4 Things to Look Out for When Buying Eco Friendly Flooring

Global warming is becoming a significant problem across the world. With experts warning that the damage could become irreversible, people are now looking at ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

One way to ensure you are doing your part for the environment is to make sure you are choosing eco-friendly products. A lot of common products have eco-friendly options, including flooring. Here, top UK retailer Stories Flooring, shares 4 things you should look out for when buying eco-friendly flooring.

1. Is it sustainably sourced?

Wood is a renewable material, making solid and engineered wood floors a great eco-friendly choice. However, not all manufacturers produce products from sustainable sources.

You can find out whether the floor you are considering has been sustainably sourced by researching the manufacturer. For example, leading flooring brand Kahrs, clearly highlights its environmentally friendly practices on its website. By selecting brands that focus on sustainability, you can ensure you are doing your part for the environment.

2. Choose FSC certified wood

Another tip when you’re buying a wood floor is to choose one that is FSC certified. FSC stands for the Forest Stewardship Council. The body certifies forests throughout the globe, ensuring they meet strict social and environmental standards.

Floors that are FSC certified have been taken from sustainable forests and made with environmentally friendly processes.

3. Is it recyclable?

Whichever type of floor you are looking into, check whether it is recyclable. This could mean that the floor has been made with recycled materials, or it can be recycled at the end of its lifespan.

Both options are great for the environment. They cut back the amount of new materials required, saving on production emissions. Retailers will typically tell you which floors have been recycled in their product descriptions.

4. How is it installed?

If you want to lower your carbon footprint when purchasing a new floor, the installation process is something else to consider. If you need to use adhesives, for example, this can increase emissions released during installation. For this reason, click or tongue and groove installation systems tend to be the more environmentally-friendly choice.

These are the 4 main things to focus on when you’re looking for eco-friendly flooring. Stories Flooring is one retailer making eco-friendly floors a priority. The company is actively working alongside leading brands to offer the most sustainable floors on the market.

Is Your Garden Really Organic?

We’ve all heard the term organic gardening, it sounds catchy and has an eco-friendly ring to it. But not even some experienced gardeners really understand what this entails. It is commonly thought that a garden can be called organic if no toxic chemicals are involved. Although this is true, it is only one of many aspects of organic gardening that we have yet to cover.

Every garden starts with soil – the richer in nutrients, the better. If your garden is full of fertile black soil, you already have a great head start! But you must keep in mind that soil is something that needs to be sustained. Many things can ruin or contaminate soil for years to come, one of them being the plants themselves. Some crops may lead to land depletion or loss of fertility.

Say No To Toxins

The main cause of soil contamination is, of course, all the pesticides that are being used to get rid of unwanted pests in the garden. While pesticides and insecticides protect the plants, most of the time store-bought ones cause more harm than good. All pesticides contain harmful chemicals not only to humans but to the ecosystem as a whole. They leak into the soil, cling onto fruits and vegetables that will later be consumed, and they can even be dangerous to wildlife or pets. Instead of risking contamination, why not go for a truly eco-friendly option and make your own pesticide out of plants or household items. By following a step-by-step tutorial, you can not only save your plants but a lot of money, too. Natural sprays do the job just as well as store-bought, but without any negative impact on the soil.

Don’t Let Your Waste Go To Waste!

Natural fertilizers like manure or eggshells are also a great way to go.  Instead of throwing out organic waste like coffee grounds or vegetable peels, try putting them in the soil and see how beneficial this can be for the garden. Sustainability should always be a priority and this way you can kill two birds with one stone by also lowering the amount of waste that you produce.

Biodiversity Is In

When we think of the perfect yard, most people imagine freshly mowed and perfectly cut grass behind a white picket fence, where every single blade of grass is no different from the other. To some, this may seem ideal, but it’s frankly speaking, boring and kills off any chance of biodiversity. What is biodiversity, and why is it so important to have in our yards and gardens? It refers to all varieties of life and can encompass whole ecosystems. In other words, this term includes both flora and fauna: the trees and bushes, flowers and plants that are either planted or grow by themselves, the bees that pollinate flowers, and even the tiniest of bugs that also contribute to the environment they live in. All of these life forms naturally coexist and even create symbioses.

Biodiversity has great potential and is slowly becoming a new trend. Perhaps, in 10-20 years, it will become a widespread standard that will let nature take control and manifest in all its glory. This is not only beneficial for the ecology but also much easier to maintain. It saves lots of time and effort, so you have more time enjoying nature instead of trying to “fix” it.

Reap What You Sow

Even if you are an experienced gardener with a green thumb, some plants can really be “out of place”. Think about what kinds of plants will adapt and thrive in the particular soil and climate conditions when growing from seeds or replanting. The main factors include moisture, amount of sunlight, and changes in temperature year-round. If you live in an area where droughts often occur, consider plants like lavender, Verbascum, and thyme. If your area is high in moisture and has wet, soggy soil, canna, and Siberian irises are a good choice. Some plants need more care than others, so if you aren’t ready to make a commitment – don’t worry! You have plenty of options to choose from. Even air plants that thrive without water or soil can become a wonderful bonus to your garden.

Our ancestors knew quite a lot about agriculture, and some of these methods are used until now. Native Americans came up with a very effective technique to grow different cultures together in a way that they can benefit each other. It is known as the Sister Method, where corn, beans, and squash are planted in one bed. The corn acts as a pole for the beans to “climb on” and support them as they grow, and the squash lies closer to the ground, protecting the beans and corn from pests with its prickly leaves and keeping the soil damp and shady. Another ancient technique known as the Three Field method can be very useful when dealing with larger fields of crops. One field was sowed with seeds, the second had fully grown crops that were ready to harvest, and the third field was “resting” after the harvest, which prevented exploitation of the soil.

Accessorize Your Garden

Make your garden even closer to nature by adding some small details like bird feeders, birdbath fountains, or even a pond. It will liven up the area and attract all sorts of wildlife like squirrels, birds, and frogs and make them feel welcome in your garden. This is great if you enjoy birdwatching or if you like animals in general. Having a pond full of fish and beautiful water lilies in your garden can be quite calming.

Final Thoughts

Knowing all the above-mentioned facts and tips, you can start contributing to the environment. To live in harmony, we must give as much as we take, and truly understand the importance of every single form of life. We are all part of biodiversity, and we, as humans, should make the conscious choice of preserving the resources that we have. Even something as small as a garden can already have a great impact.

Michael Brauer is a blog author at Summerhouse24.co.uk. He deals with the topics of house building and gardening and writes his articles about them in an accessible form for a wide audience.

Incredibly Beautiful Floating Flower Garden is ALIVE with 13,000 Orchids that Move as You Approach (MUST WATCH)

Article source: Good News Network

A three-dimensional mass of floating flowers created by teamLab in Japan has been moving visitors not only with its technological magic but with its overwhelming natural beauty.

In this work called “Flowers and I are of the Same Root, the Garden and I are One,” people immerse themselves in the flowers, becoming one with the garden, says teamLab.

Open since July, the museum space is scented by the fragrance of 13,000 living orchids suspended from near-invisible wires.

They’re able to survive in mid-air because orchids are able to grow without soil, by absorbing water from the air. In fact, all the diverse orchid species used here evolved to live on rocks and trees where other plants could not survive—and in the exhibit, they growing and blooming with each passing day.

The artwork space seems to be completely filled with flowers (especially because of the mirrored floor), but the blossoms slowly rise to the ceiling whenever people approach, opening spaces previously concealed.

