Ioncell technology creates eco-textile clothing fibers from birch trees

April 9, 2019 by  
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With clothing production leading the world as one of the highest-polluting industries, a new fiber contradicts the earth-damaging qualities of traditional materials. Ioncell technology , developed at Aalto University and the University of Helsinki, uses a range of materials, including wood, recycled newspaper, cardboard and old cotton to make fabric. This is good news for an environment scarred by cotton production and the development of synthetic fibers. The new and improved material can also be recycled at the end of its life cycle, significantly reducing clothing waste . In a country already acutely aware of sustainable practices in forest management, the trees sourced from Finland offer a much lower carbon footprint than traditional clothing. Ioncell materials also protect the water supply by using ionic liquid in place of harsh chemicals. Related: The convenience of “highway fitting” your clothes is hurting the planet While the designers focus on sustainable sourcing and manufacturing, the clothing also avoids contributing to a massive post-consumer waste problem. That’s because the fibers are biodegradable. Additionally, the fibers do not contain any harmful microfibers now associated with massive ocean pollution and damage to sea life. Sourced from birch trees , the wood is responsibly harvested as part of a forest management program that grows more trees than they harvest. Once cut into smaller logs, the wood is sent through a machine that turns it into large chips. At this phase, the chips are sent to the cooker and then turned into sheets of pulp. The pulp is then mixed with the ionic liquid that results in a cellulose material. Fibers are then spun into yarn and turned into fabric. Designers and researchers involved in the project report that the resulting material is soft and drapes naturally, making it a good choice for formalwear, coats, scarves, gloves and other products. It also accepts dye well. The process for making Ioncell fibers is still in the research and development phase and they currently only produce it on a small scale, but they are hoping to unveil a preliminary product line as early as 2020. + Aalto University Via World Economic Forum Images via Aalto University

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Eco-friendly replacements for common bathroom products

