Make Every Day World Oceans Day

June 29, 2020 by  
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World Oceans Day, declared by the United Nations as a … The post Make Every Day World Oceans Day appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Make Every Day World Oceans Day

Discarded COVID-19 masks are now littering seas and oceans

June 10, 2020 by  
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In May, the French nonprofit Opération Mer Propre reported collecting several used face masks within waves of the Mediterranean Sea. According to the organization’s report, there has been a surge in “COVID waste”, including masks, latex gloves and plastic hand sanitizer bottles, in the past 3 months. Unfortunately, this only compounds a waste problem that has been around for many years. According to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), over 13 million metric tons of plastic waste go into the oceans each year. UNEP predicts that the amount of waste dumped in the oceans will increase up to 10 times the current amount in the next 15 years. However, the UN report did not anticipate a situation where people around the world had to use face masks on a daily basis. The pandemic now complicates all efforts geared toward a safer and more sustainable environment. Related: How to safely dispose contaminated gloves, masks, wipes and more According to Joffrey Peltier of Opération Mer Propre, dozens of face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer bottles were found at the bottom of the sea among other plastic waste. Opération Mer Propre is one of many organizations concerned about the fate of the environment after the coronavirus pandemic . “Soon there will be more masks than jellyfish in the waters of the Mediterranean,” said Laurent Lombard of Opération Mer Propre. Now, Opération Mer Propre and other organizations are calling for a more cautious approach to the use of face masks and other medical tools. Environmental activists are championing the use of reusable face masks and more washing of hands instead of wearing latex gloves. The oceans are already overwhelmed with plastic waste from our normal lifestyles. If we keep on pumping medical waste into the environment, we risk pushing thousands of ocean species to extinction. In the words of Peltier, “With all the alternatives, plastic isn’t the solution to protect us from COVID.” Via The Guardian Image via Noah

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Discarded COVID-19 masks are now littering seas and oceans

Air pollution climbing back to pre-pandemic levels

June 5, 2020 by  
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Last month, news media around the world heralded cleaner skies as a byproduct of the pandemic-induced quarantines. Alas, as lockdowns are lifted, air pollution is climbing back to pre-COVID levels in  China . Several European countries may soon follow suit. Concentrations of fine particles and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are back to where they were a year ago, according to data from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (Crea). In early March, when China was suffering the worst of the  pandemic , the particle count was down by 34%, while nitrogen dioxide levels had fallen by 38%. Related: Air pollution could make COVID-19 more dangerous “The rapid rebound in air pollution and coal consumption levels across China is an early warning of what a smokestack industry-led rebound could look like,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, Crea’s lead analyst, in an article from  The Guardian . “Highly polluting industries have been faster to recover from the crisis than the rest of the economy. It is essential for policymakers to prioritise clean energy.” Wuhan, the pandemic’s ground zero, is still experiencing lower than usual nitrogen dioxide levels — 14% lower than last year. However, Shanghai’s NO2 level has soared to 9% higher than in 2019. Wood Mackenzie, an energy consultancy group, expects that the second quarter of 2020 will see China’s  oil  demand recover nearly to its normal level. European cities are still enjoying significant dips in air  pollution . The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (Cams) shows that 42 of the 50 European cities it tracks had below-average NO2 levels in March. This pollutant, which is largely produced by diesel vehicles, dropped by 30% in Paris and London during the pandemic. How fast and how much European air pollution will rebound depends on the decisions of citizens, companies and government officials. “We do not know how people’s behaviour will change, for example avoiding public transport and therefore relying more on their own cars, or continuing to work from home,” Vincent-Henri Peuch, the director of Cams, told  The Guardian . Environmentalists hope that people will choose to  walk  and cycle more and drive their cars less. + The Guardian Images via Pexels

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Air pollution climbing back to pre-pandemic levels

