Vista is Jumping on the Solar Bandwagon with Sullivan Solar Power

PR Web - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 14:16

Increased utility rates and decreased cost of solar boosted widespread adoption.

(PRWeb June 11, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11934287.htm

Categories: Environment

Storage Sheds Outlet is Now Offering Their New Range of Storage Sheds...

PR Web - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 14:16

Storage Sheds Outlet announces it is now offering a new range of storage sheds for sale at very affordable prices.

(PRWeb June 11, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/storage-sheds-outletcom/storage-sheds-sale/prweb11934386.htm

Categories: Environment

New Leaf Africa Appoints Mr. Mohammed Mansour Kaba and TAS...

PR Web - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 14:16

New Leaf Africa Appoints Mr. Mohammed Mansour Kaba and TAS International as Agent to Further Develop Carbon Credit Programs - strengthen its commitment to the preservation of Africa’s resources and...

(PRWeb June 11, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11934412.htm

Categories: Environment

Looking for a place to film your live-action Frozen fan fic? Dutch students have you covered

Grist.org - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 14:14

I once took a ceramics class and my crowning creation was a weird undersea slug creature with a massive mouth and some kind of odd, angler fishlike protuberance. My roommates used it as an ashtray.

Students and faculty at Eindhoven University of Technology are building a 131-foot-tall replica of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia Basilica out of ice, which I guess is cool. Of course, come summer, their glimmering towers will melt to naught while I still have that ashtray. Somewhere. Maybe in a box at my mom’s house?

The team plans to begin construction this December in Juuka, Finland, and build it in under a month using a long-forgotten and, thanks to climate change, sure-to-be-short-lived technology called Pykrete.

From the project’s web site:

Three times as strong
A 50-strong team will build the ice basilica by spraying thin layers of water and snow onto large, inflated molds and allowing it to freeze. They first spray a layer of snow, followed by a layer of water containing 10% sawdust. That mixture, called pykrete, is immediately absorbed by the snow and then freezes. The wood fiber content makes the material three times as strong as normal ice, and it’s also a lot tougher.

Snow cannon
Once a strong layer has formed, the builders allow the molds to empty and then remove them. Because the structure is more complex than last year’s dome, they have to monitor the quality of the building material even more closely. It’s also a challenge to pump the pykrete up and spray it at a height of 40 meters. This time the builders will take a snow cannon with them to avoid a repeat of the snow shortage experienced last year. They plan to work in shifts, round the clock, in the freezing cold, because any longer interruptions would cause the equipment to freeze up.

So maybe students won’t get to take home an ashtray or a bong, but they do get to use a snow cannon. If St. Mary’s College had had a snow cannon, I’d still be there.

The team is hoping to draw attention to the benefits of Pykrete, which has been in use since the 1940s. It is a cheap, eco-friendly material that is abundantly available in colder climes and is perfect for temporary structures and touristy ice hotels.

Of course, they are also hoping for cold weather to facilitate the project, which, in these years of living dangerously, is less and less a guarantee. Last year the University built a 98-foot ice dome, but the project was delayed as there was no frost in Juuka when construction was set to begin. It was the mildest weather in 146 years.

So good luck, kids. We’re glad you’re learning this fantastic technique. Here’s hoping you still have places to use it.

Filed under: Business & Technology, Climate & Energy
Categories: Environment

It’s time for all the press, black and white, to connect the dots on climate change

Grist.org - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 13:50

Last week in the Root, an African American news outlet that’s part of the Slate Group, Charles Ellison asked where the political conversation around climate change was among African Americans. “President Barack Obama might be the only black person on the planet who cares about climate change,” he wrote.

Tracie Powell at All Digitocracy opened the conversation wider yesterday by placing some of the blame on outlets like the Root: “[A] reason for the relative silence is that hardly any news organizations, local or otherwise, are reporting on how climate change is specifically impacting ethnic communities; ethnic news media aren’t making the connections either.”

I’ve worked at a number of outlets — black, “white,” and otherwise — so I have a few observations here.

