Belize votes to indefinitely end all oil exploration in its waters

January 8, 2018 by  
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The small Central American nation of Belize has decided to indefinitely end all new oil exploration in its waters. Belize only produces 3,000 barrels of oil a day, in contrast to the 1.5 million barrels that the United States produces each day in the Gulf of Mexico. However, this small but significant action sends a message to other developing countries trying to balance economic development with conservation. Like many developing economies, Belize’s depends on the export of its natural resources. Despite the economic importance of oil exports, the government decided that the preservation of its coral reefs and pristine waters were more important in the long run than petrodollars today. Home to a bit less than 400,000 people, Belize also hosts the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. This and Belize’s other natural attractions, such as lush rain forests, attract tourists from around the world and generate $200 million annually, over 10 percent of the country’s GDP, in tourism revenue. Allowing oil exploration along the coast could seriously endanger the country’s tourism industry and ecological health. Environmental groups have been advocating for a ban on oil exploration since 2006, when Belize’s only oil company discovered new reserves. Related: Gorgeous Belize eco-resort will offer 100% carbon neutral villas The coral reef and its accompanying tourism supports the livelihoods of more than 190,000 people in Belize, so it is no surprise that the public is engaged in protecting the ecosystem . “Belize is a small country making a mighty commitment to putting the environment first,” said World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) reef scientist Nadia Bood, according to Quartz . Environmentalists hope that Belize will inspire similar action in other countries. “Ending oil activities will encourage other countries to follow suit and take the urgent action that is needed to protect our planet’s oceans ,” said WWF campaigner Chris Gee, according to Quartz . “Like the Belize Barrier Reef, nearly half of natural World Heritage sites worldwide are threatened by industrial pressures.” Via Quartz Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Belize votes to indefinitely end all oil exploration in its waters

16 last minute gifts for the green procrastinator

December 14, 2017 by  
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Were you so busy surfing the web for cool gift ideas that you totally forgot to do any actual shopping? If so, there’s no need to fret because we’ve got you covered with a last-minute gift guide full of clever and imaginative presents that can be whipped up at the 11th hour . Check out all of our ideas – from a basket full of practical presents they’re sure to appreciate to the ever-elusive gift of closet organization and this foolproof crowd-pleaser . LAST MINUTE GIFT IDEAS >

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16 last minute gifts for the green procrastinator

Trump signs bill that recognizes climate change as a threat to the US

December 14, 2017 by  
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This past Tuesday, President Trump signed a bill into law that formally recognizes climate change as a national security threat to the United States . While the president has long railed against climate change and advocated for fossil fuels, the Trump Administration and a Republican-controlled Congress have taken a small but significant step towards formally recognizing climate change. Now that this stance has become codified law, the United States will be further pressured to act. The newly signed law is a hard-earned result of the bipartisan organizing done by the Climate Solutions Caucus. Established in February 2016, the caucus was founded by Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch and Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo “to educate members on economically-viable options to reduce climate risk and to explore bipartisan policy options that address the impacts, causes, and challenges of our changing climate.” Currently, there are 24 Democrats and 24 Republicans who serve as members of the caucus. The climate change provision reached the president’s desk as an amendment to the must-pass, annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Republican leadership attempted to remove the provision from the bill, but were defeated when 46 Republican representatives defected and voted to uphold the provision. Related: Trump signs directive to send astronauts to the Moon and Mars It requires the Pentagon to conduct a report on the specific vulnerabilities of American military assets to climate change over the next twenty years. In addition, the amendment formally recognizes what the scientific community  and the United States military has been saying for years. “Climate change is a direct threat to the national security of the United States,” reads the law, “and is impacting stability in areas of the world where the United States armed forces are operating today, and where strategic implications for future conflicts exist.” Since Trump made national security a key plank of his campaign platform, he will be under further pressure to act. Whether the president chooses to do so remains doubtful. Via EcoWatch Images via The White House (1)

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Trump signs bill that recognizes climate change as a threat to the US

14 green holiday gifts for gadget geeks

December 4, 2017 by  
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Looking for a great green gift for the gadget lover on your list? We’ve got you covered with the state of the art. From an amazing wheel that gives any bike an electric boost to a keyboard made of sustainably harvested wood and even a watch powered by body heat , we’ve rounded up 14 gadget gifts that are sure to please. Check them out here ! GREEN GIFTS FOR GADGET GEEKS >

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14 green holiday gifts for gadget geeks

