Climate anxiety: Is hopelessness preventing us from confronting our biggest challenge?

July 24, 2019 by  
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Every day, news reporters circulate the latest climate studies that seem to prove the world is ending. The reports appear to be working — if the goal of environmental journalists is to inform people of our existential crisis and create panic. Amidst the current fervor of political discontent, scores of people hit the streets for climate protests and evidence suggests that the marches are working — again, to inform and worry people. Since the release of a U.N. report claiming we have just 12 years to address climate change before it’s too late, hundreds of people have showed up in therapists’ offices with palpable symptoms of what practitioners are now calling “eco-anxiety” or “climate anxiety.” What is eco-anxiety? The term eco-anxiety entered the lexicon after Psychology Today described the phenomena as “a fairly recent psychological disorder afflicting an increasing number of individuals who worry about the environmental crisis.” In 2017, a report by the American Psychological Society went viral and described the term as a “chronic fear of environmental doom.” Climate or eco-anxiety are new terms and no licensed doctor will explicitly diagnose you with it, but it is increasingly discussed with patients, especially among younger patients. As a result, the American Psychological Association published a lengthy manual about climate change to help practitioners guide patients through their anxiety surrounding the climate crisis. Anxiety doesn’t discriminate Overwhelming feelings of hopelessness in the face of environmental threats around the world and at your doorstep are not specific to any one kind of person. It is not, though it may seem, only for those with enough time to read all the doomsday news, nor only for those who can afford therapists and college counselors. Those directly impacted by climate-related disasters, which are happening every week , experience “profound negative impacts” on their mental health. Disaster survivors have increased risk of depression, anxiety, anger issues, grief, post-traumatic stress disorders and even suicide. Related: Climate change will push 120 million into poverty Young people are panicking Youth in particular are stressed out about climate change, so much so that students in more than 70 countries across the world walked out of their classrooms and participated in Youth Climate Marches . Bombarded with messages about climate catastrophes for the entirety of their short lives, the youngest generation has only experienced a world where global warming is a known fact, yet adults don’t seem to be taking it seriously. Young people overwhelmingly feel despair that they will be left with a dysfunctional world, inherited from careless generations before them. This year, Harvard reported that 46 percent of people between the ages of 18 to 24 believe climate change is a crisis that requires urgent action, and this conviction is simply not mirrored by those in power. This discrepancy leads young people to feel hopeless and powerless in the face of such a large and impending catastrophe. The American Psychological Association reported that 58 percent of people born after 1995 feel stressed when they see news coverage about climate change. Is anxiety useful, though? How much is climate anxiety is “normal” or at least inevitable? After all, shouldn’t we be enraged by injustice? Shouldn’t we be sickened by the declining health of the planet? Aren’t these visceral reactions part of the process and a catalyst for change? The answer, experts say, depends on how debilitating the emotions are. The difference is between letting your anxiety prevent you from taking action or even living your daily life versus using it to fuel personal and political changes . Doctor’s orders: how to use your climate anxiety for good Below are a few tips for finding meaning, hope and progress despite what might seem like an overwhelming and unsolvable crisis. Start with yourself Even when you feel powerless, you still have the authority to make your own choices and adjust your personal behaviors. Audit your own energy and consumption patterns, and make small changes that help you feel more in control and more sustainable. Consider following a vegan diet , biking to work, refusing single-use plastics or selecting more sustainable shipping options when shopping online. Related: The pros and cons of online versus in-store shopping “Firstly, make climate change a factor in the decisions you make around what you eat, how you travel and what you buy,” said Duncan Greere , editor of the American Psychological Society report on eco-anxiety. “Secondly, talk about climate change with your friends, family and colleagues. Finally, demand that politicians and companies make it easier and cheaper to do the right thing for the climate.” Join a climate action group There are environmental and climate action groups everywhere. Research those in your areas and attend a meeting. Not only will you find solace among others who are similarly concerned, but together you can take small steps that contribute to a larger push toward sustainability. Not all groups are on the front lines protesting; there is diversity in the work that needs to be done, including contacting your representatives, planting trees , organizing beach clean-ups, advocating for plastic bans and much more. Participate in a clean-up activity Plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental issues of our time, but there is something you can do about it now. Seeing the change you’ve made by way of a hefty trash pile properly sorted, recycled and sent to the right place can help calm your anxiety, even if just temporarily. Beach and river clean-ups are often organized by neighborhood and community groups or nature conservation groups and can be fun social activities that encourage people to get outside. Focus on local policy If you are feeling hopeless because the national government isn’t doing enough — and sometimes is doing more harm — focus on making changes at the state or local level. Oftentimes, home-grown legislators are better able to understand the local environment and can make more effective policies. For example, while the Green New Deal proposal was causing a ruckus at the national level, New York City passed its own Green New Deal. City and state governments have a better idea about specifically what ecosystems need to be protected, which infrastructure needs to become more resilient and how to pass plastic foam bans without hurting local businesses. Stay informed about solutions It’s great to stay informed and up-to-date with the news, but learn to step away from your computer, TV or newspaper when you start to feel overwhelmed or depressed. Seek out sources that provide positive news about people working toward solutions. See a therapist If your anxiety or depression is disrupting your life and mental health , don’t hesitate to seek out professional help. No, climate-anxiety cannot be diagnosed, but it manifests similarly as general anxiety, and therapists are well-equipped with tools to help you cope and overcome. Via The Washington Post Images via Pixabay , Jonathan Kemper , Jaymantri and Rika C