First, I’m not sure why black people and the media that serve them are picked on as if they are uniquely ill-informed on the topic. Why not ask why women’s publications aren’t better about covering climate? One might argue that black outlets have a responsibility to report on this because of the extraordinary impacts climate change will have on black communities. But women are just as vulnerable — so much so that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change has an entire program devoted to gender. Sports are not immune to global warming, as heat- and asthma-related deaths testify. Why not ask why Sports Illustrated isn’t illustrating this?

Sure, ethnic media outlets fail to be climate news insiders when it comes to reporting the science. But the fact is, media of every stripe is bad at this. Remember this?

University of ColoradoClick to embiggen.

My second thought is that there are ethnic outlets that cover climate change — Colorlines, New American Media, and Politics 365 come to mind. But then there are outlets that cover it by other names, through reporting on pollution, health disparities, public transit needs, and the federal government cutting funds for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and green jobs initiatives.

Could these news outlets do a better job of explaining how these issues relate to climate change, and how climate change could make many of them worse? Yes. The mainstream media could use a lot of improvement on making these connections as well. Comprehensive coverage from mainstream outlets would ideally include thorough reporting on racial, gender, and class impacts.

This came up in Powell’s All Digitocracy discussion, where she interviewed climate expert Marshall Shepherd, co-author of a recent report from the American Association for the Advancement of Science summing up what we know about climate change, and who is an African American. “Why are ethnic media critical to this discussion,” Powell asked, and “can’t black and brown people get what they need to know about climate change from mainstream publications?”

Here’s Shepherd’s response:

“No, because the mainstream media is not even versed in some cases on the unique vulnerabilities that ethnic minorities have to climate change. They tend to cover the larger picture but not the unique health, energy, well-being, and economic challenges we face.

“Remember, any marginalized population will suffer more from additional stresses on them. And the irony … is that ethnic minorities will suffer more even though we have a disproportionately lower carbon footprint than others.”

Earlier in their conversation, Shepherd said that ethnic media is “slipping on this issue completely.” But the media in general is slipping when it fails to report on the unique problems concerning women and people of color. As Shepherd alluded, people of color did not create the climate change problem, and neither did women. So why should their media outlets be chiefly responsible for explaining it?

Still, asking whether black people care about climate change is the wrong starting point for any discussion. I’m not alone in thinking this. Akoto Ofori-Atta, senior editor at Essence.com, will be exploring how to improve black media publications during a John S. Knight Fellowship for journalism at Stanford University. (Sounds like a few other people are thinking of this as well, and not just because #Whitlock.) One of the problems she’s identified is that black online publications sometimes find “an attachment to starting from the assumption that certain things are just true, like blacks not caring about climate change. But of course they care about climate change, and that should be the point of entry.”

There’s nothing intrinsically “wrong” with black media that prevents it from tackling large issues like climate change. Its barriers are detectable — a lack of resources being the main one. But historically the black press has not shied away from big problems, despite being consistently underfinanced. Black media was, in fact, born from tackling one of the toughest issues to resolve: racism. The black press knew it couldn’t eliminate this problem alone, but it dented it significantly by exposing lynchings. And it further nipped away at it by reporting on the less extreme signs of racism overlooked by mainstream media. “Jim Crow” wasn’t written on all of these signs. Some were labeled as “redlining” or “states rights” or “anti-busing policies.”

The simple but true part about all of this is that explaining climate change is difficult, for all reporters. Few of us — black or white — have received training on either the scientific causes or the social impacts of it. When the IPCC drops an assessment report, or the EPA announces new regulations, trust that it’s a steep learning curve for all journalists.

The science alone is toilsome, but the bigger challenge for me is explaining this for family members, friends I grew up with, and the communities I grew up in. Because they very well could have the toughest challenges coping with climate change impacts, I feel an extra responsibility to relay this in ways they understand. This means linking it to things that touch their lives regularly: asthma, transportation, racism, hip hop, religion.

That kind of intersectionality is taxing. It’s easy enough to mess up the climate science part alone; the stakes rise when adding other issues to the pot. I am sure that I have not always gotten it right. But for the reasons stated above, I do not have the luxury of ignoring it.

