpenHydro, explained.

“The additional funds will be used to support OpenHydro’s continued expansion in turbine production and deployment capability. We very much look forward to working with Bord Gáis Energy as a key partner in the development of our business and in delivering tidal energy to Irish homes.”

Early mover advantage

OpenHydro has now raised €15.4m over the past 12 months from existing shareholders and new investors.

The company, which employs more than 50 people, has a project portfolio spanning the USA, Canada, France, Scotland and the UK’s Channel Islands with utility partners, including EDF, Nova Scotia Power and SSE Renewables.

Last year, The Crown Estate in the UK awarded licence rights to OpenHydro, in conjunction with SSE Renewables, to develop a major 200MW tidal farm in the Pentland Firth, off the northern coast of Scotland.

“This investment – and the formation of the joint venture to develop utility-scale tidal-generating capacity off the coast of Ireland – will support our ambition to achieve early mover advantage in tidal energy development in this country,” explained John Mullins, chief executive officer at Bord Gáis.

“We are delighted at the opportunity to work with OpenHydro, which is an industry leader in this technology, and to be at the forefront of the development of marine renewable,” Mullins said.

John Kennedy More By John Kennedy – Ireland breaks Wind Records


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Pedal-powered washing machines.


Gizmag writes, “The rationale behind Haier’s IFA display is that, like almost every major electronics manufacturer, it’s keen to make consumers aware of its environmental commitment…That’s not to say that the human-powered washer is a total gimmick. Haier told us that it is gauging consumer response at the show and might consider bringing the idea to market.”

Even with a big company looking at pushing it forward, whether or not someone would bring this into their home is up in the air. I can see it being like one of those NordicTrack systems that seem so brilliant around the holidays when we’re keen to loose a couple pounds but loses its shine a couple weeks later. After all, the Cycleanhasn’t exactly taken off in the last four years.

But I have to say, as someone who likes to cycle for exercise and multitask, I’d definitely consider something like this. It’d not only save me money from the energy bill each month, but I’d be able to quit my gym and save money there too. Not a bad deal. And I’d be forced to exercise since being lazy means no clean clothes.

Even with Haier’s backing, it seems very unlikely to be popular if it makes it to market. Plus, the bigger environmental issue with washing machines isn’t their energy use but their water use. A bike-powered system would be better suited for the clothes dryer portion of a wash load.

Would you use it? Or better yet, would you convert your existing washing machine to run on pedal power?

On Building a house using ‘hempcrete’ MORE


New gadget for water purification: a ‘nano tea bag’
August 18, 2010 by Lin Edwards
Source: wikipedia
( — Scientists in South Africa have come up with a novel way of purifying water on a small scale using a sachet rather like a tea bag, but instead of imparting flavor to the water, the bag absorbs toxins, filters out and kills bacteria, and cleans the water.
The bag, which fits into the neck of an ordinary water bottle, was developed by scientists at Stellenbosch University in South Africa to help communities with no water purification facilities to clean their water. The bags are made of inexpensive tea bag material but instead of containing tea they contain nano-scale antimicrobial fibers that filter out contaminants and microbes, and granules of activated carbon that kill the bacteria. The nano-fibers are about one hundredth the width of a human hair.

According to researcher Marelize Botes, one sachet can clean a liter of the dirtiest water to about the same water quality of bottled water. Once the bag has been used it is discarded and a new bag is fitted in the neck of the bottle. The discarded bags have no environmental impact as they disintegrate in only a few days and the materials are not toxic to humans.
Inventor of the filter, Dean of the Faculty of Science at Stellenbosch University, Professor Eugene Cloete, who is a microbiologist, said the filter presents a decentralized, point-of-use technology. As such it should find acceptance in the places where it is needed and where there is insufficient infrastructure for piped water. Professor Cloete specializes in water quality, water resource management and the use of nanotechnology in water applications. He is also director of the University of Pretoria’s Water Institute and a senior fellow of the Water Institute of South Africa (WISA).
The sachet filter is still being tested by the South African Bureau of Standards, but Botes said early testing on samples of river water near the university were successful. The bags are expected to be available by the end of the year at a cost of about half a US cent (three South African cents) per bag, which makes it affordable even for poor communities in Africa, where millions of people do not have access to clean drinking water, and where water-borne diseases are a major problem.
© 2010