Greenwashing

All Natural. Organic. Eco-friendly. Green. Farm Fresh. These are the sexy buzzwords that draw us in to products that unscrupulously exploit our desire to go green. The FDA doesn’t regulate these terms, and they are often nothing more than just words. “Green” products contain the color green on the packaging. “Farm fresh” covers essentially any meat or dairy product. “Natural” is more of a sentiment than a descriptor. And just to give you a sense of the word “organic”, Dichloromethane is an organic compound and is toxic. I definitely wouldn’t want that in my salad. So then, how should caring consumers discern the environmentally-sound eggs from the chemical-ridden cosmetics?

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Echoing Green

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Abubaker Musuuza is the founder of: Village Energy Limited.

Echoing Green is a non-profit organization that provides support to entrepreneurs with solutions to social issues worldwide. Once an entrepreneur presents their idea, they are granted 90 thousand dollars to start their business. Financial advisers and other professionals support each business as they take off with their innovations. I chose to cover three such innovations and their creators on the blog today because I find non-profits essential to humanity. Sometimes it gets discouraging to think about how much financial support is needed to start a business. With Echoing Green, those issues are taken care of and inventors are allowed to do what they do best. They are free to create.

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Product Life

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Repurposed skateboard idea from boredpanda.com

When trends die, where do they go? You may be surprised to find that junk can go in more places than just the trash. In fact, there are five possibilities:

  1. Landfill
  2. Combustion – incineration is a popular method used in regions such as Japan but not the U.S.
  3. Recycle – recycling companies melt down certain materials so they can become new products
  4. Reuse – for example, rinsing out your starbucks cup and using it again instead of throwing it out
  5. Re-purpose – for instance, turning a broken sled into a new shelf

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Guilty Confessions

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Microbeads are banned in some states.

Environmentalists like to act high and mighty sometimes, like earth goddesses destined to restore the ecosystem and punish those who harm it. Labor Day Weekend I was feeling determined. I ran two miles to watch Suicide Squad at the theater, and ran back. How environmentally conscious, right? I know I seem perfect, but I have some confessions to make. Continue reading “Guilty Confessions”

Green Roofs

 

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The Basics

Recently I’ve been working on a project at my job – How much energy could we save if we changed our building’s roof to a green roof? Answer: I don’t know. That would require a lot of math which I don’t have the energy to calculate. But I did learn some stuff on the way to giving up. For instance: Changing up your roof adds oxygen to the air and attracts wildlife. Continue reading “Green Roofs”

Fish Water?

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http://www.thinkfish.co.uk

When I visited the famed underground cistern of Istanbul, which once provided a constant water supply for a massive palace, I noted that fish swam around in the water to “reduce bacteria”. Of course we’ve all owned algae eating fish at one point or another that kept our goldfish tanks clean, but these were massive fish that took the form of catfish or maybe even koi. After much wonderment I had the chance to look further into this method of decontamination myself. It turns out that even scientists debate the effectiveness of using fish to clean water. With a little reading I discovered that fish might consume algae in reservoirs in developing countries, but they certainly don’t purify water enough to drink it. Fish catalyze a reaction that reduces ammonia from rain water, making the water more suitable for life but not quite drinkable. Frankly, it sounds like an experiment I’d really love to try.

Please read the forum! Here is the link: fish-water forum

Water from Air

Lima, Peru is said to have nearly one hundred percent humidity. That means that this major city located in a desert with less than one inch of rain per year has air that is completely saturated on the most humid days. Still, over 18 percent of the Peruvian population lacks safe water, and around 32 percent are not equipped with modern day sanitation.

Using inverse osmosis filtration and electricity, the University of Engineering and Tech of Peru developed a billboard that filters, condenses, and cleans water from air. The billboard can produce almost 100L of clean water per day. I hope that soon all billboards in Peru have this feature, and that the plans for building and modeling similar products are released!

Image from techland.time.com