Meet Maya Kaan: Mexico’s Newest Ecotourism Destination

June 3, 2019 by  
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Mexico’s newest ecotourism area highlights natural scenic beauty and Mayan cultural experiences for travelers looking to immerse themselves in eco-friendly, sustainable activities. Maya Ka’an is a large swathe of central Quintana Roo, a state on Mexico’s Caribbean. It includes the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and Zona Maya, the traditional Mayan heartland. Local tour operators run the area’s touristic activities, aiming to keep the money in the community. “Travelers know and love Cancun, Tulum, Cozumel and Riviera Maya. Now they can learn about another side of the Mexican Caribbean in Maya Ka’an,” said Dario Flota Ocampo, director of Quintana Roo Tourism Board. “Maya Ka’an’s sustainable , off-the-grid status creates unparalleled experiences for travelers seeking true cultural immersion.”  Related: Bee + Hive to help explorers book green hotels and sustainable tourism experiences Tourists familiar with the area have probably already visited Mayan ruins or dived into a cenote. The string of indigenous communities that make up Maya Ka’an offer activities for those who have been there, done that. For example, tourists can visit the Cave of the Hanging Serpents, where red and yellow rat snakes hang from the cave ceiling, waiting to snag bats in midair as they fly by. Travelers are also able to kayak the same lagoon Mayans once used as a commercial route. Bird watching, mountain biking and snorkeling are other active tour options. Visitors interested in wellness can participate in a healing ceremony in the city of Felipe Carrillo Puerto (population 25,744). Health -related experiences here include an interpretive trail lined with medicinal plants, massage, Mayan dance and music, and a trip to the very hot local sweat lodge called a Temazcal. Mayans have a long history of making chewing gum in chiclero camps. Travelers can learn about extracting chicle– the resin that makes gum chewable– from zapote and chicozapote trees . Other cultural and natural highlights include handmade rope demonstrations, stingless bees and the Caste War Museum– which documents 400 years of Mayan struggle against foreign attacks. +Quintana Roo Tourism Board Images via CIIC

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Solar-powered houseboat boast spectacular interior design

June 3, 2019 by  
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From dingy, fishy-smelling bolt-hole to eco-friendly luxury barges, houseboats have come an amazingly long way over the years. And if you’re dreaming of sailing through some of the world’s best waterways, the Chinampa Houseboat can be yours for just over $200,000 . The beautiful one-bedroom boat is not only solar-powered , but it boasts a spectacular interior design made up of reclaimed furniture and retro pieces. Listed by the UK Real Estate Company Aucoot, the beautiful 58-feet by 11-feet widebeam canal boat is truly a floating piece of art. Designed by its current owners, who work in landscaping and fashion, the houseboat’s interior is a serene oasis that is achieved by ample natural light, high ceilings, and above all, carefully selected pieces of reclaimed furniture . Related: A solar-powered houseboat designed for the water-loving adventurer To give the space a unique and sophisticated living space, the design-savvy owners carefully chose a collection of reclaimed furnishings . For example, the galley kitchen was built with a repurposed plans chest, along with an iroko hard wood countertop. The living room and bedroom are both bright and airy spaces thanks to ample windows and a double-pitched sky light that floods the interior with natural light . The spaces are filled with various mid-century chairs and a large bookcase that keeps the living area clutter-free. For a long soak after a long day of sailing, there is a gorgeous light-filled bathroom that comes complete with a luxurious full sized rolltop cast iron bath with claw feet and antique brass taps and shower fittings. To top off the incredible design, the houseboat is powered by 4x 130w solar panels that allow the boast to go completely off-grid . Additionally, the boat is water-ready year-round thanks to quality insulation and a high-performance heating system. Via Aucoot Images via Aucoot

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Solar-powered houseboat boast spectacular interior design

The Basics of Recycling Scrap Metal for Money

May 15, 2019 by  
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Originally written by Virginia Buechel, of iScrap App. Most of … The post The Basics of Recycling Scrap Metal for Money appeared first on Earth911.com.

