Scientists believe lab-grown meat may be more harmful to the environment than farms

February 21, 2019 by  
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Scientists and environmentalists are always looking for ways to make meat consumption more environmentally friendly, but lab-grown meat may not be the solution. Scientists now say that synthetic meat might be more damaging to the environment than traditional cattle farms. Research has shown that cattle farms have played a role in global warming. In fact, scientists estimate that 25 percent of all greenhouse gases can be attributed to agriculture, with beef production leading the way in methane and nitrous oxide production. These alarming statistics have prompted scientists to look for viable alternatives in the meat market. Lab-grown meat has been a promising solution to the problem, though scientists warn that growing meat in a laboratory setting may be more harmful to the environment under certain circumstances. Related: Aleph Farms has created the first lab-grown steak The biggest difference between cattle beef and lab-grown beef is the type of emission that is produced. Cattle farms tend to produce a lot of methane, which contributes greatly to global warming. Manufacturing meat in a lab, meanwhile, releases carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is also bad for the environment. The catch is that methane breaks up in around 12 years while carbon dioxide can remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years. “Per tonne emitted, methane has a much larger warming impact than carbon dioxide. However, it only remains in the atmosphere for about 12 years, whereas carbon dioxide persists and accumulates for millennia,” Raymond Pierrehumbert, a professor at Oxford Martin School, explained. That said, growing meat in a lab can be better for the environment if the manufacturing process uses sustainable energy. This would help curb the overall carbon use without releasing the amount of methane of traditional cattle farms. While this would lessen greenhouse gas emissions, there are other factors to consider with lab-grown meat, including water pollution. Until more research is done on the long-term effects of lab-grown meat, scientists are ultimately unable to determine which method is better for the environment. Via BBC Image via Shutterstock

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Scientists believe lab-grown meat may be more harmful to the environment than farms

Valentine’s Day flower deliveries come at a huge cost to the environment

February 14, 2019 by  
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Americans purchase an estimated 250 million roses for Valentine’s Day every year, many of which come via flowery delivery from South America. But shipping these roses in time for the holiday comes at a heavy cost to the environment. Colombia has become a major trading center for roses because of the Andean Trade Preference Act, which was passed under President George H.W. Bush. This act encourages farmers in the region to grow roses as an alternative to coca plants. Growing these precious petals can be good for the economy of Colombia, and as many as 130,000 workers are now employed in the flower industry. Related: 9 ways to have an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day The biggest issue, unfortunately, is with flower delivery. According to TreeHugger , Colombian growers send out 30 cargo planes loaded with roses every day in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, and by the time the holiday rolls around, these planes will have burned about 360,000 tons of carbon dioxide. Those numbers do not factor in the weight of the packaging, which adds an even greater carbon footprint to the equation. That’s only the start of the problem. Once the flowers reach the U.S., hundreds of refrigerated trucks deliver the roses to various locations. Some of the flowers are also loaded on planes and shipped a second time to cities across the country. Once the flowers reach local businesses, they are wrapped in cellophane and given plastic stem tubes, all of which end up in landfills across the U.S. One way to fight this growing problem is to purchase roses that feature a Florverde Sustainable Flower label. These varieties of roses, while still shipped via airplanes, are grown using ethical, sustainable practices and are better for the environment. If you really want to help cut carbon emissions on Valentine’s Day, then consider buying seasonal flowers from local growers in your area. Via TreeHugger Image via Emily Fletke

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Valentine’s Day flower deliveries come at a huge cost to the environment

Fake trees could help in the fight against climate change

February 6, 2019 by  
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One of the best ways to fight climate change is to invest in trees and plants. Branches and leaves help trap carbon dioxide, effectively reducing overall pollution in the atmosphere. The only hurdle is that trees take up a lot of land and resources to cultivate, which is why scientists are turning to an alternative source in the fight against carbon emissions. Scientists in Germany just published a new study about how artificial plant life can also cut down on carbon pollution . The team created an artificial system that absorbs carbon dioxide and turns it into a product that is rich in carbon, like alcohol. The system then releases oxygen into the air and captures any excess carbon byproducts for later use. Related: How to teach children about climate change The artificial system is actually more effective than what plants and trees do naturally. In fact, some experts believe this new technology is about 1,000 times better than its natural counterpart. This is significant, because there is not enough room on the planet for trees and plants to absorb the amount of carbon we are currently emitting into the atmosphere. Although artificial trees might be the answer to help curb carbon emissions, there is one catch to the system. According to The Guardian , the cost of installing artificial trees is beyond the reach of most communities. Starting a small forest of artificial trees costs close to a quarter of a million dollars, and that is just to get the ball rolling. Scientists hope to decrease that price point in the near future, but that will only happen once technology progresses and investors get more interested in funding research. If scientists can lower the cost of artificial trees, then it might be our best option for capturing  carbon emissions. But this technology is competing against other methods of removing carbon from the air, so only time will tell if artificial systems are the answer to the growing problem of climate change. Via The Guardian  and  Popular Science Image via Pixabay