April 9, 2019 by  
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Common bathroom products, like toilet paper, cotton swabs and baby wipes, are a convenience for people around the world, but they come at a cost to the environment. These products take centuries to biodegrade and contribute to our growing problem of carbon emissions. Luckily, there are great eco-friendly alternatives to these common  bathroom  products that will not break your budget. Here is a quick list of the most common bathroom products and suggestions on how to find sustainable alternatives. Toilet paper The issue with toilet paper is that the majority of it is manufactured from boreal forests in Canada. These forests are crucial in absorbing carbon and cleaning the air. According to Quartzy , people in the United States use far more toilet paper per year than anywhere else in the world. This is creating a dangerous situation for trees , as the demand is reaching an unsustainable pace. Related: The environmental problem with toilet paper and what to use instead The solution to the toilet paper problem is to use single-ply paper sourced from recycled wood pulp. The key here is to find brands that are using recycled pulp instead of just looking for single-ply products. Many companies that make single-ply options do not use recycled wood . There are also tree-free options, such as those made from bamboo. Consider installing a bidet in your home. You can purchase a bidet lid that is easy to install and affordable to boot. This might not eliminate the need for toilet paper, but it will significantly reduce its use and save you money. Feminine care products Like other products on this list, tampons and sanitary pads clutter our landfills and can do a number on plumbing. The biggest problem is that these products are essential for daily living, but fortunately there are eco-friendly alternatives if you look carefully. If you want to improve your impact on the environment, buy tampons that do not feature an applicator. In 2017, the Clean Ocean Action group cleaned up over 4,000 applicators from shores in New Jersey. Also, choose feminine care products made from unscented organic cotton. You can look for underwear companies that make more absorbent products, such as Thinx, Luna and Knix. The downside to this alternative is that they can get pricey. If you are interested, try a menstrual cup, which can safely last for up to 10 years. Dental products Most dental floss is made from synthetic fibers, which makes it hard for these products to biodegrade within a reasonable time. This means that the floss either ends up in landfills or gets flushed down the toilet, where it can create problems for marine  wildlife . Related: 8 ways to make your bathroom more eco-friendly Fortunately, there are companies out there who make plastic-free dental floss. According to Household Wonders , Dental Lace’s dental floss is mostly made of silk and is free of plastics. The company also offers refillable floss. Instead of plastic toothbrushes, find a bamboo option that will biodegrade. As far as toothpaste goes, try making your own or find a tooth powder or tooth tablets sold in glass jars for zero-waste alternatives. Cotton swabs Cotton swabs often end up in undesirable places after they are discarded. Some people flush them down the toilet, leaving them to end up in waterways and ultimately in the bellies of aquatic life. Because of these disposal problems, some countries have banned cotton swabs altogether, especially the ones that have plastic stems. The good news is that you do not really need to use cotton swabs. In fact, doctors do not recommend using them to clean ears, as they are easily the biggest source of ear-related trauma. Instead, simply wash out your ears with warm water and let the wax do the rest. If you cannot give up cotton swabs, consider purchasing ones that have paper or bamboo stems. These are better for the environment and break up more easily after they are thrown away. Baby wipes There are a lot of problems with baby wipes. Not only are they primarily made out of cotton — which is one of the worst crops for the environment — but they are also comprised of plastic polymers, which are added for extra strength. These wipes can lead to multiple plumbing issues and have been known to clog up water treatment facilities. Related: New study finds harmful chemicals, including glyphosate, in disposable diapers If you have to use baby wipes, avoid flushing them down the toilet, even if the packaging says they are safe to do so. Instead, try using burp cloths or washcloths for daily cleaning . Speaking of wipes, you should also avoid all types of disposable cleaning and makeup-removing wipes, just as a general rule of thumb. For best practices, consider investing in reusable wipes. You can even use an old wipes container to house them. Make your own wipes out of old T-shirts or towels; all you need is something that is absorbent and soft. Deodorant Deodorant may be great at keeping smells at bay, but this product comes at a cost to the planet and your health. Most deodorant on the market is actually antiperspirant and contains chemicals, toxins, BPA and aluminum. This combination of chemicals usually leads to harmful reactions after extended use, not to mention that sourcing the material is hazardous to the environment. The best eco-friendly alternative to conventional deodorant is purchasing products that are completely organic and free of those harmful toxins. Images via Shutterstock

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Eco-friendly replacements for common bathroom products

Cora Ball emulates natural filtering of coral to remove toxic microfibers from your washing machine

April 8, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Microfiber is a word that many of us have grown familiar with, as it is listed on many clothing descriptors. Only recently connected with the term microfiber is the knowledge that the miniscule particles wash off of our clothing and into our waterways with each load of laundry. Seeing the problem, Cora Ball offers a solution that traps those errant microfibers before they escape down the water drain. As common as the phrase is, many people don’t know that microfiber is actually a tiny synthetic fiber. In fact, it is so tiny that it measures less than 1/5 the diameter of a human hair. So millions of microfibers are in each article of clothing. Note that microfiber can also be labeled as polyester, nylon, Kevlar, Nomex, trogamid, polyamide, polypropylene and more. Related: If you eat seafood, you’re probably eating fleece microfibers Without being able to see the microfibers it’s difficult to inform consumers about their dangers. It’s not as visual as plastic water bottles lying alongside the road. However, if you replace the term microfiber with microplastic you can see how plastics get flushed into the water system. Once the microplastic travels to the ocean, aquatic animals come into contact with it. Sadly, the simple act of washing your clothes is detrimental to sea life and how it makes its way back to our table. Simply put, that means the fish we eat are now loaded with plastic particles that we can’t see. Take, for example, your favorite sweatshirt. If it lists any form of  microfiber on the label, you’re flushing tens to hundreds of thousands of microplastics down the drain with each washing of that item alone. This has resulted in innumerable microplastics in the ocean. Enter the Cora Ball. After researching the natural filtering abilities of coral in the sea , the team designed the Cora Ball with the ability to collect microfibers in each load. This allows the microplastic to accumulate into visible fuzz that can be kept from going down the drain. With this in mind, the company estimates that “If 10% of US households use a Cora Ball, we can keep the plastic equivalent of over 30 million water bottles from washing into our public waterways every year. That is enough water bottles to reach from New York City to London.” In conjunction with the goal of sustainability , the Cora Ball is made from diverted or recycled, and completely recyclable, rubber. It is suitable for all types of washing machines and has proven durability with an expected life cycle of over five years. With its innovative design , ease of use, effectiveness, and focus on environmental improvement, the Cora Ball has received the following acknowledgements: Finalist for the Ocean Exchange’s Neptune Award Part of the 2016 Think Beyond Plastic cohort Innovation Stage of 2016 Our Ocean Conference, Washington D.C. Finalist Launch Vermont 2018 Cohort Finalist Vermont Female Founders Start Here Challenge 2018 +Cora Ball Images via Cora Ball

