CA communities sue Exxon, Shell and 35 other fossil fuel companies over climate change

July 27, 2017 by  
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A trio of California communities are standing up to fossil fuel peddlers and holding them to account for their role in climate change . San Mateo and Marin counties and Imperial Beach filed an unprecedented suit against 37 companies, including major players like Shell, Chevron and Exxon Mobil. The complaint states that these companies have knowingly caused billions of dollars worth of damage and have caused sea levels to climb, putting lives and property in serious danger. The lawsuits state that the 37 defendants are responsible for hundreds of gigatons of carbon emissions – about 20 percent of the total emissions from the mid-1960s to today. The suit alleges that the companies knew about the impact they were having on climate change, and have worked to not just avoid reduce their impact but to deny the threats altogether in a “co-ordinated, multi-front effort to conceal and deny their knowledge of these threats”. Related: Shell predicted the effects of climate change in its own 1991 film California isn’t the first to sue fossil fuel companies. An Alaska community sued after being forced to relocate their village , but the case was dismissed as being a political question, not a legal one. The lawsuits may comprise the first step towards a future that holds fossil fuel companies to account, much like citizens held tobacco companies responsible for their role in peddling dangerous chemicals. Via The Guardian images via Flickr and Depositphotos

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CA communities sue Exxon, Shell and 35 other fossil fuel companies over climate change

First fully-integrated sustainable smart energy system promises to democratize renewables for all

July 27, 2017 by  
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Solar might be the future, but few people and businesses can afford to invest in the technology. This is why SolPad’s latest innovation is so newsworthy. The new SolPad Mobile is the first personal, portable solar energy generator capable of providing power anywhere. Developed to “democratize” renewable energy for all consumers, the 25-pound invention has built-in battery storage and output power that exceed any other portable solar device in its class. Additionally, it is capable of providing clean energy to the “untapped market” of home renters, including tiny home dwellers and van-lifers. In essence, the one device makes clean, reliable power accessible to everyone and provides the tools required to collect, store, convert and manage solar energy. SolPad was founded in 2012 with a mission to “disrupt the conventional sustainable energy landscape” by ensuring off-grid power environments and sustainable smart homes have access to quality and cost-effective renewable energy. The company recognized that solar has experienced an average annual growth rate of 68 percent, but fails to be adopted by consumers on a mass level due to economic challenges. Equipped with this knowledge, the minds behind the California-based company decided to develop the first fully-integrated system that can provide an all-in-one, scalable solution to renewable energy . “The reality is that SolPad completely shifts the energy paradigm, delivering comprehensive management and control for daily power usage,” said Christopher Estes, CEO of SolPad. Though the units cost $1,795 (monthly payment options are available for $150), the investment is well worth it. This is because the SolPad Prox X is a permanent solution to obtaining solar energy , and the purchase and installation costs are as least half of other market alternatives. Additionally, the power system generates as much power as one needs and ensures minimal energy is wasted while increasing the available AC power. Because the software integrates solar generation and energy storage, energy management becomes an automated process. From a phone app , you can track, manage and automate your energy usage. SolControl also prioritizes which appliances and items should receive personal solar power based on one’s habit of turning them on and off. The SolPad panels can store both solar and grid energy. According to the press release, “By placing storage at the source of solar collection, inefficiencies in transmission and conversion are reduced or eliminated entirely. Because collection and storage are adjacent within each SolPad Pro X panel, low voltage battery power is used to make the panels safer and more efficient than legacy solar systems.” “Everyone is responsible for their impact on the environment . SolPad Mobile allows people to take energy management into their own hands, reducing carbon footprint and giving access to AC electricity anywhere,” said Jigar Shah, co-founder of Generate Capital, past CEO of Carbon War Room. “Whether you’re in an industrialized nation trying to decrease negative impacts on the environment or in a developing nation looking to save money versus fossil fuels, this disruptive portable panel provides unparalleled access to clean and easy-to-use power.” Related: SolPad residential solar panels come with built-in battery storage and an inverter The unique invention will ensure more people have access to clean, renewable energy and, as a result, will provide innumerable benefits to the environment. + SolPad Images via SolPad

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First fully-integrated sustainable smart energy system promises to democratize renewables for all

The 2,500-year-old bracket that protects China’s Forbidden City against earthquakes

