10 eco-friendly holiday gift ideas for friends

November 27, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Too often, the giving season feels like a mad rush to check tasks off a list. It’s all too easy (and embarrassing) to wind up giving our friends and family junk gifts that we regret buying. Our  shopping  guide makes it simple to find sustainably made, easy-to-purchase presents that you can feel good about giving over the holidays. Spent grain pancakes Everybody has to eat, and anybody sane likes a good pancake. This  spent grain mix  is low carb, high  protein , contains lots of fiber and uses recycled grains. What?! That’s right, these pancakes are called “spent” because the barley flour comes from microbrewery castoffs. You and your pancake gift recipient will feel even better about breakfast knowing that Grain4Grain donates to a food bank every time somebody purchases a box. Related: How to make soy wax candles for a cozy, autumnal home Shoes by Allbirds Buying shoes can be intimate, so this one is for your close friends.  Allbirds , best known for its sneakers, also makes boat shoes, slip-ons and flats. Choose from shoes made from wool — supposedly these New Zealand sheep have a fabulous life — or, for your  vegan bestie, choose shoes made from responsibly sourced eucalyptus fiber. As a carbon-neutral company, Allbirds puts eco-thought into all aspects of business. The laces are made from recycled plastic bottles, the insoles use castor bean oil and even the shipping boxes are made from 90% recycled cardboard. Digital thrift store gift card Some friends are easier to shop for than others. For some particular people, it’s best to let them pick out their own  gifts . Help them shop sustainably with a digital thrift store gift card from Rent the Runway or thredUP. Upcycled clutch from Jungalow Jungalow  specializes in bright colors and bold botanical patterns. The company is the brainchild of  design  blogger Justina Blakeney. Now you can get Jungalow’s super lush upholstery fabrics in a clutch purse. These clutches use upholstery scraps that wound up on the cutting room floor. Your friend can carry it as a small purse, or keep important things organized inside the clutch while tossing it in a larger bag. Darling little tassels adorn the clutch’s zipper. Girlfriend Collective activewear Through  fashion  alchemy,  Girlfriend Collective  turns old fishing nets, plastic bottles and other trash into chic leggings, bras, socks, sweatsuits and shorts. The company has already sidetracked about 4.5 million plastic water bottles bound for a dubious fate. You can find clothing for all sizes, and even a maternity section on their website. Homemade sugar scrub For a low-cost yet personal gift with a sweet scent, make your friend a sugar scrub. All you need is  sugar , coconut oil (or similar) and a few drops of essential oil. Use the essential oil straight out of the bottle, or make a special blend for your friend. Scoop the scrub into a mason jar, tie a bow around it, and it’s ready to gift. Full details on making sugar scrubs are available at  The Simple Veganista . Malala Scrunchie With a  Malala scrunchi , your friend can secure her hair while simultaneously promoting  education  for girls. When you buy these hair holders, the money goes to the Malala Fund, named for the brave and beloved Pakistani heroine and kick-ass activist Malala Yousufzai. The scrunchies are made from sustainably sourced bamboo fabric and dyed with natural plant dyes, like turmeric for yellow, indigo for blue and madder root for pink. We like the pumpkin color for fall and winter. Cruelty-free, 10-free nail polish from Pear Nova Ten what? Bad ingredients: toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, DBP, xylene, parabens, camphor, fragrances, phthalates or animal ingredients. Not sure what all those ingredients are? The bottom line is you probably don’t want them on your nails.  Pear Nova  products are 10-free, designed in  Chicago  and look much more stylish than your average drugstore nail polish. The inventive colors have fun names, such as Cleo F*ckin Patra, Rub My Temples, It’s Summer Somewhere and Rooftop ‘Til You Drop. Wine barrel Apple Watch strap In another clever example of  upcycling ,  Uncommon Goods  offers an upgrade for your Apple Watch strap. Your oenophile friend will feel good knowing that her new watch strap was once a French oak wine barrel. These straps are made in Austria and compatible with Apple Watch Series 5, 4 and 3. Eco travel kit In this pandemic  holiday  season, everybody wants things to go back to normal ASAP. Give the gift of optimism with this  eco travel kit . Your friend will smell delightful with naturally flavored lip balm, deodorant, moisturizer and perfume in grapefruit, bergamot and rose scents. She’ll nap beneath a silky eye mask and wake to note her thoughts in an artisan-crafted kite notebook. The kits come in a vegan leather case and also include earplugs, q-tips, hair ties, disposable face masks and Emergen-Cs. You can upgrade and personalize the Aria Kit with extra add-ons. Images via Grain4Grain , Katherine Gallagher / Inhabitat, thredUP , Jungalow , Girlfriend , Pixabay, HARA , Pear Nova , Uncommon Goods , and Aria Kit

