Midwest greenhouse heated with geothermal energy produces citrus year-round for $1 per day

August 31, 2017 by  
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Those who live in the Midwest United States understand how difficult it can be to eat local during winter. But for Russ Finch and his community, the task isn’t too difficult. A former mailman living in Nebraska , Finch designed a greenhouse that produces lemons, grapefruit-sized oranges, green figs, and grapes — all for just $1 a day. His magic trick? Geothermal heating. Finch calls his structure the Greenhouse in the Snow . The original, which he constructed more than 20 years ago, is connected to his home. Finch specifically grew citrus in the greenhouse to prove that it’s possible. “Any type of plant we saw, we would put it in and see what it could do. We didn’t baby anything,” said Finch. “We just put it in and if it died, it died. But most everything really grows well. We can grow practically any tropical plant.” NPR reports that the structure’s design is base don a walipini, or a pit greenhouse. The floor has been dug down 4 feet below the surface, and the roof has a slant toward the south to catch the sun’s rays. During the daytime, temperatures in the greenhouse can reach over 80 degrees F. At night, geothermal heat is relied on to combat the plummeting temperatures. Only warm air is used to heat the greenhouse — no propane or electric heaters. Warm air is obtained from perforated plastic tubing that is buried underground. The tubing runs out one end of the greenhouse and extends in a loop to the opposite side. It is circulated via a single fan. “All we try to do is keep it above 28 degrees in the winter,” said Finch. “We have no backup system for heat . The only heat source is the Earth’s heat, at 52 degrees at 8-foot deep.” Because the 1,200 square foot greenhouse is not dependent on fossil fuels , energy costs are down to just $1 a day. Particularly in midwestern states, low energy costs matter. “There have been hardly any successful 12-month greenhouses on the northern High Plains because of the weather,” said Finch. ”The cost of energy is too high for it. But by tapping into the Earth’s heat, we’ve been able to drastically reduce the cost.” Related: Russian ice skating rink doubles as a solar-powered outdoor cinema and geothermal spa Every year, the farmer grows a few hundred pounds of fruit which he sells at a local farmers market. His main business is selling the design for the Greenhouse in the Snow. A new version of his invention costs $22,000 to build. Finch says he has constructed 17 of them so far, throughout the United States and Canada. While Finch might not be able to supply a supermarket with the crops he grows, he can provide fresh produce to his local community. If more people in the rural midwest invested in greenhouses that rely on geothermal energy, carbon emissions from shipping fruit and vegetables all over the country would be reduced. This, in turn, would benefit the environment and people’s health as fresh, organically-grown food is more nutrient-dense and retains more flavor. + Greenhouse in the Snow Via NPR Images via Pixabay, YouTube

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Midwest greenhouse heated with geothermal energy produces citrus year-round for $1 per day

Explosions rock Houston-area chemical plant following Hurricane Harvey flooding

August 31, 2017 by  
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Several explosions at a Houston-area chemical plant were reported on early Thursday morning, reportedly related to its loss of power. Black smoke billowed from the Arkema Inc. chemical plant in Crosby, Texas as blasts rocked the site, which remains submerged under six feet of floodwater. The Arkema plant is one of many in the region; this part of Texas is home to the one of the densest concentrations of pipelines, refineries and chemical plants in the country. The storm damage is certain to exacerbate the public health threat of Hurricane Harvey long after the rain has stopped. On Tuesday, prior to the explosions, officials ordered a mandatory evacuation zone for a 1.5 mile radius surrounding the plant. The Arkema plant was shut down before Hurricane Harvey made landfall in the Houston-area, though 11 employees remained behind to service the facility. As the unprecedented floodwaters pushed in, the remaining team was evacuated as fumes began to pour out of the powerless plant. Several deputies from the Harris County Sheriff’s office were hospitalized for inhaling toxic chemicals . Related: 7 ways you can help people affected by Tropical Storm Harvey Arkema produces organic peroxides, compounds with a wide variety of applications, from construction materials to pharmaceuticals. Usually the volatile chemicals are kept under control through cold storage. However, without power , there is no refrigeration. “As the temperature rises, the natural state of these materials will decompose. A white smoke will result, and that will catch fire,” Arkema spokesperson Janet Smith told press. Arkema was previously mandated by the EPA to produce a report outlining the potential risks of the plant and plans for worst-case scenarios, which, according to Arkema’s submitted report, could potentially impact 1.1 million residents over a distance of 23 miles. However, the company reports that it is incorporating “multiple layers of preventative and mitigation measures” to ensure that the worst does not come to pass. Via Time and Washington Post Images via Google Maps

