Iceland elects 41-year-old environmentalist as prime minister

December 5, 2017 by  
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Katrin Jakobsdottir, the 41-year-old chairwoman of the Left-Green Movement, has been elected Prime Minister of Iceland . One of the most well-liked politicians in Iceland, Jakobsdottir, a former education minister and avowed environmentalist, has pledged to set Iceland on the path to carbon neutrality by 2040. As Iceland’s fourth prime minister in only two years, Jakobsdottir will take office at a time when national politics have been tainted by public distrust and scandal. A democratic socialist, Jakobsdottir is viewed as a bridge-building leader that may lead the country towards positive, incremental change. “She is the party leader who can best unite voters from the left and right,” said Eva H. Onnudottir, a political scientist at the University of Iceland, according to the New York Times. “Because this coalition includes parties from the left to the right, their work will be more about managing the system instead of making ‘revolutionary’ changes.” Since forming its governing coalition, Jakobsdottir’s Left-Green party has already taken bold steps to assert its environmentalism . Rather than appointing a party member of parliament, the Left-Greens have picked Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson , environmental activist and CEO of Landvernd, the largest nature conservation and environmental NGO in Iceland, to serve as Minister of the Environment. The government’s new coalition is expected to continue the work to address climate change began under previous administrations. Related: Iceland’s “Thor” volcano power plant can generate 10X more energy than oil or gas wells While climate change has proven to be somewhat of a boost for Iceland’s tourism industry , which welcomed approximately 2.2 million visitors in 2017, the nation of just over 300,000 recognizes the importance of shifting to a clean energy economy and preparing for disruptive changes in the coming decades. Iceland’s climate change action plan involves shifting to clean energy in transportation by improving infrastructure for electric cars , planting more trees, and sourcing all energy for public institutions from renewable sources. Via The New York Times Images via Wikimedia and Depositphotos

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Iceland elects 41-year-old environmentalist as prime minister

This Swedish electric car comes with 5 years of free electricity

December 5, 2017 by  
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Uniti is on a mission to create an intelligent, small electric car designed for easy urban transportation . And they just partnered with energy company E.ON to ensure the source of electricity is clean, offering Swedish customers five years of free solar energy for charging . Uniti is just a couple days away from their worldwide debut of the vehicle. Sustainability drives Uniti, and they wanted to go a step further than manufacturing an electric car, considering that vehicle’s source of electricity as well. Uniti says on their website they aim to consider “the entire value chain and the entire life cycle of the vehicle.” Their partnership with E.ON means E.ON customers who buy a Uniti car in Sweden get a sweet perk: five years of free power guaranteed to be sourced via solar energy. Related: Uniti Sweden unveils super high-tech tiny EV for urbanites Uniti’s Innovation Manager Tobias Ekman said in a statement, “This is also a new approach. We know that most of the charging, especially for these types of cars, will take place at home. These kinds of solution are therefore particularly sustainable.” Uniti’s electric car is comprised of a recyclable carbon fiber body, with an organic composite interior. The company has worked to digitize the driving experience in many ways, describing their vehicle as the smartphone car. Inside there’s a heads-up display with navigation and safety features, and human drivers interact with the car more like they would with their phones using digitized interaction points. Electronic steering is designed to make driving more fun while increasing safety. The company plans to sell the car somewhat like a smartphone might be sold as well: either directly online for delivery to a customer’s home, or in consumer electronics retail environments. The worldwide debut will be December 7 in Landskrona, Sweden, and Uniti will be live streaming here . They’ve already received almost 1,000 pre-orders, and are still taking orders on their website . They expect to deliver in 2019. + Uniti Images courtesy of Uniti

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This Swedish electric car comes with 5 years of free electricity

Scientists discover immense pool of molten carbon beneath the Western United States

February 15, 2017 by  
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In what could be some of the worst news for climate change since the election of Donald Trump , a group of scientists have discovered a massive reservoir of melting carbon hidden deep under the Western United States. Researchers used the world’s largest array of seismic sensors to map the reservoir, which covers an area of about 695,000 square miles and challenges everything scientists have previously thought about the amounts of carbon trapped inside the Earth. To make a long story short, there’s way more than anyone has ever predicted before. Located about 217 miles beneath the planet’s surface, the reservoir is made up of carbonates that are melting under temperatures as hot at 7,230 degrees Fahrenheit. According to Science Daily , carbonates are a large group of minerals – including magnesite and calcite – which contain a specific carbon ion that when molten is believed to be responsible for the electrical conductivity of the Earth’s mantle . While it’s too deep underground to physically study, a research team from the Royal Holloway University of London employed a wide-ranging network made up of 583 seismic sensors to conduct their study. Those sensors honed in on some strange vibrations in the upper mantle, which in turn identified this immense pool of molten carbon. Based on what these sensors have told them, the researchers believe the Earth’s upper mantle might hold as much as 110 trillion tons of melted carbon. “Under the western US is a huge underground partially-molten reservoir of liquid carbonate,” explains team member, Sash Hier-Majumder. “It is a result of one of the tectonic plates of the Pacific Ocean forced underneath the western US, undergoing partial melting, thanks to gasses like carbon dioxide and water contained in the minerals dissolved in it.” It turns out this carbon is a bit of sleeping giant, as the scientists say this it will make its way out of the deep recesses of the Earth slowly via volcanic eruptions. But that seepage will add to the significant amounts of greenhouse gasses humans are adding to the planet’s atmosphere and contribute to climate change. Related: Scientists hatch crazy $500 billion plan to refreeze the Arctic “We might not think of the deep structure of Earth as linked to climate change above us, but this discovery not only has implications for subterranean mapping, but also for our future atmosphere ,” Hier-Majumder explains. “For example, releasing only 1% of this CO 2 into the atmosphere will be the equivalent of burning 2.3 trillion barrels of oil. The existence of such deep reservoirs show how important is the role of deep Earth in the global carbon cycle.” Via Science Daily Images via gunckx , Flickr Creative Commons and Pixabay

