Posts Tagged ‘green’

Environmental News : : Save Climate Education

Obama proposes $2 billion plan to replace fossil fuel

President-obama-s-first-google-hangout-how-d-he-do--acfb46e076

A few weeks ago, the White House began to urge Congress to divert $2 billion from gas and oil leases towards “groundbreaking” environmental technology over the next 10 years. Whilst Obama has encountered much resistance from Republicans, the “Energy Security Trust” money will come from an increase in drilling revenue from leasing public lands and waters over the next decade. He stressed that this was not a new form of taxation. 

To promote this new funding, Obama is scheduled to tour the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, a lab that has been at the forefront of developing batteries for electric cars. This was one aspect of new “groundbreaking” technology that Obama was particularly interested in.

With the minority of the US population being concerned with eco-needs, this is a brave move by the President. To any US citizens reading this, what is your take on the matter?

Royal Dutch Airlines launches weekly flights that use biofuel made from cooking oil

biofuel, aviation biofuel, cooking oil biofuel, KLM, airline, sustainable airline, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, JFK airport, alternative fuel, sustainable fuel

Whilst biofuels have long been embraced by the military for several decades now, we are beginning to see their incorporation into the commercial world. Thanks to a joint effort, Royal Dutch Airlines will now be making weekly flights between New York and Amsterdam that are powered by this new biofuel. KLM managing director, Camiel Eurings said,

                         “I am proud that KLM is once again demonstrating its leading role in developing sustainable biofuel.”

The flights began on March 8th, 2013. This isn’t the first time that KLM have managed something like this though. In June of 2012, they recorded their longest ever biofuel flight, from Amsterdam to Rio de Janeiro. The question remains, would you feel comfortable travelling on a plane that is powered by cooking oil!

15 year old starts petition to stop British Government from cutting environmental education

Screen Shot 2013-03-28 at 11.20.32

Michael Gove, Britain’s Secretary of State for Education, has decided to remove climate change education from the curriculum of students under the age of 14. Whilst the adults continue to argue over what must be done and whether environmental problems exist at all, Esha Marwaha has decided to take the matter into her own hands with a petition rallying to keep climate education in the curriculum. The petition already has 24,000 votes and counting. Esha said,

Climate change  is the most pressing and threatening issue to modern day society. Through lack of understanding from     generations before us, we are having to fix it. And how can we do this without education?”

The petition only need 984 signatures so do your part and sign it, now!

I leave you with

Plastic bottle used as cell phone charger.
Turn your unwanted t-shirts into cool and alternative shopping bags.
Jump on the bandwagon and start growing your own produce with these starter kits.

Advertisements

Environmental News : : Los Angeles Going Green

TOMS Shoes are preventing HIV

 Charlize Theron, TOMS, TOMS Shoes, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, fashion philanthropy, HIV, AIDS, Africa, Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, eco-friendly shoes, sustainable shoes, eco-friendly celebrities, eco-celebs, green celebrities

It just had to happen. Last week I voiced my opinion that TOMS was inherently flawed and that they were not helping fix world issues. With the help of actress Charlize Theron, TOMS is unveiling a new limited edition shoe that funds the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, a non-profit charity that helps protect youth’s against HIV. Unfortunately, the shoes only come in women and child sizes. This hasn’t stopped me from wearing women’s clothes before though.

Theron says, “The relationship I have with TOMS is one that I cherish because none of us can do it alone”. 

You can buy your pair right here.

Los Angeles Mayor announces City will be “coal-free” by 2025

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has followed suit to many cities and announced LA will be coal free by 2025. The city currently gets 40% of its energy from two (out of date) coal plants. These plants are unsustainable, both economically and environmentally. Political plans along with the Department of Water have already delayed the initial coal free deadline by 5 years (previously the aim was 2020). Nothing yet has been set in stone, but there is a unanimous decision that the two 40 year old coal plants are just that, too old. Another step in the right direction for the green party.

50% of all food produced is wasted

Researchers at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers recently discovered that over 2 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year. This accounts for 30%-50% of all food produced. The main causes have been pinned down to;

1) Over cautious sell by dates.
2) Buy one get one free deals.
3) Everyone’s sudden obsession with vegetables.