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Fake trees could help in the fight against climate change

Circular, solar-powered beach house is a sustainable holiday retreat

February 6, 2019 by  
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A charming, circular escape from the city has popped up on an idyllic stretch of beach in New Zealand . Powered with solar energy and built with weather-resistant materials, the St Andrews Beach House is the work of Austin Maynard Architects , a Fitzroy-based design practice that prides itself on sustainable architecture. The “Euclidean form” of the dwelling was inspired by the beauty of the remote site and is designed to take advantage of views in all directions. Located on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula along secluded coastline near national parkland, the St Andrews Beach House is surrounded by stunning vistas of the water, wild bush, sand dunes and scrub. The simple two-story circular structure was a site-sensitive response to both the fragile environment and the client’s brief for a ‘bach’ — a New Zealand word commonly used for a very modest holiday home. The simplicity of the home’s design helps focus attention on the landscape, while its self-sustaining construction minimizes the building’s environmental footprint. “Less than five meters in radius, St Andrews Beach House is an object in the landscape,” the architects explained in a statement. “A Euclidean form set amongst the rough terrain. The plan of the house is generated using the rational and precise geometry, as the circle extrudes into a tube. The internal spaces are generated by a tightly controlled plan adhering to the rules of form, guiding and arranging segments that divide the space, with a spiral staircase as its central core, providing light and air but also snug spaces. This is not a slick beach house, but a relaxed and informal escape, designed with materials that will patina and weather, like an old coastal wharf.” Related: Swanky laneway house in Melbourne is built from recycled red brick The communal living areas are located on the ground floor while the bedroom and bathroom zone are upstairs. In addition to the home’s small footprint and use of durable materials, the beach house was built with rooftop solar panels as well as double-glazed windows. A large cylindrical concrete water tank harvests rainwater for reuse in the toilets and for irrigation. + Austin Maynard Architects Images by Derek Swalwell via Austin Maynard Architects

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Circular, solar-powered beach house is a sustainable holiday retreat

If you won’t go vegan for yourself, will you do it for Beyonc?

February 6, 2019 by  
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If going vegan to help better the environment does not appeal you, why not try it out for Queen B herself? Beyoncé just announced a new vegan initiative on Instagram, and probably did more for the cause in a single post than anyone has done for in the last decade. Last week, the iconic singer announced the start of The Greenprint Project , which aims to promote veganism with a very special offer from Beyoncé and her husband, JAY-Z. If you try out a plant-based diet through Beyoncé’s program, you have a chance to take home free Beyoncé tickets for the rest of your life. Let that sink in. For all of Beyoncé’s devoted fans around the world, few things would get in the way of scoring such an amazing prize — let alone switching up a diet. The program doesn’t call for a 100 percent vegan diet in order to enter the pool, however, the initiative is to push people out of the norm and to try a plant-based diet for a day or even just a single meal — which is incredible. Related: These are the world’s top vegan cities Even better, allowing people some flexibility in their diet still has tremendous benefits for the environment. Not only is it easier to go vegan for a day or a meal, but millions of people doing this on a weekly basis could really cut down on carbon pollution,  which is precisely what Beyoncé had in mind when she launched the project. “If 100,000,000 of my friends also ate more plant-based meals, we could cut enough carbon emissions equivalent to powering 1,169,169,665 homes for a year,” Beyoncé’s project statement reads. There are a few minor catches to the prize. For starters, the free tickets for life only last up to 30 years, which means you’ll still be able to watch Beyoncé perform until she’s in her late 60s. The lucky winner can also only receive $599 worth of tickets every year. Given how VIP tickets for such events usually cost around $2,000, that won’t get you far. The tickets are non-transferable upon death, but if you are eating a plant-based diet, you probably won’t have to worry about punching out early. Via Grist Image via Shutterstock

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If you won’t go vegan for yourself, will you do it for Beyonc?