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Grocery giant ALDI announces 100% sustainable packaging by 2025

April 8, 2019 by  
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This week, supermarket chain ALDI pledged to offer 100 percent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging on all of their products by 2025. In a press statement released early this month, the company outlined their specific goals to reduce plastic packaging throughout their stores over the next five years. ALDI is a major grocery chain with 1,800 stores across 35 states. They serve more than 40 million customers every month and are in the position to make a huge impact on the products that Americans consume, as well as the packaging they receive items in and promptly throw out. The grocery giant has a long standing commitment to sustainability, and CEO Jason Hart explains their decision to step-up efforts to combat the global plastic pollution crisis. Related: New York vows to ban plastic bags statewide in 2020 “ALDI has never offered single-use plastic shopping bags. And while we’re pleased that we’ve helped keep billions of plastic grocery bags out of landfills and oceans, we want to continue to do more. The commitments we’re making to reduce plastic packaging waste are an investment in our collective future that we are proud to make.” ALDI’s press release also states: “In 2018, ALDI recycled more than 250,000 tons of materials, including paper, cardboard, plastic and metal. Through this recycling effort, ALDI avoided the greenhouse gas equivalent of 8,094,533 gallons of gasoline.” Approximately 90 percent of all products sold in ALDI are produced and packaged exclusively for ALDI. As the sole customer, the chain has incredible power to dictate how manufacturers package, ship and present their items. However, just because the packaging is recyclable does not mean that customers will recycle it. While ALDI’s immense step forward shows remarkable growth, in order for the grocery store’s ambitious sustainability plan to be successful it ultimately relies on awareness, support and action from millions of customers. Via Treehugger Image via Mike Mozart

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9 ways to introduce nature into your dull work space

