12 good things that happened for the environment in 2019

December 26, 2019 by  
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For folks who read — and write — about sustainability, dire projections are revealed every day. Between rainforest fires and ocean pollution, much of the news is grim. However, 2019 also brought good news. In the spirit of optimism as we start a new year, let’s hope our species can build on this year’s gains in 2020. Here are a few high points from 2019. Banana leaves as packaging If you’ve ever had the good fortune to visit a southern Indian restaurant in Asia, you may have been served dinner on a banana leaf instead of a plate. Now, that idea has found its way into some Thai supermarkets. Forbes reported on Rimping supermarket in Chiangmai, Thailand that wraps its produce in banana leaves and secures them with a piece of bamboo . Way to cut down on plastic packaging! Robots rejuvenating reefs As we learned in the classic yet highly disturbing film  2001,  not all  robots are trustworthy. However,  Tech Crunch informed us about Larvalbot, a new underwater robot that is reseeding old corals with new polyps. A bot-controlling team at Queensland University of Technology is finding that robots can do this much faster than humans — and lack that pesky need to breathe. Good news for the American barrier reef Meanwhile, in Florida, researchers at Tampa’s Florida Aquarium  worked on “Project Coral” in partnership with London’s  Horniman Museum and Gardens . They announced their first successful attempt at Atlantic coral reproduction in a lab setting. The objective: to create large  coral egg deposits in a laboratory and ultimately repopulate the Florida Reef Tract. Inhabitat reported about how this could have important implications for saving barrier reefs. Help for the rainforests One Green Planet held out some hope for the tropical land being devastated by  palm oil plantations. A collaboration between the Peruvian government, the National Wildlife Federation, conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo and the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers’ Association (JUNPALMA) led to an agreement to only produce sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil by 2021. Peru will join the ranks of South American countries fighting palm oil deforestation, the second after Colombia. Cactus plastic developed in Mexico Research professor Sandra Pascoe Ortiz and other scientists at the University of Valle de Atemajac in Zapopan, Mexico used prickly pear juice to craft a new biodegradable plastic. This cactus plastic begins breaking down in a month when placed in soil and only a few days in water. Unlike traditional plastics, no crude oil is required, according to Forbes . Things are looking up for whales Humpback whales have made a comeback off the South American coast, USA Today reported. After nearing extinction in the 1950s, numbers have surged from a low of 440 South Atlantic humpbacks to more than 25,000. The rise in population coincides with the end of whaling in the 1970s. North American whales got a new app this year. Inhabitat reported on Washington State Ferries implementing a whale report alert system. This new app notifies ferry captains of the whereabouts of orcas and other cetaceans in Puget Sound to help prevent boat strikes. Baby girls and tree planting In the Indian village of Piplantri, families plant 111 trees every time a baby girl is born. Since 2006, this village has been fighting stigma against the double X chromosome, leading to more than 350,000 trees planted so far. The number 111 is said to bring success in Indian culture, according to this YouTube video about Piplantri. Renewable energy growth The International Renewable Energy Agency released a study showing that renewable energy capacity continued to grow globally. Solar and wind energy accounted for 84 percent of recent growth, according to Bioenergy International . Brazilian street dogs and cats get comfy and stylish beds Young artist Amarildo Silva realized he could do something about two problems in his Brazilian city Campina Grande: stray animals and too much trash. He began making colorful beds out of  upcycled tires for both pets and strays. The 23-year-old has been able to leave his supermarket job and make a living as an artist while having a positive and far-reaching effect on his city. The stray  dogs themselves inspired Silva’s breakthrough idea. He noticed that at night, they liked to bed down in discarded tires. So Silva began to collect old tires from landfills, streets and parking lots. After he cleans and cuts them down to size, he decorates the tires with paw prints, bones and hearts, according to Bored Panda . Dogs and cats sleep better, and people see art, not the eyesores of discarded tires. Video game entrepreneur saves North Carolina forests Tim Sweeney, co-founder of Epic Games, has amassed billions with games like Fortnite, Unreal Tournament  and  Gears of War.  Fortunately for the world, he’s putting the money to excellent use. Over the last decade, he’s spent millions on  forest preservation in his home state of North Carolina, according to  The Gamer . This video game developer likes his land undeveloped. South Korean food recycling soars Since 2005, when the South Korean government prohibited people from sending food to landfills, the amount of recycled food waste has soared to 95 percent. This is amazing, considering less than two percent was recycled in 1995. Seoul residents are now required to discard their food waste in special biodegradable bags, which cost families an average of six dollars per month. Money paid for bags covers more than half the cost of collecting and processing this waste, according to Huffington Post . Will artificial islands draw wildlife back to Netherlands? After a dyke collapsed in the Markermeer, an enormous, 270-mile Dutch lake, water became too cloudy with sediment to sustain fish, plants and birds. Now a Dutch NGO called Natuurmonumenten is building five artificial islands out of silt at a cost of €60 million, mostly from public donation, according to The Daily Mail . They hope that this faux archipelago will draw wildlife back to the lake. And so do we. Here’s hoping for more good news in 2020.