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7 tips for decorating a tiny home

July 8, 2019 by  
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Tiny homes mean less room for items of all kinds, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add decor that fits your personality and lifestyle. Decor includes furniture but also those little touches that gel your interior design style, whether that be eclectic, zen or cultural. With a few tips in mind, you’ll be able to pull together a look while adding function and flair. Pick a theme Your tiny home doesn’t have to fall into one category of interior design, but take the time to think about what makes you happy. Do you want to be surrounded by images of waterfalls or native objects from your travels? Is it more important to have a vase of flowers, a jar of paint brushes or a fruit bowl? The easiest way to funnel down the myriad decor options you face is to choose a theme of sorts. Select certain colors, fabrics or styles that appeal to that theme, at least in a general way. If you’re aiming for a beach-y feel, incorporate shells, sand and the natural tans and blues of the coastline. If southwestern appeal is your thing, opt for cacti, rock art and tribal prints. For a retro vibe, add in some old records, classic small appliances and a vinyl cover for the sofa. Related: Is a tiny home right for you? Think multipurpose With exceedingly limited space, every item in a tiny home should serve dual functions — especially those related to decor . There are endless ways to achieve this goal, so aim to source decor items that serve multiple functions. For example, that adorable small trunk you just have to have for the bookcase can hold candles, office supplies, paperwork, medicine or any number of other needed household items. Any bench, bed or table should allow for storage, too, so while it’s functional on its own as furniture, it also doubles as a storage cabinet. Be selective If you’ve begun your tiny living lifestyle, you’ve already whittled down the kitchen accessories, clothing options and bathroom clutter. The same process applies to decor. Be selective so that each item you choose has the impact you want without adding clutter. Don’t keep any items out of guilt, say those you feel obligated to keep because it was a family heirloom or a gift. Items kept out of guilt will not bring joy to your space. Let it go, and replace it with an item that brings positive feelings of contentment, satisfaction or inspiration. Choose versatile pieces With minimalism and tiny living becoming increasingly more popular, modern designs aim to offer two or more products in one. Look for wall art or tapestries that have a different design on each side. This offers an easy way to change your decor by simply flipping it over. For the kitchen, tile art in a frame can be swapped out with different tiles to freshen the look or welcome a new season. You can even use this idea at the front door with rubber mats that allow you to switch out the carpet in the center to accommodate different holidays without replacing the mat altogether. Go big In a small space, one large item creates a cleaner look than several smaller items grouped together. Plus, that larger ottoman on the floor or stainless steel canister on the counter can provide a storage option that small items cannot. This is an idea that also allows you to display larger items that you may not have cupboard space for, such as a colorful water pitcher or an appealing serving platter on a stand. Embrace the light Tiny spaces can mean less windows and natural light . Take advantage of the windows you do have by making sure the light isn’t blocked out by furniture or bulky window coverings. Counterbalance the dark with light colors throughout your decor theme. From sand to white walls to soft textiles, create a foundation of neutral colors for a brightening effect on the entire space. You can fulfill your desire for color with a sprinkle here and there throughout the home. Your color splashes will have a bigger impact against a muted background than in a bold space. While we’re on the topic of light, make sure to add plenty of lighting options to your decor, too. LED strip lighting on stairs and ladders adds a cozy touch and a safety measure. Task lighting in the kitchen and bathroom will aid in your daily activities, and efficient overhead lighting will provide a general glow to the home. Use wall space While attempting to find adequate storage in your tiny space, remember the walls go all the way to the ceiling. Use that vertical space to your advantage, but make sure you keep it from becoming overly cluttered. Attach hooks for your more attractive shopping bags, umbrellas, canes and coats. Add shelving and line it with attractive baskets that discreetly hide hats, gloves and scarves. Also use wall space to mount hanging plants so that you don’t have to rely on the limited surfaces available in the living area. Save the kitchen counter and tables for daily activities instead of decor. Mount canning jars filled with herbs to the wall, and provide a hanger for a hot pad and kitchen towel. Tiny living doesn’t have to equal tiny decor. In fact, streamlining your selections with a focus on the overall design can easily provide a homier feel than a large house crammed with clutter. Images via B&C Productions , Tiny Home Builders , Perch & Nest , Modern Tiny Living , A Tiny House Resort , Mint Tiny Homes , Borealis Tiny Homes and Tiny Heirloom

