Interview: Activist lives off food that he grows and forages for an entire year

October 9, 2019 by  
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Rob Greenfield is a self-described “adventurer, environmental activist, humanitarian and dude making a difference.” Since this Wisconsin native had an eco-epiphany at the age of 24, he’s dedicated himself to spreading a positive environmental message by accomplishing heroic, sustainable deeds. These include things like riding across the U.S. three times on a bamboo bicycle, diving into more than 2,000 dumpsters and traveling internationally with no money. Inhabitat caught up with this pro-humanity, anti-materialism activist to find out about his current foraging project. His answers have been edited for space. Inhabitat: Tell us a little bit about your life right now — where you live and what you do in a typical day. Greenfield: I currently live in Orlando, Florida. I’m spending two years there. My current project is to grow and forage 100 percent of my food for a year. So, no grocery stores, no restaurants. Not even a drink at a bar or going over to a friend’s potluck to eat food from there. Literally growing and foraging everything for an entire year. Related: Incredible edible landscape map shows you where to find free food It’s an extremely immersive project, where I’m diving deep into food and really understanding my connection to it. Largely removing myself from the globalized, industrialized food to explore the alternatives, ways of producing food that work with the environment instead of against it and showing those alternatives to people. My day-to-day right now is very food-oriented. Inhabitat: What are your regular daily activities right now? Greenfield: Well, it does vary a lot. Like today, for example, is a work day, so I’m on the computer and on the phone for much of the day. But I had mostly run out of food, so I had to delay my last call to go for a mile-and-a-half bike ride to go to an apple tree that I know about to go pick a bunch of apples. [Note: Greenfield was in Wisconsin visiting family and friends when we talked — hence the apple tree.] So my life is very much revolving around food this year. But with that being said, I still manage to do a lot of other things, and of course have a social life, and still of course talk and spread the message, because that’s the purpose. Some days are just morning to night going out and gathering food and then processing it, whether it’s fishing or going out and picking fruit and making applesauce and pear sauce, for example, or canning . Other days, when I’ve done really well, I’ve prepared lots of food, I get to be a little more leisurely, and do other work or just spend time with friends. Inhabitat: When did you start your foraging project, and when will it end? Greenfield: I started on November 11, 2018, so today is day 320, which means I have just 45 days left of the year [at the time of the interview]. So it is winding down. I’m in the home stretch, which is feeling great. I wouldn’t say I can let my guard down; I’ve still got to stay on top of things. But I could see a bar of chocolate in the near future. Inhabitat: Is dumpster diving allowed? Greenfield: No dumpster diving at all, because what I’m exploring for this year is living outside of the globalized, industrialized food system. Seeing if I can work with nature , work with the earth to produce my food. So dumpster diving, I’ve proved through my other projects in the past that I can live purely off the waste of our society, and really use that as a way to raise awareness about waste. This is taking it to another step. Now I can show that it’s possible in 2019 for us to actually grow and produce our food and improve our communities at the same time, and take power back from the big food corporations and put that power back into the hands of us, the everyday people. Inhabitat: So, what are some of the things you forage? Greenfield: So far this year, I’ve grown and foraged over 250 different species. I’ve probably foraged 30 or 40 different species of greens. Fruits . There’s many species of cherry: pin cherry, black cherry, sand cherry, just to name a few. Apples, pears, plums. Then, there’s all sorts of new plants that I’m learning. Aronia is a berry that I’ve been foraging over the last couple weeks in Wisconsin. In Florida, one of my favorite things to forage is wild yams. That is an invasive species , so it’s actually beneficial for me to harvest it, which is always nice to be harvesting in a way that actually improves the environment. The biggest one I’ve harvested so far weighed 157 pounds. I had a wheelbarrow and I wheelbarrowed it out chunks at a time to the car to bring it back to my place. Related: An explanation on wild yams I mostly chopped it up into cubes, like you cube up potatoes. Then I froze a lot of it. I make flour from it. I