Could ‘pay-as-you-go’ solar electrify rural Africa?

March 15, 2017 by  
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Pay-as-you-go systems helped make cell phones widespread across Africa by bypassing landline infrastructure. Can the same model work for solar energy?

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Could ‘pay-as-you-go’ solar electrify rural Africa?

At least 60 dead in Ethiopian garbage "landslide"

March 14, 2017 by  
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At least 60 people are dead after a mountain of trash collapsed at a dump in Ethiopia on Saturday night. The “landslide” at Koshe Garbage Landfill, which lies just outside the country’s capital of Addis Ababa, claimed mostly women and children, according to officials . With dozens still reportedly still missing, the final death toll could be even higher, they added. Around 150 people were present when the landslide occurred, a resident told the Associated Press . Several makeshift houses, inhabited by some of the landfill’s permanent residents, are now submerged under tons of refuse. Many of those who live at the 50-year-old landfill are scavengers who sort through the dross for items to sell. Others are there because it’s all they can afford. “My mother and three of my sisters were there when the landslide happened. Now I don’t know the fate of all of them.” Tebeju Asres, who lived at the site, told AP. Koshe, which means “dirty” in the local Amharic language, has experienced smaller collapses that killed two or three people, but nothing on this scale. Related: Ethiopia announces plans to build massive 1000MW geothermal power plant About 300,000 tons of waste from the capital’s 4 million people are deposited every year at Koshe, officials say. The city has been working to turn the garbage into a source of clean energy since 2013, when it began construction on what will be Africa’s first waste-to-energy plant when completed. The Koshe waste-to-energy center, which has $120 million invested in it, is expected to generate 50 megawatts of electricity. “In the long run, we will conduct a resettling program to relocate people who live in and around the landfill,” Diriba Kuma, mayor of Addis Ababa, told AP. Via BBC News Photo by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia Aid

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At least 60 dead in Ethiopian garbage "landslide"

How Morocco tapped into Africa’s renewable energy potential

March 13, 2017 by  
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We look to Morocco’s success story for lessons on getting clean energy to 600 million people in Africa.

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How Morocco tapped into Africa’s renewable energy potential

Inside the big business of investing in supply chains

March 13, 2017 by  
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Kellogg, IKEA and others are seizing financial opportunities from improving lives and reducing the environmental impacts of millions of smallholders in supply chains.

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Inside the big business of investing in supply chains

How Does Recycling Cell Phones Affect Chimpanzees?

January 24, 2017 by  
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In the Congo Basin live many of Africa’s most iconic animals — elephants, hippos, mountain gorillas and buffaloes. Additionally, 1,000 types of birds and 700 kinds of fish call this their home, coexisting with the people who’ve…

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How Does Recycling Cell Phones Affect Chimpanzees?

Global temperatures hit record high for the third year in a row

January 19, 2017 by  
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On Wednesday, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists marked a disturbing new milestone in Earth’s history: 2016 has been officially declared the warmest year on record . The previous record was set in 2015 , which beat record highs in 2014 . That means that for three years in a row, global temperatures have continued to soar to unprecedented highs unlike anything we’ve seen in the modern era. Part of the record-busting temperatures in 2015 and 2016 could be attributed to an unusually warm El Niño , however, without the ongoing release of greenhouse gasses into the air, even the recent weather phenomenon couldn’t have made such a strong impact. Deke Arndt, chief of global climate monitoring for NOAA, told the New York Times , “A single warm year is something of a curiosity. It’s really the trend, and the fact that we’re punching at the ceiling every year now, that is the real indicator that we’re undergoing big changes.” Related: Record-breaking CO2 levels mark a “new era” in the world’s climate Some of the most extreme temperatures were seen in the Arctic, with ocean temperatures rising 20 to 30 degrees above normal. In fact, the climate was so unusual that enough Arctic ice melted to let a luxury cruise ship cross the Northwest Passage for the first time ever. Nature photographers captured horrifying images of polar bears stranded on dry earth with no snow or ice in sight. Devastating drought also hit Africa and India, with the town of Phalodi experiencing the hottest day in recorded Indian history at 123.8 degrees. With El Niño over, scientists are expecting 2017 to be a cooler year than those that have come recently. However, that doesn’t mean climate change is not still a concern. In fact, some worry that climate change could accelerate quickly in the coming years. The temperature burst between 2013 and 2016 – about half a degree globally in total – was the largest change in a three year period measured on the planet’s surface since 1880. Via The New York Times Images via Swen George and Mehmet Canli

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Global temperatures hit record high for the third year in a row

Prefab ‘Bank in a Can’ delivers banking services to remote areas of Africa

January 12, 2017 by  
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People who live in rural areas of Africa in particular don’t always have access to reliable ATMs or other banking services. To help alleviate this issue, Johannesburg’s A4AC designed new prefabricated banking units called BANK IN A CAN that can be delivered to remote, rural areas. The Bank in a Can project was realized in collaboration between A4AC and FNB (First National Bank) as a banking solution for rural areas where people don’t have access to quality banking and financial services. Each prefabricated container is branded with graphics inspired by different local contexts. Related: World’s tiniest phone repair shops open in London’s iconic red telephone boxes The units are designed to be deployed in any rural or urban community and can be made operational within a few weeks. The foundations and structural infrastructure are prepared on site prior to the arrival of mobile units. The roof structure is then installed over the units. + A4AC

