How to celebrate World Environment Day

June 5, 2019 by  
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Today, June 5, is World Environment Day! There are many ways that you can celebrate today, and you can use the celebration as a start to building more healthy, environmentally friendly habits. Here are some suggestions for fun activities and behavior changes to consider today and every day. Group activities for World Environment Day Plan a clean-up Get together with friends and neighbors for a clean-up activity in your area, such as at a beach, park or river. Get outside Getting outside doesn’t necessarily help nature , but taking the time to enjoy it and remember why it is essential to protect in the first place is a great way to honor the environment. Find a local hiking group or coordinate a picnic in the park. If your friends aren’t as excited about outdoor activities as you are, search for outdoorsy MeetUp groups in your area and meet some new, like-minded friends. Write to your senators What environmental issues are important to you and your family? This year, the theme of World Environment Day is “Air Pollution.” Find out what your local government is doing to protect the air quality in your area and write to your senator or representatives about your concerns. Healthy personal habits you can start now Use less water Small changes in how you use water at home can add up to a significant difference and conserve a lot of water in the long run. Turn off your tap when you are brushing your teeth. Be mindful of how long your shower is. When washing dishes, fill up a pot or large mixing bowl with warm water and dish soap. Use that water to scrub all of your dishes at once, and then turn on the tap only to rinse. Do not keep the tap running the whole time to wash and rinse each dish individually. Walk more You’ve heard it a million times, but have you implemented more walking in your own life? Consider the places you go often, like work, and figure out if there are ways that you can walk — even if it is only once or twice a week. Walking is great for your health, cuts down on transportation-related carbon emissions and allows you to get to know your neighborhood in a completely different way. Carpool Take the time to discuss with friends, family and coworkers before an event or activity and find out how you can cut down on the number of cars. For places that you go frequently — like work — get to know who lives near you and decide if you can agree on a schedule to carpool. Switch your light bulbs Every time a light bulb burns out in your house, switch to a long-lasting LED bulb . These light bulbs reduce your energy consumption and last a very long time. Buy energy-efficient appliances When possible, choose ENERGY STAR-rated appliances. It is an extra cost upfront, but it will significantly reduce your energy bill long into the future. Related: 10 money-saving tips for a green home Keep fridge coils and AC vents clean If the coils on your refrigerator and the vents on your air conditioner are kept clean, they won’t need to use up additional energy just to cool to the regular temperature. Recycle e-waste When your cellphone or laptop breaks, bring it to an e-waste recycle facility rather than letting it sit around your house or tossing it into the trash. Shut off your devices When you are finished using it, turn off your computer and monitor. Avoid overcharging your cellphone or leaving it to charge overnight. Ideally, shut off your TV and other appliances through the main switch or outlet, not just the remote, so that you break the circuit and save energy . Switch to sustainable products Consider the products you use at home, like cleaning supplies and toothpaste . Switch to something more eco-friendly, ideally made from natural, biodegradable materials in plastic-free or fully recyclable packaging. Via News 18 Images via Riccardo Chiarini , Brian Yurasits and Arek Adeoye

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How to celebrate World Environment Day

LEED Platinum UCSB student housing harnesses Californias coastal climate

June 5, 2019 by  
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The University of California Santa Barbara boasts not only a beautiful campus near the ocean, but also recently completed student housing that’s been certified LEED Platinum . Designed by Los Angeles-based architectural firm Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA), the UCSB San Joaquin Student Housing was created to take advantage of the region’s ideal coastal climate to reduce energy demands. In addition to the use of passive design principles, the project employs several other sustainable strategies such as bioswales, solar water heating, and increased insulation. The project is 20 percent over California’s Title 24 requirements. Spanning an area of 95,000 square feet, the UCSB San Joaquin Student Housing comprises seven structures that augment the existing housing volumes and student facilities located at the university’s 15-acre North Campus. LOHA designed the new housing clusters to align with the existing community’s scale and character while creating an environment that would encourage greater social activity. Related: These stunning student housing apartments are inspired by tiny homes “UCSB dormitories have typically pushed circulation to their exterior envelope, with an inert central courtyard accessible only from within the building,” explain the architects. “LOHA’s design inverts this circulation scheme, designing a reductive exterior edge with an open, lively interior courtyard containing all building circulation, encouraging movement throughout the complex. Social hubs (reading rooms, gathering spaces, dining) are dispersed and floated above others. This distribution of spaces creates varied student experiences to generate a healthy campus culture.” Durability was a major driving feature in the design as well. The San Joaquin Student Housing complex’s street-facing facade is clad in corrugated metal panels, while the interior-facing elevations are covered in painted plaster punctuated by aluminum fins that support the elevated walkways finished with industrial cable mesh. Aluminum sunshades provide protection from unwanted solar gain and passive fresh air intake units are installed at each unit’s entryway. The project also boasts a built environment that’s over 90 percent permeable, a boon for stormwater management and for preventing onsite heat island effects. + LOHA Photos by Bruce Damonte