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Explosions rock Houston-area chemical plant following Hurricane Harvey flooding

Nebraska landowners fight Keystone XL pipeline with solar panels right in its path

July 12, 2017 by  
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Many Nebraska landowners are opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline slashing through their land. So they’re fighting the proposed oil pipeline with a clean, renewable tactic: solar panels . Activists have launched the Solar XL campaign to install solar on land Nebraska locals refuse to sell – directly in the path of the pipeline. The Solar XL campaign is intended to raise money for solar installations to power ranches and farms in Nebraska. Landowner Bob Allpress is one of those people hoping for a solar array. He said, “The need for the KXL pipeline product is non-existent in the United States. The monetary benefit to the peoples of Nebraska will be gone in seven years, while the risks to our state are for the life of this pipeline. The installation of wind and solar production in Nebraska will provide many good Nebraska jobs and provide years of cheap electricity for everyone in our great state.” Related: The Keystone XL pipeline would only create 35 full-time, permanent jobs Keystone XL could threaten multiple Nebraska sites like the Ponca Trail of Tears, the Ogallala Aquifer, and the Sandhills. Bold Nebraska , 350.org , Indigenous Environmental Network , CREDO , and Oil Change International are backing the campaign, and hope to install the first solar array at Jim and Chris Carlson’s farm. The Carlsons have refused to sell their land even though TransCanada , the company behind Keystone XL, has offered them $307,000. Family-owned company North Star Solar Bears would install the panels, which will be connected to the grid . According to the campaign, “If Keystone XL is approved, TransCanada would have to tear down clean and locally-produced energy to make way for its dirty and foreign tar sands.” If you’d like to donate to the Solar XL campaign, you can do so here . Each nine-panel installation costs $15,500, including labor and connection to the grid. Donations go to Bold Nebraska. + Solar XL Via Curbed Images via Mary Anne Andrei/Bold Nebraska ( 1 , 2 ) and 350.org on Flickr

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Nebraska landowners fight Keystone XL pipeline with solar panels right in its path

Keystone XL pipeline developer attempts to seize Nebraska lands

January 22, 2015 by  
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Keystone XL pipeline developer TransCanada filed legal papers in nine Nebraska counties this week in an attempt to invoke eminent domain for the land needed to build, operate and maintain the pipeline. Some landowners have been holding their ground for some time, protecting about 12 percent of the land TransCanada still needs to accomplish its goals. Read the rest of Keystone XL pipeline developer attempts to seize Nebraska lands Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: eminent domain , environmental protection , forced sales , keystone xl , landowners , law , laws , lawsuit , legal , Nebraska , oil , pipeline , protestors , seize land , transcanada

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Keystone XL pipeline developer attempts to seize Nebraska lands

Richard Martinet of Affine Design designs five shell-like pavilions in Monte-Carlo

January 22, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Richard Martinet of Affine Design designs five shell-like pavilions in Monte-Carlo Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Affine Design , aluminium , aluminium facade , demountable pavilion , green architecture , mix-use building , monaco , monte carlo , pavilions , Richard Martinet , Shell , shell-like pavilions

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Richard Martinet of Affine Design designs five shell-like pavilions in Monte-Carlo

