How to make a Solar Oven

How to make a Solar Oven

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If you are travelling and want to cook some food you foraged on your journey – why not try using a solar oven?

You will need:

A medium size pizza box (Pizza Hut boxes work great)
Black construction paper
Extra-wide aluminum foil
Plastic (plastic window covering from a hardware store works best)
Glue
Tape
Scissors
Ruler
Magic marker
String

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Spiritual retreat listing

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Off-grid is a state of mind as much as, or more than, a way of getting your water and energy.

The Northwest US has many destinations for spiritual retreats, and we have listed 40 of the best on the next page. We will build up a retreat directory for the whole of N America and Europe shortly, so please write to us with your recommendations.
Click for list.

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Welcome to the Future

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Recent Forecasts from the World Future Society for 2006 and beyond

* Urban heat waves will get hotter and last longer. Large urban centers like Chicago and Paris will experience an average of 25% more heat waves a year in the twenty-first century compared with the twentieth, according to the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research. And those heat waves will last, on average, nine days longer.

* Designer plants will be more salt tolerant, reducing strains on freshwater supplies. Agricultural researchers in the United States are studying a range of salt-tolerant, or halophytic, flowers. Commercial species of flowers that can grow in salty environments could reduce costs for the cut-flower industry, preserve freshwater for more critical uses, and improve the efficiency of nurseries.

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Cheap laundry – eco-balls

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Eco-balls reduce laundry cost by 75%Eco-balls are a way of doing the washing without using detergent. If you live off-grid that means you can reuse the water more easily, and if you live on the grid, it means you are adding less to the world’s pollution, while saving a bit of money.

And yes, they do really work. We were sent a free sample by Insight EcoStore in Brighton, and so far have used them in 30 washes with no ill effects on the clothes or the machine. The clothes come out softer than with fabric softeners and there’s none of that yucky sludge to clear out of our washing machine. They are less sparklingly white, but we are not worried about that. No more hassle and expense of carting bulky powders and liquids home from the market!

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Esso turns away from renewables

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The world’s largest publicly traded energy company is not making any bets on the environmentally friendly power sources now, and does not plan to any time soon.

Despite the growing popularity of renewable energy sources — top competitors like BP and Chevron Corp. dabble in it — Exxon Mobil Corp. has shied away from investing in solar and wind energy, arguing that the business is viable only with Uncle Sam’s help. The company says the economics of solar and wind energy don’t add up. And rather than spending on R&D to find a cost-effective solution, it plans to let others take the lead.

Exxon estimates solar and wind energy demand will grow at a 10 percent rate annually over the next 25 years, but only on the back of government subsidies and tax breaks to spur investment in cleaner, environment-friendly energy sources.

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Strip out the handouts, and investing in wind and solar energy would be nonstarters, the manager of Exxon’s energy demand and supply forecasting division told Reuters last week.

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Free fitness and a cleaner UK

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Hundreds of ‘green volunteering’ activities are being organised in May to combat the stress and strains of modern living. In an attempt to improve the nation’s health and happiness you can volunteer outdoors at ‘taster sessions’ of the Green Gym. The sessions are listed at the end of this story.

May is Environment Month in the Year of the Volunteer. Events taking place this month include a day of mass volunteering across the Midlands and the South West, the crowning of the 500th volunteer pond warden and a big push (and pull) to save the bluebell, Britain’s favourite wildflower, from invasive weeds in Kew Gardens.

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London building claims zero fossil energy

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A property developer has launched an energy self sufficient block of flats in London. Yorklake Homes said the four flats generate all their own energy from non fossil fuels within the site boundaries.

Designed by Bill Dunster’s architecture firm, the main source of energy is a Swift silent wind turbine, one of the first domestically available near-silent wind turbines, it generates power at mains voltage. It was commissioned by Renewable Devices and supplied by Scottish and Southern Energy plc. When combined with solar panels it enables the development to generate as much electricity as it consumes.

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