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Adidas continues drive toward sustainable manufacturing with FUTURECRAFT.LOOP performance shoe

May 6, 2019 by  
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It’s not everyday a household name brand in the performance footwear industry announces a 100 percent recyclable shoe, fortunately for conscientious consumers and the planet, adidas has developed the FUTURECRAFT.LOOP performance running shoe, designed to tackle the daily pavement beatings like other shoes across the brand. However, the difference is that instead of heading to landfills with hundreds of thousands of other shoes, the FUTURECRAFT.LOOP can be returned to Adidas where it is broken down and reused to create new performance running shoes. “Taking plastic waste out of the system is the first step, but we can’t stop there,” said Eric Liedtke, Executive Board Member at Adidas, responsible for Global Brands. “What happens to your shoes after you’ve worn them out? You throw them away – except there is no away. There are only landfills and incinerators and ultimately an atmosphere choked with excess carbon , or oceans filled with plastic waste . The next step is to end the concept of “waste” entirely. Our dream is that you can keep wearing the same shoes over and over again.” Related: These sneakers are painted with cast-off blood from slaughterhouses The process was developed after nearly a decade of research and development focused on changing age-old performance-shoe manufacturing practices. The end goal was to create a shoe that was not only sourced from recycled materials, but was also able to be turned back into another pair, creating a full-loop of manufacturing responsibility. The process involves zero waste . This dive into sustainable footwear isn’t new territory for the company who partnered with Parley for the Oceans, in 2015 to introduce a footwear concept with an upper made entirely of yarns and filaments that were reclaimed and recycled from plastic waste and illegal deep-sea gillnets in the ocean. Adidas has made recycling materials a common business practice. In 2019, they plan to manufacture 11 million shoes that contain recycled plastic collected from beaches on remote islands and coastal communities. In fact, the company has looked to the future for some time and is currently working towards a goal of using only recycled polyester for every possible application by 2024. Under a current beta program, Adidas is sending shoes to participants in several major markets who will use the shoes and provide feedback. The company will use that feedback to create the final version of the FUTURECRAFT.LOOP, due to hit the market in 2021. “FUTURECRAFT.LOOP is our first running shoe that is made to be remade. It is a statement of our intent to take responsibility for the entire life of our product; proof that we can build high-performance running shoes that you don’t have to throw away,” said Eric Liedtke. + Adidas Images via Adidas

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Adidas continues drive toward sustainable manufacturing with FUTURECRAFT.LOOP performance shoe

