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Sustainable Great Inventions From Eco-Inventors: Worldwide
Posted by: May 23 2019
Sustainable Great Inventions From Eco-Inventors: Worldwide
Growing environmental challenges in the world have given rise to a new crop of eco-inventors that are developing ingenious solutions to the most pressing problems of today. They are capitalizing on the new opportunities presented by the problems faced by the world today to create social businesses that focus on a triple bottom line with social responsibility at its core, rather than as just one function of the business. As consumers, it is up to us to support this new era of businesses with our wallets and social clout to join the movement for a better tomorrow. Below listed some tips on coolest inventions and apps & tricks in the space of sustainability Water you can eat, Ooho Made from seaweed-extract, this packaging is not only sustainable, but also edible. Ooho was created to stand up against the waste that is invading our land and oceans and now serves as a great alternative to plastic packaging. The Cora Ball: a device that removes microfibers from laundry One of the biggest pollution challenges the world is facing today is the microfiber that flows into the ocean every time we use a washing machine. The Cora Ball is a device that removes small plastic particles from laundry during the wash cycle to prevent them from getting into the water system. Ecobricks Ecobricks are building blocks made from plastic bottles filled and tightly packed with thin plastic waste. These bricks provide a lasting solution for the tonnes of plastic waste out there. They not only help in giving large amounts of plastic waste a useful second life, but this solution also ensures that there is almost no photo degradation and leaching of harmful chemicals. These building blocks can be used to make small structures such as garden walls, furniture such as benches and chairs and large structures such as cabins and schools as well. We too have worked with thousands of children in Mumbai to create over 7.000 Ecobricks in 2 months and are now looking to construct a public structure using these bricks. This is an extremely simple solution that can be replicated almost anywhere with no technology, no electricity and no capital. Earthships Earthships are a community of self-sustaining houses that are built keeping in mind sustainable architecture, green energy and DIY construction by inexperienced people. These completely off the grid structures are made from waste such as beer cans and tyres and use solar and wind energy. They also use advanced water treatment plants that reduce the amount of waste coming out from the homes. Although started in New Mexico in the 70’s, these structures can now be found in many parts of the world. Seed balls A unique concept started in Kenya, Seed balls, like the name suggests, are small balls within which seeds are placed. The ball is made of charcoal dust and nutrients that protect the seed in times of drought and allow it to survive till the rains arrive. It also protects the seeds from predators and insects. These seed balls are the ingenious answer to rapid deforestation and they can literally be thrown from planes to grow several trees at once with minimal effort. Soccket: a soccer ball that produces energy Soccket is a portable generator that harnesses and stores energy from play. It is used as a power source in areas where access to resources is limited. Terra Hale Gyms, clean energy gyms Imagine powering a light bulb while you pedal on a bicycle in a gym! If you have watched Black Mirror (popular show on Netflix), this might scare you, but clean energy gyms create electricity through human energy. A single hour of spin class can generate up to 3.300 watts of energy and this energy is used to power the gym. Any excess energy is supplied to the grid to power neighboring areas. Several such gyms have popped up in Hong Kong, the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Succulent Jewellry Ok, can I please have all of these? Susan McLeary is florist and jewellery designer based in Michigan who combines her passions in these amazing living accessories. Her Etsy store PassionflowerMade features everything from rings to necklaces, bracelets to statement pieces. They can be worn for up to 6 weeks before the succulents grow roots and need planting. Air Ink This one, is a homegrown innovation that we should be extremely proud of. Invented by Indians, Air Ink can be the answer to the horrible air pollution of cities such as Mumbai and Delhi. This company captures air pollution and soot (from cars) to make beautiful black ink that can be used in art. They are still testing and popularizing the concept but when scaled this invention can have far reaching impact.   Sea Bin Simply put, this is a really cool waste bin for the ocean! The sea bin uses tidal power to filter sea water as it bobs along the surface of the ocean, capturing any trash that may come its way. This amazing invention can capture almost 1.5 kgs of waste a day including microplastics . This is great for problem areas in marinas and near the coastline. Joyxee Island, recycled island Richart Sowa an eco-architect, has literally built himself an entire island using over 150000 waste plastic bottles. His first attempt at building an island failed when the nearby villagers weren’t too happy to see this island floating near their beautiful beach. His second island, was destroyed by a hurricane. Now finally his third island floats off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. The island is made from waste, has solar power and even has mangroves growing on it! Edible Six Pack Rings, ' Saltwater Brewery ' Beer six pack rings are made from plastic and can be devastating for marine and wild life. In response to this pressing issue, a small brewery based in Florida, made a sustainable alternative. Using wheat and barley they created a completely biodegradable and edible six pack ring for their beers that is harmless for wildlife. Sustainable apps to download for 2019 If you’re looking to go greener in the new year but aren’t exactly sure on where to start and maybe need some gentle reminders, these are our favourite sustainability apps to help you start making small changes to your everyday life. From finding refillable tap water stations around you, to helping fight food waste and sharing the positive changes you are making with a like-minded community, these apps will have you covered throughout the year.  OLIO OLIO is an app designed to combat food waste , so whether your neighbour or a local business is trying to get rid of perfectly ripe tomatoes, these can easily land on your plate just in time for your next meal.  Too Good To Go: End Food Waste By the same token, the Too Good To Go app helps restaurants, bakeries and supermarkets combat food waste by making meals available for €3 or 4 that would otherwise go to waste. The food is made ready for you to collect at a designated time et voilá - you've got your next meal sorted.    GoodGuide This app makes it easy for your to find ethical and environmentally-friendly products on-the-go. It provides scientific health, environmental and social ratings on a huge database of products. Browse ingredients, nutrional value, health effects of chemicals and discover alternatives with this easy tool.  Oroeco Oroeco automatically allows you to track your impact on the climate with a powerful footprint calculator. Perfect for understanding where you are already doing well and where there is room for improvement.  JouleBug  JouleBug makes it easy for you to implement more sustainable habits into your everyday life with tips and a social network to connect with a likeminded community. As if that wasn't enough, you’re awarded points with each positive action that correlates to the impact it’s had on your wallet and environment.  Tap  Find water refill stations near you anywhere in the world with Tap, so you don’t have to buy a single-use plastic bottle ever again. Just don't forget your reusable bottle at home!  HappyCow  This app helps you find veggie and vegan restaurants near you anywhere - trust us, it’s been saviour on many occasions. Basically your best friend when travelling.  A lot of these innovative solutions can create large scale impact in the years to come. It is important to support these initiatives as consumers and citizens. If you know of any other cool inventions that we can add to the list, leave a comment below. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/green-architecture Read more...
