We Earthlings: Our Warming Planet Earth

April 28, 2020 by  
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Temperatures continue to rise around our planet. March 2020 was … The post We Earthlings: Our Warming Planet Earth appeared first on Earth911.com.

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We Earthlings: Our Warming Planet Earth

We Earthlings: Our Warming Planet Earth

April 28, 2020 by  
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Temperatures continue to rise around our planet. March 2020 was … The post We Earthlings: Our Warming Planet Earth appeared first on Earth911.com.

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We Earthlings: Our Warming Planet Earth

Reclaimed wood raft features an origami paper canopy

April 6, 2020 by  
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The innovative team at U.K.-based Inclume has come up with a unique way to take a break from the stresses of life. Its latest design is a reclaimed wood raft that accommodates two people. The Tetra raft even features a peaceful shading canopy made out of delicate, origami paper forms. Inspired by the shape of an abstracted sail, the volume of the raft incorporates multiple tetrahedron shapes. Entirely constructed out of reclaimed materials, Tetra achieves its buoyancy thanks to three old barrels that were donated to the team. Atop the barrels is the main platform, which is made of salvaged shipping pallets provided by a local carpenter. Several discarded garden bamboo canes comprise the frame and canopy. Even the boat’s oars, which were sanded and painted with a triangular motif, were donated from a local boat club. Related: Floating ICEBERG creatively confronts global warming With its tiny size and rustic nature, the reclaimed wood raft is perfect for an escape on the water. Adding a bit of serenity to the design is a beautiful, handcrafted canopy. This canopy consists of several triangular frames, which are crafted from thread entwined with recycled paper. The canopy is then covered in origami paper forms that add whimsy to the overall design. Intricately folded by hand, the paper forms sway gently in the wind and allow natural light and shade to dance across the raft. The Tetra raft was a temporary installation that took place on a local lake. During the day, passersby were encouraged to help the team construct parts of the raft on the shore. According to the designers, the aim of the event was not only to build a temporary, water-based shelter out of reclaimed materials, but to also encourage people to participate in similar projects in their communities. + Inclume Images via Inclume

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Reclaimed wood raft features an origami paper canopy

Reclaimed wood raft features an origami paper canopy

April 6, 2020 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

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The innovative team at U.K.-based Inclume has come up with a unique way to take a break from the stresses of life. Its latest design is a reclaimed wood raft that accommodates two people. The Tetra raft even features a peaceful shading canopy made out of delicate, origami paper forms. Inspired by the shape of an abstracted sail, the volume of the raft incorporates multiple tetrahedron shapes. Entirely constructed out of reclaimed materials, Tetra achieves its buoyancy thanks to three old barrels that were donated to the team. Atop the barrels is the main platform, which is made of salvaged shipping pallets provided by a local carpenter. Several discarded garden bamboo canes comprise the frame and canopy. Even the boat’s oars, which were sanded and painted with a triangular motif, were donated from a local boat club. Related: Floating ICEBERG creatively confronts global warming With its tiny size and rustic nature, the reclaimed wood raft is perfect for an escape on the water. Adding a bit of serenity to the design is a beautiful, handcrafted canopy. This canopy consists of several triangular frames, which are crafted from thread entwined with recycled paper. The canopy is then covered in origami paper forms that add whimsy to the overall design. Intricately folded by hand, the paper forms sway gently in the wind and allow natural light and shade to dance across the raft. The Tetra raft was a temporary installation that took place on a local lake. During the day, passersby were encouraged to help the team construct parts of the raft on the shore. According to the designers, the aim of the event was not only to build a temporary, water-based shelter out of reclaimed materials, but to also encourage people to participate in similar projects in their communities. + Inclume Images via Inclume

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Reclaimed wood raft features an origami paper canopy

First home solar pavement installed on a driveway

April 6, 2020 by  
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Solar tiles aren’t just for roofs anymore. Platio, a Budapest, Hungary-based tech company, has just installed the first solar pavement for use on a residential driveway. “Roofs are not the only surfaces that can be used for solar energy production,” said Platio co-founder and engineer Imre Sziszák. “Paved areas absorb solar radiation all day long as well. The walkable solar panels of Platio can utilize this new source of clean energy.” Related: New recycled plastic sidewalk harvests energy from the sun The system consists of interlocking units called Platio solar pavers. Each paver is made from 400 recycled PET plastic bottles for a product more durable than concrete, according to the company’s product video . Pavement can be installed in sizes of 10 to 30 square meters and is suitable for driveways, terraces, balconies and patios. The energy generated by Platio tiles is fed back to the household’s power network. A 20-square-meter solar pavement can cover the yearly energy consumption of an average household, according to the video. The developers aimed for aesthetically pleasing tiles that would look good in a driveway and would increase a home’s energy efficiency. The solar pavers are available in black, red, blue and green. Hardened glass tiles protect the solar cells. They are anti-slip, so people can safely walk on them, and the tiles are designed to be able to bear the weight of a car occasionally driving over. Electric car drivers can also use the solar paving system to fuel their vehicles. Inhabitat previously reported on a 50-square-foot solar sidewalk Platio installed at an EV charging station in Budapest. Other uses include connecting a Platio solar paver system in an outdoor square to benches equipped with digital boxes, from which people can charge their mobile devices. Pavers could also fuel streetlights on nighttime walking paths. Unlike roof-mounted solar tile systems, paved areas with good sunlight access have a larger-scale potential for energy production. + Platio Images via Platio

