How orange peels helped barren land in Costa Rica spring back to life

August 23, 2017 by  
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There’s more to oranges than juice! Back in the 1990’s, two ecologists suggested orange juice manufacturer Del Oro donate some of their land near a national park in Costa Rica ; in exchange, they’d be able to deposit agricultural waste for free on degraded land inside the park. Del Oro agreed and dumped 1,000 truckloads of orange pulp and peels on the land. Today, that area is a thriving forest . A Princeton University -led team of researchers journeyed to the forest to discover just how much that food trash transformed the forest – and how other businesses might do the same. Del Oro donated land to Área de Conservación Guanacaste at the suggestion of husband and wife ecologist team Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs, who’d worked as advisors at the park. The company unloaded around 12,000 metric tons of orange waste for biodegradation until rival company TicoFruit sued, saying Del Oro had defiled the park. TicoFruit won and the land went largely overlooked for over a decade. Related: 16-year-old South African girl invents drought-fighting super material from orange peels Years later, environmental researchers decided to evaluate the site. They discovered a lush forest that had a 176 percent increase in aboveground biomass – what Princeton described as the trees’ wood – in the seven acres they studied. They also found a difference between areas where orange peels hadn’t been dumped and where they had – according to Princeton, the latter showed richer soil, greater tree-species richness, and more closure in the forest canopy. The researchers think regenerating forests with agricultural waste could help us sequester carbon . Princeton graduate student Timothy Treuer said in a statement, “This is one of the only instances I’ve ever heard of where you can have cost-negative carbon sequestration. It’s not just a win-win between the company and the local park – it’s a win for everyone.” Princeton University ecologist David Wilcove thinks more businesses could help the environment in similar ways. He said while companies do generate environmental problems, “…an awful lot of those problems can be alleviated if the private sector and the environmental community work together. I’m confident we’ll find many more opportunities to use the leftovers from industrial food production to bring back tropical forests. That’s recycling at its best.” University of Pennsylvania , Beloit College , and University of Minnesota scientists joined the Princeton researchers to write a study published by the journal Restoration Ecology this week. Via Princeton Environmental Institute Images via Pixabay and Princeton University

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How orange peels helped barren land in Costa Rica spring back to life

NASA considers puncturing Yellowstone supervolcano to save life on Earth

August 23, 2017 by  
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A new study from NASA’s Jet Propulsion unit has determined that the threat of a supervolcanic eruption to life on Earth may be more pressing than any interstellar collisions. An eruption of a supervolcano, like that found in Yellowstone National Park in the United States, could trigger a collapse of the global agricultural and economic systems and result in the deaths of potentially millions of people. Although NASA scientists can’t predict when such an event would occur, they have already begun preparing a preventative measure: drilling into the magma chamber of a supervolcano to cool it down. Although the potential consequences of a supervolcano eruption would be devastating, earthlings should rest easy knowing that the chance of such an eruption taking place this year is roughly 1-in-730,000. Even then, there is a chance that it could be nothing more than a little lava flow. Nonetheless, NASA scientists are preparing to deal with the problem before it happens. Related: World’s most active volcano harbors a tiny off-grid home—and you can stay overnight Magma eruptions occur only when it is thoroughly melted by intense heat; cooling magma down by 35 percent would prevent a supervolcano from erupting. To do this, the scientists envision using a drill to puncture above the chamber, where hydrothermal fluids are pushed to the surface. Adding water in this highly pressurized environment would be sufficient to cool the magma. To avoid fracturing the surrounding rock and potentially setting off an eruption, NASA scientists suggest drilling into the supervolcano from below. It is estimated that such a plan would cost around $3.5 billion, although governments would be encouraged to think of this as an investment : Excess heat could be captured and transformed into clean energy . Via IFLScience Lead image via Pixabay , others via Laineema/Flickr  and Peter Hartree/Flickr

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NASA considers puncturing Yellowstone supervolcano to save life on Earth

16-year-old South African girl invents drought-fighting super material from orange peels

