Lawmakers are pushing gadget manufacturers with the Right to Repair movement

January 17, 2019 by  
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The amount of electronics that we are throwing away each year is growing at an exponential rate, and this toxic trash is hazardous to both people and the planet. What are we supposed to do when our smartphones or other gadgets stop working? According to lawmakers in the United States and Europe, there is one option that should be available instead of getting rid of them— fixing them. Lawmakers in at least 18 states— and the European Parliament— believe that manufacturers should make it a priority that their products last longer and are easier to fix, a movement known as “Right To Repair.” The 18 U.S. states include California, Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia. E-waste is the fastest-growing waste stream on Earth, says the Global E-Waste Monitor. In 2016, our planet generated 44.7 million metric tons of e-waste, and as more products continue to hit the market, the forecasts for future waste are projected to skyrocket. Experts say that by 2021, we are looking at 52.2 million metric tons of e-waste . As technology advances for electronics, DIY fixes for gadgets are a huge challenge for consumers, thus causing more and more consumers and politicians to demand a change to the  law . Related: Precycle, a zero-waste grocery store, opens in Brooklyn California Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman introduced the California Right To Repair Act last March, and her bill would require manufacturers to release diagnostic and repair instructions and make equipment or service parts available to small repair shops and product owners. “We should be working to reduce needless waste —repairing things that still have life—but companies use their power to make things harder to repair. Repair should be the easier, more affordable choice and it can be, but first, we need to fix our laws,” said Emily Rusch, executive director of CALPIRG, in a press release in support of Eggman’s bill. Environmentalists say the “Right to Repair” legislation would not only save resources, but will also reduce carbon emissions from the manufacturing of new products. While the act proves to be beneficial, it could, however, prove to be a considerable challenge to pass. Tech giants like Apple and Microsoft believe that users fixing their own devices could be a security risk to the user, not to mention, the fact that these companies would prefer that consumers continue to buy their new products. Via EcoWatch Image via Shutterstock

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Lawmakers are pushing gadget manufacturers with the Right to Repair movement

How hungry snails help to protect ecosystems from climate change

November 1, 2017 by  
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You may not notice their good work, but small snail-like creatures known as limpets are performing an invaluable ecological service by eating and eating and eating. The herbivores’ consumption strengthens the resilience of an ecosystem in part by making space for other creatures, making it more diverse and resistant to the pressures of rising temperatures . “At first it might seem like an ecosystem untouched by consumers [herbivores and predators] is better, and, well, it would be better for populations of plants if that was all we cared about, but it’s not better for the ecosystem as a whole,” said Rebecca Kordas, zoologist and author of a new study that details the ecological benefits of limpets. “Consumers are important because they keep the populations of the species they eat in check. They keep them from taking over all of the resources.” Kordas, whose work was recently published in the journal  Science Advances , studied the positive impact of limpets by observing intertidal zones during the hot summer and checking the health of other creatures in that particular ecosystem. She found that starfish, anemones, mussels, barnacles and seaweed all did well when limpets were present; when they weren’t, the animal populations were not nearly as robust. “When limpets were part of the community, the effects of warming were less harsh,” said Kordas. Kordas and her team created mini-marine ecosystems on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia so as to study ecological changes in a more controlled environment. Related: Snails defeat Trump: Irish seawall scrapped The principle of consumers affecting available space in an ecosystem, and thus altering the biodiversity, can be seen on a macro scale as well. When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park , for example, the elk population was curtailed, allowing smaller organisms to thrive where previously they had been affected by an outsized elk presence. Similarly, sea otters serve the purpose of controlling the sea urchin population in kelp forests, which protect coastlines from extreme weather and act as carbon sinks like forests on land. “The story is not about limpets, per se, but is more about preserving intact ecosystems and specifically, preserving consumers?—?herbivores and predators?—?in ecosystems,” said Kordas of her research’s broader implications. “Intact ecosystems will be best equipped to resist the effects of a warming climate. Degraded ecosystems, where species have been removed, for example, because of harvesting or fishing, will not fare as well when they become stressed by rising temperatures.” + Science Advances Via Popular Science Images via Depositphotos (1)

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How hungry snails help to protect ecosystems from climate change

Why Trump will spark business to save sustainability

November 22, 2016 by  
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The lack of leadership from Washington may be a blessing in disguise. Apple, Consumers Energy, General Motors and IKEA offer signs of hope.

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Why Trump will spark business to save sustainability

Unleashing trees in the battle against climate change

November 22, 2016 by  
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Did you know that wood construction materials can act as a carbon sink?

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Unleashing trees in the battle against climate change

The 10 most sustainable coffee businesses in the United States

November 22, 2016 by  
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Peet’s rates the roasters giving the coffee industry a caffeine kick in combatting climate change.

