Switzerland rules lobsters must be stunned before they are boiled

January 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Lobsters may not really scream when you boil them – they don’t possess vocal cords – but research shows they can feel pain, and Switzerland’s government decided to do something about the common culinary practice of boiling lobsters alive. According to the government order, the crustaceans “will now have to be stunned before they are put to death.” Lobsters in Switzerland now have to be stunned before chefs plunge them into hot water to cook them. The government banned the practice of boiling live lobsters amid concerns the creatures might be able to experience pain. Research from Queen’s University Belfast seems to back them up – a 2013 study on crabs discovered they’re likely to feel pain. Since then, researchers have called upon the food industry to reconsider the treatment of crabs and other live crustaceans like prawns and lobsters. Related: 132-year-old lobster returned to ocean after living in tank for 20 years Switzerland’s new rule is part of an overhaul of animal protection laws that goes into effect on March 1. Swiss public broadcaster RTS said the accepted stunning methods are electric shock or mechanical destruction of the creature’s brain. The government is also outlawing the practice of transporting live crustaceans like lobsters in icy water or on ice, saying they must “always be held in their natural environment.” Some people have contended crustaceans like lobsters can’t feel pain, since they only possess nociception, or “a reflex response to move away from a noxious stimulus,” according to Nature ‘s news blog . Animal behavior researcher Robert Elwood doesn’t agree. He said there’s strong evidence crustaceans do feel pain. Via The Guardian and Nature News Blog Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

See the rest here:
Switzerland rules lobsters must be stunned before they are boiled

Scotland to ban manufacture and sale of plastic cotton swabs

January 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Scotland could be the first country in the United Kingdom to ban plastic -stemmed cotton swabs. Both the manufacture and sale of the polluting items – hundreds were found during a recent Gullane beach clean-up – would be banned. Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said, “…people are continuing to flush litter down their toilets and this has to stop. Scotland’s sewerage infrastructure collects and treats some 945 million liters of wastewater each day. These systems are not designed to remove small plastic items such as plastic buds, which can kill marine animals and birds that swallow them.” Campaigners said the Scotland government plans to ban manufacture and sale of plastic-handled cotton swabs, according to The Guardian – and that move could slash the country’s contribution to ocean plastic pollution in half, according to Friends of the Earth Scotland director Richard Dixon. Cunningham launched a public consultation on a ban, describing it as evidence of the government’s goal to address marine plastic. Related: Scientists call for a worldwide ban on the ‘global hazard’ of glitter It’s a photo that I wish didn’t exist but now that it does I want everyone to see it. What started as an opportunity to photograph a cute little sea horse turned into one of frustration and sadness as the incoming tide brought with it countless pieces of trash and sewage. This sea horse drifts long with the trash day in and day out as it rides the currents that flow along the Indonesian archipelago. This photo serves as an allegory for the current and future state of our oceans. What sort of future are we creating? How can your actions shape our planet??.?thanks to @eyosexpeditions for getting me there and to @nhm_wpy and @sea_legacy for getting this photo in front of as many eyes as possible. Go to @sea_legacy to see how you can make a difference. . #plastic #seahorse #wpy53 #wildlifephotography #conservation @nhm_wpy @noaadebris #switchthestick A post shared by Justin Hofman (@justinhofman) on Sep 12, 2017 at 8:28am PDT There have been concerns over how many of the items have washed up on beaches after people flushed them down toilets. Environmental charity Fidra recently found hundreds on the beach. The Guardian reported most large retailers have made the change to biodegradable paper-stemmed swabs, but smaller retailers still sell imported plastic-stemmed ones. Fidra, which is behind The Cotton Bud Project , said on the campaign website the physical structure of plastic cotton buds allows them to bypass filters at many waste treatment facilities, and they can be released into the sea with untreated sewage. There, they can “attract and concentrate background pollutants to toxic levels” and be consumed by animals who mistake them for food – causing the plastic and toxins to enter the food chain . The Cotton Bud Project encourages people to toss cotton swabs in the trash, not the toilet, and lists brands that sell swabs with biodegradable paper stems. Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