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6 of the best places to donate your things

February 21, 2019 by  
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When you are going through the tedious task of cleaning out your closets, it’s always nice to know that you can box up all of the items you no longer use and donate them to charity to help those in need. Unfortunately, there are charities out there that seem to prioritize profit over helping people. But how can you tell which organizations will use your donations effectively, and which ones are just looking to make money? The used clothing market is bigger than you might think — over $4 billion — so there is a lot of money to be made if that is a charity’s focus. According to Charity Choices — a website committed to providing donors with facts about charities — many organizations like Goodwill and the Salvation Army sell their donations in bulk and then use the money to fund their various programs. Many others will use donations like clothing, cars and furniture in their own programs to help those in need. Related: Eco-friendly options for decluttering waste Ultimately, what matters is that your donated goods are actually used for charity . Here are some of the best places to donate your used items. Just remember to contact them first or research their websites to find out the specifics about what they do and do not accept. Dress For Success This international organization is committed to helping women land a job and thrive in the workplace by providing gently-used, work-appropriate clothing. You can donate new or gently-used suits, business apparel, shoes, handbags, cosmetics and jewelry at an affiliate near you. For men’s clothing, you can donate to Career Gear to help those in poverty get a job, learn skills and contribute to their family and community . Operation Paperback If you have old books taking up space in your closets or on your shelves, a great place to donate them is Operation Paperback . This organization donates books to troops serving overseas, veterans and military families. All you have to do is sign up on the website and input the genres you have, then it will give you a customized address list and send you a shipping kit so you can send out your used books. Another option for donating books is your local library . Libraries are often more than happy to accept gently-used books, CDs and DVDs. They will either put the items on their shelves or sell them to raise funds for library events and activities. They also accept donations of old computers that are still in usable condition. Habitat For Humanity ReStore Operated by Habitat For Humanity, the ReStores sell new and gently-used home items like furniture, building materials and kitchen appliances. If you have one in your area, it will pick up any large items you wish to donate, or you can drop off the smaller items. Then, it sells the items to the public for “a fraction of the retail price.” Related: This new initiative aims to sustainably recycle your old bras Habitat For Humanity also accepts donations of used tools like tape measures, hammers, screwdrivers and wrenches for its construction projects. You can also donate your car to the organization if you are looking to get rid of a junker. It accepts cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs, boats, snowmobiles, farm equipment and construction equipment. Then, it uses a service to sell the vehicle, and 80 percent of the revenue goes to Habitat for Humanity to fund its projects. Animal shelters When it comes to used linens, most places won’t accept them. But one place that will be happy to take them off your hands is your local animal shelter . Animal shelters can use the used linens for lining beds or washing the animals. Just make sure to call ahead and see if it is accepting donations. Baby2Baby If your kids have outgrown their toys and baby supplies, consider donating them to Baby2Baby . This organization collects everything that is donated to it, and then it distributes the items to places like children’s hospitals and shelters. Baby2Baby accepts a long list of baby items including clothing, blankets, toys, cribs, car seats and high chairs. 1Million Project If you are looking for a place to donate your old cell phone, tablet or other electronic devices, try the 1Million Project . It provides low-income high school students with free mobile devices and internet connectivity to help them with their education. Images via RawPixel ( 1 , 2 ), Lubos Houska , Mike Mozart , Sneakerdog  and Shutterstock

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3 Green Building Solutions That Will Save You Money

January 8, 2019 by  
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10 money-saving tips for a green home