Sea turtles thrive on empty beaches during COVID-19 lockdowns

April 21, 2020 by  
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As more people around the world stay inside, more animals are able to thrive in places that are typically crowded by humans. In the southeastern U.S., sea turtles are enjoying a peaceful nesting season without pesky sunbathers, fishermen or boats. “It’s going to be a very good year for our leatherbacks,” Sarah Hirsch, senior manager of research and data at Loggerhead Marinelife Center , told WPEC . “We’re excited to see our turtles thrive in this environment. Our world has changed, but these turtles have been doing this for millions of years and it’s just reassuring and gives us hope that the world is still going on.” Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s researchers have located 69 nests on the 9.5 miles of beach they study, which is significantly more than normal. Related: Baby turtles officially return to the beaches of Mumbai after largest beach cleanup in history All seven types of sea turtles are endangered or vulnerable. The odds are stacked against hatchlings; only one in 1,000 live to become adults. While hatchlings elude natural predators, such as dogs, seabirds, raccoons, ghost crabs and fish, turtles of all ages face many threats from humans. These include microplastics, fishing gear, coastal development, boat strikes, global warming and the illegal trade in eggs, meat and shells. David Godfrey, executive director of the Sea Turtle Conservancy , said thousands of turtles are currently migrating to nesting beaches in the sotheastern U.S. and that “all of the potential positive impacts relate to changes in human behavior.” With fewer boats on the water, the number of boat strikes on turtles and other marine animals will also drop. “All of the reduced human presence on the beach also means that there will be less garbage and other plastics entering the marine environment,” Godfrey said. A 2016 University of Florida study concluded that removing trash and debris from beaches can increase the number of turtle nests by 200%. In 2019, Florida reported more than 395,700 sea turtle nests during hatching season. Because many beaches preferred by turtles are also prized by tourists, researchers will watch with concern as parts of Florida begin to open their beaches to humans again. Via CBS News Image via Pixabay

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Sea turtles thrive on empty beaches during COVID-19 lockdowns

Prefab Danish home was built from CLT and weathered steel in just 3 days

April 21, 2020 by  
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Set into the lush green landscape of Denmark’s Fyn island, Villa Korup is a large home designed for a family of six. A collaboration between Danish architect Jan Henrik Jansen and Australian architect Marshall Blecher , Villa Korup, which features three elongated “wings”, was prefabricated offsite using weathered steel and CLT panels. The project is unique in a number of ways. The home is one of the first private dwellings in Denmark to be constructed out of CLT . Prefabrication enabled the architects to build the home in just three days, reducing construction time and causing minimal disruption to the landscape and wildlife . To add durability, the timber panels were treated in a traditional manner using soap and lye to give the cladding a resilient finish. Related: Cross-laminated timber makes this Scottish home climate-resistant In addition to the CLT cladding, the home’s exterior also features weathered steel panels. This industrial material will change color over time, taking on a patina that will gently camouflage the home into its incredible woodland surroundings. Adding to the exceptional design is the unusual layout. Villa Korup is spread out across three elongated wings to create enough space to fit the needs of a family of six. These three sections house the bedrooms and bathrooms, along with other private areas, such as an office. The layout also allows for each wing to enjoy a series of small, individual courtyards. The main social areas are found where the wings converge. Inspired by Scandinavian design principles, the interior design is light and airy. Minimal furnishings and neutral colors were chosen to keep the spaces open and clutter-free. Throughout the design, swaths of glass, including sliding glass doors, open the interior living spaces to the outdoors, making nature one with Villa Korup. + Jan Henrik Jansen + Marshall Blecher Via Wallpaper* Photography by Gabrielle Gualdi , Hampus Berndtson  and Marshall Blecher

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Prefab Danish home was built from CLT and weathered steel in just 3 days

IUCN finds ocean oxygen levels dropping at record rates

December 12, 2019 by  
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Marine life is in serious trouble if ocean oxygen levels continue to plummet. A new report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reveals that ocean oxygen levels have decreased by about 2 percent since the middle of the 20th century, and continued deoxygenation will put wildlife and human survival in danger. The report, which involved work from 67 scientists in 17 countries, was released Saturday at the COP25 UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid. “Urgent global action to overcome and reverse the effects of ocean deoxygenation is needed,” said Minna Eps, director of the IUCN Global Marine and Polar Program. “Decisions taken at the ongoing climate conference will determine whether our ocean continues to sustain a rich variety of life, or whether habitable, oxygen-rich marine areas are increasingly, progressively and irrevocably lost.” Related: IPCC landmark report warns about the state of the oceans, polar ice content and the climate crisis Both the climate crisis and nutrient pollution cause ocean deoxygenation. Nutrient pollution includes nitrogen from fossil fuels and run-off from agriculture and sewage. This depletes oxygen by encouraging too much algae growth. However, scientists have recently realized that rising ocean temperatures are also lowering ocean oxygen levels. Scientists say that these higher temperatures are probably responsible for about half of the oxygen loss in the ocean’s top 1,000 meters, which is the highest in biodiversity . While reversing nutrient pollution is relatively easy, reversing oxygen loss from climate change isn’t. “To curb ocean oxygen loss alongside the other disastrous impacts of climate change, world leaders must commit to immediate and substantial emission cuts,” Dr. Grethel Aguilar, acting director general of IUCN, said in a tweet. Larger fish that require more energy, such as tuna, sharks and marlins, are especially threatened by dropping ocean oxygen levels. Changing oxygen levels have already pushed them closer to the surface, where they face greater risk of overfishing . Recent massive fish die-offs may also be caused by oxygen loss. Scientists predict that lowered ocean oxygen may have far-reaching effects, such as changing the Earth’s phosphorus and nitrogen cycles on land. + IUCN Via EcoWatch Image via Jeremy Bishop

