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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance

Maison Internationale de l'Environnement II, Chemin de Balexert 7-9
CH-1219 Ch√Ętelaine, Geneva, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 22 797 41 57 / 58 Fax: +41 22 320 88 57

E-mail: Web site:

Newsletter no. 7 - May 2005

"Put Rainwater Harvesting in Integrated Water Resources Management"

Dear 1451 Rainwater Harvesters,

This edition includes information on:

a.. The Speaker of the Indian Parliament setting a good RWH Example
b.. Gender & Water Alliance visit to the IRHA Secretariat
c.. A Special Call for Research on Water and Food
d.. Cloud seeding in Thailand
e.. A new report on food security highlighting the need for Rainwater Harvesting
f.. International Secretariat for Water visit to the IRHA Secretariat
g.. A small victory for RWH, but.
h.. A Visit by Future Nigerian Rainwater Harvesters to the IRHA Secretariat
i.. A New Publication
j.. Dates for your diary
k.. The rhythms of rainwater

For more info, see the Rainwater Harvesting Group and the Green-Trust Rainwater Harvesting forum.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Visiting Biodiesel Warehouse

May 27th Update! Our friend Rich Reilly and his biodiesel processors made TV news. Check out the
13.5MB RM Video from the local Fox (61) affiliate.

Yesterday we visited Biodiesel Warehouse in Sandy Hook CT. We had a nice chat with Rich, and received a demonstration of his unique collection system for collecting used oil at restaurants. No mess, no fuss, to operator or vehicle. His system consists of a dip stick with a strainer, check valve to prevent spills and enhance priming, a 24volt high volume gear pump, filter and a sealed plastic tank. Once back to the shop, hook up the intake tube from the appleseed processor pump, and pump into the processor for heating. He has all the goodies for you to build your own biodiesel fuel station, so check out his site and drop him a line.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Making Biodiesel

We've been giving classes on making biodiesel and biodiesel processors, plus we convert diesels to run on waste vegetable oil. Many folks seem confused, and seem to think biodiesel is a mix of vegetable oil and diesel or other thinner, like gasoline. Nothing could be farther from the truth, so the graphic below from our friends at Utah Biodiesel Supply makes a quick explanation of what biodiesel is and how it's made. Biodiesel is a direct substitute for diesel, no modifications to your vehicle is necessary. WVO conversions consist of a coolant heated fuel tank in addition to your (bio)diesel tank, and startup/shutdown on (bio)diesel to clean the veggie out of your fuel system between runs. You can learn more about Biodiesel and WVO systems at ESSN and Girl Mark's

Friday, May 20, 2005

Upcoming articles in ESSN

The upcoming issue of ESSN has a review of a book on solar hydrogen, an article on off-grid living in Africa, and many other interesting topics. As always, it's designed for the average DIY'r to replicate our successes, and avoid our mistakes. All back issues are available online at no charge.

We are continuing our research phase for the Eco-Bus while we evaluate suitable vehicles. If you know of one available, please let us know at

Details will be documented here and indepth at ESSN.

ESSN is a FREE (really) monthly online magazine about energy self sufficiency (hence the name?), off-grid living and all that goes into it. We cover PV and wind, methane, ethanol, biodiesel and WVO. We have reports from readers who are living off-grid and monthly columns from folks who are doing or have done (and will do again) what they write about. Our Electricity 101 column is dedicated to taking the mystery out of wiring that off-grid cabin, or adding some PV to the spare room. And we're always talking about conservation. So even if you're still on the grid, we'll show you how to save some money.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Can you see the man in the wheelchair?

Can you see the man in the wheelchair?

Or will you look away?

Do you fear the ghosts of battles fought long ago
that still rage behind his eyes?

Or does the reality of his twisted form simply
make you uncomfortable?

Either way you shuffle along,
totally unmoved by a hero worthy of song.

