Major utility company Xcel Energy commits to go carbon-free by 2050

December 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

A major utility company is making history. Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest utility company, has pledged to go completely carbon-free by 2050. The company serves eight states, and its ambitious new carbon reduction goal far exceeds its current target of a 60 percent reduction in Colorado by 2026. “Our biggest energy source in a few short years is going to be renewable energy . We’re going to absolutely integrate as much of that as we can into the grid,” said Xcel CEO Ben Fowke. The company said that it will be 80 percent carbon-free by 2030 before reaching the goal of 100 percent carbon reduction in 2050. These changes should mean more solar and wind energy  along with a reduction of coal. Fowke said that there will also be other technologies needed to meet the 100 percent carbon goal, including battery storage technology and maybe even carbon sequestration. Related: Blue dye could be the next key to harnessing renewable energy Xcel serves 3.6 million people in Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, New Mexico, Texas, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota. For years, those customers have been demanding that the company make some changes. The utility company said that it really does listen to its customers, and with citizens of cities all over Colorado deciding that they want 100 percent renewable energy, Xcel decided it would be in its best interest to give the customers what they have asked for. Xcel’s commitment is the latest in announcements by large utility companies regarding huge new carbon reduction goals. Indiana’s NIPSCO sped up the retirement of multiple coal plants in favor of renewable energy, and Midwestern Utility MidAmerican announced that it would reach its 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2020. With companies turning away from fossil fuels in favor of renewables like wind and solar, the U.S. Energy Information Administration expects America’s coal consumption to soon be at its lowest level in four decades. Via CPR Image via Laura Lee Dooley

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Major utility company Xcel Energy commits to go carbon-free by 2050

Green-roofed eco resort on Easter Island designed to blend into the landscape

December 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Easter Island is world-renowned for its monolithic Moai statues and incredible natural beauty. Now, visitors to the unique Polynesian island can enjoy a responsible stay in one-of-a-kind beautiful eco-resort , the Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa . Located in the village of Hangaroa, the sustainable solar-powered retreat was designed to provide a luxurious stay for guests without harming the surrounding natural landscape. Circular buildings covered with lush green roofs and natural wood throughout the hotel reflect the textures of the island. According to the hotel description, the inspiration for the design was based on a village concept, where small singular buildings can be reached via a short walk along stone paths. The hotel’s commitment to sustainability was driven by the owners’ desire to support responsible tourism to the increasingly popular island destination, “The vocation of the Schiess family, is to create tourism experiences that support the social development of the environment in which they operate, care for the environment and leave a legacy.” Related: Eco-resort in Tulum features luxury beach huts made of natural materials The eco hotel design was meant to offer all of comforts of a luxury hotel, while reducing its impact on the environment. Additionally, the hotel has a number of passive and active energy-saving features . Each of the structures within the hotel compound run on highly efficient electrical equipment, a solar lighting system and a self-sustaining water irrigation system. Additionally, all of the detergents and cleaning products used in the daily upkeep of the hotel are non-toxic. The interior design schemed used the local vernacular as inspiration, namely the island’s most prominent geographical features. Small round buildings mimic the rolling hills that lead out to the sea, while lush green roofs blend the buildings into the environment. Natural light floods the interior community spaces, providing a strong connection with the surrounding nature. + Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa Images via Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa

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Green-roofed eco resort on Easter Island designed to blend into the landscape

In China, a billion cockroaches are leading the fight against food waste

December 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Warning: This story could make your skin crawl. As China’s cities continue to grow at a rapid pace, problems are arising with the country’s food waste. The Chinese population is producing so much food waste that the landfills can’t keep up, and this has led to some out-of-the-box thinking — using a billion cockroaches to take care of the problem. According to a new Reuters report , a plant outside of the city of Jinan — the capital of the eastern Shandong province — is disposing of the 50 tons of kitchen waste it receives every day by feeding the food scraps to the cockroaches. This process is not just a creative solution for food waste, but it is also providing livestock with nutritious food once the cockroaches die. Related: 5 simple ways to reduce your food waste right now “It’s like turning trash into resources,” said Shandong Qiaobin chairwoman Li Hongyi. Shandong Qiaobin Agricultural Technology runs the Jinan plant, and the company hopes to open three more plants next year, with the goal of eliminating one-third of the city’s food waste. Jinan currently has a population of around 7 million. This novel approach to urban waste starts with the waste arriving at the plant before daybreak, and then workers feed it through pipes to cockroaches in their cells. China banned the use of food waste as pig feed because of outbreaks of African swine fever. Now, this new process is encouraging the cockroach industry to grow. Shandong Qiaobin is beginning to serve as an example for others throughout China , with many people opening their own cockroach farms. Humans waste about one-third of the food produced across the globe each year — around 1.3 billion tons — and this is negatively impacting the environment as well as the economy. If the cockroach trend takes off outside of China’s borders, it could mean that these little pests will be soldiers on the frontline of the global war against food waste. Via Reuters Image via Shutterstock

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In China, a billion cockroaches are leading the fight against food waste

