Raging wildfires continue in New Mexico, Arizona and more

April 26, 2022 by  
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Raging wildfires in Southwest U.S. continue to damage properties and threaten lives. The states of Arizona, Nebraska, New Mexico and Colorado are all experiencing wildfires with one person reported dead in Nebraska. New Mexico experienced the worst of the blaze after the Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak fires combined. It burned a collective 56,478 acres, covering an area of over 180 miles Sunday. The flames are reported to be 12% contained Monday morning The Calf Canyon fire near Penasco Blanco was reported to have burned several homes at the weekend. Thousands of people across the three states have already been forced to relocate their homes in preparation for the worst with New Mexico seeing the worst of the phenomena. Related: How will climate change impact different regions in America? In Lamar Colorado , the May family was left counting losses after the wildfire torched their ranch. The family said that they were grateful to those who helped rescue some of their properties. However, they have said that the situation with wildfires is getting out of hand due to drier droughts. Dallas May, one of the family members, told reporters that dry soil does not help the situation. Although Colorado used to prepare for droughts in the middle of the summer, it is now becoming necessary for more measures to be taken. “We don’t have the benefits of moisture in the soil,” Dallas May said. “Friday’s fire was the example of that.” The May family said that the blaze that happened on Friday burned over 9,500 acres of their ranch. Winds blowing at speeds of 60 miles per hour were reported on the same day. Such heavy winds made it difficult for the family to stop the flames. On Saturday, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said that the state was battling fires on all fronts. He reported that 33 counties in the state were under fire. “There is a chance for light snow accumulations and the Calf Canyon fire is just on the cusp of this, so any precipitation is very appreciated,” said CNN Meteorologist Robert Shackelford. “But unfortunately, the winds and temperatures will pick up there as well starting Tuesday and will peak into Friday,” Via CNN and 9News Lead image via Pexels

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Colorado fire near Boulder pushes locals to their limit

March 29, 2022 by  
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Spring has just started, and already a wildfire has forced more than 19,000  Coloradans  to evacuate. The Colorado fire was just south of Boulder, not far from where a 2021 wildfire destroyed over a thousand homes. By Monday, officials lifted the evacuation order, and people were allowed back. But as of Monday morning, 189 acres had been torched, and the  fire  was just over a third contained. Related: California teenager invents AI-powered tool for early wildfire detection “While it is now safe to return home, people in the area of the fire should remain vigilant,” said the Boulder Office of Emergency Management webpage. “Fire officials do not anticipate fully extinguishing the fire for several days. It is possible that the (city may) issue new  evacuation  orders if conditions deteriorate.” For residents who live in wildfire country, the back-and-forth aspect of  emergencies  and evacuations is hard to bear. “I feel exhausted by all of this, and I just feel like enough as far as these fires and disasters,” one local told HuffPost. The fire started Saturday afternoon. It burned protected lands near the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Dubbed the NCAR Fire, the blaze came within a thousand yards of  houses  on Boulder’s west end but did not take any lives, cause injuries or burn any structures. So far, the cause is undetermined. Considering the  megadrought  in the West, predictions for the upcoming fire season don’t look much better. “I think this is just a sign of the way things are going to go,” said Mike Smith, wildland fire specialist for Boulder Fire Rescue and NCAR Fire incident commander, as reported by ABC News. “We continue to work on our planning processes. We continue to work on team building and work with our partners to make sure that we’re as dialed as we can be. We’re feeling good, but we’re a little nervous about the upcoming season.” Via CNN , ABC News , HuffPost Lead image via Pixabay

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Colorado fire near Boulder pushes locals to their limit

