What Can You Do About Nonpoint Source Pollution?

January 18, 2022 by  
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All too often, we hear about oil spills and toxic waste sites polluting the environment…. The post What Can You Do About Nonpoint Source Pollution? appeared first on Earth911.

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What Can You Do About Nonpoint Source Pollution?

Vegan food, clothing and lifestyle tips for World Vegan Day

November 1, 2021 by  
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Across print media and online resources, the vegan lifestyle seems to pop up everywhere. There are myriad reasons to embrace veganism, from saving the  environment  to caring about animals. Wherever you’re at on your vegan journey, from your first inquiry to complete dedication to the movement, we’ve got some information and tips to get you headed in the vegan direction.  Defining veganism What exactly does it mean to be vegan , and how does it compare to other diet plans? In the simplest form, a vegan diet is plant-based. Strict vegans do not eat any food that comes from an animal, including those foods animals produce such as eggs and honey. A vegan diet relies heavily on fresh fruits and vegetables but also leans into nuts, legumes, seeds, tofu, whole grains and other plant-based foods.  A vegan lifestyle is a statement against  animal  cruelty, so it goes further than just what a person eats. It’s a conscientious movement to not use, buy, or consume any animal-based products.  Related: 6 vegan jackfruit recipes to try for your next meal Benefits of a vegan lifestyle People choose a vegan lifestyle for a variety of reasons. The primary reason is to protect the animals on the planet. Another predominant reason for adopting vegan ways is to benefit the environment. Raising animals is hard on the land. It requires a lot of food, typically in the form of grain, to feed chickens, pigs, cows and other animals. That food is grown, then fed to the animals before they’re slaughtered. Part of the food chain perhaps, but eating  plants  straight from the source eliminates many of the required resources for raising livestock. In addition, cows contribute to methane release, which is a greenhouse gas that adds to the carbon footprint.  The third primary benefit of eating plant-based food is for your health. Even with the vast array of diet plan options, nearly all include copious amounts of plant-based  recipes  for the same reason — eating this way has been proven to reduce inflammation and improve or reverse a host of common diseases like diabetes, heart disease and obesity. In addition, plants provide an abundance of vitamins and minerals to support a healthy lifestyle.  Those who’ve committed to the lifestyle often report additional benefits such as increased energy, clearer thinking, improved focus, better sleep, and weight loss.  Challenges of going vegan t’s not easy being vegan. In fact, it can be incredibly difficult. One of the primary challenges is simply finding foods you can eat. Read any label, and the majority of the time you’ll find some form of animal-based product. Go into most  restaurants , and you may have trouble finding anything other than a salad that fits the eating profile.  Another challenge is learning how to cook, order and eat in an entirely new way. Especially if you’re used to making meat -focused meals. Vegan substitutes The vegan movement has been around for decades. Some even argue that select Indigenous people invented the lifestyle. In recent decades, vegan foods have brought some good and some bad to the market via vegan substitute products. Processed  foods  always come with loads of unnecessary fats, salts and sugars. Even those labeled as vegan can be an unhealthy choice, so try to stay away from the freezer department unless you’re shopping for vegetables.  In the dairy department, vegan substitutes can add a lot of variety to your diet. Vegan cheese, butter and milk round out your fruits, veggies, nuts and whole grains. Again though, watch for high levels of sugar, salt and anything artificial. When it comes to milk , there are increasing options in the form of nut milks. You’ll want to experiment with almond, coconut, oat, rice and soy milk. Vegan eating tips The number one tip to adopt a vegan lifestyle is to take it slow. Most people have been cooking and eating the same way since birth, so don’t try to reverse that in a single day. Instead, slowly incorporate changes each week or month. Swap out cow’s milk for a plant-based variety. Replace meat with beans in your soup, skip the meat in your burrito and stuff it with seasoned rice and vegetables instead. Go meatless one night each week. Aim to eat 80% plant-based. Whatever the change is, play with it until it becomes a habit. Then move on to the next goal. Tummy issues are also common at the beginning of a vegan diet. That’s because it’s high in fiber, and your system likely isn’t used to it. It’s another good reason to make the transition slowly to allow time for your system to adjust. During the process, pay attention to how you feel. Do you feel better after a fruit smoothie for breakfast rather than eggs and bacon? Did your nighttime heartburn go away? Do you find yourself avoiding the afternoon slump? How are you sleeping? Connecting good feelings like better focus and higher energy with the foods you eat is an intrinsic reward that will keep you on track. Try working up to a plant-based diet for breakfast and lunch, so you have a stretch of consecutive hours without animal products that allow you to evaluate how you feel. Vegan life beyond food Going vegan is a lifestyle that stretches well beyond what you eat. It’s a movement that factors into every purchase you make. Evaluate clothing to avoid wool, silk, leather, fur and suede. Also, read your makeup, shampoo, face wash and cleaning product labels. An increasing number of brands are labeling their products so you can easily find this information. However, your decision to go vegan doesn’t mean you have to throw out everything you own. Instead, use up the products you have while you transition to new brands. Also, get good use out of your clothing, so it doesn’t meet a premature date with the landfill. Via Shape and Bree’s Vegan Life Images via Pexels, Pixabay and iStock

