Farming insects too much too fast could create an environmental disaster

January 21, 2019 by  
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The potential of insects as an alternative source of protein is promising. But this week, Swedish scientists warned that more research is needed on the environmental impact of mass rearing insects before large-scale production begins if we want to avoid a potential environmental disaster. Writing in the Trends in Ecology & Evolution journal, the researchers explained that there is currently an “overwhelming lack of knowledge” about insects, especially basic things like what they need for housing and food, how to manage their waste and which are the most suitable species for mass rearing. Related: Modular Cricket Shelter grows edible insects in Brooklyn The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that more than 1,900 species of insects are edible, but the researchers believe that we first need to get answers to those basic questions, so we don’t “risk creating an industry that replaces one environmental problem with another.” Both nutritionists and scientists have advocated insects as being a sustainable and cheap source of protein to feed our constantly growing population. They also have benefits like being high in vitamins, fiber and minerals. Insects produce fewer greenhouse gases than pigs or cattle, and they require a lot less land and water. Businesses have already started to enter the world of edible insects, producing things like sweet potato soup made with bugs, burgers made of buffalo worms and DIY insect farms. But this might be too much too fast, according to Asa Berggren, a conservation biologist at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and the paper’s co-author. “How do you produce the feed they eat, where do you produce it, what do you use? There are so many questions,” Berggren said. “Are we going to use fossil fuels for heating and cooling the facilities (where insects are grown)? What about transportation?” She went on to say that one of the biggest threats to both natural and production systems is invasive species . There could be a big problem if insects are accidentally released in a country where they are imported. Other concerns include whether or not farmed insects that get sick will transmit diseases to consumers, and there is also a question of animal welfare . Berggren admitted that there could be a lot of insects that are good for us to eat, but further research is important. Via Reuters Image via Primal Future ( 1 , 2 )

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Farming insects too much too fast could create an environmental disaster

An itty-bitty tiny home on wheels is pretty in pink

January 21, 2019 by  
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Designed by architect Joshua Woodsman of Pin-Up Houses , this bright pink tiny home is one of the most vibrant we’ve ever seen. Adding to its whimsical exterior, Magenta is a prefabricated tiny home on wheels that has a living space of just 66 square feet. However, within that tiny space are plenty of creature comforts that make it a fabulous home for living life on the road. According to the team from Pin-Up Houses, the vibrant Magenta is “a manifesto of temporary independent housing, against debt and mortgages.” Built on a flat trailer, the tiny home was designed for people who want to live on the road with a transportable but comfortable home. Accordingly, Magenta was built with extremely lightweight materials, waterproof plywood and spruce beams. Polystyrene insulation was installed on every side of the home, keeping it cozy and warm in the winter months and cool in summertime. A large window lets natural light into the living space. Related: ‘France’ is a $1,200 tiny house that snaps together in just 3 hours The interior space is compact, but the designers were able to outfit it with almost all of the basic amenities. There is a comfy sofa bed along with a small kitchenette that has a water tank, a gas cooker, a sink and plenty of secure drawers. A dining table with two chairs offers a nice place to eat and work. When nature calls, a humble chemical toilet was installed in a tiny water closet. Additionally, there is a heating stove that keeps the place nice and toasty. The home was built with a pitched roof, which gives the interior extra space for storage. Besides the custom built-in furniture , such as pull-out drawers under the sofa, there are multiple stretched nets hung on the walls for stashing away personal items. There is also a larger net that spans the length of the ceiling, adding a ton of space for storing sporting equipment, clothing, books and more. + Pin-Up Houses Images via Pin-Up Houses

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An itty-bitty tiny home on wheels is pretty in pink

Louisiana wants to divert the Mississippi River to restore its coast

May 15, 2018 by  
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Of all the states dealing with global warming, Louisiana may have been hit the hardest. According to NPR , Louisiana has lost a staggering amount of coastline – more than 2,000 square miles – over the past 100 years. State officials have attempted various solutions, including levees, barrier islands, and artificial marshes, and now they want to get the Mississippi River involved to build new land. Over time, Louisiana’s levees have impeded the Mississippi from flooding land and providing necessary water and sediments to marshes, making it harder for the marshes to survive. To help with this problem, Louisiana officials hope to create sediment diversions. This would entail removing parts of the levee and directing the Mississippi to marshes in channels, with the goal of allowing silt and sand to pile up and, ultimately, build land. The state has set aside $1.3 billion for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion , the first of multiple planned diversions, and is applying for permits for the project. Related: ‘Provocative’ RIG eco-lodge designed to conserve Louisiana’s vanishing marshes Will it work? NPR cited an April 2018 Tulane University -led study scrutinizing whether or not the Mississippi River can build land fast enough. The study found that, around 1,000 years ago, the Mississippi Delta grew about two to three square miles a year. But Louisiana’s land loss has averaged 15 to 20 square miles a year during the last 100 years. Tulane’s press release on the study said, “Although river diversions that bring land building sediment to shrinking coastlands are the best solution to sustaining portions of the Mississippi Delta…the rate of land building will likely be dwarfed by the rate of wetland loss.” A net loss of land will happen, even if restoration projects do go through. But Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority engineer manager Rudy Simoneaux told NPR that it’s urgent they divert the Mississippi, saying, “The longer we wait to start doing projects, it will become more difficult to catch up.” Via NPR Images via Depositphotos (1)

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EU vote clears the way for GM crops in Europe

January 15, 2015 by  
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The European Union just opened the door for genetically modified crops in Europe after the Member Elected Parliament voted to allow countries to decide whether or not to grow them . If the crop has already been approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), then member states can decide to grow them or not. Read the rest of EU vote clears the way for GM crops in Europe Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: EU ban on GMO’s , european union gmo , gmo crops European Union , gmo crops UK , gmo fight , gmo’s in UK , greenpeace and gmo’s , UK gmo’s

