If you eat seafood, you’re probably eating fleece microfibers

February 7, 2017 by  
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If you enjoy spending time in the great outdoors (or simply like to feel warm and cozy throughout the day), you’re probably a fan of synthetic fleece jackets. But what you might not know is that every time one of these items runs through the wash, it releases thousands of microscopic plastic fibers into the water supply. These microfibers end up being eaten by fish and marine life – where they eventually end up back on our plates. A study last year from the University of California Santa Barbara , in collaboration with the clothing company Patagonia, shows that every time polyester fleece jackets are run through the wash without detergent, up to 2 grams of these fibers could be shed. It’s worse for top-load washing machines, which release seven times more fibers than the front-load variety. Unlike clothes dryers, which can capture loose fibers in lint traps, loose material in washing machines ends up simply being washed down the drain. Unfortunately, these microfibers are so small that wastewater treatment plants can’t filter them out. Instead, they end up being released into the environment, where they’re eaten by wildlife. Related:  Patagonia says synthetic fibers (including their own) are polluting the oceans Are these microscopic bits of plastic harmful when ingested? It’s not entirely clear. Some studies have show certain species can’t cope well with the microfibers: water fleas who inadvertently eat fleece fibers are more likely to die, and common crabs that have ingested the tiny bits of plastic eat less food overall. But further research is needed to show if humans who eat fleece-filled seafood suffer any ill effects. Unfortunately, short of avoiding fish altogether, it’s impossible to know whether you’re ingesting microfibers or not. For now, the only real solution is to either avoid washing your fleece when possible, or rig your washing machine with a filter to catch microfibers before they enter waterways. Sadly, that won’t do much unless everyone who wears synthetic fleece takes this advice to heart. Via NPR Images via Kelly and StockSnap  

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If you eat seafood, you’re probably eating fleece microfibers

Former opium den in Singapore reinvented as luxury waterfront hotel

February 7, 2017 by  
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The newly opened Warehouse Hotel in Singapore is undoubtedly posh, but it’s very different from the average luxury hotel. Set on the Singapore River, the Warehouse Hotel is housed in a heritage building, a former godown, which dates back to 1895 and has a surprising sordid history as a former hotbed for secret societies and underground activities. Zarch Collaboratives led the redesign of the 121-year-old building, converting it into a 37-room boutique hotel with state-of-the-art amenities, while paying homage to the area’s industrial past. Located on Havelock Road along the Singapore River, the historic godown was originally built for business purposes on the Straits of Malacca trade route. In the early 20th century, the area was notoriously known as the operating neighborhood of Chinese and Fujianese secret societies and was rife with gambling dens, prostitutes, and moonshine operations. While much of that history has disappeared and been replaced with the upscale Robertson Quay neighborhood, Zarch Collaboratives and interior design consultant Asylum Creatives wove playful references to the godown’s colorful history during the meticulous restoration and renovation process. Related: WOHA’s solar-powered SkyVille in Singapore boasts a deep-green public skypark Painted bright white, the Warehouse Hotel’s distinctive and symmetrical facade features the original peaked roofs with restored louvre windows, cornices, doors, moldings, and Chinese characters on the leftmost gables. The interior blends the warehouse’s utilitarian aesthetic, like exposed brick and vaulted ceilings, with modern decorations that allude to the area’s industrial and vice-filled past. Naked light bulbs and pulley systems, commonly found in godowns, are suspended from the ceiling of the double-height lobby. A set of handcuffs and other interesting trinkets are visibly displayed next to the check-in counter, while every room is equipped with a “Minibar of Vices” with local treats. + Justina Via ArchDaily Images via Justina

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Former opium den in Singapore reinvented as luxury waterfront hotel

