Fix-It Guy: 3 Tips to Double the Life of Your Front-Load Washer

September 24, 2021 by  
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One of my saddest duties as an appliance repair tech is breaking the news to… The post Fix-It Guy: 3 Tips to Double the Life of Your Front-Load Washer appeared first on Earth911.

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Fix-It Guy: 3 Tips to Double the Life of Your Front-Load Washer

US and China make big climate pledges at UN General Assembly

September 23, 2021 by  
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Two of the world’s largest economies — and by far the largest carbon contributors — have committed to stop financing the climate crisis. On Tuesday at the U.N. General Assembly in New York , the U.S. and China pledged to cut off financing for activities that fuel the climate crisis. These commitments are good news, especially as leaders struggle to build momentum for COP26 in November. According to President Xi Jinping, China will no longer build coal-fired plants overseas. When this policy is implemented, China could cut off up to $50 billion in foreign investment. Consequently, this could mean the end of coal power exploration, given that China is currently the largest investor in coal-powered plants internationally. China has up to 47 coal plants planned in 20 countries; these plans may be canceled as financing is cut off. Related: Climate clock ticks out shame for rich nations While speaking to members of the press, Joanna Lewis, an expert on China, energy and climate at Georgetown University, elaborated on China’s climate promises. “It’s a big deal. China was the only significant funder of overseas coal left. This announcement essentially ends all public support for coal globally,” said Lewis. “This is the announcement many have been waiting for.” As for the United States, President Joe Biden pledged to increase funding to underdeveloped countries to fight climate change . “In April, I announced the United States will double our public international financing to help developing nations tackle the climate crisis, and today, I’m proud to announce that we’ll work with the Congress to double that number again, including for adaptation efforts,” Biden said during his U.N. General Assembly address on Tuesday. While the news of the U.S. increasing its support for underdeveloped countries is welcomed, the action needed by developed countries to fight the climate crisis is still below expectations. For instance, the U.S.’s current climate pledges amount to $11.4 billion annually, despite statements from the independent Overseas Development Institute estimating that the country would need to contribute $43.4 billion to reach its “fair share.” Via EcoWatch Lead image via Patrick Gruban

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US and China make big climate pledges at UN General Assembly

Invasive lanternflies want to take over the U.S.

August 3, 2021 by  
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Spotted lanternflies are extremely cool-looking bugs, with polka-dotted wings in shades of red, black and beige that make them resemble paper lanterns. But people should be very worried about this invasive  insect , according to entomologist Frank Hale. The spotted lanternfly hales from India, Vietnam and China. It probably immigrated to the U.S. as a stowaway in a cut stone or wood product shipment circa 2012. The initial U.S. sighting in 2014 was, fittingly enough, on a common  invasive  tree of heaven in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Since then, spotted lanternflies have spread to at least 26 counties in  Pennsylvania  and been spotted in several other eastern states. Related: More than half of Europe’s native trees face extinction The problem is, this is one destructive little bug. Lanternflies feed by piercing  tree  bark and vines, biting right into the plant’s vascular system and sucking out the sap. At an inch long, they’re pretty big for a sucking insect and can remove an awful lot of sap, jeopardizing the lives of their hosts. Then they excrete large amounts of the euphemistically called “honeydew,” which coats the tree. “The heavy flow of honeydew and the resulting sooty mold makes a mess of the landscape,” said Hale, as reported in Ecowatch. Woe to those who park beneath a tree infested with lanternflies. These invasive bugs also have a yen for grapevines. It takes a lot of  insecticide  to kill them, driving up production costs and making vintners kiss their organic status goodbye. Eastern wine-producing areas, including Long Island and Finger Lakes in New York, Newport, Rhode Island and parts of Virginia all face the threat of lanternflies ruining their vineyards. How have these little bugs spread so far in just a few years? In late summer and autumn, lanternflies lay egg masses. Any smooth surface is fair game. Including  cars , trains and trucks. The unborn lanternflies can hitch a ride anywhere, leading to future infestations. Scientists are trying to figure out the best way to stop these bugs from continuing their west and southward trajectory. “Two naturally occurring fungal pathogens of spotted lanternflies have been identified in the U.S.,” Hale told Ecowatch. “Also, U.S. labs are testing two parasitoid insects – insects that grow by feeding on lanternflies and killing them in the process – that have been brought from  China  for testing and possible future release.” Wait, haven’t we seen that in a sci-fi movie? In the meantime, if you see spotted lanternflies in your area, contact your local county extension office for suggestions on how to control the bugs. And if you’re the unlucky first sighter of the bugs in your area, contact your state department of  agriculture .  “ If the infestation is caught early before it can become established in your area, hopefully it can be eradicated there,” said Hale. “Eventually, it will spread to many parts of the country. We can slow the spread by identifying and eradicating new infestations wherever they arise.” Via Ecowatch , USDA Lead image via F Delventhal

