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Published on May 22nd, 2009 | by Shirley Siluk Gregory

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Yahoo! Green Aims to Make Planet-Saving Ideas Real

Fuego110 at Wikimedia Commons, public domain)If you doubt there are a lot of clever and green do-it-yourselfers out there, check out Yahoo! Green’s Make It Green gallery, which features — as of today — 21 ideas from real people across the country looking to make the planet a better place.

For a $10 entry fee, anyone with a great do-it-yourself project can submit his or her idea to the site, where visitors can vote for the ideas they like best. Yahoo! will also put on display some of the top product ideas during next week’s Maker Faire in San Mateo, California.

But this is more than an exercise in virtual brainstorming: Yahoo! plans, after the competition’s end, to develop the best ideas and help get them out into the marketplace. The person who submits the winning idea will get a share of the product’s sales, along with a $2,500 prize and a chance to appear on the “Everyday Edisons” television show.

The deadline for submitting ideas is June 30.

So what sort of ideas are we talking about? One of my favorites so far is Cosmo K.’s solar-powered lawnmower (he’s actually attached a solar panel to a standard push mower and says he gets enough energy to mow fossil-fuel free for nearly an hour at a time). Another neat one is Scott’s decorative combination weathervane-wind turbine, which he says has cut his electric bill in half.

There are plenty of other clever concepts as well: plant-based diapers, a solar clothes-dryer that works faster than line-drying, an attachment that reduces the energy consumption of hair dryers and lots more.

Whether you’ve got a great green idea of your own or just want to support a fellow green, be sure to check out the Make It Green Gallery at Yahoo! Green.





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About the Author

Shirley Siluk Gregory, a transplanted Chicagoan now living in Northwest Florida, represents the progressive half of Green Options' Red, Green and Blue segment. She holds a bachelor's degree in Geological Sciences from Northwestern University but graduated in 1984, just when the market for geologists was flatter than the Florida landscape. Just as well, though: she had little interest in spending her life either in a laboratory or, heaven forbid, an oil field. So, of course, she went into journalism. After extremely low-paying but fun and educational stints at several suburban Chicago weeklies and dailies, Shirley and her then-boyfriend/now-husband Scott found themselves displaced by a media buyout and spending the next several years working as freelancers. Among their credits: The Chicago Tribune, a publication for the manufactured-housing industry, and Web Hosting Magazine, a now-defunct publication that came and went with the dotcom era. Shirley's always been concerned about nature and conservation (and an avid pack-rat, as her family can attest to), but became even more rabidly interested in the environment primarily due to two factors: the growing signs that global warming was real and threatening, and the birth of her son, Noah, in 2003. Suddenly, the prospect of a world that might not be quite as habitable in 40 or 50 years took on a whole new, and personal, meaning. Living where she lives now also helped light the fire of Shirley's environmental awareness: her hometown was severely damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and beaten up again by Hurricane Dennis in 2005. That, and the fact that she and her family were vacationing in New Orleans until the day before Katrina -- and spent 12 hours driving home for a trip that normally takes 3 -- has made Shirley deeply appreciate how fragile our lifestyles are, and how dependent they are on sound management of natural resources and sustainable living practices. That's why she's become a passionate reader and writer about all things green and sustainable.



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