China plans to go carbon-neutral by 2060

September 24, 2020 by  
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China, the world’s biggest source of carbon dioxide , is aiming for carbon-neutrality by 2060. President Xi Jinping announced this goal while speaking to the UN General Assembly by video. Xi took the assembly by surprise. Since world events and political tensions have stalled global climate negotiations, the general assembly had expected little progress on climate change until 2021. “We aim to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060,” Xi said, according to the official translation. China is currently responsible for about 28% of the planet’s carbon emissions . Related: Google becomes retroactively carbon-neutral Xi and then U.S.-President Barack Obama came to a climate change understanding in 2014, which laid significant groundwork for the 2015 Paris Agreement. President Trump immediately backed out of the Paris Agreement upon taking office. Some experts believe that Xi is making an advantageous statement to the world at a time when the U.S. won’t address climate change. “Xi Jinping’s climate pledge at the UN, minutes after President Donald Trump’s speech, is clearly a bold and well calculated move,” said Li Shuo, a climate policy expert from Greenpeace Asia, according to BBC. “It demonstrates Xi’s consistent interest in leveraging the climate agenda for geopolitical purposes.” While many observers agree that Xi’s pronouncement is a significant step, lots of questions still remain to be answered, such as exactly what he means by carbon-neutrality and how China will get there. “Today’s announcement by President Xi Jinping that China intends to reach carbon neutrality before 2060 is big and important news — the closer to 2050 the better,” said former U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern. Richard Black, director of the U.K.-based think tank Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, is hopeful about Xi’s pronouncement. “China isn’t just the world’s biggest emitter but the biggest energy financier and biggest market, so its decisions play a major role in shaping how the rest of the world progresses with its transition away from the fossil fuels that cause climate change.” Via BBC Image via Ferdinand Feng

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China plans to go carbon-neutral by 2060

Biden vs Trump on environmental issues and climate change

September 22, 2020 by  
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As the U.S. has grown increasingly polarized, it seems more and more like the two presidential candidates inhabit different planets. If you listen to Joe Biden on climate change, you might feel the urge to junk your car and invest in wind power. Meanwhile, the incumbent’s message seems to be that fossil fuels are A-OK. You might find yourself wondering, does Trump believe in climate change? What’s actually in Joe Biden’s climate change plan? Here’s a quick rundown on where the presidential candidates stand on environmental issues and climate change . Imminent need for climate action The most striking difference between the two candidates environmentally is the novella-length treatises the Biden campaign is generating with ideas about how to solve climate problems versus Trump’s more meager approach. Related: Biden’s $2 trillion climate plan: create millions of jobs, reverse climate change Biden has a long record of working on behalf of the climate, dating back, at least, to introducing the Global Climate Protection Act , the first climate change bill to reach the Senate. During his stint as vice president, Biden oversaw the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 , which allocated $90 billion toward clean energy. At that time, he called fighting climate change “the single most important thing” the executive team could do while in the White House. He also supported President Obama’s signing of the Paris Agreement. Trump, on the other hand, immediately withdrew from the 2015 Paris climate accord as soon as he took office. Now, the U.S. is the only member country to refuse to participate in the agreement to reduce global emissions . Trump avoids discussing global emission reduction and has refused to sign certain international documents unless climate change references are removed. The Environmental Protection Agency under Trump has taken a distinctly anti-science bent, with half the members of the EPA Board of Scientific Counselors dismissed in 2017 and a 2018 disbanding of a panel of scientists tasked with advising the agency on safe air pollution levels. Trumps agenda has been distinctly anti-environment, including loosening restrictions on methane emissions , waiving environmental laws during the pandemic , rolling back fuel efficiency requirements , repealing water protections and weakening the Endangered Species Act . Making America “great again” seems to mean reverting to the good old days before anybody gave a hoot about the planet. Fossil fuels The fossil fuel issue is a tricky dance for Democratic politicians. While most agree that the future lies in renewable energy, most cars and airplanes still run on fossil fuels. Biden pledged not to take any fossil fuel money for his campaign. But he still has a weakness for natural gas, which he has supported in the past as a “bridge fuel” between dirtier gasoline and coal and cleaner renewable energy. He has not called for a ban on fracking . Biden has promised to end all subsidies to fossil fuel companies. Trump doesn’t have a problem with fossil fuel. As it says on WhiteHouse.gov , “Americans have long been told that our country is running out of energy, but we now know that is wrong.” The president has promoted using more fossil fuel, especially coal. He’s chosen lobbyists and leaders in the fossil fuel industry for important federal posts, including as EPA administrator and as secretary of the Interior Department. Trump has worked to expand gas and oil drilling , including in the Arctic and the Gulf of Mexico. He’s claimed victory over what he calls “the war on coal .” Renewable energy Biden talks about the U.S. achieving a target of 100% clean energy. His strategies include grid-scale storage that will be 10 times more economical than lithium-ion batteries, small modular nuclear reactors, net-zero energy buildings, development of carbon-neutral construction materials, doubling offshore wind production by 2030 and the development and deployment carbon capture sequestration technology. His track record in the Senate and as vice president bears out his commitment to clean energy. Trump has dismembered the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which privileged clean energy construction over oil and gas. His administration repeatedly sliced funding that incentivized developing clean energy, proposing to cut up to 87% of the Department of Energy’s Office of Efficiency and Renewable Energy budget. He’s also proposed eliminating electric vehicle tax credits. While initially the Trump administration embraced new federal leases for offshore wind farms, it cut federal incentives for harvesting offshore wind. A 2018 tariff on solar panels manufactured outside the U.S. that was meant to boost jobs backfired, costing American jobs and upping panel prices. Environmental justice Biden has officially recognized that low-income neighborhoods and communities of color are disproportionately affected by pollution and climate change and addresses how to change this in the Joe Biden climate change plan. Trump has not addressed the subject. Via Joe Biden and WhiteHouse.gov Images via Adobe Stock and Pixabay

