The National Park System just got its first Dark Sky Sanctuary

April 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

While there are numerous Dark Sky-certified National Parks across the US, the stunning Rainbow Bridge National Monument just received the world’s fourth official Dark Sky Sanctuary designation – the first ever for a National Park System site. Rainbow Bridge already boasted one of the darkest skies on Earth, but with its new status, you can continue to see Rainbow Bridge’s night sky as it’s meant to be seen, free from the light pollution that has become a mainstay of modern life. The International Dark Sky Association is a non-profit organization working to stop light pollution and mitigate its harmful effects on our health. The organization also helps identify places where you can see the night sky with reduced or no light pollution. On April 16, the association awarded its “sanctuary” designation to Utah’s Rainbow Bridge National Monument, ushering it into an exclusive list of the most light pollution-free places in the world. Related: Switching to outdoor LEDs has made light pollution worse — without saving energy Rainbow Bridge provides a particularly stunning natural environment. Dark Sky designated parks, reserves and sanctuaries must be remote enough that they aren’t impacted by light pollution nearby, and they must also adhere to strict lighting standards, such as shielding fixtures so light doesn’t escape upward and using warmer bulbs. But even amidst all the Dark Sky designations, sanctuaries are exceptional, with their status meant to increase awareness of the sites in order to preserve them for future generations. “We’re thrilled to be the first National Park Service unit to receive this specific designation, as this will only fuel our night sky preservation efforts,” Rainbow Bridge National Monument superintendent William Shott said. If you want to visit this special place, you will need to have a boat to cross Lake Powell in Southern Utah, or get permission from the Navajo Nation to cross the tribe’s land. Via Earther Images via NPS and Unsplash

Read more from the original source: 
The National Park System just got its first Dark Sky Sanctuary

Maryland just banned the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores

April 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Maryland just became the second state in America to ban pet stores from selling puppies and kittens. Animal rights advocates say the move will help cut demand for animals from puppy mills . The bill, HB 1662 , also encourages pet stores to work with rescue groups and animal shelters to promote the adoption of homeless animals, according to The Humane Society . Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan signed the legislation into law with bipartisan support. The state already has regulations in place requiring stores to reveal breeder information, and stores cannot use breeders that the United States Department of Agriculture has cited in the last two years. But delegate Benjamin Kramer, a Democrat who sponsored the legislation, told The Washington Post the regulations aren’t enough to protect animals. Related: California bans puppy mills and requires all pet stores to sell rescue animals Pet store owners fought against the law, hoping Hogan would veto it. Just Puppies co-owner Jeanea Thomson said her store doesn’t want animals from puppy mills, and that she and her husband visit their breeders, most in Iowa and Missouri, to vouch for conditions. But Kramer said the farms that store owners describe are abominations, telling The Washington Post, “There is not a single one that is this righteous, beautiful, loving, caring facility where there is room for puppies to roam and for breeding dogs to play.” Humane Society Maryland state director Emily Hovermale described the ban as a lifesaving measure that would close the state’s pet store market to puppy mills. She said, “Maryland has set an important precedent with this rejection of animal abuse that other states will surely follow.” Emily McCobb, a professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, said a ban could result in a dog shortage, and people might not be sure where to go to get a pet. “There’s a lot of messaging around ‘adopt, don’t shop,’” she said. “But we haven’t done a good job of messaging about how to find responsible breeders.” The law will fully go into effect in 2020. It follows a bill passed in California last year that requires all pet stores to sell rescue animals. + The Humane Society Via The Washington Post Images via Depositphotos and Lydia Torrey on Unsplash

Here is the original post:
Maryland just banned the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores

