5 cool measurement tools attempting to quantify regenerative agriculture

February 11, 2021 by  
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5 cool measurement tools attempting to quantify regenerative agriculture Jesse Klein Thu, 02/11/2021 – 00:05 Many practices are associated with regenerative agriculture — anything from no-till practices to pesticide-free farming. What’s more, the concept means different things for different crops in different regions. What is considered regenerative in one location might not qualify for the same label under other agricultural conditions.  It’s clear the food and agriculture sector needs to start defining regenerative agriculture specifically and measuring it quantitatively — it’s essential for the concept to scale. Some practitioners and regenerative ag pioneers are piloting new technologies to help with that process. These new tools — under development or in the early phases of testing — are helping put numbers to the abstract concept of regenerative agriculture and helping measure metrics such as biodiversity, carbon sequestration and other soil health considerations.  Following is a list of five emerging options, focused on two primary concerns, measuring biodiversity on agricultural land and gauging soil health and carbon levels.  An image of an insect used in Ecdysis’ AI recognition software//Courtesy of Ecdysis  1. Quantifying insect diversity using AI  Ecdysis is building an insect database that will use artificial intelligence to identify insect species and extrapolate the population of each species on a farm. The nonprofit, based in South Dakota, got off the ground with a crowdfunding campaign and now pays the bills with a combination of donations, foundation money and competitive and corporate grants. The 11 team members, four of which have Ph.D.s, are working with General Mills’s regenerative agriculture pilot to build up and verify its library of insects.  “Insect diversity actually scales really well and is a good indicator of profits, of soil carbon, of soil, of water,” said Jonathan Lundgren, director of Ecdysis. “We can use them as bioindicators because insects are a great responder, they’re so sensitive to what’s going on in a habitat. Just by taking the snapshot, you can tell an awful lot about the health of that environment.” Ecdysis asks farmers or people involved with regenerative agriculture projects to use a butterfly net and take 50 sweeps of the air near their wheat or oat fields to collect a sample of insects to send to Ecdysis as live samples or as photos. Then Ecdysis uses those photos to train its artificial intelligence system to identify the insects and model out the population. It then compares the insect population to other regenerative agriculture indicators taken on the farm, such as carbon soil levels and pest outbreaks.  Once the image recognition database is ready next year, Ecdysis says it will be ready to start predicting all the factors that affect a farm.  The hand-held probe is connected to a hand drill.//Courtesy of Yard Stick. 2. Measuring soil carbon levels with a handheld probe Chris Tolles, CEO of Yard Stick , is working with Christine Morgan, a principal investigator at the Soil Health Institute , to create a handheld soil probe that measures carbon levels with LCDs and pressure sensors. The original probe was so large it had to be mounted on the back of a truck. Tolles’ company, Yard Stick, is miniaturizing the technology so it can be used with a simple handheld drill and creating a commercial business to support the product.  The tip of the probe is a small camera that uses wavelengths to sense the presence of organic carbon the way our eyes sense the presence of blue when looking at the sky. The resistance sensors on the probe calculated the density of the soil. With those two inputs, Yard Stick says it can calculate the amount of carbon sequestered in a particular area of soil.  These new tools are helping put numbers to the abstract concept of regenerative agriculture. Right now, the company is working on verifying the accuracy of the soil probe by comparing its data to the traditional method of measuring carbon in soil, dry combustion. Using the latter technique, a sample of soil is burned to indicate the amount of carbon stored within it.  “That’s not scalable,” Tolles said. “The incineration of things at thousands of degrees, people trudging through fields, scooping up soil and putting in the mail. [Yard Stick] can take samples way faster, we can take more samples per field, the cost is dramatically lower, there are no consumables, we’re not shipping anything so you’ll get a more accurate measurement of your carbon stock.”  Yard Stick, based near Boston, plans to have a commercial product ready for sale by 2022 and is partnered with large industrial food companies to connect the probe to U.S. farmers for testing.  These satellite maps are used to monitor crop and soil health//Courtesy of Applied GeoSolutions . 