September 7, 2018 by  
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With more and more people becoming mindful about the environment, there has never been a better time to make your home greener . Not only does making your house more sustainable contribute to a better world, but it also puts money back into your pocket. Here are 10 ways in which you can turn your home into an environmentally friendly space. 1. Save Water We usually think about sustainability in terms of energy savings, but being environmentally minded also means taking a closer look at water consumption. There are plenty of ways you can save water around the house, and some of the methods require no investment on your part. For example, avoid running tap water while you are brushing your teeth, and only do laundry and run the dishwasher when you have a full load. Beyond changing your daily routines, you can drastically cut down on water consumption by investing in a low-flow shower head. These energy-efficient shower heads can save around 160,000 liters every year, depending on the size of your family. You should also check your home for any leaks, including running toilets and leaky faucets. Not only do these waste water, but they can also drive up your monthly water bill. 2. Choose Green Lighting Eco-friendly light bulbs are nothing new, but they have only recently started trending with homeowners. Nowadays, companies offer a slew of energy-efficient light bulbs, so finding the right match for your home is easier than ever. These bulbs use less electricity but are just as bright as their traditional counterparts. They also have longer life spans, which means you will spend less money on replacements. If you opt for smart lighting, you can program your lights to further optimize their energy consumption. Smart lights can be programmed to switch on and off automatically whenever you are close to the house. 3. Harness Solar Power Investing in solar power is one of the best ways you can make your home greener. Solar panels are made from photovoltaic materials and use sunlight as an energy source. The electricity generated by the solar panels can be used to power multiple devices in your house, from lighting to appliances — and it is all provided free from the sun. While the initial investment is high, you can earn back your money in energy savings. It’s also important to keep in mind that you are helping the environment by depending less on traditional energy sources. Related: A brighter energy — the practicalities of solar power 4. Set a Smart Thermostat Heating your home takes a lot of energy. Why not maximize that energy by installing a smart thermostat? These devices are easy to program and maximize the use of your home’s HVAC system. You can even program them to turn on and off during certain times of the day. For example, a smart thermostat can start warming up the house right before you come home and lower the temperature when nobody is around. This helps save energy by running your furnace more efficiently than ever, which ultimately saves you money. 5. Close the Gaps Caulking and weather stripping around doors and windows wear down over time. When those seals break down, spaces open up and allow outside air to come inside. This makes your HVAC system run harder to heat and cool your home throughout the year, consuming more energy. You can seal up those pesky gaps with new weather stripping around doors and windows. These foam strips are easy to install and can save you hundreds in your energy bill every year. 6. Recycle Recycling is one of the easiest ways you can make your home more eco-friendly. Some cities will even pick up your recycled goods with the regular trash. The key is to remember to recycle while you are throwing things away. To help facilitate this, install recycling stations in at least two parts of your home. You might even find free recycling bins from your local waste management center, making it easy to start recycling. If you already recycle, take things to the next level by creating a compost pile for food scraps. Not only are you saving these materials from the landfill, but you can use the compost for your garden next year. 7. Check Insulation A correctly insulated attic is important in regulating the temperature of your home. If your attic is not adequately insulated, air will escape through the roof and make your HVAC system run harder. Installing new insulation in your attic is not cheap at first, but it will save you a lot of money in the long run. Some locations will even give you tax rebates for insulation, so double-check the codes in your area before installing. You can also consider adding an attic fan to your home, which can help circulate air in hot and cold weather. 8. Collect Rainwater Collecting rainwater is a great way to take advantage of what nature provides. A good thunderstorm can provide upward of 300 gallons of water, all of which can be stored in water barrels. You can use the stored water for gardening or drinking during the dry seasons. This helps save on the amount of water you consume every month and puts money back in your pocket. It also prevents rainwater from washing pollutants down your city’s sewer system and ultimately dumping them into larger water sources. Be sure to check your city codes for regulations on rainwater collection. 9. Fix Water Heaters A water heater uses a lot of energy to provide hot water throughout the home. You can increase the efficiency of older units by wrapping them in insulation. You can also turn down the heater a couple of degrees to save energy. But if your water heater is in need of a replacement, consider buying a tankless one. These units only work when you need hot water and run off electricity, making them a perfect option if you have solar panels installed. Their lifespan is also considerably longer than traditional water heaters, which means less waste for the landfill. 10. Avoid VOCs Volatile organic compounds ( VOCs ) are terrible for the environment and bad for your health. These compounds, which are common in cleaning products and house paints, can irritate respiratory systems, cause nausea, headaches and other health issues. Avoid these products by opting for low-VOC or zero-VOC cleaning chemicals and household paints, which are becoming more common around the country. Images via Joe Shlabotnik , Haley Neal , Michael Coghlan , Barb Howe ,  Roger Mommaerts , Lindalnpijn , Achim Hering , Tony Webster , Yoann Siloine , Dmitri Popov , Spencer Means

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This sustainable dog house has a green roof and solar-powered fan to keep cool