Lyft is making all their rides carbon neutral

April 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

If you use ride-sharing services but still worry about their impact on the environment, Lyft has got you covered. The company has just announced that it will invest millions of dollars to offset its carbon emissions. Co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green said in a blog post that the ridesharing company will become “one of the world’s largest voluntary purchasers of carbon offsets” as they make all their trips carbon neutral from now on. According to Zimmer and Green, while all cars will be cleanly powered at some point in the future, climate change isn’t waiting, so they’re taking action. Lyft is partnering with 3Degrees to offset carbon emissions from their rides around the world. Zimmer and Green said, “The stark reality is that transportation is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. As a growing part of the transportation ecosystem, we are holding ourselves accountable to being part of the solution.” Related: VW unveils fully electric six-seater specifically for ridesharing Lyft rides will be carbon neutral due to “the direct funding of emission mitigation efforts, including the reduction of emissions in the automotive manufacturing process, renewable energy programs, forestry projects, and the capture of emissions from landfills.” These projects will be based in the United States. 3Degrees will oversee “the independent verification of all projects according to rigorous third-party standards” and ensure the company is “only supporting emission reductions that are new and would not have happened but for Lyft’s investment.” The company offered nearly 50 million rides last month. Green and Zimmer said they feel responsible for Lyft’s impact on the Earth, and they joined the We Are Still In movement spearheaded by former New York City mayor and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg to show support for the Paris Agreement . Lyft expects to offset more than one million metric tons of carbon in the first year — the equivalent of taking hundreds of thousands of vehicles off the streets or planting tens of millions of trees . The co-founders said this isn’t their full solution to the issue of climate change, but it is one step forward. + All Lyft Rides Are Now Carbon Neutral Images via Lyft

Originally posted here: 
Lyft is making all their rides carbon neutral

Hyperloop TT plans to build working line in the UAE next year

April 18, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

It’s been a busy week for Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT): they began building a test track in France , and now they’ve just announced the signing of an agreement with Aldar Properties , a Abu Dhabi real estate developer, for what HyperloopTT described as “the first commercial Hyperloop system in the UAE .” Hyperloop plans to start construction next year, with the first section open by 2020. ? Aldar Properties and HyperloopTT signed a memorandum of understanding for a commercial Hyperloop system, including a Hyperloop Visitor Center and HyperloopTT’s XO Square Innovation Center. This agreement will allow the California-based company to start building an around six-mile Hyperloop system. The site is near the border between Abu Dhabi and Dubai , near the Al Maktoum International Airport and the location for Expo 2020 . In fact, HyperloopTT chairman Bibop Gresta said with regulatory support, they aim to have the first Hyperloop section operational in time for the expo. Related: HyperloopTT is building the world’s third Hyperloop test track in France Aldar Properties CEO Talal Al Dhiyebi said in the statement, “We believe that Hyperloop technology can have a major positive impact on the lives of all those living within our communities, and we look forward to this possibility becoming a reality.” HyperloopTT said they would build the Hyperloop system in several phases, and although this agreement covers a six-mile system, they ultimately aim to construct a commercial network throughout the UAE. They said they’ve been working in the country since 2016, and have finished a comprehensive feasibility study, working with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Transportation. HyperloopTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn said, “With this historic agreement in Abu Dhabi, we take a big step towards the world’s first commercial system.” This isn’t the first time cities in the United Arab Emirates have shown an interest in Hyperloop technology; in 2016, Hyperloop One (now Virgin Hyperloop One ) signed an agreement with Dubai’s Roads and Transit Authority to evaluate a Hyperloop system in the area. Earlier this year, Virgin Hyperloop One and Dubai’s Roads and Transit Authority unveiled a commuter pod prototype . + Hyperloop Transportation Technologies + Aldar Properties Images via Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

Continued here:
Hyperloop TT plans to build working line in the UAE next year

Architects convert old Dutch church into a gorgeous library

April 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Dutch firm Molenaar & Bol & van Dillen Architects breathed new life into a 19th-century church by turning the space into a vibrant library and community center. The renovation focused on retaining the original layout of the church, which dates back to 1884. The result is a beautiful, wide-open interior converted into a breathtaking library with sliding bookshelves. The multi-functional space also includes exhibition halls, meeting spaces, and a restaurant. The architects kept the church’s original structural layout intact and lined the massive interior with thousands of books. The church’s original windows work in tandem with the added lighting to create a bright, well-lit space. Bookworms can easily access the library’s inventory, which is kept on sliding bookshelves . The shelves, installed on a rail system, can be moved when more space is needed for large event or to create private areas for smaller conferences or meetings. Related: Gorgeous 15th-Century Church Renovated as a Modern Bookstore in The Netherlands To add more functional space to the interior, the architects created an impressive 5,380 square-foot mezzanine level lined with several study areas and meeting rooms. This curvaceous feature continues through to church ‘s exterior, where it forms the roof of four pavilions connected to the facade. A restaurant was also installed in the garden pavilion on the south side of the building. + Molenaar & Bol & Van Dillen Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Stijn Poelstra