The zero-electricity Gentlewasher does the laundry in five minutes flat

November 29, 2017 by  
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We’ve all been there – you need to wash just a few clothing items but you don’t have nearly enough for a full load of laundry . The gentlewasher offers a solution, washing clothes in five minutes with less water than washing machines and zero electricity . The hand-powered device can wash up to 12 T-shirts or eight dresses at a time, and it uses around 4.7 gallons of water – compare that to 13 gallons for an Energy Star washing machine, or 40 gallons for an older model washing machine. Need to wash delicates in a hurry? The gentlewasher makes hand-washing clothes a breeze. It’s easy to use: attach a water hose, put in clothes and a teaspoon of detergent, and start turning. After a two-minute wash cycle and two-minute rinse cycle, the garments are ready to hang-dry. The ergonomic handle ensures you won’t get too tired during the process. Related: 14-year-old girl invents pedal-powered washing machine from bike parts The gentlewasher lives up to its name, and it can actually prolong the life of your garments with the help of patented honeycomb holes that create a protective water layer so garments won’t come into contact with the drum. The company says that their product is the most sustainable and gentlest washing device for apparel ever. The company, based in the Netherlands, says results are “as good as a front-loading machine.” The gentlewasher is designed for clothes that should be washed by hand, but it can be used for all types of garments. It’s especially useful for people on the road – such as those traveling in an RV or camping. And it could even come in handy in between laundry loads or for cutting down trips to the laundromat for those living in tiny city apartments. The company says their mission is to “develop an affordable washing device for people around the world,” as five billion people worldwide still don’t have access to washing machines and must spend hours washing clothes. You can buy a gentlewasher online for $269. + gentlewasher Images courtesy of gentlewasher

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The zero-electricity Gentlewasher does the laundry in five minutes flat

Durable canvas cloth with embedded solar cells generates 120 watts per square meter

November 17, 2017 by  
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Tents , sun shades, and canopies could generate renewable energy with Norway-based company Tarpon Solar’s solar canvas . They created flexible tarpaulins, integrated with bendy solar cells from Swedish company Midsummer . Instead of simply finding shade from the sun, with Tarpon Solar’s product people could obtain clean power from the sunlight striking a canopy or tent. Tarpon Solar laminated solar cells onto a flexible canvas to create a product with numerous potential applications – shade for a restaurant patio, a swimming pool covering, or canopies in refugee camps are just a few of the possibilities. The company says the canvas can also be included in a passive home design. The product could even open up the possibility of solar power generation in places where traditional solar panels couldn’t easily be deployed, according to Tarpon Solar’s website. Related: New solar canopy provides both shade and clean energy Tarpon Solar utilized Midsummer’s solar cells in a product that recently won first place in the MTI Technology Award competition. The CIGS cells, or copper-indium-gallium-selenium, are made without cadmium, a toxic material Midsummer says is often used in CIGS or thin film solar cells. They listed the benefits of CIGS cells as having high efficiency, low weight, durability, and flexibility. The solar cells generate around 120 watts per square meter. Tarpon Solar technical manager Marius Borg-Heggedal said in a statement each canvas is custom made, so the type of fiber and amount of fabric varies among products. The company’s website says the laminated cloth is that utilized in the sailing industry. Borg-Heggedal said solar cells are integrated during production and “become part of the material.” Midsummer described the canvases as very light, saying in a statement with the solar cells integrated “the weight becomes almost the same as with conventional PVC material and the canvas is also stronger and more durable.” + Tarpon Solar + Midsummer Images courtesy of Tarpon Solar and Midsummer

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Durable canvas cloth with embedded solar cells generates 120 watts per square meter

Nanoleaf’s new Rhythm module turns any Aurora array into a dazzling music visualizer

November 9, 2017 by  
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Last year Nanoleaf unveiled Aurora – a stunning lighting array made of modular, energy-efficient LED panels . They’re continuing to develop the system, and they just unveiled the Rhythm – a new module that transforms any Aurora array into a glimmering music visualizer. Simply plug the Rhythm into an Aurora panel and fire up your stereo – it’ll listen to your tunes and light up to the beat of your favorite songs. Inhabitat has followed Nanoleaf for years – and they’ve come a long way from making LED light bulbs . The Aurora is a sophisticated lighting system that can display over 16 million colors – and it’s getting smarter by the day. When they reached out to us with their latest innovation, we knew we had to try it out for ourselves. The Rhythm is a clever device that transforms music and ambient sounds into shimmering bursts of LED light. Setting it up is a snap – simply construct an Aurora array and then plug the Rhythm module into one of the triangular panels. The device uses a built-in microphone to listen to sound – so you don’t need to plug it into your stereo – and all of the processing is conducted on-board in real-time. Nanoleaf has created an impressive smartphone app that makes it easy to control your Aurora array. The app automatically senses the configuration of the panels and it provides options for different color palettes and Rhythm patterns – with the option to download many more. We generally found that the patterns respond quite well to a wide range of music – although your mileage will vary based on how many panels you own and how your array is set up. Songs with strong beats and well-isolated elements tend to produce better results than music with complex rhythms and overlapping textures. Certain patterns like “Meteor Shower” and “Streaking Notes” tend to benefit from large, densely packed arrays, while the “Sound Bar” pattern works best with more linear arrays. The obvious application for Aurora panels is adding colorful mood lighting to a room – but the Rhythm module expands their appeal to DJs and musicians, audiovisual artists, and anyone who wants to bring home a bit of ‘Blade Runner’ futurism. We’re also excited to see the applications that makers come up with – the panels support Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and Amazon Alexa, so your Aurora array can interface with other smart devices in your house. Our only gripe is that an Aurora array can be a bit tricky to install – it takes some planning and a lot of adhesive strips, and the chips connecting the panels don’t lock in place. If I were to install an array in my home, I’d consider mounting it to a board, trimming the excess material, and then hanging it as a single unit. Overall, we’re very impressed by the vibrancy and brightness of Nanoleaf’s Aurora panels, and the Rhythm module brings a fun new dimension to the system. A single array is enough to wash an an entire room in color, and the panels are capable of subtle, pulsing hue changes as well as dazzling firework-style effects. The Nanoleaf Rhythm is currently available as a module for $49.99 or bundled along with an Aurora kit for $229.99. + Nanoleaf