And while I name climate change by name, I’m far from the only reporter of color writing about the issue. It could just be that those other reporters are calling it something different.

Filed under: Climate & Energy
Categories: Environment

Your local delivery man may soon get a flying robotic sidekick

Grist.org - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 13:35

Very soon, your town could be patrolled by a fleet of ultra-quiet electric mother-ship vans, traveling down main arteries, pausing only at optimally calculated locations, then releasing a fleet of autonomous drones to make strategic drops throughout the hinterlands.

Just imagine your horror as you step out of your front door and come eye-to-robo-cam with the hovering machine just as it unloads its package: the ridiculous Christmas sweater your Aunt Gloria in Illinois knitted you. And just in time for Summer in Phoenix.

You may have seen the video released late last year by online retailer Amazon, featuring an octocopter delivering a package from the company’s front door to that of a happy suburbanite. The notion generated the expected terror from the aluminum foil sombrero set, but the fears went further, and for good reason: Do we really trust the decision-making abilities of a company that sells this?

There were doubters among the tech geek set, too, who argued that the numbers just didn’t add up. Here’s the fantastic Marcus Wohlson at Wired:

Picture a typical UPS truck. These generally carry 120 to 150 packages per day per route, a quantity optimized across all the costs of parcel delivery, from gas to labor to truck wear-and-tear. For UPS to make money, it has to put just enough packages on the truck that correspond to a route where the destinations are grouped closely enough to make traveling the distance worth the time and energy. As depicted by Amazon, its drones would make deliveries straight from its warehouses to customers’ homes. To an individual customer, such direct service might seem like the height of efficiency. But to equal the capacity of one UPS truck, an Amazon drone would need to make 120 to 150 round trips per day between its hub and people’s homes–hardly a streamlined vision of the future.

But according to researchers at the University of Cincinnati and Amp Electric Vehicles, drone-and-delivery-truck teams could change the whole equation. Wohlson continues:

The math as described by [Amp CEO Steve] Burns changes radically if that hub has wheels. He says that the fuel cost for running a diesel-powered delivery truck comes to a little more than 50 cents per mile, a price he argues is about as low as diesel technology will allow. The energy to power a drone over the same distance, he says, totals about 2 cents. And it’s that difference that Burns believes will finally convince shippers who can’t squeeze any more savings out of trucks to bring drones along for the ride. “We just think this is really the next step in an industry that’s this refined,” he says.

Now ideally, you’d get off your couch and stroll on over to the local mercantile to make your purchase in person, assuming Amazon hasn’t already destroyed said store. If you insist on purchasing your Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer online, however, the drones, teamed up with electric delivery vans, makes this last step in the global journey of your $.63 hunk of plastic a little greener.

Whatever you do, though, don’t order drone dropped turkeys.


Filed under: Business & Technology, Living
Categories: Environment

Why this meat lover isn’t giving up on the test-tube burger

Grist.org - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 12:19

Isha Datar knows there are plenty of good reasons to stay away from meat. Like the facts that livestock production accounts for at least 14.5 percent of human-made greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, sucks up massive amounts of water, and drives a heck of a lot of deforestation, just to name a few. But, despite all of this, scores of Americans still can’t get away from another, equally verified truth: Meat is dang delicious.

Isha Datar.

So what’s a meat lover to do? Datar thinks New Harvest, a nonprofit dedicated to the development of lab-grown meat alternatives (a.k.a. test-tube meat, cultured meat, or shmeat), is working toward the answer. As the group’s executive director, Datar believes that by taking animals out of the picture, cultured meat will allow us humans to get our fleshy fix while putting less of its burden on our planet.

It has now been almost a year since shmeat made its public debut, in the form of a $325,000 hamburger. But, costs aside, there’s still a lot about the concept that sounds less than appetizing: After collecting cells from living animals, the cells are immersed in a nutrient bath, where they are left to grow into a sheet of tissue, which is then processed into a patty. Sounds more clinical than toothsome, right? Given the current romanticism of farm-to-table meals, will Americans be able to embrace a food product that’s made from stem cells? 