July 27, 2017 by  
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The presence of earthquakes in China has resulted in timber-framing practices that put European design to shame. As early as 500BC, builders in China developed disaster-resistant structures with interlocking flower-shaped brackets called dougong that reduce the impact of earthquakes on buildings. These joints are so effective, they have helped the Forbidden City in Beijing withstand 200 earthquakes in 600 years. Specialist carpenters decided to find out how the Forbidden City has survived so many earthquakes, including the 20th century’s deadliest quake. They constructed a scale model of a structure atop a shake table. To strive for accuracy, they drew on traditional techniques and tools. They then put the structure, a fifth of the size of buildings in the Forbidden City, through simulated earthquakes. The largest earthquake we’ve ever recorded in history had a 9.5 magnitude. But the scale model withstood not only that but a 10.1 magnitude simulated earthquake – and in a video showing the quake, didn’t fall down. Related: Japanese Levitating House System Could Protect Homes From Earthquakes (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Secrets of China's Forbidden City This will rock your world. Posted by Channel 4 on Thursday, July 20, 2017 Dougong are often found nestled beneath the eaves and roof, and in case of a quake, they transfer roof weight to the supporting columns found on these old buildings. They don’t need nails or glue to hold together. The brackets don’t shake apart easily, but also aren’t so stiff they’ll shatter under pressure. Multiple joints help them remain stable. One of the more mind-boggling aspects of the test was that the columns of the building designed like those in the Forbidden City were freestanding, and weren’t sunken into foundations. They wobbled in a 10.1 magnitude simulated earthquake, but didn’t collapse in the video. Dougong can be glimpsed on palaces and temples , for example, and according to People’s Daily Online was utilized widely during the Spring and Autumn Period in Chinese history, which spans from around 770 to 476 BC. Via Channel 4 and Core77 Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 , 3 )

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The 2,500-year-old bracket that protects China’s Forbidden City against earthquakes

This robotic "eel" hunts down the source of water pollution

July 27, 2017 by  
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Lake Geneva’s latest resident—all four feet of it—is neither man nor beast. Dubbed the Envirobot , the critter is a biomimetic robot designed by Swiss researchers to pinpoint the source of pollution in tainted waters. Bereft of fins or propellers, Envirobot slithers through water like an eel, leaving mud and aquatic life undisturbed. Just as stealthily, it uses sensors to gather data from various locations, which it transmits to a remote computer in near-instantaneous fashion. Even for an automaton, Envirobot is uncommonly clever. Besides its capacity to follow a preprogrammed path, it can also make its own decisions, independently sniffing out the origin of the contamination. Related: Fukushima robot finds lava-like deposits thought to be melted nuclear fuel “There are many advantages to using swimming robots,” said Auke Ijspeert, head of biorobotics at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne , in a statement . “They can take measurements and send us data in real-time—much faster than if we had measurement stations set up around the lake.” The serpentine design, which is supported by a series of small electric motors, has several advantages, as well. “Compared with conventional propeller-driven underwater robots, they are less likely to get stuck in algae or branches as they move around,” Ijspeert said. “What’s more, they produce less of a wake, so they don’t disperse pollutants as much.” Funded through a grant from Switzerland’s Nano-Tera program, Envirobot comprises several modules. Some of these contain conductivity and temperature sensors; others have miniaturized biological sensors that harbor bacteria, small crustacean, or fish cells that respond to water toxicity in different ways. The modular tack also makes it easy for engineers to change Envirobot’s composition or vary its length when the occasion calls for it. “The robot can be easily taken apart, transported to a remote water reservoir, for example, and put back together to begin testing,” said Behzad Bayat, another biorobotics scientist at EPFL. Already, Envirobot has taken several dips in Lake Geneva. It recently underwent a test that simulated water pollution by diffusing salt into a tiny area just off the shore, changing the water’s conductivity. The ersatz eel, researchers said, performed swimmingly. Although the ultimate goal is for Envirobot to pick up heavy metals and other pollutants, field tests for the “eel’s” biological components are trickier to carry out. “We obviously can’t contaminate a lake like we do the test water in our lab,” said Jan Roelof van der Meer, project coordinator and head of the department of fundamental microbiology at the University of Lausanne . “For now, we will continue using salt as the contaminant until the robot can easily find the source of the contamination. Then we will add biological sensors to the robot and carry out tests with toxic compounds.” + École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne [Via Techcrunch ]

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This robotic "eel" hunts down the source of water pollution

6 Ways Online Education Prevents Planetary Pollution

March 10, 2017 by  
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Most people consciously manage their impact on the environment to the best of their ability. But did you know that choosing to earn your degree online can help keep the earth clean at the same time? Unlike the convenience of cars, the convenience…

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6 Ways Online Education Prevents Planetary Pollution

The emergence of natural capital consciousness

February 1, 2017 by  
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Why — and how — the corporate pioneers of the 21st century will account for natural resource scarcity and plan for their impact on the climate.

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The emergence of natural capital consciousness

Why the U.S. Air Force wants to fly on renewable energy

January 17, 2017 by  
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Mobilized by the impact of Hurricane Sandy, the Air Force joined a startup accelerator to investigate resilient renewable energy solutions.

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Why the U.S. Air Force wants to fly on renewable energy

5 Simple Earth Day Crafts Your Kids Will Love

April 11, 2016 by  
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Earth Day is right around the corner. Every year on April 22, earth-conscious people around the world celebrate the planet we live on through special events and actions. During these events, many others are made aware of their impact on the Earth,…

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5 Simple Earth Day Crafts Your Kids Will Love

Warka Water tower that pulls drinking water from thin air wins World Design Impact Prize

March 24, 2016 by  
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Handprinting for employee well-being

January 20, 2016 by  
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Understanding HR’s latest tool for Net Positive Social Impact.

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Handprinting for employee well-being

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