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10 eco-friendly holiday gift ideas for friends

Fiat 500 3+1 electric vehicle gets a fresh redesign

November 26, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

The Fiat 500 3+1 electric car is designed to attract customers who want a smart, sustainable ride that blends style and functionality. The addition of a third door is practical, and the car features the same Fiat 500 aesthetic. Best of all, the electric vehicle capabilities are a big win for the planet. For the interior, Fiat chose a warm and soft color pallet on the interior textiles to emphasize a stronger bond with nature. Eco-friendly and recyclable materials are featured as well. Seats are made from a combination of vegan leather and Seaqual fiber derived from recycled plastic, some of which was collected from the ocean. Additionally, chrome replacement paints and mats are made of recycled fibers, and components of the dashboard are made of wood. Related: AUDI’s new electric car will have autonomous vehicle capability and a roof that holds real plants The new Fiat is available in three colors: Rose Gold, Glacier Blue and Onyx Black. It features full LED headlights, two-tone 17” diamond-cut wheel rims and chrome-plated inserts on the windows and side panels, while the seats, dashboard upholstery and steering wheel are all clad in ‘eco-leather.’ The battery pack is now located under the floor, allowing for a roomier interior layout and increased stability. The space has also been organized using modular storage compartments. Technology-wise, La Prima comes with the most advanced level 2 autonomous driving system available, the first of its kind for city cars, according to the company. Customers can look forward to Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, lane centering and control, traffic sign recognition, an autonomous emergency brake with pedestrian and cyclist recognition, Intelligent Speed Assistant, a high-resolution rear camera, 360° parking and urban blind spot sensors, automatic twilight and dazzle sensory, emergency call capabilities, a wireless smartphone charger and an electronic parking brake. The electric battery boasts 85 kW fast charging and includes an 11 kW Mode 3 cable for charging at home or in public. Its electric motor is structured around safety and entertainment, integrating a technological “ecosystem” to connect drivers and passengers to the car through their phones. For example, the Fiat app allows users to view charging points nearby and check battery charge levels remotely. + Fiat Images via Fiat

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Fiat 500 3+1 electric vehicle gets a fresh redesign

4 tips for changing consumer behavior

November 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

4 tips for changing consumer behavior Lauren Phipps Mon, 11/23/2020 – 01:00 When I cover solutions to the plastic waste crisis, I typically focus on infrastructure development and bringing recycling systems to scale, standardizing materials, inventing new ones and designing out unnecessary single-use items, and rethinking business models and supply chains. But once these structures are in place, they only work if consumers embrace new models and ensure that materials move through the system as planned. Otherwise, the entire system breaks down. And if you thought it was hard getting your colleagues to recycle rigid plastic or compost paper towels, or to stop wishcycling — that whatever they throw into the bin will, in fact, be recycled — think about the complexity of changing consumer behavior across a city, country or beyond.  During a recent webcast, I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Natalie Hallinger, a behavioral scientist and behavior change adviser working to translate research on human motivation into real-world behavior change strategies.  Here are four tips Hallinger recommends for designing large-scale interventions:  Make it relatable: “People often think they need to force people to do something they don’t want to do,” Hallinger shared. But brute force is rarely the path of least resistance. “The easier route is to find a way to relate to them. What’s an intersection of a goal they already want that aligns with your goal?” For example, if your generic environmental appeal to an individual doesn’t resonate, perhaps an individual will relate more with a personal desire to visit a clean beach in the summer.  Make it desirable: Culture and social norms are strong drivers of consumer behavior. “The most desirable thing for humans is to fit in,” Hallinger explained. “If you design interventions that create community norms of waste reduction behavior, reusing and repairing, then everyone wants to be doing the same thing. You don’t want to stand out. You do it because of your desire to be part of the community.” Make it contextual: Behavior change interventions must be relevant and salient. Hallinger explained that if you’re engaging employees in a work context about actions they can take at home, it likely will go in one ear and out the other. Focus on actions that people can implement immediately.  Make it easy : The “right” choice from a sustainability perspective should also be the easy choice. “If you create the infrastructure and design built environments that make the behavior you want the default, then you have behavior without even needing to persuade the person.” To eliminate the guesswork that consumers face at the bin, Hallinger suggested that single-stream recycling with back-of-house sorting would design out confusion and contamination and lead to higher recycling rates in certain contexts.  I invite you to listen to the entire webcast here , which includes additional insights on behavior change from Jacob Duer, president and CEO of Alliance to End Plastic Waste; Jeff Kirschner, founder and CEO of Litterati; and John Warner, distinguished research fellow at Zymergen.  Topics Circular Economy Consumer Trends Featured Column In the Loop Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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4 tips for changing consumer behavior