How to get off the grid and live rent-free

February 7, 2017 by  
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Many people dream of living off the grid, rent-free — and a select few have turned that dream into a reality. It takes more than just a stack of solar panels and a tiny house though – you need a plan that provides for all of the necessities of daily life. If you’ve ever wanted to make the leap to off-grid living but weren’t sure where to start, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to transitioning to a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle. READ MORE: Greenmoxie Tiny House lets you live mortgage-free and off-grid in a luxurious 340 sq. ft. on wheels 1. Decide on your living space You can’t live off-grid if you have nowhere to live. How you acquire this living space is dependent on your resources and style. Those who seek the thrill of the open road would do best in a self-sufficient mobile home. For the DIY type, building your own, as Elizabeth Pearson did in Spain , might be the challenge you need. For those who are not particularly crafty, a prefabricated model like those sold by Big World Homes or Green Moxie would be more your speed. READ MORE: Luxurious tiny home lets owner live off-grid and rent-free If you seek to settle down, think about where you would like to live and why. Are you seeking to abandon civilization entirely or do you simply want to live a more self-sufficient life? Are you willing to pay more for an ideal location near family and friends or are you flexible with your location? If money is not an issue, there are open plots of land even in the world’s most expensive real estate markets . If you seek dirt for dirt cheap, you have options. READ MORE: World’s first off-grid Ecocapsule home to hit the market this year, shipping in 2016 Do you want to support the growth of a new community or do you want to join one that already exists? If you are of the apocalyptic mindset, there are plenty of places to hunker down with those who also feel the end is nigh. If you wish to learn from the cutting edge of off-grid experimentation before you dive in, check out communities like the Off-Grid Experimentation Village . Of course, there are always the Earthship communities to learn from and join. READ MORE: Tiny Off-Grid Hawk House has Soaring Views of the California Mountains If you want to start your own off-grid community, do some research into establishing a land trust. This institution allows for greater community control and provides protection from the encroachment of commercial interests onto the land. If you can’t wait to navigate the red tape, you, like this tiny-house building Australian couple , may find landowners willing to let you use their land in exchange for your time and energy. 2. Harvest and harness water OK, you have your living space. All that hard work planning for and acquiring somewhere to live off-grid has made you thirsty. Living off-grid requires you to harvest and harness the most out of the limited, invaluable resource that is water. This can be achieved through low-tech methods such as the installation of rain barrels, the cultivation of living mulch, and the construction of swales. Water capture can also be facilitated via the design of your living space, as demonstrated by the stepped roofs of Bermuda or bowl-shaped roofs in Iran. If you are hoping to live on the cutting edge of the 21st century, try integrating water saving technologies like the hydroponic systems used by Farm 360 in Indianapolis . Similarly, if your off-grid adventures brings you close to the ocean, modern desalinization methods like that pioneered by SAROS can achieve water self-sufficiency for far less cost than was once imagined. 3. Grow your own food Thirst quenched, time for some grub. If you are living on the road, off the grid, you likely do not have much space to grow your own food. As you meander around the world, it would be worth it to park your home on an idyllic organic farm . In exchange for your labor, you may acquire some nourishing produce, new friends, and a beautiful place to enjoy your tiny porch. READ MORE: Stunning Moon Dragon is a fairytale-like tiny house that goes off-grid If you are settling down in one space, planting perennials will provide you with consistent, nutritious food for years to come. Typical perennial plants include fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, and even mushroom patches . A less common but a nonetheless important component of an off-grid diet is perennial vegetables , like sorrel, asparagus, and sylvetta arugula. Although it’s not quite ready yet, perennial wheat may soon find its way to an off-grid homestead near you. 4. Gather your tools and materials You’re satiated. Now it’s time to get to work. If you are living off-grid, you need a well-equipped tool shed and workshop. Open Source Ecology , a project that aims to create open blueprints for the essential tools to build civilization, is an excellent resource to guide the construction of a community toolbox. You will still need to acquire raw materials and a 3D printer, but once the initial investment has been made, you can support others in the establishment of new off-grid communities. READ MORE: Luxurious tiny home in New Zealand is off-grid and 100% self-sustaining 5. Install alternative energy Tending your garden, helping your neighbors, and living the life can be hard work. After a productive day, it’s time to settle in for the evening to enjoy a book or some Netflix. To illuminate your sanctuary and power your viewing, you will need a source of energy. Fortunately, there is no shortage of means for you to acquire that which you need. Solar energy, becoming cheaper by the day, is well suited for mobile off-grid living and that rooted in one place. The wind has got your back, providing power for your vehicle and your village . Even jellyfish are pitching in to support your off-grid dreams. Essentially, the resources are there. There are many paths towards the off-grid lifestyle of your dreams; all you have to do is take that first step and the rest will likely fall in place. Images via Greenmoxie Tiny House, , Walden Studio , Tomas Manina , Image via Alex Wyndham , Zyl Vardos , Living Big in a Tiny House , Wikimedia, J Wynia , Steve Johnson , Flickr/Jules , Flickr/Lisa at Sierra Tierra, and Sean Church

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How to get off the grid and live rent-free

Wasting Water is Like Sending Pennies Down the Drain

January 18, 2012 by  
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A San Francisco startup called WaterSmart Software wants to remind people that wasting water is wasting money, and to show consumers how to conserve both.

