Is Masdar City for real?

Auntie Ruth is green to the eco scene. Read each week as she weeds through the dirt and unearths new gems of environmental knowledge.

Have you heard about this place called Masdar City? You probably have, seeing as how Ruth seems to be continually behind the times. Earlier this year, plans were unveiled for this new city, which is set to become the most sustainable community in the world when completed a decade from now. The carbon-neutral city will house 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses and will be solar-powered, walkable, produce no waste, recycle 80 percent of water used and be oriented northeast to southwest for the most efficient balance of sunlight and shade. The city will be built on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi—the world’s richest city—located in the United Arab Emirates.

When Ruth first heard about Masdar City, she worried it was a marketing gimmick for the wealthy oil-producing nation. And Ruth is no fan of marketing gimmicks, which is why she’s so pleased with, a search engine that generates money for other environmental nonprofit organizations. All the results come from Google, and the site donates 100 percent of profits from advertising revenue to charity. Sierra Club, the Natural Resource Defense Fund, Rainforest Alliance and others have already signed on. “If the average person searches twice a day, EcoSearch will be able to donate approximately $15,000,000 each and every year for every million users worldwide,” explained David Krasnow, executive director of EcoSearch, in a statement.

The Tennessee Center for Policy Research is a big-time recycler. Of its own reports that is. The center released a report last week claiming that former Vice President Al Gore’s Nashville, Tenn., home gobbled up more than 213,210 kilowatt-hours of electricity last year, enough to power 232 average households for a month. If the claim sounds familiar, it’s not déjà vu; the group made a similar charge of green hypocrisy the day after Gore won an Academy Award for An Inconvenient Truth in 2007. Other groups immediately shot back, claiming that the center’s numbers were dubious and the group has ties to global-warming deniers. Ruth’s no fan of ginormous houses, but she would like to point out that the center failed to mention that Gore purchases power from renewable sources, and his house earned the second-highest rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.