dehydrate it, and then blend the dehydrated chunks to make a powder, and that powder’s a yam flour. Then, I make bread with it. It’s actually a really nice bread. Well, it’s really nice for me. It’s not like a wheat bread or something like that that you’d buy at the store. But I make muffins and tortillas and things like that, and I make sourdough bread. It makes some pretty nice stuff. This project has really taught me to do a lot of things from scratch. Because if I want something, I have to figure out how to grow it or forage it and turn it into that thing that I’m wanting. It’s the opposite of that globalized food system, where we can get anything we want without really having to think about it. Inhabitat: What’s your living situation in Florida? Greenfield: Well in Orlando, I live in a 100-square-foot tiny house that I built out of about 99 percent secondhand materials with the help of a bunch of friends. I have an outdoor kitchen set up, a compost toilet, rainwater shower. I do have electricity there to run my food processor and dehydrator and things like that. But it’s a largely close-looped system, demonstrating how you can live in a more sustainable manner. Inhabitat: Do you have advice for anyone who wants to dumpster dive? Greenfield: Well, it’s pretty easy. You look at the front door. You walk past that, you walk around to the back, you look in the dumpster and you get your food from there instead. It really is not hard or complicated. The main thing is you just have to do it. You have to go to the dumpster and you have to look for the food. Then, what you do is you practice common sense. You should practice common sense wherever you’re getting your food from. So with dumpster diving, a lot of people have these preconceived notions about what’s in a dumpster and what it looks like. At a grocery store, it’s mostly food and is emptied fairly frequently. They’re actually a lot cleaner than people would expect. You just take out the good food. An easy way to start is, for example, bananas have a wrapper on them already. Oranges, also. Whereas strawberries and raspberries, they’re more delicate and more likely to get something spilled on them. But a banana, you can take the peel right off. There’s also packaged, processed food. If you get a bag of potato chips, that is still sealed, or even crackers where there’s a box on the outside and then there’s the crackers inside a plastic bag inside the box. You can start there, with those easy things. One note with dumpster diving is just to make sure that you always leave the place cleaner than you found it, and you’re courteous to everybody that you come across. [Greenfield reiterated that dumpster diving is not a part of his current project.] Inhabitat: Do you have any tips for others to live more sustainably? Greenfield: The good news is you don’t have to do these sort of huge projects that I do by any means. It’s all stuff we can adapt into our daily lives. A big one is to go local. Support local business. Try to get as many of your products produced locally rather than things from big corporate stores and stuff that’s shipped around the world, where you don’t know the people and the impact that it has had or the conditions that they are working in. Shop at the local farmer’s market and support local farmers. Eat more unprocessed foods. You can bring your own container and fill up at the bulk food section. Riding a bike more and driving a car less is a really great way to not only save a lot of money and reduce your impact, but also get good exercise. Most people are a lot happier on a bike than they are driving a car. Bikes make people smile. Related: 7 of the biggest eco-friendly and green living myths Eat your food. The average person wastes about 20 percent of all the food they purchase. Anything that can’t be eaten can be composted. There are hundreds of great changes that we can make. But those are some that are at the top of my list that generally make you happier, healthier and help you live in a way that’s more sustainable. Inhabitat: How can Inhabitat followers get involved with your work? Greenfield: Get involved in other things like community projects, such as the Community Fruit Trees project. That is a project where you can plant fruit trees that are publicly accessible to anyone in their community. Gardens for the People , which is where we build gardens for people that wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it or build one on their own. The Free Seed Project is where we send out free seeds to help people start their own organic, healthy gardens. The mission is to get people living happier, healthier and more sustainable lives . We think food is a great place to start. These are all ways people can get involved, and they’d find information about those projects on my website. + Rob Greenfield Images via Rob Greenfield and Sierra Ford

