In the Dutch town of Eindhoven, artist Daan Roosegaarde has paid homage to its most famous resident, Vincent Van Gogh, by creating a glowing bike path that relies on solar-powered LED lights and interprets his classic painting Starry Night.
Roosegaarde says he wants his work, illuminated by thousands of twinkling blue and green lights, to speak to everyone. "You have people who are interested in technology to make landscapes which are energy neutral," he tells NPR. "You have people interested in cultural history and experiencing it in a contemporary way. You have boys and girls who have a first date and want to take their date to a special place."
And, he adds, "You have an artist like me who wants to create something just incredibly poetic; and all that comes together. A good project generates new stories."
The path, which covers about a half-mile, opened last Wednesday as part of celebrations marking the 125th anniversary of the death of Van Gogh, who lived from 1853 to 1890. He lived in Eindhoven for a few years and used the town as a backdrop for his paintings.
As we reported last week, another Dutch town, Krommenie, installed solar panels on a bike commuter path outside Amsterdam. The power generated by the panels will be funneled into the national energy grid. (NPR)
Dear Readers, from time to time our new correspondent Science Grrl will bring science stories that apply to us all, which you may not have heard, from near and far. Enjoy!
WORLD TOILET DAY: Me, Myself, and the Loo—or Why Toities Matter
Learn more from Mr. Toilet:
Ken Miles says, “Too bad we can’t find a way to generate energy from fog. At least we can capitalize on visitors coming to Pacifica to enjoy the fog and cooling off during global warming.”
Ingrid B. Lacy Middle School
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"Have you noticed UPS-uniformed cyclists towing small trailers full of parcels in your neighborhood recently? I did a little research and discovered that they are refilling their trailers at pods strategically placed around town. The pods are refilled regularly by one of the familiar big brown trucks that used to trundle up and down the street. I think that it is rather charming to see a cyclist pedaling up the street with a trailer full of parcels, later to be seen coasting back down the hill with an empty trailer. Not only is it much more environmentally friendly, it is a whole lot quieter."
After two years of hard work, we passed the first mattress recycling bill on the West Coast! With your support, we increased beverage container recycling rates and established producer responsibility programs for paint, carpet, e-waste, and mattresses.
But we know that you’re worried about plastic litter and waste you see everywhere. So we ask for your help. Plastic grocery bags continue to plague our ocean economy, threaten wildlife, and cost millions in taxpayer dollars.
Recent data reveal that plastic grocery bags are the fourth-most commonly found items at coastal cleanups. More than 13 billion bags were produced in California last year, and most ended up as litter or in landfills.
Plastic marine pollution is our fastest-growing environmental problem. Sea turtles eat twice as much plastic today as they did 25 years ago. Studies show that both ocean and freshwater species ingest plastic particles, mistaking them for food. Whales wash up on the beach with stomachs full of plastic debris, including plastic grocery bags.
In May, we fell just three votes short of passing a statewide ban on single-use plastic grocery bags. And with your help, we’ll keep fighting against the plastic bag industry campaign of misinformation and intimidation until we get those votes. With your support, this is the year we can eliminate the plastic grocery bag in California!
But plastic grocery bag manufacturers will continue to place profits above the interests of taxpayers and the lives of animals in our lakes, rivers, and oceans. They won’t stop spending millions on flashy advertising campaigns and frivolous, time-consuming lawsuits against cities that are trying to do the right thing by passing local bag ordinances.
We’re almost there, but we can’t do it alone. Your contribution is so important right now, because it provides us with the resources to fight, at a grassroots level, against the plastics industry’s tactics.We’re only three votes away, but it’s not going to be easy to secure those votes. Your generous gift of $50, $100, $500, or $1,000 will help us build our 2014 campaign against disposable plastic grocery bags.
Thank you so much for your help. And on behalf of the Board of Directors and staff, I’d like to wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.
Mark Murray, Executive Director, Californians Against Waste
Here's an eco-wrap idea. I was inspired by the amazing art form of Korean Wrapping Cloths. Buy holiday-themed yardage to wrap presents and reuse every year. Some of this fabric is way more beautiful than paper anyway. Too late for this year? Pop down to a Jo-Ann store after Christmas and buy it at half-price. You'll be ready for next year. Each year I get another assortment. Now I'm going to implement birthday cloth wraps. Encourage your giftee to pass on the wrap. Happy holidays.