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LEED Platinum UCSB student housing harnesses Californias coastal climate

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez releases Green New Deal resolution

February 8, 2019 by  
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On February 7, House Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) released an official resolution for the highly debated “Green New Deal.” The resolution provides further information on the broad goals of the original proposal, however it remains abstract and nonbinding — and that is only if the House votes to approve it. The resolution delivers a more tangible framework upon which Ocasio-Cortez and her team plan to push for co-sponsors and move the resolution to the House and Senate floors. The summary report indicates that legislators would begin to assemble the “nuts and bolts” of the plan by drafting specific Green New Deal bills. The document specifies five ambitious goals to be completed in 10 years, reduced from the proposal’s original seven goals . Five Green New Deal Goals 1. Ensure net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers 2. Create millions of high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all 3. Invest in infrastructure and industry to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century 4. Guarantee clean air and water, climate and community resilience, healthy food, access to nature and a sustainable environment for all 5. Promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future and repairing historic oppression of frontline and vulnerable communities While the resolution focuses on an equitable transfer to renewable energy and a reduction in carbon emissions, the Green New Deal is an all-inclusive economic overhaul that also promises broad access to jobs, fair wages and healthcare. NPR’s Danielle Kurtzleben breaks down some of the notable and far-reaching objectives that fall under the above-mentioned goals, including: • Attaining 100 percent renewable energy by 2020, including transferring away from nuclear energy • Upgrading “all existing buildings to energy-efficient” • Incentivizing farmers to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions • Investing in the electric car industry and expanding high speed rails to compete with and eventually stamp out the airline industry • Guaranteeing jobs with adequate wages and comprehensive benefits for all Americans • Ensuring “high-quality healthcare” for all Americans The resolution continued to be revised after it was released, with many media outlets updating their published stories throughout the day. Does the Green New Deal have the support it needs? Ocasio-Cortez from the House is also joined by Senator Edward Markey (D-MA), who is working to garner support in the Senate. Related: Is the Green New Deal the all-inclusive climate plan we need? Though the document’s summary cites that 92 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans support the Green New Deal, the controversial responses do not seem to support this claim. In fact, the current co-sponsors, published by Axios , include “Reps. Brendan Boyle (Pa.), Joaquin Castro (Texas), Yvette Clarke (N.Y.), Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), Ro Khanna (Calif.), Ted Lieu (Calif.), Joe Neguse (Colo.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.),” all of whom say their support is pending final language. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has been called out for her lack of support for the Green New Deal. On Wednesday, she was quoted in Politico saying: “The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it right?” In addition to politicians on both sides of the aisle, journalists and climate experts argue the Green New Deal is wildly ambitious. Environmental Fellow Jesse Jenkins,  interviewed by NPR, contends that reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 is already a major challenge, so reaching zero-emissions by 2030 — as the resolution mandates — will be next to impossible. However, Ocasio-Cortez told NPR’s Morning Edition , “Even the solutions that we have considered big and bold are nowhere near the scale of the actual problem that climate change presents to us.” Political activists across the country — largely led by a youth organization called the Sunrise Movement — are showing up at congressional offices to pressure their representatives to come out in support of the Green New Deal by the end of February. Even if the resolution does not pass, which many believe will be the outcome, the activists hope that the mounting attention will make climate change a key issue — if not the most central issue — in the upcoming 2020 presidential race. Can Americans curb climate change? The resolution explains that the U.S. contributes an alarming 20 percent of the world’s carbon emissions and is in the position to become a leader in drastic green economy development. Despite the Trump administration’s recent break from global climate commitments, statistics show that the U.S. has already made the most significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions since 2000. Though the data indicates the U.S. has only made an 8 percent reduction, given that the U.S.’s total contribution to pollution is among the highest, this 8 percent reduction equates to 760 million metric tons, nearly as much as the sum of the European Union’s reductions. Though significant, this accomplishment still does not change Americans’ title as the world’s largest polluters per-capita. The U.S. indeed has the numbers to make a difference; what it needs now is for these types of policies to have the support that this vision could be our reality. + Green New Deal Resolution Via NPR Image via SCOOTERCASTER / Shutterstock.com

