About two weeks after Barack Obama gave Shell the green light to drill for oil in Arctic waters off the Alaska Coast, the president is embarking on an ironic three-day visit to Alaska aimed at highlighting the drastic effects of climate change on the state’s environment. According to Grist, along with traveling the state to see what climate change is doing to glaciers and permafrost in the state, Obama is also expected to call for more action on climate change and push for commitments to reduce carbon emissions – ahead of the UN Climate Summit taking place in Paris this December. Environmentalists were quick to call out the president for the hypocrisy of these two seemingly conflicting decisions.
Need an escape from the city? Adventure and nature awaits you at the beautiful Tye Haus A-frame Cabin in the woods. Surrounded by some of the best hikes in the Pacific Northwest, the rentable AirBnB cabin is the perfect year-round retreat for outdoor explorers who want a comfortable and picturesque place to rest their heads. Located in Skykomish, Washington, the adorable cabin offers excellent access to fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and skiing.
When it comes to growing food, the sky’s the limit thanks to innovations like the Sky Urban Vertical Farming System. Designed and pioneered by the Singapore-based company Sky Greens, the vertical farming system is a revolutionary modern spin on the ancient practice of agriculture. Using cutting edge technology, the system demonstrates an energy efficient, environmentally friendly method of producing food that could be a powerful tool in feeding the ever-growing, increasingly urbanized, global population.
Houseplants do a superb job at removing the hidden toxins lurking in the home. Those toxins, also known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), can be found in many common household items from paints to floor wax. ProFlowers put together a handy infographic that lists the best plants to fight VOCs, according to scientific studies by NASA and Dr. B.C. Wolverton. The graphic breaks down the top five plants for removing five of the worst VOC offenders, from ammonia to benzene. Read on for the full list and learn which plant ranks number one in fighting all five indoor toxins.
ORION is a lamp made entirely out of recycled wood that can be adjusted using a sliding weight. Wood chips derived from manufacturing processes are pulverized and mixed with glue to create a wood paste. This paste is used to create the particular shape of ORION. In order to make the lamp an interactive object, the designer added a cylindrical weight, which can be moved to adjust the intensity of the light. By sliding the weight along the arc, you can easily vary the intensity of the light emitted, with the brightest light released when the weight is at the ends of the lamp, giving you a gorgeously green lamp that will add style to any space.
For urbanites who like a little taste of the countryside at home, California's new farm-to-table community might be the ideal living space. The Cannery, soon to open in Davis, California on the former site of the Hunt-Wesson tomato cannery, is a community of 547 homes arrayed around a 74-acre farm plot. Unlike the utopic communes popular with California hippies in the 70s, the development delivers large, single-dwelling homes and access to fresh produce without the need to get your hands dirty. For residents with green thumbs, fruit and nut trees will be planted in every yard.
Quit the quinoa and kick the kale*, there’s a new superfood in town. Amaranth is a wonderful multi-purpose plant that should be on everyone’s plate. Though underappreciated in the contemporary West, amaranth is hardly a recent discovery. Like kale and quinoa, this ancient crop has served humanity for millennia. However, its uses aren’t limited to the kitchen. Read on to learn some of the other ways this humble plant can improve our lives.
*Don’t actually, these things are great.
This lightweight pavilion may look like a simple canopy structure, but it's actually a fantastic kinetic environment that creates shade thanks to thousands of constantly rearranging tiny plastic balls made from recycled water bottles. Designers at MODU named the project "Cloud Seeding" which is supposed to reflect the effect of passing clouds the pavilion creates.
The good people at Peek Vision have developed an adaptor that fits over smartphone cameras and can inspect the health of people’s retinas. Combined with the Peek Retina app, vision care is no longer confined to doctors’ offices with giant ophthalmology machinery; quality care can now go wherever a smartphone can go. With 90 percent of visually-impaired people living in low-income to middle-income countries, this technology is a game changer.
As the third anniversary of Hurricane Sandy nears closer, Mayor de Blasio recently announced an incredible $100 million in funding that will be focused on implementing numerous storm protection infrastructure systems around Lower Manhattan. The mayor made the announcement at a preparedness fair at the Alfred E. Smith playground on Manhattan’s Lower East Side last Thursday as he passed out emergency “go bags” to the students.
In perhaps one of the dumbest headlines of the day, we sadly must report that Russian authorities have destroyed over 1.5 tons of food earmarked for the BMW car racing team. Was it because Russia has something against high-performance automobiles? They might, but the real reason for destroying the food was a much more eyeroll-worthy offense. The act was in retaliation for sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine, and Russia has been burning European foods for weeks.
Fall is coming! In North America, whether we like it or not, summer is drawing to an end. For some, that’s a sad annual occurrence, but those of us who crave cozy sweaters and the crunch of leaves under our feet are psyched when the foliage starts to turn. If you’re the sort who gets inspired by nature’s technicolor display of autumn leaves, you’ll want to check out this awesome tool that predicts the changing of leaves across the continental United States.
Bill McKibben warned us three decades ago that climate change would create a series of devastating phenomena that we have never before seen, and we are already starting to see that prediction come true. On Saturday evening, for the first time in recorded history, three category 4 hurricanes were churning in the central and eastern Pacific basins at the same time as illustrated in the above satellite image. Two of the hurricanes have since subsided, but the incident should be a major wake-up call for anyone still insisting that climate change is normal.