New credit card limits spending based on carbon emissions

May 6, 2019 by  
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This Spring, the Swedish financial tech company Doconomy launched the first ever banking service and credit card to manage your personal finances and your daily carbon emissions . The DO Black Card is a collaborative effort with Doconomy, Mastercard and the UN Climate Change Secretariat. The card complements users’ existing banking services, but the accompanying app tracks the carbon emissions associated with each DO card purchase and caps the cardholder and the limits they set for themselves. Not only is the DO Credit Card the first to explicitly track carbon emissions associated with personal finance purchases, the physical card is also made from bio-sourced materials and printed with Air-Ink, a recycled ink made with air pollution particles such as the soot found in chimneys. Related: Lyft vows to help customers find electric vehicles with Green Mode In 2015, 175 countries signed onto the United Nation’s Paris Agreement, pledging to cut their carbon emissions. Big companies are also developing policies to reduce emissions, switch to renewable energy or engage in cap and trade programs. Citizens around the world are increasingly aware of the impacts of climate change and are making greener choices in their every day lives, such as reducing their plastic use. However, as Doctonomy mentions,  money is our most “powerful tool to tackle climate change in our daily action.” Through the launch of this card, the “banking with a conscience” company set out to reduce unsustainable consumption, cut carbon emissions and compensate for unavoidable emissions. “People are also thinking about the environment in their daily lives, including making more informed decisions about what they buy. That’s why we are pleased to welcome this initiative being undertaken by Doconomy,” said UN Climate Change executive secretary, Patricia Espinosa. Cardholders also have the opportunity to donate directly to the United Nation’s certified green projects , such as replacing traditional wood stoves with fuel efficient stoves in Malawi, or building wind farms in India. Card holders also receive credits for making “ environmentally-friendly ” purchases with participating stores. + Doconomy Via Dezeen Image via Mynewsdesk

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New credit card limits spending based on carbon emissions

How IKEA plans to deliver its goods via electric trucks and vans

March 29, 2019 by  
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The Swedish retailer already has accomplished an electric vehicle last mile goal in Shanghai.

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How IKEA plans to deliver its goods via electric trucks and vans

How IKEA plans to deliver its goods via electric trucks & vans

March 29, 2019 by  
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The Swedish retailer already has accomplished an electric vehicle last mile goal in Shanghai.

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How IKEA plans to deliver its goods via electric trucks & vans

Baux unveils sustainable acoustic panels made out of chemical-free pulp

February 22, 2019 by  
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Acoustic products manufacturer  Baux has just unveiled a truly innovative design for some stylish, plant-based acoustic panels. Made out of chemical-free pulp material sourced from sustainably harvested Swedish pine and fir trees, the decorative Baux Acoustic Pulp panels can be used to soundproof various environments such as homes, restaurants office spaces, classrooms and more. Launched during this year’s Stockholm Design Week, the eco-friendly Baux Acoustic Pulp panels were made possible through a collaboration between Baux, Swedish industrial design studio  Form Us With Love and scientists from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). The revolutionary design was based on more than 25 years of research, utilizing state-of-the art technology while keeping material usage to a minimum. Related: Beautiful sound-absorbing EchoPanels are made from recycled plastic bottles The panels are made through a complex process that is similar to making paper. The process begins with wood from sustainably harvested Swedish pine and fir trees. Cellulosic fibers from the wood are broken down into a liquid cellulose to form a chemical-free pulp. The material is then modified to be fire- and water-repellent. The result is an extremely resilient material that is durable and suitable for any number of environments. But not all of its design is practical functionality; the panels are also quite decorative. At the end of its manufacturing process, the pulp is colored with non-genetically modified wheat bran, giving the panels a pleasant neutral and natural hue that is suitable for almost any interior design scheme. Currently, the panels come in three patterns: Sense, Pulse, and Energy, which are all cut using advanced laser-cutting technology. The company is reportedly planning to experiment with other natural dyes such as lingonberries, blueberries and beetroot. According to Baux CEO Fredrik Franzon, the innovative design of the eco-friendly panels is completely in line with the company’s commitment to creating building materials that are “sustainable, surprisingly functional and remarkably beautiful.” “In the face of climate change , environmental pollution and excessive consumerism, we as an industry can no longer afford to ignore the part we play,” Franzon explained. “Designing and prototyping for the future is not enough. We need to create a sustainable future today. The Acoustic Pulp sound absorbing panel is the result of our deep commitment to this vision.” + Baux + Form Us With Love Via Dezeen Images via Baux