HP moves toward 100% plastic free with Choose Packaging

March 29, 2022 by  
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As consumers, we make countless purchasing decisions daily. Moreover, we are often limited by the options companies provide. It becomes challenging to find environmentally-responsible alternatives. A newly-developed packaging company, however, is changing the entire landscape of single-use plastic. Their zero-plastic bottles can be used for countless everyday products.  Choose Packaging, based out of Edinburgh, is determined to eliminate all petroleum-based bottles with a better solution. Their innovative paper bottle is now the first and only commercially-available, zero- plastic bottle of its kind. While some of the sizes and shapes are standardized, each bottle can be customized to meet the customer’s needs with options from 30 milliliter up to one liter. Related: Notpla plant-based packaging is helping the world plastic problem HP Inc. recently acquired the brand in alignment with its own sustainability goals. Hewlett-Packard (HP), primarily known for computers and printers, might seem like an odd parent for a packaging development company. However, HP is already uniquely positioned to expand their position in sustainable packaging. They are building on their introduction of a fiber-based, 3D printing-enabled molded fiber tooling solution. “As a plastic-free packaging development company, we’ve successfully created technology that can provide a viable alternative to plastic bottles to help eliminate single-use PET packaging,” said James Longcroft, founder and managing director of Choose Packaging. “HP’s world-class capabilities and expertise can help scale our impact at a global level. We are thrilled to join the HP team and couldn’t have chosen a better match in terms of our shared goals for business, technology, sustainability and a values-oriented culture.” The Choose technology can be used for a variety of liquid products. Additionally, the paper-based bottles are made from natural materials that are organically non-toxic. The bottles are constructed from a paper casing lined with a plant-based waterproof liner. Best of all, the materials used to make Choose bottles are 100% plastic-free. Labels are made from paper or companies can choose to skip the label and have their message or logo directly imprinted onto the bottle. The bottle’s paper exterior is made from recycled newspaper and the cap is metal. The cap is sealed using a cellulose-based tape.  “Henkel drives active progress towards a circular economy by creating smarter packaging for the benefit of people and the planet,” said Berthold Schreck, R&D Vice President Laundry Care, Henkel.  “Choose and HP bring together a game-changing combination of packaging technologies and we are excited to collaborate to develop new sustainable packaging solutions and reduce plastics in our consumer goods products.” + HP Inc.  Images via Choose Packaging

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Fresco Motors unveils futuristic energy-positive campus

March 29, 2022 by  
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Norwegian electric vehicle maker Fresco Motors announced plans for their energy-positive corporate campus. Fresco Campus will be powered by solar and wind. It hopes to become one of the world’s most energy-positive facilities. However, Fresco Motors is still considering locations for their new facility. The company will locate the campus in any country that meets the following criteria: A country located by the ocean , train tracks and airports for easy global shipping. An already existing workforce that can build and maintain the facility. Available resources to build the facility out of. Related: Fresco XL rivals Tesla as an all-purpose electric vehicle Additionally, Jakob Kirsebom Lanto, CFO and member of the board of Fresco, believes many companies promote sustainability. Despite that, many companies then outsource work to unethical companies. For Lanto, it’s about being the change for the planet , but also for workers. “…I might be projecting my own values here, but I firmly believe that most people would much more enjoy creating exciting products in a healthy work-life environment , rather than doing so for a soulless corporation while being in a concrete jungle,” he said. Furthermore, Espen Kvalvik, CEO and chairman of the board of Fresco, agrees that it’s a rare thing that a company really stands for something more than making money . The campus is a chance to create something more out of a company facility. “It includes everything that can be found in a healthy city, which is everything from office spaces, subterranean production facilities, malls , apartment buildings, lovely parks, et cetera,” Kvalvik said. “It’s time to revolutionize the work-life experience.” Moreover, it is a frank departure from most companies’ priorities — putting shareholder profits above any benefit to employees or the planet. There are a number of recent manufacturing headquarter projects that follow similar values. Some these include: sustainably built and run, human-centered design and with an eye for wellness . “It’s time to rethink the way we both work and live,” said Adrian Kristofer Locklindh, COO and member of the board of Fresco. Through the Fresco Campus, they aim to achieve a balance between work and a healthy lifestyle . Ultimately, the goal is to employ thousands of people while operating the facilities in a sustainable manner. + Fresco Motors Images via Fresco Motors

