In a world first, the UK declares a climate emergency

May 7, 2019 by  
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In a victory for peaceful protest and the planet, the United Kingdom parliament is now the world’s first national legislative body to proclaim a climate change emergency. The decision comes on the heels of major protests by Extinction Rebellion that snarled London traffic for a week last month. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn proposed the emergency declaration. “Today, we have the opportunity to say, ‘We hear you,’” Corbyn told parliament . “By becoming the first parliament in the world to declare a climate emergency, we could, and I hope we do, set off a wave of action from parliaments and governments all around the world.” Related: Extinction Rebellion LA protests climate change by supergluing themselves to Universal globe The declaration was one of several demands made by Extinction Rebellion. Extinction Rebellion’s other demands call on Britain to eliminate all carbon emissions by 2025 and for citizens’ assemblies to be responsible for working out these initiatives, rather than the powers-that-be. Michael Gove, environment secretary under conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, acknowledged the danger of climate change. “Not only do I welcome the opportunity that this debate provides, I also want to make it clear that on this side of the house, we recognize that the situation we face is an emergency,” Gove said . “It is a crisis, it is a threat, that all of us have to unite to meet.” Gove and Corbyn both vowed to confront Donald Trump on his environmental stance when the U.S. president visits the U.K. in June. Many municipalities and regions of the U.K. have also declared climate emergencies, including Scotland, Wales, Manchester and London, noting that the clock is winding down for Earth’s inhabitability by humans. As one sign hoisted by a Scottish school child during last month’s protests said, “Dinosaurs thought they had time, too.” Via Reuters , The Guardian Image via David Holt

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In a world first, the UK declares a climate emergency

Are you accidentally eating the toxic parts of fruits and veggies?

April 10, 2019 by  
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Nearly every reference to healthy eating will list fresh fruits and vegetables at the top of the must-eat list. That’s no surprise, considering that together, they can provide nearly every vitamin and mineral a body needs. While some produce options can be gobbled up from the outer skin to the inner seed, there are parts of certain fruits and vegetables that contain dangerous substances. While most of these substances are not toxic in small doses, they can definitely make you sick, especially if you have any sort of compromised system, allergies or food sensitivities. Even the healthiest eater should be aware of the dangers that lurk in their food. Here’s a reference to the parts you should avoid in your favorite fruits and veggies. Non-organic skins Before we get into specific types of fruits and vegetables, it’s important to mention the role organic growing practices have on food. That’s because conventional growing methods douse produce with pesticides, herbicides and insecticides. If you consume the edible skin on conventionally raised pears, apricots, grapes and carrots, you are allowing those chemicals directly into your system. It makes the case for buying certified organic products raised sans the toxins. At the very least, be sure to thoroughly wash your produce before eating. Related: 15 fresh ideas for leftover fruit that will reduce your food waste Apples Full of all kinds of nutrients , an apple a day can indeed help keep the doctor away. But stop short of eating the entire apple, because the seeds contain the amygdalin molecule, which produces cyanide once ingested. In small doses, it will not cause serious illness. But take heed in the warning surrounding the word cyanide, or you may suffer a serious ache in the pit of your stomach. Pits Speaking of pits, toss the center of cherries, apricots, peaches, plums and apricots. They contain the same organic cyanide components as apple seeds. Even though they aren’t likely to send you to the emergency room, it’s best to avoid aggravating your system. Raw almonds and cashews This one might surprise you, because nuts aren’t typically listed under the category of fruits or vegetables. That’s because almonds and cashews are not actually nuts, but rather seeds. While seeds offer lots of yummy benefits, these two varieties also contain cyanide — but only in their raw form. Now don’t be too alarmed, because it is illegal to sell truly raw almonds in the U.S. Even those packaged and clearly labeled as raw have been steamed or cooked another way. They’ve all been through the pasteurization process, too, after a salmonella outbreak a few years ago was trailed back to the fruit. Lemon and lime seeds All parts of lemons and limes can be consumed, and they offer many health benefits. However, if you have a condition that recommends against ingesting seeds, you will want to avoid these citrus seeds. They can be hard to digest. Rhubarb leaves Hear the word rhubarb and you likely think of the sweet pie served across the country. But see rhubarb on the plant , and you might be surprised to see a fleshy pink to lime green, celery-shaped stalk. The taste of raw rhubarb is extremely tart and favored by few. As unappealing as the stalks might be, the leaves are actually quite poisonous. The leafy green portion contains dangerously high levels of oxalic acid, which can cause serious kidney damage and even death. While it does take high quantities to cause this severity of illness, even a small amount can make you feel sick. Related: 8 of the best fruits and vegetables you can eat in their entirety Cantaloupe skin While you can power right through the skin of many fruits , the outer rind of cantaloupe should be avoided. That’s because it is extremely susceptible to mold, which can make you quite ill. Lychee and ackee Lychee can be a spectacularly sweet treat. But if eaten while unripe, it can cause fever, convulsions and seizures, especially in individuals who are malnourished or have eaten it on a completely empty stomach. The unripe fruit appears to lower blood sugar, which can cause hypoglycemia. Ackee contains the same poison as lychee and is always cooked before consumption. Starfruit Although mostly safe for healthy individuals, starfruit can be fatal if you have any sort of kidney condition. Without proper kidney function, the toxins in starfruit can affect the brain and cause neurological issues. Early signs of a reaction to starfruit include hiccups, confusion and seizures. Asparagus Asparagus is a healthy vegetable known for its firm, green stalk. The plant also produces enticing red berries that are toxic and can cause vomiting and diarrhea, even in small doses. Potatoes Potatoes have the potential to develop a green color just under the surface of the skin when exposed to light. This green color is an indication that it has produced too much solanine, a natural glycoalkaloid, that can cause headaches, nausea, fatigue and intestinal issues. Store your potatoes in a cool, dark place, and avoid consuming green areas that develop. Cassava Cassava is ubiquitous in many parts of the world. Those who consume it regularly are acutely aware that it must first be dried, soaked and cooked properly, as consuming the raw form can result in serious health conditions. With these exceptions in mind, remember that fruits and vegetables are the best foods you can source for your body. Be informed about potential risks, and then enjoy the bounty provided by nature. Images via Shutterstock