Unilever sets $1.2B sales target for meat and dairy alternatives

November 23, 2020 by  
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Unilever sets $1.2B sales target for meat and dairy alternatives Cecilia Keating Mon, 11/23/2020 – 00:30 Unilever has announced plans to dramatically increase sales of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives over the next seven years as part of a new sustainability program designed to shrink the environmental footprint of its food brands. The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant said last week that it plans to sell more than $1.2 billion worth of plant-based foods and dairy alternatives within the next five to seven years, largely by boosting sales from its The Vegetarian Butcher brand and increasing the number of vegan alternatives across its extensive portfolio. Unilever acquired plant-based meat company The Vegetarian Butcher in late 2018 and since has expanded the brand into more than 30 countries and secured a major supply deal for the firm’s vegan patties and nuggets with Burger King. In the same time frame, it has launched a number of vegan products for its most high profile brands, including Hellman’s, Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s. “As one of the world’s largest food companies, we have a critical role to play in helping to transform the global food system,” said Hanneke Faber, president of Unilever’s food and refreshment division. “It’s not up to us to decide for people what they want to eat, but it is up to us to make healthier and plant-based options accessible to all. These are bold, stretching targets which demonstrate our commitment to being a force for good.” The plant-based meat market is expected to expand rapidly in the coming years to meet burgeoning consumer demand for sustainable food products, with one analysis from Barclays predicting the market will grow by more than 1,000 percent over the next 10 years to reach $140 billion by 2029. It’s not up to us to decide for people what they want to eat, but it is up to us to make healthier and plant-based options accessible to all. Unilever also announced plans to bring forward its goal of halving food waste from its global operations by five years to 2025, a move commended by Liz Goodwin, senior fellow and director of food loss and waste at the World Resources Institute. “Food loss and waste have massive impacts in terms of cost to the global economy, the environment and society,” she said. “We know that food loss and waste contributes about 8 percent of global greenhouse emissions as well as wasting the land and water used in production of food. We need as many companies as possible to step up and prioritize the issue of food loss and waste and take action to reduce it.” In addition, Unilever committed to lowering calorie, sugar and salt levels across all its products and doubling the number of products that deliver “positive nutrition” globally by 2025, which it defines as products containing “impactful” amounts of vegetables, fruits, proteins or micronutrients such as vitamins and iron. Jessica Fanzo, associate professor of global food and agriculture at John Hopkins University, commended Unilever for its commitment, which she said would encourage people to embrace more sustainable diets. “The average person’s daily diet will need to change drastically during the next three decades to make sure everyone is fed without depleting the planet,” she said. “By improving food production and food environments, transforming eating habits, and reducing food waste, we can begin to solve these problems.” Pull Quote It’s not up to us to decide for people what they want to eat, but it is up to us to make healthier and plant-based options accessible to all. Topics Food Systems Alternative Protein Plant-Protein BusinessGreen Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Jaap Korteweg is a ninth generation farmer and founding father of The Vegetarian Butcher.  Courtesy of The Vegetarian Butcher Close Authorship