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Vegan food, clothing and lifestyle tips for World Vegan Day

6 things to do with your fall leaves

October 26, 2021 by  
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‘Tis the season of colorful landscapes, on the trees and on the ground. While you may have a native hillside that flows through the cycles of the seasons without intervention, if you have a lawn with trees, the season equates to clean up time to avoid patchy grass caused by wet, matted leaves when spring rolls around. Although removing leaves is a part of autumn chores, you can choose to send them straight to the yard debris cart, bag them up for waste removal or give the leaves a second life around your home. Here are some inspiring ways to make the most of this fall’s natural material. Compost If you don’t already have a compost pile, fall is the perfect time to start. You don’t need to have a fancy compost bin, although it can harness the contents and increase efficiency. The process works naturally even if all you do is throw compost layers in the corner of the yard. Just remember it will break down best with thin layers of different kinds of materials. Include green layers such as grass clipping and organic material from the kitchen like vegetable peelings and wilted lettuce .  Related: 12 things you should never compost Mulching Trees store much of their nutrient base in their leaves. By using your leaves as a mulch, those nutrients transfer to the soil and other plants , contributing to the cycle of nature. Instead of using large leaves, chop them smaller by using the mulch setting on your lawn mower. Simply “leaf” them on the ground and drive over them with the mower set a few inches above the ground. If the leaves are finely mulched, you can leave them on the grass as an additive for the growth period in the spring. However, any clumps of leaves will result in bald spots so make sure the mulch is lightly applied.  Leaf mulch can also be used to amend the soil in your garden beds. Apply it along with any fall fertilizers to balance out the nutrients. This will attract earthworms who will do the rest of the work in breaking down the materials into a rich soil for next season.  Also, apply leaf mulch to flower beds. This natural layer helps moderate ground temperature and water absorption. Plus, they do a great job of suppressing weed growth. Again, it’s best to run large leaves through a mulcher first. Use the leaf mulch around trees, berries, flowers, shrubs and other plants.  Thanksgiving table décor Bringing the outdoors in is a quintessential part of the Thanksgiving tradition. Make a centerpiece with a carved out gourd or pumpkin as a candle holder and surround it with colorful dried leaves. Use more dried leaves to make placemats for family and guests. Simply cut a rectangle of clear shelf liner and press leaves onto the sticky side. Add names, kids’ handprints cut out of paper, stickers or other decorations and then cover with a top sheet, pressing the two pieces together. You can also have the kids help make place markers by writing guests names on dried leaves.  Another option for the centerpiece is to decoupage leaves to the outside of a canning jar. Adorn it with a ribbon made from a natural material like jute and place a candle inside.   Wreaths Leaves are easy to source and easy to use for DIY wreath making. Create a circular wreath made entirely of leaves by feeding a needle with thread through the center of dozens of mostly-dried leaves. Once you’ve completed a long strand, use wire or rope to attach it to a wire wreath form.  For a different look, use large or small leaves to design a wreath by laying them flat on the form. Overlap the leaves as you work around the circle . Then adorn the leaf base with burlap ribbon, dried berries or other natural materials.  Make a banner Dried leaves can be decorated any number of ways with markers, paints or layers of natural color from other leaves. Have a leaf-decorating party and display your fanciful creation by attaching them to a piece of rope with clothespins. Hang your dangling creation across the mantle or above the dining table.  You can also make a banner by cutting felt pieces into banner shapes or simply using fall-colored paper . To each piece attach pinecones, leaves, twigs and acorns into the shape of letters, with the final banner spelling out “Thanks” or “Thanksgiving.” Attach the pieces together by punching holes in the top to feed through rope or yarn.  Stuff a scarecrow The outdoors might need a little seasonal attention too. Keep the leaves close to their source and spook away the wildlife with a scarecrow in your yard. Once you have the basic design in place, stuff your scarecrow’s clothing with copious amounts of leaves until you achieve the bulk you’re looking for. Top it with a burlap sack or paper bag, also stuffed with leaves, for the head.  Via DoItYourself , The Old Farmer’s Almanac , The Spruce   Images via Pexels

