A clarion call for inventors and investors

March 28, 2020 by  
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Geoengineering and environmental technologies are the vaccines author Thomas Kostigen believes we need to cure the planet’s ills.

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A clarion call for inventors and investors

ASU’s Mark Bernstein on desert urban living in a hotter world

March 9, 2020 by  
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As the planet warms, our cities are heating up even faster, and it is especially true for desert cities. Solving heat, pollution and water problems will be key to the future of our growing cities. What is the role of technology, data and community involvement in solving these problems? Arizona State University has been a leader in looking for these solutions and Dr. Mark Bernstein highlights some of the opportunities. He is joined on stage by a team of middle-school students who are working to solving water problems. From GreenBiz 20.

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ASU’s Mark Bernstein on desert urban living in a hotter world

Seed Your Future: Career Opportunities Working With Plants

February 21, 2020 by  
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Pre-teens and teenagers are interested in protecting the planet. Yet, … The post Seed Your Future: Career Opportunities Working With Plants appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Scientists announce the Doomsday Clock is within 100 seconds to midnight

January 24, 2020 by  
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Since 1947, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has been warning the public about how close humankind is to irreversible destruction. The nonprofit does this via its iconic indicator, the Doomsday Clock. Recently, the Doomsday Clock advanced one-third of a minute to now be within 100 seconds to midnight, with the midnight hour symbolizing our planet’s apocalyptic demise and humanity’s possible extinction . “Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers — nuclear war and climate change — that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond,” the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said in a statement. “The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode.” Related: Immersive, dystopian exhibit shows what life could be like post-climate change The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is based at the University of Chicago and was founded in 1945 by Manhattan Project researchers, who developed and produced the world’s first atomic weapon. While the Doomsday Clock is a symbolic tool, it is nonetheless utilized as a means for raising awareness about the planet’s proximity to potential annihilation. Each year, the Bulletin ’s Board of Sponsors and its Science and Security Board assess the state of the planet to determine where the minute hand would rest on the Doomsday Clock. According to the Bulletin ’s website, the team evaluates three main focal points: nuclear risk , climate change and disruptive technologies. Because these major entanglements were initiated and heightened by humans, the nonprofit believes they can, with concerted international effort, be managed and possibly contained. Back in 1953, the Doomsday Clock was within two minutes of midnight when the first hydrogen bomb was tested. But international agreements to limit nuclear arms helped minimize the risks of global catastrophe, thus pushing the minute hand back. By the close of the Cold War in 1991, the Doomsday Clock was set back at 17 minutes to midnight. Unfortunately, the dawn of this new century has seen the minute hand creep ever-closer to midnight, mainly due to the growing climate crisis combined with geopolitical tensions exacerbating the threats of nuclear weapon misuse and the leveraging of cyberspace attacks to disrupt society. Rachel Bronson, the Bulletin’s current president and CEO, emphasized, “We now face a true emergency — an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin of error or further delay.” Similarly, former California Governor Jerry Brown, who is now the Bulletin’s executive chair, said, “Dangerous rivalry and hostility among the superpowers increases the likelihood of nuclear blunder. Climate change just compounds the crisis. If there’s ever a time to wake up, it’s now.” + Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Via University of Chicago News Image via Shutterstock

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Scientists announce the Doomsday Clock is within 100 seconds to midnight