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Baux unveils sustainable acoustic panels made out of chemical-free pulp

Lather is the PETA-approved skincare that reminds us all to slow down

February 22, 2019 by  
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From its natural ingredients to its carbon-neutral operations and its eco-friendly packaging, you’re going to want to lather up with Lather. First spied by Inhabitat at this year’s Indie Beauty Expo, Lather’s long line of sustainable skincare products have made themselves a new home in our medicine cabinets. Founded in 1999, Lather was started by Emilie Hoyt after she battled with migraines — which were partially caused by the harmful ingredients found in conventional skincare and cosmetics. Hoyt is an “explorer at heart” with a deep appreciation for nature, so she drew upon this passion when creating a wellness brand that emphasizes natural ingredients while also keeping the planet in mind at every stage of production. Related: These are our favorite beauty retailers from the Indie Beauty Expo In addition to using ingredients straight from nature, Lather does not test on animals, nor does it work with manufacturers that do. Furthering its commitment to sustainability, Lather is a carbon-neutral company that uses EcoPure, recycled materials and soy-based inks in all of its packaging. As if that wasn’t enough to love, Lather also supports eco-focused charities such as the Baobab Guardians Program, which “employs and empowers women and works hard to ensure the survival of the oldest trees on Earth.” It’s hard to narrow down the products to our favorites, but we must say that the bamboo lemongrass body scrub is one of the most popular Lather products for good reason. The scrub has become an essential part of our showering routine — the scrub suds up to cleanse you while also gently exfoliating skin and emitting a really pleasant, natural fragrance. Follow this up with the matching body lotion for a refreshing scent that invigorates you and a moisturizer that leaves your freshly exfoliated skin at its softest. Along the lines of keeping your skin happy and hydrated, we recommend keeping Lather’s Hand Therapy with you at all times. This restorative lotion is made with shea, oats and olive. The scent is earthy in a pleasant way, and the cream helps relieve cracked hands and dry cuticles. Lather also offers a multitude of face cleansers that target various skin concerns, from dryness to oily textures and sensitivity to blemishes. There are also different formulas, such as gels, creams, oils, and soap bars. We tested the Ultra Mild Face Wash. It’s a powerful cleanser that removes makeup with ease without leaving skin feeling dry or tight. We weren’t in love with the smell, but we didn’t hate it, either. We followed this face wash with the Ultra Light Face Lotion, which doesn’t have much of a scent to it. It was perfect for a daily moisturizer — hydrating enough to banish dryness, but light enough to wear all day without feeling heavy or greasy. Overall wellness is a prime factor behind all of Lather’s products, which is why the company developed a gel based pain reliever for muscle aches and pain. The gel provides temporary pain relief with formulated herbal extracts used by the native tribes of Northern Mexico. The gel is incredibly fast acting once its massaged onto joints or muscles and has a lingering cooling and heating effect that is felt almost instantly thanks to the menthol, camphor and capsaicin in the product. While the scent is powerful, it’s not overbearing and definitely worth it as this gel can quickly alleviate pain. We have made this our go-to pain relieving gel. While Lather is designed to enjoy at home as its own act of self care, the company’s passion for wellness extends in-store, too. From free Pamper Parties for groups to indulge in an afternoon of natural  skincare to relaxation stations with cozy seating and “5-minute stories” from a machine that offers short stories for guests to read, Lather encourages clients to take a moment to breathe and enjoy each passing moment. The brand’s ethos to care about yourself and the environment is evident through and through. + Lather Images via Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Lather. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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Lather is the PETA-approved skincare that reminds us all to slow down