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Nanoleaf’s new Rhythm module turns any Aurora array into a dazzling music visualizer

Twin brothers convert organic waste into truly biodegradable plastic

October 27, 2017 by  
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You know plastic waste is a problem. But Jeff and Dane Anderson, twin brothers in California , are trying to do something about it. They started a company, Full Cycle Bioplastics , to make a fully biodegradable plastic . They aren’t the first to do so, but they utilize cheap, readily available organic waste to make their bioplastic . Food waste, dirty paper or cardboard, or agricultural byproducts become compostable plastic in Full Cycle Bioplastics’ process. Jeff Anderson told UPROXX they’re able to utilize any organic waste to create a plastic known as polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA). “If it ever falls into the ocean , it actually acts as fish food, or bacteria food, and has no toxic effects,” Anderson said in an UPROXX video . Related: Egyptian scientists turn dried shrimp shells into eco-friendly plastic Full Cycle Bioplastics breaks organic waste down into feedstock, given to naturally occurring bacteria that consume the waste and convert it into PHA. The company then dries and processes the PHA into a resin product. Anderson said their bioplastic could be used for bags, to-go containers, utensils, water bottles, or shampoo bottles, to name a few. Dane Anderson said it’s great for the bioplastic to return to them after use, because they can turn it back into plastic again. But it will harmlessly break down in nature if it’s discarded. One reason bioplastics haven’t taken over the world yet is their expense, but the brothers bring down costs through their process. They don’t need land to cultivate crops, nor do they use genetically modified bacteria. We may not be able to totally get rid of plastic – just a glance around where you’re sitting right now will likely reveal several items manufactured with the stuff polluting our planet. But Jeff told UPROXX their bioplastic can serve as a direct replacement – one that’s far better for the earth. + Full Cycle Bioplastics Via UPROXX Images via Full Cycle Bioplastics and screenshot

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Twin brothers convert organic waste into truly biodegradable plastic

These beautiful ceramic heaters help Mexicos vulnerable communities stay warm

October 23, 2017 by  
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These wonderful ceramic Nest heaters are designed to provide much-needed warmth to vulnerable communities in the region of Chiapas, Mexico . The prototypes, designed by Estudio äCo , utilize the properties of ceramics to dissipate and conserve heat. The ECN02 (fire ceramic nest 02) and ECN03 (electric ceramic nest 03) heaters feature durable shells that store and radiate heat for a long time. Not only are they energy-efficient – they also have a colorful, sleek look that’s universally appealing. Related: Egloo launches brilliant electricity-free heater that warms your home for just pennies a day The studio, led by Lucila Torres and Max Almeida, collaborated with Fernando González to develop the project. The team received $100,000 MXN ($5,200 USD) as winners of the Inédito award at the recently concluded Design Week Mexico. + Estudio äCo + Design Week Mexico

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These beautiful ceramic heaters help Mexicos vulnerable communities stay warm

These optical illusion Star Wars lamps will take you to a galaxy far, far away

October 23, 2017 by  
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With the countdown ticking until the release of The Last Jedi on December 15, Star Wars products are flooding the Internet. But few top these awesome optical illusion lamps that illuminate 3D images of favorite characters like Darth Vader or spaceships like the Millennium Falcon. The lamps are said to have a lifespan of more than 50,000 hours. The Death Star or BB-8 could light up your room with these Star Wars LED lamps . Turned off, it’s two dimensional etched acrylic glass, according to Fatherly, but when switched on via a touch button on the base, the lamp shines with a 3D appearance. Most lamps have multiple colors; this one from The 3D Lamp boasts white, red, blue, green, yellow, pink, or cyan. They’re nine-inches-tall. A USB port allows the lamps to get power. Related: Star Wars-inspired NASA observatory will offer galactic views in Cyprus The lamps are said to be energy efficient , producing little heat, making them safe for a kid’s room or nursery. They’re often marked as limited edition, but as Fatherly pointed out, can be found on multiple online stores; there doesn’t seem to be a shortage. Mashable is offering Megalamps’ Star Wars lamp for $39.99 with the option of a 15 percent discount for a limited time; LEDMiracles is offering theirs for $38.99 . The 3D Lamp shop has their Star Wars LED lamps priced at $29.99 . R2-D2, Yoda, a Tie Fighter, Darth Maul, an X-Wing, and a stormtrooper helmet are among the other delightfully nerdy options for lamps to light up a room. Other optical illusion LED lamp designs are also being offered online, such as superheroes, flowers, or sports-themed lamps. + Megalamps Via Mashable and Fatherly Images via Megalamps and The 3D Lamp ( 1 , 2 )

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These optical illusion Star Wars lamps will take you to a galaxy far, far away

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