This sustainable lodge is in the worlds oldest living desert

January 24, 2020 by  
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It’s not often that hotels located in stunning landscapes come close to matching that natural beauty, but the &Beyond Sossuvlei Desert Lodge is no ordinary hotel. Located in the surreal desert landscape of the Namib Desert, the eco-hotel, which was designed by South African–based Fox Browne Creative , is the epitome of luxurious design mixed with innovative sustainability . Deep in the Namib, the world’s oldest living desert, the &Beyond’s Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is located in one of the world’s most surreal landscapes. Surrounded by miles and miles of rolling dunes, the surrounding terrain is otherworldly. And now, for those who’d like to explore this incredible area, the Sossusvlei lodge, which was originally built in the 1990’s, has been renovated to offer not only the perfect base to explore this stunning part of the world, but do it all while staying in a modern sustainable hotel that was designed to reduce its impact on its environment. Related: Gorgeous Belize eco-resort will offer 100% carbon neutral villas The hotel is comprised of ten individual stone and glass suites, which were laid out to provide each suite with a stunning view. There are various sizes on offer, but each unit offers a spacious living area with a fireplace, as well as a kitchen and dining room. In the bedroom, guests will enjoy the large retractable skylight above the bed for some prime stargazing before drifting off to sleep. Additionally, the master bedroom has a dreamy ensuite bathroom with a glass-encased rain shower that provides 180º desert views. From the living area, large floor-to-glass doors open out to a shaded veranda, some installed with a private plunge pool. Guests at the hotel will have the option of splitting their time enjoying their private suites, as well as taking time to explore the hotel grounds. The common area includes a comfortable sitting room with bar and interactive kitchen as well as another pool. There are numerous shaded lounges to enjoy, along with a gym and wellness center with full spa treatments. To top off the luxury, the hotel boasts a strong sustainable profile . From the beginning of the renovation process, the architecture and design team focused on three objectives, “to create an extraordinary experience for the visitor; design structures that are in harmony with their natural setting and minimize the human impact on this sensitive environment.” The first step was the repurposing of the original buildings to fit into a more sustainable model. The renovation process included using as many natural materials as possible, such as natural stone and locally-sourced furnishings. Throughout the hotel as a recycling program as well as an integral water recollection system to reuse rainwater. And finally, a massive amount of rooftop solar panels allows the hotel to generate all its energy, making the lodge 100% self-sustained. + Fox Browne Creative + &Beyond Sossuvlei Desert Lodge Via Wallpaper Photography via Dook Photography

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This sustainable lodge is in the worlds oldest living desert

Quorn introduces carbon footprint labeling

January 14, 2020 by  
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In a trailblazing move, Quorn, the meatless food manufacturer headquartered in the U.K., is now leveraging carbon labeling on more than half its product line. Carbon labeling delineates where greenhouse gas emissions are associated with production, manufacture, distribution and transport of a particular consumer product as it is brought to market. The carbon label serves to inform consumers of an item’s environmental impact and carbon footprint. By reading carbon labels, consumers may be motivated to make better and more sustainable choices. Quorn’s pioneering carbon footprint data is certified by the Carbon Trust. Why is carbon labeling important? Any increase in a product’s carbon footprint has environmental repercussions — like climbing temperatures, shifting precipitation patterns, rising sea levels and increasing frequency of extreme weather as well as species vulnerability and threats to biodiversity. Carbon labeling provides a rating system that scores the environmentally friendly and socially responsible characteristics of a product, so consumers can make better choices that ultimately lead to smaller carbon footprints. Related: Alliance of more than 11,000 scientists warns that our planet faces a climate emergency Quorn’s products are considered healthier and more sustainable. Why? The company does not utilize any livestock. As its website explains, a nutritious soil fungus ferments to produce mycoprotein. Mycoprotein is high in protein and fiber, while being low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Interestingly, mycoprotein’s carbon footprint is 90% lower than beef’s. “For over 30 years, we have been proudly delivering Healthy Protein for a Healthy Planet,” a spokesperson for Quorn said. “Quorn is proven to provide significant health and environmental benefits, and today we’re delighted we can offer carbon footprint data to our customers. This is about giving people the information needed to make informed decisions about the food they eat and the effect it has on our planet’s climate — in the same way that nutrition information is clearly labeled to help inform decisions on health — and we’re asking other brands to get on board with us.” The labels will appear on some products, including the mince, crispy nuggets, sausages, fishless fillets, ultimate burgers and wonder grains, starting in June 2020, with the entire line of products featuring the new labels starting in 2021. + Quorn Via The Guardian Image via Quorn

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Quorn introduces carbon footprint labeling

