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Category Archives: The Economist
Oct 30th 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO
How far can America’s legal system be applied to foreign human-rights cases?
UNDER a grey sky on October 27th, Larry Bowoto provided an improbable splash of colour in his Nigerian agbada gown before the federal courthouse in San Francisco. He is the lead plaintiff in a case against Chevron, an oil giant based in California, over something that happened in May 1998 on a platform operated by Chevron’s Nigerian subsidiary, nine miles off the Niger Delta. A group of more than 100 people, including Mr Bowoto, took over the platform for three days to protest against what Chevron was doing in the delta. The protest ended when Nigerian troops arrived and shot at the protesters, killing two. Mr Bowoto was injured and is now suing for damages.
Home, Green Home
Sept 4, 2008
JEFF ROGERS welcomes visitors at the door of his newly renovated house, atop a sandy ridge on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. From outside the two-storey building seems unremarkable: its neat white trim, pale-yellow clapboard siding and shingle roof have been the local style for centuries.
But the house that Mr Rogers finished last year is anything but traditional. It uses no fossil fuel and generates its own electricity. It contains few toxic materials—adhesives, paints and insulation are all free of formaldehyde and contain low levels of volatile organic compounds, and nothing in the house produces carbon monoxide. (more…)
Another Green Revolution
Sept 4, 2008
A CLAPBOARD house in Cape Cod is very different from a one-room mud-brick hut in the Indian state of Orissa, but making them into green homes involves a similar approach: using as little energy as possible to meet the occupants’ needs. But in the developing world the impact of new technology can be far more transformative.
Consider the cooking of food, which is usually done by burning wood or dung. Typically 80% of the fuel’s energy is wasted, and the resulting smoke pollutes indoor air and contributes to more than 1.6m deaths a year, according to the World Health Organisation. But using a carefully designed stove to enclose the fire and direct heat into the pot, fuel consumption and pollution can be reduced dramatically.