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Unilever sets $1.2B sales target for meat and dairy alternatives

Redress winner launches puffer jacket made of upcycled materials

November 16, 2020 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

U.K. designer Maddie Williams has recently launched a sustainable puffer jacket after winning the Redress Design Award 2019, one of the world’s largest sustainable fashion design competitions. Created in collaboration with major Chinese fashion brand JBNY Group, the sustainable puffer jacket is made with a mix of upcycled and recycled materials , including deadstock fabrics for the exterior and recycled polyester for the lining. The jacket now retails in over 100 stores in China. After placing first in the 2019 Redress Design Award, Maddie Williams joined the Hangzhou-headquartered JNBY Group to launch a sustainable garment for its fashion brand ‘less’ to be sold in more than 100 of its stores. The young designer drew on the patchworking technique from her zero-waste Redress Design Award collection, ‘The Mourners’, to create a multicolored puffer jacket stuffed with repurposed duck and goose down collected from post-consumer duvets and pillows. Related: This clothing tech company is 3D-printing garments to help reduce waste “It was an immersive and authentic experience of working in the fashion industry,” Williams said. “With the guidance and translation of the JNBY team I spoke to in-house pattern cutters and knit technicians, did sample fittings, looked through deadstock fabric and picked trims in their giant storerooms. It was a very dynamic and fast-paced place to work; you could request something in the morning and get it back in the afternoon. Being able to do this gave me my first genuine insight of the realities of creating a collection for retail — and it was a unique experience to have been involved in all of the steps.” In collaborating with Williams, JNBY Group has also worked together with Redress, the Hong Kong-based environmental NGO that aims to prevent and transform textile waste in the fashion industry through education and initiatives such as the Redesign Design Award. The Redesign Design Award 2021 will begin accepting applications from emerging designers worldwide on January 8, 2021.  + Redress Design Award Images via Redress

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Redress winner launches puffer jacket made of upcycled materials