Nebraska Supreme Court approves Keystone pipeline

January 9, 2015 by  
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The Keystone pipeline is one step closer to reality after a Nebraska court approved the route of the controversial project. The decision comes after six years of legal and political battling and could mean President Obama will be forced to make a decision on whether or not to veto the project that much sooner. Read the rest of Nebraska Supreme Court approves Keystone pipeline Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: keystone transcanada pipeline , keystone xl , Keystone XL Pipeline , Nebraska keystone pipeline , nebraska pipeline , Nebraska supreme court , Nebraska supreme court decision , obama keystone , obama keystone decision , Obama keystone pipeline , Obama keystone veto , Obama pipeline veto , transcanada pipeline

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Nebraska Supreme Court approves Keystone pipeline

Fried egg jellyfish exist and they’re freaking adorable

January 9, 2015 by  
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The world’s oceans breed some of the most spectacular-looking creatures around – from the mantis shrimp to an apparent “living rock” , there’s all manner of aquatic eye candy to behold. And the two cartoonish, adorable species that fall into the delightfully nicknamed “fried egg jellyfish” category are no exception. Read the rest of Fried egg jellyfish exist and they’re freaking adorable Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: agean sea , cool sea creatures , Cotylorhiza tuberculata , cute sea creatures , egg jellyfish , fried egg jellfish , fried egg jellyfish , jellyfish , mediterranean sea , Phacellophora camtschatica , sea creature , sealife

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Fried egg jellyfish exist and they’re freaking adorable

Crop-Ravaging Worm Evolves to Eat Bioengineered Corn

March 20, 2014 by  
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In a giant case of “we told you so”, a group of scientists from Iowa State University published a report this week citing evidence that corn rootworms have evolved to become resistant to Bt corn. The artificially engineered plant contains genes from Bacillus thuringiensis that allow the cells to produce toxins that used to kill large numbers of corn worms and root borers. Despite the warnings raised by the scientific community, farmers and seed companies planted large swaths of Bt corn without creating non-engineered corn refuges, thereby facilitating the pest’s resistance. Now, Bt corn accounts for three-quarters of the U.S. corn crop, and is in great danger of being wiped out by superbugs . Read the rest of Crop-Ravaging Worm Evolves to Eat Bioengineered Corn Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: aaron gassmann , bacillus thuringiensis , bioengineered crops , bt corn , chemical pesticide , corn borers , GMO , illinois , iowa , iowa state university , midwest , Minnesota , monocrop , Nebraska , south dakota        

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Crop-Ravaging Worm Evolves to Eat Bioengineered Corn

Environmentalists Baffled at State Department Claim that Keystone XL Would Have Little Environmental Impact

March 5, 2013 by  
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Rumors have been circulating as to whether or not the President would approve the Keystone XL Pipeline . On Friday, the State Department released a study suggesting that the pipeline, which is slated to stretch from Canada to Texas, would have no significant impact on the environment. However, they stopped short of actually recommending it to be completed. The Sierra Club released a statement calling the study  “deeply flawed,” and environmentalists have pointed out that building the pipeline would promote further fossil fuel use at a time when climate change desperately needs to be addressed. Read the rest of Environmentalists Baffled at State Department Claim that Keystone XL Would Have Little Environmental Impact Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bill snape , canada , center for biological diversity , greater sage grouse , high plains aquifer , jobs , kerri-ann jones , Keystone XL Pipeline , Middle East , montana , Nebraska , oceans and international scientific affairs , president obama , renewable energy , report , sand hill region , south america , south dakota , state department , texas , transcanada , tyler county creeks , whooping crane

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Environmentalists Baffled at State Department Claim that Keystone XL Would Have Little Environmental Impact

Nebraska Legislature to Consider Rerouting Keystone XL Pipeline

October 25, 2011 by  
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Elvert Barnes / CC BY-SA 2.0 Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman has announced that he will call a special legislative session to consider rerouting the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would carry tar sands crude oil 1,700 miles from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Pipeline proponents have s… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Nebraska Legislature to Consider Rerouting Keystone XL Pipeline

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