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Rep. Ocasio-Cortez releases Green New Deal resolution

Hawaii aims to ban coral reef-killing chemical sunscreens

February 20, 2017 by  
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For a long time we’ve been told to slather on sunblock to protect our skin from harsh ultraviolet radiation, but as an unintended consequence, filters in those sunscreens are washing off into the oceans and likely harming coral reefs . Now one Hawaii lawmaker is taking action. Fearing damage to the state’s fragile coral ecosystem, Senator Will Espero introduced a bill that would ban sunscreen with octinoxate and oxybenzone. Researchers detected concentrations of oxybenzone 30 times higher than levels thought to be safe for coral in Hawaii waters. The state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources said last September, “Recent studies have shown that oxybenzone causes deformities in coral larvae (planulae), making them unable to swim, settle out, and form new coral colonies. It also increase the rate at which coral bleaching occurs. This puts coral reef health at risk, and reduces resiliency to climate change .” Related: 40% of the top sunscreens don’t meet official guidelines for sun protection Haereticus Environmental Laboratory executive director Craig Downs, whose research influenced Espero’s bill, told KITV4, “Oxybenzone – it kills [coral]. It turns them into zombies if it doesn’t kill them outright.” The bill would ban sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate unless a user has a medical prescription. Unsurprisingly, sunscreen companies like L’Oréal have fought back, claiming there’s not enough evidence to validate such a ban. But Espero told Scientific American the science is on his side, and many people – from fishers to sailors to ocean sports enthusiasts – are behind the measure. According to TreeHugger, 14,000 tons of sunscreen wash off into oceans every single year, possibly exacerbating the worldwide coral bleaching issue. If you’re worried about sunburn but also want to consider your impact on the environment , check out the Environmental Working Group ‘s safe sunscreen guide . The organization lists several brands whose products meet their criteria. Via TreeHugger Images via Michael Dorausch on Flickr and Pixabay

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BMW and LEGO team up to create a futuristic flying motorcycle

February 20, 2017 by  
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LEGO provides inspiration for everyone from preschool-aged future engineers to BMW  designers. Recently, BMW and LEGO collaborated on the LEGO Technic BMW R 1200 GS Adventure model kit based on a BMW motorcycle . Now, designers from the two companies took inspiration from the Technics kit to bring to life with the Hover Ride Design Concept – a flying hover motorcycle that looks like something straight out of the future. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r_E1iQOVWE The 603-part LEGO Technic BMW R 1200 GS Adventure model kit allows LEGO aficionados to construct a miniature version of the best-selling BMW R 1200 GS Adventure. BMW Motorrad first approached LEGO with the idea to design the first LEGO Technic model designed together with a motorcycle manufacturer. Then they went a step further to design the Hover Ride Design Concept. Related: BMW’s futuristic self-balancing motorcycle is like a real-life Batman’s Batpod The hovering vehicle probably won’t hit markets anytime soon. In a press release BMW described the Hover Ride as a futuristic concept “full of emotion and creative energy though not laying claim to technological plausibility.” Combining BMW and LEGO design elements, designers from both companies created the concept with the help of a BMW training unit that gives trainees opportunities to work across departments on different projects. They built the life-size model of the Hover Ride, complete with a propeller. BMW Motorrad Head of Vehicle Design Alexander Buckan said in a video on the project, “This futuristic concept bike is pretty amazing. I’m really impressed how an idea can be created by LEGO elements and actually become a valid suggestion on how we can ride a motorcycle in the future.” And not only can grade schoolers learn from playing with LEGOS – Buckan said their unusual process to create a LEGO Hover Ride and then a real Hover Ride offered an excellent learning opportunity for the designers involved. You can purchase the LEGO Technic BMW R 1200 GS Adventure kit for £54.99, or just under $70, here . Via BMW Group Images via BMW Group