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First home solar pavement installed on a driveway

LastTissue offers a handkerchief for the modern world

March 11, 2020 by  
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LastObject, the company that brought you the  reusable  cotton swab LastSwab , is now offering consumers a more sustainable option when it comes to blowing their noses. The  Kickstarter  for the “modern handkerchief” LastTissue ends on March 12, 2020, and has already eclipsed its goal by over $700,000. The starter kit comes with three cases and 18 reusable tissues for $39 on Kickstarter. “It’s like if a handkerchief and a tissue pack had a baby,” said the company. The main storage case is made of  silicone , with an upper chamber to stuff the used tissues inside, room to store six organic cotton tissues and a lower slot to pull the clean tissues out. There is a barrier between the used and new tissues to maintain cleanliness and the kit comes with a specially marked tissue to place at the top of the pack to easily indicate when you’ve reached the last one. After washing, the tissues can be packed back into the silicone case for  reuse . Related: “Family cloths” reusable toilet wipes: gross or great? As for why the LastTissue is better than traditional tissues, the team at LastObject cites the  environmentally-damaging  aspects of the paper industry. According to the company, the paper/pulp industry is the third-largest industrial emitter of global warming gasses. What’s more, about 8,000,000 trees are cut down to make facial tissues each year for the United States alone. Each pack is designed to last for at least 2,800 wipes, saving the same number of paper tissues as well as the  plastic  packaging that they come in. The LastTissue tissues are made using organic cotton fabric, making it softer than traditional handkerchiefs and friendlier for your face.  The silicone cases come in different colors, each one representing a species that is endangered due to deforestation , Raccoon Blue, Dragonfly Turquoise, Fox Peach, Palm Green, Redwood Red and Bat Black. + Last Tissue

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Ice rink alternatives and their environmental impact