Electric Bike Buying Guide For Starters And Professionals
Posted by: May 22 2019
Electric Bike Buying Guide For Starters And Professionals
Few trends have caught on so well in recent years as the electric bicycles, or e-bikes. It feels like only yesterday that we had to rely on our own two legs and pure muscle strength to power our trusty two-wheelers. Yet ever since the introduction of the first electric battery-powered bike, more and more people have quite literally made the rather smooth transition. Not only does it require less effort and physical exertion to get from A to B, it might also get you there faster. Most e-bike owners will praise the freedom of choice that an e-bike brings to their lives. It really does add an extra dimension to your trip. You can choose to switch the battery on or off at any given time, meaning that you can start off by peddling ferociously and turn on the ‘engine’ as soon as you get tired, are facing an uphill road or just a rather hefty head wind. This will allow you to travel further and to different places, safe in the knowledge that you can always get back home. Decline of the regular bike All kinds of bicyclists have switched to the e-variety in recent years. This trend is clearly visible in the sales numbers of ‘regular’ pedal bikes, that have fallen flat or declined steadily. Bike stores are scrambling to get their inventory sold, often relying on specific target groups - such as students (who need a cheap means of transport), sporters (who require sport bikes or mountain bikes) or young children (who are just learning how to ride a bike). Yet the market has not nearly been as profitable as it has been in the past. Combined with the double or even triple digit growth seen in the e-bike industry, it is not surprising that more and more retailers are putting their money - and store space, indeed - on the electronic bikes instead. When walking into a bike store, you will find yourself dazzled by the available options. Extra powerful battery? Sports edition? E-city bike? Or perhaps the e-carrier bike? We have come a long way in a very short time. From a half-dozen producers back in the early 2010s, producing only a handful of models, we now find ourselves choosing between thousands of different types. Are you one of the unlucky consumers, having found yourself in this jungle of e-bikes? Are you considering buying one but are you blinded by the overwhelming choice? Then read on, as we might just have some helpful tips on how to narrow down the playing field. Start by setting your budget One of the best pieces of advice that we can give you, is to start by determining a realistic budget. And by ‘realistic’ we mean a budget that both fits your wallet and the average market prices. Roughly, the e-bike market can be divided in 5 price categories - ranging from budget to luxurious. The price will mostly be representative of the quality of the bike, although ‘quality’ in this mainly refers to the actual bicycle components, not so much the electronic elements. To give you a better idea of brands and prices for each of those categories, we will break them down one by one. Budget e-bikes: $300-$500 ( €269- €448) Realistically, if you are looking to get an e-bike for anything less than $300 (€269), you better reconsider the whole idea to start with. But if your budget falls within the $300-$500 (€269-€448) range, you will be happy to find some very affordable e-bikes. Pretty much all of these are imported from China and other Asian countries. Xiaomi is a big name that has recently gotten into the e-bike game One of the brands that you could consider is Xiaomi, a relatively new face in the e-bike industry. In their native China, they introduced some models that are available locally for some $261 (€234) and $375 (€336), although when imported, prices are more in the range of $400-$500 (€358-€448). Another remarkable entry on the list is Amazon; although it is somewhat dubious whether their products can still be classified as being a bike. The Amazon e-bikes do not have any actual pedals, although they have the physical appearance of a bike. Perhaps it would be better to refer to them as scooters instead, although they are priced economically at $399 (€357). Yes, those e-bikes are very cheap. This low price does, however, come at a cost - pun intended. You do pretty much get what you pay for. The bike parts are subpar and of relatively low quality, meaning that these bikes will inevitably break down - sometimes faster than you would like them to. The battery cells are rather cheap as well, providing a rather limited range. Economical e-bikes: $500-$1.000 (€448-€896) If you are looking for slightly more “bang for your buck”, you would do well to look at the slightly higher price categories. Economical e-bikes are priced between $500 and $1000, yet this will buy you a bike of a significantly higher quality and with a much larger range. The parts used are better, simple as that - allowing you to get more out of your precious bike. One of the bikes that fall in this category is the Swagtron EB-5, retailing at the lower end of the range, at $500 (€448). Although its range is pretty good and it boosts sufficient power, you will find it to be a rather limited vehicle with just 1 gear in pedaling mode. This makes it tricky to really ride your bike on uneven terrain or when faced with a strong headwind; despite the relatively low gear you will find it in. On the other hand, you will want to switch to battery power when riding faster than 10 mph, to make sure that you are not spinning out of control. {youtube} Another brand that falls into this category is Ancheer, offering e-bikes for some $600 to $700 (€537-€627). At this price point, you cannot expect too much from the two-wheeler, although it is a pretty decent option. It will