New credit card limits spending based on carbon emissions

May 6, 2019 by  
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This Spring, the Swedish financial tech company Doconomy launched the first ever banking service and credit card to manage your personal finances and your daily carbon emissions . The DO Black Card is a collaborative effort with Doconomy, Mastercard and the UN Climate Change Secretariat. The card complements users’ existing banking services, but the accompanying app tracks the carbon emissions associated with each DO card purchase and caps the cardholder and the limits they set for themselves. Not only is the DO Credit Card the first to explicitly track carbon emissions associated with personal finance purchases, the physical card is also made from bio-sourced materials and printed with Air-Ink, a recycled ink made with air pollution particles such as the soot found in chimneys. Related: Lyft vows to help customers find electric vehicles with Green Mode In 2015, 175 countries signed onto the United Nation’s Paris Agreement, pledging to cut their carbon emissions. Big companies are also developing policies to reduce emissions, switch to renewable energy or engage in cap and trade programs. Citizens around the world are increasingly aware of the impacts of climate change and are making greener choices in their every day lives, such as reducing their plastic use. However, as Doctonomy mentions,  money is our most “powerful tool to tackle climate change in our daily action.” Through the launch of this card, the “banking with a conscience” company set out to reduce unsustainable consumption, cut carbon emissions and compensate for unavoidable emissions. “People are also thinking about the environment in their daily lives, including making more informed decisions about what they buy. That’s why we are pleased to welcome this initiative being undertaken by Doconomy,” said UN Climate Change executive secretary, Patricia Espinosa. Cardholders also have the opportunity to donate directly to the United Nation’s certified green projects , such as replacing traditional wood stoves with fuel efficient stoves in Malawi, or building wind farms in India. Card holders also receive credits for making “ environmentally-friendly ” purchases with participating stores. + Doconomy Via Dezeen Image via Mynewsdesk

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NYCs new eco-park and urban beach is designed to help clean the waterfront

May 3, 2019 by  
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New York City has just welcomed yet another gem to its growing number of waterfront parks — Pier 35, the long-awaited East River Waterfront project designed by Manhattan-based firm SHoP Architects in partnership with Ken Smith Workshop. Built to anchor the north side of the East River esplanade, Pier 35 consists of a new eco-park that not only offers a passive recreational space for the local community but also an innovative habitat restoration section, called Mussel Beach, that will encourage the growth of water-filtering mussels. The park also features a massive folded wall of mesh metal that will be covered in climbing vines to create a “green” billboard visible from afar. Opened this month, the 28,000-square-foot park stretches two miles along the waterfront between the Battery Maritime Building and Montgomery Street in the Lower East Side. Created in collaboration with the local community, Pier 35 revitalizes an often-overlooked section of the East River esplanade with a landscaped lawn and dunes; a raised porch with custom swings overlooking the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges; and an inclined, folded green screen that rises to 35 feet in height and over 300 feet in length and will be overlaid with vines. Built of metal and weathered steel wall panels as a nod to the East River’s industrial history, the screen wall was installed to hide views of the adjacent Sanitation Department shed at Pier 36. Thanks to a grant from the New York Department of State’s Division of Coastal Resources, Pier 35 also features Mussel Beach, an ecological prototype that mimics the historic East River shoreline and creates an inclined space that not only offers visitors a close look at the daily rising and falling of the tides but also a specially designed habitat for mussels , which naturally filter and clean the water. Related: The humble mussel is as important and threatened as bees “As we work toward finalizing community-led resiliency plans along the East River, I am thrilled to see active open space come online at Pier 35,” said councilwoman Carlina Rivera. “Along with ecological projects, this section of the waterfront is a much-needed amenity what will someday be part of a continuous and protective esplanade along Manhattan’s East Side. We’ll be improving our coastline in the years ahead and much of it will be inaccessible during renovation, so the community needs as much alternative open space as it can get. I thank my colleagues in government that championed this project.” + SHoP Architects Images via SHoP Architects

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NYCs new eco-park and urban beach is designed to help clean the waterfront

