What You Need to Know About Coal Power

January 31, 2020 by  
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This article is the fifth in a six-part series that explores … The post What You Need to Know About Coal Power appeared first on Earth911.com.

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What You Need to Know About Coal Power

Earth911 Inspiration: Be True to the Earth — Edward Abbey

January 31, 2020 by  
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This week’s quote is from American novelist and pioneering environmentalist … The post Earth911 Inspiration: Be True to the Earth — Edward Abbey appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Inspiration: Be True to the Earth — Edward Abbey

Shipping’s voyage to zero carbon is uncertain

November 7, 2019 by  
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Future goals around carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases require major breakthroughs in fuel and propulsion technologies.

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Shipping’s voyage to zero carbon is uncertain

Finnish startup makes alternative protein from carbon dioxide

July 12, 2019 by  
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An innovative startup company from Finland has piloted a new alternative protein product made out of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This meat alternative has the potential to address the environmental evils of both the agriculture industry and climate change. The startup is confident it will be able to get the product on grocery store shelves by 2021. The product, named Solein, will likely be sold first as a liquid protein source via shakes or yogurt. This is different than alternative meat competitors, now including conventional meat giants like Tyson , that primarily sell alternative proteins as nuggets or burgers. Related: Vegan and lab-grown meats predicted to take over meat market in 20 years According to Solar Foods, Solein is “100 times more climate friendly” than all other animal- and plant-based proteins. In fact, the company also claims it is 10 times more efficient than soy production in terms of carbon footprint . How does it work? The company says it mixes water molecules with nutrients like potassium and sodium and then feeds the solution plus carbon to microbes. The microbes consume the nutrients and produce an edible substance that looks like flour and is 50 percent protein . Lab-grown meats are an expanding industry, but Solar Foods captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to feed to microbes instead of using sugar like most other companies. “Producing Solein is entirely free from agriculture — it doesn’t require arable land or irrigation and isn’t limited by climate conditions,” a Solar Foods representative told Dezeen . “It can be produced anywhere around the world, even in areas where conventional protein production has never been possible.” The company has big ambitions and believes that if the alternative meat industry is indeed going to overtake the conventional meat industry as predicted, leading corporations like Impossible Meat and Beyond Meat are going to need to experiment with and use innovative sources of protein beyond pea-based products. + Solar Foods Via Futurism Image via Solar Foods

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Ontario cancels plans to reduce its carbon footprint

April 26, 2019 by  
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Ontario just cut plans to reduce its carbon footprint as Doug Ford, the Premier of Ontario, Canada decided to cancel an initiative that would have planted 50 million trees across the province and would have absorbed a considerable amount of carbon dioxide . This is not the first eco-friendly plan Ford has sidelined as he previously got rid of a carbon cap that was expected to bring in billions of dollars to the government. Ford also ditched a plan to test cars for harmful emissions and is having a bit of trouble with Toronto’s subways, but his latest move could have much wider implications. Related: Washington becomes the first state to allow human composting Planting trees is one of the best ways to naturally absorb carbon and cut down on air pollution. Trees act as a filter and soak up carbon in the atmosphere , storing it for later use. The millions of trees that were supposed to be planted in Ontario would have made a big impact in cutting carbon in the province and surrounding region. That opportunity, however, was squashed by Ford’s latest decision. Instead of planting trees , Ford is banking the money that would have been used for the project and using it to fund another initiative related to beer. Rob Keen, the leader of a group called Forests Ontario, says that the cancellation could affect the forests in the region, which need at least 40 percent coverage to survive. Keen added that not planting the trees will increase erosion in areas of Ontario that are prone to flooding. Bodies of water in the region, including lakes and rivers, will also get warmer with the lack of shade from trees. Lastly, water and air quality will also go down as a result of the canceled program. Ford has not commented on the backlash his administration has received, but we can only hope that lawmakers realize the mistake and do their best to reduce their carbon footprint in the near future. Via Tree Hugger Image via  Daniel Joseph Petty