Read more from the original source:
Architects convert old Dutch church into a gorgeous library

95% of the world’s population breathes unsafe air

April 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Are you breathing clean air ? A new air pollution study suggests you might not be. It found that almost 95 percent of people in the world live in areas with higher fine particle levels than the World Health Organization ‘s air quality guidelines. According to The Guardian , poor communities are taking the brunt of the burden. The Health Effects Institute recently published the State of Global Air/2018 report. They drew upon satellite data and improved monitoring to discover that the majority of us could be breathing unhealthy air. According to the report , “An estimated 95 percent of people live in areas where ambient (outdoor) fine particulate matter concentrations (small dust or soot particles in the air) exceed the World Health Organization’s Air Quality Guideline of 10 µg/m3. Almost 60 percent live in areas where fine particulate matter exceeds even the least stringent WHO interim air quality target of 35 µg/m3.” Related: New map reveals world’s most toxic countries The 2018 report also delves into household air pollution. More than one third of the world’s population is exposed to polluted air from the burning of solid fuels for heating or cooking indoors. Reportedly, “For them, fine particulate matter levels in the home can exceed the air quality guidelines by as much as 20 times.” Air pollution has been connected to sickness and early death — just last year, exposure to polluted air played a role in over six million deaths around the world, according to experts. Half of the deaths were in India and China . And the gap between the most and least polluted countries is increasing: it’s now 11-fold compared to six-fold in 1990, Health Effects Institute vice president Bob O’Keefe told The Guardian. But, he said even though countries may have a ways to go on cleaning the air, there are reasons for hope — such as India’s focus on electrification. O’Keefe said China “seems to be now moving aggressively,” as they put stronger controls in place and work to cut coal . You can explore the data from the State of Global Air/2018 on the report’s website . + State of Global Air/2018 Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos (1 , 2 )

Read the rest here: 
95% of the world’s population breathes unsafe air

How cities can fight global water insecurity

April 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Utilities can implement a variety of demand management strategies to water the world’s concrete jungles.

Read the rest here:
How cities can fight global water insecurity

Exit Interview: Paul Murray, Shaw Industries

April 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Green

A 30-year veteran of sustainability covers the ground on what it takes to be a leader.

