YouTube stars partner up in #TeamTrees campaign to plant 20 million trees

October 30, 2019 by  
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To combat the climate crisis , a coalition of YouTubers has joined together for a mammoth mission to plant 20 million trees beginning in January 2020. Called #TeamTrees, the reforestation campaign has social media all abuzz. They have, so far, raised enough funds to plant more than 8 million trees, and that number is rising. How did it all start? When YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, or MrBeast, reached the 20 million subscribers milestone on his YouTube channel, which is dedicated to extreme stunts and philanthropic challenges, his subscribers dared him to plant 20 million trees to commemorate the occasion. The campaign quickly went viral. Related: Scientists confirm tree planting is our best solution to climate change “People keep making fun of our generation for retweet activism and not actually doing something … this is your chance to make a difference,” MrBeast said to his supporters. “Just to be clear, we all realize 20 million trees won’t fix climate change . But at the end of the day, 20 million more trees is better than zero! We want to take action because doing nothing is how we got here!” Upward of 600 YouTube creatives have since joined the #TeamTrees initiative, even rallying their subscribers to follow suit with the planting trees endeavor. To date, these social media influencers have a combined total of 650 million subscribers, double the United States population.  Each $1 donation plants a single tree. In the first 48 hours of the #TeamTrees website going live on October 25, the initiative raised more than $5 million — and the funds keep growing. All donations are sent directly to the Arbor Day Foundation, the nonprofit devoted to tree planting . For almost 50 years, the nonprofit has planted 250 million trees worldwide. Trees funded by the #TeamTrees endeavor will be planted across the globe beginning January 2020. The Arbor Day Foundation anticipates a December 2022 completion date; the year 2022 will mark the 150th anniversary of the first Arbor Day. To promote successful tree survival rates, the Arbor Day Foundation will partner with the United State Forest Service, the National Park Service and the National Association of State Foresters to ensure the trees planted will not be invasive species . The trees chosen will be native to the region in which they are planted, many in national forests managed by government agencies. To speed up the process, the #TeamTrees campaign is entertaining a collaboration with DroneSeed, a company that deploys drones to plant trees in a scalable fashion. Small drones first map out the landscape, followed by larger drones that drop seed vessels at locations ideal for growing trees. Additionally, this eco-friendly YouTube collaboration is flooding the platform with tree content. The #TeamTrees coalition hopes to game the algorithm and push for more environmental videos to rank at the top of the recommended playlists. With tree videos trending next to cat videos, Mother Nature would be proud. + #TeamTrees Via The Guardian Image via Shutterstock

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YouTube stars partner up in #TeamTrees campaign to plant 20 million trees

The Ocean Cleanup has first success collecting plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch

October 4, 2019 by  
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The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch nonprofit dedicated to eliminating plastic pollution in the oceans, recently announced its first success. After years of trials that left its engineers scratching their heads over design challenges, the nonprofit’s newest prototype device has consistently collected plastic waste from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch . Following years of repeat returns to the drawing board, The Ocean Cleanup has finally experienced its first success of consistently capturing and collecting plastic, thanks to the self-contained System 001/B prototype. As an added bonus, not only was the prototype able to collect large, visible items but also microplastics as small as one millimeter. Related: Trash-collecting device returns to Great Pacific Garbage Patch “After beginning this journey seven years ago, this first year of testing in the unforgivable environment of the high seas strongly indicates that our vision is attainable and that the beginning of our mission to rid the ocean of plastic garbage , which has accumulated for decades, is within our sights,” said founder and CEO Boyan Slat. “Our team has remained steadfast in its determination to solve immense technical challenges to arrive at this point. Though we still have much more work to do, I am eternally grateful for the team’s commitment and dedication to the mission and look forward to continuing to the next phase of development.” The patch, located in the waters between Hawaii and California, is infamous as the area with the largest accumulation of plastic debris. As a trash vortex, its circular motion draws litter into itself, trapping all the junk into a concentrated mass. The hazards are compounded by the leaching out of noxious chemicals linked to health problems. Marine life is also harmed, with numerous reports of disruptions in feeding and migrating patterns, ultimately threatening species’ survival and reproductive success. The need to remove the plastic waste polluting the Pacific Ocean inspired Slat to establish The Ocean Cleanup in 2012. The nonprofit’s engineers have since been striving to develop a device to rid the ocean of the garbage. The various device prototypes employ a passive system that moves with the currents while catching plastic refuse. The nonprofit aspires to develop more prototypes in hopes of deploying a future fleet of ocean debris-collecting systems. The collected plastic will, in turn, be recycled onshore and sold to business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. The recycling revenue will be reinvested into the nonprofit’s expansion plans for further ocean waste management and sanitation. + The Ocean Cleanup Images via The Ocean Cleanup