READ MORE HERE:  Good News Network

The Schumann Resonance And Gaia: Connection Between The Brain And The Planet

Beyond the “subtle” energies, almost spiritual or astral, there is a dimension of energies that are well known and typified by academic science. We speak of forces of an electromagnetic nature, radiation fields, terrestrial magnetism, cosmic radiation, etc. The Schumann resonance falls on this spectrum.

Named after the theoretical physicist who proposed and proved them, Winifred Schumann (1880-1974), it consists of a band of ELF (“Extremely Low Frequencies”) peaks of approximately 7.83 Hz, that surrounds the Earth in the band between the ground and the ionosphere as the “background” of the electromagnetic field of the planet.

Before continuing, we must discriminate some conceptual errors, as they have been vulgarized in this way:

  • One, that at the time of its discovery that given value was “approximate” —that is, there are zones and times of fluctuation. For example, the weather: an increase in the number of electrical storms in the world increases that frequency, conversely, it decreases.
  • Second, it is stated that today it is 12 Hz, which is also variable.
  • Third (and this is the biggest error) that this means that the Earth’s day has accelerated, with which today it would be 16 hours. Gross mistake because the electromagnetic frequency of these waves has nothing to do with the speed of the Earth’s rotation — and in that sense, I can say that I have observed that people who repeat this mistake in good faith lack, in general, minimal training or intellectual understanding technical or scientific.

This is how it would be presented:

The Schumann Resonance And Gaia: Connection Between The Brain And The Planet

Haarp Antennas

But let us return to the starting point of the «Schumann resonance» and ask ourselves why the interest that the subject has aroused among many people, generally reluctant to the aseptic academic field, motivating them to internalize and – as we have pointed out – sometimes echoing conclusions and proposals wrong (although I wonder if this “misinformation” was not precisely indirectly stimulated by intelligence services in order to make a fool of the outsider investigators of the System and, consequently, devalue the results they had obtained).

And why such an inordinate interest of that public for this phenomenon? Because different authors have pointed out that it would have a direct link with the subtle nature of the human being. The resonance would have the same frequency as the Alpha state produced by the human brain, with which they suppose that its increase or increase would translate to increasing the frequencies of the same and this would be evidence of the “quantum leap” of humanity, that is, your leap forward in the opening of consciousness.

This is where we should point out some details.

Correspondence Principle

It is true that Analogy is one of the fundamental and subtle principles of the spiritualistic understanding of the Universe. Although the academics will argue that it is a fallacy, known as ergo propter hoc, that is to say ‘with this and therefore because of this, experimental observation constantly confirms it.

However, that the human being has a cerebral behavior that has the same range as an ELF behavior of the planet where he lives and is interpreted as that the Schumann resonance acts on and modifies the electrochemical activity of the brain, it would be as absurd as to maintain that the activity Electrochemistry modifies the ELF of the planet since it ignores a Fundamental Law of the Universe: the Principle of Correspondence.

The Schumann Resonance And Gaia: Connection Between The Brain And The Planet

This phenomenon is named in honor of Winfried Otto Schumann (1888-1974), who mathematically predicted its existence in 1952, despite being observed for the first time by Nikola Tesla and forming the basis of his scheme for power transmission and communications. wireless.

That is to say, it is aligned with that principle (the Microcosmic in the Macrocosmic and the Macrocosmic in the Microcosmic), yes, but we insist on remembering that the principle of Correspondence is so-called because one fact corresponds to another, but that does not mean that one of them produces the other.

I urge the reader who has just arrived at these issues, perhaps to stop here and turn to deepen that concept that – I am convinced – is “liberating” in terms of open-mindedness to understand not only what we are developing here but also the entire efficacy of Esotericism itself.

Electromagnetic harmonization

That said, let’s get back to what we are dealing with. Because we must highlight another fact: the cerebral rhythm that we know as Alpha (inducer of what we perceive with a state of deep myo-relaxation, meditation, the state of mind Ku when saying Zen, etc.) is not 7.8 (let’s round-up: 8) cycles per second: it is between 8 and 12 c / sec. And when the brain frequency changes — be it up or down — it ceases to be one type of brain wave category to transform into another that is accompanied by a different psychic picture (not the same and improved).

But there is another detail to take into account: these brain frequencies that we are talking about are, as we said, electrochemical, and although they act on the electromagnetic nature of human nature, they constitute just one more variable.

On the other hand, the Schumann resonance is pure and exclusively electromagnetic, so that it is because of that parity, that correspondence, that we must look for effects that may interest us. With which we are accepting that there is undoubtedly a relationship between Schumann’s discovery and human nature, but such a link would perhaps not be psychic but electromagnetic.

In this sense, any alteration of this ELF field can have an impact first in biology, in the greater or lesser intensity of the auric field – understood as the surplus part of the physical body of its “bioplasmic egg” or “bioenergetic” -. Consequently, it impacts (harmonizes or disharmonizes) electromagnetically (and in a subtle phase, bio energetically).

It is here where the knowledge and practice of Bioenergetics —in the paradigm of Wilhelm Reich and his disciple Alexander Lowen— shows its importance since such exercises are designed to promote auric balance as a consequence of electromagnetic balance.

Also and from this correspondence it is quite obvious that any significant alteration of the Schumann resonance on a planetary level will result in an alteration of our own electromagnetic fields, and the abuse of the Internet and WiFi, the proximity of power lines and public transformers, heavy machinery in constant operation will be, precisely, factors that will disturb us.

Without going with the conspiracy of putting on hats made of aluminum foil while we walk through life, he points out the importance of applying the teachings of Radionics since they act, precisely at that level, although in a very limited range, restricted to the person or the home where it applies. Inevitably, I will explain in an immediate work some of the options of making Radionics play in our favor, but what we want here is to draw attention to the fact that the increase in disturbances in the Schumann field translate into alterations of our electromagnetic fields and they are also behind certain illnesses, interpersonal conflicts and so on.

So the “parapsychological harmonization” we are insisting on here must also include “radionic harmonizations” or “electromagnetic harmonizations” if you prefer to call them that.


But the “Schumann field” (as I will call it from now on) has a very interesting aspect about all of us and in debt to that principle of Correspondence of which we spoke: that in so far as it is an electromagnetic field – or, better still, electromagnetic pulses on a greater “field” also electromagnetic but at the same time, corresponding to the human electromagnetic field.

Gaia, which we understand as the “consciousness” of the Earth may well be a fact, as well as that our natural parapsychological disposition allows us to “contact”, “tune in”, “empathize” (call it whatever you wish) with it.

What then we must ask ourselves here is: how many “spiritual or extraterrestrial contacts”, how many channelings will be nothing more than the misinterpretation of Gaia speaking to us at the episodic moments that the Schumann field “corresponds” to a significant (but not absolute) number of humans?

The Schumann Resonance And Gaia: Connection Between The Brain And The Planet

I will step into the void and propose my suspicion: that the “Schumann resonant field” and the “Akashic Records” are the same. Or also, that the “Schumann field” and the backup of the Collective Unconscious are the same. What to think about the need for human physiology for an extra-cerebral “information repository” and for it to be that Schumann field? (We will not discuss here what is a proven fact that bothers neuroscientists: the brain does not have the capacity to store the information that an average person accumulates not only in their entire life but simply in the first forty years of it).

