The durable Solo New York backpack can accompany all of your adventures

September 28, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on The durable Solo New York backpack can accompany all of your adventures

Back in July, Inhabitat introduced readers to the Solo New York brand, a sustainable fashion company making bags out of recycled plastic water bottles. Since then, we have had the opportunity to use the popular Re:vive Mini Backpack ourselves, testing it out on more than a few outdoor adventures. With the environmental tolls of fast fashion becoming more and more apparent, sustainability has certainly become a buzzword in the textile and fashion industries. Solo New York’s recycled fabric production starts with discarded plastic bottles. Through an environmentally friendly process, the plastic bottles are finely shredded and re-spun into durable and lightweight recycled PET polyester yarn. According to Solo New York, this recycled material reduces energy use by 50%, water use by 20% and air pollution by 60%. Related: Each purchase of this bag made from recycled plastic helps plant trees The Re:vive Mini Backpack is just the right size for a day trip. We took one on a hike down to McClures Beach in Point Reyes, California in the height of summer. Despite its seemingly small size, it easily held a small beach towel, a large water bottle, keys, wallet, sunglasses and a tube of sunscreen with room to spare. The short fabric key clip built into the top of the bag helped keep us from digging around in the bottom for keys (always a plus), and the bag itself was so lightweight that it was easy to forget it was even on. When a sandwich mishap produced a small stain on the outside of the backpack , a simple dose of spot-cleaning made it good as new — a great characteristic if you plan on using the backpack in your everyday life. Another feature we noticed was the versatility of the design; the heathered gray material on the outside and the subtle black camo on the inside are just as appropriate for a big city subway or the office as they are for exploring a national park. Apart from aiding our fight against plastic pollution, this backpack also proved itself as a great conversation starter. Once people found out that it was made from recycled plastic bottles , most couldn’t believe that the fabric could be so soft and similar to other popular textiles like cotton or polyester. The sturdiness of the plastic fiber is apparent in its durability as well, so it is easy to tell that the bags are designed to last a long time. The mini backpack measures 14″ x 9″ x 4″ and weighs only 0.57 pounds. Priced at $24.99, it is affordable, too. Along with the aforementioned key clip, there are also adjustable shoulder straps and a front zippered pocket to hold more quick-grab items like cellphones and wallets. According to the company, the first run of the Re:cycled Collection was responsible for recycling more than 90,000 plastic bottles, and the line is still continuing to expand with new bags. As of September 2020, the collection features four backpack versions priced from $24.99 to $64.99, a laptop sleeve, two carry-on-size luggage pieces, a briefcase, a tote and a duffel. Solo New York was founded by John Ax, who arrived to the U.S. in 1940 with his family. They only had $100 and the clothes on their backs. As a skilled craftsman, he began rounding up leather pieces and scraps that were destined for the trash from local tanneries to turn into sellable goods. His small company, which eventually became known as the United States Luggage Company, thrived for decades before rebranding as Solo New York. Today, the company has already set solid, transparent goals to become even more sustainable in the future. The goal is to eliminate plastic from all packaging by the end of 2020. Hang tags are already printed on 100% recycled and biodegradable material with a recycled cotton string and a completely biodegradable clasp. The Solo New York headquarters on Long Island takes advantage of New York’s average of 224 sunny days per year with 1,400 rooftop solar panels (producing enough energy to power 87 homes). Plus, the company has a zero-tolerance plastic water bottle policy for its employees, instead offering filtered smart fountains and water dispensers throughout its locations. Solo New York has also partnered with the United States National Forest Foundation, pledging to help aid in reforestation by planting one tree per every bag purchased from the Re:cycled collection. Customers also have the option of taking the “Green Pledge” and promising to say no to plastic bottles for the following 30 days. For every pledge signed, Solo NY will plant a second tree. Overall, we think any of the bags from this sustainable collection would be a great gift option for the Earth-lover in your life, especially for the upcoming holiday season. Even for someone who hasn’t found their stride in sustainability quite yet, the gift of a Re:cycled Collection bag or backpack is sure to be pretty eye-opening as to how far recycling can really go. Even better, if more people pivot to eco-friendly bags, that means we can help cut down on the number of plastic items being manufactured and distributed globally, leading to fewer toxic chemicals released into the atmosphere, less resources spent and less waste produced overall. + Solo New York Images via Katherine Gallagher / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Solo New York. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

The rest is here: 
The durable Solo New York backpack can accompany all of your adventures

Circular economy startups compete at Circularity 2020, taking on shoes to shelf-life

August 31, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Circular economy startups compete at Circularity 2020, taking on shoes to shelf-life