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The Ocean Cleanup has first success collecting plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Honda makes largest renewable energy purchase of any automaker

September 25, 2019 by  
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Multinational auto manufacturer Honda Motor Company, headquartered in Tokyo, recently made the largest renewable clean energy purchase by any car maker. The electricity will be utilized to offset emissions from its United States factories, thus enabling Honda to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent in its North American manufacturing plants. With widespread public debate and mounting regulatory pressures, automakers have no choice but to shift their business models to address the carbon dioxide reduction challenge. It is no wonder then that a growing number of automobile companies are turning to renewables, like wind and solar, to achieve sustainable returns. Related: Beautiful, solar-powered EV charging stations promise to charge a vehicle in 15 minutes According to Honda, it currently obtains about 21 percent of its North American operations’ power from low- or zero-emission power sources.  But it hopes to improve upon that, thanks to clinching the car industry’s largest renewable energy purchase. Honda’s new clean energy deal involves the purchase of wind power from an Oklahoma wind farm as well as sourcing energy from a Texas solar farm. Projections show that, with this clean energy purchase, Honda can annually offset 800,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s equal to “100,000 U.S. households’ worth of CO2-emissions from household energy usage,” as described in Honda’s press release. Honda revealed, “Two Virtual Power Purchase Agreements (VPPAs) will secure 320 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar power totaling over 1 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable electricity annually.” How do VPPAs operate? Honda explained that VPPAs are “a way for Honda to purchase renewable energy in locations where it is unable to purchase renewables from the local electric utility.” The automaker buys “electricity from a renewable energy supplier, but the clean energy does not go directly to Honda’s facilities; instead, it is sold into the electricity grid where the clean power is generated.” In effect, Honda’s ‘virtual purchase’ of that “renewable energy adds more clean energy into the nation’s grid,” which decreases fossil fuel dependency and any accompanying carbon dioxide emissions. Honda’s VPPA purchase essentially “de-carbonizes” the electricity grid. Analysts say VPPAs are becoming an ever-popular means for large corporations seeking to meet carbon dioxide emission reduction goals.  Tech giants, like Google and Microsoft, for instance, have historically purchased VPPAs as well. Business industry pundits forecast an uptick of VPPA procurements in the next couple of years as renewable energy policy intensifies. Aligned with its revitalized green mission, Honda’s long-term plans go far beyond clean energy purchases, as it continues its commitment to sustainability. The company similarly announced plans to electrify two-thirds of its manufactured vehicular fleet so that they are charged via renewable energy by 2030. + Honda Motor Company Image via Honda Motor Company

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Backlash: EPA halts use of deadly ‘cyanide bomb’ traps

