Mysterious seeds from China arriving in mail across America

July 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Agricultural officials from several states have expressed alarm over unsolicited packages of seeds delivered to residents. The packages appear to come from China, as they feature China Post labeling. Agricultural officers advise farmers not to plant the seeds, in case they are harmful or invasive. Warnings sent out to farmers and residents follow reports of unsolicited seed packages being delivered in residents’ mail. Several people reported receiving seeds in white pouches that featured Chinese writing and the words “China Post.” Another concerning detail is that the seed packages were not labeled as food or agricultural products. Envelopes included misleading labels, with some listing the contents as jewelry, toys or earbuds. States that have released public notices against planting the unsolicited seeds include Washington, Virginia, Kentucky, Delaware, Colorado, Iowa, Georgia, Minnesota, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, North Dakota, Texas, Alabama and Florida. Kentucky , one of the first states to receive reports of unsolicited seeds, issued warnings to residents. As Ryan Quarles, Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner, wrote on Twitter, residents should “put the package and seeds in a zip lock bag and wash your hands immediately.” Residents must also send any seeds they receive to the Department of Agriculture. Following the reports, several other states, including Arkansas, Michigan , Oregon and New Jersey, issued warnings to residents. Such measures may help prevent farmers from planting harmful, contaminated seeds. The Chinese Embassy in Washington claims these China Post packages “to be fake ones with erroneous layouts and entries.” Cecilia Sequeira, spokesperson for the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, says the department is working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop illegal importation of prohibited seeds. Should you receive any mysterious seeds in the mail, report it to the nearest Agriculture Office. + NY Times Image via Pexels

See the original post here:
Mysterious seeds from China arriving in mail across America

Rare blue lobster turns up in Red Lobster shipment

July 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

The only thing that saved Clawde from the linguini sauce was her blue hue. As Lora Jones unpacked the Cuyahoga Falls,  Ohio  Red Lobster restaurant’s air-lifted live lobster delivery, one crustacean stood out: a rare blue lobster. Scientists estimate that a genetic anomaly makes only about one in two million American lobsters blue. Red Lobster workers immediately isolated the lobster — nicknamed Clawde, after the restaurant mascot — to keep her safe. “We kept [it] in the tank and just made sure that nobody took him in the back for dinner,” server Angie Helbig told NPR. Related: 132-year-old lobster returned to ocean after living in tank for 20 years Staff marveled at the unusual  sea  creature. “At first it looked like it was fake,” culinary manager Anthony Stein told NPR. “It’s definitely something marvelous to look at.” Soon after Clawde’s arrival, the corporate office phoned the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program, which promotes sustainably sourced seafood . Seafood Watch connected Red Lobster with the Akron Zoo, which was excited to adopt the azure lobster. Kathleen Balogh, animal care manager at the Akron Zoo, headed for the Red Lobster armed with a big cooler of cold saltwater. After the 15-minute ride to the zoo, Clawde got a tank of her own. “There is a little bit of wear and tear from its journey,” Balogh said. Despite this, she added that the female lobster is in good  health  and adjusting to her new surroundings. Zoo staff will watch over Clawde as she goes through the next molting cycle of shedding and renewing her shell, which can be a delicate time for lobsters. Akron Zoo’s indoor areas, including Clawde’s tank, are currently closed to the public due to coronavirus . Balogh hopes that the blue lobster will eventually be on public display. Though the blue color is rare, it’s not the only unusual lobster color. Rare genetic defects can cause lobsters to create a  protein  that results in yellow, orange or even calico coloration. Albino coloring is the rarest of all, occurring in about one in 100 million lobsters. While exciting for humans who stumble across these colorful crustaceans, stand-out colors make it hard for lobsters to avoid predators. Via NPR Image via Richard Wood

View original here:
Rare blue lobster turns up in Red Lobster shipment

Interactive maps show top 10 states for off-grid lifestyles

April 9, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on Interactive maps show top 10 states for off-grid lifestyles