George A.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Solar Hydrogen

While we are locating a bus for our Eco-Bus project, I turned my thoughts to heating and cooking. Usually, in an RV, propane is the onboard method for these uses, as well as refrigeration. While giving thought to alternatives, I considered electric (from the solar or vegetable oil generator) and methane (biodigestion of manure and vegetable wastes. I gave up on both as being impractical, solar for electric heat is very expensive, methane takes resources and processing equipment space not available onboard. I purchased a book on solar hydrogen, called "Build a Solar Hydrogen Fuel Cell System" by Phillip Hurley, with the thought of producing hydrogen gas, for cooking and heating. Now my initial thoughts are that making hydrogen from solar electric is very innefficient (great power consumption for little energy output), but for the sake of science and experimentation, and the fact that it is truly a zero emissions process, I will go ahead with the project. If I cannot produce enough electric from solar, I do have the vegetable oil produced electric as well. I will detail the article, as well as my review of the book, in ESSN.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Building an Eco-Bus

Now that Chandra and Greg are taking over the Green-Trust facilities, that frees me up for other environmental projects. First up is a school bus to RV conversion, propelled by biodiesel and waste vegetable oil, with electrical provided by solar. This bus will be used for attending renewable energy shows, seminars and demonstrations, as a showcase for clean renewable energy and conservation. It will be outfitted with the latest in energy conserving devices and recycling technologies. We are looking for the right bus, and the right sponsors that are in line with our mission. If you are a renewable energy vendor, or a company with an environmental mission, drop us a line. Donations for the project are appreciated, and sponsors will be credited in the news and articles that follow the build.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Lifting Another Load off Mother Earth

This is to be my first, and very windy contribution to the Green Trust site, but a subject I feel very strongly about. As a mother I feel it is my obligation to point out to the world an often overlooked waste of non-renewable resources- Diapers. "But I use cloth!" You may say, and that is a very noble and noteworthy effort. I however suggest one step higher- No diapers. Period. *Gasp* Now, now, Ladies and Gents!Just calm down and bear with me for a moment...allow me to make a case for this unconventional (yet traditional in other countries) method called "Elimination Communication" in Western circles, and simply a way of life in others. First, some studies suggest that 82,000 tons of plastic and 1.8 million tons of wood pulp are used each year in making "disposable" diapers. (Which by the way create about 2.7 million tons of waste annually, costing over $300 million annually to discard the "disposables".) Having said this, cloth is a much eco-friendlier choice. If however, the loads of laundry don't appeal to you, and making your child sport a "wearable toilet" doesn't sit well then there is another more sanitary and gentle (to baby and earth) option. For those of you unfamiliar with this territory, let me give you a briefing. Infants are taught from birth to ignore their bodies. Even a newborn will cry when soiled, and if watched, will indeed give a signal that he/she is using the restroom such as a wiggle or grunt. We as "modern parents" teach our child for 2 years (give or take) to ignore such signals and use the restroom on themselves,then spend a frustrating year or so trying to get them to un-learn this nasty and unhygenic habit. By paying attention to your child's "cues" you can quickly and easily show baby that peeing in a potty or bowl is much more attractive. My 9 month old does not wear diapers, she wears underwear- it's not just a novel idea, but a real option. In places such as India, children are not forced to soil themselves. We live in a society that takes their dog out to pee, but leaves a child to sit in it! With a little bit of effort (though much less than "potty training" a busy toddler) you too can have your baby (not to mention Mother Earth) diaper free!For more info, check out Diaper Free! @

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Transitions continue

We are pretty settled in at our new (temporary) home. Why temporary? Well, it's our plan to eventually come home to Green Trust. That may be a few years, But Greg and Chandra will maintain and grow the facilities in our absence. Their email is so drop them a line welcoming them.

Dave Haig, one of our biodiesel processor class attendees, sent me a pic he took at the class. It's me explaining how the unit goes together, with the Geodesic Quonset and the VeggieGen in the background.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Our move is complete

We have finished our move to the NYC metro area. Greg and Chandra visited this past weekend, and received orientation on all the renewable and off-grid systems that make up the operations at Green-Trust. They move in on the 16th, and will be posting their experiences and projects here in this space. Please give them a warm welcome.

I'll continue as Director, and will participate in projects from afar with advice and project input. Greg is experienced with diesels, mechanics in general, carpentry, and other off-grid skills. Chandra is tackling organic gardening, composting, and both of them are planning experiments with goats, chickens, and pigs, as well as homeschooling their children.

Make sure you check out the latest issue of ESSN Magazine as well. Will keep you all posted as things progress.

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