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Five things to know about biodiesel made from recycled cooking oil

October 4, 2011 by  
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Ravi Kumar: Biodiesel Things to know about biodiesel made from recycled cooking oil Unbelievable but true! One liter of waste cooking oil can contaminate as much as one million liter of water. So, to reduce this fear and to use the cooking oil to the fullest, it can now be recycled and used to produce soap and biodiesel. Once we pour the oil in our vessel, the trash is subjected to throw either in dustbins or drain. But nobody knows this is not only clogging the sewerage and creating wreck havoc on local drains but also affecting wildlife some other way. If you are willing to know about recycling of cooking oil please continue reading this article. In Kilmarnock, Scotland and some other countries, the government has taken a good unique initiative wherein you can now pay for your bus fare by taking used oil to a recycling plant. This will not only help the denizens to play vital role in environment conservation but also keeps encouraging the proper recycling process. 1. How it works According to chemical scientists, “Cooking oil is purified fat of plant origin. It is usually found in liquid form at room temperature.” Proper disposal of used cooking oil is an important waste management concern. It hinders the oxygenation of water as oil is always lighter than water tends to spread into thin and broad membranes. 2. Recycling or Transesterification The chemical process under which cooking oil and kitchen grease goes for recycling is called Transesterification. Later it is converted into biodiesel. It is suggested to not to straight pour cooking oil into gas tank. Scientists have also been doing a lot of research to create some filters to control its evil effects. 3. Choose not to dump in sink Cooking oil should never be dumped into kitchen sink or in toilet bowl. The proper way to dispose of oil is to put it in a sealed non recyclable contained and discard it with regular garbage. Placing the container of oil in the refrigerator to harden also makes disposal easier and less messy. 4. Plumbing clogs sewer First and foremost reason for stooped up sewer pipes is excessive release of cooking oil and kitchen grease. Grease sticks to pipes and it badly chokes the sewerage and disrupted proper sewage flow. One should always keep in mind that it is not a temporary clogging but it is also somewhere affecting our ecology. 5. Can’t mix with motor oil It seems when oil is recycled, be it cooking oil or motor oil, it can be mixed further. But, it is not more than a misconception. You can recycle them separately but never mix recycled cooking oil and motor oil. They are different in nature and substances go through different recycling process and important thing is you will be disabled to extract them again. Use cold water Sometimes it becomes very difficult the kitchen grease to go down the drain. If it is small in amount or little more than that one should immediately shower cold water on it so that it solidifies and the possibilities of sticking in the pipeline decreases. Or else it can cause water contamination and obstruct smooth flow. Drop off points Some specific drop off points to dump cooking oil waste should be made at different points to avoid its disadvantages. Private agencies and some local communities should seriously think over recycling of cooking oil as how it can be provoked. Place it in front position and label it so that everyone can easily access it at home. Key points: Cooking oil may produce biodiesel if not disposed properly. As far as a lay man knows the cooking oil is used in the kitchen to cook the food, and if dieticians are to be believed, the cooking oil and grease harm one’s health too. But, don’t get surprised to know that improper disposal of the fats from our cooking oil can degrade our environment also. If you are somewhere damaging environment or causing ecological imbalance, it amounts to felony of different acts of environment protection and wildlife conservation. To safeguard our surroundings, there are various acts which have been made across most of the countries. Some of those common in almost many countries are: Environment Protection Act Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act Air Prevention and Control of Pollution Act Wild Life Act Forest Conservation Act

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Five industries that will suffer the most from global warming

