6 easy tips to green your Fourth of July

July 4, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Green Tips, Recycle

Although the Fourth of July is a wonderful time to celebrate our freedom with friends and family, with all the cups, utensils and fireworks we end up using, it’s also one of our most wasteful holidays! So this year, why not take advantage of our six ideas that will help you green-up your festivities without sacrificing an ounce of fun. In fact, it might surprise you to find that following our tips could actually increase the fun quotient while sparing the planet at the same time. 1. Go meatless for the day Nothing says Independence Day like a backyard barbecue, but the global meat industry has put a terrible strain on the planet. This year, ditch the pork chops and steaks and consider some delicious vegetarian grilling recipes instead. Although forgoing the meat might seem akin to sacrilege, there are so many more creative dishes available that are good for your health and the planet. 2. Use real plates When you have 15 guests coming around, it’s so easy to break out the paper plates to avoid a sink full of dishes. But imagine the waste if every American went this route! If washing your own dishes in a water-saving dishwasher doesn’t sound appealing, it is now possible to purchase biodegradable packaging that won’t clog up the landfill. 3. Use public transportation If you live out in the middle of Iowa, taking a bus or train to your friend’s house might not be possible for you. But most city dwellers certainly do have this option. Using public transportation , or even cycling instead of driving a car, has more than one benefit: not only will you reduce your carbon footprint for the day, but you won’t have to drive home after drinking! Which brings us to our next point… 4. Buy kegs instead of cans and bottles Don’t take this the wrong way — Inhabitat isn’t endorsing national drunkenness, but we are realistic. People have the day off, they’re hanging out with their favorite people… beer will be had. Instead of buying a stack of cans and bottles that use up a lot of unnecessary materials, consider purchasing a keg. This is cheaper, usually, and you’ll have zero waste — especially if you use your own mugs or compostable cups . 5. Cool down with a batch of delicious organic popsicles If drinking beer isn’t your thing, or you’re celebrating the holiday with a handful of screaming young children, consider following our recipes for 30 kinds of delicious organic popsicles . They’re so easy to make and contain none of the junk that store-bought popsicles do. Plus, you won’t produce any waste as a byproduct of enjoying one of our favorite summer treats. 6. Enjoy a sunset with wind- and solar-powered lights Sunset is probably our favorite part of the Fourth of July. Not that we’re excited for the day to end, but the temperature simmers down at last, and the sky fills up with the vibrant colors of fireworks. Make the ambiance last and reduce your energy footprint by using  wind and solar lights . They’re easy to find at IKEA, and they’ll impress the daylights out of your friends and family! Have a happy and green Fourth of July! Images via Nigel Howe , Shutterstock ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ), Inhabitat and IKEA

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6 easy tips to green your Fourth of July

Tackling transportation demand, smart growth and efficiency in Hawaii’s car culture

June 28, 2018 by  
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The transportation sector has typically made up about 30% of the carbon emissions from society, second to the utility sector. However, in 2016, transportation overtook utilities. This occurred even as cars became more efficient because we have built communities and a transportation sector that force people to travel 2% more per year every year.

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Tackling transportation demand, smart growth and efficiency in Hawaii’s car culture

Sustainable tourism: valuing experiences, efficiencies and ecosystems

June 28, 2018 by  
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How do tourism industry stakeholders — hotels, business owners, airlines — define “sustainability” from an economic standpoint? How can leaders advance efficiency and conservation without compromising — even increasing — the experience for travelers?  What are the metrics that the industry can align on to demonstrate data-driven progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions while creating new economic opportunities?

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Sustainable tourism: valuing experiences, efficiencies and ecosystems

Framing the sustainability policy opportunity in Hawaii

June 28, 2018 by  
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Building on a long history of systems thinking and sophisticated natural resource management, Hawaii’s leaders continue to advance the sustainability of communities, the environment, and economic prosperity. In 2016, Hawai’i passed legislation formally aligning the state with the Paris Agreement on climate change. The State legislature with elected official and public and private sector partners launched the Aloha+ Challenge, which serves as a local mechanism to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Senate Majority Leader J.