3. Mapping soil health with satellite data and remote sensors Using satellite data publicly available from National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the European Space Agency, along with specialized algorithms, Dagan is monitoring the landscape to map adoption of conservation practices and soil health management.  Its platform can monitor tillage practice, cover crop planting and rotational crop-growing methods, and track soil residue dynamics — how the materials left on the surface decay. A model created at the University of New Hampshire predicts how those agriculture management practices map to greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient cycling.  Dagan, a startup based in New Hampshire, was spun off from Applied Geosolutions and supplies the agriculture sector with data services to recommend regenerative agriculture practices and track the results. It was able to create a system that can calculate the emissions and soil health without on-the-ground baseline reference data usually needed for projects such as these. And it is working on a way to calculate biomass. “We can create not only maps where cover crops have been adopted, but actually information on cover crop performance,” said William Salas, interim CEO of Dagan. “How well the cover crop establishes will influence the nutrient loss, sediment and nutrient uptake, as well as the amount of biomass to cover crops achieves because that is organic matter going back into the soil.” Dagan is working with The Nature Conservancy and the Ecosystem Service Market , whose members include food partners such as Mars and Nestle.  Microphones tuned to bird sound allowed researchers to dramatically increase the amount of data on bird diversity. //Courtesy of John Quinn. 4. Evaluating bird diversity with microphones Imagine standing in a field 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, pressing record every hour for a five-minute audio sample of the bird noise. In some ways, that’s the dream job of John Quinn, associate professor of biology at Furman University. But Wildlife Acoustics , the 18-year-old Massachusetts-based company, created the next best thing: a programmable, weatherproof recorder that does just that. “Instead of me having to drive 9,000 miles to visit all these sites, multiple times, I can put the recorder out once and then program it to record and really quickly, we have scaled up to massive amounts of acoustic data that we can then go back and analyze,” Quinn said. Quinn is working with General Mills to categorize and identify each bird in the thousands of hours of recordings taken by WildLife Acoustics microphones. The goal is to compare the bird populations on farms practicing regenerative agriculture to control groups to see if there is a statistically significant difference in bird populations.  Last summer, he had recorders on 30 farms in Kansas and is working on analyzing the sounds. Databases of bird sounds such as Kaleidoscope, also created by Wildlife Acoustics, and BirdNet can group or identify bird sounds, but the songs are so complicated that it still takes a trained ornithologist to make the final call.  “The regional dialects that different birds have is so diverse,” Quinn said. “A Carolina wren down here in South Carolina, that might sound different than one out in Kansas.” The hope is to one day be able to mail these recorders to farmers, have them program them and stick them in fields all over the world to get a clearer picture of bird populations and changes as regenerative practices are adopted. That’s something that would be cost-prohibitive before the invention of this easy-to-operate technology, Quinn said.  Faunaphotonics insect sensor in the feild.//Courtesy of Faunaphotonics. 5. Identifying insects using lasers  Denmark-based FaunaPhotonics creates a sensor that gives farmers real-time information about the type, number and activity of insects flitting between their crops. The company, spearheaded by two Ph.D.s., hired a business expert to bring the sensor to market. The sensor uses LEDs and photodiodes to see and interpret the wing flutter patterns of insects that fly past the sensor. The machine-learning algorithm uses the wing flutter to identify the insect and create a report for the farmer.  “The sensor is like a one-stop-shop,” said Kevin James Knagg, commercial director of FaunaPhotonics. “You can see how many bees, the number of different types of bees, this many moths, or break that down to say, you’ve had 1,628 honey bees been active past this center in the last four hours. Or if you’re looking to see how you can generate more bee activity, or maybe you’re looking at biodiversity as a whole and want to see all the insects.”   Pull Quote These new tools are helping put numbers to the abstract concept of regenerative agriculture. Topics Food & Agriculture Regenerative Agriculture Food & Agriculture Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Regenerative farming requires more high-tech equipment than tractors. //Courtesy of Unsplash 

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5 cool measurement tools attempting to quantify regenerative agriculture