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The daily life of a tree farmer with One Tree Planted

August 21, 2020 by  
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Trees make the world a better place for humans by providing shade, sequestering CO2 , intercepting airborne particles, aiding respiratory health and adding great beauty to this planet we call home. Because trees do so much for us, planting more of them is an eco-strategy touted by many environmental organizations. But what’s it really like spending your workday growing, planting and caring for trees? To find out, we talked to a Zach Clark-Lee, a professional tree farmer who works with the environmental charity One Tree Planted. Founded in 2014, One Tree Planted works on reforestation projects in North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Australia. Some of its goals are to restore forests after natural disasters, create jobs and enhance biodiversity . The organization figures that it costs approximately $1 to grow and plant a tree, from land prep to maintaining and monitoring the planted tree. So if you have a dollar, you can sponsor a tree through One Tree Planted’s website. Or learn more about planting some trees yourself. Related: Nonprofit plants 80,000 trees in Kenya and Rwanda Here’s what Clark-Lee had to say about working with One Tree Planted. Inhabitat: What and where is your job, and how did you become affiliated with One Tree Planted? Clark-Lee: I work for the Colorado State Forest Service Seedling Nursery in Fort Collins, Colorado as a tree farmer . I took a tour of the nursery while in school, and I immediately fell in love with their mission and passion. I started as a volunteer in 2014 for about 4-5 weeks and then was offered a seasonal position. One year later, I started training to become the container production supervisor. Now, this is not the only hat that I wear. I’m the volunteer coordinator for the nursery, a licensed drone flier, tree planter and tour guide. Giving tours is how I became affiliated with One Tree Planted. I connected with their mission and values right away and then started growing trees for their vast projects. I’ve gotten a significant number of trees in the ground by working with One Tree Planted and have connected with some fantastic people along the way. Inhabitat: What was your motivation behind getting involved in the industry? Clark-Lee: To be completely honest, my motivation at first was completely selfish. I just wanted to be able to work outside. The more I learned during my hands-on experience, the more I realized how important my work and the work of the nursery was. My motivation adapted quickly. While I still love the fact that I get to work outside, I’m driven by a purpose, a want and a need to make our world a better place. Ultimately, I want to ensure my kids and future generations all over the world have a thriving planet to call home. Inhabitat: How many trees do you cultivate yearly? Clark-Lee: We sell roughly 500,000 native trees , perennials, shrubs and grasses every year. These plants have so many different applications such as going to post-fire/flood affected areas, building habitats, erosion control, creating living snow fences and windbreaks and more. Inhabitat: What’s a typical day like for you? Clark-Lee: I arrive at 6:45 in the morning and get our crew rolling for the day. We may be seeding, transplanting, weeding or getting orders ready for distribution. Every day that I’m on the farm, I get to nurture our plants to help others and Mother Nature. The days are long, and sometimes more challenging than others, but I experience a constant rewarding feeling from my work. A feeling that makes me want to get up and do it again day after day. Home is an interesting concept for me. The nursery is really my second residence, and after a long day on the 130-acre farm, I get to go to my  actual  home and spend time with my family. Inhabitat: What happens after you’ve grown the trees, and where do they go? Clark-Lee: We grow and sell trees for many different reasons. Some of our plants are going to areas that may have been impacted by devastating fires or floods . Some may be for habitat rehabilitation and animal corridors that house birds, lions, bobcats, pollinators and more. We also have specific projects for a number of different conservation efforts, like helping reservations restore their land or helping farmers/landowners with windbreaks or living snow fences to better manage their properties. Inhabitat: Do you plant trees yourself? Why? Clark-Lee: Yes, we plant the trees ourselves, mainly to ensure the success, health and beauty of the tree planting. We want our plants to help Colorado and surrounding states be as healthy and prosperous as we all know they can be. We also plant species on our property for seed increase, when seed may be hard to get your hands on. Inhabitat: Where have you planted trees? Clark-Lee: I have started my own plantings on the “High Park” burn scar, just outside of Fort Collins. I saw this site and realized that not many people were planting there. So, I took it upon myself to change that. With the help of One Tree Planted, I was able to purchase the trees from the nursery and get started. Planting is a passion of mine, and I cannot wait for the pandemic to end so that I can return to the forest with my volunteers. Inhabitat: What wild animals have you seen in the field? Clark-Lee: I have seen amazing wildlife , like mountain lions, bobcats, eagles, hawks and owls. Inhabitat: What do you like the most about working in the industry? Clark-Lee: What I like most about working in the industry is the like-minded people I have the opportunity to connect with. Volunteers are truly a different type of breed — an amazing one! They are happy to get out in the hot sun and traverse all kinds of terrain just to put trees in the ground. Volunteers don’t do it for the money, they do it because they are passionate about the cause and want to help. Inhabitat: How long have you done this work, and how long do you plan to do it? Clark-Lee: I have been doing this work for almost 7 years now, and I don’t think I could be any happier doing anything else. I have been able to grow and plant trees for the world’s health and help others find their path in this industry. Inhabitat: What else should readers know about your work? Clark-Lee: Passion is the ultimate driver for my work. If you’re looking for ways to help fight climate change , or get involved in your own community, you can start with planting trees. Get out and volunteer for an hour or two, or 10 hours, or a whole week. Do it until passion slaps you across the face. You might discover something in you that you never knew you had. Inhabitat: What are your hopes for the future of forests, and how does your work contribute to that? Clark-Lee: I hope that I can pass my torch to the future generations with a smile and know that we are in safe hands. I hope that my passion rubs off on people from all walks of life. I want my work to instill hope in others. Trees are the answer, and don’t let anyone forget it. See professional tree planters in action in this video from One Tree Planted. + One Tree Planted Images via Jplenio , George Bakos and Siggy Nowak

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The daily life of a tree farmer with One Tree Planted