I am not necessarily thinking of a conscious and autonomous Gaia that “speaks” to us, but rather that many phenomena that we perceive (and make the mistake of interpreting literally, without even going through the reflection of its symbolic nature) represent how our unconscious rationalizes the impulses of the Reality of that Gaia. And here we must return to what we understand by Reality.

Recent scientific studies suggest that consciousness is physically integrated, causally active information encoded in a global electromagnetic field of the brain.

It is now more than clear that it is not That “that is seen and touched.” What I postulate is that Reality – thus, with capital letters – is greater, transcendent to everyday “reality”, since it is limited to what we can not so much “perceive” but rather “understand”, so that everything that transcends the reality paradigm of an individual would be perceived, yes, but misinterpreted in its decoding.

Otherwise, I say: whoever “empathizes” with the Schumann field consciously accesses the “information.” Then if you “believe” (and this is quite a topic: pre-existing beliefs that distort understanding – not perception – of Reality) that it is some ESP, past life regression, or reading of akhásic records is just one (respectable ) personal belief that at the end of the day the nature of the practical result you get does not change.

Why do we suspect that the Schumann field accumulates information?

Because in it there are not only those ELFs (or, rather, that set of ELFs are in turn interacting with other electromagnetic fields). As we know, radio broadcasts need two types of waves: the one we call “carrier” and the “modulator” (as in commercial AM stations). The “carrier” is the “base” emission that is then affected (modulated) by another signal, causing the first to carry the second. The carrier is a range, the modulator is information. In analogy to this, the Schumann field may be the “carrier” where our unconscious psyche “mounts” the information.

What then can be practical applications of this knowledge? Let’s see:

A) In everyday life

That a person can enter Alpha at a time of low Schumann activity (there are sites on the Web that give access to updated recordings of the resonance and vice versa: the Schumann sound induces the Alpha state), that is, when it is closest at 7.83 Hz, it would allow him access to the information both stored in it – according to the theory that we have presented – and to use it as a “carrier” of his psychic energy, manifesting this in a wide range of parapsychological phenomenology (preferably towards that which exists predisposition in the individual, predisposition towards one or another phenomenon that is easily discriminated with a simple ESP evaluation with Zenner charts).

In another sense, the variations of the Schumann field, in turn, can act (blocking or exacerbating, depending on the case) in the “Dragon veins”, the energetic lattices of the Earth itself that we know as the “Hartmann Network” and “Lines of Curry ”, about which we will talk in another work.

B) In spiritual Knowledge

Being then a “bell” or “resonance box” of the Collective Unconscious, millenary concepts such as “kosmocrator”, “planetary genius” and, of course, “egregor” are understood, since this field would become the so-called “plastic mediator” well known among esotericists.

Indeed, the “plastic mediator” has been called that which allows the “psychic” to materialize as the “physical.”

To be consistent with esoteric teachings, how can an idea, however intense, “jump” the abyss of Reality to make itself tangible? (As the spiritualist currents teach in general and very particularly as proposed by the Principle of Mentalism). Such would then be “archetypal images” that act on, or for the human being, when the disposition of his paradigm allows him to include them in his Reality, for example, when in meditation we accept without questioning and without surprise the most bizarre manifestations that may appear to us.

Let’s stop for a moment at this point. Almost all meditators will agree with me in what I have just stated: in the meditative state we perceive (or occur) manifestations that, beyond their nature, purpose, or “message”, in the normal waking state (that is, in the normal state). Brain Beta) we would qualify as strange and we would seek to “rationalize” with conventional explanations (such as saying “hallucinations” believing that we explain it that way when the word “hallucination” is only a label that names the phenomenon but does not explain it, but in that state, we accept naturally. That is, we “internalize”, which is misleading because, with the same argument, we can affirm that our psyche is the one that is subsumed in the “Schumann field.” I will say more:

In general, esoteric authors have assumed that the “plastic mediator” cited is the astral plane. The point is that there still remains a remarkable difference of nature between the “mental” and the “astral.” It is there when we can propose that the “Schumann field” is that mediator between the psychic and the astral, and the latter (the astral) in turn mediator with the physical. And extrapolating, we may well ask ourselves if that “field” in turn is not a “level”, “plane” or “limbo” where certain entities of an intermediate nature remain.

Finally, I will comment on the aforementioned fact that the HAARP Project has been deactivated. One of two possibilities: either it was a failure because they did not achieve the purpose (presumably, to impact on the collective unconscious of the masses through a «social engineering 2.0» that could consist of «modulations» in the information field) or, by the On the contrary, they are committed to strategies with a better cost-benefit ratio.

By Ansh Srivastava | Infinity Explorer

World’s Biggest Factory to Suck Carbon from the Sky and Store it For Millions of Years Turns on in Iceland


By Andy Corbley | Good News Network 

The “world’s largest” factory-built solely for the purpose of drawing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it, has just come online in Iceland.

Built-in the geothermal park in Hellisheidi, the company hopes this is merely a stepping stone necessary to scale up the model by a factor of 80, and thereby remove millions of tons of CO2 by the end of the decade.

As direct a climate solution as there could be, the Orca factory, just one of a number of climate change solutions offered by the Icelandic firm Carbfix, takes CO2 from the air before separating the carbon from the oxygen, mixing it with water and sending it deep underground into basalt rock formations where it mineralizes.

With 16 locations recycling CO2, Climeworks, the Swiss company which provided Orca with the CO2 intake fans, is extremely excited to have participated in a project that will permanently remove carbon, rather than just recycling it. They say the green technology can be reproduced easily, and to scale, anywhere there is renewable energy and storage available. Orca was built adjacent to a local geothermal power plant, so it runs fully on renewable energy.

The company says it can pull 4,000 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere every year, the equivalent of taking 870 cars off the road. On its own, it’s a small impact for the $10-15 million it takes to build, but as companies are increasingly pressured to provide carbon offsets for their operations, the technology offers a huge appeal if costs come down and production is boosted.

For example, offsetting emissions by planting trees is great, but it takes 50 years for a tree to gather enough CO2 to actually sequester it. If the tree dies before that period, it’s as if the company did nothing.


From Soil to Society: A Systems Approach to Change

By Siena Chrisman | Common Dreams

Soil scientist E. Britt Moore drives home the foundational nature of the soil to his undergraduate students with an etymology lesson. Humans, he tells them, comes from the Latin humus, or soil. Adam is from the Hebrew adamah, meaning ground. Regardless of whether you believe God creating the first human from clay is mythology, says Moore, “societies before us understood an intimate connection between people and soil.”

In its 400-year history, the United States has largely severed this relationship. From the beginning, the U.S. agricultural economy has been based on the exploitation of the land and of people of color, and modern farm practices treat soil as an extractive resource. Centuries of institutionalized discrimination have resulted in soils expertise being seen not as a common heritage for all people but as specialized knowledge belonging to a certain class: landowners, farmers, and researchers—all predominately white. Meanwhile, many communities of color, both urban and rural, live on the ground that is contaminated and depleted.

Today’s systems of exploiting the soil were developed alongside systems of human exploitation and oppression; to address one, we must address both—and that starts with the soil.

Even those aiming to address these problems by improving soil health follow the same pattern.

“The demographics of the people on the front lines fighting for justice are very different than the demographics of the people researching [regenerative agriculture],” Moore observes.