March 27, 2019 by  
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Your home, office or home office can be your sanctuary even when deadlines loom. Mitigate the stress of your work surroundings by bringing the intrinsic calm of nature into your office space. From the selection of natural elements to green design,  there are many ways to connect with nature even when you’re trapped between four walls. Here’s some inspiration to help transform your work space into a lively zen zone. Set a theme It’s easier to pull together a complete look with a theme in mind. Are you thinking Japanese garden , have an affinity for hot air balloons, need a forest feel or love the beach? When planning, think about the colors, sights and sounds associated with that activity or space. Choose scents, colors, textures and green designs that represent your favorite natural places. Related: A tiny, 96-square-foot rustic pavilion brings the outdoors in Music For an all-encompassing natural environment , set up a station on your favorite listening app and enjoy tropical birds, ocean waves, wind or simple meditative sounds as you work. Paint and wallpaper If you have the ability to design your own space, start with a wall color that screams nature. From seafoam to forest green right through greys, browns and blues, there are endless options for your wall color. For a bolder look, you could have someone paint a mural or use a premade wall wrap with a forest or ocean print. Wallpaper is another option for all or part of your space, especially if you don’t have any windows where you can actually see the world during your work day. Wall and room decor Your eyes can play tricks on you, and that is not always a bad thing. Surrounding yourself in outdoor decor can visually transport you from the monotonous task at hand to a sandy beach with an umbrella drink until you are able to make it there in person. Again, follow your theme if you wish, but always select pieces that bring you joy. For some, that might be a framed photo of a bike race and for another it might be the profile a person standing on the summit of a mountain. Choose wall decor with your outdoor happy place in mind. Then, accentuate that theme around the room with seashells, pinecones, wood carvings, glass floats, rocks and a snuggly theme-printed blanket. Plants Plants obviously grow in nature, therefore making them the most obvious way to bring the outdoor world inside and a touch of green to your day. Depending on the size of your work space, you could have a single plant or an entire wall of them. For a desk in a cubicle, think about plants that will thrive without direct sunlight. If you are blessed with a window to the outdoors, take advantage of the filtered or focused light. Add plants to bookcases and file cabinets to surround yourself in greenery. Many plants are forgiving enough to survive less-than-ideal growing conditions. Put a spider plant up high so it can drape down the sides. For your desk, incorporate succulents, cactus or bamboo. Even fresh flowers, rotated out frequently, will bring a smile when you enter your space. Remember to stay away from wildflowers and strong scents if you share a space with others who might be allergic. Related: 10 easy eco-friendly home decor tips Open the window In addition to artificial scents, bring in the real thing every chance you get. Open the windows regularly and swing open the door— if you have one. Combine sounds and smells with natural wood or seashell wind chimes. Set fragrant flowers near the window to encourage the pleasant scent to waft through the space. Scents In addition to the visual aspect of your office design, remember to feed the other senses too. Part of the joy of nature is the scents that surround you while you paddleboard or meditate. The good news is that you can bring those scents into the workplace to bring a little calm to your day. Candles or incense (again consider the allergies of others) can remind you of that Caribbean vacation or afternoon in the salty beach air. Musky or woodsy aromas take you right to the forest. If candles are too strong of a scent, try bringing in natural woods. Think of the smell when you open a cedar chest or lay fresh bark dust and you’ll see what we mean here— maybe some driftwood from a recent trip or pinecones you’ve collected at some point. Water feature Another way to feed the need for the outdoor sensory experience is through the sounds of moving water. Even a small desktop fountain can help muffle the sounds from the neighboring cubicle and help maintain focus. For a larger space, you can bring in a freestanding wall water feature or other fountain. With so many varieties available you can create the sound you want through material selection and size. The further the water falls, the louder the sound and remember that wood mutes the sound more than rock and other materials. Other natural elements If you have the opportunity to design your space from the ground up, consider each material carefully. For example, go with a natural wood flooring option in either a hardwood or laminate material. Select soft, natural window coverings that allow light into the room. Even desk accessories can bring a natural element when you select bamboo instead of metal or plastic. Just because you are saddled up to a desk doesn’t mean you have to lock the outdoors out. Instead, envision where you want to be and surround yourself with those green elements. Remember to consider all of the senses when you brainstorm ideas and make your workspace a retreat that inspires. Images via Shutterstock

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8 ways to make your bathroom more eco-friendly