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Are you accidentally eating the toxic parts of fruits and veggies?

Locally crafted childrens learning center doubles as an emergency shelter in the Philippines

February 11, 2019 by  
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Scandinavian design studio Native Narrative is raising the bar for after-school facilities in the rural Philippines with their recent completion of the Children’s Learning Center in the Island of Leyte’s Village Mas-in. The facility primarily serves as a child-friendly after-school space during weekdays and weekends, however, it has also been engineered to double as an emergency shelter in the event of a natural disaster. Created in close collaboration with local NGOs and the local government, the prototype project was constructed from locally available materials and local, relatively unskilled labor. The Children’s Learning Center and emergency shelter was created in response to the newly approved Children’s Emergency Relief Protection Act in the Philippines , a law that calls for local and national agencies to establish child-friendly spaces for the improved protection and development of children. Created to serve ages 4 to 17, the 63-square-meter Village Mas-in facility offers a space to play, study and gather with the community. The building includes a library unit, study spaces, a reading area, two bathrooms and a performance area. The facility is one of four Native Narrative-designed after-school facilities built in 2018; five more site-specific buildings will be constructed in 2019. “It has been important for us to create something that made sense in the local context both practically and in terms of character,” explains Jakob Gate, architect at Native Narrative, of the firm’s choice to use locally sourced materials and local labor. “The building is a collection of borrowed components from the predominant architectural language in the locality, although does not resemble any one particular building. The minimal colour pallet is reducing the environment to a backdrop where children, books and toys are standing out.” Local carpenters made all the furniture of plywood, while local weavers wove the seat covers from Pandan grass. Related: The Philippines envisions a green smart city to combat pollution in Manila Due to the Philippines’ location on the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire,’ the country is highly susceptible to natural disasters including typhoons, earthquakes and floods. To fortify the emergency shelter against these events, the architects designed a reinforced-concrete structure with a symmetrical column layout, hollow block walls and a lightweight metal roof. The building is also raised to protect against flooding. + Native Narrative Images by Jakob Gate

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Locally crafted childrens learning center doubles as an emergency shelter in the Philippines

Recycling Mystery: Emergency Flares

December 5, 2018 by  
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Ah the emergency flare, a product you probably don’t think … The post Recycling Mystery: Emergency Flares appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earthling Survey: How Much for a Zero-Emission Vehicle?

December 5, 2018 by  
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Express your opinion and help drive environmental change. Every week, … The post Earthling Survey: How Much for a Zero-Emission Vehicle? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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An old school bus is now a solar-powered tiny home with a rooftop deck