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These bamboo socks by Flyte are anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic

April 26, 2019 by  
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An environmentally-conscious customer base has more than supported the Flyte Socks cause, launching it into a business after humble beginnings as a Kickstarter campaign just hoping to fund a new style of sustainable socks . Partners Hung Jean and Jeffrey Trinh of Toronto set out to provide quality socks made out of sustainable materials with the goal to donate to causes close to their hearts. They had instant support with the first round of Flyte Socks, funding the campaign at 850 percent of the goal and shipping over 10,000 socks. Now, they’re back with a second round and meeting equal support for a product deemed Flyte Socks X: Bamboo Socks Re-Engineered. The Kickstarter campaign for this second design closes on April 17 and has already received over $80,000 in pledges to exceed the original $10,000 goal. Related: How to: knit a pair of smart socks that pause Netflix when you doze off Made from bamboo, the Flyte Socks X offer an end product sourced from a material that requires a third less water than cotton, regrows quickly and has a low environmental impact without the use of herbicides, pesticides or fungicides. Plus, bamboo is kind of the superfood of the forest — absorbing five times more carbon dioxide (that’s bad stuff) and outputting 35% more oxygen (that’s good stuff) than other trees. In addition to responsible materials sourcing, the products are earning strong reviews. They are anti-bacterial, hypoallergenic and naturally odor resistant due to the breathability of the fabric . The soft material is reinforced at the toe and heel to reduce wear in those areas and the elastic is re-engineered to guarantee they don’t fall down as you walk. The socks come in a variety of material options that are treated to keep colors from fading. Jean and Trinh have also vowed to use the success of the campaign to give back to the those in need. The social initiative pilot program states that for each pair of socks backed during the campaign, one pair will be donated . Proving their dedication to worker safety, the team is also certified by the Business Social Compliance Initiative. + Flyte Socks Images via Flyte Socks

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These bamboo socks by Flyte are anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic

Deforestation in tropical countries linked to European diets in new study

April 16, 2019 by  
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New research shows that European diets are linked to deforestation  in tropical countries. Scientists from Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology tracked carbon emissions that are produced from tropical deforestation and found that one-sixth of the harmful emissions are related to European diets. “In effect, you could say that the EU imports large amounts of deforestation every year,” lead researcher Martin Persson shared. Related: Cargill announces plan to reduce deforestation from cocoa Persson noted that the European Union needs to address the issue of deforestation if it wants to meet previously announced climate goals. The study showed that deforestation contributed around 2.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide over a four-year span, from 2010 to 2014. Most of the cleared land was used for crops and pastures, with cattle and oilseed farming leading the way in production. A good portion of the deforestation was driven by international demand. The researchers estimated that anywhere between 29 to 39 percent of the carbon emissions could be traced to trade, which is directly linked to consumption in several EU nations. Fortunately, some countries in the EU are cracking down on imports tied to deforestation. France, for example, initiated a plan to discourage such imports over the next 10 years. Investors have also issued warnings to companies that produce soy, criticizing them for participating in deforestation for the sake of making money. Although some countries are fighting back, Persson and his team do not believe the efforts will stop companies from clearing land. Part of the issue is that there are few regulations that actually prevent countries from importing products that are linked to deforestation. Persson also believes that nations should provide better support for local farmers who are practicing sustainability . Moving forward, Persson hopes more studies will be done that expand on his work and show stronger links between imported products and deforestation. With more data to support their conclusions, Persson believes that countries can work together to put an end to deforestation before it is too late. The study will be published in the journal Global Environmental Change in May 2019. Via Mongabay Image via Shutterstock

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New study predicts mass extinction in 140 years