EPA loosens restrictions on methane emissions

August 18, 2020 by  
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As President Trump’s term comes to an end, his administration has busily rolled back Obama-era environmental protections. Now, the Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ) has loosened standards governing how much methane oil and gas facilities can release into the atmosphere. Methane is a serious threat to the environment because the gas is so good at absorbing heat, making it 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide, according to the Environmental Defense Fund . While methane comes from many places, the oil and gas industry is its largest source. Related: Trump waives environmental laws amid national crises “Trump’s EPA has given the oil and gas industry a green light to keep leaking enormous amounts of climate pollution into the air,” said David Doniger, senior strategic director of Natural Resources Defense Council’s Climate & Clean Energy Program. In 2018, the oil and gas industry released an estimated 15 million metric tons of methane into the air. The American public isn’t happy about this. A recent NRDC poll found that 75% of respondents strongly support strengthening controls on methane pollution. The NRDC proposed a solution in 2015. If federal standards for oil and gas infrastructure were adopted nationwide, methane pollution could be halved in less than a decade. Unfortunately, Trump’s new rollback pushes us further in the wrong direction. The rollback allows companies to bypass installation of detection equipment, nor do they have to fix methane leaks. Lax emission standards are especially dangerous to fence-line communities, lower-income neighborhoods that have the misfortune of being close to polluting facilities. According to the NAACP website, Black communities are disproportionately affected by methane, benzene, sulfur dioxide, formaldehyde and other toxic and dangerous emissions released by industries in their neighborhoods. Among other health effects, these pollutants cause more than 138,000 asthma attacks in children per year. “We cannot protect the health of our children and grandchildren, especially in the most polluted and endangered communities, if the EPA lets this industry off scot-free,” Doniger said. “We will see EPA in court.” Via NRDC Image via Pixabay

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EPA loosens restrictions on methane emissions

Pittsburgh leads in green energy with largest single sloped solar array in the US

August 18, 2020 by  
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The shift from non-renewable sources of energy to green energy continues to gain momentum. In the past few years, we have seen the launch of groundbreaking renewable energy projects around the world. One of the latest projects is a solar array for Mill 19 at Hazelwood Green in Pittsburgh. The project, led by Scalo Solar Solutions , is now the single largest sloped solar array in the U.S. It consists of 4,785 silicon solar panels that are capable of powering the entire Mill 19 plant. The project was established at a cost of $5 million and is expected to provide sufficient power to supply the energy needs of Mill 19. The 4,785 silicon solar panels sit on a 133,000-square-foot area on the frame of Mill 19. The solar panels were installed using an innovative technology called the Spider WorkWeb. With this approach, the panels were directly attached to Mill 19’s existing frame, thereby cutting the cost of putting up a new frame for the project. Each of the LG solar panels was assembled on the ground and then lifted and fitted into position. Related: IceWind launches residential wind turbines in the US The Hazelwood Green site, where Mill 19 is located, is seen as a model for sustainable development. Mill 19 has a goal to achieve 96% daylight autonomy, providing maximum thermal efficiency. Mill 19 is also targeting LEED Gold certification. The design of the solar slope caters to stormwater drainage. A strategic drainage system has been set in place, which will see all the water through a rainwater garden to a centrally located filtration basin. The Pittsburgh solar project is more proof that there is a possibility of attaining 100% renewable energy in many industries. There are many other businesses and organizations that can use the same model to reduce dependence on non-renewable sources of energy. + Pittsburgh Green Story Image via Pittsburgh Green Story and Andreas

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Pittsburgh leads in green energy with largest single sloped solar array in the US