The world-changing potential of STEAM-powered youth

February 11, 2021 by  
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The world-changing potential of STEAM-powered youth Shana Rappaport Thu, 02/11/2021 – 00:01 For more essays and articles by Shana Rapport, sign up for VERGE Weekly , one of our free newsletters. The last time I profiled a young technologist working to change the world, she went on to be honored as Time Magazine’s first Kid of the Year . Just sayin’ — we know how to spot a rising star. On that note, meet Danielle Boyer, who promises to be no exception. An Indigenous educator, inventor, author and environmental activist, Boyer has, at age 20, already accomplished more than most adults to increase diversity, accessibility and affordability in the STEAM education space — science, technology, engineering, art and math.  If you care about accelerating an equitable clean economy, then you need to care about STEAM — specifically, the woeful underrepresentation of women and people of color working in these industries, and the disparate access to quality STEAM education that precedes it. Research shows that having a diverse workforce not only drives innovation and market growth , but also underscores the significant risks of perpetuating inequities when people of color are left out of creating the products and services we all use.  If we are to leverage the full potential of science and technology to address our most pressing global challenges, the people developing these solutions must represent society as a whole. Image Credit: Drawn by Danielle Boyer, Founder and CEO of STEAM Connection That’s why Boyer is working to solve this problem by getting to the root — ensuring that young people of color, particularly girls and those in Indigenous communities, have access to quality STEAM education. I caught up with her recently to talk about technology innovation and environmental education. The following conversation has been edited for clarity and length. Shana Rappaport: Your work is rooted in the belief that ensuring equitable access to environmental education and engineering opportunities is a social and environmental imperative. Why is that? Danielle Boyer: I believe that every child has the potential to be an Earth Innovator — someone who uses their unique talents, interests and skills to benefit our Earth. Giving kids skills in technology, engineering and science to use in their lives as innovators, activists and changemakers is so important. Us youth are the ones who are being affected the most by climate change, and we need, as I say, all of our superpowers to fight it. Each of our superpowers are different and can contribute to positive change, but we must be taught how to use them.  Unfortunately, not every child has the opportunity to discover their superpower, because they don’t have access to learning technical skills — skills that will not only transform their future, but the future of our Earth, too. Underserved communities are isolated from learning these important skills, leaving these kids at a huge disadvantage.  I’ve centered my mission around providing resources to these kids with an emphasis on youth of color and girls, especially in Indigenous communities, like my own. I think that we all deserve to learn what our superpowers are and to be given the opportunity to use them. Rappaport: Talk a little bit about the organization that you founded, STEAM Connection , and how initiatives such as your flagship program, Every Kid Gets a Robot, are designed to fulfill your mission. Boyer: I founded the STEAM Connection in January 2019, which wasn’t that long ago. Our work brings accessible, affordable and diverse STEAM education to children all around the world, and it has been such a cool journey. I work with a team of all minorities — we’re all students in STEAM and we work to bring things like robotics, classes and more to youth.  One of my favorite projects is called Every Kid Gets a Robot , which is a robot that I invented — it costs less than $20, is made out of biodegradable and recycled materials and I send it to kids for free in 12 countries, which is insane. The robot has been to more places than I have. I’ve used it to teach kids skills on everything from electrical engineering to computer science to mechanical engineering. I absolutely love the robots.  