definitely do what it is supposed to do: help you get around town in a fairly efficient manner. Yet most parts will still be of lower quality, meaning that their lifespan will be limited and that the frame might feel a bit wobbly. Are you still unsure whether e-bikes are for you? Then this would be a good category to get started with, as the options are still relatively affordable and the bikes are good enough to last you for quite some time, provided that you use them responsibly. Mid-range e-bikes: $1.000-$2.500 (€896-€2.239) The Rayvolt Cruzer electric bike Already decided that you are serious about e-bikes? Then a budget between $1,000 (€896)and $2,500 (€2.239)would be feasible for getting a bike that is both qualitative and economical. Generally, bikes that fall in this category use both electrical and bicycle components that are of a really good quality, meaning that they will live up to all the expectations of experienced e-bike users. So whereas doubting consumers would do well to start off in the economical e-bike category, more experienced and convinced users are probably doing well to take a close look at this mid-range category. As soon as prices rise above the $1,000 (€896)mark, you will notice that the bike’s parts - including brakes, tires and frames - will be produced by more well-known manufacturers. This serves to confirm that the bikes are indeed much more ‘complete’. Companies that you will find offering e-bikes in this price category include Rad Power Bikes and Blix Bikes, brands that combine an attractive price with very decent and acceptable mainstream e-bikes. Paying this little extra will also pay off in the time you get to enjoy the bike: they can easily last up to 5 years, provided you take good care of them. Premium e-bikes: $2.500-$5.000 (€2.239-€4.478) Got some extra money to spend? Then you will find yourself spoiled for choice in this relatively wide price range. You cannot go wrong with an e-bike over $2,500 (€2.239), as the quality will undoubtedly be good. All the parts used for premium e-bikes are carefully developed and tested, guaranteeing their effective functioning; no budget, entry-level parts to be seen here. Some of the big name brands that have developed motors for these bikes include Bosch, Shimano, Yamaha and Panasonic. These respectable names in the industry guarantee a powerful bike with a good range; which especially becomes obvious when comparing them to some of the hub motors that are used for the mid-range and budget e-bikes. These cheaper motors do not usually have whole a lot of options available, while the more exclusive motors used for this category are more suitable for cyclists hoping to combine their electric power with active pedaling. E-bikes that you might want to check out if this is your budget range are the Priority Embark, Raleigh Redux, Trek Supper Commuter, Cero One and Yamaha Wabash. All great bike options that provide both comfort, quality and price-effectiveness. Priority Embark with its Gates Carbon Belt Drive system A small note of caution, though. Yes, bikes in this price range do fall in the category ‘premium’ - but it does not necessarily make them tick all of the ‘premium’ boxes. There are some manufacturers who have traditionally charged relatively high prices for an e-bike that is not living up to the general quality standard upheld by its peers. High innovation or R&D fees might force some of them to set prices that do not realistically reflect the quality of the bike. Always check general reviews for e-bikes and pay special attention to the price-quality aspect. Luxury e-bikes: $5.000-$10.000 (€4.478-€8.955) Ok, so unless you count yourself lucky enough to be able to spend the same amount on your e-bike as some would on a small car, this category might not necessarily be for you. Granted, it will buy you an e-bike that is made using components of the highest end of the market. Yet most of the electrical work will be pretty much similar to what you would get for a $3,000 e-bike. So, what makes up this difference in price? A $7.000 (€6.272) Haibike downhill electric bike.  Well, most of it goes towards really expensive parts that boost your bike’s luxury level. This includes electronic shifters and belt drive options, as well as luxurious handles, saddles, suspension and tires. A $10,000 (€8.955) e-bike will surely be a royal ride: especially when driving on a rocky surface or mountainous area. Brands to consider include the Stromer ST5 or the Haibike. Continue deciding on the bike type Decided on a price that you are comfortable with? Then you can narrow down the search by browsing the different types of bikes available. Roughly, the available e-bikes can be divided in the following categories: Electric commuter bikes : The most commonly used bike all around the world, the type that people will ride around their town to get from A to B. To work, school, the supermarket, the gym. Commuters will normally stay on the streets, meaning that the bikes are not high-maintenance. Instead, they should be efficient and light - making sure that pedaling is smooth and parking is easy. Tires are typically narrower, just like the saddles. These are not made for long trips, anyhow: just like the electric option is a nice add-on when biking home after a long day of work, but not requiring a large range. Brands include the Raleigh Redux, Yamaha Wabash and GenZe 200. Electric folding bikes : Although some might argue that this category can be grouped with the commuter bikes, we thought it was worth pointing out as a separate option. E-folding bikes are extremely portable and compact, often capable of being folded up to a small package the size of a suitcase. This makes them perfect for those who want to bring along their bikes on public transport, in the car or on holidays. On the downside, it