Sustainability

Newest 'green' burial method? Turn your loved ones into trees
March 4, 2015 07:01 AM - Tex Dworkin, Care2

Have you ever considered what might be a more eco-friendly alternative to coffins? How about organic burial pods where, instead of headstones, trees are planted on top. Two Italian designers–Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel– came up with up a project called Capsula Mundi, an innovative design concept with an environmental twist that addresses the exorbitant use of natural resources associated with traditional burials. Described as “the first Italian project created to promote the realization of green cemeteries in our country,” Capsula Mundi is an egg-shaped pod created to house a deceased human body in the fetal position, which eventually becomes nutrients that nourish the tree above.

An Organic Future
March 2, 2015 07:52 AM - Tim Sparke, Triple Pundit

The words ‘organic’ and ‘sustainability’ are bandied around quite a bit. While some won’t eat anything but organic, others deny that there’s any future in organic farming. After all, with a population that’s seven billion-strong and growing, how can we possibly expect organics to feed the world? Or so the critics ask. In their view, feeding the masses simply can’t be done without strong chemicals and genetic modification.

Michigan utility on the wrong track increasing rates for LED municipal lighting
February 26, 2015 07:00 AM - Andrea Newell, Triple Pundit

Earlier this month, DTE Energy announced a rate hike for LED lights. The decision sparked anger in Michigan city officials involved in municipal streetlight conversions, who would see their financial incentives for energy conservation diminish. At the same time, DTE plans to lower its rates on sodium lighting, which can use up to three times more electricity than LED.

In 2014 Ypsilanti, best known as the home of Eastern Michigan University, converted all 1,100 of its streetlights to LED — making it the first Michigan municipality to do so. City leaders worked with DTE Energy on the project and expected to see substantial annual energy savings. In the first year, the municipality’s DTE energy bill was 29 percent lower, saving $176,000. Now, with DTE’s proposed rate increase, Ypsilanti’s city leaders are seeing their expected savings disappear.

BLM vs the Sage Grouse
February 25, 2015 07:45 AM - Center for Biological Diversity

The Bureau of Land Management’s proposal to offer new oil and gas leases on 89,000 acres in northwestern Wyoming would have devastating effects on greater sage grouse, including allowing industrial operations in some of the birds’ most important nesting and rearing habitat, according to comments submitted to the agency this week by the Center for Biological Diversity. Even though sage grouse have declined 60 percent over six years in Wyoming, the plan repeatedly ignores federal scientists’ recommendations for protecting these prairie birds from fossil fuel development.

“Rather than protecting these vanishing birds, the BLM is proposing to hand over some of their last remaining habitat to the oil and gas industry,” said Michael Saul, an attorney with the Center. “A few companies may squeeze some short-term profits out of it, but the long-term effect will be pushing these great prairie birds toward extinction.”

Which type of energy will be the cheapest source of power?
February 24, 2015 08:57 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

Solar energy plants will soon deliver the most inexpensive power available in many parts of the world within a decade, according to a new analysis of the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). By 2025, the cost of producing solar power in the UK will have declined to between 4.2 and 10.3 pence per kilowatt hour (p/kWh), and by 2050 to as low as 2.0 to 7.4 p/kWh, according to a study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems commissioned by Agora Energiewende. 

ENN Releases App for Android Users
February 23, 2015 09:14 AM - ENN Editor

Last month ENN launched a new mobile app available at the iTunes store making it easier for you to connect with us and stay up to date with groundbreaking environmental news. Now, ENN releases the mobile app at Google Play, making it compatible for Android users.

ENN is more than just a gatherer of environmental news but rather a unique set of resources, archives, tools, and experts for the increasingly complex field of environmental science attracting readers from all levels of government, business and academia.

We also encourage you to join the conversation by checking out our Community Blog and by connecting with us on Facebook.

Apple users can download the app at the iTunes store.

Android users can download the app at Google Play.

Make sure you click on the app with the logo shown here.

Putting a value on forests
February 23, 2015 07:00 AM - Kaz Janowski, SciDevNet

The day I first set foot in a tropical rainforest, in Malaysia in the early 1980s, I experienced something profound. From the echoes of gibbons calling from the canopy in the early morning mist to the iridescent flash of a bird in a beam of sunlight, rainforests are a sensory delight as well as a marvel to anyone’s scientific curiosity. 

As I subsequently watched these forests dwindle and, in some cases, vanish, I have felt an equally profound sense of loss and a nagging guilt that I was somehow part of the story, because I had done little to remedy the situation. 
 

We need to focus on health and well-being, not economic growth
February 22, 2015 08:02 AM - Jules Pretty, Ecologist

The financial cost of the diseases of modern civilization is almost double the budget of the National Health Service, writes Jules Pretty, while the economy has grown past the point of greatest satisfaction. Our over-riding priority should be to move to greener, healthier, more sustainable and satisfying ways of life.

A substantial financial dividend could be released by a greener and healthier economy. Instead of encouraging material growth and consumption, we should consume in a way that is environmentally sustainable. 

The best-and worst-places to drive your electric car
February 20, 2015 03:47 PM - Nsikan Akpan, Science/AAAS

For those tired of winter, you’re not alone. Electric cars hate the cold, too. Researchers have conducted the first investigation into how electric vehicles fare in different U.S. climates. The verdict: Electric car buyers in the chilly Midwest and sizzling Southwest get less bang for their buck, where poor energy efficiency and coal power plants unite to turn electric vehicles into bigger polluters. Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, began their research by pulling public data from FleetCarma, a company that tracks vehicle performance among car fleets operated by governments and businesses. 

ENERGY STAR now certifies Clothes Dryers
February 20, 2015 09:53 AM - Editor, ENN

For the first time, ENERGY STAR is certifying clothes dryers. Starting this past President’s Day weekend, 45 models of ENERGY STAR certified dryers, from five different manufacturers, were available in stores nationwide. ENERGY STAR certified dryers include gas, electric and compact models, and incorporate innovative energy saving technologies, such as moisture sensors that detect when clothes are dry and automatically shut the dryer off. Dryers use more energy than any other appliance in the home, and since 80 percent of American homes own dryers, the savings potential is huge. With over 5 million dryers being soil last year, the new certified clothes dryers represent a great new opportunity for energy savings in the U.S.

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