Zero-waste kit ensures reusable essentials are always nearby

December 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

The zero-waste movement has consistently gained momentum over the past ten years with many millennials focusing on minimalist lifestyles and conservation of natural resources. More than any generation in nearly a century, attitudes towards lower consumption, conscientious purchasing and limited waste are a big part of societal discussion and awareness. One advocate who has practiced a zero-waste lifestyle for several years has taken the next step in helping others do the same. Marina Qutab, a San Diego-based entrepreneur, decided to kick start the waste-free idea in her area and across the country with the creation of the Zero Waste Kit. Speaking of kick starting, the  Kickstarter campaign  reached it’s $10,000 goal in the first 24 hours and has continued to gain support (Kickstarter campaign closes Dec. 15, 2018). Related: 10 ideas for zero-waste gift wrapping The Zero Waste kit makes using and transporting commonly-used daily essentials easy and convenient. Neatly packed into a portable multi-purpose glass jar, the kit includes reusable items such as a bamboo utensil that is half spoon and half fork and two reusable produce bags to have at the ready when you swing by the farmer’s market. There is also a stainless steel straw, which is convenient with so many areas jumping onto the #nostraw wagon. The included napkin is sourced from fabric recovered from the manufacturing scrap floor and includes a pouch that holds all the contents of the kit when you need the jar for something else. Not only is each item aimed at eliminating waste, but the products are manufactured with sustainability in mind. Locally-sourced materials and labor exemplify Marina’s overarching goal “to make healthier, more compassionate lifestyle choices that are in alignment with our mother earth.” Equally important, at the end of the life cycle, each of the primary ingredients in the kit can either be recycled or composted so that no part in the process produces more waste. When asked about her inspiration for her zero-waste lifestyle and subsequent efforts to encourage others, Marina replied, “My life changed at the age of 10 when I traveled to my father’s homeland of Pakistan, and was exposed to pollution like I had never seen before. It was one night when I blew my nose and found black soot in my tissue that I made the simple realization that our actions impact our environment. I traveled home to America with a newfound sense of purpose and motivation for being the change I wished to see in the world.” Related: Cities around the world lay the groundwork for a zero-waste future She went on to explain that converting to the zero-waste lifestyle offered many challenges, the main one being that her best intentions were not always in alignment with her end goal. She often found herself wanting to pull out her reusable shopping bag, only to realize it was at home. At the smoothie shop, she wanted to decline the single-use cup, but didn’t have an alternative. Finding that people in her community also struggled to make the zero-waste lifestyle more convenient was the motivation she internalized to create an essentials kit she and others could always have nearby. + {Zero} Waste Kit Photography by Alex Mortenson via {Zero} Waste Kit

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Zero-waste kit ensures reusable essentials are always nearby

A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for pets

December 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Our pets are our best friends … our family. That’s why it is important to spoil your animals with eco-friendly gifts that will make them and the planet happy. From chew toys made from sustainable hemp and wool to collars made of recycled plastic, here our some of our favorite holiday gifts for pets. Chew toys Whether your dog likes to snuggle with its chew toys or is a tough chewer who rips everything to shreds, these toys will make Fido the happiest pup on the planet. Each option is handmade in the U.S. from sustainable hemp canvas and eco-felt wool. They are durable enough to withstand extra-tough dogs, and they can also hold up to a washing machine. Pet beds Whether you have cats, dogs or both, all your furry friends will love the Snuggle Bed , a cozy sleeping space that can transform into many bed types to suit your pet’s preferences. This particular bed is OEKO-TEX certified; the company’s pet beds are also made from 100 percent recycled materials . Related: A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for family Cat trees Cats love climbing, scratching and — above all else — resting in baskets. Let your cat do all three with this cat tree , which features a carpeted base, a dangling ball for play, a scratch post and a basket-like sphere made from  banana leaf material . Best of all, this tree will fit right in with your home’s beautiful furniture. Aquariums If you keep fish as pets, make their home the best is can be with an eco-friendly aquarium. This specific tank uses fish waste to fertilize herbs growing atop the tank; the plants in turn clean the water for the fish . Related: How to make your own eco-friendly aquarium accessories Collars and leashes Adorn your lovable pets in nature-inspired collars and leashes made from recycled plastic bottles. For added style, this version mimics the “distinctive look and feel of a classic polo shirt,” making your pet cooler and classier than you. Images via  Rhaúl V. Alva , Honest Pet Products , Pet Play , Wayfair , Back to the Roots  and Lupine Pet

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A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for pets

Aligning company values with its retirement plans

December 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Green

A new initiative shaped by Allianz, BlackRock and Mercer highlights the need to incorporate sustainable strategies into 401(k)s.

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Aligning company values with its retirement plans

A lame duck slam dunk

December 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Sustainability and social purpose is an economic investment for brands, and we should identify it as such.

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A lame duck slam dunk

Weaning ASEAN from coal reveals climate risks and rewards

December 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Can the region reconcile rapid economic growth with decarbonization?

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Weaning ASEAN from coal reveals climate risks and rewards

Unnaturally cheap oil is blocking progress on climate crisis

December 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Green

SUV use is on the rise due to cheap oil — government regulations and companies can be the levers for behavior change.

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Unnaturally cheap oil is blocking progress on climate crisis

What utilities can teach us about fighting climate change

December 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Even a $400 billion industry can move when the money is right and the need for climate action is clear.

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What utilities can teach us about fighting climate change

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