Circular economy startups compete at Circularity 2020, taking on shoes to shelf-life Holly Secon Mon, 08/31/2020 – 01:00 A circular economy is urgently required for the shift to a more sustainable planet. But it will take new, innovative ideas to build a global system that uses and reuses all of the resources within it and moves us away from the deeply entrenched extractive system under which the modern world functions. At Circularity 20, GreenBiz’s online circular economy event, five startups presented their potentially world-altering ideas during the Accelerate competition. This GreenBiz tradition began in 2012 at its VERGE events, offering a venue where startups make a 2.5-minute pitch of their technology to the audience. During last week’s event, the online audience voted on its favorite, and an expert panel of Taj Eldridge, senior director of investments at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), and Monique Mills, with the Startup Catalyst at the Advanced Technology Development Center at Georgia Institute of Technology, offered thoughts on the startups and their potential. Mills said that he considering new ideas, she looks to make sure that a startup will be able to establish itself and stay relevant in a changing business environment. “Our main focus is to make sure they’re able to become a sustainable business model, and one that can be supported into the future of how things will be done,” she said.  For Eldridge, one exciting thing about circular startups is that they’re working with communities that otherwise might not be thinking about environmental issues. “This is the opportunity to really get all the communities that have not been able to have the conversation about sustainability involved now,” he said. In order of presentation, here’s what the contenders had to offer. Borobabi Borobabi CEO Carolyn Butler took the virtual stage to pitch the sustainable children’s clothing rental startup. The early-stage company, based in New York, focuses on the $16 billion children’s clothing market, which, like the entire apparel space, suffers from a significant amount of waste. Children’s clothing, especially, often gets thrown away because children grow out of pants, shirts, shoes and other garments so quickly. Borobabi uses a circular model to serve as a platform where parents can rent clothes for children aged 0-6. The most unique feature is that the brand prices its clothes based on how durable they are. “We achieve true circularity by hitting on all three pillars of the circular economy. On the supply side, we only partner with ethical and sustainable brands who manufacture natural toxin-free clothing using organic agricultural practices, which regenerate natural systems,” Butler said. “We keep our products in circulation for as long as possible by renting only the highest-quality most durable items, ensuring they can be worn multiple times and retain like-new quality. Also, we helped design clothes with natural and monofibers that are recyclable. Our recycling partnerships are local here in the U.S. and help to keep our clothes out of landfills.” Infinity Goods The startup Infinity Goods has created a zero-waste grocery delivery service in Denver, Colorado, with plans to expand soon. CEO Ashwin Ramdas tried to go zero-waste — and then realized that he had to give up some of his favorite foods, such as ice cream and pasta, and lug around containers to stores every time he tried to shop. He realized that convenience and sacrifice was often a barrier, even for eco-conscious shoppers. So he founded Infinity Goods to connect those who want to go zero-waste but have found it too difficult. “It’s like the milkman, but now for a wide selection of food from fresh produce to tofu eggs pasta ice cream bread,” Ramdas explained. The company serves as a delivery service where groceries come in reusable containers, then get retrieved, cleaned and reused in future deliveries, cutting out the plastic packaging waste and relieving the customer of doing any work themselves. Infinity Goods has partnerships with local Colorado producers, which have agreed to reuse their packaging through the platform, fostering a local, waste-free circular economy. Salubata Salubata is a Nigerian startup that creates modular shoes from recycled plastic waste. The team of environmental scientists has figured out a way to knit together recycled plastic to create parts of a shoe that fit together — which then also can be taken apart at the end of life. The recycled plastic material also comes in different shapes and colors, which can be zipped into the same sole so consumers essentially can design their own low-carbon shoe. The global shoe market is valued at $264 billion per year, said CEO Fela Buyi. This product serves both shoe enthusiasts and eco-conscious shoppers. Mimica Mimica is a startup that aims to make the food system more sustainable with smart-design labels that extend the shelf life of fresh food. One major challenge for sustainable food systems is that there’s waste along every part of the food supply chain. Mimica’s labels are an intervention at the retail and consumer level to prevent edible food from being thrown out. “Expiration dates are set at the worst-case scenario, but the reality is that we keep our food much better than that. Dates are shortened to protect consumers in the rare case of problems in the supply chain or in our homes,” said Mimica CEO Solveiga Pakštait?. “And this actually hurts retailers’ bottom lines, because this hurts their ability to be able to sell produce in their stores. Add back just two days, and we can see food waste being cut in half in our stores, more than that in our homes, and sales go up when shelf life is extended. With products like juice and beef, the shelf life doubles.” The label, Mimica Touch, shows consumers exactly when food spoils. They just run their fingers over it, and if the label is smooth, the food is fresh. If it has bumps, it has spoiled. Resortecs Resortecs is a Belgium-based startup that provides a solution to the lack of apparel recycling. Only about 1 percent of garments are recycled — and one major reason is that garments aren’t designed to be recycled, because they have several components such as zippers or buttons that need to be separated. Resortecs has created a new material that can be used to sew together these components that breaks down at a high heat, allowing the components to separate easily and removing a major obstacle to reusing these parts. Plus, this heat-sensitive material only breaks down at extremely high temperatures, so it doesn’t affect the garment itself when people are wearing clothes.  “Garments made can be washed and ironed,” said Resortecs CEO Cédric Vanhoeck. “The material is not damaged in the process.” The audience voted on the online platform to ultimately select Mimica as the winner of this year’s Circularity Accelerate. Topics Circular Economy Innovation Circularity 20 Food Waste Fashion Food & Beverage Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off The Mimica label shows consumers exactly when food spoils. If there are bumps, the food has spoiled. Courtesy of Mimica Lab Close Authorship

Read the original post:
Circular economy startups compete at Circularity 2020, taking on shoes to shelf-life