September 7, 2018 by  
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Green design has touched every aspect of our world, and now even our little furry friends can play their part in living a sustainable lifestyle. Californian firm  Studio Schicketanz has designed a sustainable dog house made with eco-friendly materials that boasts some pretty incredible features. The timber canine cottage has a side green-carpeted ramp that leads up to the green roof , which is installed with a motion-activated water faucet and irrigation system. The architects created the dreamy dog house to be both functional and sustainable. The design was inspired by the firm’s focus on creating “landscape, architecture and interior design with a focused emphasis on livability.” Related: Y-town recycled old refrigerator into a dog house for adopted pup The main volume of the dog house is a traditional box shape with a slightly slanted roof. Inside, the sleeping space is equipped with a built-in floor drain for easy cleaning. Additionally, there is a solar-powered fan that keeps the canines cool during the day. Doggies can also keep an eye on any visitors thanks to tiny peekaboo windows on either side of the home. On the exterior, a hidden compartment stores toys, treats and additional accessories. A green-covered ramp leads up to the green roof, which was integrated into the design to encourage dogs to enjoy some fresh air from the comfort of their own personal space. Adding to the dog’s comfort is a motion-activated water spout on the roof to keep the precious pooches well-hydrated while they people watch from above. To reduce water waste , the drinking fountain is connected to an irrigation system. Related: How to build a green dog house The eco-friendly dog shelter will be on display at the Carmel Canine Cottages Competition from September 11 through September 15. After the event, the structure will be auctioned off, with all funds going to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). + Studio Schicketanz Via Apartment Therapy Images via Studio Schicketanz

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This sustainable dog house has a green roof and solar-powered fan to keep cool

Rent. Wear. Return: Money-Saving Subscription Service

July 24, 2018 by  
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You’ve likely rented apartments, movies on Netflix, moving trucks, and … The post Rent. Wear. Return: Money-Saving Subscription Service appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Rent. Wear. Return: Money-Saving Subscription Service

Get Money for Recycling

July 11, 2018 by  
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Bitcoin is expected to consume enough energy to power Austria by the end of 2018

May 18, 2018 by  
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Though bitcoin ‘s value may rise and fall dramatically, the energy required to produce bitcoins seems to be ever on the rise. Researchers estimate that the bitcoin network may consume as much as 7.7 gigawatts of energy , the equivalent of the electricity required to power Austria. If the value of bitcoin continues to rise, the entire bitcoin network may one day consume up to five percent of the world’s energy. A new study published in the journal   Joule  predicts that bitcoins use up to half a percent of the world’s total energy supply. Critics question the study’s assumptions and claim a lack of sufficient evidence to determine future bitcoin energy consumption with such precision. Regardless, bitcoin’s rising price could come with significant environmental costs. The bitcoin network primarily consumes energy through “mining” of the cryptocurrency, which occurs by running a computer program and time-stamping bitcoin transactions. These transactions take place on the blockchain, the networked account system behind cryptocurrencies. “The main problem is that the energy consumption primarily relates to how agreement on the underlying blockchain is reached,” blockchain specialist and study author Alex de Vries  told Gizmodo . “Mining makes it a big competitive lottery where the winner — every 10 minutes — gets to create the next block for the blockchain. The built-in reward for this process is fixed, so it motivates participants to constantly add new machines to the network to get a bigger slice of the pie — the more computational power, the more you win.” Related: Bitcoin mining powers Canadian man’s innovative aquaponic garden In his study, de Vries focused on determining the cost of maintaining the network after bitcoin mining becomes unprofitable. “In essence I’m taking an economic point of view to figure out where energy consumption is heading. Previous work typically looked at available hardware, and produced results that only said something about the current consumption,” de Vries said. “My findings were based on the current conditions, so bitcoin doesn’t need to increase in value for the conclusion to hold.” Some experts disagree with de Vries’ methods and conclusions. “A major limitation of de Vries’ model is that it depends on guessing bitcoin’s future price as well as the cost of electricity to miners,” bitcoin investor  Marc Bevand told Gizmodo . “In the paper he assumes bitcoin maintains its current level at approximately $8,000 and electricity costs $0.05 per kWh. If either bitcoin goes up or electricity costs plummet, the energy consumption should increase, and vice versa.” Though the endeavor to determine the future of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies continues, it seems clear that the environmental impact of bitcoin may be steep. Via Gizmodo Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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