is more likely for compromises to have been made in the bike design, opting for smaller and more compact parts - even if that means that they are of a lower quality. Provided that you do not ride it for long periods at a time, this should not bother you too much. Make sure to look at Oyama CX and E8D II if you are interested in this option. Electric cruiser bikes : As the name implies, cruiser bikes are designed for fun cruising trips. For taking out your e-bike and going on lengthy tours in a leisurely fashion. Whether you are cruising down the coastline and boulevards of beachfront towns or enjoying the flowing landscapes, this is for you. E-cruiser bikes are designed to look stylish while providing optimal comfort through a plush seat and high handlebars. Pedals are mounted forward, once again adding ergonomic benefits for the rider. This comfort does take a slight toll on the maneuverability and weight of the bike, although this should not matter if you are in for the low-action, enjoyable bike rides. Pedego and Rayvolt are some names that you should definitely check out if this sounds like your type of bike. Electric mountain bikes : These bikes will be great if being outdoors and going off the beaten path is your main plan for the e-bike. E-mountain bikes on the lower price ranges are actually just fine for regular street travel too, while the high-end versions (including Haibike and Greyp) can even let you drive down mountains and making drops and jumps of several meters while making you feel as if you are driving down a well-paved road. That is the benefit of paying for the extra suspension and thick, strong tires.                   Full suspension Haibike on left, hardtail Magnum Peak on right  Electric cargo bikes : Cargo bikes were never meant to be flashy or particularly eye-catching in a fashion sense. Instead, they are meant to be hauling cargo - both live cargo, like children or pets, and actual stuff. Some bikes include front buckets or covered pods, while others have side-platforms next to the back wheels, allowing for a better distribution of weight. If you want, options like racks, bags and child carriers are available to further customize your bike to your exact liking. Just keep in mind that these definitely will not be the lightest, nor the most agile e-bikes out there. Brands worth your consideration include the Yuba Supermarché and CERO One. Specialty electric bikes : A pretty wide category that encompasses everything that does not fit in any of the previously mentioned categories. This includes electric tandem bicycles - boasting two seats and two sets of pedals as a fun way of biking for couples -; electric tricycles - for those with disabilities or problems balancing their two-wheeled bike -; or electric recumbent bikes - where the rider relaxes back in a seat instead of perched up on the saddle, almost as if driving a kart. If you are interested in those, you will be happy to know that they are already available to the market as e-bikes. Final consideration Eventually, it is essential that both price and bike type match up if you are hoping to find your perfect e-bike. Using our guidelines above, you will be happy to find that you are able to quickly narrow down the playing field to only a handful of suitable bikes that both fit your preferences and your wallet. After that, our best advice is to compare all remaining options and read user reviews - perhaps even visit a store or two for a test ride. And soon, you will be whizzing around town on your own perfect electric two wheeler! https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/transportation/cycling Read more...
Climate Change And Allergies A Bad Match: Tips & Tricks
Posted by: April 24 2019
Climate Change And Allergies A Bad Match: Tips & Tricks
Springtime is great, especially now that the weather is taking a turn for the better. Flowers are blossoming, birds are chirping, the sun is shining. Even people out on the street seem happier. That is, most do. Those unlucky ones who are suffering from hay fever or related allergies might not be as smiley. Pollen floating around freely in the spring air are quite literally making their life a living hell, sneezing and huffing away while others enjoy the first BBQ of the season instead. Attacking the pollen How this works? Well, it is basically the story of the birds and the bees. The story of what happens after one tree meets another tree that he likes very much. The one tree releases pollen to fertilise the other tree - as well as any other trees that may just happen to be in the figurative line of fire. Now, if it happens to be windy, these pollen can be blown all over. We will then no longer be talking about tree procreation, but shifting our focus to allergies instead. Thankfully, not all of us are susceptible to those pollen. Some will breeze through it without breaking a sweat - or a sneeze. For others, however, it may pose much greater problems. Their immune systems do not recognize it as being as harmless as it actually is. Instead, it will attack the pollen ferociously, as our bodies think that it is actually dealing with some kind of parasite. All of the symptoms that rapidly develop when faced with allergies are meant to propel the foreign and seemingly dangerous entity out of our bodies. Through excessive sneezing, a runny nose, and all the other symptoms, we do what we can to get rid of what is, essentially, just the male reproduction product of trees. This excessive attack of a perceived threat to our health is what is referred to as an allergy. A recent 'hype' Funnily enough, this thing that we refer to as an allergy has not always been around. It is actually a recent 'hype', so to speak. One that seems to have been born around the time of the industrial revolution. Whether this was in any way