Fast food, snacks and treats that are surprisingly vegan

August 3, 2020 by  
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People often equate vegan food with healthy and organic. While it’s true that many vegans are health-conscious and that organic food is probably better for your body and definitely better for farmers, there are times when healthy and conscious aren’t the primary drivers of our eating decisions. So if you find yourself famished on a long road trip and have only a convenience store at which to shop, or if you’re attending a family gathering that’s not receptive to your usual vegan potluck offerings, here are a few things you might be able to eat without breaking your vegan commitment. Note: This article covers U.S.-based products. Ingredients may differ around the world. It’s always wise to scan the ingredient list before purchase — formulations occasionally change. Related: 12 surprising things that aren’t vegan Vegan savory snacks So you’re driving through the middle of Texas when you run out of organic carob energy bites. Now you must resupply from a truck stop snack aisle. What do you do? The ordinary vegan will head for plain tortilla chips, salted peanuts and cashews and hope for a desiccated apple or a brown banana by the checkout. But the savvy vegan who’s not afraid of the junkiest of junk food can branch out. How about a bag of Cheetos Twisted Flamin’ Hot? You didn’t think “Cheetos” meant cheese, did you? If you don’t mind some MSG, this snack will still fit within vegan confines. The same goes for many potato chips, including Lay’s BBQ, Pringles Texas BBQ and several Kettle Brand Chip flavors: Backyard Barbeque, Country Style Barbeque, Korean Barbeque and Maple Bacon. Grab some crackers, too. Both Keebler Club and Ritz are made without animal products; that butter taste is an illusion. Plant-based sweets While you’re in a convenience store, cruise the cookie aisle. Many ordinary cookies are also vegan. Oreos are easy to find — and vegan — as are Nutter Butters and Nabisco animal crackers. Famous Amos sandwich cookies in chocolate , oatmeal macaroon, peanut butter and vanilla are also fair game. Check for vegan pies, too, like Krispy Kreme fruit pies in cherry, apple and peach. If you’re fortunate enough to be at a Trader Joe’s instead of a truck stop, you’ll have lots of vegan cookies to choose from, including Joe Joe’s (similar to Oreos) maple leaf, cinnamon schoolbook and speculoos cookies. Of course, if you’re in a Trader Joe’s , you’ll have lots of quality and healthy vegan snacks to choose from and probably won’t need this article. In the candy section, best bets for vegans include Jolly Ranchers, Skittles Chewies, Red Vines and most of the Twizzler line-up. If you need some jokes to liven up the car trip, vegans can safely eat Mini Laffy Taffy (okay, maybe not safely, as it’s mostly made of corn syrup, sugar, palm oil, hydrogenated oil and chemicals). However, Laffy Taffy Stretchy & Tangy and Laffy Taffy jelly beans contain animal products, like beeswax and egg albumen. Ironically, one of the best vegan candies was made to look like meat. The Texas-based Atkinson Candy Company manufactured Chicken Bones, a candy made primarily of peanut butter and toasted coconut . But in 1955, they changed the name to Chick-o-Sticks because another candy company had the rights to the name Chicken Bones. Chick-o-Sticks aren’t so common these days, but they