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Invasive lanternflies want to take over the U.S.

The Amazon rainforest now emits more carbon than it absorbs

July 15, 2021 by  
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A recent  study  in Nature shows that the Amazon rainforest is now emitting more CO2 than it absorbs. For the first time, scientists have confirmed that despite once being the largest carbon sink in the world, the rainforest has turned into a pollutant due to high rates of deforestation. According to the study, approximately a billion tonnes of carbon are emitted by the forest each year. The study has identified forest fires as one of the major causes of emissions . Most of the fires are deliberately started to clear forest land for beef and soy farming. With most of the world’s soy supply produced in Brazil, conservationists are calling for a global conversation over the status of the Amazon. Related: Facebook Marketplace fuels illegal sales of land in the Amazon rainforest Researchers used small planes to measure the levels of CO2 over the Amazon, up to 4,500 meters above the canopy. The study started in 2010 and ran until 2018. Previous studies were conducted via satellite images, which were less accurate.  The research was lead and co-authored by Luciana Gatti of the National Institute for Space Research in Brazil . While commenting on the findings, Gatti said that deforestation alone is turning the forest into a carbon emitter. Even in regions with no forest fires, researchers found that carbon emissions were higher than carbon absorption in areas where deforestation was severe. “The first very bad news is that forest burning produces around three times more CO2 than the forest absorbs. The second bad news is that the places where deforestation is 30% or more show carbon emissions 10 times higher than where deforestation is lower than 20%,” said Gatti. Researchers were involved in checking over 600 verticle profiles of CO2 and carbon monoxide. The study found that fires alone produced 1.5 billion tonnes of CO2 a year, while forest growth only removes approximately half a billion tonnes of CO2 per year. As The Guardian reports, “the 1bn tonnes left in the atmosphere is equivalent to the annual emissions of Japan, the world’s fifth-biggest polluter.” Professor Simon Lewis of University College London has praised the study, saying, “Flying every two weeks and keeping consistent laboratory measurements for nine years is an amazing feat.” In light of this news, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has been scrutinized for driving deforestation by supporting farmers to take land in the forest. If this continues, some countries in Europe are threatening to block an EU trade deal with Brazil. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pexels

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Governor calls for reduced water usage amid 2021 California drought