How effective stakeholder engagement shaped Samsonite’s ESG strategy

November 16, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

How effective stakeholder engagement shaped Samsonite’s ESG strategy Christine Rile… Mon, 11/16/2020 – 01:00 In March, Samsonite announced “Our Responsible Journey,” a new global sustainability strategy that outlines its commitments across four priority areas: Product Innovation; Carbon Action; Thriving Supply Chain; and Our People, including engagement, development, diversity and inclusion. Samsonite is proud of its 110-year history of industry leadership in the innovation, quality and durability of its products. With Our Responsible Journey, Samsonite strives to lead the lifestyle bag and travel luggage industry across key sustainability indicators, including the use of recycled materials in its products and packaging and achieving carbon neutrality across its owned and operated facilities. With strong support from the entire senior management team and especially from Samsonite CEO Kyle Gendreau, the company has embarked on this journey to make sustainability a key tenet of its brand promise. The goal is to keep the world traveling while staying true to Samsonite’s long-standing ethos, the “Golden Rule,” which guides how we treat each other and care for the world we live in. Our CEO and the Samsonite leadership team wholeheartedly supported the initiative and even encouraged us to up-level some key goals in order to truly lead the industry in sustainability. Samsonite first disclosed the state of its environmental, social and governance (ESG) journey with the publication of its first ESG report in 2016, a requirement for the company’s listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. When I joined as the company’s first global director of sustainability in December 2017, I was tasked with developing a global ESG strategy that would include attainable goals and the action plans that would enable the company to demonstrate continuous improvement and progress toward achieving those goals. We report our progress annually in Samsonite’s ESG report. From the very beginning, the Samsonite executive team empowered me to take the lead on developing an industry-leading approach. The team was directly involved in every phase of the project, including providing feedback, participating in interviews and dedicating resources from their respective regions and functional areas. With executive support, I engaged with Brodie, a London-based consulting firm, to co-lead our materiality assessment. Materiality assessments matter I am a firm believer in the value of materiality assessments, especially when a company is first developing a sustainability strategy. It enables you to identify and validate your issues objectively; educate your company and colleagues about your ESG efforts; effectively allocate resources for your ESG strategy and strengthen credibility with external stakeholders. As we progressed through the internal interview process, I was continually impressed by the number of initiatives already underway to increase the use of sustainable materials in our products and to reduce our carbon footprint. For example, Samsonite North America launched its first product made with post-consumer recycled PET fabric, in January 2018, one month after I started. And by the end of my first year, we already had diverted nearly 30 million PET bottles from landfills through our global use of post-consumer recycled PET fabric in our products. In addition, the company already had installed solar panels on its manufacturing facilities in Hungary and Belgium and had plans to install them on its manufacturing facility in India. It became clear that one of my primary responsibilities would be to identify and organize all of these existing efforts under a comprehensive, focused strategy. Based on the outcomes of the materiality assessment, we identified four key pillars focused on Samsonite’s products, carbon footprint, supply chain and people. One key learning ;from the materiality assessment was that when people thought about sustainability, they often defined it in the context of the environment. As a result, we realized we had to include a brief overview of the issues that fall under the umbrella of ESG so people would evaluate the business across a broader range of initiatives. We further identified two action platforms within each pillar that would allow the company to set goals and to communicate our progress. For example, one pillar focuses on product innovation because Samsonite’s ambition is to lighten the journey of its customers by creating the best products using the most sustainable and innovative materials, methods and models. Within that pillar, we have an action platform that focuses specifically on materials innovation to drive continuous improvement toward developing new, more sustainable materials and increasing the use of more sustainable materials in Samsonite products and packaging. The other action platform targets the product lifecycle and underscores the company’s efforts to continue to make products that are built to last, repairable and, eventually, recyclable. Goals that are specific, yet ambitious The next step was to articulate specific goals and, ultimately, we identified nine global goals with targets set for 2025 and 2030. One of Samsonite’s goals is to achieve carbon neutrality across its owned and operated facilities by 2030. Recognizing that the company’s impact extends beyond its own facilities, we also set a goal to estimate, track and support actions to reduce Scope 3 emissions — those emissions tied to Samonite’s business but outside our control. Our CEO and the Samsonite leadership team wholeheartedly supported the initiative and even encouraged us to up-level some key goals in order to truly lead the industry in sustainability. One of our original goals focused on developing a recyclable suitcase. The feedback was that this was too narrow in its scope. The final goal is more aspirational and states that the company will continue to develop innovative solutions to ensure the durability of its products, extend the life of products and develop viable end-of-life solutions to divert as many of its products from the landfill for as long as possible. The directive was to expand the company’s ambition and further incentivize continuous innovation. The resulting set of goals better reflect Samsonite’s vision and its ambition. Complementing this effort, we needed to establish a global carbon footprint across 1,500 retail, office, manufacturing and distribution facilities worldwide. Partnering with Industrial Economics (IEc), an environmental consulting firm, we collaborated with cross-functional leads worldwide. Specifically, we worked with individuals responsible for the equipment and operations at our owned and operated manufacturing and distribution centers; representatives from our IT and HR departments who source office equipment and train employees on energy-efficient behaviors; and employees from our retail and development teams who make decisions about lighting and real estate. We also worked with global finance teams to collect hundreds of utility bills to ensure an accurate and representative sample size. From all this data, we established a baseline using 2017 data. An extended dialogue While the process is relatively straightforward, Brodie, IEc and I did not do it in a vacuum. Critical to our success was engaging a wide-ranging group of internal stakeholders and subject matter experts. Samsonite operates using a primarily decentralized management structure across its four key regions: North America; Asia; Europe; and Latin America. With the strong support of our regional presidents, we formed a global sustainability committee and a global carbon reduction committee. Membership is varied across functional areas and included human resources, marketing, sourcing, facilities, retail, finance and product development. Participants are nominated by their regional president based on their contribution to the company’s sustainability efforts and/or their interest in the topic. Another way we engaged internal stakeholders was by holding extensive feedback sessions with representatives from different functional areas about the respective goals to ensure that they would be able to successfully implement initiatives and provide data that would be useful and practical when demonstrating progress. The directive was to expand the company’s ambition and further incentivize continuous innovation. The resulting set of goals better reflect Samsonite’s vision and its ambition. For example, when we first set a product-related goal, we recommended establishing a target percentage of sustainable materials across our product lines. As we engaged the design and sourcing teams, it became clear that the target percentage was distracting us from the intent of the goal to increase our use of sustainable materials. There were endless ways to define that number, and we would need to spend significant time determining how to measure it. Rather than significantly delaying the goal-setting process, we decided to develop the quantitative target as part of measurement process. Now that the goals have been announced, we are actively working with marketing, design and sourcing to clearly define how we will demonstrate progress against our goal to increase the use of materials with sustainable credentials in all our products and packaging to lessen our impact on the environment. The global carbon reduction committee was involved in the process of choosing the environmental consulting firm, reviewing proposals, meeting with the candidates and making a final recommendation to work with IEc. The individual committee members, along with others, also provided feedback on the data-collection process. We shared both the results and the credit with everyone who was part of the process. This extensive stakeholder engagement meant that the process took two years from launching the materiality assessment to announcing the strategy. I am proud Samsonite has a sustainability approach that everyone can feel ownership of, and ultimately all of us are invested in its successful implementation. The world has changed a lot over the past two years, and especially during the past six months. Sustainability is increasingly important to consumers as more and more, we recognize the impact of our behaviors and consumption habits on the environment. I am proud that Samsonite has developed an ESG strategy that aligns with my personal and professional commitments and with Samsonite’s ethos, the “Golden Rule,” which guides how we treat each other and care for the world we live in. Pull Quote Our CEO and the Samsonite leadership team wholeheartedly supported the initiative and even encouraged us to up-level some key goals in order to truly lead the industry in sustainability. The directive was to expand the company’s ambition and further incentivize continuous innovation. The resulting set of goals better reflect Samsonite’s vision and its ambition. Topics Corporate Strategy Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off The interior of a Samsonite facility. Courtesy of Samsonite Close Authorship