Furthermore, 30% of crops manufactured in the UK are not even harvested due to the fact they don’t meet the immensely strict cosmetic standards set by food companies. This wasted food inevitably ends up in landfill sites where it produces mass quantities of methane, a gas that has many negative environmental effects. If this doesn’t concern you, then maybe the 1 billion people will who went hungry in 2010.
You want to know what you can do? Stop buying food in bulk and stop taking advantage of every “buy one get one free deal” just because you can. You may argue that we can’t control what the food companies produce or what their policies are. However you are the person buying the food, you control what ends up in your bin.
I leave you with

Buy glasses, save animals
Swim like a turtle with this wetsuit
The best iPhone case you can buy

 

Environmental News : : Is TOMS shoes

Is TOMS Shoes a failure?

Yes, we all love them. Yes, we all love the ‘one for one’ scheme. No, you cannot wear them with socks! TOMS shoes have become more popular than sliced bread, but is the one-for-one scheme that hooked us all bringing the demise of the company? Many people have started to agree that simply donating a pair of (let’s be honest, flimsy) shoes does not solve the poverty, health or education issues that encapsulate these lower economically developed countries.

Cheryl Davenport of Mission Measurement argues that TOMS does not help these countries economically, but rather makes consumers feel “morally superior”. Instead of figuring out a long term solution, we the consumers have been tricked into thinking we have immediately solved these countries problems by buying an overpriced piece of fabric. Don’t get me wrong, children walking around barefoot is not ok, however, the mindset that we have made enough of a difference with out purchase is wrong.

We all thought TOMS would be special at the beginning, providing those in need with a beneficial service. Doing all this with locally sourced materials but also creating jobs and building small businesses. However, most shoemakers have lost their jobs in these affected countries.

It’s certainly a controversial point of view, given all the good that TOMS have achieved since their opening in 2006. You just have to ask yourself, how good should I really feel about buying these shoes?

Town in Germany generates 100% of its energy form renewable resources

It’s no secret to most of you how often I rave about Germany and the sustainable milestones then continue to set. After the Fukushima disaster, Germany agreed to invest heavily in sustainable energy, wary of a similar disaster. In February of 2013, the dream became a reality as the small town of Feldheim (60km from Berlin) now runs off 100% sustainable energy.

Whilst the town is small in size (150 inhabitants), it is large in optimism. In 2010, all residents chipped €3,000 to build their own power grid. The end result? Residents now pay 30% less on their energy bills.

Not only are there more wind turbines than houses but also, a €1.7 million biogas facility was built in 2007 that converts pig manure and unused corn into energy. This lowers their heating costs by a further 10%. Do not let the small size of this town mislead you, this would be more than capable of pulling off at a larger scale. Feldheim have simply shown us what kind of a future we can have should all people believe in this goal.

India set to install 40,000 solar panels and save $1 million per year

Anantapur District solar power, India solar power, solar project India, solar panels, India renewable energy sources, clean energy, India carbon emissions

The southern Indian district, Anantapur, is set to link 40,000 solar panels to their power grid that will power street lighting and water pumping facilities. These will be spread over 10,000 acres of barren land and are set to reduce greenhouse emissions by 180,000 tons during their 25 year life span. They are also the first to use Abound Solar Cadmium Telluride, the new type of thin solar panel that are most cost effective to produce.

The total energy savings will amount to over $1 million every year, a worthy investment to say the least. The project itself will cost around $11 million, making the recovery cost to take around a decade.

New York Mayor signs green bill that addresses climate change into the law

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is trying to turn the Big Apple into a beautiful green Granny Smith Apple as his third term comes to a close. He recently signed 3 green bills that involve combatting climate change along with providing more green space and eco-education to the residents.

After Hurricane Sandy, one of these laws is understandably the production of a stormwater resistant plant. Another law involves the National Park’s having to redesign their layout to include as many diverse species as possible whilst also creating new green spaces. The mayor’s advises stressed that soil acts as a terrific sponge against stormwater. Finally, a renewable energy web-portal has been authorised.

It is unfortunate that it took a natural disaster to spark this environmental attention, however there will no doubt be an increase of ‘environmentalists’ now in NYC. Using Hurricane Sandy as motivation for a greener future is a good move. I’m sure all residents do not want a repeat and are willing to do what is necessary to confirm a brighter future.