July 12, 2021 by  
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Governor Gavin Newsom has placed 50 of California’s 58 counties under a drought  emergency  order, and the number may grow. The latest to join the order are those located north of the Tehachapi mountains. This includes Marin, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Inyo, Santa Barbara and Santa Clara counties. “Those are the effects of climate change. It’s here, and it’s human-induced,” Newsom said, as reported by ABC. “I think in the state of  California , we’ve moved beyond the debate and are moving toward finding a solution.” Related: California farmers find ways to work with less water Instead of mandating and enforcing water restrictions, Newsom is asking for people to voluntarily comply. The goal: reduce  water  usage by 15%. This goes for agricultural and industrial uses, as well as residential. “We’re hopeful that the people in the state of California will take that mindset that they saw in the last drought and take that forward,” Newsom said. California has allocated $5.1 billion to deal with the drought, including emergency response and investing in the state’s water infrastructure. California’s largest reservoirs, Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville, hold less than half their usual amount of water, according to the state Department of Water Resources. Both  lakes  are in Northern California. Southern California is currently faring better, with Castaic Lake at 58% of its average level, and Lake Perris with notably more water than it usually holds this time of year. Last year’s dry winter means California fell below its usual snow total. Pair that with extreme heat, and you have severe  wildfire  risk this summer. For those who want to think of new ways to save water during the California  drought ,  Save Our Water  has conservation tips for your home and yard. If you tend to do many small loads of laundry, leave the water on while brushing your teeth or enjoy hosing down your sidewalk, consult this site immediately for alternatives and advice. Via ABC Lead image via Pixabay

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Governor calls for reduced water usage amid 2021 California drought

The ocean is on fire after Gulf of Mexico gas pipeline leak

July 7, 2021 by  
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It takes a lot to start a fire in the ocean. After all, water usually extinguishes flames. But as Pemex demonstrated last week in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the right set of conditions — a leak in a gas  pipeline  plus an electrical storm — can set the ocean on fire and be very difficult to extinguish. ? Sobre el incendio registrado en aguas del Golfo de México, en la Sonda de Campeche, a unos metros de la plataforma Ku-Charly (dentro del Activo Integral de Producción Ku Maloob Zaap) Tres barcos han apoyado para sofocar las llamas pic.twitter.com/thIOl8PLQo — Manuel Lopez San Martin (@MLopezSanMartin) July 2, 2021 The gas leak started in the Campeche Sound early Friday morning, according to Petróleos Mexicanos, aka Pemex, the state-owned petroleum company responsible for the ill-fated pipeline. Before workers could repair it, lightning struck. Voila, a subaquatic fireball. Related: Pipeline explosion in Mexico kills 91 and counting Pemex swung into action on the ocean and PR cleanup fronts. Firefighting vessels closed the pipeline’s valve and sprayed in nitrogen; they managed to extinguish the fire in about five hours. Pemex claims no  oil  was spilled, and the environment was unharmed. The company says it is investigating what caused the gas leak. But  Greenpeace  Mexico isn’t ready to let it go and move on. The environmental group stated that the fire “demonstrates the serious risks that Mexico’s fossil fuel model poses for the environment and people’s safety,” as reported by  ABC Chicago . A person might wonder if the world wouldn’t even know about this disaster if not for people like journalist  Manuel Lopez San Martin , who posted a video of the disaster that went viral on Twitter. The video shows ships spraying water on a fire in the ocean. A surreal image, indeed. San Martin wrote that the fire was only 400 meters from an oil platform.  This reporting stands out considering the dangerous conditions for journalists in Mexico.  Mexico  outranks Iraq as the  most dangerous country for journalists , with eight killed in retaliation for their work in 2020 alone. Pemex has a less than stellar record, with several leaks and fires in its recent past. A January 2019 explosion in one of its Tlahuelilpan, Hidalgo fuel  pipelines killed 137 people during a massive gas heist gone wrong. Via CBS News , Bloomberg Business Week Lead image © Manuel Lopez San Martin

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The ocean is on fire after Gulf of Mexico gas pipeline leak