caused by the increased pollution, a change in our diet, or the heightened hygiene, we cannot be sure. One element can be pointed out as a proven culprit, though. And this is climate change. Plants grow more quickly as a result of warmer temperatures and the accompanying higher levels of CO2. That is a fact. This also means that they are increasing the speed with which they procreate - or, specifically, produce and release pollen. Simultaneously, the periods during which the plants release pollen will be extended. In a warmer climate and in an atmosphere with more CO2 , the pollen will have free reign. And with a higher pollen count in the air, people who are sensitive to it will suffer even more. Hay fever is on the rise Are you starting to feel relieved that you have never shown any signs of allergies in the past? Well, then keep reading, as this may ultimately be bad news for you, too. If you are exposed to an allergen for an extended period of time, you are more likely to become sensitized to it as well. This means that you may start to experience symptoms, even if you have not done so in the past. And for those who are already too familiar with allergies - well, your symptoms are likely to intensify even more as a result. As such, it will come as no surprise that the prevalence of hay fever is on the rise. You may already be one of its victims - or soon, too, fall prey to its sniffing and sneezing. So, the next best thing would be to find ways of alleviating its annoying symptoms. That is, the next best thing to solving climate change as a whole and reversing at least some of this pollen epidemic. The golden liquid or... Some are absolutely convinced of the benefits of a 100% natural reliever - honey. Although it may sound counterintuitive - after all, isn’t honey a product that only came to exist because of pollen and plant reproduction? Well, yes, but this might be why it is such a great way of building up your pollen-resistance. Unfortunately it isn’t quite that simple. This theory has been largely debunked, in particular because the pollen that will actually ‘wake up’ your immune system and invoke an allergic response do not come from flowers. Depending on the season, we will find ourselves sneezing exclusively as the result of pollen from trees (spring), grass (summer) and weeds (end of summer/beginning of fall). None of those include pollen that bees are attracted to. Hence, there is no way for any allergy-related pollen to wind up in that delicious spoonful of honey. So unfortunately this golden liquid will probably not be your magic cure. Experts are no closer to finding a cure either, although they agree that it is best to simply stay clean. That is to say, to avoid pollen at all costs when their concentration in the air is high. This means keeping doors and windows closed and not go outside. Your best option is to go for a walk right after a rainstorm, when the air is cleaner. Avoid any exposure to outside air when the pollen counts are high - meaning, in warm and dry circumstances. Tips & Tricks which make you feel better There is some over-the-counter medication available that will at least alleviate some of the symptoms, if they really hinder you in your day to day life. Yet if you are not a fan of taking pills and are forced - either by work or personal disposition - to spent at least some of your time outdoors, there are some other things you can do to feel better. Get your hands on some Vaseline and rub it around the nostrils. This will ‘trap’ the pollen and prevent it from getting into your nose, where it will get stuck to the lining. Avoid particularly grassy areas. So stay away from that meadow or public park with a freshly mown lawn in the summer. Plan your outside activities in the late morning or early afternoon. Pollen count is usually the highest between 8am and 10am; and then again between 5pm and 7pm. Try to stay off the street - and in particular out of the park - between those hours. Frequently hit the gym. Although it is not quite clear why this is the case, it is a fact that people who exercise more exhibit milder symptoms than those who don’t. In the same category as point 4, we-don’t-know-why-but-it-works: try to keep the stress at bay. Studies have shown that hay fever symptoms are worse for those who report higher stress levels. Look into houseplants that provide hay fever relief. Some specific species, like peace lilies, have been found to take the edge of the symptoms. Plus, they will brighten up your home as well. Limit your alcohol intake. Alcoholic drinks contain histamine, a chemical that is known to start allergic reactions and increase your susceptibility to pollen. Get your hands on chamomile tea. Contrary to alcoholic drinks, you will find that chamomile is a natural antihistamine substance, known to be an effective means to combat allergic reactions. Food-wise, check out the darker colored berries in the supermarket - blackberries, red grapes and currants are great options. These are rich in antioxidants, a great natural inflammation reducer. The same goes for omega-3 rich foods, such as oily fish, nuts and seeds. Even if you are feeling worse for the wear and tired after a long day, get out that vacuum cleaner and dust and wipe down surfaces regularly. This will help to reduce the pollen count in your living area. Avoid hanging and/or drying your laundry outside. They will quite easily catch pollen, which you will then get in contact with as soon as you put your clothes on. While these tips will admittedly not cure your hay fever or allergies, it may just be enough to keep the symptoms manageable. In the meantime, we will work on kicking climate change to the curb and hopefully call a halt to the related pollen-infestation. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/climate Read more...