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Scientists discover immense pool of molten carbon beneath the Western United States

Trump admits humans have "some connectivity" to climate change

November 23, 2016 by  
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On Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump seemed to soften his stance on climate change . As we’ve reported before, he’s called it a hoax invented by the Chinese , and pledged to renege on the US’s commitments under the Paris climate agreement . Yet when asked by a New York Times reporter about his stance this week, he hedged on whether human activity could be connected to climate change, saying, “I think right now … well, I think there is some connectivity. There is some, something. It depends on how much.” Trump went on to say that he would be keeping an “open mind” about the Paris accord , seeming to completely contradict his campaign promises to withdraw from the treaty. He emphasized his belief that the agreement would render US companies noncompetitive and referenced the 2009 “Climategate” email scandal in an attempt to discredit the science behind global warming. (While some of the emails involved certainly didn’t show individual scientists in the best light, it’s worth noting that fact-checking organizations have found the claim that these emails prove manmade global warming to be a hoax are unfounded .) This isn’t the first campaign statement he’s attempted to walk back since the election. During the Times interview, he also seemed to lose his enthusiasm for prosecuting Hillary Clinton for her private email server. He even dialed back his support of torture tactics like waterboarding in the fight against ISIS, along with his proposal to completely scrap the Affordable Care Act. And while Trump himself hasn’t abandoned the idea of building a massive border wall with Mexico, Congressional Republicans are beginning to question whether it would really be a practical national security measure. Related: China to Trump: Climate change is not a hoax While the fact that he seems to be moderating his more extreme promises could be seen by some as a promising sign, the fact that his policies are shifting so quickly isn’t likely to make progressives feel relaxed or secure any time soon. After all, this is a politician who has been recorded blatantly lying throughout his campaign . Who’s to say any of these supposed changes of heart are actually true? Via the Washington Post Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Trump admits humans have "some connectivity" to climate change