Each of our superpowers are different and can contribute to positive change, but we must be taught how to use them. All of these initiatives matter a lot to me, because I’m able to use them to supplement the environmental and STEAM classes that I teach. It’s been so much fun, because I’ve been able to reach tens of thousands of kids now, along with the 35 youth robotics teams that I mentor.  One of my most recent initiatives is called Hands-On Techie Talks — it’s a podcast that I started with my 13-year-old mentee, Vinaya Gunasekar, which is crazy — she’s 13! We started a podcast for kids to bring resources for environmental innovation in a hands-on way to kids during the pandemic, and it has been so much fun. Rappaport: What are your impressions of how Gen Z views the role of technology innovation in accelerating solutions to environmental problems? Boyer: This is a really interesting question — because honestly, when I was 10 years old and got started, I had never used a computer before. Things have changed so much since I was a young kid.  Technology now drives everything that Gen Z does. But, I often think that many young kids don’t necessarily see environmental activists as designers, programmers and scientists. Many of them see activists as media figures who lead protests — and while that certainly is an aspect of it, I think that it puts them off because it may not suit their interests, or they may not see environmental role models who look like them.  Showing kids that they can use their skills right now affects how they see themselves and their potential impact, and everyone needs to play an active role in our Earth. We need people to design robots that clean up oil spills. I believe in doing more than just advocating for a solution, but also being an active part of creating ones, too.  For me, that looks like education that creates well-informed innovators with an emphasis on robotics — because, like I encourage my students to do, I’m using my own unique skillsets to do what I can to benefit our Earth. And I’m close to their age, too. Rappaport: What kind of support can the private sector provide to you, and to Indigenous communities, either as corporate partners or as intergenerational allies? Boyer: I’m always excited to answer this question, because businesses hold the key to so much change. They’re able to solve so many problems that we see in our communities, and they have so much potential for impact — no matter the size of the company.  I don’t think you necessarily need to have an environmental activism program or initiative at your organization to make important change. I believe that people should start with supporting young changemakers in their own communities — and, on theme with our discussion, to use their own skills. For example, are you a financial adviser? Use your skills to help a young person who’s trying to start their nonprofit. Are you in marketing? Help someone who is creating an online platform and needs to get their platform out there.  To find these youth, I suggest getting involved in nonprofits that cater to students, especially ones engaged in Indigenous issues. We Indigenous peoples take care of 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity in rainforests, and in community lands we store at least 24 percent of above-ground carbon in the world’s tropical rainforests. A lot of people don’t know that. I recommend checking out organizations such as the American Indian Science and Engineering Society to see how you can get involved and be engaged as a mentor, a role model and a leader. Image Credit: Drawn by Danielle Boyer, Founder and CEO of STEAM Connection Pull Quote Each of our superpowers are different and can contribute to positive change, but we must be taught how to use them. Topics Social Justice Youth Indigenous People Environmental Justice GreenBiz 21 Featured Column On the VERGE Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Gillette plans to shave use of virgin plastics by 50% by 2030