Mightly kids clothing is GOTS- and Fair Trade-certified

August 14, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Mightly kids clothing is GOTS- and Fair Trade-certified

As parents, protecting kids against chemical-laden fabrics and setting examples about conscientious purchases make an important impact. Brands like Mightly, a children’s clothing company, make it easier to ensure the clothes you buy are responsibly manufactured, both for the safety of the planet and the children. Launched in 2019 by co-founders Tierra Forte, Barrie Brouse and Anya Marie Emerson, Mightly started with the goal of making ethically made and organic clothing more affordable for families. In partnership with Fair Trade USA, the brand will be releasing its first Fair Trade-certified collection.  Related: Origami-inspired clothing line that grows with kids wins Dyson award By the end of the year, all of Mightly’s clothing will achieve Fair Trade certification . This includes its best-selling pajamas, which are made without chemical flame retardants. In addition, the team offers artist-designed T-shirts with itch-free labels and flat seams for kids with high sensitivities. Other products include long-lasting leggings with no-show, reinforced knees (a must for kids) and double-duty dresses with strategically placed pockets for children who like to collect everything in their path. Mightly is also launching new Fair Trade-certified products including kids underwear and adjustable-fit face masks. “Our goal as a company is to make ethically made children’s clothing accessible to more families and Fair Trade Certification is a key part of that commitment. I’ve seen firsthand the many ways that workers benefit from Fair Trade and am proud that Mightly is a part of the program,” said Mightly CEO Tierra Forte. Forte was previously a leading member of the team at Fair Trade USA that developed and launched the Fair Trade Apparel and Home Goods Standard, which has been widely adopted by sustainably minded brands. With a deep understanding of the process, from sourcing materials to selling products, Mightly ensures each step is kind to the Earth. Products are made from rain-fed, certified organic cotton and use Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)-approved dyes and inks. Mightly works exclusively with family farmers in India who sell the cotton through a farmer-owned nonprofit to the company’s Fair Trade factory in India.  Fair Trade-certified factories must adhere to rigorous social, environmental and economic standards to protect the health and safety of workers. For every Fair Trade-certified product sold, Mightly pays an additional Fair Trade premium directly back to the workers. Mightly’s comfort wear is made for children ages 2-12 and is available on Mightly.com. + Mightly Images via Mightly

Go here to read the rest: 
Mightly kids clothing is GOTS- and Fair Trade-certified

This fashion boutique in India is crafted from recycled materials

August 5, 2020 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Comments Off on This fashion boutique in India is crafted from recycled materials

Located in Gujarat, India, this boutique shop designed by Manoj Patel Design Studio is completely made out of recycled materials . The 350-square-foot space, completed in 2020, sells fine women’s wear and combines two rooms together to create a contemporary consumer experience using reused traditional and scrap materials. Not only do the sustainability features make this project cost-effective and environmentally responsive, it has introduced a series of unique wall patterns and buying conditions for the owner’s clients. When customers enter the store, their attention is immediately grabbed by the dark, contrasting colors in the ceiling mural and the bright, green accent walls. A custom arrangement of earth-toned waste clay tiles adds texture and a dramatic effect to the walls by resembling old-fashioned floor and ceiling interiors. Related: This green wall uses upcycled clay tiles for natural cooling Materials include reused clay roof tiles, recycled beer bottles , recycled window shutters, unused sample tiles, wasted metal rings and old mirror cladding. The client, a fashion designer, provided their own reclaimed fabrics to reupholster the seating as well. The designer chose these specific upcycled materials for both their longevity and their aesthetics. The layout, which combines two older rooms to form the studio, incorporates graphics and material frames in various sections to give guests a different perspective when viewed from particular angles. One such accent area is meant to resemble the traditional designs of Indian saris, while another uses reclaimed glass bottles to reflect the pattern of a necklace. Recycled table legs are used as door handles, and the clothes-hanging area was constructed by turning old metal rings into floral hooks. Broken tiles are arranged into mosaics, depicting flowers and leaves on the studio’s floor. Architect Manoj Patel is passionate about climate-responsive architecture, and his firm has continued to reflect recycled construction techniques, nature preservation and sustainable building materials since it opened in 2015. + Manoj Patel Design Studio Photography by Tejas Shah Photography via Manoj Patel Design Studio

See the rest here:
This fashion boutique in India is crafted from recycled materials

The perfect pair? Custom-fit jeans startup challenges fast fashion mindset

August 3, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on The perfect pair? Custom-fit jeans startup challenges fast fashion mindset

