Queen of England bans plastic bottles and straws at royal estates

February 12, 2018 by  
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Plastic doesn’t seem to have the royal stamp of approval any more. Queen Elizabeth II recently banned plastic straws and bottles on royal estates with the goal of reducing plastic use. The Independent and The Telegraph quoted a Buckingham Palace spokesperson as saying “there’s a strong desire to tackle this issue” of plastic among the royal household. Some people think the Queen has taken an interest in the plastic problem after working on a conservation documentary with broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough , who recently discussed the particular dilemma of ocean plastic in Blue Planet II – a heartrending clip from the show revealed a mother pilot whale who carried around her dead baby likely poisoned by plastic. Friends of the Earth campaigner Julian Kirby told The Telegraph, “Blue Planet’s reach now extends to the Royal households and shows how much momentum is building behind the war on plastic pollution .” The Queen is tackling plastic use in multiple ways. Buckingham Palace spoke of new waste plans, including measures to phase out straws in public cafes and ban them completely in staff dining rooms. Takeaway food products from Royal Collection cafes will now have to have biodegradable or compostable packaging. Internal caterers at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse will only be able to utilize china glasses and plates, as well as recyclable paper cups, per The Telegraph. Related: Over 200 nations commit to ending ocean plastic waste The Telegraph reported Buckingham Palace is going through a 10-year, £369 million – or around $510 million – refurbishment with a goal of improving energy efficiency in the royal residence. Electrical cabling and heating systems that haven’t been updated since just after World War II will be replaced. Solar panels will line the roof and an anaerobic digestion unit will create biogas from waste. Buckingham Palace has a web page devoted to the environment , which says the royal household “is working hard across operations in the Royal Palaces and Estates to reduce its impact on the environment, using everything from energy efficient LED (light-emitting diode) lighting to hydro-electricity generating plants to ensure efficient running of its sites.” Via The Independent and The Telegraph Images via Depositphotos and PublicDomainPictures.net

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Queen of England bans plastic bottles and straws at royal estates

The North Face unveils a geodesic tent that can withstand 60 mph winds

February 12, 2018 by  
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Known for its high-quality outdoor gear, The North Face just unveiled a dream tent designed to meet the needs of even the most intrepid camper. The Geodome 4 is a unique geodesic dome tent that’s built to withstand the harshest elements – including 60 mph gusts of wind. The North Face has a reputation for producing amazingly sturdy camping gear and clothing. This time, however, the company has created a masterpiece when it comes to tougher-than-nails tent design . The lightweight structure is just over 11 kilograms, making it easy to carry and store. For set up, it comes with just five main poles and one equator, allowing for fast and easy assembly. The interior also comes with handy internal hangars for gear storage. Related: Stay in a cozy geodesic dome at this amazing Patagonia retreat The strategic geodesic form creates enough interior room (230 x 218 cm) for four people to sleep comfortably, and with a height of of just over 6 feet, there’s enough space to stand up. The dome shape not only provides ample room, however, as the ultra-efficient shape helps the tent withstand nature’s harshest weather. The dome form helps it stand up against strong winds and the dual-layer water-resistant exterior helps to keep the tent dry in bad weather. Unfortunately, the North Face Geodome 4 Tent is only available on the Japanese market at the moment, but with some luck, will be coming to a store near you some time soon. + The North Face Via Hi Consumption

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The North Face unveils a geodesic tent that can withstand 60 mph winds

Scientists build an alien ocean to test NASA submarine

February 12, 2018 by  
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Researchers at Washington State University have constructed a replica of Titan’s oceans to test a NASA submarine for an eventual mission to Saturn’s largest moon. The scientists replicated ocean conditions, including temperatures of -300 degree Fahrenheit and a liquid content of methane and ethane rather than water. They were even able to reproduce the atmospheric cycle predicted to exist on the planet, which features ethane-methane snow and rain. This feature draws heightened interest from scientists, who note Titan’s similarities to Earth in the moon’s lakes, rivers, and clouds. The research team constructed a chamber capable of holding the methane-ethane liquid mixture at very cold temperatures. To test the impact that such an environment would have on a NASA submarine , the team added a two-inch cylindrical cartridge heater that produces approximately the equivalent heat to a submarine. When a machine powered by heat is placed in these conditions, nitrogen bubbles begin to form. The researchers were particularly interested in how these nitrogen bubbles could affect the submarine’s functionality. Related: NASA communicates with spacecraft 13 billion miles from Earth The team found it difficult to document their experiment due to challenging video conditions. They created a device that, under 60 pounds per square inch of pressure, incorporated a boroscope and camera to record images of the hostile sea. “Those aren’t the friendliest conditions,” said research leader Ian Richardson . “You have to come up with creative solutions.” The team managed to capture footage of methane-ethane rain and snow within the chamber. The researchers also discovered that methane and ethane freeze at lower temperatures under Titan’s conditions than expected. “That’s a big deal,’’ said Richardson. “That means you don’t have to worry about icebergs .” Via Washington State University Images via NASA   (1)  and Washington State University