Datar knows that the field still has a long way to go before cultured meat becomes a viable solution. But, at the same time, she doesn’t think the challenges — taste, scalability, getting over the “ick” factor — should stop the conversation. Grist grilled her on her love of meat, her beef with factory farms, and what needs to happen if we want to see cultured steaks on our shelves.

Here’s an edited and condensed version of what she had to say:

Q. What’s New Harvest all about?

A. New Harvest’s vision for the future is one where factory farming is made obsolete because we’ve come up with a much better way of doing things. Our focus right now is on how to produce animal products — like meat, leather, and milk — with cell cultures instead of using animals. Because we raise so many animals, they’re treated inhumanely, they contribute to a lot of environmental degradation, and are very resource intensive. So we really advocate for science that takes animals out of the picture, while still allowing humans to have access to the products that we’re used to.

Q. How do you advocate for cultured meat?

A. I’m going to the animal rights conference in Los Angeles with a team of New Harvest volunteers. The New Harvest community also has researchers in Ireland who received $30,000 to produce milk in culture rather than cows, so I’m going there next week to advise and help them grow that project into something that’s viable. We’re always fundraising and applying for grants and growing our awareness, making sure the public is aware of what’s going on.

But I would say my main focus is on creating a community of scientists, and potential scientists. A lot of the people in our network are undergrads, engineering students, or master’s students who just see this as the future and really want to contribute to it. So it’s about bringing opportunities to them. Which is kind of a challenge, because at this time universities don’t recognize that tissue engineers and food scientists could be working together on something, because we’ve never seen that happen before.

Q. So it’s not like we should expect to see lab-grown steaks in our grocery stores anytime soon. What else would need to happen in order to make cultured meat commercially available?

A. One thing that needs to happen is there needs to be much more funding and encouragement for this kind of research. If it becomes more recognized and universities start to set up food engineering facilities that food scientists have access to, I think the science would move a lot faster.

In terms of scientifically what’s required, we’ll need to come up with ways to scale production so that it takes place much more inexpensively. So, the first burger that was tested, consider that like the very first computer. It was really impractical in that it was super-expensive, there was only one, and only three people got to taste it. It was very exclusive and impractical in every sense – it was not something you’ll ever see in a store.

Q. Costs aside, no one wants to chomp down into a flavorless patty. What needs to be done in order to make it taste better?

A. Flavor is another thing that needs to be addressed, but it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. It comes down to how to culture these other cell types [like fat and blood, not just muscle], and get them involved in the actual production of the hamburger.

Q. So why is it worth it to invest in this kind of research – wouldn’t it be better if people just stopped eating meat altogether?

A. Oh, I think it’s extremely important to get people off the meat diet, too. But I think there are already a lot of voices out there saying that we should do that. I don’t think we should consider this one or the other — this is actually a cooperative effort, where to get people to eat fewer animals we have to A) come up with alternatives and B) get people to consume less meat altogether.

Q. Where do you fall along the meat-eating spectrum?

A. I actually fell into all of this because I was a meat enthusiast. I grew up in Alberta, which is like the beef production area of Canada, so that was probably part of it, but I also just really liked eating it. Which is funny, because my dad’s family came from India and is vegetarian, so it’s kind of funny moving from one culture to another.

Q. But, honestly, lab-grown meat just still sounds a little gross, doesn’t it? How do you get past the ick factor? 

A. People — especially when it comes to food — can get very nostalgic, and think about tradition and nature and things like that, and say, “Oh, I don’t want to eat anything my grandma wouldn’t eat,” or whatever. But that’s not really a fair way of looking at things. Just because something happened in the past or has some tradition associated with it doesn’t mean that it’s a good way to do things.

I like New Harvest’s approach: Let’s just start from scratch. If we are going to raise a whole chicken only to cut its beak off, pluck its feathers, keep it in one place so it doesn’t even use its legs; only to make it skinless, boneless, trim off the fat; if you’re growing this whole chicken only to come up with a chicken breast — which is basically just muscle tissue — then why not start from the bottom up and start with the smallest unit of life, which is the cell, and create the tissue that way? And then you completely avoid the possibility of inhumanely raising an animal, and you avoid having all the waste that comes with that. So, to me, it seems very sensible to think about food production this way.