The big names in regenerative agriculture are white, and the movement has faced criticism for not acknowledging the roots of its knowledge base in Indigenous and Black agricultural practices. At the same time, much racial equity and environmental justice work tend to be far removed from considerations of landscape-scale ecology. Moore is part of a growing movement of scientists, researchers, farmers, and community leaders working to bridge this gap.

Today’s systems of exploiting the soil were developed alongside systems of human exploitation and oppression; to address one, we must address both—and that starts with the soil.

Parallel Histories of Exploitation

The outlines of the development of U.S. agriculture are familiar: white colonial governments took land from Indigenous peoples through massacres, broken treaties, and outright land theft. Backed by international business interests, they built a tremendously profitable economy on the land-based on free labor made possible by the legal enslavement of kidnapped Africans and their descendants.

Across what is now the Midwestern farm belt, the 1862 Homestead Act promised parcels of land to white settlers if they farmed it using the production-oriented methods of the day: plowing up the deep prairie and planting shallow-rooted annual crops. While most of the parcels went to speculators and others with capital rather than to working farmers, the land was nonetheless effectively redistributed to white ownership. Meanwhile, the post-Civil War order popularized as “40 acres and a mule,” granting land to formerly enslaved people, was overturned within a year. Subsequent U.S. agriculture policy has played out in similar ways, consistently benefiting white farmers, larger-scale operations, and, ultimately, corporate interests. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has admitted to decades of discrimination against Black farmers and other farmers of color.

On the ground, the 1860s “sod-busting,” as plowing the prairie became known, destroyed millions of acres of deep-rooted tall grasslands and forests. The native prairie was a complex above- and belowground ecosystem, supported by a web of life from microbes to bison and stewarded for millennia by Indigenous communities. As annual grain crops replaced perennial prairie and seasonal plowing replaced the movement of bison grazing tall grass, some of the richest soil in the world was exposed, dried to dust, and blew as far as New York City. In response to the Dust Bowl, New Deal-era farm policy prioritized conservation measures, but priorities changed just a few decades later, and farmers were again encouraged to plant “fencerow to fencerow.”

Environmentally, the ongoing focus on producing for maximum yield has been a disastrous legacy.

The legacy of these parallel histories is, at the societal level, an agricultural landscape that is today over 95% white, and where 5% of farms account for 75% of all farm sales. Regardless of actual demographics, rural has become nearly synonymous with white, while urban is too often used as a dog whistle to mean communities of color.

Environmentally, the ongoing focus on producing for maximum yield has been a disastrous legacy. Established corporate supply chains, demand for livestock feed, and government support for corn and soybeans have led these two annual grains to dominate the rural landscape, despite persistent oversupply. The crops are dependent on chemical fertilizers and pesticides and grown in a way that leaves the ground bare for two-thirds of the year. Livestock, formerly raised alongside field crops, are grown out in large confinement barns. Agricultural chemicals and large concentrations of manure cause persistent challenges with nitrate pollution of waterways and drinking water. Without perennial roots or year-round grass cover, the soil becomes dry and unstable, likely to blow away or wash into lakes, streams, and groundwater, harming ecosystems and human health.

The Benefits of Continuous Living Cover

The environmental crises of modern agriculture—a catastrophic loss of soil and biodiversity, water pollution, contribution to climate change, and much more—have become so extreme that some are tempted to focus exclusively on that aspect of U.S. agriculture’s exploitative legacy. But others across the Upper Midwest and beyond are finding the importance of addressing agriculture’s harms to society and the earth together, inspired by a systems-based approach centered around continuous living cover (CLC).

CLC is a set of regenerative agriculture practices whose basic tenet is keeping soil covered with living matter and living roots in the ground at all times, making it better able to absorb and retain water, limit runoff, and retain nutrients. CLC practices allow farmers to reduce or eliminate chemical input use, as the increased biodiversity builds soil fertility and natural pest resistance. Diversification of crops and farm products can lead to new marketing opportunities. Ultimately, this can lead to additional community economic benefits with a focus on local and regional supply chains that grow to meet new processing and product development opportunities.

There are many different ways that farmers and landowners can approach CLC to meet their needs and the needs of the land. CLC options include harvested or unharvested winter or year-round cover crops such as camelina winter oilseed, new perennial grain crops like Kernza® perennial grain, agroforestry approaches including orchard trees or windbreaks, and integration of livestock.

A Systems Approach with Broad Impact

Many farmers who adopt a CLC approach find that it can be quickly life-changing. Central Illinois farmers Kathy and Rick Kaesebier farmed conventional corn and soybeans for 40 years until some unusual soil problems led them to take a soil health course. An experiment with 20 acres of cover crops quickly expanded as they learned about soil ecology. Five years later, they have cover crops planted on every possible acre of the 600 that they farm and they have diversified their operation to include wheat, a multispecies cover crop, cattle, Katahdin sheep, layer hens, and honeybees.

“We’ve increased our cow numbers each year,” Kathy writes in an email. Grazing the multispecies cover crop currently supports 16 heads, and there is a strong local demand for beef. After a lifetime of field crops, she loves working with livestock too, joking, “I’d have 100 sheep if I could just get Rick to agree.”

Not all farmers practicing CLC cropping make such a dramatic shift, but the whole farm system approach can make it more likely. In contrast with the modern agricultural mindset of finding a discrete solution for a discrete problem, the CLC approach recognizes that the farm is a complex ecosystem: start tugging on one thread, and suddenly you may have to re-knit the whole sweater—or rethink your whole crop plan, now based around 100 sheep.

For Britt Moore, this is the appeal of CLC. Moore, who is beginning a position at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington after completing his Ph.D. in soil physics at Iowa State University, never expected to devote his life to the soil. Growing up Black on the South Side of Chicago, he attended an agriculture science magnet school, which got him interested in the natural world. After studying agroecology and ecosystems interactions in college, he was examining the benefits of cover crops for his Master’s degree when he realized that the soil was more interesting than the plants—and that the way they interacted was the most interesting of all.

“It was a jump from ecosystems to systems in general—and how soil is foundational to cultural, social, and economic systems,” he says of his engagement with CLC systems.

The interconnection doesn’t stop at the farm gate.

“You can’t talk about social justice without talking about soil,” he says, giving the example of people of color disproportionately living in areas with contaminated soils. The pollution alone is harmful, but there is another level of impact when it comes to food security: many urban residents who could most benefit from growing their own food cannot do so without special attention to the soil. They usually do not have the expertise to address it—knowledge about soil isn’t seen as the domain of people of color—and the resources are not available: “There aren’t even the level of detailed soil maps in urban areas as for a farm in Iowa,” Moore says.

Growing Awareness

Moore was recently one of over two dozen contributors to a white paper published this week by Green Lands Blue Waters examining how a CLC-inspired systems approach can transform the future of agriculture, from soil health to racial justice. (Disclosure: I was also a contributor.) With a view across the farm support network, the paper features examples of long-time and new farmers, agriculture professionals, researchers, and others taking a different approach to their work with both ecosystems and society, and often seeing the two as parts of an interconnected whole.

For some, the approach is not new: Tsyunhehkw^ Farm on the Oneida Nation in Wisconsin has re-established the tribe’s indigenous high-protein white corn and practices intensive rotational grazing with a Shorthorn cattle herd, mimicking the movement of bison on the Great Plains. Farm manager Kyle Wisneski and others have been keeping traditional practices alive on the farm for decades. In the last few years, the tribal government has rapidly expanded the land base under the stewardship of Tsyunhehkw^, as soil contamination on nearby land and pandemic food insecurity brought renewed tribal interest to holistic farm techniques that have worked for generations.