January 3, 2020 by  
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Ice rinks are an important fixture of winter sports, whether for ice hockey, speed skating, curling, ice dancing or figure skating. But with growing concerns about global warming , water scarcity and our planet’s climate crisis , even the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and the National Hockey League (NHL) have been considering the environmental issues related to coordinating ice sports events and ensuring energy consumption and rink-operating costs are feasible. As a result, there is now a movement towards utilizing synthetic ice on ice rinks. The first historical mention of a skating club’s founding was in 1642 in Edinburgh, Scotland. As skating clubs grew, they inspired inventors to create artificial ice surfaces, so the rink would not be at the whim of the weather. By 1843, a Punch magazine article featured the first artificial ice rink, “not of frozen water but of a slush of chemicals including hog’s lard and melted sulphur, which smelled abominably.” That was followed by the growing popularity of ice hockey from the 1880s onward, which increased the demand for more rink construction. When the 1890s rolled around, the rush to patent ice rink surfaces began and has not abated since. Related: 5 sustainable activities to make the most of a winter wonderland Rinks have long required both ice-making technical equipment and ice maintenance measures. Unfortunately, contemporary ice-making and maintenance technologies consume large amounts of energy and produce refrigerant gases that cause pollution , making them environmentally harmful. During the most recent determination of the NHL’s total carbon footprint , it was estimated to emit 530,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases , an amount rivaling the yearly emissions from 110,000 cars, says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Which refrigerant gases are linked to present-day ice rinks? The main refrigerants associated with most ice-making equipment include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), hydrocarbons, ammonia and carbon dioxide. CFCs and HCFCs are synthetic gases attributed to ozone layer destruction. HFCs heighten the greenhouse effect, while carbon dioxide similarly intensifies global warming. Plus, ammonia, when inhaled, aggressively causes irreversible respiratory damage. And hydrocarbons, like propane and isobutane, are highly combustible, often exacerbating smog formation. Hence, each of these gases adversely affects the environment.  Of course, as ice rink technology advances, many refrigerants are under a phase-out schedule, especially in Canada, due to the Montreal Protocol terms. Additionally, Canadian Consulting Engineer magazine reported: “Since 2010, no new HCFCs equipment have been manufactured in Canada or imported,” though extant ones are still in use today. Even with ammonia and carbon dioxide as the main refrigerants of choice for the majority of today’s ice rinks, they still have their attendant issues as well. For example, whereas ammonia may be a primary refrigerant, it is often utilized concurrently with brine to keep the rinks cold. The brine entails that this secondary fluid is high in salinity, having had salt added to boost its cooling properties. This highly saline secondary fluid, if leaked, can pose serious environmental damage. Meanwhile, despite “some rinks add[ing] ordinary salt to the water to keep them from freezing,” Wondergy documents, “most modern rinks now add ethylene glycol.” Ethylene glycol is a type of antifreeze, and it is highly toxic . Again, its leakage would be harmful to the environment, poisoning living organisms, their habitats and ecosystems . Other negative impacts of ice rinks include greenhouse gas emissions of carbon dioxide. For instance, CO2Meter reported that to shift away from coolants like HFCs and other fluorinated gases, some ice rinks have been using carbon dioxide-based refrigeration systems as their primary refrigerant. Carbon dioxide is a better alternative, though its use still contributes to global warming. Likewise, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has cataloged that other noxious emissions, such as high nitrogen dioxide levels and carbon monoxide, are being released by indoor ice rinks due to ice resurfacers, such as Zamboni rink vehicles. The EPA website states, “In enclosed ice arenas, a primary source of indoor air concerns is the release of combustion pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM) into the indoor air from the exhaust of fuel-fired ice resurfacers.” This assertion is supported by an Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) study , which shares that “nearly 40% of the rinks surveyed worldwide could be exceeding the World Health Organization’s 1-hour exposure guideline value for nitrogen dioxide in indoor air, with higher percentages of rinks exceeding this value in the US (55%) and Canada (46%). High nitrogen dioxide levels have been associated with respiratory problems such as severe coughs, chest pain and pulmonary edema.” Additionally, the same EDF study addresses carbon monoxide risks from ice rinks, citing that “High carbon monoxide levels can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and impaired performance. At the levels of carbon monoxide typically found in indoor rinks, fast breathing from skating or hockey can produce adverse health effects.” The combination of ice-making, ice-maintenance and ice-resurfacing factors pose harmful health consequences for those who frequent ice arenas and rinks. For these reasons, ice arenas and rinks are turning to synthetic ice as an alternative. Xtraice, a company known for building and distributing synthetic ice for rinks, says that synthetic ice’s significant advantages are that it doesn’t use water and thus doesn’t waste energy on ice-making or ice-maintenance. Rather, it eliminates the cost of water and electricity that traditional ice rinks contend with. Besides, a synthetic ice rink can be used 24/7 without having to be re-surfaced in the same way real ice does. Xtraice explains further that synthetic ice rinks “are cleaner and do not require big noisy generators and best of all, they do not emit CO2 into the atmosphere.” What’s the catch? Synthetic ice is mainly composed of high-density polyethylene panels. Polyethylene is the most common plastic on the market. Critics of plastic ice worry about the environmental implications of the microplastics that could be released as skates erode the synthetic ice surface and create shavings and abrasions, which, when brushed or cleaned off of the rink, would likely be dumped in the refuse bin. From there, they could find their way into waterways and oceans , polluting the environment. Accordingly, ice rinks can be viewed as a sustainability conundrum, at least for the time being. Traditional ice rinks have noise, energy waste and pollution costs. And their alternative, the synthetic ice rink, while resolving those issues, still generate other environmental concerns surrounding microplastic and plastic detriments. Only time will tell how the ice rink will evolve to become more eco-friendly. Via Xtraice and New York Times Images via Jimmy Chan , Suzy Hazelwood , Pixabay , and Lina Kivaka

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Obra Architects stimulates climate change discussion with a climate-correcting machine

December 18, 2019 by  
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To raise awareness about climate change, Obra Architects has created the Perpetual Spring , an eye-catching pavilion at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, Korea. Dubbed a “climate-correcting machine,” the installation uses greenhouse technology to create perpetual, spring-like weather conditions through the fall and winter in reference to global warming . The climate control system and informational audio-visual displays are also powered by solar energy generated by photovoltaic panels on the museum’s roof. Open to the public in a highly trafficked museum courtyard, the Perpetual Spring pavilion invites visitors to gather and discuss ideas in an environment that the designers say encourages progressive social change. Citing revolutions such as The Spring of Nations of 1848 and The Prague Spring of 1968, the designers assert that fair weather is a contributing factor to the kind of positive collective action needed to tackle climate change and inspire greater environmental stewardship. Related: Artist unveils sand-covered traffic jam on Miami beach to protest climate change “This project is a demonstration, a chance to focus public attention on issues of the city, climate change , our environment and the future,” the firm said. “In this unique experimental installation, we combine elements that will be used as a public platform for events to further broadcast our message as both a work of architecture, a work of art + technology + engineering, a work of social impact.” The metal pavilion is punctuated with 150 polycarbonate domes, each 90 centimeters in diameter, that the designers have likened to the eyes of an insect. These “eyes” aid in the greenhouse effect and give the building a dynamic, bulging appearance. In addition to passive solar heating, the pavilion is outfitted with solar-powered automatic exhaust fans, aluminum foil curtains and a phase-change radiant floor heating system. A garden will grow inside the pavilion during the fall and winter months. Perpetual Spring will remain on display at the museum until April 5, 2020. + Perpetual Spring Images via Obra Architects