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BMW and LEGO team up to create a futuristic flying motorcycle

Cigarette factory reborn as a light-filled city hall in Brussels

February 20, 2017 by  
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A building that once belonged to a cigarette factory has shed its smoky past for a new life in civil service. Mamout Architects , LD2 Architecture , and Stéphanie Willocx transformed the industrial structure into a two-story city-hall branch in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, a multicultural municipality in Brussels, Belgium. The modern renovated building is punctuated with large windows to let in natural light and to emphasize connection and transparency with the community. The three Brussels-based architecture firms won a design competition to transform the industrial site into a new council office complete with a waiting room and administrative offices. The architects preserved much of the existing structure but revamped the facade with large glazed sections and improvements for better energy performance . The minimally decorated interior features high ceilings, a light color palette, and a connection to the outdoors through the large windows and access to natural light . Related: This train station which doubles as city hall in Sweden will function as an “urban living room” Remnants from the building’s history can be seen throughout the adaptive reuse project, such as the gray pavers and aging concrete beams and columns. “The proposal takes advantage of the existing situation by inserting the program in a fluid and logical disposal into the structure, without degrading it,” said Stéphanie Willocx, Mamout and LD2 Architecture to Dezeen . New additions, like the tables, windows, and counters, are aligned with the concrete beams for a clean and orderly appearance. + Mamout Architects + LD2 Architecture Via Dezeen Images via studio fiftyfifty

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Cigarette factory reborn as a light-filled city hall in Brussels

How to make your home more energy efficient

July 18, 2016 by  
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Whether you’re looking to save the environment or save on your utility bills, making your home more energy efficient is always a smart move. Senator Windows put together an infographic with some energy saving tips and tricks for all the major rooms of the house. From advice on new appliances to buy to easy suggestions on how to cut back on energy use, the infographic explores many ways for making your home more energy efficient. + Senator Windows

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How to make your home more energy efficient

Wasps weave rainbow nests with colored construction paper

April 11, 2016 by  
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Earth Day: How it began, and how it helps the planet

April 22, 2015 by  
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Earth Day is April 22nd, and to get prepared for the big day, here are a few Earth Day facts that you may not know. Founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in, the first ever Earth Day was held on April 22nd, 1970. Earth Day not only marks the beginnings of moving toward a more sustainable world, it’s a time to come together and contemplate our global environmental situation, as well as participate in community and global “green” activities. Read on to find out all about this important eco-holiday . Read the rest of Earth Day: How it began, and how it helps the planet Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: #earthdayfacts , clean air act , earth day , Earth Day 2015 , Earth Day facts , Earth Day information , environmental protection agency , Peace Bell Ceremony , reader submissions , Vangel

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Petition: Don’t Put a Climate Change Denier in Charge of U.S. Environmental Policy!

November 20, 2014 by  
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When Senate majority is handed to the GOP, a Republican will become the chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee. And Senator Jim Inhofe , one of the most outspoken climate change deniers in government, is set to lead environmental policy starting in January. A petition has been launched to demand that Senator Inhofe isn’t given this appointment. Why? Senator Inhofe has publicly declared that God, not people, is responsible for changes in the climate. He has compared the EPA to the Gestapo, and even says that climate change might have a “beneficial effect on how we live our lives.” Read the rest of Petition: Don’t Put a Climate Change Denier in Charge of U.S. Environmental Policy! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: climate change denier , creationism , environmental protection agency , epa , online petition , petition , Policy , politics , Senator Jim Inhofe , US environmental policy

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