ECOSIA

Ecosia is like any other search engine, with one major difference: they use their profits to plant trees.

DECEMBER 2009: Ecosia is born. Christian founded Ecosia.org after a trip around the world helped him understand the problems of deforestation.

2009 – 2011: People’s choice. Ecosia won several awards for its clever concept and speedy growth in Europe and beyond.

APRIL 2014: First German B Corp. Ecosia was the first German company to become a B Corporation thanks to its social business model.

APRIL 2018: 25 million trees. A planting milestone! That same year, Ecosia also builds its own solar energy plant to power every search.

They plant trees where they’re needed most, their trees benefit people, the environment and local economies. They also publish their monthly financial reports so that we see exactly where the income from our search goes.

Visit ecosia.org and add the extension to your web browser to start making an impact!

Refrigerant Management and Building Envelope

Every refrigerator and air conditioner contains chemical refrigerants that absorb and release heat to enable chilling. Refrigerants, specifically CFCs and HCFCs, were once culprits in depleting the ozone layer. Thanks to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, they have been phased out. HFCs, the primary replacement, spare the ozone layer, but have 1,000 to 9,000 times greater capacity to warm the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

In October 2016, officials from more than 170 countries met in Kigali, Rwanda, to negotiate a deal to address this problem. Through an amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the world will phase out HFCs—starting with high-income countries in 2019, then some low-income countries in 2024 and others in 2028. Substitutes are already on the market, including natural refrigerants such as propane and ammonium. [Source: https://www.drawdown.org/solutions/materials/refrigerant-management ]

A building envelope is comprised of the components that make up the shell of the building. The components separate the exterior from the interior of the building, and are designed to meet or exceed the needs of the specific application. The building envelope may also be described as what separates the interior areas that are temperature controlled (conditioned) space from exterior unheated (unconditioned) space. To break it down any area that is heated or air conditioned is considered a conditioned area where as any area that isn’t would be considered an unconditioned area. The building envelope must be designed with regard to climate, ventilation, and energy consumption within the building.

The many functions of the building envelope can be separated into three categories:

  • Support (to resist and transfer mechanical loads)
  • Control (the flow of matter and energy of all types)
  • Finish (to meet human desires on the inside and outside)

The control function is at the core of good performance, and in practice focuses, in order of importance, on rain, air, heat, and vapor control. [Source: https://www.reichelinsulation.com/Understanding-The-Building-Envelope.html ]

Carbon Capture by RMIT University

The cost-effective method could revolutionize how we remove carbon from the atmosphere, particularly in regard to climate change.

A team of scientists used liquid metal and a liquid electrolyte to convert gaseous CO2 into a solid, coal-like substance.

Compared to current methods, the new approach could prove to be a more efficient and scalable way to remove carbon from the atmosphere and safely store it.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the global community must remove 100 billion to 1 trillion metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by mid-century in order to avoid catastrophic global warming.

Scientists have created a method to convert carbon dioxide back into solid coal, a breakthrough that could change the ways carbon is removed from the atmosphere and permanently stored.

It’s one of several recently developed negative emissions techniques that seek to make carbon capture and storage cheaper, safer and more efficient. This particular method was developed by a research team led by RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, and it uses a liquid metal electrocatalyst, containing nanoparticles of the rare-earth metal cerium, to convert the greenhouse gas into a stable, coal-like solid.

“While we can’t literally turn back time, turning carbon dioxide back into coal and burying it back in the ground is a bit like rewinding the emissions clock,” study co-author Dr. Torben Daeneke told The Independent. “To date, CO2 has only been converted into a solid at extremely high temperatures, making it industrially unviable.”

Original article on BigThink here!

Climate Crisis is a Health Crisis

The Climate Crisis is a Health Crisis (Graphic from The Climate Reality Project)

The world’s leading scientists agree we must slash emissions by 2030 and keep global warming below 1.5 degrees C to avert a truly dangerous future. Carbon pollution poisons our air, water, and soil, threatening our health.

When we protect our planet, we protect ourselves. The Climate Reality Project is calling on the world’s leaders to ACT NOW.

Visit their website @ Climaterealityproject.org

24 Hours of Reality 2018

🌍🌎🌏 Join #24HoursofReality till 9pm EST today December 4th for the live broadcast online at https://www.24hoursofreality.org and become a citizen producer at climatereality.org! 🌍🌎🌏

Drawdown EcoChallenge

The Drawdown EcoChallenge is a fun and social way to learn about and take action on the 100 climate solutions featured in the seminal work of Paul Hawken “Drawdown.”

From April 4-25, individuals and teams from around the world will take part in simple daily activities to reduce their carbon footprints and delve into the world’s most substantive solutions to global warming. At the end of the Challenge, the teams with the most points will win great prizes, including copies of Drawdown and a one-hour video session with Paul Hawken!

The EcoChallenges are broken down into these sections (with an added note of current participants):

LAND USE (1260)

ELECTRICITY GENERATION (1751)

FOOD (3156)

WOMEN AND GIRLS (1392)

BUILDINGS AND CITIES (1598)

TRANSPORT (1814)

MATERIALS (2094)

Executive Director of Drawdown, Hawken states “All of life is comprised of self-organizing systems and the Drawdown EcoChallenge is exactly that—people coming together to share, learn, support, imagine, and innovate for a better world. We are honored to be a part of this significant and brilliant initiative.”

Visit http://www.drawdown.org/ecochallenge for more information!

Graviky Air-Ink

A startup in India is capturing the black particles that float in air pollution and turning them into ink.

