Sweden passes law to become carbon neutral by 2045

June 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Sweden just took a huge step towards becoming even greener than they already are. A new law passed by the country’s parliament will slash carbon emissions all the way down to zero by 2045. The move makes Sweden the first country to upgrade its carbon goals since the 2015 Paris Agreement . A cross-party committee prepared the law, which then passed with an overwhelming majority, bringing the goal to become carbon neutral from 2050 down to 2045, and puting in place an independent Climate Policy Council. The law calls for an action plan that will be updated every four years. Related: Norway moves up zero emissions target to 2030 According to New Scientist, Sweden already obtains 83 percent of its electricity from hydropower and nuclear energy . They met a goal to obtain 50 percent of energy from renewables eight years before their target. They’ll work to meet this new carbon neutral objective in part by focusing on transportation , such as through increasing use of vehicles powered by electricity or biofuels . Sweden aims to slash domestic emissions by a minimum of 85 percent. And they’ll offset any other emissions by planting trees or investing in sustainable projects in other countries. Femke de Jong, European Union Policy Director at Carbon Market Watch , said Sweden has a high chance of success, and other countries in Europe could follow suit. “With the Trump decision to get out of the Paris Agreement, Europe is more united than ever and wants to show leadership to the world,” de Jong said. Public resistance can be an obstacle to cutting emissions, but according to New Scientist in Sweden there’s an unusually high amount of support for environmentally friendly policies. But de Jong warned the country must also show leadership in forests, not simply emissions. They were recently accused along with France, Finland, and Austria of attempting to weaken rules to obscure emissions from burning wood and deforestation . Via New Scientist Images via Håkan Dahlström on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Sweden passes law to become carbon neutral by 2045

Astrophysicist warns asteroid strike is not a matter of if, but when

June 22, 2017 by  
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We humans have done a pretty good job of trashing the Earth all by ourselves, but we don’t often stop to consider external threats – like asteroids . A 1908 asteroid explosion over Tunguska, Siberia ravaged 800 square miles, and Queen’s University Belfast astrophysicist Alan Fitzsimmons said another asteroid collision is simply a matter of time, which could have devastating consequences if we remain unprepared. He said most of us don’t think about asteroids as a threat to our existence. We now remember the day of the 1908 asteroid strike as Asteroid Day . It’s June 30, and Fitzsimmons is joining other experts like physicist Brian Cox and International Space Station astronaut Nicole Stott to call attention to the threat. Fitzsimmons says it’s not a matter of if an asteroid will impact the Earth, but when. He said a strike like the Tunguska one today could demolish a mayor city – and a larger asteroid strike could be even more devastating. Related: NASA rolls out new asteroid detection program to defend Earth from destructive meteors Fitzsimmons said in a statement, “Astronomers find Near-Earth Asteroids every day and most are harmless. But it is still possible the next Tunguska would take us by surprise, and although we are much better at finding larger asteroids, that does us no good if we are not prepared to do something about them.” He said experts have gotten much better about detecting Near-Earth Asteroids, and have found more than 1,800 objects that could be potentially hazardous. But there are more out there – and we need to be prepared. Fitzsimmons is part of a European Research Council-funded project, NEOshield-2, whose mission is to figure out how to deflect the hazardous asteroids. Asteroid Day events will be live streamed here . There will be conversations with space agencies like NASA and a Neil deGrasse Tyson-narrated video series on scientists laboring to protect Earth from asteroids, to name a few. The organization says it will be the first 24-hour live broadcast about space ever. Via Queen’s University Belfast Images via Asteroid Day

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Astrophysicist warns asteroid strike is not a matter of if, but when

