School takes lead

One Connecticut school is placing its bets on emerging "green" technologies to help it and its students succeed against the odds.

Northwestern Regional High School, which is perched on the border of Winsted and Barkhamsted, has hatched a plan to not only implement renewable energy sources to help its bottom line, but work them into its curriculum in hopes of preparing students for jobs in what may become a burgeoning industry.

"Our main goal is to provide for our students real opportunities, for real jobs with real pay," said Region 7 Superintendent Clint Montgomery.

The school should be able to derive energy from a system of more than 2,000 solar panels installed on the roof before the year is through, and is currently in serious talks with the Torrington-based Optiwind company to build a wind turbine on its campus. Together, the two could eventually provide close to 40 percent of the school's total energy supply.

Staying the course

Greenpeace will keep up the pressure on leaders it believes let the world down on global warming, the head of the international environmental group said.

Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace's executive director, spoke in an Associated Press interview in Johannesburg on a visit to his home country after the recent U.N. climate change summit in Copenhagen. Back in Copenhagen, four Greenpeace activists will spend Christmas in a Danish jail facing trespassing charges because of a summit protest.

Greenpeace had pushed for a legally binding agreement to reduce global warming and give poor countries money and technology to cope with climate change. The Copenhagen talks fell short of those ambitions, producing a nonbinding political agreement that has been denounced even by some of its key drafters.

Naidoo said the flurry of criticism since the talks concluded over the weekend "is going to put more pressure on leaders."

Green soap

A few years back, Marshall Dostal had an explosive problem. Drums of glycerin, a byproduct of turning waste grease into biofuel, had piled up in his garage in Pasadena, Calif.

Dostal was using the fuel to fill up his 1984 Mercedes 300D, which he had converted to run on biodiesel. He would get the grease from nearby restaurants, brew it into biodiesel and - voila! - free fuel.

Glycerin, a colorless, thick liquid, is not explosive by itself, but Dostal's wife Megan wanted it out of the garage, so he decided to turn his waste into haste by taking his modest reuse project to the next level.

He created Further, a company that specializes in high-end hand soap with an environmental twist. Because it's made out of leftover glycerin, it has an environmental foot ... ah, "handprint," ... that's squeaky clean.