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Obra Architects stimulates climate change discussion with a climate-correcting machine

This sustainable luxury smartwatch monitors climate change

November 7, 2019 by  
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Just in time for your conscious holiday shopping, Veldt, Inc. is unveiling its newest luxury smartwatch, the LUXTURE AARDE, designed with sustainability and wellness in mind. Possibly its most interesting feature, the Climate Action Reminder is a tool that shows how global warming has quickly increased temperatures compared to just 10 years ago along with other climate-related notifications. Aimed at giving the user the ideal level of alerts at the appropriate times, this luxury watch is not designed to bombard the wearer with too much information or to groom an over-reliance on technology. Unlike other modern smartwatches, the LUXTURE AARDE watch uses a combination of LED lights embedded into the watch face, vibrations and colors to convey messages rather than words, providing a less-intrusive, more subtle approach. Related: 14 apps to help you live a more sustainable lifestyle The watch comes with alerts connected to typical apps like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp as well as notifications for emails and calls. It also includes the ability to connect up to three different calendars and customize up to five VIP contacts. Yellow lights around the perimeter of the analog indicate moon phases, and the Pomodoro timer reminds you to take breaks during your workday. Additionally, LUXTURE AARDE takes data from your smartphone to help track health indicators such as activity level and steps on the connecting app. The Veldt LUXTURE AARDE watch comes in three styles: rose gold-toned with the “Birch” strap, stainless steel with the “Stone” strap and black with the “Calf” strap. Wearers will enjoy a wireless charging dock and an estimated battery life of three days. The watch connects to Bluetooth and is water-resistant as well. The collection ranges from $650 to $1,150 depending on the watch style. Perhaps the most alluring feature of the Veldt LUXTURE AARDE watch is its Climate Action Reminder. Aimed at promoting the personal well-being of the wearer, the feature offers information on UV radiation exposure, ocean wave levels and weather. The Climate Action Reminder calculates the daily average temperatures of the specific countries under the Paris Agreement. It also compares the temperature of your current location against the temperature a decade ago. This original function created by VELDT developers is directed at bringing awareness to the impact of climate change , hopefully providing the wearer with daily reminders to do their part in protecting the planet. + Veldt Images via Veldt

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This sustainable luxury smartwatch monitors climate change

Ice melt uncovers five new islands in the Russian Arctic

October 29, 2019 by  
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Five new Russian islands have emerged from the mass melting of glaciers and sea ice in the Arctic region. The islands were first spotted in 2016 by the Russian Navy via satellite imagery and were recently confirmed and mapped during an expedition this past August and September. Frequency of ice melt glaringly warns of climate impacts that are hitting harder and sooner than anticipated. Temperature changes stemming from global warming have adversely affected the Arctic. According to a September United Nations report , glaciers, snow, ice and permafrost are diminishing “and will continue to do so.” Similarly, Arctic sea ice has declined every month, “and it is getting thinner.” If greenhouse gas emissions levels continue to rise, the UN anticipates that around 70 percent of permafrost could be lost by 2100. Related: IPCC landmark report warns about the state of the oceans, polar ice content and the climate crisis Of the five yet unnamed islands, the smallest measures 900 square meters, and the largest measures 54,500 square meters. Their emergence highlights the UN’s warning that the period from 2015 to 2019 registered the most glacier loss of any five-year timespan. “Mainly this is, of course, caused by changes to the ice situation,” confirmed Vice Admiral Alexander Moiseyev, who was the expedition leader. “Before, these were glaciers; we thought they were part of the main glacier. Melting, collapse and temperature changes led to these islands being uncovered.” The new islands are located in proximity to the Vylki glacier , off the coast of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, just northwest of the Russian mainland. Video footage provided by the Russian expedition revealed seabirds, walruses and polar bears already populating the islands’ shores. Interestingly, the shrinking northern ice cap has opened up sea lanes in the Arctic, making them more navigable. The discovery of these five new islands amidst the accelerated receding of the ice caps will therefore have geopolitical and consequent environmental implications, since the Arctic may well become, in the future, a much-contested highway and natural resource center of oil, natural gas , mineral deposits and even immense fisheries. Via CNN Image via Christopher Michel

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