Others are taking a systems approach to grow the CLC knowledge base itself. In recent decades, much agricultural research, even at public institutions, has been funded by private corporations. As a result, research on intensive, input-based methods likely to benefit a corporate funder’s bottom line now far outweighs research on systems-based regenerative agriculture techniques. In Wisconsin, Grassland 2.0, a multistakeholder collaborative focused on transitioning livestock production from grain-based to grass-based, is instead building expertise through collaboration. With a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, project partners, including farmers, researchers, and business leaders, are creating learning hubs in farm communities around Wisconsin and surrounding states to tap into local knowledge. To understand the system-level change necessary to support farmers converting to intensive grazing, the group is examining everything from farm-level best practices for soil health and biodiversity to developing supply chains with lenders to renegotiating relationships with equipment dealers.

Moore himself points out the critical necessity of expanding who has access to an understanding of the natural world. Before he started his Ph.D., he taught high school science in an under-resourced urban school, where his students had never been asked to think about the connection between food and agriculture.

His own story, he says, of a Black kid from Chicago going into soil science, is all too rare. The rarefication and white-washing of knowledge about the natural world is a loss for everyone. He advocates for significant investment in early agricultural education in urban schools, to equalize who has expertise about the environment we all live in, and to change the face of agricultural professionals in the next generation.

Looking at the last 250+ years of yield-driven U.S. agriculture and the exploitation that has made it possible, Moore says, “We have a system that values a particular set of knowledge—and that’s what it supports and funds.”

To build a different system—one that values healthy soils, biodiversity, clean water, and human capital overexploitation and profit at all costs—we must invest in the knowledge that supports it. The good news is that many people are doing just that.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Siena Chrisman

Siena Chrisman is a Brooklyn-based writer and researcher addressing agriculture policy and social justice. Her work has appeared in Modern Farmer, Edible Brooklyn, Grist, and others, and she is currently working on a book about the 1980s farm crisis. Read more at www.sienachrisman.com.

Is Pursuing Happiness Bad for the Environment?

Greater Good Magazine

Human beings strive to be happy. Indeed, many philosophers believe the desire for happiness is what drives most of what we do, whether that’s engaging in pleasurable activities, connecting to other people, or pursuing achievement.

But could the search for personal happiness be a problem when it comes to building a sustainable world? The idea doesn’t seem far-fetched. After all, sustainability means meeting our current needs for a good life without taking away from future generations, and focusing on our own pleasure in the present could have environmental costs in the future. For example, finding bliss in driving a gas-guzzling SUV could contribute to pollution, and finding success in selling products that need to be constantly replaced could create waste.

Yet findings from a new study suggest happiness is not detrimental to sustainability. In fact, they may go hand in hand.

Researchers used surveys from 152 countries to see how happiness was related to sustainability goals and behaviors. To measure happiness, they drew from the World Happiness Report and the World Database of Happiness, both of which provide happiness scores for different countries based on citizen reports on how good they think their life is or how satisfied they are with their life.

The researchers also looked at how much these countries consumed, how much they were reaching sustainability goals (as set out by the United Nations), and how much they recycled. Then, they looked at the relationship between happiness, consumption, sustainability, and recycling.

First, they found that happier countries consumed more, in general than less happy countries—not necessarily a good sign for sustainability. But, even though they consumed more, happier countries also were better at reaching sustainability goals and recycling.

“In happier countries, people enjoy their lives and consume things, but they consume in a more responsible way,” says lead researcher Yomna Sameer. “It’s not an either/or. Happiness can go hand in hand with sustainability.”

To strengthen these findings, Sameer and her colleagues did a second analysis, dividing countries into high and low happiness categories and controlling for other factors that could skew their results—for example, wealth per capita, democratic or governmental corruption, general social trust, and more. Then, they reanalyzed the relationship between happiness and sustainability.

Again, happier countries met sustainability goals more and recycled more than unhappy countries, even when considering these social and political factors.

“We wanted to make sure that this relationship was not a random thing—that the relationship we believe is happening is really happening,” she says. “And we still found that the happier the country is, the more sustainable and responsible it is.”

This led Sameer to wonder why happier people would act in more sustainable ways. Perhaps happier people feel more grateful for their life and want to take care of what enriches them—their environment and the society around them. Or maybe when people are more depressed (and less happy), they’re more inwardly focused or just don’t have the energy to recycle and do other environmentally sustaining activities.

She doesn’t have the data to explain this connection, suggesting the need for more research. Plus, this is only one study, and it can’t show for sure that happiness leads to sustainability and not the other way around, she says. But, since a country’s level of happiness seems to be tied to other positive outcomes (like more social justice, better-managed commons, and stronger community ties), it’s possible it could also promote sustainability.

The most important thing, says Sameer, is that happiness doesn’t have to be a barrier to sustainability, and this is a counterintuitive finding that people should know about. Otherwise, governments and other messengers may say that sacrificing one’s happiness is necessary to create a more sustainable world, and that could be counterproductive to persuading people to take care of the environment.

“Happy people are not selfish. They don’t only care about their own happiness and refuse to care about others or the environment,” she says. “The more awareness we have about this, the more governments and companies can start talking about sustainability from that perspective.”

About the Author

Jill Suttie

Jill Suttie, Psy.D., is Greater Good’s former book review editor and now serves as a staff writer and contributing editor for the magazine. She received her doctorate of psychology from the University of San Francisco in 1998 and was a psychologist in private practice before coming to Greater Good.

DISCOVERY: Luminescent “Windows” Could Transform Light Into Power

Engineers from Rice University in Houston developed a novel method of generating power through the use of glowing “windows” that redirect light to the solar cells lining their edges. The windows, known as luminescent solar concentrates (LSCs), are composed of a conjugated polymer sandwiched between two acrylic panels.

The polymer, a light-emitting compound dubbed PNV (poly[naphthalene-alt-vinylene]), is designed to absorb light from the sun and other light sources indoors before channeling it toward the solar cells along the edge of each window pane. The solar cells then convert the light into electricity as usual.

PNV initially absorbed and emitted only red light. But the engineers modified it so that it can absorb light in a variety of colors. Lead author Yilin Li said he began the project as part of a “smart glass” competition. But it quickly grew into a study motivated by the need to solve energy issues for buildings.

Solar rooftops have long been the mainstream solution to that problem. But according to Li, solar panels need to be oriented toward the sun to maximize their efficiency. Their appearance is not very pleasing either. The solution Li and his team came up with was integrated photovoltaics. He said the idea was to build colorful, transparent, or translucent solar collectors and apply them to the outside of buildings.

Their research paper appeared online in the journal Polymer International.

“Windows” could generate power from light

Conjugated polymers are organic macromolecules that can be modified to have specific properties, physical or chemical, for a variety of applications. Today, conjugated polymers are typically used to fabricate organic light-emitting diodes (LED) and optoelectronic devices because of their unique optical properties.

Experts have developed many kinds of luminophores–atoms that manifest luminescence–over the last decade. But experts have rarely done the same using conjugated polymers, said Rafael Verduzco, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Rice University who also took part in the research.

Part of the problem with using conjugated polymers is that they can be unstable. They can also degrade rather quickly. “But we’ve learned a lot about improving the stability of conjugated polymers in recent years,” said Verduzco. In the future, they may be able to engineer the polymers for stability and optical properties.