The perfect pair? Custom-fit jeans startup challenges fast fashion mindset Lauren Phipps Mon, 08/03/2020 – 02:12 Canceled orders, excess stock, disrupted supply chains: The pandemic has laid bare some fundamental challenges with the way our clothes are designed, ordered, manufactured and sold — or landfilled, incinerated or sold on secondary markets. These impacts have been compounded by COVID-19, but the inefficient and resource-intensive apparel industry needed a redesign well before the pandemic.  One company working to do things differently is San Francisco-based startup unspun . Founded in 2017, unspun is a denim company that specializes in customized, automated and on-demand manufacturing, designing out inventory altogether. Rather than walking into a shop full of jeans in set cuts and sizes, customers instead get a 3D scan of their body — at home using a phone app and the iPhone’s built-in infrared camera or in-person at an unspun facility, currently only in San Francisco or Hong Kong. The scan is used to manufacture a customized, bespoke pair of jeans within a couple of weeks.  It’s not cheap — a pair of custom-fitted unspun jeans will set you back $200 — but like all disruptive technologies it has the potential to become more affordable over time. And while the denim might be pricey, the products’ physical quality and emotional durability encourage customers to keep their garments for longer, a tenet of circularity. Plus, if you factor in the externalized environmental cost of denim production — which unspun does — one could argue they’re a bargain (although that’s not a case I care to make during a recession).  I caught up with unspun co-founder Beth Esponnette this week to talk about her company’s role in designing a better approach to the fashion industry. The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity.   Lauren Phipps: What problem is unspun solving? Beth Esponnette: The fashion industry has been pushed to the point of efficiency. It’s stuck. There’s a huge mismatch between what the apparel industry makes and what people buy at the end of the day. Especially now with COVID, there’s a huge problem with excess inventory. Margins are so important, and there’s not a lot of R&D budget — it’s not even 1 percent of [apparel] companies’ budgets that go to R&D — and big brands are risk-averse. They’re used to doing things the same way and incrementally improving them, but using a very siloed supply chain.  We produce clothing after someone’s purchased it — build it on-demand versus waiting for someone to show up.  We don’t have sizes, which is more inclusive. We don’t have inventory, which decreases waste and emissions. Phipps: What kind of technology do you use to make custom garments for every customer? Esponnette : There are two main pieces of tech that we’ve been focused on: the software that turns body scans into perfect fitting patterns, and hardware that takes yarn and starts to build the three-dimensional product. Our software takes in body scan information — and not just measurements. It requires the full point cloud of someone’s body: 30,000 to 100,000 points in space, depending on the scan quality. What’s great is that you don’t lose all of the information when taking measurements around someone’s body. We build the pattern all digitally, and before we do anything physical with it, we go back and fit it on our digital avatar a few times before it’s perfect. It’s almost like we’re getting to do multiple fittings with them, and that gives us a huge advantage. It’s automated, so once you’ve written the software it doesn’t cost anything for the program to run it and create a pattern. We’ve gotten rid of the hours of work that a tailor would be spending building a pattern. The idea is that there’s no sewing machine or manual labor. We’re also experimenting with weaving in three dimensions and building the whole [garment] from yarn. The fit is so difficult on woven products, so if you can make something to someone’s actual dimensions and it’s a woven, then you’ve really tackled that big problem. We started with the hardware in 2017 and still haven’t commercialized on it — but hopefully we will in the next six months. Phipps: You’re asking a lot for people to change the way they purchase. How do you get consumers to think differently about the way they buy clothes? Esponnette: I’m excited where consumer mindsets are going. They’re starting to slow down and think about their impact in the world. The average is 84 garments purchased per year per American; it’s insane that we buy more than one product per week. I think consumers will be willing to spend a bigger chunk of their income on fewer products that will last longer and that they’re excited about. We’re starting to see that change. When we talk to customers, it starts with the product: fit, options, etc. If you build something after they purchase it, it can be perfect for them. It can be everything they want and customized to their body. Then the conversation often goes into other excitement. We don’t have sizes, which is more inclusive. We don’t have inventory, which decreases waste and emissions.  It’s not the reason people walk in the door: It’s about not having to shop and finding the perfect fit. But we do it for sustainability and the greater mission of reducing global carbon emissions by 1 percent, which is our main North Star. Want to learn more about unspun and the future of fashion? Esponnette will speak about the potential of custom, on-demand manufactured apparel this month at Circularity 20 . Listen in (for free!) at 10 a.m. PDT Aug. 25 and register here for the event.  This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, Circular Weekly, running Fridays. Subscribe here . Pull Quote We don’t have sizes, which is more inclusive. We don’t have inventory, which decreases waste and emissions. Topics Circular Economy Shipping & Logistics E-commerce Featured Column In the Loop Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Courtesy of Unspun Close Authorship

The rest is here:
The perfect pair? Custom-fit jeans startup challenges fast fashion mindset

The digital divide worsens the inequitable impacts of the climate crisis

August 3, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on The digital divide worsens the inequitable impacts of the climate crisis