February 25, 2019 by  
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A new study suggests that the old saying about history repeating itself is absolutely true. In this case, history repeating itself pertains to none other than the topic on everyone’s minds— extinction. Researchers believe it’s taken 56 million years for earth to face another mass extinction that can occur in as little as 140 years.  The research, released last Wednesday and published in Geophysical Research Letters , compares conditions in the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) period with our planet’s present warming condition. Back in PETM days, carbon dioxide shot up, increasing Earth’s temperatures by 9 to 14 degrees. The tropical Atlantic heated up to approximately 97 degrees. Land and marine animals died. It took 150,000 years for the planet to recover. Related: Global warming will melt over 1/3 of the Himalayan ice cap by 2100 Unfortunately for us, carbon dioxide emissions are rising ten times faster now than they did during the PETM. Back then, wildfires, volcanic activity and methane wafting from the seafloor and permafrost were the culprits. Today, it’s down to us. Last year, emissions in countries with advanced economies rose slightly after a five-year decline. At this rate, the study predicts Earth’s atmosphere will be comparable to the beginning of PETM in 140 years, reaching a peak in 259 years. The result? Mass extinction. Philip Gingerich, the study’s author, did a literature review of previous studies on PETM and the rate of carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere. Based on eight studies published between 2009 and 2018, he used models to project future emissions caused by humans. Gingerich is an emeritus professor in the University of Michigan’s earth sciences department. He directed the university’s Museum of Paleontology for nearly 30 years. “[It’s] as if we are deliberately and efficiently manufacturing carbon for emission to the atmosphere at a rate that will soon have consequences comparable to major events long ago in earth history,” Gingerich told Earther. As he states in his study, “A second PETM-scale global greenhouse warming event is on the horizon if we cannot lower anthropogenic carbon emission rates.” Via Earther Image via nikolabelopitv

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Art-inspired home sits as an ‘abstract sculpture’ in seaside town in Portugal

February 25, 2019 by  
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Located in the seaside town of Afife, Portugal, a beautiful, minimalist house was designed to pay homage to the traditional type of construction found in the region. Designed by Portuguese firm  Guilherme Machado Vaz , the geometric Afife House is a cube-like volume clad in bright white with golden-hued shutters that, when closed completely, transform the home into a modern “abstract sculpture” surrounded by greenery. Tucked into a green landscape that rolls out to the sea, the home’s design is quite modern. According to the architects, although the bright white facade of the geometric home is certainly eye-catching, the inspiration behind the design was to blend the structure into its tranquil surroundings. Related: A modern vacation retreat is embedded into the rolling hills of southern Portugal Using the local environment to inspire the design, the architects also took into consideration a beloved chapel that is separated from the home by a stone walkway. Not wanting to infringe on the religious site, the designers respectfully restrained the width of the building area to a mere 28 feet. “The chapel stands on a base of granite walls, and it imposes itself in that area. Its presence had an influence on the project, particularly as regards the design of the volume,” explained the Portuguese architects. “The house sought not to disturb the harmony of this religious space, but at the same time it did not want to be submissive to its presence.” The white volume is broken up by a series of square windows in various sizes and covered in flat shutters. The shutters on the south elevation are painted in a glossy gold color, a nod to religious triptych paintings. When open, the windows bring plenty of natural light indoors. The crisp color of the exterior continues throughout the interior living space. The unique layout was inspired by Austrian and Czech architect Adolf Loos’ Raumplan concept, which sees various multi-level spaces being connected by one long staircase that runs through the center of the home. This system helped take the design vertical to make up for its restricted width. The home also has plenty of exterior spaces, including a flat roof that pulls double duty as an open-air terrace. A circular swimming pool also sits in a square, all-white deck, again adding to the strong character of the design. + Guilherme Machado Vaz Via Dezeen Photography by José Campos via Guilherme Machado Vaz

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Art-inspired home sits as an ‘abstract sculpture’ in seaside town in Portugal