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Interview: Activist lives off food that he grows and forages for an entire year

14 apps to help you live a more eco-friendly sustainable lifestyle

July 11, 2019 by  
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So you’ve made the choice to start living more sustainably. That’s great! Figuring out how to start can be daunting, but luckily technology is here to help. These handy resources can fit in your pocket and serve as a reminder to continue your journey towards a more sustainable, greener life— whether you’re an experienced advocate for sustainability or just starting out. Related: The pros and cons of online versus in-store shopping Forest Forest lets you combine mindfulness, productivity and focus with real-life tree planting. By not checking your phone for a designated amount of time, the app lets you grow virtual trees , which can then be exchanged for actual trees planted throughout five African countries by Trees for the Future . Tap Plastic bottles are one of the greatest sources of plastic pollution in our oceans, and switching to a reusable water bottle is a simple way to reduce waste. Tap accesses your location and lets you find water refill stations nearby so you can fill up without creating any plastic garbage . HowGood HowGood has a database of 200,000 food product ratings to help users make more sustainable choices. With each product rated by growing guidelines, processing practices and company conduct, this app is a great tool for users who want to be more mindful about what they eat by choosing food that is ethically produced and environmentally friendly with minimal processing.  JouleBug JouleBug combines the best parts of sustainable living with social interaction and saving money on your utility bill. The app allows users to competitively track and score their sustainable habits and share them with friends. JouleBug also includes suggestions and tips for small changes that can help you live a more sustainable lifestyle .  ThredUp Making sure that less of your used clothes end up in a landfill by offering them up to other consumers first is a no-brainer. ThredUp is an online consignment store where you can take pictures of your clothes and sell them through the app. Related: Your guide to eco-friendly toothpastes OfferUp A simple way to buy and sell used items, OfferUp lets users find a new home for their unwanted items instead of the trash can. It only takes a few minutes to snap a photo of your item, post it on the app and connect with potential buyers. You can securely message through the app and check people’s profiles and transaction history as well.  PaperKarma Not only is junk mail super annoying, it’s wasteful and bad for the environment. With PaperKarma you can stop the actual physical junk mail that shows up in your mailbox and forces you to throw away good paper for no reason. Within the app, you simply snap a photo of your junk mail and received an unsubscribed notification about 24 hours later. Olio We throw away billions of pounds of food away every year in the United States— equal to 30-40 percent of our food supply. With Olio, users can connect with neighbors and local businesses to share food. Whether you’ve bought too much of something, prepared too much dinner or purged your fridge before vacation , making sure precious food doesn’t go to waste is easier than you think. DoneGood DoneGood helps you find ethical brands with ease through both an app on your phone and an extension for your internet browser. As you search and shop for products, DoneGood will create pop-up suggestions for alternatives offered by ethical stores. You can also align suggestions based on your personal passions. DoneGood selects their businesses based on things like eco-friendly , non-toxic, cruelty-free, organic, diversity and giving back.  No Waste Track and reduce your food waste with No Waste, an interactive organizational app that lets you make an inventory of the items in your fridge, freezer and pantry. You’ll be able to sort and search for food by category or expiration date to ensure that nothing goes to waste and share your lists with friends or family.  Oroeco Oroeco puts a carbon value on everything from what you buy to the food you eat and even to the appliances you use at home. The app has partnered with UC Berkeley’s CoolClimate research group to compare their users’ carbon values with their neighbors and friends, while providing them with personalized tips to help reduce their energy use and carbon footprints. The app also works with Impact Carbon , a non-profit that helps underdeveloped countries access energy-efficient appliances.  Sustainability Aware In order to ensure a brighter future for the earth, teaching our children about green living and sustainability will be paramount. That’s where Sustainability Aware comes it. A series of educational apps designed for children that teach about the environment and human impact, all in a fun, engaging way. Each app is made for a specific grade level and age group. iRecycle Proper recycling is a simple concept, but isn’t always simple to execute. The iRecycle app finds the closest opportunity to recycle based on your location. Whether you are looking for a recycling center near your home or find yourself walking down the street with an empty water bottle, iRecycle can help.  SDGs in Action Keep up to date on worldwide sustainable development news and learn about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with this app. The SDGs are basically a world to-do list to address poverty, climate change and inequality by the year 2030. Users can personalize the app to receive notifications about specific goals and find nearby events to help show support. Screenshots via Inhabitat. Image via picjumbo.com

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14 apps to help you live a more eco-friendly sustainable lifestyle

What To Do With a Cell Phone When It Dies

July 9, 2019 by  
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We live in an era of constant upgrades. Cell phone … The post What To Do With a Cell Phone When It Dies appeared first on Earth911.com.