The digital divide worsens the inequitable impacts of the climate crisis Maddie Stone Mon, 08/03/2020 – 01:00 This story originally appeared in Grist and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalistic collaboration to strengthen coverage of the climate story. One of the starkest inequalities exposed by the coronavirus pandemic is the difference between the digital haves and have-nots. Those with a fast internet connection are more able to work and learn remotely, stay in touch with loved ones and access critical services such as telemedicine. For the millions of Americans who live in an internet dead zone , fully participating in society in the age of social distancing has become difficult, if not impossible. But if the pandemic has laid bare America’s so-called “digital divide,” climate change will only worsen the inequality that stems from it. As the weather grows more extreme and unpredictable, wealthy urban communities with faster, more reliable internet access will have an easier time responding to and recovering from disasters, while rural and low-income Americans — already especially vulnerable to the impacts of a warming climate — could be left in the dark. Unless, that is, we can bring everyone’s internet up to speed, which is what Democratic lawmakers on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis are hoping to do. Buried in a sweeping, 538-page climate change plan the committee released last month is a call to expand and modernize the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure in order to prepare it, and vulnerable communities around the country, for future extreme weather events and climate disruptions. The plan calls for increasing broadband internet access nationwide with the goal of getting everyone connected, updating the country’s 911 emergency call systems and ensuring cellular communications providers are able to keep their networks up and running amid hurricane-force winds and raging wildfires. This plan isn’t the first to point out that America’s internet infrastructure is in dire need of an upgrade , but it is unusual to see lawmakers frame better internet access as an important step toward building climate resilience. While the internet is often described as a great equalizer, access to the web never has been equal.   To Jim Kessler , executive vice president for policy at the moderate public policy think tank Third Way, this framing makes perfect sense. “You’ve got to build resilience into communities but also people,” Kessler said. “And you can’t do this without people having broadband and being connected digitally.” While the internet is often described as a great equalizer , access to the web never has been equal. High-income people have faster internet access than low-income people, urban residents are more connected than rural ones, and whiter counties are more likely to have broadband than counties with more Black and Brown residents. We’re not just talking about a few digital stragglers being left behind: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates that more than 18 million Americans lack access to fast broadband, which the agency defines as a 25 megabits per second download speed and 3 megabits per second upload speed. Monica Anderson , who studies the digital divide at Pew Research Center, says that many more Americans have broadband access in their area but don’t subscribe because it’s too expensive. “What we see time and again is the cost is prohibitive,” Anderson said. A lack of broadband reduces opportunities for people in the best of times, but it can be crippling in wake of a disaster, making it difficult or impossible to apply for aid or access recovery resources. Puerto Ricans experienced this in the aftermath of 2017’s Hurricane Maria, which battered the island’s telecommunications infrastructure and left many residents with terminally slow broadband more than a year after the storm had passed. Three years later, with a global pandemic moving vast swaths of the economy online for the foreseeable future, internet-impoverished communities around the country are feeling a similar strain . To some extent, mobile networks have helped bridge the broadband gap in recent years. More than 80 percent of Americans own a smartphone, with similar rates of ownership among Black, white and Hispanic Americans. Nearly 40 percent of Americans access the internet primarily from a phone. As far as disaster resilience goes, this surge in mobile adoption is good news: Our phones allow us to receive emergency alerts and evacuation orders quickly, and first responders rely on them to coordinate on the fly. Of the 240 million 911 calls made every year, more than 80 percent come from a wireless device, per the FCC . But in the age of climate change, mobile networks are becoming more vulnerable. The cell towers, cables and antennas underpinning them weren’t always built to withstand worsening fires and storms, a vulnerability that Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T have all acknowledged in recent climate change disclosures filed with the CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project). And when these networks go down — as nearly 500 cell towers did during California’s Camp and Woolsey fires in 2018, according to the new House climate change plan — it can create huge challenges for emergency response. “Everything from search-and-rescue efforts to sending out warnings to getting people directions to shelters is facilitated through various telecommunications and internet,” said Samantha Montano , an assistant professor of emergency management at Massachusetts Maritime Academy. “We’re pretty reliant on them.” Democrats’ new climate plan seeks to address many problems created by unequal and unreliable internet access in order to build a more climate-hardy web and society. To help bring about universal broadband access, the plan recommends boosting investment in FCC programs such as the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund , a $20 billion fund earmarked for broadband infrastructure deployments across rural America. It also calls for increased investment in programs such as the FCC’s Lifeline , which offers government-subsidized broadband to low-income Americans, and it recommends mandating that internet service providers suspend service shutoffs for 60 days in the wake of declared emergencies. Broadband improvements should be prioritized in underserved communities “experiencing or are likely to experience disproportionate environmental and climate change impacts,” per the plan. As far as mobile networks go, House Democrats recommend that Congress authorize states to set disaster resilience requirements for wireless providers as part of their terms of service. They also recommend boosting federal investments in Next Generation 911 , a long-running effort to modernize America’s 911 emergency call systems and connect thousands of individually operating systems. Finally, the plan calls for the FCC to work with wireless providers to ensure their networks don’t go offline during disasters for reasons unrelated to equipment failure, citing Verizon’s infamous throttling of data to California firefighters as they were fighting the Mendocino Complex Fire in 2018. Kessler of Third Way said that Democrats’ climate plan lays out “the right ideas” for bridging the digital divide. “You want to be able to get the technology out there, the infrastructure out there, and you need to make sure people can pay for it,” he said. The call for hardening our internet infrastructure is especially salient to Paul Barford , a computer scientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 2018, Barford and two colleagues published a study highlighting the vulnerability of America’s fiber cables to sea level rise, and he’s investigating how wildfires threaten mobile networks. In both cases, he says, it’s clear that the telecommunications infrastructure deployed today was designed with historical extreme conditions in mind — and that has to change. “We’re living in a world of climate change,” he said. “And if the intention is to make this new infrastructure that will serve the population for many years to come, then it is simply not feasible to deploy it without considering the potential effects of climate change, which include, of course, rising seas, severe weather, floods and wildfires.” Everything from search-and-rescue efforts to sending out warnings to getting people directions to shelters is facilitated through various telecommunications and internet.   Whether the House climate plan’s recommendations become law remains to be seen. Many specific ideas in the plan already have been introduced to Congress in various bills, including the LIFT America Act , which would infuse Next Generation 911 with an extra $12 billion in funding, and the WIRED Act , which would authorize states to regulate wireless companies’ infrastructure. Perhaps most significantly, House Democrats recently passed an infrastructure bill that would invest $80 billion in broadband deployment around the country overseen by a new Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth. The bill would mandate a minimum speed standard of 100/100 megabits per second for federally funded internet projects, a speed stipulation that can be met only with high-speed fiber optics, says Ernesto Omar Falcon , a senior legal counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil liberties nonprofit. Currently, Falcon estimates that about a third of Americans have access to this advanced internet infrastructure, with a larger swath of the country accessing the web via older, slower, DSL copper or cable lines. “It would connect anyone who doesn’t have internet to a 21st century line,” Falcon said. “That’s a huge deal.” The infrastructure bill seems unlikely to move forward in a Republican-controlled Senate. But the urgency of getting everyone a fast, resilient internet connection isn’t going anywhere. In fact, the idea that internet access is a basic right seems to be gaining traction every day, even making an appearance last week in presumed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s new infrastructure plan . With the pandemic continuing to transform how we work, live and interact with one another, and with climate change necessitating even larger transformations in the future, our need to be connected digitally is only becoming greater. “I think every day the pressure mounts, because the problem is not going away,” Falcon said. “It’s really going to come down to what we want the recovery to look like. And which of the problems COVID-19 has presented us with do we want to solve.” Pull Quote While the internet is often described as a great equalizer, access to the web never has been equal. Everything from search-and-rescue efforts to sending out warnings to getting people directions to shelters is facilitated through various telecommunications and internet. Topics Climate Change Policy & Politics Social Justice Technology Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Worker on the site of an ecological disaster.