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IKEA exec declares the world has hit “peak home furnishings”

January 20, 2016 by  
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Steve Howard, IKEA’s head of sustainability, made a comment at a Guardian Sustainable Business debate recently that many found surprising, by implying that his own company’s business model is becoming increasingly outdated : “If we look on a global basis, in the west we have probably hit peak stuff. We talk about peak oil. I’d say we’ve hit peak red meat, peak sugar, peak stuff … peak home furnishings.” But the news isn’t bad, Howard believes that this presents an opportunity for us to shift from consumption to recycling and re-using. Read the rest of IKEA exec declares the world has hit “peak home furnishings”

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IKEA exec declares the world has hit “peak home furnishings”

Are Consumers Getting Tired of Hearing about Green Energy?

February 23, 2012 by  
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While American consumers continue to view solar power, wind energy and greener cars favorably, overall support for clean energy concepts is slipping, Pike Research finds.

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Are Consumers Getting Tired of Hearing about Green Energy?

Carrotmob Shows Why Consumers Now Have All the Power

January 24, 2012 by  
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Brent Schulkin, the CEO of the startup that aims to harness individuals into a force for good, talks about the power of consumer action and why the stick isn't as effective as the carrot for leveraging sustainability and social media.

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Carrotmob Shows Why Consumers Now Have All the Power

The good, the bad and the ugly about Smart Meters

October 22, 2011 by  
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Garima Goel: Smart Meters Smart Meters For those who want to keep a tab on the electricity consumption for their home or business, the Smart Meters are a great option. Unlike the traditional meters, the smart meter helps you in tracking your energy consumption on hourly, daily, weekly or month basis. The data offered by smart meter will help you make better energy choices, and will give you full control over your energy bills. Moreover, smart meters can also transmit and receive data, which helps in remote reporting. The smart meter technology is being utilized popularly in different nations. These energy counting devices are available in market with various features. The good benefits of Smart Meters benefits of Smart Meters for the consumers Smart meters are being regarded with great favour in homes and business globally. This popularity is due to the reason that the energy saving is more convenient by making use of smart meters as they monitor the energy that is consumed by the users. The smart meters can also interact with electrical devices like TVs and washing machines. These devices can also broadcast the present price of the energy consumed by the electrical appliances. This technology would enhance energy conservation and also minimise the energy costs. The most prompting advantage of installing a smart meter is that the consumers will not be issued any erroneous electrical bills. The smart meters will help in cutting the energy consumption and therefore indirectly national carbon emissions. The product can be therefore categorized as eco-friendly. The bad Smart Meters Cost are Smart Meters Costly While smart meters have various advantages, they also come with certain drawbacks and challenges to the consumers. The smart meter is very costly and this is the most prominent lowdown due to which, they are not favoured much, by everyone. These cunning little gizmos make use of a communicating thermostat to interact with electrical devices at home. The smart meters are installed with an in-home display where the details about the current energy usage are shown. The GPRS technology used by the device keep your electricity supplier au fait of the energy that you have consumed and also allows you to check your gas and electricity consumption on the internet. With all such costly components and software, the smart meter by all odds will be expensive. Moreover, the knowhow of the technology and software installed with the smart meter is necessary for the customer. The ugly Safe Smart Meters are Smart Meters safe The most horrible disadvantage of smart meters is the microwave radio frequency radiation emitted by the installation of these devices, which cause various health hazards. These devices when set up at homes or other commercial buildings will radiate microwaves that are dangerous for health of humans and animals as well. Therefore consumers, especially electro-sensitive persons have given an account of various health problems. The microwave radio frequency is used in the communication process between smart meters and electronic devices. Tumors and cancer risks, DNA damage, cognitive difficulties and heart problems are some of the series health problems that are caused due to these radiations. So overall, the smart meters are not worthy at all. You can afford to buy a smart meter but not at the cost of your health. Why are we so critical? Everything has its pros and cons, and so is with smart meters. Many companies are manufacturing the smart meters with various attractive features. The technology used by smart meters keep a record of your daily energy consumption and thus can help you to cut off the extra energy that was consumed by you. Of course, establishing the smart meters in your households or any other commercial place would certainly not be cheap. Moreover, after installing the device, you need to be cautious while maneuvering the device. As most of the electrical appliance will be connected with the smart meter using a certain technique or some particular software, you need to handle it with extra care. Regarding the health problems called by radiations, many companies are taking precautions to fabricate a product that is safe for the users. But, you cannot be sure about the long term impacts of the smart meters. The bottomline Because smart meters tend to save energy, therefore the product is definitely an eco product. With various modifications, the disadvantages of the product can be removed, thereby making the product safe and secure to be used. Though the initial cost of the smart meter is high, we should not forget the reductions given to us in the future energy bills.

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The good, the bad and the ugly about Smart Meters

Most Consumers Will Boycott Products Over False Green Claims

March 25, 2011 by  
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 Imperfect environmental records are ok to consumers as long as companies are honest.

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Most Consumers Will Boycott Products Over False Green Claims

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