are one of the tastier vegan candies and contain more easily understandable ingredients than Skittles or Laffy Taffy. Now, keep in mind that some vegans won’t eat white sugar because it is sometimes processed with animal bones. If this is you, double-check that you’ve packed enough organic kale chips before you leave home, or skip the convenience-store sweets and opt for savory instead. Celebratory desserts Now let’s switch our focus to another potential vegan minefield: family gatherings. Is your family still mocking you for that tofu-based pumpkin pie you brought to Thanksgiving 10 years ago? Or the Stevia-sweetened brownies with the consistency of asphalt? If your relatives are suspicious of anything you bake , consider bringing something you made from a mix. Yes, it lacks your special touch. But that’s the point, at least from your family’s perspective. Duncan Hines is your friend when it comes to a birthday cake your non-vegan family will love. The mixes are vegan-friendly and come in a wide variety of flavors, including dark chocolate fudge, carrot, pineapple supreme, German chocolate, classic yellow, fudge marble and strawberry supreme. All you need to do is swap out the butter or eggs for oil. If you want to cut calories, you can use sparkling water instead of oil. Top your cake with Duncan Hines frosting. Again, there are lots of vegan flavors to choose from, including butter cream, vanilla, coconut pecan, strawberry cream and dark chocolate fudge. Frozen pies are an even better choice for the skeptical family. Bring a Sara Lee apple or cherry frozen pie or a Marie Callender’s apple pie and heat it up at the gathering. If your family is eating sundaes, you’ll need to bring your own non-dairy ice cream . But you all can share the Hershey’s chocolate syrup. Vegan fast food Vegans also occasionally find themselves faced with the need to eat something at a fast food joint. Contemplating Mac, Jack, Carl or the King can lead to a vegan meltdown. But don’t worry. A few chains can reliably feed you. Taco Bell is probably the best choice, with a highly customizable veg menu. Right now, your veg source will be beans , beans and more beans, but next year when the chain plans to add plant-based meat, you’ll have even more options. Chipotle is another reliable fast-casual chain with lots of things for a vegan to eat. It’s also a healthier option. Subway has more than just salads for vegan folks. You can order the Beyond Meatball Marinara on Italian bread. Just be sure to tell them to leave off the provolone and Parmesan. Panda Express resisted vegans for a long time. But after pressure from PETA , the fast food chain finally introduced a few things for vegans: chow mein and eggplant tofu, vegan spring rolls and Super Greens. Fast food dining has come a long way for vegans. Nowadays, you might even find a delicious vegan dessert while on a road trip. DQ offers the tri-colored Starkiss, which looks like a patriotic ice pop. Better yet, Baskin-Robbins has introduced some vegan flavors, including Chocolate Extreme and Coffee Caramel Chunk. But remember, just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Think twice before making truck stops and fast food joints a regular way of life. Pack plenty of healthful snacks before you leave home, lest you reap the health consequences later. Images via Robert Sebastian Gusoi , Thomas B. , Stock Snap , Jodie Walton and William Brinson / Chipotle