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Scientists build an alien ocean to test NASA submarine

A series of other thoughts about NAIAS 2018

January 19, 2018 by  
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Let’s start out with my in-the-moment string of notes during the Press Preview at this year’s NAIAS (Detroit Auto Show). This covers the main ideas about this year’s program at the time. I’ll add a few more comments and expanded thoughts at the end. Not sure if it’s an actual color trend, but there’s a lot of orange at this year’s #NAIAS #NAIAS2018 Attendance seems down and space more open at #NAIAS2018. Things just seem off this year. First thought it was decline of auto industry. There’s been gap-filling of various kinds over the last few years, suppliers and related fields, but not the vacant corridors this year. The concept of automotive ownership may be starting to decline, but it’s not to that level yet. More media info is being released directly from the companies’ media sites directly – cheaper and easier than preparing press kits. The political environment can’t help. I don’t have #NAIAS info, but my personal impression is that foreign journalist turnout seems low. Even the “rides” are empty. Maybe journalists are all jaded, and these will fill during the public show. But lotsa folks standing around. There’s a hominess to a number of the displays. Wood flooring, even on the turntables. And a giant cozy shadowbox wall display. Maybe fewer booth babes (of the stand next to the car on the turntable variety) at #NAIAS2018 Don’t know about public show in comparison. Pretty sure this display was also at #naias2017 so there’s some recycling going on, even if -green- is no longer part of the program. Again, I don’t have specific numbers, but there seem to be fewer cars per display. There’s a subduedness, even in all the flash &bombast Outrageous seems to be the antithesis of #NAIAS2018 There’s too much of it in the world already, and adding to it won’t go far. They get it. Not sure if #NAIAS is relevant to @ecogeek anymore. Transport is an important element in a greener world, but carmakers have moved on. It wasn’t the first thing that occurred to me, but gradually, I had the growing sense that this was not nearly as full of a show as previous years.  There are several things that could be causing that, and it’s likely some combination of all of those factors.  (And I could be completely wrong, the numbers might be different, but it’s my sense of what I observed this year.)  I’m fairly certain that foreign coverage was down from previous years.  The increased travel difficulties (getting a visa at all, let alone a working visa) mean fewer reporters.  A few years ago, I recall the big, welcoming banner in the giant media room with flags of many nationalities.  In 2011, I wrote elsewhere : “The polyglot nature of the show is reinforced both by the numbers of national flags hanging from the ceiling overhead as well as the languages one overhears walking through the room.”  There was none of that in 2018. The cost of travel could be another factor.  With the big automakers increasingly running their own media, the handouts and press kits are in decline.  Now, all a writer needs to do to get lots of press releases and images is go to the media website of the company (media.carcompany.com or some such) and download all the information they need.  No travel and dealing with Michigan winter required. Could it be that ownership of automobiles is beginning to decline, and with it a waning interest in cars in general?  I’m not sure that we are quite at that point yet, but there could be an overall fading of interest in cars, and a matching reduction in the amount of coverage that media outlets are willing to provide for it.  Even the local TV and radio stations, that have had a notable presence at recent years’ shows were less present this year. There were cars to be seen, of course, but very much a less compelling show, especially for an EcoGeek.  Sure, there are still electric vehicles as part of the mix, and some ongoing forward steps from a couple of the companies that seem to be doing some things toward being greener.  But, at the end of the day, not a strong show, and not one with much in the way of green news at all.

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A series of other thoughts about NAIAS 2018