However, it is worth noting that the amount of power generated by the luminescent panels is far less than that collected by the average solar cells used in commercially available panels. Those panels routinely convert roughly 20 percent of sunlight into electricity.

But the good thing about the group’s luminescent panels is that they never stop working. The panels routinely convert light from inside the building into electricity even after the sun has gone down.

When the group tested how the panels convert sunlight and ambient LED light into electricity, they found that the panels had a power conversion efficiency of 2.9 percent in direct sunlight and 3.6 percent under an ambient LED light. This means that the panels were more efficient at converting ambient LED light into electricity.

The group also simulated the return of energy from panels as big as 120 square inches. They found that panels like these would provide less energy. But they would still contribute to a household’s needs.

Li suggested that their polymer compound could also be modified to convert infrared and ultraviolet light into electricity. Both lights would allow the panels to remain transparent instead of colored.

PNV may even be printed in patterns on the panels so that they can be turned into artwork, said Li.

For full references please use the source link below.

By Divina Ramirez | Science.News

Solar System Monitoring Software: Sunny Portal

Solar system monitoring software helps analyse the performance of solar panels

Solar panels installed outside a home.

There’s no doubt that solar energy is the future of the world. It’s clean, free, and most importantly, it’s great for the environment. So, if you are thinking of getting a solar power system installed in your home or office, or have already installed it, that is an excellent decision!

However, when you want to really get the most out of your solar investment, you need to pair the power system with a solar system monitoring software as well. Here are all the reasons you need solar system monitoring software to manage your solar power system.

Keep an Eye on System Operations

One of the biggest benefits of solar system monitoring software is that it allows you to keep a close eye on the system operations. Solar systems don’t exactly come cheap and therefore, you want to be extra sure that everything is running smoothly and your investment is secured.

Solar system monitoring software can help with this by providing real-time data of how your solar system at any point. You can check how much electricity the system is producing as well as how much of it you are consuming. In turn, this can help monitor and control your energy consumption as well, saving you from enormous electricity bills in the future.

Analytical Reporting

An SMA portal can not only provide real-time data of your solar system but also offer analytical reports of the performance of the system over time. This is quite crucial for maintaining an efficient system with maximum performance.

You can analyse exactly how your energy consumption has changed over a period. You can analyse the performance of the different solar system panels to ensure everything is in order. You can make adjustments in your system and observe how it impacts the performance.

Most importantly, these reports can give you some peace of mind that your solar system is performing just as expected.

Catch Faults Early On

Solar technology has come a long way since it was first introduced. All the small glitches and drawbacks have been worked out and the technology is always getting more and more advanced. However, sometimes, certain faults can occur.

With solar system monitoring software installed, you can always catch these faults or glitches in the system early on. For instance, if you notice any fluctuations within the energy production or unusual spikes in certain panels, you can immediately inform the installer and they can look at the software data or perform a physical inspection of the solar system.

This saves you from any massive repair bills in the future or even helps you avoid any major accidents.

Easy to Use

If you are not a very tech-savvy person, the words solar system monitoring software might scare you. However, in reality, most of this software is quite easy and convenient to use. There’s not a lot of technical data and jargon to confuse you.

Even if there are certain aspects that seem a little confusing, you can always ask the solar system installer to guide you on the use of the software. Other than that, this software can come with various reporting tools and visual graphs that make it easy to go through the information.

Best of all, the software is quite accessible as well. You can have it on your computer or even install the app on your phone so that you can check the system operations any time, any day. However, these do require an active internet connection on both ends, so you will need to ensure that if you want to receive accurate data in a timely manner.

The SMA Sunny Portal – An Advanced and Efficient Solar System Monitoring Solution

Now, if you are wondering which solar system monitoring software you should choose, we only have two words for you: Sunny Portal. Here are some reasons why this software is so great:

  • Access to key data anytime
  • Various options for analysing data
  • Reliable updates via email
  • Weather information
  • Inverter performance data

Final Thoughts

Installing a solar system in your house is a great first step to ensure a more energy-efficient lifestyle. However, with solar system monitoring software, you can reap even more benefits from your solar system. Learn more about it or get a quote here.

Brits Turn Off Their Electric as the Environment Takes Priority Post-Pandemic


According to research from Compare Boiler Quotes, nearly half (46%) of people say that caring for the environment has become more important to them since the coronavirus pandemic.

It is men whose attitudes have changed the most since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the research. A quarter of men say that the environment has become a bigger concern since Covid-19 began, whereas just one in five women think it has become more important to them.

Despite this research, sourced from Global Web Index, it is women that are taking the lead in making small changes to help with the globe.

More than half of women admit to trying to use less energy in the house, in comparison to 44% of men. This includes turning off dormant lights and turning off electrical appliances when not in use.

Increasing numbers of people are researching more eco-friendly ways to heat their home too, which is very positive. Google searches for ‘eco-friendly boilers’ are up five times what they were last year, showing that more people want to hopefully make the change as soon as possible.

The search term ‘environmentally friendly boilers’ is also up nine times, while ‘green boilers’ is up six times, compared to the same time last year.

Myles Robinson at Compare Boiler Quotes, says:

 “It’s great to see that so many households are switching to eco-friendly boilers, or at least considering it. Small household changes –  such as turning off lights when not in use, and ensuring that the heating is turned off when there’s nobody in the house – can make a huge impact on the world.”

Myles also gives one of his top home improvement tips – setting up a smart thermostat:

“Most radiators are set to a timer so that they come on at the coldest points in the day. However, some people forget to turn these off, therefore adding to their monthly bill, and also wasting electric.

“With a smart meter, such as Hive or Nest, you’re able to turn the heating on or off at any point in the day using an app on your phone. For example, those with full time jobs tend to turn this on as they’re about to drive home from work, so that they know they’re coming home to a nice, warm house.”

To do your bit on helping the environment and being a bit more sustainable. Check out this page to find out how you can recycle your mattress and other large items rather than flytipping, or check out this blog for small home improvement changes that you can make that will help contribute to helping the environment. Every small change counts!

‘Future Belongs to Renewable Energy’: Greenland Ditches All Oil Drilling

By Andrea Germanos | Common Dreams

Greenland announced Thursday a halt on new oil and gas exploration, citing climate and other environmental impacts.

“Great news!” responded the Center for International Environmental Law.

The government of Greenland, an autonomous Danish-dependent territory, framed the move as necessary to transition away from fossil fuels.

“The future does not lie in oil. The future belongs to renewable energy, and in that respect, we have much more to gain,” the Greenland government, Naalakkersuisut, said in a statement.

A government statement posted in English points to federal geological data showing there could be 18 billion barrels of oil off the country’s west coast as well as likely “large deposits” off the island’s east coast.

“However,” the statement reads, “the Greenlandic government believes that the price of oil extraction is too high. This is based upon economic calculations, but considerations of the impact on climate and the environment also play a central role in the decision.”

According to the Associated Press,

No oil has been found yet around Greenland, but officials there had seen potentially vast reserves as a way to help Greenlanders realize their long-held dream of independence from Denmark by cutting the subsidy of the equivalent of about $680 million Canadian the Danish territory receives from the Danish government every year.

“As a society, we must dare to stop and ask ourselves why we want to exploit a resource,” said Naaja H. Nathanielsen, minister for housing, infrastructure, mineral resources, and gender equality. “Is the decision based upon updated insight and the belief that it is the right thing to do? Or are we just continuing business as usual?”