8 ways to help the water protectors at the Standing Rock Reservation

November 23, 2016 by  
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As the world watches the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and the horrific police attacks that have injured hundreds of people , you may be wondering what you can do to help. Despite President Obama calling for a halt to construction to the DAPL pipeline in September to explore a new route, the company behind the 1,172-mile-long underground pipeline is forging ahead with construction anyway – in defiance of the president’s orders . Meanwhile hundreds of activists fighting for clean water have faced violent resistance and brutal attacks by local police , including police attacks this past weekend with rubber bullets, freezing water and tear gas that left 26 people hospitalized and hundreds injured . If you want to support the water protectors but are feeling helpless, know that you CAN make a difference from your home through phone calls, donations, and social media . You can even close accounts at banks financing the pipeline or go to North Dakota to stand with the protesters . Here are eight ways to help the Standing Rock activists. Support the protesters financially on GoFundMe and FundRazr So far people have donated over $1.5 million on Sacred Stone Camp’s GoFundMe campaign , but with winter coming they still need donations. Campaign organizer Howaste Wakiya says money will go towards necessities like food and blankets, means of power generation like solar panels , and winter gear like wood stoves and teepee liners. As protesters are arrested, the activists also need help with legal defense; you can contribute at FundRazr . If you’d like to donate a physical item Sacred Stone Camp has a list of supplies they need on their website and an Amazon wishlist . Related: Dakota Access Pipeline protesters raise over $1 million on GoFundMe Sign 21 different petitions at Change.org You can make your voice heard on the issue through numerous petitions online. Change.org has a ” Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline ” movement page with 21 different petitions. There you can sign the Rezpect Our Water petition started by Standing Rock youth or petitions targeted towards the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and President Obama . Call President Obama, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple Let the president know how you feel about the Dakota Access Pipeline. You can call the White House at (202) 456-1111 or at (202) 456-1414. You can send an email here or send a letter to The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20500. You can call the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at (202) 761-0011, fill out a contact form on their website, or write to Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 441 G Street NW, Washington, DC, 20314. You can also reach out to North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple at (701) 328-2200 or via his website’s contact form . You can write to him at Office of Governor, State of North Dakota, 600 East Boulevard Avenue, Bismarck, ND, 58505. Call or email Energy Transfer Partners executives Tell Energy Transfer Partners executives to stop building the pipeline . TheFreeThoughtProject.com provided contact information for three Energy Transfer executives . You can call Executive Vice President Lee Hanse at (210) 403-6455 or email him at Lee.Hanse@energytransfer.com. You can call Vice President Glenn Emery at (210) 403-6762 or email him at Glenn.Emery@energytransfer.com. Both men can be written to at 800 E Sontera Boulevard #400, San Antonio, Texas 78258. You can also call Lead Analyst Michael (Cliff) Waters at (713) 989-2404 or email him at Michael.Waters@energytransfer.com. You can write to him at 1300 Main Street, Houston, Texas, 77002. Join a local peaceful protest You can search Facebook events under #NoDAPL to find an event near you, or organize your own peaceful protest at ActionNetwork.org . Peacefully protest or close accounts at banks financing the pipeline Multiple large banks are financing the Dakota Access Pipeline, including Citibank, Wells Fargo, and the Bank of America. According to Food & Water Watch Senior Researcher Hugh MacMillan who spoke to Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! , there are numerous banks from around the world involved. Find out if your bank is funding the pipeline in Democracy Now!’s interview or in this article by Yes! Magazine . If you bank with an institution financing the pipeline, you could consider closing your account, peacefully protesting at bank locations, or contacting bank executives. Create a #NoDAPL Solidarity video to share on social media If you can’t travel to North Dakota yourself, you can show solidarity on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. On the Sacred Stone Camp’s Solidarity with Standing Rock Tumblr page, you can upload a video or picture with the hashtag #NoDAPL showing your support. A Tumblr account is not necessary to post to the page. Raise money creatively, such as through a bake sale What if you want to donate but don’t have much extra money to spare? The author’s friend held a bake sale and garage sale at her home in California and raised nearly $400 for Sacred Stone Camp’s GoFundMe. You just might have a few items lying around you don’t need anymore and could sell or donate; or if you’re crafty or love to bake you might be able to make items to sell to raise money. Share your ideas and the ways you’ve either raised money or supported the movement on social media with Inhabitat on Facebook , Twitter , and in the comments section of this post. + Standing Rock Sioux Tribe + Sacred Stone Camp Images via Fibonacci Blue on Flickr ( 1 , 2 , 3 ), Sacred Stone Camp GoFundMe , screenshot , Lars Plougmann on Flickr , Carl Wycoff on Flickr , Sacred Stone Camp Facebook , and Wikimedia Commons

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8 ways to help the water protectors at the Standing Rock Reservation

A visit to a treehouse in the Carpet Capital

November 15, 2016 by  
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When I first agreed to fly to Georgia to witness the opening of Mohawk Industries’ new design center in Dalton, I hadn’t appreciated that the event would take place on Election Day. And when I flew that morning from California, I never imagined that Donald Trump would be our new president — at least, not until the next morning when I woke up in Atlanta.Yes, plenty shocking for me and millions of others.  Obviously, that story is well covered elsewhere.

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A visit to a treehouse in the Carpet Capital

California Gets $7.5 Billion to Fix Water Woes as Proposition 1 Passes

November 5, 2014 by  
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Proposition 1 has passed, spelling at least some good news for Californians who faced one of the worst droughts in the state’s history this summer, and the fourth drought year in a row. Also known as the Water Bond , Proposition 1 sets aside a whopping $7.5 billion worth of funding for water projects aimed at things like water conservation, groundwater cleanup, and water storage. Read the rest of California Gets $7.5 Billion to Fix Water Woes as Proposition 1 Passes Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: brown , California , Drought , election , jerry , measures , proposition 1 , shortage , water bond , water issues , water storage , watershed restoration

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California Gets $7.5 Billion to Fix Water Woes as Proposition 1 Passes

Three Green Ballot Measures That Won Big On Election Night

November 8, 2012 by  
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Photo by Shutterstock By now, most of America has started to shake the Election Night hangover. While it was the wee hours of the morning before President Obama delivered his victory speech , many other victories were won early in the evening. There were several important environmental and socially responsible initiatives on state ballots this year, many of which were strongly opposed by big corporate and industrial interests. Thankfully, grassroots efforts prevailed in many cases, with environmental advocates winning landmark measures that will help keep humans, wildlife, and the planet safer as a result. Read on to find out which green ballot measures won and which ones will have to try again in the next election. Read the rest of Three Green Ballot Measures That Won Big On Election Night Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Climate Change , election 2012 , energy policy , environmental protection , fracking , GMOs , green jobs , obama , Romney

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Three Green Ballot Measures That Won Big On Election Night

What does the election outcome mean for climate policy?

November 8, 2012 by  
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Environmentalists cheered when President Obama gave a nod to climate change in his acceptance speech. But without a mandate on it, how will he push climate policy forward?

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What does the election outcome mean for climate policy?

Why California law, not the election, is a carbon game-changer

November 7, 2012 by  
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A prediction: A federal cap-and-trade program will be in place by 2016, no matter who gets elected president.

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Why California law, not the election, is a carbon game-changer

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