Saving the environment one hair wash at a time

February 22, 2019 by  
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In the ongoing dialogue surrounding water consumption and saving water, the length of your shower, how you water your yard and even your toothbrush usage probably come up. But there is another water-thirsty activity that should be added to the discussion — hair washing. Think about it. Daily shampooing by billions of people is destined to strain resources. So taking a moment to consider the ways you can cut back on the suds, the water and the money going down the drain can be the best way to help the environment. Frequency Your hairdresser recommends washing your hair twice daily, often followed by using a conditioner. Between the energy and water consumed, that’s a big hair care footprint. In addition to shorter showers, consider cutting back the frequency of your hair washing to every other day or even a few times each week. Dry shampoo and leave-in conditioner can help provide the look and feel you’re used to in between washings. Specially formulated to omit the use of water altogether, dry shampoo is a quick and easy way to get out the door faster without wasting time and water in the shower. Leave-in conditioner can keep the frizzies at bay with a expedited and no-water-required application. Hot water reduction Heating water is a major household expense and we’re often paying for a service we don’t need, such as washing clothes in hot water that will be just as clean in a cold wash. When it comes to hair washing, consider turning down the heat a bit in favor of cost savings. Of course, slashing your time in the shower will not only save on water-heating costs, but water consumption costs as well. Even better than turning the shower down is turning it off in between wetting your hair and rinsing out the shampoo. For greater results, adopt a less rigid hair-washing schedule altogether. Related: Compensation for conservation: water markets are economists’ answer to scarcity Product consumption While we’re on the conversation of conservation , give a little thought to the amount of hair products you’re using as well. Try cutting back on the amount you apply, since most people use a much larger amount than they need. This not only helps minimize the shampoo that heads down the drain, but offers cost savings too. Water conservation If you’re already cutting back on shower time, think of other ways you can conserve the water you use in your shower. After all, you wouldn’t be the first person to collect your sudsy runoff in a bucket as you bathe. As long as your hair products are earth friendly, the water you collect can be used to water plants , wash animals or irrigate the lawn. Also look into low-flow shower heads that either restrict the flow of water coming out or force air through the shower head so it feels like you’re getting a full stream with only half the water usage. While we’re on the topic of showers, they are almost always a better choice for the planet than baths. An average 10-minute shower uses around 20-25 gallons while a bath averages 35-50 gallons. Outside the home While your morning ritual is likely the culprit for most of your excess hair-washing water consumption, also implement a plan for when you are away from home. Conserving water at the hotel or the gym is still saving water, so keep it up when you’re out. Also, start a dialogue with your hairdresser who’s likely had the conversation before. Ask what he or she is doing to minimize water consumption and resources (think about how many heads get washed each day.) Yes, it might feel like you’re breaking some sort of code to head to the stylist without washing first, but if they are going to do it anyway, there’s no reason to wash twice. Alternately, wash at home and ask them to wet with a spray bottle instead of a full wash during your cut. Types of hair products More and more products are finding their way into the market that aim to satisfy the growing consumer desire for no-water, all-natural solutions to hair care. Remember that all those suds head straight down the drain and into the local water system, so choose non-toxic shampoos and conditioners that are biodegradable. Do it for the fishies and for the purity of the water your family drinks. While biodegradable products are better for the environment , remember that they are also better for you. Your scalp is skin, after all, and skin is the biggest organ in your body. With a high absorption rate, your skin takes in all kinds of chemicals and toxins in daily life. Don’t let your hair products be one of them. In addition to the ingredient list, look at the packaging of your shampoo and conditioner. Use an all-in-one product instead of separate ones to automatically cut plastic waste in half. Better yet, find a refillable option for serious waste-reduction points. There are a host of alternate products that can also aid in the clean-hair goal both in and out of the shower. Many people find success with natural products like apple cider vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and clay. Baby powder can also work as a dry shampoo in a pinch. Images via Shutterstock

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Saving the environment one hair wash at a time