October 27, 2020 by  
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Gillette plans to shave use of virgin plastics by 50% by 2030 Deonna Anderson Tue, 10/27/2020 – 02:17 Personal care products brand Gillette, known for its razors, set out to become a more sustainable company one decade again. And over the past 10 years, it has reduced its energy consumption by 392,851 gigajoules and its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent. The company has also reached zero-manufacturing-waste-to-landfill status across all of the plants in its global network. On Monday, Gillette announced its 2030 goals to uplevel its sustainability ambitions. Building on the 26 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions — and using a 2009-2010 baseline — Gillette plans to boost that number to a 50 percent reduction by 2030. “We’ve done a lot over the 10 years. But we’re not complacent,” said Gary Coombe, CEO at Gillette. “And we recognize there’s still a lot to do.” One of Gillette’s 2030 goals is to maintain zero-waste-to-landfill status. To achieve that designation at its World Shaving Headquarters in Boston, Gillette worked with local recycler Rand Whitney Recycling to do an in-depth assessment on all of its waste streams, with a goal of ensuring all would be either reused, recycled or incinerated for energy recovery. P&G Corporate, Gillette’s parent company, doesn’t release numbers about how much waste is reused, recycled or incinerated across its brands. From there, the company worked to reduce scrap waste and engaged employees to help improve recycling rates. Gillette said because the assessment of its waste streams, which helped determine how to treat the waste, was effective, it was later implemented at other plants globally. Another one of Gillette’s goals is to reduce water consumption related to production by 35 percent. The company has been cutting its water consumption by using more recycled water at its sites and through water conservation projects. The company shared its Milenio plant in Mexico as an example. At that plant, it said it has zero water discharge, meaning 100 percent of its wastewater is treated and reused onsite. What’s more, Coombe said when Gillette thinks about reducing water consumption, it also considers how to reduce the amount of water people who use its razors consume when shaving.  To that end, it designed razors to be easier to rinse hair from, enabling people to use less water. It also recently released a “waterless” razor for “assisted shaving,” or shaving someone else. that product was designed with caregivers in mind, with a shave gel tube attached directly to the razor.  Gillette’s other 2030 goals include: Use 100 percent renewable purchased electricity: The company has created an energy task force team at each of its sites to help identify and improve its energy footprint. Reduce absolute virgin plastic by 50 percent. Provide 100 percent transparency about the ingredients in its formulas: Gillette is part of the Smart Label program in the U.S. to promote ingredient transparency for people who use its products. Additionally, its parent company P&G provides product ingredient information through its product ingredient transparency page . Responsibly source animal, plant and mineral-derived materials, backed by supporting credentials (e.g. Forest Stewardship Council) Use 100 percent recyclable packaging. Increase the amount of PCR content used in its blades and razors by 2023. To help support the recyclability of its products, in 2019, Gillette in partnership with TerraCycle, launched a razor recycling program in the U.S., Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand, which allowed its customers to recycle any brand of used razor handle or blade along with its packaging.  “This is a program that we felt was very important and, you know, necessary to give consumers that option, should they wish, to recycle the product,” Coombe said. “That’s a partnership that continues to grow. And we’re going to leverage it further, as we launch new products and products that are even more specifically designed to improve the environmental profile of the razor.” Since the program’s initial launch, the partnership has established over 21,000 public razor recycling locations globally, according to Gillette. Once the disposable razors, replaceable-blade cartridges and their packaging are collected, they are broken down and separated by material. The plastics are cleaned and turned into pellets to be recycled into new products like picnic tables and park benches and the metal materials are smelted and converted into alloys.  Aside from its 2030 goals, Gillette this week is releasing results of a global survey it conducted with research firm Lucid. The survey, which polled about 5,500 men aged 18 to 50 in 11 countries, showed more than half of the men surveyed (54 percent) care about sustainability and more than half (58 percent) say plastic waste in the environment is a very important issue to them.  Coombe said that while the survey results didn’t influence Gillette’s 2030 goals, “it’s given us even more encouragement and energy to get to stay on this journey and accelerate the journey that, frankly, we’ve been on for 10 years already.” Topics Corporate Strategy Commitments & Goals Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Gillette’s World Shaving Headquarters in Boston, Mass. Courtesy of Gillette.