California couple fined $18,000 for destroying Joshua trees

July 6, 2021 by  
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A California-based couple, Jeffrey Walter and Jonetta Nordberg-Walter, face a fine of $18,000 after uprooting 36 Joshua trees to build a new house. The couple was fined after an anonymous neighbor sent a tip to the California Fish and Wildlife Department. The neighbor is said to have witnessed the trees being bulldozed and buried during the construction of the new home. According to California Fish and Wildlife Department officials, the neighbor had warned the Morongo Basin couple about the consequences of bulldozing the trees , but the couple ignored the warning. Joshua trees are protected in California, and anyone found cutting them is likely to be sued.  Related: California votes to protect Joshua trees Nathaniel Arnold, deputy chief of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife law enforcement division, said that protecting the endangered Joshua trees depends on locals who are passionate about the species. “Most California citizens who reside in Joshua Tree habitat revere these iconic desert species, more so now than ever because of its degraded population status,” Arnold said. Arnold commended the work done by the resident who out the tip about the destruction of Joshua trees . He says that such a move could serve as a deterrent to those who wish to destroy the trees. “We’re pleased to see the citizen tip led to a successful disposition and we hope it serves as a deterrent to others who may think it is acceptable to unlawfully remove Joshua trees to make way for development,” Arnold added. California wildlife officials are now considering having Joshua trees protected under the Endangered Species Act. Global warming has made it almost impossible for Joshua trees to thrive. In 2020, California’s Dome wildfire consumed over 43,000 acres of Joshua tree woodland . Based on the  National Park Service  data, this single event led to the destruction of about 1.3 million Joshua trees. There are also many documented incidences where fires or individuals have led to the destruction of Joshua trees. In 2019, Joshua Tree National Park was closed temporarily following increased instances of Joshua tree destruction. Following the latest ruling, Walter and Nordberg-Walter were required by the court to each pay $9,000 for the destroyed trees. However, they can earn credit toward the fine if they volunteer at Joshua Tree National Park or the Mojave Desert Land Trust. Via Washington Post Images via San Bernardino County District Attorney

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California couple fined $18,000 for destroying Joshua trees

California couple fined $18,000 for destroying Joshua trees

July 6, 2021 by  
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A California-based couple, Jeffrey Walter and Jonetta Nordberg-Walter, face a fine of $18,000 after uprooting 36 Joshua trees to build a new house. The couple was fined after an anonymous neighbor sent a tip to the California Fish and Wildlife Department. The neighbor is said to have witnessed the trees being bulldozed and buried during the construction of the new home. According to California Fish and Wildlife Department officials, the neighbor had warned the Morongo Basin couple about the consequences of bulldozing the trees , but the couple ignored the warning. Joshua trees are protected in California, and anyone found cutting them is likely to be sued.  Related: California votes to protect Joshua trees Nathaniel Arnold, deputy chief of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife law enforcement division, said that protecting the endangered Joshua trees depends on locals who are passionate about the species. “Most California citizens who reside in Joshua Tree habitat revere these iconic desert species, more so now than ever because of its degraded population status,” Arnold said. Arnold commended the work done by the resident who out the tip about the destruction of Joshua trees . He says that such a move could serve as a deterrent to those who wish to destroy the trees. “We’re pleased to see the citizen tip led to a successful disposition and we hope it serves as a deterrent to others who may think it is acceptable to unlawfully remove Joshua trees to make way for development,” Arnold added. California wildlife officials are now considering having Joshua trees protected under the Endangered Species Act. Global warming has made it almost impossible for Joshua trees to thrive. In 2020, California’s Dome wildfire consumed over 43,000 acres of Joshua tree woodland . Based on the  National Park Service  data, this single event led to the destruction of about 1.3 million Joshua trees. There are also many documented incidences where fires or individuals have led to the destruction of Joshua trees. In 2019, Joshua Tree National Park was closed temporarily following increased instances of Joshua tree destruction. Following the latest ruling, Walter and Nordberg-Walter were required by the court to each pay $9,000 for the destroyed trees. However, they can earn credit toward the fine if they volunteer at Joshua Tree National Park or the Mojave Desert Land Trust. Via Washington Post Images via San Bernardino County District Attorney

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California couple fined $18,000 for destroying Joshua trees