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6 things to do with your fall leaves

Urban gardens don’t get much greener than El Terreno

August 16, 2021 by  
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El Terreno is a community garden center that does more than grow food. It brings an urban population together and puts the ideas of community support, educational enrichment and purpose in serving the greater good all together in rows of plants and flowers. Based in Mexico City, a project called El Terreno began during the COVID-19 outbreak. During this time of social isolation, developers felt it was crucial to remain connected. They started the gardens not only to provide a social outlet for youth but to connect all levels of the community. Related: RHS Hilltop opens its wings to the study of horticulture Another primary goal was to provide education about the environment. The hands-on experience puts kids in touch with the source of their food supply and provides an opportunity to better understand the foundation of sustainable living. In collaboration with organizer Michelle Kalach, Vertebral is the architecture and landscaping studio behind the project. Based in Mexico City for the past five years, the company has been drawn to landscape design as a way to bring the forest into the vibrant city. Vertebral believes in using local products and thinking long-term when it comes to developing an area. With this in mind, El Terreno includes a pavilion made from  recycled materials  sourced from other construction projects. The building is also 100% recyclable. The pavilion serves as a source for rainwater collection, which is pumped into the orchard with energy produced from  solar panels .  Architects on the project explained, “We focused on avoiding any user predispositions when entering this new space, designed for plurality and versatility. It is a space that can only gain significance through user engagement, and through the cultivating and sharing of new ideas directed towards a healing environment .” In addition to providing an educational and social outlet, El Terreno has provided a self-sustaining economy. The  plants  grown onsite are sold to local cafes and stores, which in turn funds more educational opportunities.  + VERTEBRAL Photography by Ricardo de la Concha 

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Urban gardens don’t get much greener than El Terreno

Siberian wildfires send smoke to North Pole in historical first

August 16, 2021 by  
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Aisen Nikolayev, head of the Siberian region Yakutia, declared last Friday a non-working day following heavy smoke from raging forest fires. Nikolayev urged residents to stay at home due to the health risks associated with the smoke.  Yakutia, the largest and coldest region in Russia , has dealt with forest fires on an “unprecedented scale” this year. Residents of Yakutsk, the regional capital, and several other districts were urged to stay at home in a bid to protect them breathing in the heavy smoke. Related: California Dixie fire growing too fast for warning systems Last Thursday, Nikolayev announced that the health risk associated with the smoke necessitated a day off. In a statement via the RIA Novosti news agency, Nikolayev said, “Smoke from the fires has an extremely negative effect on people’s well-being. In order to minimize these consequences today, I signed a decree declaring tomorrow a non-working day for 11 municipalities.” This announcement came with a recommendation that residents spend the day at home. The smoke also caused several flight delays on Thursday at Yakutsk airport due to poor visibility. As the fires worsened, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered firefighting reinforcement. The head of the emergencies ministry also visited Yakutia to oversee firefighting operations. In the vast Siberian region, wildfires have, so far, burned an area of more than 22.7 acres, an area the size of Portugal. NASA has announced that, for the first time in history, satellite images show smoke from the wildfires traveling all the way to the North Pole. Although Russia has not asked for international help in fighting the fire, local firefighters have lamented their lack of equipment and resources to deal with such a massive fire. Additionally, as The Guardian noted in an article about the fires, a 2015 law “allows regions to ignore blazes if the cost of fighting fires outweighs the expected damage.” Critics worry that this “provides cover for authorities to avoid fighting wildfires.” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Siberian wildfires send smoke to North Pole in historical first