The rest is here: 
Scotland to ban manufacture and sale of plastic cotton swabs

New ‘thermal battery’ soaks up heat energy like a sponge

January 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Scientists at MIT have created a new unconventional material that is highly effective at storing and releasing heat energy — and could be used as a battery. Called AzoPMA, the new plastic-like polymer is capable of holding 100 times as much thermal energy as water. If further developed, a thermal battery which stores and releases heat as energy is needed could revolutionize solar energy , much as powerful traditional batteries have transformed the smart phone and electric car industries. Research on AzoPMA was led by Dr. Dhandapani Venkataraman, a chemist at the University of Massachusetts , and recently published in the journal Nature . The material was given its name in reference to its azobenzene-based poly(methacrylate) composition. AzoPMA is able to hold so much thermal energy because it switches between two conformations, or shapes, depending on its heat . When the material is heated, molecules within take their high-energy form, which is effective at storing thermal energy . When it is cooled, they return to their low-energy form, which then releases heat energy as needed. Related: South Australia to host world’s largest thermal solar plant The potential for thermal battery power is seemingly endless. “Thermal batteries today are where electrical batteries were a century ago,” MIT professor Dr. Jeffrey Grossman, who has led similar thermal battery research , told NBC News . “There are exciting applications we’re only starting to understand.” Venkatarman sees this feature as being especially useful in off-the grid locations. “Imagine when go camping, you’d be charging the molecules while you are hiking, then you’d discharge them to cook your dinner,” he said . AzoPMA could also be used as a non-burning material in solar-thermal ovens, which would reduce the risk of health damage from fumes on stoves common in rural areas, as a component of large household batteries, or spread out in small pieces to melt snow after a storm, without the need for electricity. Via NBC News Images via MIT and Nature

Go here to read the rest:
New ‘thermal battery’ soaks up heat energy like a sponge

Seattle’s new Angle Lake Transit Station looks like a long-exposure photo of a dancer in motion

January 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Architecture firm Brooks + Scarpa just completed construction on the new Angle Lake Transit Station and Plaza at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The building’s design was inspired by dance, and the architects wrapped the structure an undulating transparent envelope that mimics the motion of the human body. The team drew inspiration from an improvisational dance piece by famous contemporary dance choreographer William Forsythe. In it, dancers connect their bodies by matching lines in space that could be bent, tossed or otherwise distorted. Thanks to the use of ruled surface geometry and straight aluminum elements, the architects were able to achieve complex curved forms that look like a long-exposure portrait of a dancer. Related: Brooks + Scarpa completes forest-like kinetic sculpture ringed with rain gardens The seven-acre 400,000 square foot mixed-use complex features a seven-story cast-in-place and post-tensioned concrete structure. Its exterior façade is composed of over 7,500 custom-formed blue anodized aluminum panels. Brooks + Scarpa segmented each element into standardized sizes for the most efficient structural shape and material form, while maximizing production, fabrication and installation cost efficiency. This made it possible to install the façade on-site in less than three weeks without the use of cranes or special equipment. + Brooks + Scarpa Lead photo by Benjamin Benschneider

See the rest here:
Seattle’s new Angle Lake Transit Station looks like a long-exposure photo of a dancer in motion

Salesforce Tower to include largest blackwater recycling system in a US commercial high-rise

