It may seem counterintuitive to start new programs in this economic climate. Summer school was canceled at many campuses this year, the $1.7-million California Instructional School Garden Program grant to the Los Angeles Unified School District has expired, and the budget crisis has left countless teachers unemployed.
But this groundswell, largely sparked by parent and community interest — and perhaps some inspiration from Michelle Obama’sWhite House garden — is finding support in all the right places.
Researchers found that, when surveyed decades ago, about a third of young baby boomers said it was important to become personally involved in programs to clean up the environment. In comparison, only about a quarter of young Gen Xers — and 21 percent of Millennials — said the same.
The Urban Beehive was developed as part of Philips’ new Microbial Home project, a self-sufficient closed-loop home concept that also features items like a methane digester and a plant-based effluent (read: toilet) filtration system. It’s a design concept, so it’s not exactly coming to a Home Depot near you. But it could, and maybe it should.
The Urban Beehive has two parts that attach to your apartment window: A white frontispiece with a flower pot and a small hole for bee entry, and an orange-hued glass inverted teardrop mounted inside your house. This way you can see the bees at work, and access their honey via a small spigot.
The glass teardrop has an array of honeycomb frames for bees to build their wax cells, like existing honeybee colony kits do. The shell is orange to help the bees navigate, and there’s a small hole for the urban beekeeper to release smoke inside, should the hive ever need to be opened (smoke chills out the bees). The city benefits from the bees’ pollination work, and your apartment benefits from fresh honey and the pleasing effect of watching bees, Philips says.
But Carlo Ratti, an architect who works with the SENSEable City Lab at MIT, directed a project to find out just how far garbage can travel, with the goal of helping us understand the “removal chain” that conveniently disappears our trash for us as well as we’ve come to understand the global supply chains that bring us items in the first place. His team asked 500 people in Seattle to tag items they would be throwing out anyway with small tracking chips. They tagged a total of 3,000 objects, everything from tin cans to cell phones to sneakers. And the results showed that some of the items we get rid of can go on a rather dramatic journey, traveling thousands of miles…
“All meat is not created equal,” reads a new report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The “Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change + Health” evaluates 20 common protein-rich foods to determine the healthiest picks for the planet and for our bodies.
The best bet is the friendly lentil. The worst offenders? Lamb, beef, and (say it ain’t so!) cheese. Read more …
American Airlines has started a pilot program to test the use of Apple’s iPad running a specialized app providing paperless flight navigation charts, a tool it says will save it over a million dollars a year in fuel costs.
Pilots’ iPads will replace flight bags of paper charts that typically weigh 35 pounds or more, according to a report by MarketWatch.
The airline will be using iPads to test the new system on two flights between Los Angeles and Tokyo and Shanghai.
American Airlines joins Alaska Air in working to shift paper flight charts to the iPad; Alaska began the shift in May.
The US Federal Aviation Administration previously classified the iPad as a “class 1” electronic device, meaning it must be stowed during takeoff and landing, even by pilots. However, the FAA has since specifically approved the use of the iPad app providing tables and other information for use during all phases of flight, making it the first time a tablet has been usable during takeoff and landing.
A really nice little project for the long weekend!
If you want to stand out in the neighborhood,take note of these 10 funky bird feeders and birdhouses. In addition to doing something good for the birds, you’ll be helping the environment, too, because most of the materials used to make these feeders and houses are recycled or reclaimed.
Listening this morning to the BBC on NPR and they were discussing Nokia and conflict minerals. Like conflict diamonds, conflict minerals are mined in places that have armed conflict and human rights abuses.
So when I saw this infographic this morning I realized how much I love my iPhone, which most definitely contains conflict minerals (despite Apple’s assurances of their assessment of the risk of their supply chain)…
The new infographic shows the total and per capita carbon footprints of nations around the world and cleverly shapes them into feet. It’s an interesting way to communicate the information and I like how the feet humanize our emissions. However, I don’t know if it is necessarily as effective a communication tool as the Guardian version.
While the left foot (i.e. Total Carbon Emissions By Nation) clearly shows which countries are responsible for the greatest current carbon output (i.e. US, China, India, Japan, Russia) smaller contributors tend to get lost in the image. In comparison The Guardian’s use of a world map as the basis for its graphic made it easy to find individual contributors both regionally and globally. Its table at the bottom also provides access to specific data and ranks nations according to their output. Something the feet don’t do.
I do like the right foot (i.e. Total Carbon Emissions Per Capita) though and found its info to be revealing. It’s amazing to see that residents of small island nations have such massive footprints (e.g. Gibraltar, Virgin Islands US), but with a little thought it makes sense given their need to import many of the goods they consume. This is a challenge that the eco-conscious community on British Columbia’s tiny Bowen Islandhas been grappling with in their efforts to live sustainable lives.
I was also surprised at how seemingly small the footprints of dominant emitters such as China and the USA became as their total output is divided among their citizens. However, of course the thing to keep in mind is that it’s the total accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that matters in terms of climate change so while per capita information is valuable for context we can’t lose sight of the need to reduce our total output.
Note: For those of you who’d like to see yet another infographic dealing with national carbon emissions check out the Cancún-o-Gram produced in advance of COP16. It’s notable for showing both current and historical carbon output, which is one of the big bones of contention between developed and developing nations at international climate negotiations.