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Quiz #86: Composting Challenge

September 10, 2020 by  
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By composting, you can reduce the amount of waste in … The post Quiz #86: Composting Challenge appeared first on Earth 911.

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Quiz #86: Composting Challenge

How Pandora hopes to reach 100% recycled silver and gold

June 29, 2020 by  
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How Pandora hopes to reach 100% recycled silver and gold Deonna Anderson Mon, 06/29/2020 – 16:55 By 2030, Pandora, the world’s largest jewelry brand by volume, will use 100 percent recycled silver and gold in its products. At least that’s the goal the Danish company set at the beginning of June. As it stands, 71 percent of the silver and gold in Pandora jewelry comes from recycled sources. And the company sells a lot of jewelry: Fast Company noted that last year, it sold 96 million pieces of jewelry, or roughly 750,000 pounds of silver, which is more than any other company in the industry. Pandora said it uses palladium, copper and man-made stones, such as nano-crystals and cubic zirconia, in its products but the volume of those materials is small compared to its use of silver, which accounts for over half of all purchased product materials measured by weight. The jewelry company also uses gold at a smaller volume. Pandora’s 100 percent recycled silver and gold commitment comes after the disclosure in January of its aspirational pledge to become carbon neutral in the company’s own operations by 2025. “With that, we then, of course, sit down and look at what are the main levers that we can pull to reach carbon neutrality and to reduce the footprint of the value chain connected with crafting our jewelry, delivering our jewelry, and then this comes in as one of those components,” said Mads Twomey-Madsen, head of sustainability at Pandora. To further move toward its larger goal of reaching carbon neutrality, Twomey-Madsen said Pandora is thinking about how the company might reduce its footprint in other parts of the business. For example, as the world reopens after shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company plans to reduce the energy it uses in its retail stores as it related to lighting and heating. The company is developing new store concepts to shift the lighting installations and also adjusting its procurement policies for electricity in its network so that its stores are more energy efficient, and that it is sourced from renewable sources sourced wherever possible, according to Twomey-Madsen. He noted that shifting from partially virgin metals to 100 percent recycled metals will make a big difference in Pandora’s carbon footprint. The company anticipates that when it reaches this goal, it will reduce its CO2 emissions, water usage and other environmental impacts. Recycling metals uses fewer resources than mining new metals. Namely, it takes a third of the CO2 to extract the same silver from consumer electronics, when compared to mining silver, according to Pandora. So, how will the company close the 29 percent gap between the amount of recycled silver and gold is uses now and what it hopes to use 10 years from now? It plans to engage with key stakeholders in its supply chain, which will be vital. “Every aspect of the supply chain needs to be connected to create a more sustainable future,”  said Iris Van der Veken, executive director of the Responsible Jewelry Council, during a session at the U.N. Global Compact Leaders’ Summit, according to trade magazine Jewelry Outlook . Pandora is a member of the Responsible Jewelry Council, which sets sustainability standards for the industry on matters ranging from labor to toxics to emissions, and Twomey-Madsen said the company plans to engage with the council on certification as it works toward its latest goal. The company was able to reach its current 71 percent recycled content rate by obtaining that content on its own, melting the metals and then crafting the jewelry themselves. But the company also buys semi-finished jewelry pieces from other sources. “That’s the focus that we’ll have now to work with those suppliers and make sure that in their operations, the pieces that we purchase from them [are] also sourced with recycled metals,” Twomey-Madsen said. One of the challenges is that the amount of recycled silver available is pretty low. With that in mind, Pandora plans to help build up the supply. And electronic waste could be a significant source for “mining” recycled silver (and gold). There is a lot of e-waste but only about 20 percent of it is formally recycled, with the rest being informally recycled or going to the landfill, according to Twomey-Madsen.  But stakeholders in this work are trying to get to work. Twomey-Madsen said Pandora is seeing interest from potential collaborators in the recycled materials space, with “some from e-waste and some with recovery from other forms of waste or collection of waste.” “We are also having interest from companies that work with new materials. We are, of course, really happy for this and are in dialogue to see if this could lead to new cooperations,” wrote Twomey-Madsen by email, just before publication.  As more key players get involved in trying to make a circular economy work for the jewelry industry, an important factor to think about is transparency in traceability. There must be processes to make sure that actors are well informed across the supply chain about the origins of the metals, he said.  “That’s probably where we need to work the most. We don’t see it as something that we cannot get done,” Twomey-Madsen said, while noting that this process will take time. Topics Supply Chain Commitments & Goals Mining Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Courtesy of Pandora Jewellery Close Authorship

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Your favorite playlist has a carbon footprint