EPA to eliminate 1,228 employees by August – including dozens of scientists

June 21, 2017 by  
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Although 97 percent of scientists agree that climate change is a real threat, the Trump administration maintains that global warming is a “hoax” – and it’s gutting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) . Under administrator Scott Pruitt the EPA has scrubbed climate science from its website, and now it’s eliminating thousands of employees — including dozens of scientists — by failing to renew their contracts in August. The Washington Post reports that members of the Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) were alerted via email that their terms will not be renewed in August. While they do have the opportunity to re-apply by September, the news came as a shock to many – on average, scientists serve three terms and are re-elected to a fourth if they are willing to serve. Peter Meyer, an economist with the E.P. Systems Group, resigned from the board’s sustainable and healthy communities subcommittee as a form of protest. Meyer said: “We were told quite explicitly by the leadership of the sustainable and healthy communities group … that our assignment was a four-to-five-year assignment. That was what we were told at our first meeting. That produces an assumption that you’re going to get reappointed so that you can complete the job.” Deborah Swackhamer, chair of the board’s executive committee and professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Minnesota, added, “It effectively wipes out the BOSC and leaves it free for a complete reappointment.” Related: EPA dismisses 5 members of major scientific review board Because this is the second time this year the agency failed to renew scientists’ terms, some claim the Trump administration is politicizing the agency, which exists to benefit wildlife and preserve the environment. In response, EPA officials stated that the cuts provide a new opportunity to reach out to a broad array of applicants and draw on their expertise. “ EPA is grateful for the service of all BOSC members, past and present, and has encouraged those with expiring terms to reapply,” said agency spokeswoman Amy Graham. “We are taking an inclusive approach to filling future BOSC appointments and welcome all applicants from all relevant scientific and technical fields.” The BOSC advises the agency’s Office of Research and Development on whether its research can adequately address important scientific questions. Due to cuts, only five scientists remain on the executive committee. The ultimate fear is that the EPA could eliminate members that hold different opinions than the Trump administration , and fill those positions with people who are more favorable to the communities being regulated by the agency. Reportedly, the agency’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) and Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) will also be changed in the near future. “This gives me a great deal of concern about the erosion of science in this administration,” said Robert Richardson, an ecological economist and associate professor in Michigan State University’s Department of Community Sustainability . “It’s hard to understand the rationale behind a decision like this. I understand they might simply want to repopulate [the board] with people of their own choosing. However, this could also be a way of just weakening advisory boards, of diminishing their role by not replacing members.” Via Washington Post Images via EPA , PBS

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EPA to eliminate 1,228 employees by August – including dozens of scientists

Hawaii’s energy transition needs local entrepreneurs to thrive

June 21, 2017 by  
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The state is home to nationally recognized startup incubators that are hoping to hatch innovations in both technologies and business models.

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Hawaii’s energy transition needs local entrepreneurs to thrive

Ingenious hand-pumped Scorkl lets you breathe underwater for 10 minutes

June 19, 2017 by  
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Scuba  diving may seem like too much of a hassle, what with all the equipment, training and money you need to make it happen. A new product – that’s like something straight out of a James Bond movie – called  Scorkl  opens up the underwater world by combining the best of scuba diving with the ease of snorkeling. A hand pump refills the underwater breathing device that’s roughly the size of a water bottle, giving you 10 minutes of uninhibited exploration. The Scorkl is a lightweight device you put to your mouth to breath in air while underwater – no scuba diving certification necessary. The Australia -based company says their cylinder is manufactured to the same standards and specifications as a cylinder you’d use to scuba dive, but it can be refilled with a Scorkl hand pump. The device also comes with a scuba tank refill adapter so it can be refilled from a scuba tank. A pressure gauge on the Scorkl lets users know how much air they have left – they’ll be able to swim freely through the water for around 10 minutes. Related: The Easybreath Snorkel Mask Lets You Breathe Comfortably Through Your Nose Underwater Scorkl is crowdfunding on Kickstarter , and it appears there are a bunch of people out there who are drawn to the freedom offered by the device – the company set their goal at $22,765 but have already raised over $370,000. One Scorkl costs $199 – that’s 33 percent off the retail price. A Scorkl and pump are being offered at a discount price of $398. At this point you’re probably wondering about safety . The company says the Scorkl is safe and can be used by anyone, but untrained divers should be cautious when swimming with it, and shouldn’t go below 9.8 feet in depth or use it more than five times in a single day. Trained divers should be able to go further than 9.8 feet drawing on what they learned during their certification process. The device is accompanied by an information kit warning users and offering tips to avoid pulmonary damage. The company says the Scorkl is designed for shallow diving , and they recommend not using it below 32 feet, even though it technically can go to depths of around 65 feet. You can check out the campaign here . + Scorkl Images via Scorkl Facebook