March 22, 2019 by  
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An outdated bathroom isn’t just an eyesore; it can also be quite harmful to the environment, because old toilets and faucets waste a ton of water, most of the building materials aren’t sustainable and many water heaters use way more energy than needed. In recent years, there have been significant changes in the world of bathrooms, with many eco-friendly fixtures, decor and accessories hitting the market. If it is time for a bathroom remodel in your home, take the opportunity to go green with some of these eco-friendly bathroom ideas. Interior design Recycled tile Most bathrooms feature some kind of tile, and now you can easily find options made from recycled content available in just about every aesthetic you can think of. Related: How to retile your bathroom You can find bathroom tile made from bamboo, cork or eco-friendly concrete. Newer options on the market include tiles made from reclaimed wood and vegetable ivory. Cabinets and vanity sinks Most traditional cabinets and vanity sinks use plywood, particle board, pressed wood and medium density fiberboard (MDF). But the glue used in those materials contains formaldehyde. Now, there are eco-friendly cabinets and vanity options  made from solid wood or recycled and reclaimed materials that are much safer. Think of cabinets made from bamboo or recycled concrete and countertops made from recycled glass or paper. Steel bathtubs Forget fiberglass and acrylic, and instead, consider a steel bathtub. The German company KALDEWEI offers bathtubs made from a steel enamel that come with a 30-year guarantee. Instead of ending up in a landfill at the end of its lifespan, these bathtubs — as well as their steel bathroom fittings — can be completely recycled. Fixtures Low-flow showerheads, toilets and faucets It should come as no surprise that every time you flush the toilet, you are wasting a significant amount of water . But there have been major advancements in recent years with low-flow and dual-flush toilets that have reduced water usage. Just a few years ago, toilets used more than three gallons of water with each flush. Now, high-efficiency toilets use less than a gallon. Considering how often your family flushes the toilet each day, this new technology can save thousands of gallons of water every year. Not only is this good for the environment, but it also helps lower those utility bills. The same goes for faucets and showerheads. The flow rates have dropped significantly over the years, so upgrading can result in less water usage, increased energy efficiency and even more savings on your utility bills. A fantastic resource for finding water-efficient appliances is the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program website. It offers a list of approved appliances that meet the EPA criteria, and it rates everything from showerheads to bathroom accessories. If you want to reduce your water usage without replacing your showerhead and faucet, you can add an aerator that will reduce the water flow rate without affecting water pressure. Energy-efficient water heater The U.S. Energy Information Administration says that nearly one-fifth of your home energy use is for heating water. An eco-friendly bathroom remodel should include the installation of an energy-efficient water heater. When shopping for water heaters, look for the EPA’s Energy Star label, so you know the product has been certified energy-efficient. Related: Adjusting a tankless water heater Eco-friendly options include a heat pump water heater, which uses heat from the air to heat the refrigerant that heats your water; a tankless water heater, which will heat the water as you use it; a condensing storage water heater, which will use less energy to create hot water; or a solar water heater, which will slash your energy costs. Accessories Oiled teak shower mat Cloth bath mats can invite mold and mildew, so opt for a mat made from teak wood that resists harmful bacteria while giving your bathroom a modern look. Oiled teak shower mats are slip resistant, naturally warm and easy to clean. Organic cotton towels and washcloths Harmful chemicals are often used when making traditional cotton bathroom linens, so when you are updating your bathroom, don’t forget to upgrade your towels and washcloths with organic cotton towels that don’t use pesticides. Related: How to save the environment one hair wash at a time Bamboo toothbrushes Get rid of those plastic toothbrushes and replace them with biodegradable bamboo. Mable offers a chic, self-standing bamboo brush at an affordable price. When you buy one, the company gives one to a child in need. Toothbrushes are just the beginning when it comes to bamboo bathroom accessories. You can find things like bathtub trays, soap dispensers and toothbrush holders that are made from this all-natural, sustainable material. It’s easy to go green when you remodel your bathroom. Even though some of these options may seem to be a bit pricey, remember that many of them will save you a ton of cash in the long run because of reduced energy bills. Try some of these eco-friendly bathroom ideas when you are turning your outdated bathroom into a sustainable home spa. Image via La Belle Galerie and Shutterstock

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Proposed $1 billion underwater pipeline will send fracked gas to NYC