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Framing the sustainability policy opportunity in Hawaii

Dutch town helps out rare bat species by installing "bat-friendly" streetlights

June 7, 2018 by  
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Street lighting can impact bats’ feeding patterns and internal compasses, as well as the activity of their insect prey, but a town in the Netherlands is taking steps to help the bats out. Zuidhoek Nieuwkoop , a housing development of around 90 sustainable homes near the Nieuwkoopse Plassen nature reserve, has installed what are thought to be the world’s first bat-friendly streetlights. The red LED  lights from Signify , formerly Philips Lighting, brighten the road for humans, but the the bats still perceive the light as darkness. The town and surrounding area are part of the Natura 2000 , a network of nesting and breeding sites for rare and threatened species across the European Union. These sites don’t all exclude human activities; in fact, most of the land is privately owned. The approach to conservation on these sites revolves around “people working with nature rather than against it,” according to the European Commission. Related: Bat bridge provides shelter for our winged friends in the Dutch town of Monster Bat-friendly lighting could fit that bill. Zuidhoek Nieuwkoop , according to Signify, is a key feeding ground “for some rare bat species.” The energy-efficient streetlights emit red with a wavelength that won’t interfere with the flying mammals’ internal compasses. The lighting is based on 2017 research from Wageningen University , the Netherlands Institute of Ecology , and Philips Lighting. Nieuwkoop city council member Guus Elkhuizen said, “Nieuwkoop is the first town in the world to use smart LED street lights that are designed to be friendly to bats. When developing our unique housing program, our goal was to make the project as sustainable as possible, while preserving our local bat species with minimal impact to their habitat and activities. We’ve managed to do this and also keep our carbon footprint and energy consumption to a minimum.” + Signify + Zuidhoek Nieuwkoop Images courtesy of Signify

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Dutch town helps out rare bat species by installing "bat-friendly" streetlights

California’s Healthy Soil Initiative wants to use dirt to fight climate change

May 15, 2018 by  
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California is turning to dirt to help in the fight against climate change . The state’s  Healthy Soils Initiative draws on farming and land management techniques to build organic soil matter. The goal is to slash  greenhouse gas emissions and sequester more carbon . Multiple state departments and agencies, led by the state’s  Department of Food and Agriculture , are utilizing money from California’s  cap-and-trade program to target soil in the battle against climate change. According to the initiative’s website , around 75 percent “of the carbon pool on land” is found in soils, and about one quarter of the world’s  biodiversity  resides in soil. The initiative’s website quoted Governor Jerry Brown as saying, “As the leading agricultural state in the nation, it is important for California’s soils to be sustainable and resilient to climate change.” Related: Less fertilizer, greater crop yields, and more money: China’s agricultural breakthrough How will the state boost soil health ? A 2016 action plan  pointed to agricultural practices like “planting cover crops, reducing tillage, retaining crop residue, managing grazing and adding compost .” Grist used farmer Doug Lo, who cultivates almond orchards, as an example. California is giving Lo $50,000 to try different techniques, such as putting composted manure around the trees and planting clover between the trunks as ground cover. In theory, the farming practices could help the soil absorb 1,088 tons of carbon out of the atmosphere yearly. “We’re trying to sequester some carbon,” Lo told Grist. “It should also help with the water-holding capacity of the soil, and the flowers in the cover crop should feed bees after the almond bloom is over.” + California Healthy Soils Initiative Via Grist Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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California’s Healthy Soil Initiative wants to use dirt to fight climate change

Deciphering the new tax credits on carbon capture investments

May 10, 2018 by  
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The Budget Act of 2018 expands and enhances the tax credits for climate technologies, which could have an important impact for companies.

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Deciphering the new tax credits on carbon capture investments

Conventional shipping get on deck for decarbonization

May 10, 2018 by  
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International shipping produces as much CO2 as aircraft. Here’s what we can do about that.