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What To Do With a Cell Phone When It Dies

Youth Climate Summit: Young People Mobilize To Protect the Planet

July 9, 2019 by  
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With such an important issue as protecting their planet from … The post Youth Climate Summit: Young People Mobilize To Protect the Planet appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Youth Climate Summit: Young People Mobilize To Protect the Planet

Experts say we now have "clear evidence" cell phone radiation causes cancer in rats

April 3, 2018 by  
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Does cell phone radiation cause cancer ? There’s no firm answer to that question, but Quartz reported experts show, following three days of peer review sessions over two National Toxicology Program (NTP) draft reports, there is “clear evidence” phone radiation led to heart cancer in rats . NTP’s draft reports came out earlier in 2018; at that time a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) news release said, “High exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RFR) in rodents resulted in tumors in tissues surrounding nerves in the hearts of male rats, but not female rats or any mice,” and noted the expert review to take place over March 26 to 28 . Quartz said all the results were then described as equivocal — the scientists didn’t think their information was clear enough to pin down if radiation led to the health effects. Related: Images Show How Much Cell Phone Radiation We Bathe in Every Day Peer reviewers, including toxicologists, engineers, biostaticians, and brain and heart pathologists, scrutinized the data and upgraded multiple conclusions to “some evidence” or “clear evidence,” Quartz said. NTP exposed mice and rats to varying levels of RFR for as long as two years. NIEHS said, “The exposure levels used in the studies were equal to and higher than the highest level permitted for local tissue exposure in cell phone emissions today. Cell phones typically emit lower levels of RFR than the maximum level allowed.” We certainly can’t say for sure at this point that cell phone radiation causes cancer in humans. NTP senior scientist John Bucher said in NIEHS’ February news release, “The levels and duration of exposure to RFR were much greater than what people experience with even the highest level of cell phone use, and exposed the rodents’ whole bodies. So, these findings should not be directly extrapolated to human cell phone usage. We note, however, that the tumors we saw in these studies are similar to tumors previously reported in some studies of frequent cell phone users.” + National Toxicology Program Draft Reports + National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Via Quartz Images via Hassan OUAJBIR on Unsplash and Matthew Kane on Unsplash

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Experts say we now have "clear evidence" cell phone radiation causes cancer in rats

The affordable, carbon-positive CORE 9 house generates more energy than it uses

April 3, 2018 by  
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With its CORE 9 home, architecture firm Beaumont Concepts aims to redefine how affordable sustainable housing is designed and built. The compact, low-maintenance house can be adapted for energy ratings from 6 to 10-star, which allows it to accommodate a range of budgets. The architects collaborated with a team of building designers and thermal performance professionals in order to develop affordable homes that respond to Australia’s climate. The resulting design, named CORE, is a carbon-positive home that relies on renewable energy sources and feeds surplus energy back to the grid. Related: Passive Erpingham House in Australia is affordable, light-filled and easily replicable The team used a selection of recycled and sustainable materials with a low embodied energy . These materials themselves can be up-cycled or re-processed after use. Cross-ventilation and maximum use of northern light help to reduce heating and cooling loads. In order to keep costs as low as possible, the designers also incorporated an inverted roof truss, which allows more light into the building but doesn’t require any specialist construction methods or additional costs. + Beaumont Concepts Via Archdaily Photos by Warren Reed and Leo Edwards

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The affordable, carbon-positive CORE 9 house generates more energy than it uses

LGs new smartphone repels mosquitos using sound waves

October 30, 2017 by  
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Forget bug spray — LG recently unveiled a new smartphone that repels mosquitos using sound waves. The India-exclusive K7i smartphone is a fairly ordinary phone with a 5-inch HD display, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage. Except its unique Mosquito Away feature sets it apart from other devices. By using ultrasonic sound wave technology, pesky mosquitos are supposedly driven away from the vicinity of the phone. The Mosquito Away feature was previously installed in the company’s air conditioners, washing machines, and TVs. According to LG , the ultrasonic waves are “absolutely safe” for humans. Additionally, the technology is silent, odorless and also user-friendly. It is presently selling for 7,990 rupees in India — or $121. Unfortunately, it’s not clear whether or not the technology actually works. The  BBC , for instance, says the tech is a myth. And according to Bart Knols, an entomologist who chairs the advisory board of the Dutch Malaria Foundation, there is “no scientific evidence whatsoever” that mosquitos can be driven away using ultrasonic sound technology. Related: Flesh-eating bacteria might be spread by mosquitoes in Australia If the Mosquito Away feature does work, the technology could have grand implications. Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria. In 2015,  212 million malaria cases were reported , which resulted in 429,000 deaths. Through prevention and control measures, there has been a 29 percent reduction in malaria mortality globally since 2010. However, the parasite which is spread by mosquitos still puts populations at risk, particularly in third-world nations. Via Phone Radar , The Verge Images via LG , Pixabay , YouTube

