The Lighter Side Of Greening

Private Property South Africa
Shaun Wewege

There is often a fine line between genius and lunatic. Some of the most brilliant thinkers known to mankind have had some interesting character quirks. John von Neumann was a mathematician who was regarded as a pioneer in quantum mechanics and a key figure in the development of the computer. He also had a fondness for dirty limericks. Enid Blyton was a prolific author of children’s novels whose visitors would often arrive to find her playing tennis – naked.

The brightest and most novel ideas stem often from an ability to think laterally. This ability is pertinent to green campaigners around the world – what can we do differently to reduce emissions? Some fairly eccentric folk have been formulating plans and though at first glance, many of these seem mad, they are if nothing else highly creative solutions to our current sustainability problems.

If you have ever complained about the price of hotel food you could always visit the Crown Plaza Hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark where guests can score a free bite to eat – if they are able to produce at least 10 watt hours of electricity. A remarkable programme sees visitors cycling on a stationary bicycle attached to a generator. Fifteen minutes of moderate intensity cycling will produce the 10 watt hours and more importantly, a free meal. How many dinners will Lance Armstrong be able to earn?

A nightclub in Britain came up with a unique way to generate its own power – a dance floor that produces electricity. As dancers pound the floor, a charge is generated through the use of crystals (piezoelectricity). Up to sixty percent of the nightclub’s power could be generated through dancing. Of course, if the DJ is rubbish and no one dances it creates all sorts of problems.

Resources have been dedicated to developing sustainable means of charging batteries and appliances. Solar powered phone chargers are becoming more common but a chap by the name of Mac Funamizu has decided to add a fitness aspect to charging his phone. By squeezing the hand grip he can charge his phone and build up forearm strength.

One of the most forward thinking gadgets environmental campaigners have thought up has to be the printer that does not use paper nor ink. The PrePeat printer uses a thermal head to print on plastic sheets. The sheets are waterproof and can be erased and re-used. The manufacturer believes that a single sheet can be used up to a thousand times.

Green ideas are not limited to those in technology, manufacturing or travel. It seems that many, errr, service industries are getting in on the action. A brothel in Berlin reportedly gives discounts to clientele who use a bicycle when visiting them. Patrons who prefer to save their energy but still want the discount will also receive a better deal if they can prove that they used public transport.

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