8 attainable sustainability resolutions for 2020

January 1, 2020 by  
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Setting goals is a ubiquitous part of ushering in each new year. With a renewed vigor for healthy living, embrace the opportunity to incorporate more eco-friendly habits into your routine. This task can be achieved in a variety of ways, from changing your diet to reducing waste . Wherever you are on your sustainable living journey, we’ve got some ideas for how to lower your carbon footprint and enhance your sense of commitment to the planet. Commit to less driving Reducing miles equals reducing carbon emissions . To minimize personal auto usage, use public transportation for your daily commute. If subways and buses don’t take you where you need to go, set up a carpool to eliminate multiple cars going to the same location. Over the course of a year, replacing your 10-mile drive to work or school at least one day each week will greatly reduce emissions. If possible, skip the car altogether by walking or using a bike. Alternately, look into electric cars if you’re in the market for a new vehicle. Even if you must rely on your car daily, you can still reduce miles by combining errands when you head to town, organizing a carpool for kid drop-offs and pickups, sending the kids to school on the bus, eating your lunch in the office instead of driving to a restaurant and walking or biking to places in your neighborhood instead of jumping in the car. Related: People for Bikes is making cycling safer with Ride Spot Start a garden There’s nothing better than having fresh, organic vegetables at your disposal and no better way to achieve that goal than by starting a garden. If you have the space, plan for the seasons with cool weather leafy veggies and carrots in the spring, a salsa garden in the summer and squash in the fall. In a small space, prepare a container garden on your patio with cherry tomatoes, herbs and peas. If you don’t have space for your own garden, bring together like-minded people and start a community garden. As the saying goes, “Many hands make light work,” so having help with planting, maintaining and harvesting plants benefits everyone. If outdoor space isn’t an option, consider setting up a hydroponics system to grow indoors instead. Join an environmentally focused group Finding ways to help the environment can feel somewhat overwhelming, but when you join a group of like-minded people sharing in a common goal, you can achieve great things. Whether your passion is cleaning up the oceans or planting trees , find a local group that supports your cause. If there isn’t one in your area, set a goal to start one. Budget for the environment We are surrounded by prompts to constantly buy more stuff. Every billboard, bus and storefront is filled with enticing marketing meant to convince you that you need whatever they offer. But each product contributes to emissions from sourcing materials, manufacturing, transporting, maintaining warehouse and retail space and disposing of post-consumer waste. Of course, it’s important to make conscientious decisions about avoiding plastic and plastic foam, buying in bulk when possible and investing in durable products that will last many years rather than disposables, but avoiding the purchase in the first place is the best thing you can do for the planet. Boil purchases down to the essentials. Give experiences rather than physical gifts. Only buy in quantities you’re likely to use. Focus on multipurpose items that can suit alternate needs. Really evaluate whether you will use an item long-term. Set a goal to reduce unnecessary purchases, and do your budget a favor at the same time. Hint: Sharing or renting equipment, tools and supplies is another easy way to save money and reduce environmental impact. Take a class There are endless ways to lower your carbon footprint , so target a topic of interest and learn more about it. Some examples include beekeeping, preserving food, woodworking, sewing, gardening or learning how to build solar and wind technology. Become more self-sufficient by obtaining skills in homesteading, identifying edible plants or using plants in alternative ways. Reduce waste Becoming conscious of your waste is a huge step toward reducing it. Take a look at your typical waste. Do you fill a 64-gallon street container each week? If so, see if you can reduce that to a 32-gallon instead. If you don’t already, start recycling . Capabilities of local recycling centers vary widely across the nation, so educate yourself on the regional process. Most facilities accept glass, tin cans, large plastic containers and paper — at a minimum. Also, always return your bottles and aluminum cans for recycling or redemption. Related: Recycling Identifying Device takes the guesswork out of figuring out what is recyclable To repeat an earlier sentiment, the best way to reduce garbage is to keep it from entering the house in the first place. Look at the packaging when you make a purchase, and support companies that ship in recyclable or biodegradable containers. Set a tangible goal for yourself to reduce your waste production by half. Maybe next year, you can halve it again. Write a letter Believe it or not, companies want to know how you feel about their products. When you notice something you like, such as a commitment to carbon offsetting or sustainable material sourcing, let them know with your buying power and your word. Conversely, let businesses know when they miss the mark. Write a letter to the CEO or owner, and let them know you would be a loyal customer if they worked toward corporate responsibility. Near and far, make companies aware of changes they can make to be more sustainable. Offer suggestions to local restaurants to replace plastic straws or single-use plastic tablecloths. Ask if to-go containers are cardboard, and refuse them if an establishment only provides plastic foam. At a city, state or federal level, get your representative involved. Drop them a note each month of the year to let them know what is important to you. Educate them about issues they may not be aware of. Ask for representation around topics like reducing petroleum reliance, protecting nature and supporting organic farming. Make your voice heard by speaking out for what you believe. Clean your plate Feeding the planet’s population puts a burden on our limited resources, but there are many things you can do to lessen your individual impact. Start by buying as local as possible. Source food from the farmer’s market seasonally, and purchase directly from farms in your town. Buying organic produce supports farmers who make the extra effort to keep pesticides and other chemicals out of our waterways. You don’t want to eat chemical-laden food, anyway. Cut back on animal products, because animal farming is a major producer of methane. Skip meat a few days a week or altogether. Cut out dairy products where you can, too. Don’t buy more food than you need , and use up leftovers rather than throwing them out. Do most of your cooking at home. A commitment to home-cooked meals is better for your health, your budget and the planet. Setting resolutions for the new year is a healthy way to guide yourself toward your sustainability goals, which is a win for you and for Earth. Happy New Year! Images via Shutterstock