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Ingenious hand-pumped Scorkl lets you breathe underwater for 10 minutes

Beijing’s futuristic new subway stations are straight out of Blade Runner

June 19, 2017 by  
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Beijing-based Qing-X Architectural Studio has completed construction on a series of futuristic subway stations that look like they came straight out of a science fiction movie. Spiraling metal metal tunnels wrap the elevated platforms while providing plenty of daylight and natural ventilation. Architect Qi Ji Jun was inspired by the simple, yet functional form of a traditional scroll form: “The curved paper jerked at the two ends, seemed to be towed by the pen.” This concept is reflected in the tubular rail cladding of the platforms, which creates a sense of unity and movement throughout the multiple subway stations . The streamlined design is not only aesthetically pleasing, but functional; the two triangular corners that spiral out of the tunnel help augment the drivers’ field of vision. Related: China unveils train that travels on ‘virtual tracks’ Currently, the Fangshan line has 11 stations, with 9 aboveground tracks and 2 underground tracks. The stations consist of three stories, with the metal and glass-clad platforms located on the top open-air level. The overlapped roofs over the platforms contain a rain-screen ventilation gap, which pushes hot air up and outwards during the hot summer months. The area around the stations is surrounded by a verdant green belt with plenty of green space.

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Beijing’s futuristic new subway stations are straight out of Blade Runner

You can now buy a village on the Isle of Skye heres how

June 19, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever wanted to own a village, here’s your chance. Mary’s Cottages, located in Elgol on the Isle of Skye, is up for sale – and for the right person, it could be an enchanting getaway. Marketed as a “lifestyle business,” the village includes four traditional Scottish blackhouses that have been restored in addition to the owner’s modern five-bedroom house — complete with a pitched, tiled roof that blends in with the surroundings. In each of the traditional Scottish houses, you’ll find classically decorated interiors, vaulted ceilings, underfloor heating, oil stoves and Caithness slate floors. Each cottage has its own traditional built-in kingsize bed, in addition to a mezzanine area with single beds that can be tucked away. Related: Italy is giving away hundreds of historic castles and villas for free According to agents Strutt and Parker , views from all the abodes are breathtaking. Additionally, one doesn’t need to walk far from the collection of cottages to see fishermen going about their duties, and dolphins, otters, eagles, and sharks enjoy the nearby bay. In fact, The Scotsman describes the location as being “ideal for holidaymakers.” When a venture into the city is needed, Elgol is only 45 minutes away and a drive to Edinburgh is six hours. As you might expect, a village — particularly on the Isle of Skye — isn’t cheap. Right now, it’s on the market for £1.25 million. + Strutt and Parker Via The Independent Images via Strutt and Parker

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You can now buy a village on the Isle of Skye heres how

Forest restoration projects could create billions in new revenue

June 19, 2017 by  
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The economic benefits of restoring degraded or deforested land are an estimated $84 billion, roughly the entire gross domestic product of Sri Lanka in 2015.

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Forest restoration projects could create billions in new revenue

The origins of the circular economy

June 17, 2017 by  
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The role of digital technology gave rise to circular thinking, impacting how we see the world, how the economy really works and how we can act within it.