Anirudh Sharma was at a conference in India when he noticed black particles accumulating on his white shirt. The specks settling on him were from pollution in the surrounding air.

Byproducts from burning fossil fuels such as gasoline and coal are causing health problems and climate effects around the world, especially in India’s growing cities. In that moment a few years ago, though, Sharma saw the pollution particles as something simpler: A coloring agent.

He went back to MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he was a graduate student focused on augmented reality, and began working on an idea to turn carbon pollution into ink. Using candle soot to start, he came up with a prototype. After finishing his master’s degree, he went back to India and in 2016 co-founded a collaborative called Graviky Labs to continue working on Air-Ink and other ideas.

They developed a device that can be fitted onto the exhaust pipe of a car or portable generator and collected the soot that forms from burning diesel fuel. By mixing the fine black powder with solvents, they produced ink that then went into bottles and markers.

Kaushik says Air-Ink has a dual benefit: “It’s not just that we’re recycling that material into inks. What we are also doing is replacing the carbon black that otherwise would have been used to make black inks.” Manufacturers typically use the soot known as carbon black in rubber, ink, paints, and carbon paper.

After posting their endeavor on Kickstarter earlier this year, the team brought in $41,000—nearly three times the donations they sought to start producing Air-Ink in larger quantities. Through a sponsorship from a beer company, they’d already begun distributing the ink to artists, who created public pieces in London, Singapore, and other cities.

For the full article by Christina Nunez visit this link: https://relay.nationalgeographic.com/proxy/distribution/public/amp/2017/07/chasing-genius-air-ink-carbon-pollution-graviky

Thanks again to @mchllsong for the share!

(Photo Credit: Graviky Labs)

Smog Free Tower

Designer Daan Roosegaarde has installed the “largest smog vacuum cleaner in the world” in Rotterdam to help improve the city’s air quality. The seven-meter-tall structure is designed to create a pocket of clean air in its vicinity, offering a respite from hazardous levels of pollution.

According to the designer, it processes 30,000 cubic meters of air per hour – removing ultra-fine smog particles and pumping out clean air using no more electricity than a water boiler. “The Smog Free Tower produces smog-free bubbles of public space, allowing people to breathe and experience clean air for free,” said a statement from Roosegaarde.

Roosegaarde‘s Smog Free Tower was unveiled on 4 September 2015 at Vierhavensstraat 52, following a successful Kickstarter campaign to help fund the project.

Visit the source article here!

https://www.studioroosegaarde.net

Mental Health and Climate

Here is an excerpt from the 2017 APA Mental Health on Climate white-paper:

MENTAL HEALTH
The ability to process information and make decisions
without being disabled by extreme emotional responses is
threatened by climate change. Some emotional response is
normal, and even negative emotions are a necessary part of
a fulfilling life. In the extreme case, however, they can interfere
with our ability to think rationally, plan our behavior, and
consider alternative actions. An extreme weather event can
be a source of trauma, and the experience can cause
disabling emotions. More subtle and indirect effects of
climate change can add stress to people’s lives in varying
degrees. Whether experienced indirectly or directly, stressors
to our climate translate into impaired mental health that can
result in depression and anxiety (USGCRP, 2016). Although
everyone is able to cope with a certain amount of stress,
the accumulated effects of compound stress can tip a
person from mentally healthy to mentally ill. Even uncertainty
can be a source of stress and a risk factor for psychological
distress (Greco & Roger, 2003). People can be negatively
affected by hearing about the negative experiences of
others, and by fears—founded or unfounded—about their
own potential vulnerability.
PHYSICAL HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTH
Compromised physical health can be a source of stress
that threatens psychological well-being. Conversely, mental
health problems can also threaten physical health, for
example, by changing patterns of sleep, eating, or exercise
and by reducing immune system function.
COMMUNITY HEALTH
Although residents’ mental and physical health affect
communities, the impacts of climate on community health
can have a particularly strong effect on community fabric
and interpersonal relationships. Altered environmental
conditions due to climate change can shift the opportunities
people have for social interaction, the ways in which they
relate to each other, and their connections to the
natural world.

Link to article: https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2017/03/mental-health-climate.pdf

Aclima

Until now. Beginning in 2015, a pair of Google Street View cars, equipped with high tech “mobile labs” developed by San Francisco–based startup Aclima, crisscrossed the streets of West Oakland taking second-by-second samples of the area’s air. They tested for nitrogen dioxide and a type of pollution known as black carbon (bad for your heart and lungs, not to mention the planet), as well as nitric oxide. The cars hit every stretch of pavement, from tiny cul-de-sacs to truck-choked Peralta Street, multiple times, taking millions of measurements.

There are three stationary air pollution monitors for all of Oakland, which reveal the city’s air quality as a whole. But the Street View cars can tell you what the air is like at, say, the corner of Market Street and Grand Avenue—basically anywhere you can drive a Street View car. They can even tell you how the air varies from one end of a single block to the other for a truly hi-res view of the problem.The result: one of the largest and most granular data sets of urban air pollution ever assembled in the world.

Quoting Google’s interview on Aclima: “We visited each block on between 20 and 50 different days over the course of a year,” says Joshua Apte, an engineering professor at the University of Texas at Austin. In the process, they were able to identify patterns they wouldn’t have otherwise seen. “If pollution spikes for an instant, it may or may not be such a bad thing. But if pollution is consistently high, that’s something we really should care about.”

Imagine what difference awareness on air pollution can make when this information becomes more accessible!

Visit https://aclima.io/ for more information!