Henning Larsens energy-efficient Kiruna Town Hall opens to the public

November 30, 2018 by  
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The northern Swedish town of Kiruna, that’s famously uprooting itself, has just inaugurated its new town hall — Kristallen, dubbed The Crystal — in the relocated city center three kilometers to the east. Designed by Danish architecture firm Henning Larsen , The Crystal is an energy-efficient homage to Kiruna’s existing town hall that was designed by the Swedish architect Arthur von Schamlensee. Conceived as the town’s “living room”, the circular building was built with recycled materials from the original structure, including the iconic 1958 bell tower and original door handles from the main entrance. Located nearly 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle , the Swedish town of Kiruna was founded atop the world’s largest iron ore mine, a site that provides 90 percent of Europe’s iron ore. However, a century of mining operations has destabilized the area, leading to rifts and sinkholes that have threatened to swallow the town. As a result, the state-owned mining firm Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara (LKAB) proposed demolishing the old town and relocating its estimated 18,000-person population to a new site three kilometers east. Henning Larsen, Temagruppen, WSP and UiWE won the competition to design the new town hall , called Kristallen (The Crystal), an important landmark located at the heart of new Kiruna. The building creates a distinction between the inner and outer volumes, each catering to its community and civic functions, respectively. The inner core of the community-oriented building offers public exhibition rooms, workshops and social common spaces. The outer volume includes staff offices for various municipality departments and is sheathed in a sleek circular glass and natural stone facade engineered to deflect winds and heavy snowdrifts. The angular forms seen on the exterior and interior of the building also reference the geometry of the iron minerals critical to the town’s identity. Related: Kjellander + Sjöberg designs a climate-optimized urban development in new Kiruna “The building we are opening today is not just exciting in form – It is also designed to meet high environmental standards. It is in other words a very modern city hall, which in the future will become a living room for Kiruna. It is a place for meetings, work, art and culture in equal measure,” said King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. + Henning Larsen Photography by Hufton + Crow via Henning Larsen

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Henning Larsens energy-efficient Kiruna Town Hall opens to the public