Originally posted here:
The digital divide worsens the inequitable impacts of the climate crisis

How to make Easter eggs using natural dyes

April 8, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on How to make Easter eggs using natural dyes

With Easter right around the corner and many activities canceled because of COVID-19 , there’s no better time to roll up your sleeves and have a fun afternoon dying eggs with the family (or with roommates or alone!). It’s not safe to make a trip to the store just for an egg-dying kit, not to mention these kits are often filled with artificial dyes or harmful glitter. Luckily, it’s easy to make your own natural dyes with pantry and produce staples. Here are several ways to make natural dyes for your Easter eggs. Natural dyes from produce and spices The produce, spices and even coffee around your kitchen can create a whole rainbow of colorful dyes that are completely natural and non-toxic. Here are some ways to create pink, purple, blue, green, orange and brown dyes with natural ingredients . Beets Beets will turn eggs into a vibrant pink color that screams spring . Bring 1-2 cups of water to a boil, then add 1 cup of shredded or cut beets and let simmer for about 20 minutes. After straining out the beets, add 1-2 tablespoons of white vinegar. Pour the natural dye liquid into a jar, and soak your hard-boiled eggs in the jar for at least 30 minutes or at most overnight for the brightest hues. If you do soak eggs for longer than 30 minutes, be sure to move them into the refrigerator. Onion skins Onion skins are nearly as valuable as gold, so don’t throw them away! In addition to making rich, umami-packed homemade broths , onion skins can dye your Easter eggs a warm, sunset-like orange. Bring 2 cups of onion skins in 1-2 cups of water to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and add 1-2 tablespoons of white vinegar. Soak the eggs in this dye for 30 minutes. Again, you can leave the eggs soaking overnight for best results. Turmeric Turmeric is another great option for dying eggs and turns them a yellow evocative of sunshine. Add 2 tablespoons of turmeric into 1-2 cups of water and simmer on the stove for 20 to 30 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and pour the mixture into a jar. Soak the eggs for at least 30 minutes. Coffee Although leftover coffee might be a rarity during these work-from-home days, you can put any you do have on hand to good use while dying Easter eggs. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 1-2 cups of coffee, then soak eggs for at least 30 minutes for a rustic brown shade. Blueberries If you have some blueberries that are about to spoil or perhaps an abundance of these fruits in the freezer, pour 1 cup into 1-2 cups of boiling water, then set to simmer for 30 minutes. Next, add two tablespoons of white vinegar and soak your eggs for a lovely, deep-blue color. Avocado skins Don’t compost those avocado skins just yet! Did you know they can actually work well as a light pink dying agent? Simmer the skins of five to six avocados in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes, then add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Soak the eggs in the natural dye for at least 30 minutes for a perfect blush pink tone. Related: How to grow an avocado tree from an avocado pit Purple cabbage No, purple cabbage won’t turn your eggs purple. Instead, it turns them into a light blue/periwinkle color. Simply cut one small head of cabbage and add to 2-3 cups of boiling water, then simmer for 30 minutes. Add the 1-2 tablespoons of white vinegar, and soak eggs for another 30 minutes. Paprika For a red-orange shade, add 2 tablespoons of paprika to 1 cup of boiling water. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add a tablespoon of white vinegar. Soak the eggs in the resulting dye for at least 30 minutes. Spirulina Spirulina turns smoothies into a rich shade of green, so it is no surprise that it will do the same for your Easter eggs. Because it is vibrant (not to mention pricey), you only need to add a few teaspoons of spirulina into 1 cup of water. Simmer for 30 minutes and add a tablespoon of white vinegar. Soak the eggs until they reach your desired shade of green. Pomegranate Nothing will stain your clothes faster than opening up a pomegranate , so use those bold red juices to naturally dye eggs for impressive results. You can soak eggs directly in undiluted pomegranate juice. Spinach Wilted greens on hand? Toss them in a few cups of water to simmer on the stove for 30 minutes. Add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar, then soak the eggs in the cooled liquid for at least 30 minutes. Spinach will create a very faint green dye, so you might want to let eggs soak in this specific dye overnight in the fridge for the most noticeable color. Related: Fight food waste with these 11 ways to use leftover greens before they spoil How to add fun designs to your naturally dyed eggs If your family prefers adding fun stripes, drawings or tie-dye, you can do so easily, even with natural dyes. Stripes Use a white non-toxic crayon to draw stripes on an egg before letting it soak in dye, or place a few rubber bands around the egg before dying it to create stripes. Drawings Use a white non-toxic crayon to write names or doodle on each egg before allowing it to soak in the dyes. The dye will not stick to the crayon, so each egg will come out with a unique design. You can also draw on the eggs with non-toxic markers after they have been dyed and dried. Tie-dye The tie-dye method takes a bit of patience but is fun for children and adults alike. Wrap an undyed egg in rubber bands, leaving some spaces open. Soak the egg in one color for at least 30 minutes. Remove a few of the rubber bands, and/or add more rubber bands in new spots on the egg. Soak in a different color for at least 30 minutes. Repeat with different rubber band placements and colors until you reach the desired tie-dye effect. Images via Silviarita , Annca , The Paessel Family and Monika Grabkowska