Lululemon, LanzaTech are reshaping carbon waste into fabric

July 26, 2021 by  
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Lululemon, LanzaTech are reshaping carbon waste into fabric Deonna Anderson Mon, 07/26/2021 – 02:00   Addressing industrial emissions and harmful particulate matter, such as those produced by steel mills, continues to be a difficult challenge.  Consider that right now, the steel industry is among the three biggest producers of carbon dioxide. In 2018, every ton of steel produced emitted about 1.85 tons of carbon dioxide , according to the World Steel Association. That equates to about 8 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. LanzaTech, a carbon recycling tech company, views addressing those industrial emissions as an opportunity. It uses CO2 as a feedstock to create products. And in its latest announced partnership with athletic apparel company Lululemon, it’s creating yarn and fabric using recycled carbon emissions. Here’s how it works: LanzaTech captures pollution from industrial sources — for example, greenhouse gas produced by a steel mill in China, the source for the Lululemon fabric, which is similar to the proprietary fabric that it uses for its leggings. The company hasn’t yet announced which of its products will be made from the new textile.  In a process similar to beer brewing, Lanzatech converts the greenhouse gas into ethanol. Then it passes that ethanol onto project partner India Glycols Limited, a petrochemical manufacturer that turns the ethanol into monoethylene glycol, a chemical normally made from fossil fuels. Lastly, one other partner, Far Eastern New Century, a Taiwanese textile producer,  converts the monoethylene glycol to polyester. A close up of the Lululemon fabric Courtesy of Lululemon Close Authorship What makes the fabric Lululemon is making with LanzaTech different from the textile that it has historically used is that it doesn’t require more fossil carbon to be pulled from the ground. “What you don’t want is to always have to use fresh fossil carbon,” said Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech. “We’ve got to keep fossil carbon in the ground.” LanzaTech previously brought its process of capturing and recycling carbon to airlines with a jet fuel application and home care companies, creating packaging and surfactants. Lululemon is the first company it’s working with on textile production. “What we’re saying is, ‘Look, we’re gonna take all of this waste, whether it’s a gas or a solid, we’re going to convert it to ethanol,” Holmgren said. “And ethanol is going to be an intermediate to make all of the products that we make today in the petrochemical sector.” One of Lululemon’s goals is to make 100 percent of its products with sustainable materials and end-of-use solutions, toward a circular ecosystem by 2030. As part of this goal, it is planning to leverage its partnership with LanzaTech, creating a polyester where 30 percent of the product uses recycled carbon emissions.  In addition to its partnership with LanzaTech, Lululemon has a couple of other approaches in place to meet its goal. For example, it is a founding member of the Mylo Consortium , a group of four fashion companies that invest in material innovation — specifically, material made from mycelium, the root system of mushrooms — and other solutions to reduce the industry’s environmental impact. Other consortium members are Adidas, Kering and Stella McCartney. Right now with its LanzaTech partnership, Lululemon is focused on creating and testing a successful fabric in order to inform future scaling and product plans, according to Ted Dagnese, chief supply chain officer at Lululemon.  “We are thrilled with the fabric that we have seen through this partnership to date,” Dagnese wrote in response to questions emailed for this story. “We believe that sustainable innovation will play a key role in the future of retail and apparel, especially in polyester which is a widely used material.”   Topics Innovation Carbontech Manufacturing Fashion Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Sorbis Close Authorship

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Lululemon, LanzaTech are reshaping carbon waste into fabric

Hyundai reportedly working on next-gen solid-state batteries for electric vehicles