Homesteading was a way of life for generations while the world developed industrialization and created cities of infrastructure. Over time, modern conveniences and the fast pace of business encouraged an increasing number of people to move into urban areas and/or reduce self-reliance in favor of easily accessible supermarkets and mail-order food. But in recent years, a resurgence of homesteading has shown that uncertain times have resulted in people returning to the basics of gardening , farming, food preservation and finding ways to be off-grid.  A recent data collection report by HomeAdvisor consolidated information from across Instagram to find out how many people are subscribing to a simpler way of life. Interestingly, the results show clusters of communities seemingly sharing common values in certain areas across the United States. Related: Do people in tiny houses live more sustainably? The information was gathered based on three commonly used hashtags (#homesteading, #tinyliving , and #offgridliving ), and then geolocation data identified the hot spots. Each of these lifestyles focuses on some level of self-sufficiency and cost savings. Homesteading is mainly about self-sufficiency. You’ll find homesteaders growing their own food, generating their own power and making their own clothes. Tiny living is a lifestyle that leaves a smaller footprint on the world. Tiny houses and tiny living are about simplification, a lower cost of living and using fewer resources. Living off-grid is a broad category that includes tiny living and homesteading. It also means disappearing from staples of society like the electric grid, schooling and the internet.  The reasons for heading towards a more self-sufficient lifestyle are varied, ranging from a fear of pandemics, an increase in surveillance infringing on privacy and concern for the environment. Regardless of the exact reasons, freedom,  lowering one’s carbon footprint  and a sense of independence seem to be at the core of the movement.  While there are abundant hashtags for any of these lifestyles, the study targeted these three as the best sources of information on the topic. The data was then consolidated and prepared for visual consumption by converting it into interactive maps and infographics . The method of collection eliminated Instagram posts without a location and those outside the United States. “To create these visualizations, we collected data by “scraping” it. Scraping is a technique that gathers large amounts of data from websites. In this case, we wrote a custom script in Python to get the data for each hashtag. The script collected information including the number of likes, number of comments, location, etc. for posts with each of the three lifestyle hashtags. The python script also collects data that human users can’t see, like specific location information about where the post was published from,” HomeAdvisor said on its website. When it comes to the United States and off-grid living as a whole, the interactive map gives a snapshot of the trend with the larger circles showing clusters. Moving into more specific information, homesteading may not be as rural as one might expect. In fact, large numbers of homesteaders are balancing backyard beehives , chickens and crops with a daily commute. One might also think homesteading is associated with life on the west coast. While that’s partly true, there are communities up and down the east coast squashing the idea that high populace and running your own farm don’t go hand-in-hand. As seen on the Top 10 States for #Homesteading map, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York all have active homesteading communities. Austin, Texas and Livermore, Colorado are Insta-proud of their homesteads too. On the west coast, the Seattle area in Washington and larger cities such as L.A. and San Diego in California top the list in the number of homesteaders posting their fresh eggs and veggies. For off-grid living, the map looks a little different. Here we find that numbers might be a bit skewed, considering off-grid technically means off social media, but the images are still there as a basis to understand the trends. By the Insta-numbers, Kimberly, Alabama comes in at the top of the off-grid areas, but since many of the posts are from the same Airbnb location, HomeAdvisor calculates that California takes the prize for the most off-gridders. This isn’t too surprising for a state that just mandated all new home constructions must include  solar panels . The four corners of Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico are all in the top 10 for off-grid living, in addition to New York, Florida, Oregon, Hawaii and Alaska. The  tiny home movement  might be a bit hard to track for the mobile types, but on the road or not, Instagram is full of #tinyliving examples. The resulting map shows all three west coast states (California, Oregon and Washington) taking part in the trend. Florida, North Carolina and New York are active on the east coast, and Utah, Colorado and Arizona house the tiny movement too. Texas rounds out the #tinyliving top 10 list.  In conclusion, an increasing number of #homesteading Americans are going back to their roots of growing crops and raising cattle. Meanwhile, the #tinyliving community looks for ways to minimize their impact on the land, and #offgridliving continues to be difficult to accurately track, at least through the likes of Instagram. + HomeAdvisor  Images via HomeAdvisor

Excerpt from:
Interactive maps show top 10 states for off-grid lifestyles

Biggest environmental news stories of the decade

December 31, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Biggest environmental news stories of the decade