Filed under: Article, Food, Living
Categories: Environment

Agent Link Takes the Insurance Industry by Storm with the Release of...

PR Web - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 11:16

AgenteNews (http://www.AgenteNews.com), the leading online publication of its kind, connects people across the insurance industry with a new...

(PRWeb June 11, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11929229.htm

Categories: Environment

Drilling Fluids Market: North America Industry Analysis, Size Share,...

PR Web - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 11:16

Transparency Market Research published a new report "Drilling Fluids Market: North America Industry Analysis, Size Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2012 - 2019" to its report store. Browse...

(PRWeb June 11, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11930445.htm

Categories: Environment

Commercial Refrigeration Equipment Market (Europe) to Reach USD...

PR Web - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 11:16

Transparency Market Research published a new report "Commercial Refrigeration Equipment Market: Europe Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2013 - 2019" to its report...

(PRWeb June 11, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11930485.htm

Categories: Environment

Chic 2014 Wedding Dresses On Sale at Dressestime.com

PR Web - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 11:16

Dressestime.com, an innovative company that provides many kinds of women’s special occasion gowns, has unveiled its new designs of 2014 wedding dresses for worldwide customers.

(PRWeb June 11, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11934833.htm

Categories: Environment

Aquflow - Chemical Metering Pump Manufacturer Announces Launch of...

PR Web - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 11:16

AquFlow - Originally founded in 1972 as Hydroflo has redesigned its website to showcase its durable and accurate line of chemical dosing pumps. Included are some exciting new products launched...

(PRWeb June 11, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11929289.htm

Categories: Environment

Next Step Living CEO Named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2014 in New...

PR Web - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 11:16

Geoff Chapin Now Eligible for National Award

(PRWeb June 11, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11934455.htm

Categories: Environment

NimbusMining: Is CoinWare EHC a Window Into Bitcoin Mining?

PR Web - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 08:16

Nimbus Mining LLC allows anyone to get bitcoin and start mining bitcoin, using a new, revolutionary technology called CoinWare Elastic Hashing Cloud or CoinWare EHC™, which is like an operating system...

(PRWeb June 11, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11929540.htm

Categories: Environment

New Single Use Female Urinary Device to Allow Women to Stand When...

PR Web - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 08:16

Developed by a team of Doctors, The Pee Pocket™ is ideal for any woman on the go, who has to go!

(PRWeb June 11, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11918070.htm

Categories: Environment

Formulators Aquaflex™ Flooring Adhesive Continues to Be MAS Certified...

PR Web - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 08:16

Aquaflex™ waterproof flooring adhesive developed by Formulators, a leading manufacturer of moisture mitigation strategies, has been independently tested to meet the Collaborative for High Performance...

(PRWeb June 11, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11928864.htm

Categories: Environment

California Blooming: Floravore Movement Brings Responsible Flower...

PR Web - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 08:16

Eco conscious and socially responsible brides, event planners and gift givers can now source local flowers easily and affordably at...

(PRWeb June 11, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/05/prweb11871076.htm

Categories: Environment

Water Environment Research Foundation Launches Research Into...

PR Web - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 08:16

WERF will begin research to advance the generation of bioplastics from methane gas at water resource recovery facilities.

(PRWeb June 11, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/05/prweb11885952.htm

Categories: Environment

Ivy Child Brings "Yoga in the Park" to Worcester, MA this...

PR Web - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 08:16

Every Saturday from June 14 – August 23, Ivy Child International will be offering complimentary outdoor yoga classes from 10am-11am at Elm Park, Worcester, MA. This program is open to everyone in the...

(PRWeb June 11, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11916630.htm

Categories: Environment

City Bikes Become A Must-Have for Women This Summer Says...

PR Web - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 08:16

Women across America are discovering the stylish and adventurous convenience of what the bike industry calls a City bike. City bikes are perfect for casual riding and local adventures; not only are...

(PRWeb June 11, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11916908.htm

Categories: Environment