“It is the position of the Greenlandic government,” said Nathanielsen, “that our country is better off focusing on sustainable development, such as the potential for renewable energy.”

Pele Broberg, Greenland’s minister for business, trade, foreign affairs, and climate, says the decision is simply good economics.

“International investments in the energy sector in recent years are moving away from oil and gas and into renewable energy. It is therefore natural that we emphasize business on the opportunities of the future and not on the solutions of the past,” he said.

“The decision to halt oil exploration is also the story of a population that puts the environment first,” said Broberg.

Greenland’s left-wing Inuit Ataqatigiit Party [Community of the People party) gained control of the government after the April elections, which some saw as a referendum on further mining of rare earth elements and uranium. The Ataqatigiit Party had campaigned against a major mining project in Kvanefjeld.

Mikaa Mered, lecturer on Arctic affairs at HEC business school in Paris, told Reuters following the election that “Greenlanders are sending a strong message that for them it’s not worth sacrificing the environment to achieve independence and economic development.”

The Thursday statement also announced the release of a draft-bill to ban preliminary investigation, exploration, and extraction of uranium.

The ban on future oil drilling comes amid a slew of extreme weather events and planetary changes linked to the climate crisis, including what researchers say is a destabilizing of the Greenland ice sheet.

In a Friday tweet sharing AP‘s reporting on the ban, Greenpeace appeared to reference the climate emergency, writing that there’s “no time to lose. Who’s next?”

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California Is Planning Floating Wind Farms Offshore To Boost Its Power Supply – Here’s How They Work

Equinor’s Hywind Scotland became the world’s first floating wind farm in 2017.
Øyvind Gravås/Woldcam via Equinor

Matthew Lackner, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Northern California has some of the strongest offshore winds in the U.S., with immense potential to produce clean energy. But it has a problem. Its continental shelf drops off quickly, making building traditional wind turbines directly on the seafloor costly if not impossible.

Once water gets more than about 200 feet deep – roughly the height of an 18-story building – these “monopile” structures are pretty much out of the question.

A solution has emerged that’s being tested in several locations around the world: making wind turbines that float. In fact, in California, where drought is putting pressure on the hydropower supply and fires have threatened electricity imports from the Pacific Northwest, the state is moving forward on plans to develop the nation’s first floating offshore wind farms as we speak.

So how do they work?

Three main ways to float a turbine

A floating wind turbine works just like other wind turbines – wind pushes on the blades, causing the rotor to turn, which drives a generator that creates electricity. But instead of having its tower embedded directly into the ground or the sea floor, a floating wind turbine sits on a platform with mooring lines, such as chains or ropes, that connect to anchors in the seabed below.

These mooring lines hold the turbine in place against the wind and keep it connected to the cable that sends its electricity back to shore.

Most of the stability is provided by the floating platform itself. The trick is to design the platform so the turbine doesn’t tip too far in strong winds or storms.

An illustration of each in an ocean, showing how lines anchor it to the sea floor.
Three of the common types of floating wind turbine platform.
Josh Bauer/NREL

There are three main types of platforms:

  • A spar buoy platform is a long hollow cylinder that extends downwards from the turbine tower. It floats vertically in deep water, weighted with ballast in the bottom of the cylinder to lower its center of gravity. It’s then anchored in place, but with slack lines that allow it to move with the water to avoid damage. Spar buoys have been used by the oil and gas industry for years for offshore operations.
  • Semi-submersible platforms have large floating hulls that spread out from the tower, also anchored to prevent drifting. Designers have been experimenting with multiple turbines on some of these hulls.
  • Tension leg platforms have smaller platforms with taut lines running straight to the floor below. These are lighter but more vulnerable to earthquakes or tsunamis because they rely more on the mooring lines and anchors for stability.

Each platform must support the weight of the turbine and remain stable while the turbine operates. It can do this in part because the hollow platform, often made of large steel or concrete structures, provides buoyancy to support the turbine. Since some can be fully assembled in port and towed out for installation, they might be far cheaper than fixed-bottom structures, which requires specialty boats for installation on site.

People stand next to a small wind turbine held by a crane. Just the base is three times higher than a human.
The University of Maine has been experimenting with a small floating wind turbine, about one-eighth scale, on a semi-submersible platform. It plans to launch a full-scale version with corporate partners in 2023.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Floating platforms can support wind turbines that can produce 10 megawatts or more of power – that’s similar in size to other offshore wind turbines and several times larger than the capacity of a typical onshore wind turbine you might see in a field.

Why do we need floating turbines?

Some of the strongest wind resources are away from shore in locations with hundreds of feet of water below, such as off the U.S. West Coast, the Great Lakes, the Mediterranean Sea, and the coast of Japan.

In May 2021, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans to open up parts of the West Coast, off central California’s Morro Bay and near the Oregon state line, for offshore wind power. The water there gets deep quickly, so any wind farm that is even a few miles from shore will require floating turbines. Newsom said the area could initially provide 4.6 gigawatts of clean energy, enough to power 1.6 million homes. That’s more than 100 times the total U.S. offshore wind power today.

Map showing offshore wind potential
Some of the strongest offshore wind power potential in the U.S. is in areas where the water is too deep for fixed turbines, including off the West Coast and offshore from Maine.

Globally, several full-scale demonstration projects are already operating in Europe and Asia. The Hywind Scotland project became the first commercial-scale offshore floating wind farm in 2017, with five 6-megawatt turbines supported by spar buoys designed by the Norwegian energy company Equinor.

While floating offshore wind farms are becoming a commercial technology, there are still technical challenges that need to be solved. The platform motion may cause higher forces on the blades and tower, and more complicated and unsteady aerodynamics. Also, as water depths get very deep, the cost of the mooring lines, anchors, and electrical cabling may becomes very high, so cheaper but still reliable technologies will be needed.

Expect to see more offshore turbines supported by floating structures in the near future.The Conversation

Matthew Lackner, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

South Korean Toilet Turns Poo Into Green Energy and Pays Its Users Digital Cash

By | The Mind Unleashed

What if your morning #2 not only powered your stove to cook your eggs but also allowed you to pay for your coffee and pastry on the way to class?

It seems like an absurd question, but one university in South Korea has invented a toilet that allows human excrement to not only be used for clean power but also dumps a bit of digital currency into your wallet that can be exchanged for some fruit or cup noodles at the campus canteen, reports Reuters.

The BeeVi toilet – short for Bee-Vision – was designed by urban and environmental engineering professor Cho Jae-weon of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), and is meant to not only save resources but also reward students for their feces.

The toilet is designed to first deliver your excrement into a special underground tank, reducing water use, before microorganisms break the waste down into methane, a clean source of energy that can power the numerous appliances that dorm life requires.

“If we think out of the box, feces has precious value to make energy and manure,” Cho explained. “I have put this value into ecological circulation.”

The toilet can transform approximately a pound of solid human waste – roughly the average amount people poop per day – into some 50 liters of methane gas, said Cho. That’s about enough to generate half a kilowatt-hour of electricity, enough to transport a student throughout campus for some of their school days.

Cho has even devised a special virtual currency for the BeeVi toilet called Ggool, or honey in Korean. Users of the toilet can expect to earn 10 Ggool per day, covering some of the many expenses students rack up on campus every day.

Students have given the new system glowing reviews, and don’t even mind discussing their bodily functions at lunchtime – even expressing their hopes to use their fecal credits to purchase books.