Go here to read the rest:
Exit Interview: Paul Murray, Shaw Industries

The 6 most pressing environmental issuesand what you can do to help solve them

April 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

More than four decades after the first Earth Day , there are still many environmental concerns for communities around the world to address; perhaps none so pressing as man-made climate change . But progress is being made, and it could be argued that awareness about environmental issues is at an all-time high. For this coming  Earth Day we’re shining a light on the most pressing environmental concerns that affect us al, and showing what you can do to help restore ecological balance to this amazing place we call home. Image via Shutterstock CLIMATE CHANGE While 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate change  is occurring and greenhouse gas emissions are the main cause, political will has not been strong enough so far to initiate a massive policy shift away from fossil fuels and toward sustainable forms of energy. Perhaps more extreme weather events such as droughts , wildfires, heat waves and flooding will convince the public to put more pressure on policymakers to act urgently to curb carbon emissions and address this issue before it’s too late. Related: 14 Awe-Inspiring Aerial Photographs Capture the Beauty of the Earth What You Can Do: Your home and transportation could be major sources of greenhouse gas emissions. A certified home energy audit can help make your home more energy efficient. If you commute via biking, walking or public transportation you are doing your part to fight global warming, but if you must own a motor vehicle, consider trading in your gas guzzler for a fuel efficient hybrid or better yet—go electric . When you fly, make sure to reduce your carbon footprint from air miles traveled with carbon offsets from a respected company such as Carbonfund.org . Image via Shutterstock POLLUTION Air pollution and climate change are closely linked, as the same greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet are also creating smoggy conditions in major cities that endanger public health. If you’ve seen horrifying images of pollution-choked Chinese cities and think the smog is isolated to Beijing or Shanghai, think again. U.S. scientists are finding that Chinese pollution is intensifying storms over the Pacific Ocean and contributing to more erratic weather in the U.S. Water and soil pollution might not get the media attention that air pollution does, but they are still important public health concerns. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council , dirty water is the world’s biggest health risk. While the Clean Water Act did much to make American water safe from harmful pollutants, today there is a new threat to clean water coming from the shale gas fracking boom taking place across the country and from the EPA itself . Soil contamination is a major issue across the world. In China, nearly 20 percent of arable land has been contaminated by toxic heavy metals. Soil pollution threatens food security and poses health risks to the local population. The use of pesticides and fertilizers are also major factors in soil pollution Related: Nine Chinese Cities More Polluted Than Beijing What You Can Do: Many of the solutions to air pollution are similar to those for climate change, though it’s important to either make a concerted effort to drive less, or switch to a lower-emissions vehicle. Switching over to green energy is also important, as that will cut back on fossil fuel emissions. If you aren’t able to install solar or wind power on your property or if your utility gets its electricity from dirty energy sources, consider signing up for a renewable energy producer like Ethical Electric that connects consumers to 100 percent renewable energy sources to power their homes. Image via Shutterstock DEFORESTATION Forests are important to mitigating climate change because they serve as “carbon sinks,” meaning that they absorb CO2 that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere and worsen global warming. It is estimated that 15 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation . Cutting down trees also threatens animals and humans who rely on healthy forests to sustain themselves, and the loss of tropical rainforests is particularly concerning because around 80 percent of the world’s species reside in these areas. About 17 percent of the Amazon rainforest has been cut down in the past 50 years to make way for cattle ranching. That’s a double whammy for the climate because cattle flatulence is a major source of methane gas, which contributes more to short term climate change than carbon emissions. Related: New Web App Uses Google Maps to Track Deforestation as it Happens What You Can Do:  You can support Rainforest Alliance and similar organizations, stop using paper towels and use washable cloths instead, use cloth shopping bags (instead of paper), and look at labels to make sure you only use FSC-certified wood and paper products. You can also boycott products made by palm oil companies that contribute to deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia. Image via Shutterstock WATER SCARCITY As the population increases and climate change causes more droughts, water scarcity is becoming more of an issue. Only three percent of the world’s water is fresh water and 1.1 billion people lack access to clean, safe drinking water. As the current drought in California dramatically shows, access to water is not just an issue for developing countries but the United States as well. In fact, by the middle of this century more than a third of all counties in the lower 48 states will be at higher risk of water shortages with more than 400 of the 1,100 counties facing an extremely high risk. Related: Could Solar-powered Desalination Solve California’s Water Supply Problem? What You Can Do: Just as energy efficiency is considered an important solution to the issues of climate change and pollution, water efficiency can help us deal with water scarcity. Some ideas to be more water efficient include installing an ENERGY STAR -certified washer, using low-flow faucets, plugging up leaks, irrigating the lawn in the morning or evening when the cooler air causes less evaporation, taking shorter showers and not running sink water when brushing your teeth. Also, consider using non-toxic cleaning products and eco-friendly pesticides and herbicides that won’t contaminate groundwater. Seventh Generation uses plant-derived ingredients for their household cleaning products. Image via Shutterstock LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY Increasing human encroachment on wildlife habitats is causing a rapid loss of biodiversity that threatens food security, population health and world stability. Climate change is also a major contributor to biodiversity loss, as some species aren’t able to adapt to changing temperatures. According to the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Index , biodiversity has declined 27 percent in the last 35 years. Related: Costa Rica is Closing its Zoos and Freeing All Captive Animals What You Can Do: As consumers we can all help protect biodiversity by purchasing products that don’t harm the environment. Next time you are at the grocery store, check to see if food packaging contains any of the following eco-labels : USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified, Marine Stewardship Council or Green Seal. Other product certifications include Forest Stewardship Council Certification, Rainforest Alliance Certification and Certified Wildlife Friendly. Also, reusing , recycling and composting are easy ways to protect biodiversity. Image via Shutterstock SOIL EROSION AND DEGRADATION Unsustainable industrial agriculture practices have resulted in soil erosion and degradation that leads to less arable land, clogged and polluted waterways, increased flooding and desertification. According to the World Wildlife Fund , half of the earth’s topsoil has been lost in the last 150 years. Related: Soil Erosion Could Cause Food Crisis, Expert Warns What You Can Do: Support sustainable agriculture that puts people and the planet above profit. Support sustainable agriculture by visiting the Sustainable Table for tips on fighting for a sustainable food system. On a smaller scale, you can make a difference in your backyard by switching to non-toxic green pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. The website Eartheasy.com sells natural lawn care products such as corn gluten organic fertilizer. + Earth Day Lead image via Deposit Photos