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12 good things that happened for the environment in 2019

Inhabitat is hiring: morning news writer + social media editor

April 28, 2017 by  
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Calling all writers and editors with a passion for design and the environment! Inhabitat is hiring for two positions right now: Social Media Editor and Morning News Writer . Both are freelance, part-time, work-from-home positions. They could potentially be combined into a larger commitment for the right candidate, or two separate jobs for separate people. For more about each position and how to apply, please read on: MORNING NEWS WRITER Inhabitat is hiring a dedicated morning writer to cover breaking developments in the fields of environmental news , design , technology , and policy . We’re offering the right candidate first-rate story opportunities, 20 hours of work per week, and a platform to broadcast your voice to millions of monthly readers around the globe. Candidates must be available every weekday at 8am ET, and you should be able to source and quickly turn around breaking news stories with clarity, precision and wit. If you think you’d make a great new addition to the Inhabitat team, send the following information to editor [at] inhabitat.com with the headline “ Inhabitat News Writer “: 1. A cover letter telling us a bit about yourself, what your interests/specialties are, and why you would make a fantastic news writer for Inhabitat. 2. Your weekly availability. 3. Three breaking news stories that you would like to write for Inhabitat. 4. Three published story clips or links to online articles you have written. SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR Inhabitat is hiring a part-time social media editor for a weekend shift, (4 hours) as well as additional hours as needed during the week. Familiarity and expertise with current social media trends is a must, particularly including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Reddit and Flipboard. Brownie points for experience or interest in live video (Facebook live, Instagram, Snapchat) or other new forms of publishing. If you think you’d make the perfect social media editor for Inhabitat, send the following information to editor [at] inhabitat.com with the headline “ Inhabitat Social Editor “: 1. A cover letter and resume telling us a bit about yourself, your background, experience and interest, and why you would make a great Social Media Editor for Inhabitat. 2. Your weekday and weekend availability. 3. Two published story clips or links to online articles you have written or edited. 4. Links to social media accounts you have managed (can be your personal account or for a brand). Examples: pinterest, twitter, instagram, facebook, etc

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400-Year-Old Arctic Plants Frozen by Glaciers Come Back From the Dead

August 16, 2015 by  
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A crop of 400-year-old plants that were wiped out by glaciers have come back from the dead, BBC News reports . Researchers exploring the Teardrop Glacier high up in the Canadian Arctic say that the ice has been retreating at a rate of three to four meters every year since 2004, exposing land that has been covered since the Little Ice Age that took place between AD 1550 and AD 1850. While on a recent expedition, the University of Alberta team discovered something that had a “greenish tint.” It turned out to be ancient bryophytes sprouting new growth after 400 years of dormancy! Read the rest of 400-Year-Old Arctic Plants Frozen by Glaciers Come Back From the Dead

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World’s first ‘bee highway’ protects endangered pollinators in Oslo

June 26, 2015 by  
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Bees in the capital city of Norway now have their own ‘highway’ thanks to a pioneering initiative by environmentalists protecting urban bees. Concerted efforts to sprout pollinator-friendly plants on rooftops, balconies and in gardens throughout Oslo give bees a safe space to proliferate without having to overcome pesticides and other human-caused curve balls that have decimated global bee populations. Headed by Bybi , the project has captured the attention of private individuals, businesses and various state bodies, who can map their section of highway on a dedicated webpage . Read the rest of World’s first ‘bee highway’ protects endangered pollinators in Oslo Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Animals , bee highway , bee hive , bee news , bees , Biodiversity , Bybi , colony collapse disorder , environmental news , habitat , highway for bees , norway , oslo , pesticides , pollinator friendly plants , pollinator highway , rooftop gardens , super highway

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World’s first ‘bee highway’ protects endangered pollinators in Oslo

Honeybees devastated by second highest bee die-off on record in 2014

May 14, 2015 by  
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According to the Bee Informed Partnership , in 2014 beekeepers across the United States reported the second highest number of losses ever recorded, signaling a serious threat to America’s food supply. Conducted in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America and the United States Department of Agriculture , the study surveyed 14.5 percent of the 2.74 million managed bee colonies in the country and found that 42.1 percent of bees died between April 2014 and April 2015. Oklahoma reported the highest losses at 63.4 percent, while Hawaii posted the lowest number at 14 percent. Read the rest of Honeybees devastated by second highest bee die-off on record in 2014 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: agriculture , bee die-offs , bee informed , bees , colony collapse disorder , environmental news , managed bee colonies , neonicotinoids , pesticides , pollinator die-offs , president obama , threat to food supply , US bee colonies