April 6, 2017 by  
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Major car companies like Hyundai have toyed with both hydrogen and electricity for clean fuel sources, but now it seems the Seoul, South Korea -based manufacturer may be taking a major step towards improving technology for their electric cars with solid-state batteries . An April 5 report from The Korea Herald says the car company has pilot-scale battery production facilities in which they’re developing the battery technology that could store more energy  and be a game changer for the industry. Hyundai may be working on solid-state batteries in their facilities they own, according to information obtained by The Korea Herald from who they described as sources close to the matter. They quoted this source as saying, “Hyundai is developing solid-state batteries through its Namyang R&D Center’s battery precedence development team and it has secured a certain level of technology.” Related: 2017 Hyundai IONIQ will be offered in EV, plug-in hybrid and hybrid versions Hyundai is apparently developing the technology without help from Korean battery manufacturers like LG Chem or Samsung SDI . The source compared Hyundai’s approach to Toyota’s – they also own production facilities according to the source. Industry sources told The Korea Herald Hyundai might be able to mass produce solid-state batteries around 2025. LG Economic Research Institute analyst Choi Jung-deok told The Korea Herald “…if automakers are able to succeed the mass production of next-generation batteries, the paradigm of batteries in the future may be shifted.” As solid-state batteries carry less risk of explosion they are considered safer than conventional batteries. According to Electrek, no company has yet been able to produce solid-state batteries at a large scale and at a price competitive with lithium-ion batteries. Along with Toyota, Ford has dabbled in the technology as well. Companies like Bosch and Dyson have also invested in the technology; the latter acquired a solid-state battery startup in 2015 for $90 million with plans to construct a $1 billion factory. Via The Korea Herald and Electrek Images via Jakob Härter on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Hyundai reportedly working on next-gen solid-state batteries for electric vehicles

2016: The Recycling Industry Year in Review

December 21, 2016 by  
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Just how is the recycling industry doing? The best place to go for that information is to the source itself: the people actually doing the recycling. During a recent U.S. Senate briefing, the president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling…

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2016: The Recycling Industry Year in Review

New SafariSeat wheelchairs made from bicycle parts help East Africans roam rough terrain

October 20, 2016 by  
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One in 200 people in East Africa need wheelchairs , but don’t yet have them. SafariSeat has developed an all-terrain, open source wheelchair that could allow those people to live their lives with more independence. Currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter , SafariSeat hopes to use money collected to build more wheelchairs and create a manual with the open source designs. SafariSeat wheelchairs are inexpensive and can be made with bicycle parts. They’re designed to be built and repaired in developing countries . A mechanism that imitates car suspension keeps all four wheels on the ground so users can navigate difficult terrain easily. The wheelchair is designed to minimize pressure sores, and rolls via pump levers that a rider can use. Related: Google.org awards $20 million to groups developing tech for people with disabilities Designer Janna Deeble was raised in Kenya , and met a Samburu man named Letu as a child. Polio left Letu disabled and dependent on other people. But the difficulty of Letu’s condition really hit home when Deeble himself was wheelchair-bound after an accident in design school. Deeble went back to Kenya to create SafariSeat, working with a team and with local workshops. The SafariSeat wheelchair has granted Letu independence, and now he’s able to teach his son the Samburu way of life. Deeble and his team want to create a pictograph manual that a person can use no matter what language they speak. Their goal is for local workshops to build the wheelchairs, creating jobs and allowing locals to repair the wheelchairs. They note on their Kickstarter page that while wheelchair donations can help people for a time, when the chairs break there’s often no way to repair them. SafariSeats are designed to be made with locally accessible parts and repaired in basic workshops. SafariSeat is the first project of social enterprise Uji, and they are crowdfunding on Kickstarter so more people can access the innovative wheelchair. With just under a month to go, they’ve raised over $24,000. Their goal is $36,889. You can back the campaign here . + SafariSeat + SafariSeat Kickstarter Campaign Images courtesy of SafariSeat

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New SafariSeat wheelchairs made from bicycle parts help East Africans roam rough terrain

The new solar-powered Wheelys 5 bicycle cafe serves up coffee and much more

September 29, 2016 by  
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https://youtu.be/mJinfBpfoMI The original Wheely’s café was little more than a humble coffee-making box on a bike. But, the company’s dedication to sustainable products and efficient design led to 550 cafés popping up in over 65 countries. The latest Wheelys cafe branches out from selling strictly coffee to act as a full-service, high-tech mobile kitchen. Related: Tiny Human-Powered Wheely’s Cafe Serves Coffee Brewed by the Sun The Wheelys 5 is decked out in cutting-edge technology. A solar panel on top the cart provides clean renewable energy, and built-in LED lights illuminate the cafe at night. The kitchen offers a 3 burner gas stove, running water, a hand sink, and a built-in display, and the cafe can event be outfitted with Wi-Fi. Despite all that tech, Wheelys is still a small organic business based on down-to-earth sustainable values. It’s still your friendly neighborhood cafe, just with more stuff. + Wheely’s 5 Open Source Bike Cafe

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The new solar-powered Wheelys 5 bicycle cafe serves up coffee and much more

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