How lagom the Swedish concept of ‘just right’ can help you live a balanced life

May 9, 2018 by  
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If there’s one word that defines our modern lives, it’s this: excess. We own too much stuff, too many things compete for our attention (Should I binge-watch a show on Netflix or check in on Snapchat? …Or maybe both at the same time?) and there is too much pressure to have the perfect life that everyone on Instagram seems to have. It’s overwhelming. And while many people are embracing minimalism to combat the exhaustion of modern life, it can be a bit too limiting. That’s why you need to know about the Swedish concept of ‘Lagom,’ which celebrates the idea of “just enough.” It’s the space between minimalism and living in excess. Image via Jen P. What is lagom? The Danish concept of hygge has captivated people around the world with its emphasis on embracing the simple pleasures in life. Lagom, on the other hand, is about finding balance in every aspect of your life. Instead of eschewing your phone to light some candles and relax, it’s about finding the right amount of time to connect with the world without feeling overwhelmed by it. At its essence, lagom means enjoying a simpler life so you can focus on what is really important and makes you happy. Related: 6 ways to make your life more “Hygge” – the Danish secret to happiness Lagom — pronounced lah-gom — is knowing what is essential in your life and knowing when something isn’t serving you. The Swedish embrace lagom as a lifestyle — in fact, it helps inform the particular brand of socialism that helps Sweden thrive. The idea is that nobody in society should have too much or too little. Some argue that lagom can be negative, because it is based on Lutheran self-denial. But we think that practicing lagom can help you improve your life by embracing ‘good enough.’ In Sweden, lagom can be illustrated by how Swedes seem perfectly happy in homes that are only a fraction of the size of homes in the U.S. Do we really need all that space? Then, you have to fill it with more stuff and clean it, when you could be just as happy in a home half the size . It is also better for the world if we do more with less, and that’s an important part of lagom — making choices that may require a bit of sacrifice to benefit the world. With lagom, less is more, and instead of buying things we do not need, it is about finding pleasure and fulfillment in moderation. It is the belief that extremes on the spectrum are bad. For instance, exercise is good, but none at all is just as detrimental as too much. Cooking at home is good, but not if it stresses you out, whereas dining out for every meal could be a disaster for your budget. Image via Jess Waters How do you embrace lagom? To find your inner lagom, you need to ask yourself one question: is this good enough? Or, is this just enough? If KonMari-style purging feels like yet another set of rules that you have to follow in order to live up to someone else’s standards, stop and ask yourself if perhaps a light spring de-cluttering is good enough for you. If the pressure to hygge-fy your life has turned from taking a cozy moment with a book to the frantic pursuit of the perfect chunky-knit blankets and the best organic candles, it’s time to step back and find a balance between calm and pressure. Image via Bench Accounting Live lagom at home When it comes to the home, the trend is to toss everything out to achieve a simple lifestyle. Lagom guides you to embrace what brings you joy and eliminate what doesn’t. A little ‘ clutter ‘ isn’t always a bad thing – if you get real pleasure from a bookcase full of knick-knacks or a drawer full of your favorite pens, go for it. Just make sure that what you keep is valuable and utilized. A shelf full of books is just a burden if you never read them. The same goes for anything that is cluttering up your space without a purpose. Are you really enjoying that bar cart that you bought because it looked cute on Pinterest? If not, give it away on Craigslist. Then, before adding anything else to your space, ask yourself if things are good enough already. The point is to find a simpler life that still has room for the things that make you happy. Image via Bethany Legg Pencil in lagom at work In your work life, apply lagom by knowing when enough is enough. Instead of putting in extra hours to look dedicated, think like the Swedes, who believe that putting in overtime means that you aren’t working efficiently enough during your regular hours. Accept that work is an important part of life, but find the balance between letting it be the main focus of your life and an unpleasant task you charge through as quickly as possible. Set expectations with your employer: you will give your best effort while you are in the office, but after eight hours, you are heading out to enjoy the rest of the day. Instead of banking those time-off hours, use them frequently to give yourself a mental recharge. Image via Brooke Lark Add lagom to your plate The concept of lagom really shines when it comes to eating because it’s all about moderation — you can literally have your cake and eat it, too. The Swedish recognize that there is a time for indulging in all the delicious goodies that make a celebration great, but there is also a time to moderate. The first step to eating lagom-style is to eliminate waste. If you are tossing out a great deal of food, and your ingredients had to travel across the planet to reach you, you are definitely not embracing lagom. Instead of eating imported fruits all year round, try to find local produce that is in season. When you have a craving for something sweet, do as the Swedes do and take a fika — a short coffee break accompanied by your favorite treat. Not every meal has to be a huge presentation – something simple will do most of the time. The point is not to impress your friends but to have something that you enjoy from start to finish, while being mindful of your impact on the world. Let lagom bring balance to your life Lagom is something that you can incorporate into nearly every aspect of life. Think like Goldilocks: you are looking for the bed that is just right. Embracing lagom will not only simplify everything, but it will ease your stress and help you find the kind of balance that is essential to being happy. Next time you are doing something because you feel like you have to, ask yourself if things aren’t already good enough as they are. And instead of feeling guilty for enjoying things you think you shouldn’t, have them in small doses. Finally, be mindful of what you bring into your life and realize that sometimes the simpler things will ultimately bring you the most joy. That’s the key to living lagom. Lead image via Robson Hatsukami Morgan

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How lagom the Swedish concept of ‘just right’ can help you live a balanced life