I leave you with

10 easy ways to save money by going green
The best eco friendly food for vegetarians
The bed your children wanted for christmas

Environmental News : : Germany Lead the Way

German scientists double the efficiency of solar cells

Researchers in Germany have found a way to combine a conventional solar panel with black silicon. A conventional panel can only harness 50%-70% of UV light. With the addition of black silicon, 100% of the suns energy can be absorbed, including infrared rays. I will not bore you wit the technical side (I was never good at chemistry) but these new solar panels are already in production. Furthermore the equipment used to produce these new panels is in the process of being mass produced. Do you think solar energy is more worth our time than wind energy?

Germany sets new solar record

solar energy, renewable energy, news, Germany, EU, 2020 energy goals, green design, sustainable design, eco-design, Germany, clean tech, alternative energy, solar panels

Seems like Germany have been investigating solar power for quite some time…. Last weekend, 22 gigawatts was fed into the German national grid, per hour. This culminated in providing almost half of the countries energy demands. After Fukushima, Japan as forced to shut down all nuclear power plants, Germany soon followed suit. This meant there was extra money and space to be spent on new energy resources. Like most European countries, Germany are aiming to cut greenhouse emissions by 40% between 1990 and 2020. Amazingly, it looks like they achieve this goal.

So next time someone tells you renewable energy is pointless, drop this knowledge bomb on them. I guess we can’t hate Germany just because of their football team forever…

 Asteroid dust clouds can act as a sunshade

asteroids, university of strathclyde, geoengineering, geoengineering projects, climate change, global warming, space mirrors, dust cloud, asteroid dust,

A research time from Strathclyde has suggested that blowing up asteroids could help save our planet.  Natural dust would be scattered in the atmosphere, thus reflecting sun rays. Like all geo-engineering projects (giant mirrors in space anyone?), this idea comes with a few risks. The dust particles will eventually disperse you to the gravitational pull of our solar system. Also, the collateral damage to earth would be unpredictable. Who knows where the extra debris would fall. The dust cloud would only be able to absorb 1.7% of the sun rays. Whilst this seems a small amount, it would still manage to cool the earth around 2-3 degrees celsius which would make a huge difference.

Whilst this isn’t the best geo-engineering project, it has shown us that we only need to stop a very small amount of solar radiation hitting the earth in order to make a very big difference.

IKEA will use 100% renewable resources by 2020

IKEA, Energy Neutrality, Sustainable energy, wind power, solar power, LED lighting, induction cooking, plant a tree

No, IKEA isn’t a European country involved in the 40% emission cut by 2020, although you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking so. The most inspirational part? IKEA have promised to plant more trees than they use. Since they are also investing in wind and solar energy, IKEA will be creating more energy than it uses. This isn’t just about self-sustainability, this is about helping to power the planet.

The $2 billion dollar investment shouldn’t discourage other companies from taking a similar environmental approach to business. This project is set to save IKEA and its consumers a lot of money.

 

I leave you with

A watch that saves children. No, it’s not by Toms.

Man attempts to cross the Irish Sea….in a giant hamster wheel. 

An alternative, cheap and eco-friendly chair that will make your friends jealous. 

Environmental News : : Bloody Ivory and Extinct Polar Bears.

Elephants killed for religious craftsmen

Picture of mature African elephant bulls with long ivory tusks

In January of 2012, hundreds of armed men rode into Cameroon’s Bouba Ndjidah National Park. They murdered hundreds of elephants, entire families with AK-47’s. Tens of thousands of elephants are killed every year in Africa for their ivory. Horrifically so, this ivory is then used as material in which to carve religious objects out of. Ivory smuggling is illegal and yet the Philippines still manage to have a huge ivory trade going on. A reporter from National Geographic found a street merchant selling iconic religious figure in ivory. I somehow doubt that any religion would condone the slaughtering of thousands of elephants for this purpose.
Ivory has turned into a drug. There has been a global ivory trade ban intact since 1989 but that seems not to have had an effect.
Do your part and adopt an elephant now.