January 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

7.8 million gallons of drinking water will be saved every year with a blackwater recycling system at the new 1,070-foot tall Salesforce Tower in San Francisco . The skyscraper , designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects , will be equipped with the on-site system, which is the first of its kind in the city and the biggest in any commercial high-rise building in the United States. Inhabitat spoke with Salesforce’s senior director of sustainability Patrick Flynn to hear more about blackwater recycling and the tower ‘s other green features. Salesforce Tower’s blackwater recycling system will take water from any of the building’s sources, according to Flynn – from toilets or sinks to drainage from the roof. The system itself will be housed in the basement – Flynn said they are converting “a handful of parking spaces on two levels into rooms and storage tanks that can house the system” – and it will extensively treat blackwater and resupply it for non-potable uses like irrigating plants or flushing toilets throughout the entire building. “The impact from a water perspective is huge,” Flynn told Inhabitat. “7.8 million gallons per year of freshwater use reduced – that’s a 76 percent reduction in the overall building’s water demands, and an amount of water avoided that’s equivalent to the use of 16,000 San Francisco residents.” That translates to savings of around 30,000 gallons of water every day. Related: SOM’s LEED Platinum 350 Mission tower offers an urban living room to San Francisco Flynn said California was experiencing a drought when they first discussed the building’s design years ago. “We know that periods of extreme drought will come again,” he said. “We know that climate change is amplifying extreme weather . And so we felt like upholding our values to do the right thing for our community, for our region, here at our headquarters, was to think about water responsibility and water recycling .” Salesforce is the first recipient of a blackwater grant from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), according to the company. But the blackwater recycling system isn’t the only sustainable feature in the tower. Flynn, a HVAC engineer by profession, also said a patented HVAC system will bring fresh air from the outdoors inside the tower – a move that will not only cut energy consumption but also boost occupant health. According to Salesforce, the tower has already achieved LEED Platinum certification. LED lighting , daylight sensors, and what Flynn described as healthy materials fill the building. He told Inhabitat, “We know that people spend most of their time indoors, and it’s important to make sure that that environment is inspiring and healthy.” Clean energy will power the tower; this past summer, the company signed Salesforce East and Salesforce West up for SFPUC’s SuperGreen Service , opting in to a 100 percent renewable energy program. Flynn said they were the first Fortune 500 company to do so, and their entry more than doubled enrollment in the program. Last year the company also reached net zero greenhouse gas emissions – 33 years early on a goal they’d set in 2015. The Salesforce Tower has already changed the San Francisco skyline (check out the construction camera here ), and when asked if there were concerns over its impact on the look of the city, Flynn said, “When I think about the tower, I think of how proud I am to have such a prominent example of how high-performance buildings and sustainable buildings and healthy buildings are all synonymous with one another. I think what we have here is a showcase for how real estate can uphold the expectations and exceed the expectations of its occupants, its local community, and all of its stakeholders – and I think the blackwater system is a great example of how we’ve been able to introduce a first-of-its-kind, largest such system in a commercial high-rise in the U.S. – and show a better way forward.” Salesforce is already beginning to move in to the tower. Construction on the blackwater recycling system hasn’t started yet, but Flynn said it will be constructed over the course of 2018 and could be up and running around the end of this year. Flynn told Inhabitat, “We hope we’ve shown a path forward that other companies can follow and inspired them to take action as well.” + Salesforce Tower + Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects Images courtesy of Salesforce

See the rest here:
Salesforce Tower to include largest blackwater recycling system in a US commercial high-rise

A national meat tax may be on the menu

December 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on A national meat tax may be on the menu

Some countries have proposed taxing meat to reduce consumption for health reasons and to help the climate.

Read the rest here:
A national meat tax may be on the menu

Laying the tracks for a renewably powered rail system

December 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on Laying the tracks for a renewably powered rail system

Can the oldest form of mechanized mass transportation be the key to unlocking 21st-century challenges?

Read the original:
Laying the tracks for a renewably powered rail system

U.S. companies deconstruct China’s recycling import ban

December 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on U.S. companies deconstruct China’s recycling import ban

Zero-waste organizations like GM and P&G see opportunity, not a materials migraine.