October 4, 2011 by  
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Abhinav Shrivastava: Global Warming Water, water everywhere. Global Warming can be described as the continuous increase in the temperature of the Earth and its water bodies. Humans have polluted the environment by means of deforestation and burning of fossil fuels, thereby increasing the concentration of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Global warming would lead to extreme weather and environmental conditions such as earthquakes, drought, tsunamis and floods which would affect mankind in every possible way. People are physically as well as economically suffering from this, with many industries becoming its prey quite rapidly. Some of the industries which are being drastically affected by Global Warming are… 1. Fishing Fishing Industry Rising sea levels mean that livelihoods dependent on the sea will be the worst hit. Oceans play an important role in controlling the global carbon cycle. The oceans have removed about 25% of the carbon content emitted by the humans and almost half of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide released during the starting of the industrial revolution. But now with the increase in carbon emissions the absorbing capacity of the water bodies are getting weaker, which in a drastic way has affected the fishing industry. With water becoming warmer, the fresh water fish and corals are disappearing in an alarming rate. Its has become very difficult for marine organisms like oysters and shrimps to undergo the process of calcification i.e. forming their shells. The fishes have gradually started moving northwards. The change in the patterns of rainfall and the scarcity of water in lakes has drastically affected the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture. 2. Forestry Forestry The negative effects on forestry and lumbering are not determined yet in their nature and extent. As the forestry industry comprises of both natural and managed systems it’s very hard to state with utmost precision, the effect of climatic change on it. We can only draw conclusions from historical observation, modeling results and experimental models for the time being. The trees species are expected to move to higher altitudes or northward thereby increasing productivity in the North. The concept of “carbon fertilization” shows us that the additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has a positive effect on plants. More consumption of carbon dioxide would lead to the production and existence of healthier trees. This, in turn would benefit the timber industry. This would lead to more production and lower price but in another sense, it is hazardous. As the prices would fall people would tend to buy more timber, thereby leading to more deforestation. Moreover, due to global warming, forest fires, storms and pest attacks would became very common leading to the destruction of the forest ecosystem. Global warming and climate change are fallouts of deforestation and thus we see that global warming and deforestation set up a vicious cycle. 3. Wine Wine industry Global warming would give positive effects in the short run but rising temperatures will untimately ruin commercial wine-making. California, France and Spain are the world’s best wine hubs as wine thrives in Mediterranean climate. Now the estimations state that due to global warming, the area suitable for wineries would decrease to half and places like England would become the new heaven for wine making as they would have the perfect temperature for growing it. Though rise in temperature also helps in producing better quality vintage wines, it’s very hard for grapes to grow in the heat. Increase in temperature, low water availability and pest attacks can reduce wine production and the overall quality of wine. 4. Insurance Insurance Industry Future uninsured. Insurance companies have much to fear from global warming. With the rapid change in the climate, the number and extent of natural disasters such as such as earthquakes, floods, drought, hurricanes and tsunamis would increase. It clearly means that insurance companies would have to keep paying more compensation, which in turn, means a complete loss to these companies. Many of these insurance companies have come forward to provide incentives to fight global warming, thereby trying to reduce the dangers of climatic changes on them. 5. Meat Meat Industry Adverse effects on the future. The meat industry is going to suffer highly due to global warming. This industry is responsible for the emission of 18% of greenhouse gases. Moreover, transportation of either the food for the cattle or animal itself causes pollution. Hence, the government is looking for ways to reduce pollution, which would ultimately lead to less consumption of meat, thereby causing loss to this industry.

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Five industries that will suffer the most from global warming

BlackGold Turns a Waste Stream Into a Revenue Source

March 18, 2011 by  
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This series is made possible by energy-efficiency specialists WellHome and their Home Weatherization Giveaway Sweepstakes. Take a quick visual quiz of your home’s energy use to see your potential yearly savings.

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BlackGold Turns a Waste Stream Into a Revenue Source

drive me crazy.

August 11, 2010 by  
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green is sexy is about tiny changes, big impact, but bigger initiatives are even sexier. Check your basement or garage for old paint. Before you toss it in the trash or rinse it down the drain, stop! If you have old paint, your friends and neighbors might too.

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knock on wood.

August 10, 2010 by  
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In the last 200 years people have cut down approximately 30% of the world’s woodlands, according to the World Resources Institute. Since trees are a key defense in combating CO2, this affects all of us as the planet continues to heat up. Deforestation is also bad news for animals that rely on trees for food and shelter

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knock on wood.

tap out on running extra water.

August 5, 2010 by  
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Next time you turn on the tap take note of how much water you actually use for the task at hand and how much goes down the drain, never to be seen again. 7-12 litres of water is used up every minute the tap runs

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