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Honeybees devastated by second highest bee die-off on record in 2014

How Nestle is pillaging California’s water in the 4th year of the state’s worst drought

May 14, 2015 by  
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If you’ve been paying any attention to California’s devastating drought , chances are you’ve shared—or at the very least encountered—some of the growing rage towards Nestlé ‘s ongoing, largely unchecked water bottling operation in the parched state. While Starbucks recently announced they would transfer their Ethos water bottling facility from California to Pennsylvania, Nestlé CEO Tim Brown said: “Absolutely not. In fact, if I could increase [water bottling operations], I would.” As Governor Jerry Brown enacts the state’s first water restrictions , it’s time to demand that Nestlé cease its bottled water operation – sign this petition to make your voice heard ! STOP NESTLE FROM BOTTLING CALIFORNIA’S WATER > Read the rest of How Nestle is pillaging California’s water in the 4th year of the state’s worst drought Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: arrowhead , bottle water , california drought , groundwater , groundwater desert , jerry brown , morongo , Nestlé , pure life , san bernardino , tim brown , water cost , water ethics , water price , water restrictions , water shortage

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How Nestle is pillaging California’s water in the 4th year of the state’s worst drought

This Star Wars retrofitted Volkswagen van is just the droid you’re looking for

May 14, 2015 by  
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The classic Volkswagen Camper Van has been given custom paint jobs for almost as long as it’s been around. Admittedly, the vast majority of those alterations done by the free-loving, tie-dyed and Deadhead crowds. But mimaki cg60 —an Instructables user in Brazil—had slightly different plans for his family’s beaten up VW; as he puts it, after a marathon viewing of Star Wars he found exactly the droid he was looking for. About 50 hours of Photoshop work went into recreating all of R2-D2 ‘s various components, which were then printed onto vinyl to provide a modular custom car wrap. The project isn’t quite finished yet—so if you have thoughts on hubcaps, or whether or not a Millennium Falcon should be added atop the bus, head over to mimaki cg60′s Instructables page! Via CNET Image via mimaki cg60 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: custom car design , instructables star wars , r2-d2 , r2-vw , r2-vwvw camper van , r2d2 van , star wars , star wars tribute , vinyl wrap car , volkswagen camper , volkswagen van , vw camper van

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This Star Wars retrofitted Volkswagen van is just the droid you’re looking for

INFOGRAPHIC: Top 18 houseplants for purifying the air you breathe, according to NASA

May 14, 2015 by  
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Houseplants do wonders for a house: they breathe new life to a room, add a bright pop of color, and purify the air . Not all plants are equally effective, however, when it comes to filtering harmful air-borne toxins and pollutants . NASA conducted a Clean Air Study to identify the best air-filtering indoor plants, all of which commonly found at local flower shops, to help guide us in our purchasing decisions. Even better, Love The Garden created an infographic that lists 18 NASA-recommended plants for improving air quality as well as the common toxins that each plant can treat. Read the rest of INFOGRAPHIC: Top 18 houseplants for purifying the air you breathe, according to NASA Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: air filtering houseplants , Clean Air Study , houseplants , houseplants improve air quality , infographic , nasa , reader submitted content

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INFOGRAPHIC: Top 18 houseplants for purifying the air you breathe, according to NASA

Vampire power is sucking away your savings, to the tune of $19 billion a year

May 14, 2015 by  
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Your mother probably taught you to turn off the light when you leave a room. Why waste money and energy when you’re not using it, right? Well, there are lots of other sneaky ways that we’re wasting electricity, and it’s costing us big time. Vampire power, or standby power, is the energy wasted by appliances and other electronic gadgets that are drawing power when not actually in use. It’s costing Americans $19 billion annually, according to a new report from the National Resources Defense Council. Read the rest of Vampire power is sucking away your savings, to the tune of $19 billion a year Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: how to lower utility bill , how to lower your electric bill , how to save energy , how to save money on electricity , standby power , Vampire Power , wasted energy , wasted power

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Vampire power is sucking away your savings, to the tune of $19 billion a year

New study finds Great Barrier Reef corals eat plastic pollution

March 2, 2015 by  
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One creature’s trash may be another creature’s lunch, according to new research out of James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, which suggests that some Great Barrier Reef corals eat plastic pollution. While researchers continue to study the affect these microplastics could have on coral and marine health, the reefs will likely keep on eating, and thereby cleaning up, our mess. Read the rest of New study finds Great Barrier Reef corals eat plastic pollution Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: australia , coral reefs , corals , corals eating plastic , eating plastic , environmental news , fringe reefs , Great Barrier Reef , James Cook , james cook university , marine biology , microplastics , Nora Hall , Ocean Plastic , plastic , plastic pollution , plastic-eating coral , queensland , scleractinian corals

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