Here is the original:
The 6 most pressing environmental issuesand what you can do to help solve them

How forest bathing can profoundly improve your health and well-being

April 4, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on How forest bathing can profoundly improve your health and well-being

Dive into the practice of forest bathing. Doing so does not clean your body, per se, but rather refreshes the spirit and benefits your mood and health. Even scientific studies back forest bathing. So what are you waiting for? Discover the new trend that can make you feel more connected to the world. What is forest bathing? Since 1982, forest bathing — called shinrin-yoku — has been practiced in Japan as a means of reconnecting with nature. The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries created forest bathing as a way to promote national health and being outdoors. While this is not an ancient practice, many see it as a cure for modern ailments. Thanks to the internet, forest bathing has dramatically increased in popularity all over the globe. For the full experience, participants walk with trained guides–experts who help people see nature in a new light. Forest bathing has many similarities to meditation — it quiets the mind and spirit, and it aims to use the five senses to experience nature as never before. The activity unfolds at a much slower pace than hiking, and the destination itself is less important than the journey. What are the benefits forest bathing? As the popularity of forest bathing increases, science has begun to provide evidence for the practice’s benefits. In a 2011 study, scientists found that people walking in nature had lower blood pressure than those in the city. Another study in Japan showed that inhaling the aroma from cedar trees boosts stress-fighting compounds in the body. Most of all, forest bathing benefits your mood. Participants have seen improvement in both focus and attention, and researchers have even linked this practice to better focus in those with ADHD . Mental conditions such as depression, stress, anxiety and anger all show improvements in people who forest bathe. Related: Tiny meditation shelters are the perfect place for hikers to connect with the forest Forest bathing also has physical benefits — during the activity, measurable differences in several bodily processes occur. The immune system increases production of white blood cells that kill disease, and blood pressure and surgical recovery time decrease as well. If these weren’t reasons enough to try forest bathing, you may be surprised by how accessible the practice is. How to forest bathe While you may forest bathe on your own, it’s better to have a certified guide take you through the process. Like therapists who take their clients through guided meditation, these professionals are trained to help people put their minds in the moment. By 2019, the world will have 450 certified forest bathing guides across 23 countries around the world, so finding one will be easier than ever. If you don’t have a forest guide near you, you can still experience forest bathing on your own. The secret is integrating all your senses. Look, listen, feel, taste and smell your surroundings as though experiencing them for the first time. Don’t carefully focus on everything. Instead, examine your surroundings and look at things that capture your attention . A soft gaze relaxes you more than the constant, close focus of modern life. Take a deep breath through your nose and notice the peculiar scent of the forest. Plants have different scents, which act as natural aromatherapy. Don’t forget the soil. Microbes in it produce a smell that may act as an antidepressant . Feel tree bark and leaves. Run dirt between your fingers. If you feel adventurous, embrace a tree trunk. The variety of textures will give your sense of touch a treat. Close your eyes, stop walking, quiet your mind and just listen. The longer you open your ears to the sounds of the forest, the more you’ll hear, boosting your experience. Sounds include more than just the chirping of birds. Listen for the wind in the trees, the scuttling of insects in the soil and the noise of larger animals deep in the woods. Though you don’t want to taste anything in a forest without a guide, you can bring natural foods and drinks with you, such as tea or fresh fruits. This will be especially effective if the fruits are native to your area. Bringing your own food allows you to taste the forest without putting yourself at risk of ingesting a toxic substance. Where to forest bathe Forest bathing locations in Japan must meet rigorous standards set by the practice’s founding organization, but elsewhere in the world, forest bathing typically can be done anywhere. Several American resorts offer forest bathing , including The Lodge at Woodloch, Blackberry Farm and Big Cedar Lodge. While many people opt for their nearest natural space, those stuck indoors can still benefit from connecting with nature. Forest bathing guides take groups outside, but for those without access to the outdoors, just connecting with nature in any way seems beneficial. A study from Texas A&M University researcher Robert Ulrich showed lowered pain, anxiety and blood pressure in those who looked at photos or paintings of nature. Though still a new practice, forest bathing has already shown great promise in treating real conditions without the side effects of medication. Next time you go outside, why not find your nearest nature trail and begin your own forest bathing experience?

The rest is here:
How forest bathing can profoundly improve your health and well-being

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 950 access attempts in the last 7 days.