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Fresco Motors unveils futuristic energy-positive campus

Eco-friendly furniture from Studio Seitz can last a lifetime

March 29, 2022 by  
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If there is one word that embraces the idea of sustainability better than any other it has to be quality. It’s a simple concept, especially considering the traditional ways products were made to last prior to humanity slipping into a wasteful throwaway culture. Studio Seitz puts the concept of quality at the center of its mission statement. As a result, Studio Seitz’s eco-friendly furniture is built to last many lifetimes. Two aspects of Studio Seitz furniture rise to the top of the eco-friendly ladder — quality materials and craftsmanship. As the company proudly proclaims, “The Seitz collection is produced with our family of skilled craftsmen whose unparalleled passion is passed down from the generations before them—so that our furniture can be too.’’ Related: Massproductions chair is slow furniture at its finest   Choosing quality items is a value often forgotten in modern society. However, one quality product eliminates the need for replacements over the lifespan, thus protecting the environment from unnecessary  pollution  and waste. Studio Seitz furniture is made from real wood, such as European Ash sourced from FSC-certified forests. Similarly, the company relies on aluminum (the most recyclable metal), natural cork,  recycled  brass, glass and stone, whenever possible. These quality, long-lasting materials are selected by Studio Seitz with the hopes the furniture will proudly be handed down for generations to come rather than being prematurely diverted to the landfill. In addition to consciously-sourced materials, Studio Seitz furniture is made using enduring, traditional craftsmanship that has been taught for generations. For example, Swiss craftsman Adalbert Fässler embellishes the pieces with traditional metal stamping practices, a timeless practice handed down through six generations in his family. Similarly, carpentry and joinery specialist Urs Mätzler continues the traditional practices the company started in 1888. As a fourth-generation craftsman with the Mätzler joinery company, he represents the antithesis of mass production. Thomas Seitz leads the precision machining team for Studio Seitz products as a fifth-generation craftsman. + Studio Seitz  Photography by Stephen Kent Johnson

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Eco-friendly furniture from Studio Seitz can last a lifetime

Should you be afraid of the Jor spider?

March 14, 2022 by  
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What’s bright yellow, venomous and as big as the palm of your hand? It’s the Jor? spider, and it’s spreading up the East Coast.  Spider  lovers will be wowed by this eight-legged beauty. Arachnophobes might be booking a westbound U-Haul. The east Asian spider has been in the southeast since at least 2013 when one was first spotted in  Georgia . But since Andrew Davis and Benjamin Frick recently published a  paper on the invasive spiders in the journal Physiological Entomology, the arachnids have been making headlines. Related: Spiders are becoming aggressive thanks to climate change The spider probably stowed away in a shipping container to emigrate to the U.S. from  Japan  or another part of east Asia. So far, Jor? spiders have settled in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Oklahoma. This last one may have tagged along on a car ride from Georgia. Jor? spiders can grow up to four inches long. They have spindly legs and a yellow, black and gray striped abdomen. Their venom is directed at critters like flies, stink bugs and mosquitoes, some of their  meals  of choice. Humans don’t need to worry. They won’t try to bite you unless cornered, and their tiny fangs probably won’t be able to penetrate your skin. “There’s really no reason to go around actively squishing them,” Frick said, as reported by USA Today. “Humans are at the root of their  invasion . Don’t blame the Joro spider.” The spiders spread by hitching rides with humans or by a practice called ballooning. This is when baby spiderlings generate fine silk threads. They  travel  on the wind, using these threads as parachutes. The new study determined that the spiders can spread farther north. However, experts are split on whether this will happen. “Although it can withstand somewhat colder  climates , I doubt it could withstand the climatic conditions found in the northern and western US,” said Paula Cushing, senior curator of invertebrate zoology at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, as reported by CNN. So what should you do if you see a Jor? spider? Nothing, besides try to walk around its web to avoid a face full of silk. Frick said there’s no data to prove that the spider is dangerous to its new  environment . “In light of this, people should not embark on spider genocide — all this would achieve is the needless killing of a beautiful animal,” he said. Via USA Today , CNN Lead image by Daniel Ramirez

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Should you be afraid of the Jor spider?