Read more from the original source:
U.S. companies deconstruct China’s recycling import ban

Over 200 nations commit to ending ocean plastic waste

December 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Over 200 nations commit to ending ocean plastic waste

Over 200 countries signed a United Nations resolution in Nairobi, Kenya to eliminate plastic waste in the world’s oceans. The resolution is an important step forward to establishing a legally binding treaty that would deal with the global oceanic plastic pollution problem. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), there will be more plastic by weight in the world’s oceans than fish by 2050 if current trends continue. The resolution offers hope for the future. “There is very strong language in this resolution,” said Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s environment minister, in an interview with Reuters . “We now have an agreement to explore a legally binding instrument and other measures and that will be done at the international level over the next 18 months.” Although plastic pollution is a global problem, Norway was the country that initiated the UN resolution. “We found micro plastics inside mussels, which is something we like to eat,” said Helgesen. “In January this year, a fairly rare species of whale was stranded on a beach because of exhaustion and they simply had to kill it. In its tummy they found 30 plastic bags.” Even the most remote parts of the globe have not escaped the plastic menace. In the final episode of the acclaimed  Blue Planet II ,  plastic pollution is documented in isolated areas of Antarctica . Related: Scientists discover cheap method to identify “lost” 99% of ocean microplastics China is the world’s largest producer of plastic waste and biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. However, the world’s most populous country has taken the global lead in addressing these environmental crises. “If there is one nation changing at the moment more than anyone else, it’s China … the speed and determination of the government to change is enormous,” said Erik Solheim, head of UNEP, according to Reuters . Meanwhile, the resolution, which was originally intended to have legally binding targets and timetables, was weakened by the United States , after Trump Administration officials rejected the stronger language. Current American intransigence notwithstanding, Solheim envisions a future in which products and manufacturing systems are redesigned to use as little plastic as possible. “Let’s abolish products that we do not need … if you go to tourist places like Bali, a huge amount of the plastic picked from the oceans are actually straws,” said Solheim. Although there is much work to be done before a treaty is signed, several nations are already moving ahead to protect the environment. To mark the signing of the UN resolutions, 39 countries, including Chile, Oman, Sri Lanka and South Africa, adopted new commitments to reduce plastic pollution . Via Reuters Images via Depositphotos and  Trevor Leyenhorst/Flickr

Originally posted here:
Over 200 nations commit to ending ocean plastic waste

Soles of world’s first graphene sports shoes are 50% more resistant to wear

December 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Soles of world’s first graphene sports shoes are 50% more resistant to wear

British sportswear brand inov-8 decided to take footwear a leap further: with graphene . Working with the National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester , they developed rubber enhanced with the game-changing material for running shoe outsoles that are, according to University of Manchester reader in nanomaterials Aravind Vijayaraghavan, “50 percent stronger, 50 percent more stretchy, and 50 percent more resistant to wear than the corresponding industry standard rubber without graphene.” Is there anything graphene can’t do? inov-8 created their forthcoming G-series with flexible graphene-enhanced rubber for footwear – you guessed it – far superior to shoes with regular old soles. Vijayaraghavan said when graphene is added to rubber for the product, it imparts its groundbreaking properties like strength. The improved material offers a long-lasting grip for sneakers without rapidly wearing down. inov-8 product and marketing director Michael Price said the shoes offer durability and traction never before seen. Related: Newly discovered property of graphene could lead to infinite clean energy Price said in a statement, “Off-road runners and fitness athletes live at the sporting extreme and need the stickiest outsole grip possible to optimize their performance, be that when running on wet trails or working out in sweaty gyms. For too long, they have had to compromise this need for grip with the knowledge that such rubber wears down quickly. Now, utilizing the groundbreaking properties of graphene, there is no compromise.” Graphene is the thinnest, strongest material on the planet, and can be folded or twisted without damage. The University of Manchester has worked on graphene-enhanced airplanes, medical devices, and sports cars – and now sports gear. inov-8 CEO Ian Bailey said the company is positioned “at the forefront of a graphene sports footwear revolution,” and hinted this is just the beginning, saying graphene’s potential is limitless. The G-series shoes will hit the market in 2018. Via inov-8 and the University of Manchester Images via the University of Manchester

View post:
Soles of world’s first graphene sports shoes are 50% more resistant to wear

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 868 access attempts in the last 7 days.