August 20, 2019 by  
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Almost as quickly as the Environmental Protection Agency announced its temporary interim re-authorization of M-44s, or “cyanide bomb” traps, to kill wildlife , it overturned the decision and banned the cyanide bombs due to backlash. The decision reported on Aug. 15 made environmentalists, activists and the general public oppose to the deadly traps. Related: EPA reauthorizes use of ‘cyanide bombs’ to kill wild animals “I am announcing a withdrawal of EPA’s interim registration review decision on sodium cyanide, the compound used in M-44 devices to control wild predators. This issue warrants further analysis and additional discussions by EPA,” said a statement issued Aug. 15 by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler . “I look forward to continuing this dialogue to ensure U.S. livestock remain well-protected from dangerous predators while simultaneously minimizing off-target impacts on both humans and non-predatory animals ,” Wheeler added. The controversial traps resemble sprinkler heads and spray deadly sodium cyanide to kill wildlife such as foxes, bears, coyotes, wolves, mountain lions and birds. Those opposed want the traps shelved permanently as they can be set off by animals or humans. Additionally, critics say M-44s may contaminate the environment indefinitely. The Center for Biological Diversity stated that 99.9 percent of comments submitted to the EPA about the devices expressed concern about animal welfare and were against the use of the toxic traps. “I’m thrilled that the EPA just reversed its wrongheaded decision to reauthorize deadly cyanide traps,” Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity , said in a statement to HuffPost.  “So many people expressed their outrage, and the EPA seems to be listening. I hope the feds finally recognize the need for a permanent ban to protect people, pets and imperiled wildlife from this poison.” The EPA planned to continue studying its decision until 2021, however, it said on Aug. 15 it was suspending the use of all M-44s. Via Huffington Post Image via skeeze

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Backlash: EPA halts use of deadly ‘cyanide bomb’ traps

Save the environment by pooping less, says Bolsonaro

August 20, 2019 by  
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Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro recently suggested that people could save the environment if their bowels moved less frequently. His intestinal initiative could be accomplished by eating less food, he told one reporter. “You talk about environmental pollution,” Bolsonaro said. “It’s enough to poop every other day. That will be better for the whole world.” Meanwhile, he continues to face widespread backlash for the immense deforestation occurring in the Amazon since he took office. Bolsonaro, the South American country’s 38th president, has been in power since January. In that time, he’s voiced many unusual and far-right views about environmental issues. For example, Bolsonaro commented that only “ vegans , who eat only plants,” care about the environment. Related: Deforestation and climate change combined may split Amazon in two When the National Institute for Space Research released shocking data on rampant forest clearing in the Amazon , Bolsonaro accused the agency of data manipulation and fired the institute’s director. The institute had found more than 870 square miles of forests were cleared in July — 278 percent more than what was cleared in the same time frame last year. Bolsonaro said of the data, “We cannot accept sensationalism or the disclosure of inaccurate numbers that cause great damage to Brazil’s image.” It’s doubtful that the president’s new “waste” campaign will catch on. Defecation is notoriously hard to schedule, and people’s bowels march to the beats of their own drummers. According to Healthline , bowels might want to move three times per day, three times a week or anywhere in between. Eating less, as Brazil’s president suggested, may or may not lead to fewer bathroom visits; what you eat is also key. Those aiming for constipation should cut down on fiber, caffeine, alcohol and liquids in general. Aging, a sedentary lifestyle, stress and certain medications can also aid the quest to put it off till tomorrow, although this strange request “for the whole world” isn’t advised. The world waits in suspense to hear what Bolsonaro will say (or do) next. But consult your doctor before following the president’s gastrointestinal advice. Via AFP , Newsweek and PJ Media Image via Filios Sazeides

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Largest nature reserve in Niger threatened by oil development