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Fast food, snacks and treats that are surprisingly vegan

Vermont Food Scrap Ban requires residents, businesses to compost

July 10, 2020 by  
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Too lazy to carry your banana peel or avocado pit to your compost bin? You’re breaking the law, at least in Vermont . The Green Mountain State is the first state to pass a law requiring businesses and residents to compost. Anything that was once alive — including orange rinds, bones, egg shells, coffee grounds, grass and leaves — are banned from Vermont landfills as of July 1. In the past, yard debris and food scraps have made up nearly a quarter of the waste from a typical Vermont residence. At cafeterias and restaurants, more than half the waste was food scraps. When all of this old food hits the landfill, it decomposes slowly and produces the powerful greenhouse gas methane. Related: 12 things you should never compost Instead, when food scraps are composted, their valuable nutrients can boost soil health. Unlike smelly food scraps, finished compost is a highly sought-after commodity for use in landscaping, gardens and farms. “Vermont is ahead of the curve because we have such a strong agricultural base, it makes it a no-brainer for us,” Cat Buxton, a Vermont-based compost consultant, told the Valley News . “We have a lot of people who know how to manage organic waste of all kinds and they’ve been doing it for a long time.” The new law, called the Food Scrap Ban, could create more jobs for food scrap haulers and others in the waste industry. However, the state won’t be hiring enforcers to troll people’s bins for peach pits. It is counting on voluntary compliance. Before the law came into effect, 72% of Vermont residents composted at home or saved leftovers for livestock, according to a University of Vermont study. To help people get started, the official Vermont state website offers tips on choosing composting receptacles, containing odors, composting in the yard, cutting down on food waste and keeping your food scraps safe from bears . “From a climate change and greenhouse gas perspective, this is huge,” Josh Kelly of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources said of the state’s efforts to boost composting. “In addition, it puts our waste to work. It puts it into a job-creating system where you are creating a product that is being processed and made into something and it’s not disposed of.” + Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Via Huffington Post Image via Ben Kerckx

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Vermont Food Scrap Ban requires residents, businesses to compost

Vermont Food Scrap Ban requires residents, businesses to compost

July 10, 2020 by  
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Too lazy to carry your banana peel or avocado pit to your compost bin? You’re breaking the law, at least in Vermont . The Green Mountain State is the first state to pass a law requiring businesses and residents to compost. Anything that was once alive — including orange rinds, bones, egg shells, coffee grounds, grass and leaves — are banned from Vermont landfills as of July 1. In the past, yard debris and food scraps have made up nearly a quarter of the waste from a typical Vermont residence. At cafeterias and restaurants, more than half the waste was food scraps. When all of this old food hits the landfill, it decomposes slowly and produces the powerful greenhouse gas methane. Related: 12 things you should never compost Instead, when food scraps are composted, their valuable nutrients can boost soil health. Unlike smelly food scraps, finished compost is a highly sought-after commodity for use in landscaping, gardens and farms. “Vermont is ahead of the curve because we have such a strong agricultural base, it makes it a no-brainer for us,” Cat Buxton, a Vermont-based compost consultant, told the Valley News . “We have a lot of people who know how to manage organic waste of all kinds and they’ve been doing it for a long time.” The new law, called the Food Scrap Ban, could create more jobs for food scrap haulers and others in the waste industry. However, the state won’t be hiring enforcers to troll people’s bins for peach pits. It is counting on voluntary compliance. Before the law came into effect, 72% of Vermont residents composted at home or saved leftovers for livestock, according to a University of Vermont study. To help people get started, the official Vermont state website offers tips on choosing composting receptacles, containing odors, composting in the yard, cutting down on food waste and keeping your food scraps safe from bears . “From a climate change and greenhouse gas perspective, this is huge,” Josh Kelly of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources said of the state’s efforts to boost composting. “In addition, it puts our waste to work. It puts it into a job-creating system where you are creating a product that is being processed and made into something and it’s not disposed of.” + Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Via Huffington Post Image via Ben Kerckx