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Off-grid tiny cabin in Australia is just the place for a digital detox in the new year

January 1, 2020 by  
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Last year, we featured CABN ‘s collection of gorgeous, off-grid cabins that are designed to offer a serene respite away from the stresses of everyday life. Now, the Australian company has just unveiled another beautiful design, the Sadie, which is its first eco-retreat in Victoria. Tucked in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, the solar-powered cabin is the ideal spot for reconnecting with nature in the new year. Like all of CABN’s projects, the Sadie is designed to go completely off the grid while still offering the ultimate in comfort for guests who are looking to immerse themselves in nature. Located on a remote property in Daylesford, the cabin is less than a 1.5 hour drive from Melbourne. Guests staying at the tiny cabin will enjoy the secluded area, which is surrounded by lush forest and unspoiled nature. Related: These Australian tiny cabins are designed to help us disconnect With a master bedroom and a comfy day bed, the cabin can accommodate up to four guests. In addition to the two sleep spaces, there is a main living area complete with the company’s signature, massive window that frames views of the forested landscape. This window is accompanied by a handful more, all of which brighten the space with natural light during the day. Despite its small size, the cabin has more than enough amenities to make guests feel at home. The bathroom sports a simplistic design of unfinished wood and has enough space for a shower and a composting toilet . For meals, there is a fully equipped kitchen and an outdoor grill. Guests can also enjoy a nice glass of wine while lounging around the firepit, provided its not bushfire season, of course. Although the cabin, which starts at $200 per night, is located in a remote forest seemingly at the end of the earth, in reality, the cabin retreat is in Daylesford, which has plenty of restaurants and shops nearby. Additionally, there are plenty of local wineries in the area to tour. + CABN Images via CABN

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Off-grid tiny cabin in Australia is just the place for a digital detox in the new year

