This is the second of TreeHugger's Best of 2007 post series.
Some stuff we cover on TreeHugger seems too weird to be real, or straight out of a sci-fi movie; though they're kinda wacky, it's all strange but true.
1) Barry Walters, an associate professor of obstetric medicine at the University of Western Australia, reckoned that families opting for more than a defined number of children should be hit with a carbon tax. Conversely, condom and sterilization costs should be awarded carbon credits. Apparently, nothing is outside the realm of carbon footprint calculation these days.
2) Do your plants not get enough sun during the day? Plant ‘O’ Matic is the solution! It's a flowerpot on wheels, equipped with solar panels, that allow the plants to roll themselves into the sun. It's almost as wacky as your plants calling you when they need to be watered. Almost.
3) From plants that move to clothing that "grows" itself; that's right, this invention of wine-based clothing is created by bacteria in the fermenting grape juice. The bacteria convert the wine into a vinegar-like scum layer. The layers of this cellulose are then laid one over another, on an inflatable mannequin. Once the garment has the desired shape, the dummy is deflated, while the clothing remains. Just one caveat: when dry, the fibers tear easily, like tissue paper; as such, the garments need to be kept constantly wet. Two more strange but true stories of green weirdness (or is it weird greenness?) below the fold.
4) Check out Mister Miser, the magical folding urinal that requires a scant 10 ounces of water per flush. TreeHugger loves space-efficient, folding design and water efficiency; we just never thought we'd see the two put together in this truly weird invention. Look Ma, I can do it with one hand!
5) Lastly, feast your eyes on The Energy Tree. Apparently, in an effort to truly unite technology with the physical environment, designer Ben Arent has created a system that contains a real tree connected to a microprocessor. The device controls the watering and feeding of the tree depending on your energy usage, and also monitors your appliances, heating/cooling, and recycling habits. It uses this information to feed and water the tree, but only if you are efficient with your energy use. If you aren't, the Energy Tree will poison and malnourish the tree, eventually killing it.
What weirded you out this year? What in the green world made you say, "That can't be for real..."? Leave your ideas in the comments section below.