The Surprising Green Lining at 2017 NAIAS

January 10, 2017 by  
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For an EcoGeek, there were many surprises at the 2017 edition of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). We’ve been watching the emphasis on green cars decline for a number of years. Some of that is in the mainstreaming of more efficient vehicles, with increased fuel efficiency standards, greater numbers of hybrid vehicles, and alternative fuels. But nothing brought home how far things have come quite so much as this year’s show. Last year, we thought , “the days of green cars being featured at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) seem to be over.” Where the “green” cars were once a niche item that were typically highlighted with special displays. This year, green is so mainstream that the 2017 Green Car of the Year is also the North American Car of the Year for 2017. Those awards, along with Motor Trend Car of the Year, all went to the Chevrolet Bolt. And there are many companies with multiple electric drive vehicles. Toyota, Ford, GM, and BMW each have a variety of options available. Some are all electric drive. Some are gas/electric hybrids. Some are smaller, shorter range commuter cars, while others are readily capable of long range trips. It is no longer the case that, if you want an electric drive vehicle, your selection is limited to the one model that a company offers. There are choices, and not just between this manufacturer or that one, but a variety within a company. Even Fiat Chrysler, which has in past years seemingly paid no attention whatsoever to eco-mindedness, has a hybrid Pacifica minivan, which offers an 83 MPGe rating. At this point, it seems that the automotive manufacturers don’t feel a strong need to keep pushing the market to accept electric vehicles or to get them to understand the benefits. That has been established with consumers, and it is now a matter of finding the right vehicles to meet the demand that they have fostered. What is exciting for us as EcoGeeks is that the pursuit of transformative technology continues. The lower level of the show has been an unpredictable sideline to the main floor show. In some years it has been almost like a ghost town. In others, it has offered a driving track with sometimes many different vehicles available to test drive. This year, the lower level was packed with dozens of different booths ranging from second-tier manufacturers (who make components and systems for the automakers), autonomous vehicle technologies, two different folding electric scooters, university racing and design programs, and a row full of developers of automotive- and transportation-related apps and services. As has been the case in previous years, hydrogen-fueled vehicles caught our eye as the next wave to watch in the transformation of the market. The joke about hydrogen fueled vehicles has long been that “Hydrogen powered vehicles are always 20 years in the future.” But now, after several years, that 20 years is starting to feel like it might be inching a bit closer. Where electric vehicles were a decade ago, hydrogen vehicles are today. They are something that some companies are dedicating some of their floor space to displaying. Toyota and Honda both have available hydrogen vehicles on display, and are selling hydrogen vehicles to consumers. In addition, GM, in conjunction with the US Army, has a fuel cell powered Colorado variant on display on the lower level as an investigational next-generation HMMV replacement which is slated for field trials later this year. Completely unrelated to attending the auto show, but perhaps a telling sign, while driving home on the highway on Sunday night, I passed a tanker truck carrying a load of liquid hydrogen. Perhaps it’s the shape of things to come.

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The Surprising Green Lining at 2017 NAIAS

This zany two-person tent looks like a Star Trek shuttlecraft

May 31, 2016 by  
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Thanks to the latest creation by geek gear designer Dave Delisle , Trekkies can now set up camp and star gaze in true Star Trek style. The Star Trek Shuttlecraft Tent is a two-person tent shaped just like the actual shuttlecraft in the show. Oh, and the carrying case? When not in use, it splits apart to become the craft’s thrusters. Collaborating with The North Face, the design team created the shuttlecraft tent to be a compact replica of the Federation shuttle from the iconic series, although, unfortunately, it isn’t able to travel through the galaxy just yet. True trekkies will recognize the small, but authentic touches such as the entrance at the back, just like the true shuttlecraft. Related: Handmade Star Trek Coffee Table Looks Just Like the USS Enterprise The tent is a perfect gift for the trekkie in your life. And for all of you who are thinking that most Star Trek fans don’t, well, trek, Delisle would like to remind you that Star Trek V began with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy camping in the great outdoors . + Dave Delisle Via My Modern Met  

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This zany two-person tent looks like a Star Trek shuttlecraft

Green Grocery: How To Shop To Support The Environment

May 12, 2016 by  
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When my husband and I started working at an independently owned natural foods store in 2012, we never imagined that we would soon be running the show. Last year the owner decided to sell the store and chose Ryan (my husband) to take over her role,…

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Green Grocery: How To Shop To Support The Environment

Heard at VERGE: Highlights from the stage

October 28, 2015 by  
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Missing the show? No fear. Here’s a recap of quotes and tweets from San Jose.

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Heard at VERGE: Highlights from the stage

Runway Redux: Zero Waste Fashion Recycles Plastics

October 2, 2015 by  
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Plastic has never looked so good! Kicking off the plastics industry’s huge trade show, the NPE 2015, from March 23-27 in Orlando, Florida, was the Pursuing Zero Waste Fashion Show. But these were no ordinary runway styles — all the fashions the…

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Runway Redux: Zero Waste Fashion Recycles Plastics

20 awesome green designs spotted at BKLYN Designs 2015

May 6, 2015 by  
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HELLO BROOKLYN! Inhabitat is reporting live today from BKLYN Designs, one of our favorite New York Design Week events. The “locally grown, internationally known” showcase of Brooklyn-made and designed furniture kicked off this morning in a massive new location with lots to see and do from design eye candy and seminars and workshops, to food trucks and a fun playground for the little ones. The Inhabitat team has been criss-crossing the floor of the Brooklyn Expo Center handpicking the coolest green offerings at the show. Step inside our gallery to see what we’ve found so far, and don’t forget to put your design detective skills to the test by joining our Inhabifinds Scavenger Hunt for a chance to win some cool prizes like a $100 gift pack from By Brooklyn and a vase based on your own face from Fahz! Read the rest of 20 awesome green designs spotted at BKLYN Designs 2015 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: BKLYN Designs , bklyn designs 2015 , brooklyn design , Brooklyn designers , brooklyn goods , eco design , furniture made in brooklyn , goods made in brooklyn , green design , green home furnishings , made in brooklyn , nyc design , sustainable design

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20 awesome green designs spotted at BKLYN Designs 2015

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