November 5, 2018 by  
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Just as he was about to finish college, New Jersey-native Michael Fuehrer took a long road trip where he had a bit of a revelation — he needed to create a home for his “restless mind and wandering soul.” The result? A beautifully renovated 2004 Thomas Freightliner that he converted into his dream home on wheels , complete with a rooftop sun deck. Today, Fuehrer enjoys living life off the grid, traveling whenever and wherever he wants in his solar-powered skoolie, lovingly called  Navigation Nowhere . With a little help from his father and friends, it took Fuehrer about nine months to finish the  bus conversion , which took place in his very patient parents’ driveway. On his blog , where he recounts the process, he said that the first step was the most grueling — gutting the run-down interior. He started with removing the seats by painstakingly grinding out every bolt that held them in place. The next steps were to remove the flooring, ceiling and side panels. Related: Family of five moves from a 2,100-square-foot-house to a beautifully renovated school bus Once the old, rusted interior was cleaned, the next step was to create a livable space out of the compact, 180-square-foot interior. To make maximum use out of the tiny space, Fuehrer decided to install various space-saving features and flexible, custom-made furnishings that serve multiple functions. For instance, two long couches, which were installed on either side of the open-plan living area, provide plenty of seating. When needed, they fold out to create one large bed that meets in the middle, or just one can be folded out into one small bed. Hidden underneath the couches is a large wooden table that can be set up for a dining area for up to eight people. Moving back from the living room, the kitchen is an impressive space that includes extra long counters, a kitchen sink, a full oven with stovetop and a refrigerator. At the far end of the bus is the master bedroom. Also set up to be a flexible space, this area has a sofa that folds out into a bed and two desks that simply click into place when the need to work arises. The ambitious design also features a tiled bathroom with a full shower and a  composting toilet . Throughout the tiny home, there are ample windows and even three skylights (originally the emergency exits) that make the space more welcoming. The exterior of the bus was painted a forest green, with a few wood panels added on to the sides. At first sight, the panels seem decorative, but they serve a dual purpose. A side table made out of reclaimed wood  swings out to become an outdoor dining space. Walking out to the back of the bus, a ladder leads up to the rooftop deck, which shares space with the solar array. Solar panels , as well as propane tanks and a massive 130-gallon water tank, allow Fuehrer to live off the grid for long spans of time. + Navigation Nowhere Via Tiny House Talk Images via Michael Fuehrer

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An old school bus is now a solar-powered tiny home with a rooftop deck

Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupts, forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate

May 4, 2018 by  
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Kilauea, the most active volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island, erupted late yesterday after a spate of earthquakes . The state’s governor, David Ige, declared a local state of emergency. There are active volcanic vents on the Makamae and Mohala streets, and hundreds of residents have been ordered to evacuate. The eruption on Thursday took place at Kilauea volcano’s East Rift Zone — and Hawaii News Now said Leilani Estates subdivision residents fled with little but the clothes they were wearing. There was another eruption on Friday, and at least a dozen more earthquakes have shaken the area. Related: After 250 earthquakes in 24 hours, Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano might erupt In the wake of the eruption, schools have closed, and so has a geothermal power plant. The Hawaii Fire Department reported “extremely high levels of dangerous sulfur dioxide gas detected in the evacuation area.” The County of Hawaii Civil Defense Agency has ordered mandatory evacuations for multiple subdivisions, and Gizmodo reported  that around 1,700 people reside in the immediate evacuation area, although more than 10,000 people live in the volcano’s vicinity. Emergency shelters opened at community centers. Ige has activated Hawaii’s National Guard, and Hawaii senator Brian Schatz said on Twitter that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is mobilizing resources and is monitoring “for forest fires , power outages, and water supply disruption.” Hawaii News Now spoke to Ikaika Marzo, who was one of the first people in Leilani Estates to see active lava , and he reportedly saw fountains about 100 feet high. Another local resident told the news outlet, “My family is safe, the rest of the stuff can be replaced. When I bought here 14 years, I knew that this day would eventually come. But the reality is sinking in now.” + County of Hawaii Via Hawaii News Now and Gizmodo Images via U.S. Geological Survey

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Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupts, forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate

After 250 earthquakes in 24 hours, Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano might erupt

May 3, 2018 by  
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Out of the five volcanoes on Hawaii’s Big Island, Kilauea is the most active — and it’s threatening to erupt. After a collapse event at the Pu’u ‘?’? vent, in the volcano’s East Rift Zone, around 250 earthquakes happened. Authorities are warning people to remain on alert, because scientists observed magma flowing under a main road close to houses. Will Kilauea erupt? Seismic activity could result in a lava breakout, but Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists can’t say exactly what time or where it might happen. The crater collapse and earthquakes are “associated with the continued intrusion of magma into the East Rift Zone to locations east of Highway 130. An outbreak of lava from the lower East Rift Zone remains a possible outcome of the continued unrest,” according to the observatory. The Independent said there are homes in that part of the island, and Highway 130 leads to an access point enabling visitors to hike or cycle to a lava viewing area. Related: Mesmerizing volcano “skylights” give a glimpse under the Earth’s surface Local residents have noticed cracks in roads near the Leilani Estates subdivision, but so far neither heat nor steam have been observed escaping from the cracks, which are small. The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said areas that could be impacted are Leilani Estates, Nanawale Estates or Kapoho. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory offered resources for those who want to stay updated about Kilauea ; sign up for notification emails from the Volcano Notification Service at this USGS website or sign up for the Civil Defense Emergency Notification System at the County of Hawaii website . The volcano’s activity hasn’t always been explosive in the past, but a 1924 eruption spewed ash and rocks into the air and killed one man. The summit crater gushed rock and lava across 75 acres in 2008, and a view point was damaged. + Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (1, 2) + County of Hawaii Via The Independent and CNN Images via Depositphotos and U.S. Geological Survey