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Vermont Food Scrap Ban requires residents, businesses to compost

Prefab, floating waterlilliHaus is completely self-sustaining in Brazil

June 15, 2020 by  
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Brazilian construction company SysHaus has recently installed a new prefab home that generates its own energy as it floats on an idyllic São Paulo lake. Dubbed the waterlilliHaus, the plug-and-play home is the floating version of the lilliHaus, the largest option in SysHaus’ lineup of prefab homes. The waterlilliHaus measures 3.2 meters wide by 12 meters in length and is mounted atop a floating catamaran that can be moored or sailed at speeds of up to 4 knots. Modern, eco-friendly and adaptable, the prefab home series produced by São Paulo-based SysHaus comes in a range of sizes from the compact 9.6-square-meter nanoHaus to the 38.4-square-meter lilliHaus. All homes are prefabricated in a controlled factory environment with automated, computer-controlled machines to ensure quality, traceability and waste minimization. The units can be assembled in less than two days and can even be delivered with all of the furnishings and equipment pre-installed.  Related: This eco-friendly prefab home was built in just 28 days In keeping with the startup’s commitment to sustainability, all Syshaus units can be designed for off-grid use, such as the recently installed waterlilliHaus that was delivered by truck and then craned atop a catamaran at the lake. Topped with rooftop solar panels, the floating home generates all of the energy it needs. Blackwater and graywater is collected and filtered through a three-phase biodigester system; the water is cleaned before it is returned to the environment. Rainwater is also collected and treated for drinking water. To reduce energy demands, the waterlilliHaus is punctuated with operable openings to take advantage of natural ventilation and the stack effect . Energy-efficient lighting, appliances and other electrical systems can be hooked up to a centralized smart home system for remote monitoring. The smart home system can be programmed to adapt to the user’s daily routines for energy-saving automation purposes. + SysHaus Images via SysHaus

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Prefab, floating waterlilliHaus is completely self-sustaining in Brazil

Amazon deforestation increased by 34% in 2019

June 12, 2020 by  
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Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest has continued to be a thorn in the side of efforts to curb global warming . According to data released by Brazil’s space research agency INPE, 10,129 square kilometers of the rainforest were cleared between August 2018 and July 2019. Initially, INPE had reported that the deforested area in the same period was 9,762 square kilometers. In a recent report by the Brazilian government, adjustments have been made and the actual size of deforested land has now been revealed to be 29% greater than originally reported and 34% more than the same time frame the year prior. These figures pose a serious threat to the rainforest , given that the rate of deforestation has increased by 34% from the previous year. Even though Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro claims to be focused on saving the largest rainforest in the world, the figures show otherwise. In just one year, forest area equal to the size of Lebanon has been cleared. Related: Climate change, deforestation lead to younger, shorter trees Although there have been efforts to control deforestation in the Amazon, the Brazilian government keeps failing to meet its targets. The new figures that were reported on Tuesday, June 8, 2020 now present the highest level of deforestation since 2008. The newly revised data by INPE should serve as a wake-up call to the Brazilian government and all parties that are working to control deforestation. The Amazon covers about 60% of Brazil and is the largest rainforest on Earth; protecting the Amazon is important not only to Brazil but to the entire world. Environmental advocates and activists are now blaming the Brazilian president for allowing loggers and ranchers to grab forested land. Although he claims to have implemented measures to control logging, Bolsonaro has encouraged Brazilians to erect developments on protected areas of the Amazon. According to monthly data released by INPE, deforestation has continued to worsen in 2020 even during COVID-19 . INPE data shows that deforestation has increased by 55% between January and April compared to a similar period in 2019. Via Reuters Image via ESA

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