This week at Treehugger: Two guys tour Eastern Canada on their couch and even the mounted police think they have a "nice rig". See photos and read about the adventures of the Couchbike here. Writer Lloyd explains in an ode to the iPod Nano why he thinks it could be the "Green Product of the Year". It seems so three days ago now, but you can read about how Time Square's New Year Ball was illuminated by LEDs this year. Finally, there's the less sexy but oh-so-practical Eco Kettle that uses 1/3 less energy to boil that tea water (we're sure it would make a big difference in England).
Wow! Now that is cool. "The Couchbike pokes fun at our sedentary culture but also exemplifies the broad scope of possibilities for human power." These two fellows toured the maritimes (in Eastern Canada) on their couch. The story starts with them being arrested by a RCMP officer: "Constable Demeau seemed at odds with himself over how to handle us. Though our couchbike may have posed an imminent threat to public safety, he had to admit that it was indeed 'a nice rig'. He said that it might be against his better judgment, but that he was going to let us go. 'Do whatever you guys think is best.' He said. We assured him that we'd keep an eye on traffic and pull off into the ditch when cars came by."
In short, Lloyd's thesis about the iPod nano: "The Nano demonstrates that brilliant design can let us all live as well or better than we do now in less space, using fewer resources and with a smaller footprint. The Nano is an inspiration." Even if this particular iPod model, or Apple in general doesn't quite have a bulletproof plan for insuring battery disposal and the longevity of its products, those are just technical problems that can be solved. It is the idea of using technology to do more with less epitomized in the Nano that is inspiring. It doesn't work in all cases, but with content that can digitized, it sure does.
It is the last year to watch the dropping of the halogen-lit New Year's Ball in Times Square. This year, it is being replaced by a LED ball. "Beginning in December 2006, Philips will light the New Year's Ball with solid-state or LEDs. LEDs are part of the growing solid-state lighting category, which is set to revolutionize the lighting industry, offering dramatic reductions in both electricity consumption and costs." In the meantime, Philips is auctioning off the bulbs, with the proceeds going to the American Red Cross.
The Eco Kettle was invented in the UK by Brian Hartley and designed and developed for the marketplace by Product Creation Ltd in association with Mass Electrical Co Ltd. It has a patented dual reservoir, one of which holds 1.5 litres of water, along with a measuring button which allows any quantity—from a single cupful to full capacity—to be released into a separate boiling chamber. It "could save consumers 30% of energy compared with their normal kettle". It all adds up...
Treehugger s EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.