March 20, 2019 by  
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There is a war brewing over the development of a new underwater pipeline in New York City. The proposed project would send fracked gas to the city, a move environmentalists claim would greatly contribute to global warming . An Oklahoma company called Williams has proposed an ambitious plan to construct a 23-mile pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York . The project, which will cost around $1 billion, will connect with an existing pipeline underneath New Jersey, carrying gas all the way to Queens. Related: UN predicts dire future for planet unless people change their ways NOW Supporters of the plan say it will help New Yorkers use gas instead of oil for energy, but several environmental groups argue that the project is a step backwards in the battle against carbon emissions. In fact, environmentalists are urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto the pipeline development altogether. “This pipeline would incentivize reliance on gas, which is way more carbon-intensive than renewables,” Robert Wood, who works with the environmental group, 350Brooklyn, explained. “It would be a nightmare happening, not in a rural area, but right here in New York City.” Advocacy groups believe New York City is already on the right path in becoming more energy efficient as it has already gotten rid of the most carbon-heavy oils used for heating. Environmentalists argue that New York City will witness a decrease in energy use as a result of current efforts to improve efficiency standards. Over the past decade, the city has removed old boilers, invested in heat pumps, and increased energy efficiency in buildings. Opponents of the billion-dollar pipeline also worry that the project could harm marine life in New York City’s harbor, including the humpback whale, which have started to resurface in the area. Environmentalists are concerned that the construction will introduce toxins to the water that will be detrimental to the habitat. Fortunately, Cuomo has a history of supporting eco-friendly initiatives in New York. Since becoming the governor, Cuomo has blocked fracking in the state and vowed to decrease carbon emissions by 80 percent over the next three decades. It is unclear where Cuomo stands on the new underwater pipeline, but environmentalists are hopeful he will side with them. Via The Guardian Image via Shutterstock 

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Proposed $1 billion underwater pipeline will send fracked gas to NYC

UN predicts dire future for planet unless people change their ways NOW

March 18, 2019 by  
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The United Nations’ newest Global Environmental Outlook reinforces the worries of everyone concerned about the environment and our planet’s future. The 708-page report, released last week, examines human-inflicted woes on air, land and water. Scientists urge humans to immediately change their ways before we render Earth inhabitable. To those who have been paying attention to the planet’s decline, this report will not be news. But seeing all this human-wrought destruction in one enormous document makes for a grim, and even, shocking read. A few lowlights: Most land habitats have decreased in productivity for growing food and other vegetation; urban development and agriculture have claimed 40 percent of wetlands since 1970; water quality continues to worsen, due in part to chemical pollution; biodiversity is tanking, with many land, marine and freshwater species at risk for extinction; a third of the world’s people lack safe sanitation. Related: Air pollution is killing Europeans at an alarming rate With human population expected to hit 10 billion by 2050, these problems will only increase. “The science is clear,” Joyce Msuya, acting executive director of U.N. Environment, said in a briefing. “The health and prosperity of humanity is directly tied with the state of our environment .” If we don’t change our ways soon, she said, the problem won’t be reversible. Changes in consumption, energy creation and waste disposal are crucial. Fortunately, the new UN report also contains solutions. For example, changing agricultural practices and redistributing food could help stem land degradation and biodiversity loss. More efficiently using and storing water, and investing in desalination, could improve the water scarcity situation. But it will take more than well-meaning individuals to reverse Earth’s fast track toward destruction. Politicians and policy makers around the world will need to join together to devise and enforce strategies to stabilize and improve water , air and land quality before it’s too late. Via National Geographic Image via 

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Green school in Bali shows students how to live sustainably