Greenhouse gas emissions rose during 2018 after three year decline

January 15, 2019 by  
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After a solid decline for the past three years, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States rose in 2018. According to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), power generation, natural gas and oil consumption resulted in an emissions increase of 3.4 percent, marking the second largest annual gain since 1996. The only year that emissions increased at a more significant rate was 2010, when emissions went up 3.6 percent after a huge recession-driven decline the year before. Even though a record number of coal-fired power plants closed last year, natural gas replaced the majority of the lost generation rather than instead renewables — and also fed the demand for electricity growth. The result of using natural gas over renewables meant a 1.9 percent increase in power sector emissions. However, the biggest source of emissions for the third year in a row was the transportation sector due to the growing demand for diesel and jet fuel that offset a noticeable decline in gasoline consumption. Related: University of Waterloo has created a CO2 powder which could help fight climate change Because of unusual cold weather in the beginning of 2018, the building and industrial sectors also showed significant emissions gains. But, there has also been very little progress in these sectors when it comes to decarbonization strategies. In the United States, CO2 emissions from fossil fuels peaked back in 2007 at approximately 6 billion tons, but thanks to the great recession and the switch in power generation from coal to natural gas, wind and solar, emissions fell by 12.1 percent (an average of 1.6 percent per year) between 2007 and 2015. Yet in the last couple of years the pace of emissions decline has slowed down. Not to mention, the lack of a proper climate change policy will leave the U.S. at risk of putting the Paris Agreement reduction goals (26-28 percent cut below 2005 levels by 2025) out of reach. + Rhodium Group Image via cwizner

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Greenhouse gas emissions rose during 2018 after three year decline

California’s "Skip the Slip" bill pushes for digital receipts

January 15, 2019 by  
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A legislator in the California Assembly has introduced a bill that, if passed, would require retailers to make digital receipts the default instead of paper. California Assemblymember Phil Ting (D – San Francisco) has introduced AB 161 , nicknamed “Skip the Slip.” If it becomes law, it would be the first of its kind in the United States. According to Green America , each year up to 10 million trees in the U.S. are used to make the paper for receipts, and the process takes 21 billion gallons of water. The receipts also produce a ton of waste — nearly 686 million pounds. If the state of California decides to skip the paper receipts, it will save 12 billion pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) from being released into the atmosphere, which is the equivalent of one million cars on the road. Related: 86% of teens in study have traces of BPA in their bodies In recent years, paper receipts have gotten longer and longer, thanks to the addition of coupons and member rewards programs. The length is not the only problem. According to the Ecology Center, approximately 93 percent of paper receipts are coated with BPA or BPS to help make them legible. Green America said, “When we touch receipts, the chemical coating is absorbed into our bodies through our hands in mere seconds.” There are documented connections between BPA and developmental and neurological problems. Researchers at the New York State Department of Health said that BPA also impacts fetal development, and it is linked to reproductive problems, type 2 diabetes and thyroid conditions. Beth Porter, Green America’s climate and recycling director, said that this new legislation would prevent millions of trees from being logged for paper receipts, and it will make California a leader on the issue. Some innovative companies are already doing their part to lessen the environmental impact and reduce the health risks that come with paper receipts. Businesses like Best Buy, Starbucks and Whole Foods Market are already offering digital receipts, and card readers for smartphones are also offering paperless transactions. + AB 161 Via Treehugger and  Green America Image via Shutterstock

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California’s "Skip the Slip" bill pushes for digital receipts

Earth911 Quiz #23: Drawdown Your Carbon Footprint

August 9, 2018 by  
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Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed To Reverse Global … The post Earth911 Quiz #23: Drawdown Your Carbon Footprint appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Quiz #23: Drawdown Your Carbon Footprint

Talking Direct Air Capture of Atmospheric CO2 with Peter Fiekowsky

August 9, 2018 by  
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Peter Fiekowsky joined Earth911’s Sustainability In Your Ear podcast recently … The post Talking Direct Air Capture of Atmospheric CO2 with Peter Fiekowsky appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Talking Direct Air Capture of Atmospheric CO2 with Peter Fiekowsky

Earth911 Quiz #21: CO2 Emissions Fact Challenge

July 26, 2018 by  
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Everyday activities — like driving, choosing clothes and food at … The post Earth911 Quiz #21: CO2 Emissions Fact Challenge appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Quiz #21: CO2 Emissions Fact Challenge

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