The best online secondhand clothing shops

May 3, 2019 by  
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People are buying clothes and adding to their wardrobes like never before. This growth has been a boom for the fashion industry , but it has also lead to more and more clothes ending up in landfills around the world. One solution to help curb clothing waste is to buy secondhand clothing — and the rise of online thrift stores is making that easier than ever. Not only is buying secondhand clothing good for your wallet and the planet, but it is also possible to find quality items without leaving the comfort of your home. From common name brands to vintage and unique labels, here are all of the best places to buy (or sell) secondhand clothes. Vinted Vinted is a great website to sell and purchase secondhand clothing. If you are looking to sell some unwanted items in your closet, simply open an account online to get started. Vinted will create a custom page for your item, complete with a description and photos you provide. Once someone purchases the item, Vinted will send you a packaging label to send the product on its way. It’s easy for sellers to share their closets on social media as well. Related: 6 of the best places to donate your things Vinted also has plenty of clothing options for women, men and children. The prices are very affordable, and each item comes with at least one picture showing the condition. The product description also informs you of the brand, size, location of the seller, how many people viewed the page and when it was uploaded. Buyers and sellers can easily communicate, make bargains and leave feedback on one another to help future Vinted users make informed decisions. Poshmark Poshmark is similar to Vinted in that you can buy and sell secondhand clothing using its resources. One big difference between the two is that Poshmark is very brand-oriented. If you are looking for a specific brand, say Coach or Nike, then Poshmark makes it easy to find exactly what you are looking for. Poshmark is also fully integrated with social media, so you can share whatever you are trying to sell with your online followers. If you have a large social media presence, this can work to your advantage and help you sell things faster. You can also leave feedback for particular sellers if you like your purchase. ThredUP ThredUP is primarily geared toward women and children and features a slew of amazing sales. You can also find great deals on shoes, handbags and accessories , plus a line of secondhand maternity clothes. ThredUP also features the ability to shop by discount, which makes it super easy to find the best deals online. ThredUP claims to be the largest online thrift store in the entire world. The company has thousands of products online at any given moment, and they inspect each piece of clothing for quality. ThredUP also has a program called Goody Box, in which they send you clothing based on your style. You only get charged for things you keep. Ebay Ebay is known for selling an assortment of goods, but you may not realize that you can purchase secondhand clothing on the site as well. In fact, the company has a tab on its homepage for fashion, where you can find all sorts of clothing items and accessories. You have to dig a little deeper to find secondhand clothing, but Ebay makes it easy by offering a pre-owned filter. You can sell your old clothes, shoes and accessories on Ebay, too. Related: Introducing ReTuna, the world’s first secondhand shopping mall ASOS Marketplace ASOS Marketplace has become a great resource for independent and vintage brands. If you have trouble finding a brand that has gone out of business or is only in select shops, ASOS Marketplace is the site for you. The company offers products for men and women and features both new and used clothing from around the world. The company also allows people to set up their own boutique online, though they have some strict guidelines before they will approve you. This includes having a certain number of clothing items on sale at all times and following their photography guidelines. Depop Depop actually started as a social network where customers could purchase fashion items from a magazine. The company has since added the ability to sell from its app and website, which has broadened its appeal. What separates Depop from everyone else on this list is its social networking element. With Depop, users share their purchasing ideas, inspiring others with their fashion trends. Swap Swap is another popular online thrift store similar to ThredUP. The company hand-inspects all of the items and sells everything from men’s and women’s clothing to toys and maternity-wear. Swap offers many popular brands and makes it easy to find the best deal. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, the company also offers hassle-free returns, which pays for shipping and gives you a full refund within 30 days of purchase. Related: The sustainable wardobe — it’s more accessible than you think Patagonia Worn Wear Patagonia Worn Wear is a great example of a company doing its best to keep its products in circulation as long as possible. The program works by customers trading in their old Patagonia clothing at local stores. The company then washes and repairs the clothing and puts it online for resale. Patagonia offers secondhand clothing for men, women and children, plus used gear and backpacks. Screenshot images via Inhabitat; images via RawPixel and Depop

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Impossible Burgers are such a success, they might run out

May 3, 2019 by  
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The company behind the Impossible Burger is having trouble meeting a growing demand for its product. On the heels of a new partnership with Burger King, Impossible Foods announced that it has had difficulties producing enough Impossible Burgers to meet its annual goals. By the end of 2019, Impossible Foods plans to make its meat alternative available in all Burger King locations across the United States. The company has already performed a trial run in St. Louis, where owners of the fast food chain said it went “exceedingly well.” With more than 7,300 locations to serve, Impossible Foods is having to double its output to adequately supply the chains. Related: We tried the new Impossible Burger — here’s what we thought To make matters worse, restaurants that already feature the Impossible Burger have witnessed an increase in demand for the product, leading to even greater shortages. This includes theme parks, universities and other restaurants, like White Castle . In light of the increase in demand, Impossible Foods released a statement apologizing for the situation and promising to make things right in the near future. “[Impossible Foods] recognizes the inconvenience that this shortage is causing and sincerely apologizes to all customers, particularly those who have come to depend on the additional foot traffic and revenue that the Impossible Burger has generated,” the company shared. Fortunately, Impossible Foods has not run out of ingredients . Instead, its facilities are simply unable to handle the increase in demand, something it plans to remedy by adding a third shift. The company also plans to install another production line, which should double its current output. It is unclear when these changes will take place, but a spokesperson assured the public that the company is willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Until more Impossible Burgers hit the market, the company is telling customers to call ahead before visiting their local Impossible Burger supplier. Hopefully, Impossible Foods is able to increase its capacity in the coming months. After all, it will be great to see the Impossible Burger more available to the wider public. + Impossible Foods Via CNN Image via Impossible Foods

