46 tons of Mardi Gras beads found clogging New Orleans catch basins

February 1, 2018 by  
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In New Orleans , clean-up crews have found 46 tons of Mardi Gras beads in the catch basins on St. Charles Avenue between Poydras Street and Lee Circle. These festive plastic staples were clogging 15,000, or fully one-quarter, of the city’s basins, which are used to drain and protect the city from flooding . As part of a $7 million contract, crews from Baton Rouge-based EnviroSystems used nearly two-dozen vacuum trucks to extract 7.2 million pounds of debris, of which 93,000 pounds were Mardi Gras beads. “This is a staggering number,” interim director of the New Orleans Department of Public Works Dani Galloway told the Times-Picayune . In response to the massive amount of Mardi Gras beads posing a threat to the city’s ability to drain itself in case of flooding, the Public Works and Sanitation departments are currently brainstorming ways to prevent further damage from beads, including installing temporary “gutter buddies” to keep the beads out. During a press conference, Galloway also emphasized the need of ordinary citizens to step up and clear catch basins in their own neighborhoods. Dozens of residents in every city district have already received training on how to properly clean the catch basins. Related: New Orleans doesn’t need a hurricane to be inundated with water The clean-up operation comes after extensive flooding during the summer of 2017, which was blamed in part on the city’s backlog of clogged catch basins. This backlog existed despite $3 million having been allocated to deal with the problem. Following last summer’s flooding, the New Orleans City Council approved a $22 million emergency plan to address the issue . Although external contractors were hired to do the work, much of the labor was sourced within the city. “They are our own people doing this work,” said Galloway . “This is important because it maximizes economic impact on the city’s contracts for the people that live and work here.” Via the Times-Picayune Images via Depositphotos and Flickr/Infrogmation of New Orleans

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46 tons of Mardi Gras beads found clogging New Orleans catch basins

Airbnb is offering a weekend stay on Blue Planet’s ocean research ship

February 1, 2018 by  
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When it comes to contests with amazing prizes, Airbnb is certainly bringing their A game. First, it was watching the solar eclipse from a transparent bubble , and now the rental service is offering three lucky winners the chance to spend three days and two nights onboard the Alucia – the oceanic research and exploration vessel that filmed BBC’s Blue Planet series. Guests will join an active research trip in the Bahamas, where they will explore the depths of the ocean in one of Alucia’s two submersible vessels. In partnership with BBC America, Airbnb is asking users to describe their ideal deep sea adventure exploring beneath the waves. The submissions with the most creative answers will be chosen to bring one guest to stay aboard the OceanX Alucia for three days and participate in an underwater exploration in one of two submersibles. Related: Watch the solar eclipse from a private plane AND stay in an amazing Airbnb dome Hosting the unique Airbnb lodging will be producer Orla Doherty, who will be on site to guide the winners through the experience, “Having spent 500 hours in the submarine and countless weeks at sea filming the deep sea for Blue Planet II, the Alucia almost feels like my second home,” Doherty said. “I now feel privileged to be able to share this once in a lifetime experience with promising ocean heroes and show them the wonders of life in the ocean.” While on board, the lucky winners will be able to explore ocean life under the seas through an underwater vessel , as well as talk with leading researchers from the expedition crew. The trip, which is scheduled for April, will set off from Cape Eleuthera, Bahamas, and end in Nassau, Bahamas. Airfare is included in the prize as is another two nights on a land-based rental. + Airbnb Lead photo © 2017 Luis Lamar, additional photos via Alucia Productions/Airbnb

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Airbnb is offering a weekend stay on Blue Planet’s ocean research ship

Florida residents prohibited from using solar energy after Hurricane Irma

September 20, 2017 by  
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Millions of Florida residents lost power after Hurricane Irma raged through the state. But homeowners with solar energy installations couldn’t use them during the outage – or they’d be breaking the law. State code requires people to connect their homes to the local electric grid – and when parts of it were damaged after the hurricane , even those homeowners with backup solar power were legally obliged to sit in the dark. Florida Power and Light (FPL), which is one of the state’s major suppliers of electricity, has lobbied against letting people power their own houses with solar panels, according to Miami New Times. On their website , FPL says, “Operating your renewable system without the bi-directional meter can result in an inaccurate meter reading causing your bill to increase.” Related: Garbage from Hurricane Irma will now help power Florida Up to 40 percent of Floridians lost power after the hurricane. Residents were angered because under FPL’s rules, if its system goes down, solar power systems must be shut down as well. According to Miami New Times, state rules say customers must install a switch so their solar systems can be disconnected from FPL’s systems. But residents can’t flip the switch to power panels during a disaster. FPL can even disconnect solar panels from the grid without warning homeowners. Under FPL’s net metering guidelines, “Renewable generator systems connected to the grid without batteries are not a standby power source during an FPL outage. The system must shut down when FPL’s grid shuts down in order to prevent dangerous back feed on FPL’s grid. This is required to protect FPL employees who may be working on the grid.” Miami New Times says people have criticized FPL for spending money on lobbying rather than on hurricane-proofing grids. The Energy and Policy Institute found a FPL lobbyist drafting anti-solar laws for Republican state representative Ray Rodrigues this April. FPL contributed $15,000 to Rodrigues’ campaign. According to the Miami New Times, the Sunshine State trails behind other states in solar adoption due to power company influence. Via International Business Times and Miami New Times Images via The National Guard on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Florida residents prohibited from using solar energy after Hurricane Irma