Get ready to use soapnuts for everything from cleaning to self care

February 25, 2019 by  
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Cleaning with soapnuts (AKA soap berries) might seem like a new, eco-friendly trend, but the practice has actually been around for centuries. People in Nepal and India as well as Native Americans have known about the amazing cleaning powers of soapnuts for hundreds of years. But if they are new to you, keep reading and be amazed at what this all-natural, sustainable cleaning product can do. What are soapnuts? Sapindus mukorossi — the Soapnut Tree — is native to India and the Himalayas, and it produces a small, black berry-like fruit that can be harvested between September and February. When the berries are deseeded, and the shells are dried, you can use them to clean anything and everything, but they are most often used as a laundry detergent. Soapnut shells contain saponin, a natural surfactant. When soapnuts get wet, they absorb water and release the saponins, which circulate in the wash water to remove dirt, oils and particles from clothing . In comparison, commercial laundry detergents mostly contain chemical surfactants, and some have been linked to cancer. Related: How to decode confusing labels on common household cleaners The tree itself has some amazing environmental benefits. It has a six-month harvest time each year and can be harvested for almost an entire century, which means one tree can produce a lot of soapnuts. The tree also helps in the fight against climate change , because it converts carbon dioxide into oxygen and cleans the air. But the berries are even more impressive. The shells are 100 percent biodegradable for easy composting, they are safe for septic systems, naturally hypoallergenic, gentle to sensitive skin and they don’t damage fabrics, skin or surfaces. Medicinal properties of soapnuts Ayurvedic medicine is a holistic  healing  system that has been  using soapnuts for thousands of years , for everything from solving skin problems to helping people to quit smoking. Soapnuts are used to treat eczema and psoriasis, and they have a natural anti-venom property that can remove poison from snake and scorpion bites. Some research has shown that soapnuts have anti-cancer properties that can  prevent tumor cell growth . Soapnuts have also been used by smokers to help reduce tobacco cravings, and they have also been known to  relieve migraines . A shampoo alternative You can ditch shampoo and wash your hair with soapnuts . They are a natural, inexpensive alternative that will leave your hair soft. They are also great for hair growth and preventing hair loss. The vitamins in soapnuts will make your hair shiny and smooth, and if you use them regularly, soapnuts can reduce split ends, tame frizz and detangle. Soapnuts can fight dandruff, because they are antifungal and antibacterial. They also have insecticidal properties that can kill lice. There is one word of caution when it comes to soapnuts: you want to make sure not to get them in your eyes. Because of those lice-killing properties, they can cause your eyelids to swell. Sustainable pet care Liquid soapnut solution isn’t just great for human hair; it can also be used to shampoo your pets . A soapnut detergent works well for washing pet beds and cleaning toys. Because  insects hate soapnuts , you can spray your pet with the solution to repel fleas and ticks. An eco-friendly laundry detergent Soapnuts are the perfect,  plant-based substitute  to conventional laundry detergents. All you have to do is place four or five soapnuts into a muslin bag and throw it in the wash. They will make your clothes fresh and clean, they don’t leave behind residue and they even remove stains. You can also reuse them several times, and then  compost  them when finished, making soapnuts a  zero-waste  laundry detergent. Natural skincare Soapnuts can prevent dry skin, because they are a natural moisturizer. Using them as a face cleanser can brighten your complexion and even out your skin tone. Using soapnuts as a body wash will cool and cleanse your skin without causing damage. This all-natural product can also help fight acne and soothe eczema. Skin rashes and  allergies  are no match for soapnuts, because they don’t dry out skin like many store-bought options. They are hypoallergenic and non-toxic, so you can use soapnuts on your baby’s skin — they may even work on diaper rash. A green all-purpose cleaner You can clean your entire house with soapnuts. Just a couple of mashed berries mixed with water will create a powerful, natural solution that can clean glass, cabinets, kitchen surfaces and dishes. They are odorless, so if you want a fragrance, simply add a few drops of essential oils. Soapnut liquid soap solution is also great for cleaning electronics , polishing jewelry or even washing your car. How to make a soapnut cleaning solution The basic recipe for soapnut cleaning solution is two to three berries for each cup of water. You mash the berries and add them to water before boiling for about half an hour, so they release the saponins. Once the water is cool, strain it through muslin cloth and add essential oils, if you prefer. You can store the solution in a jar or put it in a spray bottle. Images via Shutterstock

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