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Impossible Burgers are such a success, they might run out

A tiny home on wheels with brilliant interiors and two lofts can be yours for $56K

May 3, 2019 by  
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Although tiny homes  comes in many shapes and sizes, Canada-based Mint Tiny House Company has managed to create one of the most eye-pleasing tiny houses we’ve ever seen. In addition to its spacious interior design, which features dual loft spaces, the Napa tiny home also includes several sustainable elements, such as LED lighting and a composting toilet. Based in Canada, Mint Tiny House Company is known for its incredible talent at constructing customized tiny homes. Its latest model, the Napa, comes in two sizes, either 22 feet or 26 feet in length. Both options feature cedar siding exteriors with metal roofing. The pitched roof creates a homey feel and adds more space on the interior to accommodate two loft spaces. Related: Gorgeous cedar-clad tiny home designed to withstands Ontario’s frigid winters Inside, the Napa uses a crisp, white interior lit by LED lighting and an abundance of natural light to create a bright, modern living space. This light-filled interior is contrasted nicely with a rustic, stained timber ceiling and dark wood laminate flooring. The living area is located on one end of the tiny home and features enough space for a sofa that folds out to a guest bed. Home chefs will love the incredible full-sized kitchen with ample butcher block countertops and full-depth kitchen cabinets. Past the kitchen is a roomy bathroom, which has a stacked washer and dryer combo, a stand-up shower and a  composting toilet . On either side of the home is a  sleeping loft , accessed by a wall ladder on one side and stairs on the other. Like the rest of the abode, these lofts are bright and airy and have plenty of space. One can easily be used as the master bedroom while the other could be used as a guest room or repurposed into an office space, storage area, art studio and more. + Mint Tiny House Company Via Dwell Images via Mint Tiny House Company

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A tiny home on wheels with brilliant interiors and two lofts can be yours for $56K

China plans to launch the world’s first ‘artificial moon’

October 29, 2018 by  
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A private aerospace institute in China has announced its ambitious plan to launch an “artificial moon” into stationary orbit above the city of Chengdu. Referred to as an “illumination satellite,” the new moon would serve as a sunlight reflector to provide a nighttime and backup light source for residents in the Sichuan province city. The venture — still obscure due to a lack of information — was first reported by Chinese newspaper People’s Daily in mid October. Since then, there have been many conflicting reports and figures on how the new moon would operate — or if it even could. Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co., Ltd. and head of Tianfu New District System Science Research Institute, said the artificial moon has been under development and testing for a few years and “is now nearly ready to launch.” Related: California plans to launch its own satellite to monitor air pollution There have been no accounts of what the stunt-double moon actually looks like or if it has any official support from the government or financial backers. Both experts and the general public have expressed widespread skepticism and even ridicule at the announcement. If the 2020 project does succeed, Wu claimed that two additional moons could be ready for orbit by 2022. “By then, the three huge mirrors will divide the 360-degree orbital plane, realizing illuminating an area for 24 hours continuously,” he said. The project aims to help Chengdu save money and electricity on street lamps and provide a reliable light source during blackouts caused by natural disasters and grid malfunctions. According to the aerospace center’s figures, a whopping $173 million ($1.2 billion yuan) could be saved on streetlights yearly for illuminating even a small portion of 19 square miles (50 sq km). The cost of illuminating the whole city? Well, in the long run, it’s certainly less than putting a moon in space, according to Wu. Dr. Matteo Ceriotti, a professor of space systems engineering, said the project is feasible and not as silly as it sounds. “Think of this as sort of an investment,” he explained to BBC . “ Electricity at night is very expensive, so if you could say, have free illumination for up to 15 years, it might work out better economically in the long term.” Recent social media backlash against the Chengdu moon has centered around the issue of animal protection. While Harbin Institute of Technology Director Kang Weimin insists that the fake moon “should not affect animals’ routines,” because its light would be similar to a “dusk-like glow,” other scientists disagree. Despite his agreeable response to the project, Ceriotti said, “It will disrupt the night cycle of nature [if the light is too strong], and this could possibly affect animals.” Wu insisted that the aerospace company’s technology could dim and brighten the moon. The light, which has the ability to reflect a beam “eight times” brighter than the moon, could also be timed. All in all, the few and contradicting details surrounding the project makes it uncertain whether the new moon will launch successfully in 2020. While experts debate whether or not it should be launched in the first place, those in Chengdu are probably looking upward, wondering whether or not they’ll miss this night sky — one that might never look the same again. Via BBC , China Daily  and  People’s Daily Images via Spencer Arquimedes and Mike Petrucci