As we begin a new decade, we’re taking a look over the biggest environmental news stories since 2010. There’s a little good news, and a lot of not-so-good news. Still, we can look back and learn from what is happening in the hopes of taking action and restoring a brighter future for our planet. Climate change moves into the mainstream, and more kids get involved While a few climate deniers still fill high-ranking political posts, climate change is much more widely accepted as fact — rather than something to “believe in” — than it was in 2010. According to the TED blog, only four TED Talks specifically on climate change were posted in 2010 and 2011, although speakers mentioned the phenomenon. By 2015, TED said, people had shifted to seeing climate change as happening now, rather than in the far-off future, thanks to debates about whether or not places like the island nation of Kiribati were already sinking. Related: 12 good things that happened for the environment in 2019 By the end of the decade, climate change is on the forefront of many people’s minds, especially young people. Worldwide movements like Extinction Rebellion use massive, nonviolent protests to urge politicians to slow the warming. Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg rose to international prominence, taking politicians to task about ignoring climate change and even being named Time Magazine’s person of the year in 2019. Deepwater Horizon The decade started with a tragic oil spill on April 20, 2010, one of the worst in history. The explosion on British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon, an oil rig operating in the Gulf of Mexico, killed 11 people. It leaked oil into the gulf for 87 days, for a total of 3.19 million barrels of crude oil polluting the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. Images of people trying to wipe oil off pelican wings filled the news. Cleanup costs reached at least $65 billion . In addition to economic blows, especially to Louisiana’s shrimp and oyster industries, the animal death toll was high. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, about 82,000 birds, 6,165 sea turtles, 25,900 marine mammals and uncountable numbers of fish perished in the spill. Researchers are still gauging the long-term effects. Extreme weather events become more frequent As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned, global warming escalates weather disasters. The last decade saw 111 climate-related natural disasters that each cost more than $1 billion in damage. These include tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, drought, heatwaves and winter storms. In 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, killing 2,981 people and costing an estimated $93.6 billion in damages. Notable U.S. disasters included Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and the Missouri tornadoes of 2011. Animal extinctions Humans continued to edge out other animals in the struggle for habitat and resources. According to the World Wildlife Fund , species loss currently stands at between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate, which is the rate Earth would lose species if humans didn’t exist. In 2012, Lonesome George, the last Pinta tortoise , died at over 100 years old. Formosan clouded leopards no longer slink across Taiwan. The Christmas Island pipistrelle, a microbat, has ceased its ultrasonic squeaking. No more baiji dolphins cavort in the Yangtze River. In this last decade, the planet also lost Caribbean monk seals, West African black rhinos, Madagascar hippopotami and Liverpool pigeons. Rainforest deforestation The decade’s final year witnessed much of the Amazonian rainforest go up in smoke. Brazil and Bolivia were particularly hit hard. Many attributed this tragedy at least in part to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s push for development over preservation. Horrifying photos from the National Institute for Space Research revealed enormous bald swaths where trees once stood. During its peak in August 2019, more than 70,000 individual fires were burning. The rainforest plays a critical role in regulating the entire world’s climate, so concerns stretched far beyond Brazil. Related: Amazon rainforest might reach irreversible tipping point as early as 2021 Increase in ocean plastic During the last decade, plastic continued to fill the oceans. But awareness of ocean plastic also grew. A 2018 United Nations study reported that people dump approximately 13 million tons of plastic into the world’s oceans annually, and the researchers expected this number to grow. At the same time, many concerned citizens in cities around the world worked to decrease plastic waste by banning straws and plastic bags. Some hotel chains vowed to no longer stock beverages packaged in single-use plastic bottles. Many companies started developing products made from recycled plastic. Reusable water bottles became an important fashion accessory. China stopped buying American recycling Americans became more adept at recycling , but they weren’t necessarily aware where their recycled goods went. In 2018, China enacted a policy called National Sword. Suddenly, Americans realized their old plastic had largely been going to China , but China didn’t want it anymore. Now at the end of the decade, American cities are scrambling to save unprofitable recycling programs. Ironically, some cities have canceled these programs just when they’ve convinced people to recycle. Right now, it’s cheaper for American companies to produce new plastic than to recycle old. This is one of the many environmental problems that must be addressed in the coming decade. Images via Shutterstock

See the rest here:
Biggest environmental news stories of the decade

This custom tiny home features a surprisingly spacious interior

June 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on This custom tiny home features a surprisingly spacious interior