10 holiday gifts for eco-friendly coworkers

December 16, 2019 by  
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If you have coworkers who are eco-conscious or you hope to encourage them to be, then a thoughtful gift will certainly convey that you appreciate everything they do as your teammates — all while helping the planet. Besides, showing gratitude for the people you work with is tremendously helpful for boosting morale, building rapport and cultivating a positive work environment. To spread the holiday cheer and the message of sustainability, here is a gift guide for eco-friendly presents for coworkers. Ecozoi stainless steel lunch box Stainless steel is better for the environment than plastic because it is meant to last. This stainless steel lunch box is free of BPA , PVC and phthalate. It also comes in recycled packaging that can be reused. A purchase comes with a bonus lunch pod for fruits, healthy snacks or dessert options, making it a great gift for your desk neighbor. Sustainable notebooks from ECO Imprints ECO Imprints has long been dedicated to social and environmental responsibility, often promoting positive change for greener merchandise that is recycled, reusable, reclaimed, organic, sustainable or ethically sourced . ECO Imprints has a wide range of notebooks from which to choose, and many of the notebooks are accompanied with eco-friendly pens for a complete gift set. Namaste water bottle from Yuhme Made from sugarcane, this water bottle is both BPA- and toxin-free. It is also 100 percent recyclable . The fun design will make everyone at work want one, in turn eliminating plastic bottles in exchange for stylish trips to the water fountain. HankyBook handkerchiefs These eco-friendly handkerchiefs are made of 100 percent certified organic cotton . HankyBooks are more sustainable and reusable than disposable paper tissues, thereby keeping our planet (and your work space) greener. Plantable Sprout pencils For a sustainable pencil option — made from 100 percent natural clay, graphite and PEFC-/ FSC-certified cedar wood — consider Sprout. Once you’ve finished with your Sprout pencil, you can plant the stub and watch it grow into herbs, flowers or vegetables. This is a truly unique and functional gift that you can give to everyone at work. Related: Sustainable pencil stubs Sprout into plants Living vertical wall garden from Portrait Gardens Available in three sizes — 4×6, 5×7 or 8×10 — this vertical wall garden allows its recipient to arrange plants (everything from succulents to flowers to herbs, vegetables and more) on a tray, pin them to a securing grid, then frame them, so the plants of choice will be ready for your coworker to display proudly. Abeego beeswax food wrap Abeego is renowned for saving honeybees. It is also a company that is sustainable, natural and zero-waste . This food wrap, made with beeswax, can be washed and reused. It’s a much better alternative for wrapping sandwiches or saving half of an avocado from lunch compared to single-use plastic wrap. Wooden tech accessories from iameco For more than 20 years, iameco has been crafting sustainable, ecological and high-performance computers, devices and accessories that are free from harmful chemicals. The company’s electronics do not harm the environment nearly as much as mainstream devices, especially given that they operate at a third less power. What’s more, iameco harvests the natural wood used for its electronics, devices and accessories from sustainable forests. As such, a fun wood keyboard or mouse from iameco makes an interesting gift for coworkers who love design, technology and the planet. Related: This eco-friendly wooden laptop is designed to curb e-waste Zero-Waste starter kit from Wakecup This kit has all the eco-friendly essentials: a vegan rucksack, a bamboo and stainless steel water bottle, a bamboo travel mug and two reusable bamboo straws. As Wakecup shares on its website, “Did you know that excluding food packaging, 90 percent of single-use plastic waste comes in the form of bags, bottles, cups and straws?” By giving these to your coworkers, imagine how much greener the Earth becomes as each person reduces their waste! Compostable phone case from Pela Pela is widely known as the company with the world’s first 100 percent compostable phone case. Phone cases are a simple way to show coworkers you appreciate them this holiday season, and a compostable phone case means less waste, too. Images via Shutterstock, Ecozoi, ECO Imprints, Yuhme, HankyBook, Sprout, Portrait Gardens, Abeego, iameco, Wakecup and Pela

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Study shows how plant-based catering can greatly reduce events’ carbon footprints

December 5, 2019 by  
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A recent analysis published by the Center for Biological Diversity’s Catering to the Climate report finds that replacing meat with plant-based menu offerings at conferences, corporate gatherings and holiday parties can greatly reduce the impact of these events. Production of meat and dairy contributes to nearly 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, which play a drastic role in the planet’s current climate crisis . The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has repeatedly warned that reducing meat consumption and its accompanying emissions can help countries meet their climate goals. In the U.S. alone, half of all consumed water goes toward meat production. Did you know that 80 percent of agricultural land is set aside for raising animals and feed crops? As a result, there is a vital need to improve current agricultural, food and environmental practices. One such initiative is to address the catering sector. Related: IPCC landmark report warns about the state of the oceans, polar ice content and the climate crisis Last year, revenues for catering surpassed $11 billion, with industry growth in the past three years accelerating toward an annual 10 percent climb. By shifting the catering sector away from meat-dominant menus and toward more plant-based items, there’s likely to be a noticeable dent in accompanying emissions. “Avoiding meat-heavy menus at holiday parties and conferences can make a surprisingly big difference for our planet,” explained Jennifer Molidor, the Center for Biological Diversity’s senior food campaigner. “With Earth-friendly catering that focuses on low-carbon, plant-based choices, we can save wildlife habitats and avoid a lot of climate pollution.” Through plant-based catering, a 500-person event could minimize its carbon footprint by 10 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to the amount emitted by a car driving 22,000 miles. The move will also conserve 100,000 gallons of water from food processing and irrigation, save 5 acres of habitat from animal agriculture and prevent 17 tons of manure pollution . “Public demand for plant-based, low-carbon menus is growing quickly,” Molidor said. “Even small changes in purchasing, like replacing dairy with plant-based milks and cheeses, can bring substantial benefits to suppliers and their clients. When the event and catering industry serves plant-based menus, it’s an environmental and culinary success.” + Center for Biological Diversity Image via Pixabay

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Study shows how plant-based catering can greatly reduce events’ carbon footprints

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