May 24, 2019 by  
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You would think streaming music is more eco-friendly than CDs, tapes and records, right? Afterall, there’s no waste. A new study by the Universities of Glasglow and Oslo calculated the carbon footprint associated with downloading and streaming music and the answer is surprising. According to data from 2015 and 2016, music streaming accounted for 200 to 350 million kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions . The study used data records from the Recording Industry Association of America. First, researchers took the total number of streamed and downloaded songs and multiplied it by the amount of electricity it takes to download 1 gigabyte of data. Each gigabyte is equivalent to the amount of electricity needed to light one light bulb for an hour. Next researchers investigated what kind of fuel sources are typically fueling music streaming sites— such as coal or renewable energy — and averaged the carbon dioxide emitted. Related: Music festivals and events can set the stage for sustainability The totals do not reflect the carbon footprint of data storage and processing centers, nor the electricity it takes to power your cellphone or steaming device, so the comprehensive contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is actually much higher than the study initially indicates. Music streaming giant, Spotify, did not respond to The Rolling Stone journalist’s request for comment, but they did publish a sustainability report in 2017, which promised to work toward carbon neutrality. By 2018, the new sustainability report indicated that they had closed almost all of their data centers and reduced their carbon footprint by 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide . In actuality, Spotify shifted to using Google Cloud services, which means that now Google data centers are responsible for the emissions, not that emissions have necessarily been cut. Streaming competitors Apple and Amazon have recently invested in renewable energy options for their centers. Data centers in general are responsible for 2 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, which is equivalent to the airline industry. Music lovers who want to be more sustainable should buy full albums rather than streaming individual songs, especially if you plan to hit that repeat button a lot. According to their calculations, streaming 27 songs uses more energy than manufacturing the disc. For those of you who can’t imagine hopping in a time machine and buying a CD again, the authors suggest that downloading songs for offline listening could reduce the associated energy consumption. Via Rolling Stone Image via PhotoMIX-Company

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Your favorite playlist has a carbon footprint

Prada announces a ban on fur

May 24, 2019 by  
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Prada has announced that it will finally ban the use of all fur in future fashion lines. The major fashion company joins a growing list of designers who have been successfully pressured by animal rights advocates to ban fur from their products. Starting in 2020, the company will no longer introduce items with fur, but those currently in circulation will still be available for purchase. Prada’s decision comes as interest in ethical and sustainable fashion mounts among consumers. “The Prada Group is committed to innovation and social responsibility, and our fur-free policy — reached following a positive dialogue with the Fur Free Alliance, in particular with LAV and the Humane Society of the United States — is an extension of that engagement,” head of Prada Miuccia Prada said in a statement . “Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design while meeting the demand for ethical products.” Related: Burberry vows to stop burning unsold clothes and using real fur With this major victory, animal rights groups now plan to focus their attention on urging Prada, as well as other companies, to ban exotic skins, such as alligator and snakeskin items, from future lines. PETA has already purchased enough stock in the fashion company to suggest shareholder resolutions that would allow a vote on the use of exotic skins. Prada has experimented with fur alternatives, including using materials from teddy bear manufacturer Steiff; however, environmentalists also argue that many fur alternatives utilize microplastics , which do not biodegrade and wreak havoc on waterways and marine ecosystems. Via EcoWatch Images via Shutterstock

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Prada announces a ban on fur

Passenger service Gett launches carbon-free travel in the UK

September 14, 2018 by  
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The global, on-demand transportation service Gett is embarking on a new endeavor — implementing carbon-free and carbon-positive rides for all of its passengers. The company’s announcement features several initiatives to help accomplish this benchmark, and Gett’s success would make it the first major taxi app in the U.K. to attain a carbon-neutral status. With air quality continuously deteriorating to dangerous levels in several U.K. cities, the company is proud to become a first responder to the growing crisis. “Air quality is increasingly becoming more of an issue, not just in London, but across the U.K.,” Matteo de Renzi, CEO of Gett U.K., said. “By becoming carbon neutral, we’re incredibly proud to be helping cities achieve cleaner air and reduce pollution levels. By offsetting the CO2 our U.K. rides produce, we will positively impact multiple climate projects across the globe.” Related: Lyft is making all its rides carbon neutral In partnership with Carbon Clear, a global provider of energy and carbon sustainability solutions, Gett plans to ensure carbon neutrality by offsetting 7,500 tons of carbon dioxide — the amount of carbon dioxide emissions the company projects to release within the next 12 months — through various international programs. “The science tells us that carbon neutrality is necessary to protect the planet and sustain our livelihoods,” said Mark Chadwick, CEO of Carbon Clear. Together, the duo will be reducing pollution levels through a Wind Power Generation project in India that displaces the burning of fossil fuels. The team will also be supporting the Madre de Dios Project in Peru’s Amazon jungle to reduce deforestation. “The offsetting projects that Gett is supporting are subject to rigorous international standards to ensure they deliver the promised emissions reductions,” Chadwick said. “As well as this, these projects support sustainable development in international communities and have a tangible impact on people’s lives.” Related: Google Street View cars will map air pollution in cities worldwide Riders will also have the option to offer their own contribution of 20p ($0.26) to their Gett Green journeys if they wish, an action that will make each ride a carbon-positive experience on a long-term scale. The donations will be used to fund London schools that have been identified by the mayor’s school air quality audit program . This initiative is set on reducing emissions around London schools and mitigating youth exposure to heightened nitrogen dioxide levels. Gett will also continue to support electric and hybrid taxi conversions in cities such as Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. The fully-certified electric taxis , made specifically to address growing pollution problems, are the first ever to be introduced on U.K.’s streets. Mindful to the core, Gett will not be adding extra vehicles to already-congested roads. Instead, the company wishes to continue its efforts in urban mobility improvement by reducing the amount of vehicles in circulation through its black car service gone green. + Gett + Carbon Clear Images via Gett