Sustainable Air Travel: Climate Change Mindset And Tips
Posted by: April 24 2019
Sustainable Air Travel: Climate Change Mindset And Tips
Recent news reports emphasized what we secretly already knew for much longer - air travel is damaging our planet and any attempts to reduce its carbon footprint have been lackluster, to say the least. All too often, the airline companies are given a unique position by the countries in which they reside. They do not have to comply with the same rules for emissions as the rest of the (transportation) industry, with regulatory bodies citing their importance to the economy. Waste solutions from airlines worldwide Airlines have been given a part of the responsibility and oversight themselves, although the steps that they have taken seem small and rather insignificant in comparison. It includes options such as letting passengers buy an additional carbon offset-supplement with their airline ticket; or tentatively opting for more efficient fuels to fly on. Other initiatives include the limiting of disposable plastic cups and packaging for the inflight meals and drinks, streamlining maintenance efforts to the point of preventive maintenance applications, and offering more vegan and locally sourced meals. The increased reliance on the autopilot will help to reduce any excess emissions, while airlines actively encourage their passengers to use public transport to get to the airport instead of the car. Still, it barely puts a dent in the share of global air travel in climate change as a whole. The problem that the industry faces appears to be complicated - and twofold. First, the majority of commercial aircraft today still run on fossil fuel. Especially with the biggest producers still holding on to this type of fuel, and aircraft typically staying in service for decades before being retired, this will be a tough hurdle to overcome. Second, more of us are flying than ever before in history. Our increased wealth and connectivity, combined with a greater world population, will lead to close to 5 billion passengers boarding commercial flights this year alone. A number that will, as per recent predictions made by the IATA, double in the next 15 to 20 years. Climate change and our mindset At the present time, commercial flights alone produce more than 850 tons of CO2 per year. This makes up 2% of the global carbon dioxide emissions as caused by humans. A number that may seem deceivingly small, although it is actually quite shocking - considering that there are only a small handful of actual countries who have a higher share than this. And as we are putting strict limits on the CO2 emissions of individual countries, we surely should not forego the industry that would rank just below Germany as the 7th largest polluting country in the world. Does that mean that you should make different plans for your summer break, opting for a destination close to home? Not exactly. While it would help, it is unrealistic to assume that air travel can be easily substituted or foregone. And so you not getting on that flight would quite literally be a mere drop in the ocean. Not flying will not solve climate change. Changing our mindset will. So what the air travel industry needs is a change of mindset. A real and coordinated attempt to drastically increase the sustainability of air travel, starting with the development of truly renewable fuel sources to cut emissions. Planes use less fuel than in the past Let’s start with a positive right here: there is a real and undergoing effort to switch to more fuel-efficient planes. Airline companies are more than motivated to go along in this trend, as fuel has historically been by and large their largest expense. Thus, any efforts to reduce this cost figure will make an airline increasingly more price-competitive. In recent fleet updates, every introduction of a new plane type has led to lower fuel consumption on the whole. For comparison’s sake: today’s airplanes only use about 20% of the fuel that an airplane back in the 1960s would use. New additions to the fleet are decreasing this number even further. For all its flaws, the Boeing 787 does boast a status as being more fuel-efficient than a car - using less than 3 liters of fuel for every 100 kilometers flown. At the same time, older plane types like the Airbus A380 are being discontinued as a result of their fuel inefficiency. Slowly, we are seeing the first stirrings of a low-emission airline industry, partially fueled - excuse the pun - by the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA - a global industry agreement setting forth ambitious targets and strict reporting rules for emissions. In order to even get close to the promised target and really start making an effort to attack climate change, we ought to explore every avenue possible to cut back the carbon footprint. For instance, while it is great that newer planes boast a higher fuel efficiency, wouldn’t it be amazing if they would not use any fuel at all? Well, some type of fuel would obviously always be needed, but what if it were a much cleaner variety? Enter biofuels, one of the most sought-after solutions for sustainable air travel. Biofuels are renewable, made up of, for instance, algae, used cooking oil, forestry slash, municipal waste, or even industrial waste gases. All of those varieties have been tested in regular jet engines, with some pretty impressive results. Last year, Quantas made headlines with the first biofuel-fueled transpacific flight, and others are quickly following suit. A number of airports already offer supplies of sustainable aviation fuel, with more and more airlines using it - lured by the proposition of it cutting emissions by up to 80%. Electric planes by Airbus and Boeing Even less polluting would be electric planes, which is the solution hailed by many as the future of air travel. Airbus and Boeing, the world’s largest manufacturers, are working on projects to eventually introduce an electric plane that is capable of flying long distances. For now, we’ll have to do with hybrid models, part electric and part fuel. Perhaps solar-electric planes, powered by photovoltaic cells on the wings and lithium batteries, will prove to be the holy grail - truly powered by nature. Quicklist for a more sustainable trip For now, these solutions may still be a long way off. In the interim, there are some things that you can do to help reduce the impact of air travel on the environment. Let’s take a look at a quick list of the most helpful tips: Avoid stopovers . Landings and takeoffs generate most of the emissions on your flight, so it’s best to stick to one takeoff and one landing per trip only. Pack light. The heavier a plane, the more fuel it will burn. Every extra kilo in your suitcase will make a difference. Even better: leave the suitcase at home and opt for carry-on packs only. Take short flights . It may seem obvious, but long flights - classified as 1500 km or more - are the largest polluters, responsible for some 80% of the industry’s total emissions. Select your plane. When booking your flight, you will see what type of plane you will be flying with. Generally, smaller planes - including the Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A350s - boast a higher fuel-efficiency. Avoid four-engined giants like the 747 or the A380. Invest in biofuels . And no, you do not have to be a real-life investor to be able to do this. Some airlines will allow their passengers to offset some of their carbon footprint by funding the development and purchase of sustainable aviation fuels. With the right mindset and some help from us, as travelers, the future of the air travel industry looks relatively bright. Let’s keep it it that way. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/waste Read more...