Trump admits humans have "some connectivity" to climate change

November 23, 2016 by  
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On Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump seemed to soften his stance on climate change . As we’ve reported before, he’s called it a hoax invented by the Chinese , and pledged to renege on the US’s commitments under the Paris climate agreement . Yet when asked by a New York Times reporter about his stance this week, he hedged on whether human activity could be connected to climate change, saying, “I think right now … well, I think there is some connectivity. There is some, something. It depends on how much.” Trump went on to say that he would be keeping an “open mind” about the Paris accord , seeming to completely contradict his campaign promises to withdraw from the treaty. He emphasized his belief that the agreement would render US companies noncompetitive and referenced the 2009 “Climategate” email scandal in an attempt to discredit the science behind global warming. (While some of the emails involved certainly didn’t show individual scientists in the best light, it’s worth noting that fact-checking organizations have found the claim that these emails prove manmade global warming to be a hoax are unfounded .) This isn’t the first campaign statement he’s attempted to walk back since the election. During the Times interview, he also seemed to lose his enthusiasm for prosecuting Hillary Clinton for her private email server. He even dialed back his support of torture tactics like waterboarding in the fight against ISIS, along with his proposal to completely scrap the Affordable Care Act. And while Trump himself hasn’t abandoned the idea of building a massive border wall with Mexico, Congressional Republicans are beginning to question whether it would really be a practical national security measure. Related: China to Trump: Climate change is not a hoax While the fact that he seems to be moderating his more extreme promises could be seen by some as a promising sign, the fact that his policies are shifting so quickly isn’t likely to make progressives feel relaxed or secure any time soon. After all, this is a politician who has been recorded blatantly lying throughout his campaign . Who’s to say any of these supposed changes of heart are actually true? Via the Washington Post Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Trump admits humans have "some connectivity" to climate change

Episode 36: Brexit, VW and 21st century environmentalism

July 1, 2016 by  
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This week’s podcast: Times are changing politically across the business landscape and in what’s expected of advocacy groups like the Audubon Society.

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Episode 36: Brexit, VW and 21st century environmentalism

A Spoonful Of Creativity: 10 DIY Projects Using Old Silverware

August 5, 2015 by  
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Even though it’s not the most eco-friendly decision, most of us need to upgrade our silverware at some point. Sometimes it’s just to refresh the kitchen, and other times it’s because several pieces go missing and we’d rather have a whole set that…

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A Spoonful Of Creativity: 10 DIY Projects Using Old Silverware

Cut new national parks, says group backed by Koch brothers

July 8, 2015 by  
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The National Park Service operations budget has been cut 80 percent in the last 4 years, but not enough for a group backed by the Charles G Koch Charitable Foundation. In a recent New York Times Op-Ed , Reed Watson, executive director of the Property and Environment Research Center, lambasted existing provisions to protect national parks and efforts to set aside new land for preservation. PERC, which has received over $90,000 from the Koch brother’s foundation, advocates cutting all taxpayer support for national parks and switching to a 100 percent fee-based funding structure instead. Read the rest of Cut new national parks, says group backed by Koch brothers Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: conservation , environmental law , environmental policy , fossil fuel industries , fossil fuels , Koch Brothers , Koch charitable foundation , Koch Industries , Land and Water Conservation Fund , National Park Service , New York Times Op Ed , PERC , Property and Environment Research Center , Public Relations , Reed Watson

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Cut new national parks, says group backed by Koch brothers

Turning Mailed Trash into Treasure

August 7, 2013 by  
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If you’re anything like the average person, a trip to the mailbox yields more junk than personal letters — in fact, Americans received about 84 billion pieces of junk mail in 2011, according to The New York Times. Sure, you …

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Turning Mailed Trash into Treasure

Donna Ruff Transforms The New York Times into Pieces of Sacred Text

October 31, 2012 by  
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Who says that the newspaper business is a dying art? Not Donna Ruff , who uses discarded pages of The New York Times for her ornately pierced pieces. The artist, who we have previously featured for her work with fire and paper , continues to explore the use of negative space with her geometric cut-outs. Delicate and lacy, the patterns are reminiscent of Arabic embellishments and calligraphy. Read the rest of Donna Ruff Transforms The New York Times into Pieces of Sacred Text Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: arabic , DOnna Ruff , newspaper , qur’an , The New York Times , torah

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Donna Ruff Transforms The New York Times into Pieces of Sacred Text

Where is sustainability in The New York Times?

October 16, 2012 by  
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Why is sustainability largely absent from "the newspaper of record?"

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Where is sustainability in The New York Times?

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