The rest is here: 
How to make Easter eggs using natural dyes

The Haeckels Victorian-style bathing machine has a sauna inside

January 17, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on The Haeckels Victorian-style bathing machine has a sauna inside

Is there anything better than self-care by the sea? UK-based skincare brand Haeckels is on a mission to reintroduce the local community of Margate Beach to the healing powers of the ocean. The region has a history of ocean-based health remedies and was home to one of the UK’s first sea-bathing hospitals. The company has built a wood-burning sauna on dreamy Margate Beach, located on the southeast coast of Britain. The idea is to give people more reasons to get outside (even during the colder winter months) while helping users relax and rejuvenate before enjoying the salty seawater just steps away. To help house the sauna, the company built a “bathing machine” structure using traditional materials. Bathing machines were popular from the 18th to 20th centuries as a beachside place for women to change their clothes before heading into the water. The walls were constructed using wood planks, with oak for the wheels and a steel frame; a retracting awning made of waxed cloth pulls up into a door for privacy and security.  Haeckels founder Dom Bridges got the idea from a trip to the popular Blue Lagoon spa in Iceland, where visitors go to bathe in the warm geothermal water surrounded by freezing temperatures. He found the perfect spot to start the project after discovering Margate, an area that had a rich history of sea bathing during the Victorian era, and began constructing the updated version of a traditional bathing machine with the help of a crowdfunding campaign in 2014. Names of the donors who contributed to the campaign, which raised £30,000 (about $39,000 USD), are laser-engraved onto the side of the structure. Bridges teamed up with local craftspeople from Re-Works Studio and Moosejaw Woodworks to complete the project, with a total of 20 people contributing their unique skills. Currently, the use of the beach sauna is free of charge to the public , but the company encourages supporters to contribute funds to the project’s Patreon membership platform to help pay for supplies, cleaning, maintenance and rent. Haeckels has also made the bathing machine available for private bookings for group hire or personal treatments. + Haeckels Via Dezeen Images via Haeckels

More: 
The Haeckels Victorian-style bathing machine has a sauna inside

Airstream unveils new 2020 camper with smart technology

January 17, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Airstream unveils new 2020 camper with smart technology

Airstream is a long-standing American legend beloved by many roaming road warriors, but now the iconic campers have been given a sleek modern makeover. The new 2020 Airstream Classics feature an impressive apartment-like interior design scheme that uses a “comfort white” color scheme to create a more contemporary living space that puts the campers once again at the forefront of tiny home design. Although Airstreams come in various sizes and styles, the campers have normally been manufactured with dark wood accents and rough textures that contrast with the campers’ ultra shimmery exteriors. The newly-unveiled 2020 Classics, however, have taken a decidedly contemporary turn that breathes new life into the classic campers. Related: This 1970s Airstream is an off-grid oasis for a family of six Perhaps taking cues from the burgeoning tiny home sector , the reformatted trailers now boast a bright and airy apartment-like layout. The living space is comprised of matte grey curved ceilings with all white walls that contrast nicely with a few black tables. Adding a sense of whimsy to the design, woven vinyl floors with a textured, grasscloth look run the length of the space. Although the campers boast a contemporary design, some things have remained the same such as the abundance of natural light that floods the interior space thanks to Airstream’s signature wide windows. The living space features a comfy living area that faces a small desk that pulls double duty as an entertainment area or office space. Further down the aisle, a contemporary kitchen will please any home cook. Outfitted with white shaker-style cabinetry and German-imported brass hardware, the space also features dark Corian countertops that compliment the grey, white and black color scheme that runs throughout the interior. A dining nook across from the kitchen provides ample space to enjoy a nice spread of home-cooked fare. At the end of the trailer , the bedroom has two single beds with stylish white linens with grey accents. Blackout shades keep the morning sun out while sleeping in, but otherwise, the space is just as bright and fresh as the rest of the interior. Ranging from 30 to 33 feet, the Classic Travel Trailer starts at just $156,400. In addition to its newly-renovated interiors, the Airstream Classics come with all-new Smart Control Technology that lets you control and monitor the trailer’s features from an app . For example, you can turn the exterior and interior lights on and off, extend and retract the awning, adjust the air conditioner or heat pump, and monitor tank and battery levels, all with just the touch of a button. + Airstream Via Curbed Images via Airstream