August 5, 2019 by  
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One of the largest nature reserves on continental Africa may soon be destroyed by the China National Petroleum Corporation in the name of oil exploration and economic development. Just seven years after its establishment, and only months after finally becoming operationally managed, Termit and Tin Toumma National Nature Reserve could be reduced in size by half. The Niger government announced plans to remove over 17,000 square miles from what was originally a 38,600-square-mile park. The park is known for containing part of the Sahara desert and low mountain ranges. The specific area of the park that will be converted into oil operations is the most important section in terms of threatened biodiversity. It is home to the critically endangered addax (a type of antelope) and the dama gazelle. There are only an estimated 100 addax remaining, but they continue to be hunted for their meat. Now, the oil development project could shrink their habitat and decimate the addax’s main source of water. The China National Petroleum Corporation is one of the largest oil companies in the world. In exchange for a much-needed $5 billion investment in Niger, the Chinese have exploration rights and permission to build a pipeline that carries 20,000 barrels of oil out of the country every day. Paradoxically, China will be hosting the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity in 2020, yet government officials and oil executives seem unbothered by this localized biodiversity issue in the Sahara. The government has proposed to add land to the park along a different border. According to Sébastien Pinchon, a member of the nonprofit that manages the park on behalf of the Niger government, that new area “has little ecological value.” Via Mongabay Image via Shankar S.

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Largest nature reserve in Niger threatened by oil development

Rammed earth Kopila Valley School is the greenest school in Nepal

April 10, 2019 by  
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In Nepal , access to education doesn’t just improve job prospects — schools can save lives, whether it’s rescuing children from malnourishment or delaying the age of marriage to reduce rates of HIV, maternal death and suicide. That’s why American nonprofit BlinkNow has dedicated itself to building community infrastructure in Surkhet, Nepal, including the Kopila Valley School. Powered entirely by solar energy and built of rammed earth walls, the campus is billed by the founders as the “greenest school in Nepal.” Located on three acres of land, the recently opened Kopila Valley School serves more than 400 students from nursery through 12th grade. The campus was built to expand on the nonprofit’s existing primary school and create a safe and nurturing environment that is not only a place of learning (with school uniforms and books provided), but also offers children nutritious meals, basic medical and dental care and after-school activities, such as sports and cooking classes. The school employs more than 100 Nepalese teachers and administrators. The campus also includes a Mental Health and Counseling Center, the Kopila Valley Health Clinic, a tutoring room, a computer lab, a stage and a small library. Sustainability is at the forefront of the campus design. Locally sourced rammed earth , chosen for superior thermal mass and temperature control, was used to construct the 18-inch-thick walls reinforced with steel bars for stability and earthquake resilience and a small amount of PPC cement to protect against dampness during monsoon season. Natural ventilation and lighting were also optimized in the positioning of the buildings and windows, while covered terraces at southern-facing walls provide shade. The campus is 100 percent solar-powered with a 25.2 kWp solar PV system and a 20 kVA off-grid battery system. Related: UK architect helps locals rebuild Nepal temple destroyed by earthquake A 300,000-liter underground cistern stores rainwater harvested from the rooftops that is filtered for potable use. The landscaping and permeable paving ensure rainwater is also used to replenish the groundwater system. All wastewater is treated on site with constructed wetlands and then recycled. Gray water from sinks is used to flush the toilets; black water is filtered for plant irrigation; solids are converted in a pressurized tank into biogas fuel for cooking. Solar cookers are also used for cooking. + BlinkNow Images via BlinkNow

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Rammed earth Kopila Valley School is the greenest school in Nepal

Nominate the 2018 GreenBiz 30 Under 30

February 26, 2018 by  
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Do you know a rising star in the field of sustainability? We are looking for nominations to recognize the next generation of sustainable business leaders as part of GreenBiz’s third annual 30 Under 30 feature. This list recognizes young professionals tackling some of the toughest sustainability challenges in business — from inside big companies, at the helm of startups or in the nonprofit sector.