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Passenger service Gett launches carbon-free travel in the UK

Passenger service Gett launches carbon-free travel in the UK

September 14, 2018 by  
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The global, on-demand transportation service Gett is embarking on a new endeavor — implementing carbon-free and carbon-positive rides for all of its passengers. The company’s announcement features several initiatives to help accomplish this benchmark, and Gett’s success would make it the first major taxi app in the U.K. to attain a carbon-neutral status. With air quality continuously deteriorating to dangerous levels in several U.K. cities, the company is proud to become a first responder to the growing crisis. “Air quality is increasingly becoming more of an issue, not just in London, but across the U.K.,” Matteo de Renzi, CEO of Gett U.K., said. “By becoming carbon neutral, we’re incredibly proud to be helping cities achieve cleaner air and reduce pollution levels. By offsetting the CO2 our U.K. rides produce, we will positively impact multiple climate projects across the globe.” Related: Lyft is making all its rides carbon neutral In partnership with Carbon Clear, a global provider of energy and carbon sustainability solutions, Gett plans to ensure carbon neutrality by offsetting 7,500 tons of carbon dioxide — the amount of carbon dioxide emissions the company projects to release within the next 12 months — through various international programs. “The science tells us that carbon neutrality is necessary to protect the planet and sustain our livelihoods,” said Mark Chadwick, CEO of Carbon Clear. Together, the duo will be reducing pollution levels through a Wind Power Generation project in India that displaces the burning of fossil fuels. The team will also be supporting the Madre de Dios Project in Peru’s Amazon jungle to reduce deforestation. “The offsetting projects that Gett is supporting are subject to rigorous international standards to ensure they deliver the promised emissions reductions,” Chadwick said. “As well as this, these projects support sustainable development in international communities and have a tangible impact on people’s lives.” Related: Google Street View cars will map air pollution in cities worldwide Riders will also have the option to offer their own contribution of 20p ($0.26) to their Gett Green journeys if they wish, an action that will make each ride a carbon-positive experience on a long-term scale. The donations will be used to fund London schools that have been identified by the mayor’s school air quality audit program . This initiative is set on reducing emissions around London schools and mitigating youth exposure to heightened nitrogen dioxide levels. Gett will also continue to support electric and hybrid taxi conversions in cities such as Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. The fully-certified electric taxis , made specifically to address growing pollution problems, are the first ever to be introduced on U.K.’s streets. Mindful to the core, Gett will not be adding extra vehicles to already-congested roads. Instead, the company wishes to continue its efforts in urban mobility improvement by reducing the amount of vehicles in circulation through its black car service gone green. + Gett + Carbon Clear Images via Gett

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Passenger service Gett launches carbon-free travel in the UK

What to Do with Things You Can’t Recycle

January 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco

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Recycling is an excellent way to conserve resources, reuse materials and decrease the amount of raw materials being mined, logged or produced from scratch. It’s one of the environmental movement’s most successful enterprises in terms of…

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What to Do with Things You Can’t Recycle

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