Skincare line has a unique refillable packaging

March 14, 2022 by  
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We don’t tend to think about how much waste there is when we throw out skincare products . But it adds up. Proverb Skincare created a sustainable line of products that are petroleum, SLS, artificial fragrance and propylene glycol-free. They are packed with natural ingredients and come in reusable and recyclable plastic-free containers. Proverb also created the world’s first compostable skincare sample pouches, and we are here for it. The entire Proverb line relaunched with a plastic-free packaging. The Cleanse & Shave Nutrient Mud comes in aluminum , as does the Energizing Facial Scrub, which has clove and thyme. Not only that, the scrub uses only natural and organic ingredients for a natural exfoliant, including blitzed avocado pits and coconut shells. Additionally, the skin strengthening serum contains pomegranate, acai, witch hazel and papaya with bitter orange. There is also amino acids and peptides among other natural ingredients. However, allergy sufferers should still check the labels. Like many other natural skincare companies, Proverb created sensitive skin products such as their deodorant . It is fragrance free and baking soda free for those with delicate skin or allergies. Other fragrances include eucalyptus mint, coconut tonka bean and more. Furthermore, the anti-shine line contains a moisturizer that uses bamboo and salicylic acid, a unique combo that absorbs oil and treats blemishes naturally. In addition to their great products, Proverb partners with Earthley to offset their carbon footprint and become carbon positive. They help protect 2,000 elephants in Kenya. Proverb also partners with charity The Hygiene Bank to provide hand sanitizer to schools in underserved communities. The best part: Once you buy your first product with Proverb and receive the original container it comes in, you can purchase refills and reuse the container. Whether it’s a pump or a deodorant canister, you can recycle the aluminum tubes. + Proverb Skincare Images via Proverb Skincare

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Can a 700 million dollar pledge save the Great Barrier Reef?

February 1, 2022 by  
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The Australian government will channel $700 million (AUD 1 billion) toward the protection and rehabilitation of the Great Barrier Reef . The announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison came on Friday, just a few days before UNESCO’s February 1 deadline requiring Australia to provide a detailed reef conservation report. In July, the reef narrowly escaped being placed on UNESCO’s danger list due to climate change threats. UNESCO allowed the Australian government more time to enact reef protection measures and submit a report. Failure to act would lead to the reef being delisted as a World Heritage site, among other consequences. Related: Coral reef collapse could be coming to the Indian Ocean “We are backing the health of the reef and the economic future of tourism operators, hospitality providers and Queensland communities that are at the heart of the reef economy,” Morrison  said  in a statement. The funds will help finance a roughly decade-long program to improve reef health. Key areas of concern include water quality management, protection of important species and biodiversity , among others. While the Australian government has pledged its largest-ever amount for reef protection and conservation , questions still abound. Action only came after sufficient pressure from public figures and environmental groups. On July 13, public figures wrote a joint letter urging global leaders to act fast to save the Great Barrier Reef. “We urge the world’s major emitters to undertake the most ambitious climate action under the Paris Agreement ,” the letter read. “There is still time to save the Great Barrier Reef, but Australia and the world must act now.”  People have also questioned the announcement’s timing. In May, Australia will have a general election. Many think the recent move is a campaign strategy. The Australian Climate Council also criticized the announcement, saying that just funding the reef is not an adequate solution. “Unless you are cutting emissions deeply this decade the situation on the Reef will only get worse,” said Professor Lesley Hughes of Macquarie University. The Great Barrier Reef remains the world’s largest reef, covering approximately 133,000 square miles. The reef is home to about 1,500 types of fish and over 400 types of coral . Over the past decades, the climate crisis has devastated the reef’s health. A study published in October 2020 shows that the reef has lost up to 50% of its coral population in the last three decades. Via CNN Lead image via Pexels