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LGs new smartphone repels mosquitos using sound waves

American fern inspires groundbreaking new solar storage solution

April 3, 2017 by  
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Energy storage has been a leading obstacle to widespread adoption of solar energy , but that may be about to change. A new nature-inspired electrode developed by two scientists at RMIT University in Australia could hold the key to drastically improved storage. Their electrode, which is based on patterns in the western swordfern, could boost the capacity of storage technologies by a staggering 3,000 percent. The groundbreaking electrode is made with graphene , and according to the university, could open the door to flexible, thin solar capture and storage technology. This would allow us to place a thin film on smartphones, cars, or buildings – enabling them to power themselves with solar energy. Related: Pocket-sized HeLi-on charger uses flexible, printed solar cells to power your phone The two researchers found inspiration for their prototype in the veins of the Polystichum munitum , a native western North American fern. Researcher Min Gu said in a statement, “The leaves of the western swordfern are densely crammed with veins, making them extremely efficient for storing energy and transporting water around the plant. Our electrode is based on these fractal shapes – which are self-replicating, like the mini structures within snowflakes – and we’ve used this naturally efficient design to improve solar energy storage at a nano level.” The electrode could be combined with supercapacitors , which have been combined with solar already but haven’t been widely utilized for storage due to limited capacity. But the scientists’ prototype can increase their capacity 30 times greater than current limits, according to Gu. The journal Scientific Reports published the research online the end of March. Paper lead author Litty Thekkekara said by using their electrode with a solar cell, we could develop flexible thin film solar, replacing the rigid, bulky solar cells that are limited in use. Smartphone batteries would become a thing of the past, and hybrid cars wouldn’t need charging stations, if scientists could build on this research to develop thin film solar. Via RMIT University Images via RMIT University

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American fern inspires groundbreaking new solar storage solution

Smart Taiga Tower is like having an 80 square foot garden right inside your home

October 11, 2016 by  
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People with limited space know all about the struggle: you want fresh produce but you lack the yard for a big garden and those indoor gardens take up all your counter space.  That’s why we are all about the genius Taiga Tower. It’s a smart home garden that fits in any space and leaves your counters free for chopping up all those fresh herbs you’ll be growing. It’s clever design is big enough for 50 plants – like having an 80 square foot garden inside. Better yet, it has full-spectrum LED lighting and a self-watering system built-in, so even the blackest thumb doesn’t have to suffer in a fresh produce-free nightmare. It even hooks up to an app so you can control everything from your phone. Like I said, genius. https://vimeo.com/183591660#at=121 + Taiga Tower 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!

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Smart Taiga Tower is like having an 80 square foot garden right inside your home

Artist turns vintage postcards into extraordinary layered landscapes

October 11, 2016 by  
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Rossato is an Italian artist living between the  ultra-urbanized London and the romantic Venice. Her pieces celebrate vintage aesthetics and the juxtaposition of natural and man-made  designs. She gets inspired by old images and frequently asks herself what happens to the photographs not taken, or to the images captured only from the eyes – concepts she tries to reflect in her work. Related: Bovey Lee’s intricate paper-cut art questions the relationship between chaos and growth Dèja vu and Greetings are the latest series from an exercise of mixing 78 cutout postcards where snowy mountains, luscious trees and watercourses are recomposed in a new designed landscape. Although frequently pictured white, the sky works as a recurring reference point, unifying each landscape in its infinitive compositions. If you enjoyed Dèja vu and Greetings check Remapping Landscape , where Rossato takes the technique a step further by digitalizing and flattening the compositions. + Caterina Rossato Via Fubiz

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Artist turns vintage postcards into extraordinary layered landscapes

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