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Conventional shipping get on deck for decarbonization

Record-breaking paper water purifier operates at near 100% efficiency

May 7, 2018 by  
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Researchers at the University at Buffalo have created a highly efficient device that uses sunlight and black carbon-dipped paper to clean water . The paper is placed in a triangular arrangement, which enables it to vaporize and absorb water with nearly 100 percent efficiency. The simple, inexpensive technology could be deployed in regions where clean drinking water is chronically unavailable or areas that have been acutely affected by natural disasters. “Our technique is able to produce drinking water at a faster pace than is theoretically calculated under natural sunlight,” said lead researcher Qiaoqiang Gan in a statement . The solar still concept, which uses sunlight to purify water, is ancient; Aristotle described a similar technique more than 2,000 years ago. The difference is the new device’s ability to achieve ultra-high efficiency. “Usually, when solar energy is used to evaporate water, some of the energy is wasted as heat is lost to the surrounding environment,” Gan explained. “This makes the process less than 100 percent efficient. Our system has a way of drawing heat in from the surrounding environment, allowing us to achieve near-perfect efficiency.” The carbon -dipped paper’s sloped orientation is key in achieving this efficiency, allowing the bottom edges to soak up water while the outer coating absorbs solar heat to be used in evaporation. Related: This moss can naturally eliminate arsenic from water The research team prioritized simplicity and accessibility in its design. “Most groups working on solar evaporation technologies are trying to develop advanced materials, such as metallic plasmonic and carbon-based nanomaterials,” Gan said. “We focused on using extremely low-cost materials and were still able to realize record-breaking performance.” Through their recently launched start-up, Sunny Clean Water, the team hopes to increase access to their device for areas in need. “When you talk to government officials or nonprofits working in disaster zones, they want to know: ‘How much water can you generate every day?’ We have a strategy to boost daily performance,” said Haomin Song, an electrical engineering PhD graduate, in a statement . “With a solar still the size of a mini fridge, we estimate that we can generate 10 to 20 liters of clean water every single day.” + University at Buffalo Via Futurity Images via Huaxiu Chen and Douglas Levere/University at Buffalo

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Record-breaking paper water purifier operates at near 100% efficiency

Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano eruption has destroyed 26 home and caused thousands to flee

May 7, 2018 by  
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The eruption of the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island has destroyed around 26 homes and five structures. Since the eruption began, 10 fissures have emerged, and thousands of people have been forced to evacuate. Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency administrator Talmadge Magno told CBS News yesterday, “There’s no sign of things slowing down.” Kilauea has spewed lava as high as 230 feet up into the air, according to Vox . Lava bursting from fissures has destroyed houses. According to a Sunday evening update from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory , in the Leilani Estates subdivision, in the volcano’s lower East Rift Zone, intermittent lava eruption was ongoing, and “new ground cracks in the vicinity of fissures eight and nine…were emitting thick steam and gases.” Related: Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupts, forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate Sulfur dioxide emissions are also a concern — Vox cited the Civil Defense Agency as calling the gas “a threat to all who become exposed.” It’s often expelled in large amounts during a volcanic eruption . In a Sunday evening update , the Civil Defense Agency said Lanipuna Gardens residents would not able to access the area because of dangerous volcanic gases. Leilani Estates residents were “allowed to continue evacuation to check on their property” during certain hours, but only if conditions permitted, and the agency said lines of safety can change “because of unstable conditions that involve toxic gas, earthquakes , and lava activities.” “Please, the residents of Leilani need your help. This is not the time for sightseeing. You can help tremendously by staying out of the area,” the Civil Defense Agency said in the update. “The residents of Leilani Estates are going through a very difficult time. We ask for your understanding. We ask for your help.” Kilauea is among the most active volcanoes in the world, according to the United States Geological Survey , and “may even top the list.” + County of Hawaii Via Vox Images via U.S. Geological Survey

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Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano eruption has destroyed 26 home and caused thousands to flee

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