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New Florida legislation could shutter state’s solar uptake

January 26, 2022 by  
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A bill recently introduced to the Florida legislature could hamper rooftop solar efforts in the state. Republican Senator Jennifer Bradley introduced the bill, which proposed reducing solar reimbursement rates by up to 75%, among other changes. Why the change? Some critics point out lobbying by Florida Power & Light. According to CNN, “A draft version of the bill Bradley introduced was delivered to her by a Florida Power & Light lobbyist on October 18.” Further, Women Building the Future, a political group associated with Bradley, received a $10,000 donation two days later from NextEra Energy, Florida Power & Light’s parent company. However, Bradley claims her real reason for supporting the legislation is because the solar industry is now “mature, with many competitors, large publicly traded companies, and substantially reduced prices.” Related: Solar panel technology breakthrough to increase efficiency Those opposing the legislation argue it will crush Florida’s solar power uptake. The incentives offered to solar power users, such as payback for the power saved, have encouraged a surge in solar use. If the new bill passes, solar uptake could decline drastically. According to solar industry insiders, the bill could make Florida one of the least attractive states for residential solar consumers. On the other hand, utility power suppliers will gain substantially from the move. “It would mean that we would have to close our business here in the state of Florida and pivot to another state,” said Stephanie Provost, chief marketing officer for Vision Solar, while addressing lawmakers at a recent committee hearing. Currently, Florida solar users are reimbursed at a rate similar to other states. Reimbursement comes in the form of a credit on their monthly bills. While Florida has enjoyed this incentive for some time, it still trails behind other states in solar uptake. Today, only about 90,000 Florida homes run on solar power, representing just 1% of all electric consumers in the state. Florida also ranks 21st in the country in terms of solar residential systems per capita. Steve Rutherford, founder of Tampa Bay Solar, worries about how this legislation could impact his livelihood. “It’s going to be a crusher for the solar industry,” Rutherford told CNN. “For 90% of the people that work for me, this will be a significant blow for their pocketbooks.” Via CNN Lead image via Pexels

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New Florida legislation could shutter state’s solar uptake

Investigators close in on cause of Colorado wildfire

January 5, 2022 by  
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Investigators are moving closer to determining the cause of the recent Colorado wildfire that destroyed nearly 1,000 buildings. Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle told reporters on Monday that investigators have narrowed the fire’s origin to an area near Boulder. Pelle declined to give out more information, saying that the full report will come later. The inferno broke out late last year, following months of drought that included a dry fall and snowless winter months. According to investigators, the area they have narrowed it down to did not have any fallen powerlines or evidence to suggest the fire was caused by power problems. Related: California fires killed nearly 20 percent of the world’s Sequoias Investigators say that a burning shed was captured on video by a passerby in the area identified one day before the fire began. Dozens of people have been interviewed over the matter, allowing investigators to narrow the region. The FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Forest Service officials aided the investigation. At the moment, experts are still searching the fire scene for more evidence, and rescue efforts are still underway. Two people are still missing, and survivors are still searching their charred homes to salvage whatever can be saved. The sheriff told reporters that the area of Boulder known as Marshall Mesa near the base of the Rocky Mountains was the main source of the deadly fire. The region overlooks heavily populated suburbs in the east, where the fast-moving fire caused the worst damage. Pelle says that the stakes are high at the moment, and it is in everyone’s best interest to wait until investigations are over to find out the real cause of the fire. He told reporters that everyone will have to wait for the investigators “to announce some progress — perhaps that may be a week, perhaps that may be a month.” He added that getting it right is “more important than the urge for speed that a lot of folks are feeling right now.” Although experts say that the winter fire was a rare occurrence, they have warned that similar situations should be expected in the future. They say as climate change warms the planet, extreme wildfires are likely to break out, especially considering local droughts . The fire is no longer considered an immediate threat. Temperatures have dropped, and snowfall covered most of the affected areas. However, fire experts are still on the ground working to get everything under control. Via AP News and CNN Lead image via Pixabay

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