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China plans to launch the world’s first ‘artificial moon’

How to make American cities bike-friendly

June 19, 2018 by  
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If you live in a city, riding a bike can be a great option to get you where you need to go. More and more people are opting for bicycles instead of cars, but most American cities are lagging behind when it comes to offering safe roads for bicyclists. Many cities ban cyclists from riding on the sidewalk and expect them to share the road with passing cars. What can we do to encourage American cities to be more bicycle-friendly? America’s best cycling cities Not all cities fall short when it comes to bike-friendly roads — some of the best cycling cities in the world are right here at home. Atlanta took some of its unused urban railways and created “The BeltLine,”  a 22-mile-long loop for pedestrians and bicyclists. City planners are extending it another five miles in the coming year, and more than a million people have used it since its opening. Chicago has dedicated bike routes to help keep cyclists safe and out of the way of passing drivers. Baltimore has an electric-assisted bike-sharing program to make it easier for riders to navigate the sometimes-hilly terrain. Related: San Francisco bike shop lets you trade in car for e-bike Moving away from car dependence Most people don’t think twice about hopping in a car and driving to work, even if work is only a few miles down the road. We need to change our underlying infrastructure to move away from car-dependent transportation. That’s not to say we all need to stop driving our cars — people who commute long distances, carry cargo or transport other passengers will find it difficult or impossible to do these things on a bicycle. Infrastructure changes give cities more control over traffic — both vehicles and bicycles — and allow them to separate or prioritize one or the other, depending on the conditions. Just adding bike lanes to the sides of existing roads isn’t enough — nor is expecting bicyclists to share the road with nothing to separate them from motorized vehicles. Related: 6 cycling accessories every bike commuter needs Separating cars and bikes When it comes down to it, a bicycle is never going to win in a fight with a car. In 2015, more than 800 cyclists were killed in accidents with vehicles. That’s more than two accidents every single day. The easiest way to prevent these collisions is to keep cars and bikes separate. Bike lanes with planters or plastic bollards provide a barrier between cyclists and drivers and may help keep people safe. Cities can install a temporary setup for a reasonable amount of money to study how well it works, and if it turns out to be a good option for the city, city planners and officials can move forward from there. Learn from cycling cities When transitioning American cities to be safer for cyclists, planners can turn to cities around the world for inspiration.  Europe has great ideas when it comes to making cities more cycling-friendly. For the Netherlands recently opened an 11-mile cycling highway that connects the cities of Arnhem and Nijmegen. This is a “fast path” for bicycling commuters between the two cities. There are slower roadside paths as well for intercity travel. It isn’t just the infrastructure that the Netherlands has changed — it’s the “ psychology of the commute .” By giving cyclists a direct and convenient route that keeps them separate from cars, it has allowed more people to ride bikes. The bicycling highway has even encouraged people to reconsider transportation for their regional trips. Cycling is one of the best things we can do to help reduce our carbon footprint , so it’s important to make crowded cities safer for people who choose to leave their cars at home and opt to use bicycles. It’s better for your health and better for the environment, as long as we can keep cyclists safe during their daily commutes. City planners should stop thinking about cars and start focusing on public transportation and cycling as the primary forms of transportation for their citizens. Via  Atlanta ,  Biz Journals ,  Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center ,  Wired  and  CityLab Images via Vishal Banik , Paul Krueger (1 , 2) , Daniel Lobo  and Jonny Kennaugh

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How to make American cities bike-friendly

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