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Nominate the 2018 GreenBiz 30 Under 30

Elon Musk’s brother Kimbal is giving away his personal Tesla Model 3

February 21, 2018 by  
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Kimbal Musk , Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s brother , is giving away his Tesla Model 3 — the sixth one ever made. Why would he do that? According to Electrek , it’s for a good cause: to benefit his nonprofit, Big Green , which provides Learning Gardens for underserved schools . Hit the jump to find out how you could win. Musk is giving away his own Tesla Model 3: a blue one that Omaze , the online platform hosting the campaign, described as fully loaded : “We’re talking everything from voice-activated controls and Wi-Fi/LTE connectivity to a premium audio system and LED fog lamps. Plus, the Long Range battery, which will keep you going for over 300 miles. This Tesla hasn’t been to space, but it’s still out of this world.” Oh, and taxes are covered as well, according to Omaze. Related: Kimbal Musk launches a revolutionary shipping container farm initiative in Brooklyn I’m so excited to give YOU the chance to win my fully customized #teslamodel3 —the sixth Model 3 ever made—to support my nonprofit @biggreen Watch the brilliant minds who helped me design my next car, then enter to win through my bio link or omaze.com/tesla ???? A post shared by Kimbal Musk (@kimbalmusk) on Feb 20, 2018 at 8:29am PST The legal information on Omaze’s website also lists other premium upgrade details, like heated seating, open pore wood decor, a tinted glass roof with infrared and ultraviolet protection, and a center console with docking for two smartphones. Omaze said the average retail value of the Tesla is $60,500. I sure do love my #Tesla #Model3 ?? ? ?? A post shared by Kimbal Musk (@kimbalmusk) on Feb 19, 2018 at 9:08am PST Musk isn’t giving his car away totally for free, of course. People who want to win the car can make a donation to Big Green through Omaze for entries into the contest. The money will go towards helping the nonprofit “establish a culture in schools that promotes youth wellness and reduce preventable diet-related health disparities. Just $50 can provide seeds, plants, and supplies for a single school’s garden for a whole year.” Big Green’s ultimate goal is to construct Learning Gardens at every single low-income school in America. The minimum amount you can donate, $10, gets you 100 entries. A higher donation means more entries. The deadline to enter is April 24; the winner will be announced around May 8. Find out more here . + Win Kimbal Musk’s Tesla Model 3 + Big Green Via Electrek Image via Omaze

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Elon Musk’s brother Kimbal is giving away his personal Tesla Model 3

The world’s longest hiking trail is officially open

September 8, 2017 by  
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The Great Trail in Canada is aptly named – it’s now the longest hiking trail in the world at 14,864 miles. It was built over the last 25 years, snaking through 13 provinces and territories. The trail, which is comprised of over 400 individual paths, just officially opened at the end of August. Canada’s Great Trail winds from Saint John’s in Newfoundland to Victoria in British Columbia, with a loop up through the Northwest Territories and Yukon to the Arctic Ocean. It’s not limited to hiking – explorers traversing the trail can snowmobile, bike, ride horses, or cross-country ski through some parts of the route. 26 percent actually crosses water, so a canoe or kayak is necessary to cross some portions. No cars are allowed. An estimated four out of five Canadians reside within 30 minutes of part of the trail. Related: World’s longest car-free trail stretching 15,000 miles to open next year in Canada Local areas maintain the smaller trails that come together to form The Great Trail, described as “truly a gift from Canadians to Canadians” by the nonprofit Trans Canada Trail, the organization that has overseen its development. The Great Trail has also been termed the largest volunteer project in the country’s history. According to Trans Canada Trail, The Great Trail promotes conservation and healthy living, and it is expected to stimulate tourism and create jobs. The group calls it a national legacy for future generations. Users will be treated to sweeping views of mountains, plains, frozen tundra, coastal islands, urban areas, and lakes throughout the country. The longest section of the trail, which passes right through major cities like Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Winnipeg, is in Ontario, where it rambles around the Great Lakes. If this sounds as good to you as it does to us, you can locate a portion of the trail near you on this interactive map or via The Great Trail app (available for iOS and Android ). + The Great Trail Via Mother Nature Network Images via The Great Trail ( 1 , 2 )

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The world’s longest hiking trail is officially open

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