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How effective stakeholder engagement shaped Samsonite’s ESG strategy

We Earthlings: Recycle Your Motor Oil, Don’t Dump It

November 10, 2020 by  
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What connects us all? Nature and our shared relationships through … The post We Earthlings: Recycle Your Motor Oil, Don’t Dump It appeared first on Earth 911.

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YY Nation shoes are made from bamboo, algae, pineapple and sugarcane

November 9, 2020 by  
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Tens of thousands of years ago, early hunter-gatherers braved frozen landscapes to go in search of food. And on their feet, they weren’t wearing nylon, plastic or synthetic materials. They were wearing natural materials. YY Nation does the exact same thing with its incredible new footwear collection. These shoes are made with pineapple husk , bamboo, sugarcane, algae and Merino wool. Why would you need nylon and plastic when there are durable, natural materials like that available? YY Nation says you don’t. Imagine a beautiful beach in Hawaii. A man is walking along the sand with his daughter. They can hear birds singing. They can see the breathtaking ocean lapping against the shore. Then they look down … and see plastic waste and old shoes. This is what happened to Jeremy Bank. After that experience, he created YY Nation. Related: Native Shoes’ Bloom collection is made of repurposed algae Shoes can be stylish, comfortable and still good for the environment; YY Nation is the proof. After launching on Kickstarter, YY Nation began to receive orders worldwide. That makes sense, because YY Nation footwear was created to improve the whole world — in style, of course. These shoes look trendy and fashionable. They are available in a variety of colors, but best of all, they are made with Earth-friendly materials that won’t leave a bunch of waste behind on the beach or anywhere else. The collection includes four styles: loafers, two types of sneakers and high-tops. Not only do these shoes look great, but they’re also odor-resistant, durable and temperature-regulating, so your feet stay comfortable. YY Nation’s goal is to be the most sustainable shoe in the world. These shoes are made with ocean plastics, recycled rubber, sustainably sourced bamboo , algae bloom and other natural materials. They are held together with an eco-friendly, water-based glue. Even the shoeboxes are made with recycled materials, and the shoe laces are made from recycled ocean plastic. This is how the world becomes better: one step at a time. + YY Nation Images via YY Nation

