Feature Post, Green Living

A soapy affair – The science of homemade soap making

Source

For most people soap is just a tool used to get rid of the bacteria on your skin, while for others it is a way of expressing their artistic views. But whatever your reasons are, I bet you wondered at least once how it’s made, or if you can make your own. Soap making is one of those science experiments you can

Climate, Green Living, Renewable Energy

World’s first solar road works better than expected

solaroad

Only six months ago, a 230-foot strip of road was covered in solar panels in the Netherlands. Since then, some 3,000 kilowatt-hours of energy were produced or enough to power one Dutch home for a whole year. These news came as a surprise even to the developers of SolaRoad, as the project has been dubbed.

Environment, Green Living, News

HSBC advises caution when investing in fossil fuels, according to private note to clients

Divestment

Amid crashing oil prices and a divestment movement from fossil fuels, one of the most important banks in the world, HSBC, advised its clients to exercise caution when considering investing in fossil fuel assets. This was communicated through a private report, called ‘Stranded assets: what next?’, picked up by Newsweek. Inside, analysts warn that fossil fuel companies might become economically non-viable in the future, considering tightening emission regulations throughout the world. Considering HSBC’s portfolio, we can only take this as a sign that the fossil fuel industry is growing increasingly vulnerable, while renewables are shifting gears and growing at a fast pace driven by technological advances.

Green Living, News

Man cleans up entire river on his way to work

trsh

We all see garbage in our daily routine, be it on the way to work, school, or just on the streets. But most people just choose to ignore it; after all, what difference could one man possibly do? Well, Tommy Kleyn didn’t think like that when he was walking pass a polluted river to work. He took a bag of garbage

Biology, Green Living, News

Biotech used to build plant tolerance to water shortage – one way to beat California’s worst drought in history

plant resistant drought

Exploiting plants’ natural response to stress caused by drought, researchers have engineered crops that build tolerance and can withstand longer without water, while also extending the point of no return when no amount of water can save the withered plant. This “buy more” time method might hopefully help vulnerable crops fare better during long periods of drought – like the one currently in full swing in California, which is experiencing its worst drought in recorded history – and increase yields.

Environment, Green Living

Growing flowers locally is important too, not just food

Ecuador’s flower business employs about 50,000 people on about 550 farms across the country and is indirectly responsible for 110,000 jobs. The country ships $120 million in flowers in advance of Valentine’s Day alone, experts say. Image: Getty

Between 1992 and 2007, the number of products sold by farmers directly to consumers increased three fold and twice as fast as total agricultural sales. This gives to show that recent policies and campaigns aimed at improving the sale of local food have been largely successful. Local food is fresher, has more flavor and a longer shelf life, supports small business from the local community, preserves the use of farmlands and open spaces by making them economically viable. But not all agricultural sectors have received equal attention – take flowers, for instance. Some 80% of the flowers sold in the $7 billion-$8 billion American market come from South America, according to the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC).

Green Living, News, Science

The farmers of the future will be all robots

AGBOT II: Agricultural robot developed at the Queensland University of Technology for weed and crop management in broadacre as well as horticulture applications. Image: QUT

By 2050, world population is expected to rise to nine billion, but the amount of arable land meant to grow food will remain mostly the same as it stands today. As such, a 25% increase in productivity is mandated to support not just a growing populace, but also a wealthier one – as income inequality is coming down in developing countries, we’re also seeing a sharp increase in meat consumption, for instance. Genetically modified organisms and waste management are just a few paramount solutions. At the same time, productivity stems from agricultural processes and some modern farmers are already integrating the latest technology to increase their yields and cut costs. Twenty years from now, expect your oranges and corn to be 100% sown, grown and harvested by robots.

Green Living, News

The French Install Wind Turbines on the Eiffel Tower

Image: hjjanisch/Flickr

One of the world’s most iconic and well known monuments – the Eiffel Tower – just got even better: the French authorities have installed two vertical axis wind turbines to power, at least partially, the tower’s electrical requirements.

Climate, Green Living, News

Ocean oscillation patterns explain global warming ‘hiatus’

climate change hiatus

One of the prime arguments climate change skeptics throw about is how surface temperatures have remained more or less constant for the past 15 years, hence there is no man-made global warming – it’s all a sham, a conspiracy to keep scientists busy with gratuitous grants and fill Al Gore’s pockets. I’ve written previously about models and observations that explain

Green Living, News

A Vacant Lot In Wyoming Will Become One Of The World’s First Vertical Farms

In addition to 44,000 pounds of tomatoes, the greenhouse adjacent to the municipal parking garage in downtown Jackson is projected to deliver 20,000 pounds of lettuce, 44,00 pounds of herbs, 10,000 pounds of microgreens, 7,500 pounds of baby specialty greens, and 4,725 pounds of strawberries.

Building vertical farms is innovative and can have significant advantages, done properly; but building a vertical farm in the middle of a city… that’s just awesome! In downtown Jackson, Wyoming, developers are working on a vertical veggie farm which just might revolutionize urban food growing.