You can now explore all 19 of South Africa’s National Parks on Google Maps

November 3, 2017 by  
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Have you ever wanted to walk in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela , track cheetahs on foot , or stroll with elephants — and other exotic creatures — in South Africa ? Well, here’s your chance. Thanks to the efforts of over 200 volunteers, now you can use Google Maps to explore 19 National Parks, 17 nature reserves, and many other sites of natural, cultural and historical significance in South Africa. More than 200 nature-loving South Africans volunteered to map out parts of the country they call home. Many of the helpers were rangers and guides with SANParks , CapeNature and KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife . Others were just good Samaritans, tech enthusiasts and avid hikers who want to make a difference. Over the span of twelve months, the volunteers trekked over 50,000km to establish 232 points of interest. Said Magdalena Filak, Program Manager for Google, “The hundreds of volunteers who helped along the way proved to be truly passionate about showing the best of South Africa through their participation in the loan program.” The Google Street View Camera Loan program encourages anyone to borrow the 360-degree camera technology to help the planet . Reportedly, this is the first time Google has partnered with a third-party for the program. Drive South Africa played a big role in coordinating the volunteers . Andre Van Kets, an outdoor enthusiast and the founder of the Cape Town -based company, explained the technology: “The Trekker camera is a 22kg custom-made backpack fitted with 15 cameras pointing in all directions. The on-board technology plots the camera’s exact location on the trail. While recording, the camera takes a 360-degree photo every two-seconds. It’s basically the off-road equivalent of Google’s Street View cars.” Kets added that he saw “potential in this technology to showcase South Africa to travellers around the globe” when he applied. Related: Thousands of plastic bottles transformed into an inspiring tower of hope in South Africa In addition to mapping over two hundred points of interest, volunteers mapped eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Users can also see Mapungubwe Hill , which is home to an ancient African civilization, the Richtersveld that is known for its incredible moonscapes, and iSimangaliso Wetland Park , South Africa’s oldest UNESCO site which serves as a critical habitat for many species . The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Dennis Wood of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife said, “As the proud conservation authority for KwaZulu-Natal, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife are excited to be partnered with Google’ new initiative in exposing our trails on this global platform that we believe will engage our prospective guests to “Take time to Discover” our province’s rich natural beauty and conservation wildlife heritage.” + Google Street View Loan Program Images via Google Maps

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You can now explore all 19 of South Africa’s National Parks on Google Maps

Tesla aims to ramp up Solar Roof production in Buffalo next year

November 3, 2017 by  
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Tesla’s Solar Roof could be seen on more homes as the company plans to increase production in 2018. They said in a letter to shareholders they’ll be moving production from their Fremont, California factory to the Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo , New York. According to Inverse , Elon Musk provided for the first time a concrete timeframe for ramping up production, during a recent conference call, to allow for more customer installations. Tesla plans to start manufacturing more Solar Roofs soon. In a Wednesday conference call, chief technology officer JB Straubel said they are “on track to turn on most of the production line in Buffalo by the end of the year.” In the shareholder letter, Musk and chief financial officer Deepak Ahuja said as they move production to Buffalo, energy generation with the Solar Roofs will become a larger part of Tesla’s business in 2018. Related: A Tesla solar roof rotates to naturally cool this desert home in Iran Tesla has deployed less solar capacity in the third quarter than one year ago: 109 megawatts (MW) as opposed to 187 MW. In the letter, Musk and Ahuja said, “The lower developments are in large part a result of deliberately deemphasizing commercial and industrial solar energy projects with low profit and limited cash generation.” As they make the move from Fremont to Buffalo, they said in the letter Solar Roof installations will increase slowly at first, but “as we fine tune and standardize the production and installation process, we expect to ramp Solar Roof production considerably in 2018.” Musk and Ahuja affirmed Musk’s vision for pursuing renewable energy – over ten years ago, Musk said in his first master plan Tesla aimed to provide “ zero emission electric power generation options.” In this recent letter the two executives said sustainable energy – and storing it – are crucial components of the company’s mission “and will drive long-term revenue growth and profits.” Via The Buffalo News and Inverse Images via Tesla

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