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YY Nation shoes are made from bamboo, algae, pineapple and sugarcane

Disposable plastics make up this conceptual hydrogen-powered car

November 4, 2020 by  
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Russian design student Nikita Konopatov has unveiled an innovative proposal for an environmentally friendly car with a body made from recyclable plastics . Created as a solution to the worldwide problem of air pollution and the ubiquity of plastics, the design exercise proposes a greener alternative to gas-powered vehicles. In addition to a hydrogen-powered engine, Konopatov has also given his proposed car a futuristic and playful form that looks more like an adorable spaceship than a standard sedan. Konopatov’s pod-like concept car was created as part of the Volkswagen Group Future Center Europe, a Potsdam, Germany-based initiative for developing mobility concepts of the future. The shape of the proposed fuel-cell vehicle comprises a large cylindrical barrel that would house the driver flanked by two smaller cylindrical barrels in the front and back that roll to move the car. Related: The Skai hydrogen-powered aircraft produces zero emissions The designer’s utopian vision goes against the common critiques of hydrogen cars, which have been long dismissed as a viable option due to the expensive and energy-intensive processes to produce pure hydrogen as well as the lack of hydrogen fuel-delivery infrastructure. The vast majority of hydrogen today is produced by the high-carbon process of steam methane reforming. Currently, there are only three major models of hydrogen cars available on the market: the 2015 Toyota Mirai, the Hyundai Next and the Honda Clarity. “Today, there is a global problem — environmental pollution,” Konopatov said in a email statement to Inhabitat. “Every day we produce and use something that immediately becomes garbage after use. One of the most significant problems is single — use plastic and exhaust gases. Disposable plastic can be recycled and used as a material for the car body. A car with a hydrogen engine can reduce the amount of exhaust gases. The exhaust of a hydrogen-powered car is environmentally friendly. Electric vehicles do not pollute the air, but the production of electric vehicles pollutes the environment, which is mainly due to the energy-intensive production of batteries.” + Nikita Konopatov Images via Nikita Konopatov

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Disposable plastics make up this conceptual hydrogen-powered car

Melting permafrost increases threat of tsunamis in Alaska

November 4, 2020 by  
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Scientists have warned that Alaska and other cold, mountainous places worldwide could experience tsunamis due to the melting of permafrost . As the permafrost melts, it can no longer hold the mountains together, leading to risk of collapse. Scientists warn that if the collapsing mountains slide into the sea, they could lead to devastating tsunamis. In Alaska, the Barry Arm fjord has been observed as a possible hotspot for tsunamis. Although the creeping on the fjord was only discovered this year, evidence shows that it started collapsing in the previous century. If this mountain collapses into the ocean, a resulting tsunami could hit any ships in the vicinity. Given that Barry Arm is a popular cruise ship destination, such an occurrence could be disastrous. The tsunami would also impact the nearby town of Whittier. Related: Climate change has transformed much of Alaska over the past 3 decades According to a recent report produced by a team of geologists , there is a likelihood of a slide happening within the next 20 years and a possibility of one happening within a year. The effects of landslides can be quite devastating, especially if they happen abruptly. In 2015, a landslide in Alaska resulted in a tsunami that cleared forests 193 meters up the slopes of Taan Fiord, according to The Guardian . Geologist Brentwood Higman explained that climate change can affect the landscape. Higman noted that the abrupt retreat of glaciers could bring the surrounding slopes down quickly, too, rather than in a gradual movement. If these slopes collapse into the water, the chance of a tsunami increases. Scientists have found a link between mountain collapses and tsunamis and the warmest years recorded in Alaska . Geologist Erin Bessette-Kirton has found a correlation between landslides in the Saint Elias Mountains and Glacier Bay and years with higher-than-average temperatures . “We don’t have a good handle on the mechanism,” Bessette-Kirton said. “We have correlations, but we don’t know the driving force. What conditions the landslide, and what triggers it?” To make matters worse, global warming has led more areas of ice to become water. Now, more slopes are situated above water rather than ice, meaning a landslide in these areas has a better chance of leading to a tsunami. Via The Guardian Image via Frank Kovalchek

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