Originally posted here: 
Airstream unveils new 2020 camper with smart technology

Dropps offers chemical-, dye- and plastic-free laundry and dishwashing products

December 27, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Dropps offers chemical-, dye- and plastic-free laundry and dishwashing products

In a world where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find products free of harsh chemicals, it’s refreshing to discover a company focused on creating simple household supplies that do the job without endangering the health of humans or the planet. Dropps’ mission is to provide safer cleaning products minus bulky, wasteful packaging and unnecessary ingredients. Chemical- and dye-free The laundry and dishwashing products offered by Dropps come in clear pods that show the absence of dyes. Even though it offers scented options, all varieties omit the harsh chemicals found in many brand name detergents. For those with sensitive skin, some options eliminate scents as well. Related: Cora Ball emulates natural filtering of coral to remove toxic microfibers from your washing machine Eco-friendly packaging Each cleaning pod is made using a water-soluble membrane that leaves no waste behind. One of the most eco-friendly characteristics of the Dropps brand is the elimination of the large plastic tubs that house standard laundry and dishwasher detergents. In fact, both laundry and dishwasher pods come packaged in 100 percent recyclable, compostable and repulpable boxes. Carbon offsetting Dropps are only available via mail order, which means you won’t find these cleaning supplies at the local supermarket. Even though it is conscious about packaging during shipping, the company understands that product transport is hazardous to the environment. With this in mind, Dropps is committed to 100 percent carbon offsetting for each shipment “in the form of forestry conservation efforts or based on a technology that captures gas before it is released such as at a landfill or farm with decomposing waste,” according to the website. Awards With attention to high-quality, natural ingredients , conscientious packaging and carbon offsetting, it’s no surprise Dropps has earned some accolades with organizations that monitor these types of efforts. In 2017, Dropps was honored as an EPA Safer Choice Partner of the Year for outstanding achievement in formulation and product manufacturing of both consumer and institutional/industrial products. This recognition is earned by meeting stringent human and environmental health criteria. Inhabitat’s review of Dropps laundry and dish pods While in correspondence with Dropps, the company offered to send samples of several products, which I was happy to try out. My first impression was the packaging . The cardboard boxes were streamlined and minimalist. The products themselves fit tightly inside without extra and unneeded space. The pods are also compact and easy to use with no waste . For the dishwasher, the pods come in a citrus scent or without scent and go directly into the detergent compartment. Dishes came out clean with no residue from the pod on the dishware or in the compartment. I also sampled two varieties of laundry pods. One is labeled for stain and odors and offers a mild scent. The other is unscented and caters to sensitive skin. As a person with acute scent sensitivities, I prefer the unscented version. Both options perform effectively in dirt and odor removal. With three large dogs in the house, I can say I deal with plenty of both. Related: Tips to establish an eco-friendly laundry routine Dropps also provided a cold water washing pouch, which holds the pod if you wash in cold water (which I do). Because the pod takes slightly longer to dissolve in cold water, the washing pouch ensures it stays wet enough to dissolve, even in high-efficiency washing machines that use little water. The bag is small and easy to misplace, so I have washed loads with it and without it with equally good results. However, for the newest, ultra-efficient models, you may notice an issue without the bag. Some users have reported the pod membrane sticking to clothing in a cold water wash without the bag. Dropps also makes products for the dryer and provided me with wool balls to test. I have used wool balls in the past to improve dryer efficiency. The Dropps version seems slightly larger than those I’ve used previously, which helps to separate the clothes as they are drying and also makes the wool balls easier to find at the end of the cycle. Dropps has received high ratings for its chemical- and dye-free household cleaning items, with the main criticism being that it doesn’t provide a “clean, freshly laundered scent.” For me, that’s a pro, not a con, but it’s something to be aware of. Also, the membrane on the pods is very thin and susceptible to sticking together, so make sure you store them in a moisture-free area. Ensure your hands are dry before touching them. The bottom line is that plastic doesn’t have to be part of the cleaning process; neither do harsh chemicals. + Dropps Images via Dropps and Dawn Hammon / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Dropps. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

Continued here:
Dropps offers chemical-, dye- and plastic-free laundry and dishwashing products

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 3571 access attempts in the last 7 days.