IKEA plans to cut food waste in half by 2020 heres how

August 14, 2017 by  
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You now have one more reason to love IKEA . By 2020, the Swedish company plans to cut food waste by 50% at its stores — including its restaurants and smaller bistros. To accomplish this, employees will use digital scales to record the type and weight of food sent to the bin. In turn, they will learn the cost of the discarded food and its carbon footprint . Over time, the data will help the company make big changes. In the US and UK, between 30 and 40 percent of all food is tossed into landfills . This conundrum persists, despite the fact that 795 million people worldwide go to bed hungry each evening. IKEA’s new initiative will not only reduce the amount of methane pumped into the atmosphere as a result of rotting produce, it will hopefully encourage other corporations to tackle food waste in their own spheres. Said Ylva Magnusson, communications manager for IKEA Food. “Our ambition is to work together to create positive change together with other organizations and companies.” The new food waste system was launched in 2015 and rolled out to stores in December of 2016. By May 2017, 20 percent of IKEA stores had it installed. As a result, there has been a reduction in nearly 80,000 pounds of food waste. IKEA is now in the process of implementing the system in all of its 400 stores, which serve 650 million customers a year. When an employee enters the type and weight of a food into the new system, they are also required to record why it was discarded. Options include overproduced, expired, spoiled or trimmings (such as the top of a tomato). The process takes seconds, but it will ultimately help the company’s restaurants become much more efficient. As a result of the recorded data, IKEA’s menu is likely to change. If a certain part of an entree is regularly documented to be untouched, IKEA will take this into account to reduce food waste . Said Peter Ho, IKEA U.S. food sales leader, “If we do see a significant amount of waste over a specific period of time–let’s say at 2:00 every day we’re wasting so many meatballs–then that says for us that we’re overproducing, and if we’re overproducing , then we can train our co-workers to minimize that waste.” For the initiative, IKEA partnered with LeanPath – the company that produces the digital scale. The company’s CEO, Andrew Shakman, said, “The moment you start measuring with technology you begin to change awareness levels and you cause people to start to think differently. Whereas in the past they could just throw something in the garbage , now they have to stop and for a moment; they have to record something about it. In that moment, you’re not just collecting data, you’re communicating your values.” Related: IKEA is now selling solar panels and home batteries in the UK “What you’re doing is really engaging your front line and enlisting them as the change makers on this hugely important global issue ,” he added. “They are uniquely positioned to resolve it.” In addition to reducing food waste in its own kitchens, the company will also encourage consumers to waste less. This is critical, as the Swedish company estimates that “plate waste” makes up about 50 percent of total food waste. At a later date, IKEA will also work with suppliers to reduce waste upstream. As Fast Company reports, both plans fit in with IKEA’s larger vision to produce more renewable energy than it uses by 2020 and to offer more vegetarian products that have a smaller environmental footprint than traditional options. + Ikea Via Fast Company Images via Wikimedia , Pixabay , IKEA

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IKEA plans to cut food waste in half by 2020 heres how

Undergrad student leads scientists to discover nearly 100 unknown volcanoes – in Antarctica

August 14, 2017 by  
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There’s a new contender for the continent with Earth’s biggest volcanic region: Antarctica . Researchers found 91 previously unknown, massive volcanoes , ranging in height from around 328 to 12,631 feet. A University of Edinburgh third-year undergraduate student tipped the researchers off to the incredible discovery. Third-year student Max Van Wyk de Vries had the idea to analyze radar mapping data of the continent, and proposed a study to the university. Scientists were then able to verify there are indeed many volcanoes, concentrated in a region called the West Antarctic Rift System, and concealed by West Antarctica’s ice sheet. They say the newly discovered volcanic region is quite similar to East Africa’s volcanic ridge, which currently holds the title for the region with the world’s densest concentration of volcanoes. Related: Colossal landforms discovered under Antarctic ice sheet are 5X bigger than any on Earth Scientists drew on ice-penetrating radar measurements, satellite records, and geological information from aerial surveys to confirm Van Wyk de Vries’ concept. Van Wyk de Vries said in a statement, “Antarctica remains among the least studied areas of the globe, and as a young scientist I was excited to learn about something new and not well understood. After examining data on West Antarctica , I began discovering traces of volcanism. Naturally, I looked into it further, which led to this discovery of almost 100 volcanoes under the ice sheet .” Researchers say the discovery could help them better understand how Antarctica has changed during the varying climates of history, and how volcanoes influence ice sheet fluctuations. They have not determined if the volcanoes are active or not, but the awareness of their presence could help scientists researching seismic monitoring in Antarctica. The research has been published in the Geological Society Special Publications series. Via the University of Edinburgh Images via Cassie Matias on Unsplash and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Flickr

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Undergrad student leads scientists to discover nearly 100 unknown volcanoes – in Antarctica

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