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The origins of the circular economy

15 innovative designs that blew our mind at NY Design Week

June 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Want to see the future of design? Look no further than New York Design Week , where designers are breaking new ground by experimenting with innovative materials , concepts and technologies. From dazzling crystalline furnishings and literal lawn chairs to biometric seats straight out of science fiction, read on for 15 of our favorite finds from NYCxDesign . Aura Mirrors by Another Human We’ve got a crystal crush on these monolithic mirrors made from raw-hewn semi-precious gems. Leah Ring of Another Human told us that the stones are believed to have metaphysical properties – basalt confers power, blue calcite is calming, obsidian absorbs negative energy, and fluorite bestows positive energy. Cast Sand Drum Stools by Fernando Mastrangelo Fernando Mastrangelo uses simple sand to create textural, multi-layered stools that evoke landscapes, clouds, light and shadows. Collective Paper Aesthetics by Noa Haim A giant cardboard castle rose in the middle of Times Square over the course of New York Design Week . Noa Haim’s CollectivePaperAesthetics project welcomed passersby to design their own paper structures at the NYCxDesign Pavilion . Crossover Collective by Floor Nijdeken Floor Nijdeken is concerned that everyone spends too much time looking at their phones – so he created a “collective embroidery” table to bring people together again. Nijdeken’s Crossover Collective project invites anyone to take a seat and contribute to an embroidered carpet made by many different hands. Pipe Vases by Studio Jeroen Wand These sculptural vases by Jeroen Wand synthesize three different approaches to design. The pipes are readymade objects bought straight off the shelf; the dowels were store bought and then altered; and the smooth ceramic spheres were completely cast by hand. Laminated Cabinet by Studio Jeroen Wand Jeroen Wand has also developed a process for salvaging off-cut wood veneers to create beautiful, multi-layered furniture. Wand says “Normally, veneer is used to cover a less attractive material underneath. Here, veneer is used throughout the whole object.” The resulting pieces are exceptionally lightweight yet extremely durable. Crystal Icons by Isaac Monte Can you recognize this iconic design? It’s Michael Graves’ Alessi Kettle – completely encrusted in blue crystal! Dutch designer Isaac Monte has found a way to transform everyday objects into spectacular crystalline sculptures. Voltasol Pots by Living Things Most planters are heavy, immovable objects – which makes these tipsy, twirling pots all the more fun. Living Things ‘s Voltasol pots are perfectly balanced so that they spin round and round without falling down. Future Kitchen by Ceasarstone X Pratt Caesarstone teamed up with the Pratt Institute to give us a look at the self-sustaining kitchen of the future – complete with a water-recycling hydroponic garden and a biogas generator fed by cooking scraps. Settle Charging Table by Tanya Cai Tanya Cai’s Settle Table may look simple at first glance – but it has several tricks up its sleeve. A colorful inset lifts up to reveal a hidden storage compartment, and a woodgrain coaster doubles as a wireless charging pad for your phone. Kitchen Timers by Yejin Kim OK, these are the cutest kitchen timers we’ve ever seen – one reunites two chicks with every tick of the clock, and the other delivers a pizza slice to a waiting mouth as it counts down. Both were developed by SAIC student Yejin Kim for the Kikkerland and Paper Source Design Challenge . Biometric Chair by Sensingnet Meet the chair of the future. Sensingnet ‘s high-tech Argus seat can measure your respiratory rate, heart rate, and stress level the instant you sit down. Mushroom Planter by Kean University x Ecovative You’d never guess it, but this twisting planter is actually made from mushrooms! Kean University industrial design students teamed up with Ecovative to develop a wide range of products made from mycelium – including a bike helmet, a tote bag, and even a guitar. Lawn Chair by Sarah Crist and Lauren Klein This literal Lawn Chair put every other chaise at ICFF to shame. Sarah Crist and Lauren Klein developed the cheeky chair for a RISD project that paired industrial designers with textile designers. Bonded Packing Peanut Chair by Samuel Bechar If you’ve ever wondered what to do with all the pesky packing peanuts in your life, Samuel Bechar has the answer. He upcycled hundreds of the lightweight box fillers into a clever chair that looks like a giant cloud. + NYCxDesign

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15 innovative designs that blew our mind at NY Design Week

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