August 10, 2016 by  
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In the midst of South Africa’s worst drought in recorded history, one Johannesburg schoolgirl has created a super absorbent polymer that could change the way crops are grown. The polymer is created from simple, readily available recycled materials – orange peel and avocado skin – and it’s capable of storing hundreds of times its own weight in water. Kiara Nirghin’s project ” No More Thirsty Crops ” won the Google Science Fair’s Community Impact Award for the Middle East and Africa. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwRmICCVY_Q Considering that South Africa’s agricultural union has been pleading with the government for subsidies to help weather the recent water crisis , Nirghin’s project could offer much-needed relief. Her super absorbent material could be used to create reservoirs that farmers could use to maintain their crops at minimal cost. Nirghin knew that other super absorbent polymers rely on chain molecule polysaccharides to give them their power, and her project sprang to life when she learned that orange peel is composed from 64% polysaccharide . It also contains pectin, which is used as a gelling agent in numerous applications. When combined with oily avocado peel and left in the sun, the mixture undergoes a reaction and forms a polymer compound. Related: South Africa is relaxing restrictions on GMOs to fight drought-related food crisis As a Google Science Fair winner, Nirghin has been assigned a mentor from the company to help her develop her idea further, including potential tests on the field. Soon, she’ll learn if she’s one of the sixteen finalists in the global competition – but even if she doesn’t make it to the final round, it sounds like she has a promising career ahead of her. + Google Science Fair Via CNN

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16-year-old South African girl invents drought-fighting super material from orange peels

Lucie lamps are brilliant lights made out of orange peels

June 1, 2015 by  
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Orange Sessions Lucie lamps are brilliant lamps that are covered in orange peels to provide a warm, natural glow in any space.  Inspired by the sun and handcrafted in the central Europe, the meaning of a name lies behind symbolism of the color orange, which combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow, and of course, the medium used to create them. According to the designer, “through the years of painting I have played with the idea of capturing the ethereal, elusive qualities of sunshine. Seven years ago, I started experimenting and making various art objects out of orange peels. I discovered how interesting, rich and durable that material really is.” No two pieces are the same and each one is handcrafted to last for decades. The lamps come in a variety of sizes and, if you order one now, you can get your own unique piece at a stellar discount.  + Orange Sessions The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link. Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: kickstarter , Lucie lamp , natural lighting , orange lamp , orange peel art , orange peel lamp , orange peel light , orange peel uses , orange peels , Orange Sessions kickstarter , oranges , Recycle , reuse , The Orange Sessions

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Lucie lamps are brilliant lights made out of orange peels

Alternative Illumination: Create an Oil Lamp from Everyday Household Items

October 14, 2013 by  
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Lead Image via  365 Days of Pinterest The motto “Be Prepared” may ever be associated with the Boy Scouts, but it isn’t just young lads in shorts and knee socks who would do well to hold to it. Far from being the sole domain of doomsday preppers, preparedness can actually make a world of difference in difficult situations , from power outages to weather-related emergencies. In case you get stuck without power and you don’t have a huge store of candles at hand, it’s actually quite easy to put together an oil lamp from everyday household items! Read the rest of Alternative Illumination: Create an Oil Lamp from Everyday Household Items Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: crisco , crisco lamp , emergency lamp , fat , fat lamp , lamp , oil , oil candle , oil lamp , olive oil , orange peel , orange peel lamp , vegetable oil        

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Alternative Illumination: Create an Oil Lamp from Everyday Household Items

Citizen Group Warns of Elevated Radiation Levels at 2020 Olympic Venues in Japan

October 14, 2013 by  
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As Japan readies for the 2020 Olympic Games, a group of concerned activists is calling into question the safety of Tokyo’s proposed venues. The Citizens’ Group for Measuring Radioactive Environment at Facilities for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics claim that the radiation levels in the 39 sporting sites they measured have been affected by the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown . Read the rest of Citizen Group Warns of Elevated Radiation Levels at 2020 Olympic Venues in Japan Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cesium-137 , Citizens’ Group for Measuring Radioactive Environment at Facilities for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics , ioc , Japan , London , madrid , New York. , olympic sporting venue , olympics , Paris , pieter franken , radiation , safecast , south china morning post , Tokyo , tokyo metropolitan institute of public health , yumenoshima stadium        

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Citizen Group Warns of Elevated Radiation Levels at 2020 Olympic Venues in Japan

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