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Prefab ‘Bank in a Can’ delivers banking services to remote areas of Africa

Endangered Borneo pygmy elephants cruelly slaughtered for ivory

January 4, 2017 by  
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Elephant poaching has ravaged populations in Africa for years – and now poachers are starting to target endangered pygmy elephants in Sabah, Borneo. On New Year’s Eve wildlife officials found the bones of Sabre, a male pygmy elephant known for having tusks similar to a sabre-tooth tiger’s. Only days before, they’d found another mutilated male elephant. Both horrifying incidents occurred less than a mile away from each other. Sabre was probably murdered in late November. Conservationists fitted him with a satellite collar after finding him on a palm oil plantation in October. They released him back into the wild, as poaching wasn’t thought to be a grave danger to elephants in the area. Related: 8 Heartbreakingly Adorable Endangered Animals That We Need to Save The other unnamed male elephant was likely killed about a month after Sabre; his face had been hacked off so the poacher could grab his tusks. Danau Girang Field Centre director Benoit Goossens said a professional hunter may have cruelly slaughtered the elephants. Goossens told The Guardian, “My hope is that Sabah wakes up…we are losing our megafauna, the rhino is gone, the banteng [wild cow] is going, the elephant will be next. Those crimes should not go unpunished. Let’s not lose our jewels, the next generation will not forgive us.” According to the World Wildlife Fund, only around 1,500 pygmy elephants are alive in the world. These small elephants struggling for survival in Sabah face deforestation and habitat loss, mainly at the hands of the palm oil industry. Wildlife Conservation Society Vice President of Species Conservation Elizabeth Bennett told The Guardian that elephants will be safe from poaching only when ivory markets are closed. China has announced plans to ban the ivory trade by the end of the year – and for imperiled elephants, that date can’t come soon enough. Via The Guardian Images via shankar s. on Flickr and Bas Leenders on Flickr

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Endangered Borneo pygmy elephants cruelly slaughtered for ivory

Chrysler unveils all-electric self-driving Portal car "designed by millennials for millennials"

January 4, 2017 by  
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While Tesla and Google are busy developing the technology to make cars drive themselves, other auto companies are dreaming up what those autonomous cars of the future might look like . Fiat Chrysler just gave us a first look at its all-electric, self-driving car of the future ahead of the vehicle’s official debut this week at CES in Las Vegas. Far from a sporty coupe, the Chrysler Portal is a family car primed to leave present day minivans in the dust. The self-driving Portal looks rather similar to the Chrysler Pacifica minivan, although it sports a slightly narrower wheel base. The Portal also does away with the driver and front seat passenger doors in lieu of a single sliding door on each side. It’s worth noting that Chrysler isn’t actually calling the Portal a minivan, despite its appearance. Rather, Chrysler says the Portal is “next generation family transportation designed by millennials for millennials” which serves as “an open and serene atmosphere that bridges work and home.” Related: Chrysler and Google team up to create a self-driving minivan Among its many enticing attributes is the promised range of the all-electric vehicle – a whopping 250 miles or more on a full battery charge. Chrysler promises a 350-kilowatt fast charger that can juice up the battery enough in 20 minutes to travel up to 150 miles. The Portal’s cockpit looks drastically different than any car currently on the road, of course. Stripped down and minimalist in design, the self-driving concept car still features the essentials for human driving: a gas pedal and brake as well as a steering ‘wheel’ that looks more fit for a sci-fi set than a family van. Via The Verge and Autoblog Images via Fiat Chrysler

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Chrysler unveils all-electric self-driving Portal car "designed by millennials for millennials"

The all-electric Vespa scooter of your dreams is finally here

November 8, 2016 by  
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While scooters have long been a viable alternative to cars in urban areas, since they use less fuel and take up less space, all-electric scooters are not yet the standard. The Vespa Elettrica model was developed by the Piaggio Group, parent company to the Vespa brand and a leading maker of electric engines. While few details are known at this time, the preliminary product shots reveal a snappy body with signature Vespa style. The next-gen scooter was unveiled today at EICMA 2016 in Milan, an annual event also known as the Milan Motorcycle Show. Vespa plans to begin production and sales of the all-electric scooter in the late 2017. Related: Vintage Vespa scooters transformed into incredible chairs In addition to the game-changing Elettrica, Vespa is launching a special edition, all red version of the Vespa 946 to benefit (RED) , a nonprofit deboted to research and prevention for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Since its founding in 2006, (RED) has donated $360 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which has so far benefited 70 million residents across Africa. Proceeds from sales of the special edition Vespa 946 will be contributed to (RED) to further back these life-saving efforts. Although the 946 is not an all-electric scooter, it is equipped with a highly fuel efficient single-cylinder four-stroke engine, and it also produces less noise and emissions than your average scooter. Together with the launch of the Elettrica, Vespa moves into a sphere of socially conscious scootering that aims to provide sustainable mobility for urban dwellers while making the world a little bit better for other inhabitants of the globe. + Vespa Images via Vespa

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The all-electric Vespa scooter of your dreams is finally here

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