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IUCN finds ocean oxygen levels dropping at record rates

Infographic: 8 Million Tons of Plastic Waste Enters Our Oceans Yearly

November 15, 2019 by  
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Eight million tons. That’s how much plastic waste enters our … The post Infographic: 8 Million Tons of Plastic Waste Enters Our Oceans Yearly appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Infographic: 8 Million Tons of Plastic Waste Enters Our Oceans Yearly

Aluminum cans vs plastic bottles: which is best for the environment?

October 30, 2019 by  
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We’ve all been guilty of buying an unsustainable beverage every once in a while, but when faced with the perplexing conundrum of whether to grab that plastic bottle or aluminum can, which do you believe to be more environmentally-friendly ? The history of plastic goes back to the early 1900s when the first fully synthetic plastic was invented as an alternative to the shellac used in electronic insulation. During World War II, plastic production increased by 300% in the United States as it was used for everything, from nylon in ropes and parachutes to plexiglass in airplane windows. After the war, commercial use of plastic had completely taken off and incorporated into virtually every product and market in modern life. By the 1960s, the first occurrence of plastic pollution in the oceans was recorded. Related: This rechargeable camping headlamp is made out of sustainable wood and recycled aluminum Today, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 80% of the marine debris found in our oceans originated as land-based trash that was not recycled. Over 90% of the plastics found in the ocean is comprised of microplastics, which commonly end up ingested by aquatic animals, often killing them through choking or toxicity. The National Geographic Society found that 91% of the world’s plastic was not recycled in 2018. That alarming statistic means that all but 9% of plastic waste ends up either in landfills or in the ocean. Plastic bottles are made from petroleum, or “crude oil.” Oil drilling, also known as fracking, wastes water, releases methane into the atmosphere, produces oil spills and generally wreaks havoc on the environment. Plastic bottles are typically too thin to recycle into more plastic bottles, but the material can be made into fibers for things like carpets, clothing and sleeping bags. In 2018, the recycling rate for plastic bottles was just over 29%. The use of aluminum cans was first introduced to the general public in 1959 by Coors. About five years later, Royal Crown Cola brought aluminum into the soft drinks game with their RC Cola and Diet Rite. Since then, they’ve been used for everything from energy drinks and sparkling waters to sodas and wine. Aluminum offered an affordable alternative to steel as well as a more convenient surface for company printed text and graphics. Aluminum cans can be recycled into more cans in a true “closed-loop” recycling process. In 2018 the recycling rate for aluminum cans was 49.8%. The liquid inside the aluminum can benefit from the material as well, since aluminum blocks light, moisture and oxygen from permeating the outside. This makes the drinks more sustainable , as they have a longer shelf-life. Lightweight cans have only decreased in weight over the years, with the first aluminum cans weighing about three ounces per unit and modern cans weighing less than half an ounce. Typically recycling programs value aluminum over plastic or glass, with the former holding $1,317 worth of value per ton of recyclable material versus plastic’s $299 per ton. This allows more municipal recycling programs to stay in service. IFC International, a global management consulting and technology company, found in a 2016 study that the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the transportation and refrigeration of aluminum are 7 to 21 percent lower than that of plastic and 35 to 49 percent lower than glass. The easy-to-recycle aluminum material doesn’t stop there; the shiny stuff’s strength is another advantage. According to the Aluminum Association , four six-packs can hold up a two-ton vehicle thanks to the packaging’s aversion to rust, corrosion and ability to withhold carbonation pressure. This stamina allows companies to package and transport more product using less material. Related: Prada jumps into the sustainability realm with six Re-Nylon bags made from recycled plastic waste When it comes to the amount of recycled material found in cans versus plastic bottles, aluminum has the upper hand, as well. In 2016 the Environmental Protection Agency found that aluminum cans contain three times the amount of recycled content than plastic. They also estimated that aluminum cans are made up of 73% recycled material on average.  Aluminum doesn’t occur in nature and is primarily comprised of bauxite rock, which is primarily found in Australia, India and Brazil. Collecting bauxite comprises of open-pit mining, which usually involves moving or bulldozing large amounts of vegetation and surface rocks. This type of mining negatively affects ecosystems and creates air and water pollution , which can cause health issues for wildlife and humans. Not to mention, the combination of electrolysis and chemical processing that it takes to turn bauxite into conventional aluminum takes a large amount of heat and energy. However, the Aluminum Association assures that land conservation has become an important focus among bauxite mining. Topsoil from the site is stored to be replaced after the process is finished, so “an average of 80 percent of the land mined for bauxite is returned to its native ecosystem.” So how can you make sure you’re not contributing to plastic or aluminum pollution? Always reach for that reusable water bottle before going out! Fill it with water, soda, juice or whatever you like. For those unavoidable times when you end up with plastic or aluminum waste, get some inspiration for recycling through Inhabitat! Images via pasja1000 , gepharts3d , filmbetrachterin , Enriquehgz , Mr.TinDC