Combatting waste by dumpster diving, a hobby that saves food
Posted by: March 19 2019
Combatting waste by dumpster diving, a hobby that saves food
Dumpster diving. The term alone is guaranteed to put a smile on your face - whether it is one of actual enjoyment or disbelief, I am not sure. Yet this phenomenon, where people sometimes quite literally ‘dive’ in the dumpsters in their neighborhood to hunt for thrown-away treasures, is seeing an uptake after some of its most famous proponents recently made headlines again. From food to  clothes and from electronics to toys With the loot varying from hundreds of left-over desserts to household equipment and sometimes even cash money, it is not hard to see why some have turned this somewhat peculiar hobby into a way of life. A fact is that we, as the collective world population, are throwing away too many perfectly good things. From food to clothes and from electronics to toys: consumerism has taken a turn for the worse, now that we discard items once we are ‘done’ with them, rather than after they have been used fully. Take the issue of food waste. Every year, an average one-third of the food that is produced in the world for the purpose of human consumption is wasted. Simply thrown away. I don’t want to risk sounding too patronizing, but the old mom-trick is painfully relevant here: "You should eat your dinner, poor children in Africa would kill for it." And while it is a cliche of the worst kind, it unfortunately rings true. While some of us are having the luxury of discarding perfectly good food items, others are starving. The world’s wealth has always been distributed unequally - but so has the food supply. The billions and billions worth of food thrown out in the western world, simply because it is a day past the expiration date, is inexcusable. Coming back to dumpster diving. A lot of people are claiming that they are doing it as a way of showing their outrage with consumerism and waste. Others just say that it is fun and addictive. There’s this Dutch guy, Theo Vreugdenhill, who claims that he merely tries to " save perfectly  good food from the trash". As he says, “I simply cannot stand by idly if good food is thrown away, only because there is a tiny dent in it, happens to be slightly damaged, or is nearing its expiration date. Especially when I look around and see how many people are struggling to get by." Theo Vreugdenhill and his wife after their 'dumbesterdive' He is not doing it for himself, quite the contrary. He is a preacher in a local church and takes two full crates with him to service on Sunday, for those who are unable to provide in their own needs. The products that he finds? Quite diverse, actually: from cheese to beer, butter, yoghurt, fruit drinks, feta cheese, salads and fruit. Although he has also come across perfectly good vacuum cleaners and laptops in the past, which just goes to show how careless we are in what we throw away. Not everything can be found in the dumpster: most divers will agree that it are mostly perishable items, such as vegetables, fruit and bread. So you probably should not quite be ready to give up the day job and spent your days as a full-time dumpster diver: products like rice, peanut butter, soda, dish soap and detergent are pretty hard to come by. Would you still want to try and find your inner dumpster diver and fill your fridge with leftovers? Then you can quite literally take the dive and plunge in the bins headfirst, although you could also try to talk to some shop owners yourself. Especially if your good cause stretches beyond feeding your immediate family, they might be very willing to hold on to that day’s excess for you and hand it to you in a bag instead of making you scour for it. Some other hints, as shared by experienced dumpster divers: Do not wear your Sunday’s best for the diving part - while it is not nearly as gross as many people suspect, it is not something that you want to do in your favourite shirt and jeans either. Only go dumpster diving at night, preferably after the shops are closed. This way, you avoid awkward situations with shoppers walking out of the store while you are digging around in the trash. Do not climb any fences or force open gates. Trespassing is not appreciated nor legal, so stay off private property. Stick to the curb-side. Always clean up after yourself. Leaving behind a mess of torn apart bags and scattered trash is bad taste and will most likely set some bad blood. Be a good neighbour and make sure that the people whose trash you are raiding do not mind. Be open about what it is that you are doing: you might get some funny looks from passerbys, who might even think of you as some homeless person. Talk to people who spotted you and explain what you are doing and what you have found. Very practical: use a headlight, so that you can freely use your hands while digging; and make sure to bring plenty of bags and boxes and, preferably, a way of transporting your newfound treasures. Apps which makes you  saving food Not quite ready to go out and dig in your community’s trash bins yet? Then you can do other things to cut back on your food waste. In order to actively encourage you to do so, you will be happy to find that there are quite a few apps that remind you to do so and give helpful hints. One of those apps is Too Good To Go , specifically designed for bargain hunters: businesses can post their leftovers in the app at steep discounts (adding up to at least 50-75%), after which shoppers can come in to collect the relatively fresh food at a great prize. Another popular app is Olio , which allows you to share food with your local community. Handy if you are going on holiday, for instance. Your leftover food can be listed, along with a preferred pick-up point and pick-up time, and people in your community will be able to take it off your hands. Unsung kind of does the same as Olio, except that it works with volunteers, in a charitable set-up. After posting your ‘offer’, one of the Unsung volunteers will come pick it up and deliver it to a local food bank or homeless shelter. Basically, the volunteers are the delivery guys who pick up your food and drop it off with people who need it the most. Finally, Eat Me prevents your food from going bad: it creates a timer for all the food that you have in your fridge. Scan the food as you put it in the fridge, after which it will alert you if it is about to go bad. A fun fact: this app was actually the idea of two teenage girls, who are still involved in the company. Look, I don’t care if you are digging through trashcans or donating your leftovers through one of the apps listed above. The essence remains the same: avoiding a situation where you have to throw away food while someone else in your community might be going hungry. And that is definitely something worth fighting - or dumpster diving - for. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/food Read more...