Arctic Ice will be gone in 4 yearsArctic ocean warming, Arctic ice, Arctic ice sheet, Peter Wadhams, Global warming feedback, Methane permafrost

According to Professor Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University, the entire Arctic ice shelf will be gone in just 4 years. Just 5 years ago it was predicted that the ice would survive until 2060. Now it won’t just be the polar bears that are gone by 2016, but it will also initiate a negative feedback loop that would heat up our planet much quicker.
The loss of ice will cause the ocean water to warm up, which then warms the ocean floor. Much of the Arctic continental shelf is composed of offshore permafrost which contains methane, a very powerful greenhouse gas. I don’t need to tell you how bad it would be if this gas was released.
What’s that? You don’t want to adopt an elephant because you like polar bears and penguins more? Just make sure you get your adoption money back in 4 years…

90,000 lbs of trash collected at Sierra Nevada

Over 2,500 volunteers collaborated to clean up thousands of pounds of garbage that clogs up this picturesque Californian landscape. Over two thirds of Californians get their water from the Sierra Nevada. It’s truly amazing how 571 tonnes of trash has been cleaned in the last 4 years. That is, it’s amazing how it becomes so littered in the first place as well as the effort of the volunteers. I helped take part during an ocean clean up in California. Never have I picked up so many cigarette buts or 6 pack holders in my life. The beach is not a trashcan.

Image

 

Gary Neville turns from United-Red to Eco-green

No, he hasn’t signed with Celtic or Panathinaikos, don’t worry. Instead, Neville is building his own house, a house that meets the highest UK environmental standards. He built his first two homes when he was just 22 and 26. Both of these experiences have helped him realise what needs to be done in order to save the planet.

“So I have had a transitional period in my personal life, from car to home, to become as efficient as I could.”

Side view of the proposed development
                                                         Gary Neville’s new home.

Many people won’t just be surprised by his sudden intelligence as a football pundit. They also will be shocked by his plethora of knowledge towards the environment. He is fully aware of how loud his voice is:

“We believe in the power of sport to deliver a message. You have seen over the past 12-18 months, the way that the Olympics and football transcends all social issues. In fact, it brings social issues that are a problem in society to a head through football.”

 

I leave you with,

The deadliest air fight in the world.
The epic migration of hundreds of thousands of hermit crabs.
Dumpsters transformed into beautiful gardens.

Environmental News : : Start skateboarding to save coral reefs

Electric skateboard becomes lightest form of electric transport

With 6 miles of battery life, this electric skateboard will save your pushing leg as well as the planet. It’s no secret that the flaw with skateboards is how you can’t ride up hill. This new skateboard changes all of that. It even brakes! Weighing in at just 12lbs, this 20mph ride could completely change your commute. If we’re being honest, it also looks incredibly cool, much more so than fixed gear bikes.

You can even take the motor off and ride it as a regular longboard. Sound appealing? Of course it does, check out Boosted Boards to become the coolest guy in the office.

 

Wind energy alone can power the planet

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, carnegie institution for science, lawrence livermore national laboratory, airborne wind turbines, high altitude wind energy, ground based wind energy, ocean based wind energy
A study from Carnegie Institution for Science has revealed that, with the help of air born wind turbines, the planet can be powered exclusively by wind power.

Currently the earth needs 18TW of energy to run. By harnessing near-surface winds, we could generate 20 times the needed amount. It turns out that more wind turbine generators are a bad thing. They create a drag effect on the wind turbines that in turn slows down the overall velocity of wind. Thus- building more wind turbines wouldn’t be too effective. By harnessing air in the atmosphere we can overcome this issue and live sustainably for many years.

The CEO of the Carnegie Institution has said that “economic and political factors still play a large role” when deciding how to use wind power.

 

Caribbean coral reefs could soon become extinct

Live coral coverage has dropped to just 8% this year. During the 1970’s, this figure was a steady 50%. The root of all causes (pollution, overfishing, disease and bleaching) can be tracked to the rise in global temperature.

At an international environmental campaign in Korea the situation was listed as “critical” with “time running out”.  Scientists from the World Resources Institute have predicted that by 2050, virtually all coral reefs will be in danger.

So next time you go snorkelling, remember that everything you see is alive. Don’t remove anything from its natural habitat or stir sediment with your Michael Phelps sized flippers. Oh, and don’t buy dried coral from stores!

 

Sea otters can slow global warming

Two researches have found that an increase in sea otters would increase the amount of carbon dioxide being absorbed by kelp. Sea otters feed off sea urchins which in turn feed off kelp. Therefore, if there were a surge of sea otter reproductivity, kelp forests would prosper as there would be less sea urchins. 12 times the amount of carbon dioxide could be absorbed if this happened.