March 7, 2019 by  
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The goals of the Green School are anything but small, yet they are simple: take care of the local community and teach children to be stewards of our planet and leaders of sustainability in the future. The baby of John and Cynthia Hardy, the Green School was inspired after the retired couple viewed the Al Gore film The Inconvenient Truth . With four children of their own, the couple decided to make a difference and, in 2006, broke ground on a new type of school — an educational campus focused on using a holistic teaching approach and a natural canvas as classrooms. Related: Modscape installs a prefab school building that stays comfortable year-round The Green School is located on 20 acres in south central Bali, where the Hardys lived and ran a jewelry store for decades. Using local architects and materials, mainly bamboo , they spent two years constructing an open-air campus, which now houses several hundred students and teachers. In fact, the local area is becoming a community with families building green homes nearby, so their children can walk to school. Those that don’t walk board a bio-bus, fueled by oils collected at the community level and processed into biofuel locally. In addition to eliminating a reliance on fossil fuels and reducing the carbon footprint, the process of making biofuel produces glycerine as a natural by-product that is then turned into soaps to use on campus. This earth-friendly alternative to traditional palm oil-based soaps reduces the chemicals that would otherwise end up in the water system. Electricity to the school comes from solar panels and a water vortex system, which diverts water from the river that flows through campus and turns it into energy. Waste is an issue at any school, and the designers of the Green School have taken special consideration to create a closed circuit. The composting toilets produce waste that can be amended back into the adjacent soil, feeding the bamboo that grows rampant on the campus. Local Balinese woman use wood-fired stoves instead of gas and traditional cooking techniques to minimize resource usage. Food waste from feeding over 400 people each day is either fed to the school’s pigs or added to the on-site composting pile. Speaking of food, most of the meals provided are grown on campus, giving the students a full understanding of how to plant, nurture, maintain and cook vegetables and rice. The students also help raise the pigs, cows and even the buffalo that roam the campus, enclosed only by organic , natural fencing made from branches and leaves. Mostly tapioca root, the students recognize the fencing is edible for grazing animals as well as themselves. The eco-friendly design continues all the way down to where the footprints go by eliminating any pavement and the petroleum-based chemicals that come with it. Instead, all pathways are paved with hand-laid volcanic rocks. Drinking water comes from a nearby well after traveling through a reverse osmosis system to filter it. Water is used other ways on campus, too, with an aquaponics system that combines aquaculture (raising fish) with hydroponics (raising crops with little to no soil). These systems work in conjunction with each other, so the fish waste feeds the plants while the plants provide much-needed water filtration for the fish. While the goal to be sustainable and local may seem simplistic, the objective of teaching the next generation how to work with students from 25 other countries to solve problems on campus and eventually in the world means the potential for a better future for the entire planet — and that’s no small feat. + Green School Images via Green School Bali

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Water pollution inspires the Lake Erie Bill of Rights to improve water quality

March 5, 2019 by  
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Residents of Toledo are fighting back against water pollution in Lake Erie. Residents in the Ohio town voted on a Lake Erie Bill of Rights to help protect the lake from human waste, a move that has been criticized by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF). The piece of legislation, dubbed LEBOR, basically gives the lake the same rights as humans. If the measure stands up in court, residents will be able to sue individuals and businesses on behalf of the lake. Citizens in Toledo hope this will cut down on water pollution by empowering people to sue anyone who harms the waters of Lake Erie via pollution . Related: 7 ways to conserve water and reduce your water footprint The measure was passed by an overwhelming majority of residents in Lucas County. Over 61 percent of individuals voted in favor of the new law, while only 38 percent voted against it. Poll numbers indicate that only about 9 percent of eligible voters in the county showed up for the special election . While the measure may help improve the water quality in Lake Erie, the OFBF openly criticized the proposal. The organization’s director, Joe Cornely, released a statement after the vote and argued that residents are going to be the ones who end up fitting the bill for the upcoming legal battles. “We were concerned before and remain concerned that farmers , taxpayers and Ohio businesses are now going to spend a lot of time and money fighting legal that eventually are likely to be thrown out of court,” Cornely shared. The bill of rights measure was originally introduced by activists in 2018, but organizers failed to get it on the ballot. The OFBF claims that outside forces are behind the measure and warn that it opens up too many opportunities for lawsuits, especially against farmers in the area. LEBOR is the first bill of its kind to be passed in the United States. Shortly after the measured was voted in, conservationists praised Toledo citizens for sticking up for the environment and fighting water pollution at one of the state’s most iconic sites. Via Ohio’s Country Journal and Vox Image via NOAA and Counselman Collection

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