Gardening decreases stress and is a nice way to improve life
Posted by: March 19 2019
Gardening decreases stress and is a nice way to improve life
Those of us who are blessed with green fingers will be quick to roll their eyes and mumble ‘tell me something that I don’t know yet’. But it is still worth pointing out: gardening is not just fun, it is also very good for your health. A fact that is often forgotten in modern times, where we are so consumed by the artificial light from our various screens that we forego stepping outside to enjoy the actual sunlight. Gardening, a great outdoor activity Some alarming statistics have shown that we, those living in the developed Western nations, spend a staggering 90% of our time indoors - mostly in a seated of reclining manner, consumed by unhealthy habits and always ‘ plugged in ’. Not surprisingly, this has led to a wave of obesity and a worrying increase in medical costs associated with this unhealthy lifestyle. And while most of us are painfully aware of our lack of (outdoor) activity, indicating that we would really want our children to spent more time outdoors, very few of us are making an effort to do so. A shame, because there is so much to do once you get off your couch and open yourself up to the beauty of the world around us. Plus, your kids will be happier and learn more about nature, generally being more open to positive social interaction. If this does not quite convince you, maybe the cold hard facts below will change your mind. For example, did you know that… Gardening reduces your chances of heart- and vascular diseases, making you less likely to fall prey to a stroke or high blood pressure. It has pretty much the same effect as jogging or swimming. Gardening burns quite a lot of calories. Whether you choose to spend a morning in the gym or rather go outdoors to plant some new flowers: gardening lets you burn some 330 calories per hour. Gardening does equal exercise. gardening  is great for your muscles. It has been proven to reduce your chances of osteoporosis, or fragile bones disease. Every time that you start to dig, plant and weed, you are training all of the major muscle groups through your stretching and strengthening of the movements. Gardening helps to kick the stress to the curb! It might even do more so than any other leisure activity. A study tested the stress levels of two groups of students, one of which would go sit and read and the other would go out to garden, just moments after being exposed to a stressful task. And guess what - the group that was told to garden, reported to be in a better mood than the group that would go and read! Gardening exposes us to flowers. So what, you may ask? Well, flowers have been found to significantly improve our mood. Flowers are a natural, healthy moderator that instantly affect our happiness - as well as encouraging people to make more intimate connections, as they get ‘taught’ compassion and caring. Plenty of reason to go out and spend some time in the flowerbed! Gardening is very zen. We get most inspired and relaxed when we are doing something that we enjoy, a task that is somehow repetitive and calming at the same time. This state of relaxation is the same as it is for those who are jogging or doing yoga. You get to reflect, let go of thoughts, and start on organising your life, along with your backyard. Gardening might lower your risk of dementia. Through the physical activity that is associated with gardening, your risk of falling prey to dementia is likely to be reduced. Several studies have shown a significant difference between people who have gardened regularly and those who haven’t when it comes to their susceptibility to dementia. Gardening boosts your immune system in a very basic manner: just by being outside, you are likely to catch a few rays of sunlight. These will provide you with some much needed vitamin D, a valuable nutrient for keeping your immune system healthy and your bones strong. So, did we convince you? Then you might be moving on to the next question of how to go about this new hobby. Well then, you’re in luck, as we’ve got some helpful tips on how to get started. First of all, spring is approaching fast, so get a head start and put in that order of summer-flowering bulbs and seeds. Put those days on which it is cold and rainy outside to good use by browsing catalogues and websites, looking for the perfect find for your garden. Clean up the flower beds and borders, by removing leaves, dead organic matter and other debris; and by cutting back overflowing grasses and bushes. Remove weeds and make sure that the soil is looking fertile and ready to be planted in. Start sowing seeds that need a longer growing season, which can already be done right now: including geraniums, begonias, peppers and aubergines. Check websites and garden calendars to find out which seeds do best in a specific month or season. This way, you can create your own ‘sowing timeline’. Get a grip on garden pests. If you get rid of any pests now, you will thank yourself later. Observe your garden and perennial plants for slugs, snails or aphid colonies. They might have been hibernating still, so this is as good an opportunity as any to ‘clean house’. Start collecting rainwater , for instance by catching it in a water butt - that is connected to downpipes from your home. Once the summer rolls around, you will be grateful. Not only does it circumvent any water shortage issues, rainwater is actually better for your plants - with tapwater generally being somewhat alkaline. Move deciduous shrubs, now that they are still dormant. When you take them out, make sure to take out as much of the root ball as possible, to ensure proper rooting in its new location. Don’t forget to water generously after moving. It will need the extra attention. Prepare and maintain your gardening tools: on a particularly dreary day, get in that shed and take out all of your tools for a much-needed clean, sharpen and oil. This will not only make them last longer, it will also be better for the plants: as it will prevent the spreading of bacteria and diseases. Create a composing area, saving you quite a bit of cash and effort. You could opt for buying a ready-made compost bin or create your own out of spare wood. Then, deposit all organic waste in this dedicated area. Preferably, make sure that there is a varied mixture of materials, to make it easier to turn into compost. These measures should set you up just fine to get your own garden-project kickstarted and make this big, drastic change in your life: to become a gardener, and not only brighten up your immediate area, but also your life as a whole. https://www.whatsorb.com/agri-gardening/you-are-what-you-eat-organic-gardening- Read more...
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