What’s that? You were thinking of adopting a sea otter for your next loved ones birthday? No? Well now there’s no reason not to!

 

Generate electricity with a rocking chair

Otarky, Rocking Chair, Modern Furniture, Renewable Energy, Electric Generator, Electricity, Igor Gitelstain, Israel
It’s called the Otarky and has been designed by a graduate student. Not only does this chair look incredibly stylish, but it will charge your iPad at the same time. Now just imagine what would happen if every homeowner had this chair?

The chrome rockers hide ball bearings which convert kinetic energy into electricity when the chair is rocked from back to forth. It’s a genius invention, allowing anyone to create sustainable energy whilst reading the newspaper. Be sure to check up on the Otarky in a year or so as it is still just a prototype.

I leave you with
Is the iPhone 5 green?
Man-made cabin in Wisconsin, built for musicians. 
Own an electric Batmobile by 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Environmental News! USA ruining everything : 19th July 2012

USA – One of the least environmentally sustainable countries, in the world.

The following is from the introduction of the National Geographic Greendex 2012 article, “consumers in the large developing economies of Brazil, India and China have scored highest, while Canadians and Americans, with their relatively massive environmental footprints as individuals, have scored lowest.”
This greendex survey ranks countries around the world in terms of how environmentally sustainable they are. One thing you can be sure of is how the USA will still be delighted that they are more sustainable than Canada, “USA! USA! USA!”.
Not only that, but further studies from National Geographic have shown that the USA don’t even care about this, “only germans feel less guilty about their environmental inaction”. 

54% of USA is in drought. $50 billion to fix it. 

North America is currently experiencing the worst drought since the 1950’s. For the second month in a row, temperatures have reached record highs. This drought is not only causing death among humans (48 dead in 7 days in Washington DC) but is also causing problems for agriculture. Corn output had dropped rapidly, 7% in the last week. Recent wildfires in states such as Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming have displaced thousands of cows from federal rangelands which may not be fit for grazing for years.
With the price in food sure to rise over the next year Michael Swanson, agricultural economist at the largest commercial agriculture lender said, “It might be a $50 billion event for the economy as it blends into everything over the next four quarters.”

Thousands of baby leatherback turtles die in Trinidad.

leatherback-turtle-massacre

Heavy machinery have crushed thousands of baby turtles along the most dense nesting area for the leatherback turtle. Government work crews with bulldozers were redirecting the Grand Riviere, a river that was threatening a hotel where tourists from around the globe watch the huge endangered turtles lay their eggs. Conservationists who track the turtles said that the workers dug a large portion of the sand that did not effect the river.
Sherwin Reyz, a member of the Grand Riviere Environmental Organisation, estimated that as many as 20,000 eggs were crushed or consumed by the scores of vultures that descended upon the food that was now open to them.
“They had a very good meal. I was near tears,” said Reyz, who helped save hundreds of uninjured hatchlings dredged up by the heavy machinery. “It was a disgusting mess.”

Video game ‘Xeko’ raises awareness of endangered species.

Digital Game Xeko Raises Endangered Species Awareness Online

Winner of Creative Toy Game of the Year, Xeko is a collectable card game available on phones and social gaming consoles.
Donors, known as Xeko Backer Agents, can contribute the campaign in amounts that represent the need for action and awareness: $30 symbolizes that 30% of amphibian species are threatened, pledging $1300 denotes that less than 1,300 Bengal Tigers are known to exist.
To donate, click here.
Instead of imaginary creatures, Xeko cards feature real-world endangered animals from different conservation hotspots. This creates awareness and appreciation for these creatures and their homes.

Exchange trash for food. 

Residents of Mexico City are embracing a creative recycling program that is turning trash into food.

It could be the best deal, ever. A growing number of cities in Central and South America are offering ‘delicious recycling’.  Jundiai is a city in Brazil that has been offering this for 10 years. When residents bring in recyclables, they get vegetables from a local, public garden.
Mexico City have also adopted this idea by handing out fresh lettuce, pears, flowers, plants, tomatoes and cucumbers to people who hand in their recycling. In March of this year, the city handed out 3 tonnes of food.
This is genius way to motivate those people that need motivation to look after the planet. Whilst it’s a shame that people expect something in return, it seems like this idea can work.

I leave you with,
9 reasons to plant a tree
Incredible photos of the underground storm water system in Japan