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Aluminum cans vs plastic bottles: which is best for the environment?

Adidas continues drive toward sustainable manufacturing with FUTURECRAFT.LOOP performance shoe

May 6, 2019 by  
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It’s not everyday a household name brand in the performance footwear industry announces a 100 percent recyclable shoe, fortunately for conscientious consumers and the planet, adidas has developed the FUTURECRAFT.LOOP performance running shoe, designed to tackle the daily pavement beatings like other shoes across the brand. However, the difference is that instead of heading to landfills with hundreds of thousands of other shoes, the FUTURECRAFT.LOOP can be returned to Adidas where it is broken down and reused to create new performance running shoes. “Taking plastic waste out of the system is the first step, but we can’t stop there,” said Eric Liedtke, Executive Board Member at Adidas, responsible for Global Brands. “What happens to your shoes after you’ve worn them out? You throw them away – except there is no away. There are only landfills and incinerators and ultimately an atmosphere choked with excess carbon , or oceans filled with plastic waste . The next step is to end the concept of “waste” entirely. Our dream is that you can keep wearing the same shoes over and over again.” Related: These sneakers are painted with cast-off blood from slaughterhouses The process was developed after nearly a decade of research and development focused on changing age-old performance-shoe manufacturing practices. The end goal was to create a shoe that was not only sourced from recycled materials, but was also able to be turned back into another pair, creating a full-loop of manufacturing responsibility. The process involves zero waste . This dive into sustainable footwear isn’t new territory for the company who partnered with Parley for the Oceans, in 2015 to introduce a footwear concept with an upper made entirely of yarns and filaments that were reclaimed and recycled from plastic waste and illegal deep-sea gillnets in the ocean. Adidas has made recycling materials a common business practice. In 2019, they plan to manufacture 11 million shoes that contain recycled plastic collected from beaches on remote islands and coastal communities. In fact, the company has looked to the future for some time and is currently working towards a goal of using only recycled polyester for every possible application by 2024. Under a current beta program, Adidas is sending shoes to participants in several major markets who will use the shoes and provide feedback. The company will use that feedback to create the final version of the FUTURECRAFT.LOOP, due to hit the market in 2021. “FUTURECRAFT.LOOP is our first running shoe that is made to be remade. It is a statement of our intent to take responsibility for the entire life of our product; proof that we can build high-performance running shoes that you don’t have to throw away,” said Eric Liedtke. + Adidas Images via Adidas

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Adidas continues drive toward sustainable manufacturing with FUTURECRAFT.LOOP performance shoe

5 B corps companies using business to save our oceans

May 1, 2019 by  
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Through fishing, travel, plastic waste and more, humans are having an outsize impact on the health of our oceans’ ecosystems. Can they reverse it?

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5 B corps companies using business to save our oceans

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