Creating a comfortable living space is the always first challenge of tiny home design . Although many people decide to forgo a spacious sleeping area for a larger living room, the savvy tiny home builders from Alabama Tiny Homes have created the ultra-sophisticated Journey tiny house, which includes a gorgeous loft space with high ceilings guaranteed to not bump heads. The Journey was specifically crafted for a client who was looking for a micro-dwelling on wheels with a relatively spacious interior. The result is a beautiful tiny home with an interior that rivals any contemporary home twice its size. Related: These solar-powered tiny homes are designed just for millennials Clad in 6-inch cedar planks with aqua blue accents, the exterior of the structure is rustic, but sophisticated. This luxury cabin feel continues into the 324-square-foot interior, which is strategically comfortable, functional and stylish. The kitchen is large, with plenty of counter space. Along with a stainless steel fridge, stove top oven and dishwasher, the kitchen offers a six-bottle wine stand. The living area, designed in a parlor layout, is extremely inviting. Well lit with an abundance of natural light , this space is a homey lounge with various seats configured to encourage conversation. When guests stay, the room can be easily cleared out for a trundle bed, which is stored in the bathroom when not in use. Although the first floor’s design is stunning to say the least, at the very core of the Journey’s design is its ultra-high ceiling. This enabled the designers to go vertical and add a second level. Starting at the kitchen, a stairwell with built-in drawers leads up to the sleeping loft , which is big enough for a queen-sized bed. The tiny home includes several energy-efficient features in order to withstand various climates. A closed cell spray foam insulation and double-pane windows help the residents save money on utilities.  LED lighting throughout the home, along with an electric hot water heater, also reduces energy usage. + Alabama Tiny Homes Via New Atlas Images via Alabama Tiny Homes

Read more here:
This custom tiny home features a surprisingly spacious interior

Architecture students transform an old Alabama bank into a town library

December 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Architecture students transform an old Alabama bank into a town library

A historic bank in a tiny Alabama town has been reborn into a surprisingly elegant library with looks rivaling a chic retail store. The project, called Newborn Library, was completed in 2013 as part of Rural Studio , an Auburn University student design-build program with a focus on community design. The adaptive reuse and expansion project preserves much of the historic architectural elements while using modern construction technologies, such as CNC techniques, to create a contemporary interior. Located in the historic downtown of Newbern, a town with fewer than 200 people, the Old Bank Building was donated to the community by a local family who wanted the building turned into a library . Rural Studio, which follows a philosophy of providing good design to both rich and poor, was a fitting choice for the adaptive reuse project. The vision was to transform the bank into a social center that provided “after-school programming, computer access, and the first public Internet point in the community.” Related: Students design beautiful homes for mass-production at just $20,000 each To this end, the architecture students gutted the interior and expanded the footprint of the building while leaving the bank’s white brick exterior and glazed front intact to preserve its historical context. Timber lines the interior, from the CNC-milled birch plywood shelves to the patterned ceiling panels also made of birch. The old pine floor was preserved and elements of the past punctuate the space like the bank vault door and original bricks repurposed as paving and low walls. A 700-square-foot boxy cypress -clad extension was added to the back of the building, while a small outdoor space to the north provides an outdoor reading space. + Rural Studio Via Dezeen Images via Timothy Hursley

Here is the original:
Architecture students transform an old Alabama bank into a town library

Wildfires in the southeast US are so bad they can be seen from space

November 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Wildfires in the southeast US are so bad they can be seen from space

An outbreak of wildfires across the southern United States is creating plumes of smoke so vast they can be detected by NASA’s orbiting satellites. Spread across seven states, the fires are affecting Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Carolinas. The thickest plumes are rising from the southern Appalachians, but all of the affected regions are visible from orbit. On the ground, the air pollution is so bad that authorities have warned residents in some areas to wear masks when they go outside. Normally, fires in the Southeast are fairly small and don’t produce much smoke, unlike the massive blazes seen in the American West. However, drought conditions have dried out the region’s vegetation, leaving considerably more fuel for the fires. Related: NASA builds more advanced shelters to protect firefighters from wildfires More than 5,000 firefighters and support staff are currently attempting to contain the blazes. In the case of the fires in Georgia, there are concerns the flames are starting to creep “ dangerously close ” to the metro Atlanta area. It’s suspected that the various fires are manmade rather than created by natural causes, although it’s not clear if all of the fires were set intentionally. Kentucky has already made two arson arrests, and Tennessee has followed suit. Unfortunately, drought conditions are expected to continue through January at the very least. We may be seeing more of these fires throughout the fall and winter. Via Discover Images via Nasa Worldview

More: 
Wildfires in the southeast US are so bad they can be seen from space

Japanese box house uses passive design to slash energy bills

November 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Japanese box house uses passive design to slash energy bills