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After 250 earthquakes in 24 hours, Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano might erupt

London considers banning wood-burning stoves to tackle air pollution

October 2, 2017 by  
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Wood-burning stoves could be producing up to one third of London’s fine particle pollution , according to figures cited by the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan . A ban on the stoves could help address the air pollution plaguing the capital; last week, Khan triggered the emergency air quality alert for the seventh time in 13 months. Wood-burning stoves have recently been popular in Britain – The Guardian reports 1.5 million have been sold in the country. 16 percent of households in southeast England have the stoves, compared to five percent nationally. But somewhere between a quarter and a third of fine particle pollution in the capital could arise from domestic wood burning. And King’s College London research indicates during very high air pollution in January, domestic wood burning yielded half of the emissions in some parts of London. Related: London breaks legal limits on air pollution in just five days in 2017 Khan said, “Non-transport sources contribute half of the deadly emissions in London, so we need a hard-hitting plan of action to combat them similar to moves I am taking to reduce pollution from road vehicles. With more than 400 schools located in areas exceeding legal pollution levels, and significant health impacts on our most vulnerable communities, we cannot wait any longer.” In a letter to Environment Secretary Michael Grove, Khan requested London’s environment department amend a Clean Air Act to set up zero-emission zones where people won’t be allowed to burn solid fuel from 2025 on. Khan also called for tougher enforcement on emissions restrictions for construction machinery like diggers and bulldozers, and for greater powers to tackle emissions coming from Thames River traffic. In a statement , the London government said half of toxic emissions come from cars and other road vehicles, and that the second-largest source of PM 2.5 particles is construction machinery. Via The Guardian Images via Pixabay and Joshua Newton on Unsplash

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London considers banning wood-burning stoves to tackle air pollution

Frida the rescue dog helps search for survivors after Mexico’s deadly earthquake

September 25, 2017 by  
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A 7.1 magnitude earthquake recently rocked Mexico , and in Mexico City , 15 dogs came to the rescue. But few are quite as beloved as Frida, a 7-year-old Labrador who achieved Twitter fame. The Internet at first thought she’d found 52 people after the earthquake, and while that figure isn’t correct – she’s found 52 over the course of her whole career – it’s hard not to fall in love with a rescue dog in blue boots and goggles. Hit the jump to hear more about her tale. Frida is part of the Mexican navy’s Canine Unit. According to the Los Angeles Times, she has helped to find 52 people after disasters over the course of her career – 12 of whom have been alive. Around two weeks ago, she detected the body of a police officer following an earthquake in Oaxaca. Now she’s on the hunt for people in Mexico City, after a 7.1 earthquake killed at least 300 people across five states in Mexico. According to Al Jazeera , rescue operations halted on Saturday following a new aftershock. Related: 12 comfort dogs dispatched to grief-stricken Orlando Su valiosa ayuda y amor por el ser humano, hacen que de su máximo esfuerzo para salvar vidas #perrosrescatistas pic.twitter.com/jpidngFREV — SEMAR México (@SEMAR_mx) September 21, 2017 Frida, who’s named after famed Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, has been searching for people after suiting up in a harness, protective goggles, and boots on her four paws. She was sent to the Enrique Rebsamen school last Tuesday, where other emergency workers found 25 people dead and 11 alive. Her handler, Israel Arauz Salinas, said usually two other Belgian Malinois dogs, Evil and Echo, enter collapsed structures first, since they’re younger than Frida, each at a year-and-a-half old. If they detect someone, Frida goes in to confirm the find, typically taking no more than 20 minutes. According to Salinas, the dogs clue in rescue workers they might have found signs of life by barking. The dogs have had to hunt in spaces under 20 inches high. They’ve been able to crawl into places deeper than human rescue workers. Ella es #Frida , #OrgulloNaval que ha logrado salvar 52 vidas en distinto desastres naturales a nivel Nacional e Internacional pic.twitter.com/icYKDofDd7 — SEMAR México (@SEMAR_mx) September 13, 2017 Frida doesn’t just come to the rescue in Mexico. Salinas said Frida also helped after an April earthquake in Ecuador last year. Via the Los Angeles Times and Gizmodo Images via screenshot ( 1 , 2 )

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Frida the rescue dog helps search for survivors after Mexico’s deadly earthquake

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