Record Heat and Flimsy Power Grid Across US Illustrates Urgent Need for Green Infrastructure

By Julia Conley | Common Dreams

With states across the southern and western United States facing record high temperatures weeks before the hottest months of the year, scientists and progressive lawmakers on Wednesday doubled down on calls for green infrastructure to ensure the nation is prepared for increasing levels of extreme weather on a rapidly warming planet.

For the second time in four months, state regulators in Texas on Monday warned residents that the demand for energy was straining the state’s power grid, asking millions to set their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, turn off lights, and avoid washing clothes and cooking.

“If we talk about infrastructure without considering how that infrastructure needs to match the climate conditions from today on into the future, then we’re building something that won’t stand a chance.” —Julie McNamara, Union of Concerned Scientists

Nevada and Arizona residents were also advised about drought conditions, wildfires, and extreme heat, and in California regulators on Tuesday warned people that they may soon be asked to conserve energy as parts of the state saw temperatures rising to 110 degrees and several wildfires burning.

Temperatures across Texas have reached the 90s this week, and the power demand on Monday came to 70 gigawatts—breaking the state’s record for June and coming close to the maximum that the grid was able to offer with some power plants offline for reasons that were unclear.

The New York Times noted that in the state’s deregulated energy system, power producers sometimes “simply choose not to offer electricity into the market because it might not prove economically beneficial, leaving customers short on energy and paying high prices for the power they do get.”

Following the winter storm in Texas in February that left nearly five million homes and businesses without electricity for days and was linked to more than 100 deaths, state lawmakers introduced legislation to better weatherize the power grid, but critics said this week’s heatwave has demonstrated how the plan is inadequate.

“If we talk about infrastructure without considering how that infrastructure needs to match the climate conditions from today on into the future, then we’re building something that won’t stand a chance,” Julie McNamara, a senior energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told the Times. 

According to The Guardian, solar power generation—demand for which skyrocketed after February’s power failure—has kept millions of Texans’ lights from going out this week.

“We have over five times as much solar as we had a few years ago and that made the difference in having these afternoons when we’ve had calls for conservation,” Dan Cohan, a civil engineering professor at Rice University, told The Guardian. “There likely would have been rolling blackouts if we didn’t have solar farms online.”

Kevin Doffing, a Houston resident who bought a solar energy system after the winter storm, told the Times, “I just don’t see how we keep doing what we’ve been doing and expect different results.”

The state’s power grid was “deregulated and designed 20 years ago,” said Mike Collier, a former adviser to President Joe Biden who is running for lieutenant governor in the state, and is now in “desperate need of modernization and simply hasn’t kept up with technology.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) tweeted that the power grid’s failure to provide for the state’s needs in unseasonably cold and hot weather—both of which are expected to continue amid the climate emergency—underscores the need “to invest in clean and renewable energy infrastructure.”

“The need to include climate action in any infrastructure package should not be in question,” said Lori Lodes, executive director of Climate Power.

As February’s storms left 69% of Texans without electricity, the state’s Republican leaders were quick to blame progressives who have pushed for a Green New Deal and an infrastructure plan that includes clean energy investments—despite agreement among experts that failures of fossil fuel-powered energy sources were behind the crisis.

In fact, said Dan Lashof of the World Resources Institute, “investing in modernizing our electricity grid to make it more resilient” is one key component of rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, despite Republican claims that the proposal doesn’t qualify as “traditional” infrastructure.

“Which provisions of the American Jobs Plan do opponents want to cut when they say they want to limit spending to ‘traditional’ infrastructure?” Lashof asked on social media.

“If we do all of these things fast enough and at large enough scale we will create millions of good jobs, reduce death and disease, and cut our emissions of heat-trapping pollution in half within a decade,” said Lashof.

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‘Fossil Fuel Exit Strategy’ Shows Transition to Renewable Future Totally Doable

By Andrea Germanos | Common Dreams

Ditching fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy in order to keep warming below the 1.5ºC threshold is both “necessary and technically feasible.”

That’s the conclusion of an analysis released Thursday entitled Fossil Fuel Exit Strategy. Produced by the University of Technology Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures in cooperation with the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, the report states clearly that “there is no need for more fossil fuels” because the world is overflowing with renewable energy capacity.

“The world has more than enough renewable energy resources that can be scaled up rapidly enough to meet the energy demands of every person in the world without any shortfall in global energy generation.” —Fossil Fuel Exit Strategy

Such a pathway, said Sanjay Vashist, director of Climate Action Network South Asia, would avert a “criminal waste of money” that would “have devastating climate and humanitarian consequences.”

A key point in the analysis is that simply stopping the industry’s planned expansion of fossil fuel projects is insufficient to meet the Paris climate agreement’s temperature goal and would actually “push warming well above 1.5ºC.”

With this angle, the new analysis goes beyond the International Energy Agency’s report last month calling for no oil and gas expansion in order to meet a goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. That’s because even if there were no expansion, the report’s projections show, the world would produce 35% more oil and 69% more coal than is consistent with meeting the 1.5°C targets.

As such, Fossil Fuel Exit Strategy lays out a dirty energy phaseout with an annual decline of 9.5% for coal, 8.5% for oil, 3.5% for gas from 2021-2030.

A further difference between the new report’s 1.5ºC scenario and the IEA report is its rejection of carbon capture technology and bioenergy as well as nuclear energy going forward.

Leaving those sources aside is no problem because expanding efficiency measures will lower overall energy demands, even amid increased electrification. That’s because wind and solar power—sectors that are accelerating—are in a position to take over fossil fuels.

“Our analysis shows that even applying a set of robust, conservative estimates that take into account environmental safeguards, land constraints, and technical feasibility, solar and wind energy could power the world more than 50 times over,” the report states. “This is the case even for Africa and India with their growing energy demand.”

“With this report, it is even clearer to everyone that world leaders have no excuse. We must act now.” —Mitzi Jonelle Tan, Youth Advocates Climate Action Philippines

The report points also to previous estimates showing Africa’s potential as a renewable “superpower” because “the solar and wind potential across the continent far outstrip every other region of the world.”

There are also global financial benefits to be considered. The report notes that renewable costs are becoming at least cost-competitive with fossil fuels. What’s more, investments in dirty energy are becoming “stranded assets.”

The good news is that “the world has more than enough renewable energy resources that can be scaled up rapidly enough to meet the energy demands of every person in the world without any shortfall in global energy generation,” according to the report.

Rebecca Byrnes, deputy director for the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, welcomed the new publication as providing evidence “that a practical pathway exists where there are no new fossil fuel projects, existing projects are phased out, emissions are kept within a 1.5°C budget, and energy access becomes universal, all while using existing and increasingly cost-competitive technologies.”

“The hurdle is no longer economic nor technical; our biggest challenges are political,” she added. “A cleaner future is within reach and, while international cooperation is essential for innovation and investment, nation-states can and should act now to regulate fossil fuel production decline.”

Referencing the record number of extreme weather events that have battered her home country, Mitzi Jonelle Tan of Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines and Fridays For Future Philippines called the “current level of warming… already hell for us in the Global South.”

Tan sharply criticized the possibility of further fossil fuel expansion, saying it “will clearly put us past the 1.5°C limits [and] is a death sentence to the most marginalized people.”

“With this report,” she added, “it is even clearer to everyone that world leaders have no excuse. We must act now, the science and the people are united in calling for justice.”

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