Designed by Japanese firm Sola Sekkei Koubou , which specializes in passive design, Fukuoka H House is a two-story, nearly 1,010 square feet home. The home owners wanted an environmentally-friendly home that would provide a peaceful retreat at the end of the day. The home design capitalizes on sunlight for heating, and insulation retains the heat during cold weather. A corner wood-burning stove allows for additional warmth if necessary. Related: Gleaming Holy Cross House saves energy with passive design and natural ventilation According to Sola Sekkei Koubou, the total primary energy consumption is a mere 72.89 kilowatt hours (kWh)/square meter-year. Annual heating load for the home is 52.21 kWh/square meter-year. The home is also equipped with a rainwater tank to capture water. Fukuoka H House obtained a low-carbon housing certification, per the house description on Sola Sekkei Koubou’s website. Inside the house, stone tiles, white walls, and wood furnishings create a snug, modern ambiance. High ceilings with exposed beams make the house feel spacious, and a mezzanine work area adds extra space. Although the lot on which the house sits is small at around 3,381 square feet, the family made the most of their outdoor space by planting a garden . The home design even benefits the family pet. A beam allows the cat to travel to a landing where it can look out the windows high above the ground. Other secret walkways throughout Fukuoka H House let the cat explore. + Sola Sekkei Koubou Via Homify Images via Sola Sekkei Koubou

Read the rest here: 
Japanese box house uses passive design to slash energy bills

Alabama governor declares state of emergency after deadly gas pipeline explosion

November 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Alabama governor declares state of emergency after deadly gas pipeline explosion

Earlier this week near Helena, Alabama there was a fire and explosion at a gasoline pipeline operated by Colonial Pipeline Co . One worker perished in the blast, which injured around five other workers. Yesterday Governor of Alabama Robert Bentley announced a state of emergency  as a result of the explosion. The Colonial Pipeline at 5,500 miles long is the biggest pipeline system carrying refined products like jet fuel, gasoline , and diesel in America, according to Reuters. The pipeline can carry three million gallons of these products between the New York Harbor and the Gulf Coast. The explosion happened when workers hit a line with a track hoe, a type of excavator, and occurred in a wildlife area that is unincorporated. Related: 700 barrels of crude oil spill in California as pipeline breaks This isn’t the first incident Colonial Pipeline has faced; as recently as September a pipeline leak spilled an estimated 252,000 to 336,000 gallons of gasoline. The spill was the largest in almost 20 years, and interrupted pipeline operations for 12 days. In his statement on the October explosion, Governor Bentley said the operation the workers were performing at the time of the explosion “was necessary to install a permanent repair required by the previous pipeline rupture.” The governor announced a state of emergency spanning from November 1 to December 1 ” unless sooner terminated ” in a statement. The declaration will enable the state to receive a U.S. Department of Transportation waiver lifting the government’s “limitation on the hours a driver can transport gasoline.” Fuel companies and shippers are concerned they won’t receive the fuel they need. In the Southeast, millions of Americans may not receive as much gasoline, and the explosion could even affect the Northeast as well. Colonial Pipeline said they might open the pipeline again as soon as Saturday. They may also attempt to send the refined products via other parts of the pipeline. On their website Colonial Pipeline advertises their ” system integrity ” and says “Safety, environmental stewardship, and first-class customer service drive our operating philosophy.” Via Reuters ( 1 , 2 ) Images via screenshot

Read the original: 
Alabama governor declares state of emergency after deadly gas pipeline explosion

This hybrid carport harnesses wind and solar energy to charge your EV

November 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on This hybrid carport harnesses wind and solar energy to charge your EV

The Giraffe 2.0 features the same 24 solar panels and Windspot 3.5kW wind turbine as the original model from 2013, yet has been upgraded to include an EV charger . The unique curve of the photovoltaic panels allows for solar energy production that runs two hours earlier and two hours later than traditionally mounting. This artistic curve, and the wind turbine sitting atop wooden beams 12 meters off the ground, also resemble the majestic creature from which the structure gets its name. Related: New European Union law could require EV chargers in all new homes InnoVentum estimates the Giraffe 2.0 produces about 13,850 kWh of electricity every year through both the solar panels and wind turbine, or enough to power two EVs over 45,000 kilometers each, annually. The use of wood in the construction of the framework was a focused decision by the designers, who value a minimal carbon footprint whenever possible. The going rate for one of these bad boys is about $60,800 USD with a “relatively quick and easy” assembly. +InnoVentum Via Clean Technica Images via InnoVentum

See more here:
This hybrid carport harnesses wind and solar energy to charge your EV

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1145 access attempts in the last 7 days.