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EU vote clears the way for GM crops in Europe

Ireland’s first shipping container home was built in just three days

January 15, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Ireland’s first shipping container home was built in just three days Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Cargotecture , Ceardean Architects , container home , IMMA , Ireland , Irish architecture , Ripple Container Homes Project , shipping container housing , Solar Power , solar powered home

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Ireland’s first shipping container home was built in just three days

Scientists may have discovered life on Mars

December 17, 2014 by  
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Almost everyone has heard that there was once water on Mars, but that doesn’t answer the question of whether or not there is or was life there . But new information from NASA’s Curiosity rover might help us get one step closer to an answer. Scientists found evidence of methane spikes on the red planet’s surface, which may have come from bacteria-like organisms. If so, it could be the first time humans have ever detected alien life. Read the rest of Scientists may have discovered life on Mars Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: biology mars , curiosity rover , life on mars , mars , mars curiosity , methane life , methane mars , methane on mars , nasa , NASA Curiosity , NASA Mars , nasa missions , organic matter mars , water on mars

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Scientists may have discovered life on Mars

Glumac’s pioneering net-zero Shanghai office paves the way to greener buildings in China

December 17, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Glumac’s pioneering net-zero Shanghai office paves the way to greener buildings in China Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “leed” , “sustainable architecture” , china , Gensler , GIGA , Glumac , Glumac Shanghai , lbc , lbc full petal , LED , LEED v4 Platinum , Living Building Challenge , living building challenge full petal , net zero carbon , net zero-water , net-zero energy , shanghai , shimizu , sustainable design , sustainable interior , sustainable shanghai

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Glumac’s pioneering net-zero Shanghai office paves the way to greener buildings in China

Cass & Co.’s Copper-Infused Shapewear Claims To Reverse the Effects of Aging

May 6, 2012 by  
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Whether or not you believe that Cass & Co. ‘s new copper-infused shapewear has anti-aging properties probably depends at least in part on how much you want it to be true. Derived from Cupron, a patented form of copper oxide that supposedly grants polymers antimicrobial and antiviral properties, the fabric contains 66% raw copper, and the company claims that it’s works like a firming cream but in fabric form. Does Cass & Co.’s shapewear actually have restorative power, or is it just a bunch of pseudoscientific gobbledegook? Head over to Ecouterre and vote in our poll. READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: anti-aging fashion , Cass & Co. , Cass and Company , compression garment , copper-infused shapewear , Cupron shapewear , Gadi Borkow , repair collection , shapewear

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Cass & Co.’s Copper-Infused Shapewear Claims To Reverse the Effects of Aging

Xcel Energy Threatens to Cut Solar Rebates & Efficiency Programs for Boulder Customers

October 20, 2011 by  
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Emerson 12 via flickr / CC BY 1.0 A big question in Boulder right now is whether or not voters will grant the city permission to establish a municipal utility and formally break away from Xcel Energy , which has supplied the city with power for decades. It has also provided rebate incentive programs for solar power and energy efficiency. … Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Xcel Energy Threatens to Cut Solar Rebates & Efficiency Programs for Boulder Customers

Evaluating Energy Sources by Human Deaths

July 13, 2011 by  
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In all the furor during the Fukushima Reactor Complex crisis , there has been a lot of discussion about whether or not nuclear power is a good option and, more generally, what kinds of power should be used to meet increasing demand. An unusual piece that was making the rounds on this topic was an article about the number of deaths per terawatt-hour (TWh) for different kinds of power production. It’s an interesting metric to use to weigh different methods of generating power. Nuclear power, interestingly, is at the bottom of the list, with only 0.04 deaths per TWh, while coal tops the list with a world average of 161 deaths per TWh. The numbers for this were calculated looking at not only at direct impacts from power station accidents, but also indirect effects, such as coal miners’ deaths and deaths due to air pollution, as well. The list gets difficult, though, when it starts to ascribe deaths in supporting industries to the total. Steel and concrete are needed to construct wind turbines, and the calculations extend to include industrial deaths in the mining and manufacture of those components, as well as transportation deaths. While it’s not unreasonable to ascribe those fractions to the overall calculation, it does make it start to get a bit tenuous. Rather than take any of these numbers as hard and fast conclusions (any two reasonable people could have long arguments over any number of assumptions in these statistics), the general trends and relative scale of each could instead be given consideration in weighing options. Although nuclear power may have a low associated death rate, the economic cost of the energy produced this way is quite high, and there is a great deal of public opposition and NIMBY reaction to new nuclear power plants. A lot of the investment in nuclear power goes to safety and security, rather than to producing power. The money spent on backups and redundant safety systems for a nuclear plant isn’t increasing power efficiency. A nuclear plant might cost as much as $8,000 (or more) per kW of electrical generating capacity (though this number is speculative, since no new nuclear plants have been built for many years), while a wind turbine might cost $1,200 to $2,600 per kW. A wind turbine won’t necessarily generate power as steadily as a reactor, but it’s a lot less expensive to build. Operating costs are another big, but rarely discussed element in favor of many renewable power systems. Actively operated electrical generating facilities need many full-time employees operating the plant’s various systems. However, solar and wind power facilities do not typically need the same active management. While the construction and installation costs may be higher, the operating costs might be far lower. Construction costs, environmental costs, operating costs, financing and regulatory costs all enter into the power generation equation. All of these factors need to be taken into account to make more reasonable decisions about power generation. link: Economics_of_new_nuclear_power_plants (Wikipedia) images: CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported by KEI at ja.wikipedia ; Wikimedia Commons

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