Friday, October 19, 2018

Imagine a carbon fiber car where the body is the battery

Swedish scientists have discovered that carbon fiber can store energy. The same tough material that makes the Boeing’s 787 so light and efficient could act as a battery, opening up new opportunities in design and energy storage.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Vegan dog food exec dares others to eat their dog food

Maybe you’re trying to switch to a plant based diet, but what about Fido?

Wild Earth is an emerging vegan pet food brand. Right now they are daring Purina and other execs to eat their own dog food. (Don’t try this at home; recommends washing your hands after feeding your dog treats or dog food because of salmonella.) But Wild Earth founders are happy to eat their own brand. It appears they only have treats available for sale but kibble or canned is soon to follow.

It’s still controversial whether feeding a dog a plant based diet is good for them or the planet.

According to Tufts Veterinary Center

Most dogs can do quite well on a carefully designed vegan diet that meets all of their nutritional needs.  As a veterinary nutritionist, I use meat-free diets quite a bit to help manage various health concerns. The challenge is that designing these diets is not the easiest thing to do. While a number of commercial vegan and vegetarian diets exist on the market for dogs, not all of them are equivalent in quality. In general, diets that include eggs or dairy as protein sources are less worrisome than diets based only on plant proteins. Home-prepared diets always fare worse as the vast majority of home-cooked meat-based diets dog owners are feeding lack essential nutrients and the vegetarian and vegan ones typically have all the same deficiencies and then some additional ones, such as protein.

When I was working with food processors years ago, I recall a pet food manufacturer bemoaning the trend toward organic and high end pet foods. He said this was gobbling up the supplyof organics for people and also eliminating a market for all those “by-products” from the meat and poultry industry, all those parts humans don’t want to eat, creating more waste.  If we ever get to a plant-based society and all-organic agriculture, those issues might go away; but in the meantime, it’s complicated.

If you have favorite vegan pet food recipes or brands, share your experience here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Biggest science policy issue by state

There are so many issues to focus on, people get distracted. This Popular Science article identifies THE policy issue for each state. Arizonans, no surprise, it’s water conservation.

The most important science policy issue in every state - Popular Science

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Nobel prizes tied to sustainability

Two US economists ere just awarded the Nobel Economics Prize related to sustainability.

Nobel committee chair Per Stromberg told Reuters Monday’s award was honoring research into “two big global questions”: how to deal with the negative effects of growth on the climate and “to make sure that this economic growth leaves prosperity for everyone.”

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The astounding greenhouse gases of meat and dairy companies

Here’s a startling factoid...

The world’s five largest meat and dairy companies combined, including Tyson, Cargill and Dairy Farmers of America, are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions every year than any of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies.
For most of us, it’s going to be easier to eat more fruits and veggies than to buy an electric car and solar panels.

Some people go ‘cold turkey’ (bad vegan ‘meataphor’), committing to a vegan diet for a month and then see how they feel. I’ve found it easier to do it gradually....and I’m not quite there yet. I’ve been a vegetarian for decades which gave me time to adapt recipes (eg, pizza and chili without meat). Lately influenced by Healthy World Sedona, I’ve been experimenting with dairy alternatives (coffee creamer, yogurt, cheese...first two were easy; cheese, not so much unless it’s mixed into a dish.) Online recipes and reviews make this easier than ever. I still occasionally make an egg dish or treat myself to a slice of bacon when we go out for breakfast.

Start somewhere. It’s healthier, less expensive, better for the planet and better for the poor caged animals. Who wouldn’t want that?

Share your favorite recipes and vegan brands!

The Giant Corporations Behind Your Burgers And Milk Have A Terrifying Climate Secret - HuffPost

Friday, October 12, 2018

How the Brits used the mail to change ‘crisps’ packaging

Crisps (that’s potato chips in American English) are usually packaged in un-recyclable packaging, crackly plastic that brings your dog running, or Mylar. The Brits were fed up. Instead of staging their own version of the Boston Tea Party, they mailed the packaging back to the manufacturer. Here’s what happened....

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Leave No Trace now includes packing out your poop

What happens when too many people hike or back back in the same area? Use your imagination; it’s gross. So now some of our National Parks are requiring people to pack out their own poo (if there’s no pit toilet around.)

Even if you’re in an area that doesn’t require you to pack it out, be sure to follow the Leave No Trace guidelines.

...find a secluded spot two hundred feet away from the trail, site, or water sources; dig a six-inch hole in the earth (which many do with the help of a compact plastic trowel), do your business, and cover it up. Toilet paper, even the kind advertised as “biodegradable,” is to be packed out, not buried, burned, or lazily stuffed under a rock.
America's National Parks Are Being Ruined by Human Poop - VICE

Monday, October 8, 2018

IPCC says we need to reduce greenhouse gases by 45% by 2030

According to the world’s leading climate experts, we have 11 years to drastically reduce our impact on the climate to avoid disaster our consequences, far more onerous than those we are already experiencing.

Global net emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach "net zero" around 2050 in order to keep the warming around 1.5 degrees C.

What can you do? For around $1 a day, everyone can buy green power and carbon offsets, even if they can’t buy a more efficient car or appliances right now. (See this blog post. While it’s written for small business, it all applie equally to households.

Those of you who are motivated to save money can check their home for leaks, upgrade their HVAC system or old appliances, and move toward a plant-based diet.

Planet has 12 years to stem catastrophic climate change, experts warn - CNN

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Sign of change: Solar installation at Chernobyl

Heres a symbol of the shift from the dirty 20th Century Industrial Revolution to our clean energy future. The Russians have built a large solar installation at Chernobyl, large enough to power 2000 homes despite the fact they’re virtually in the dark during the winter.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Globally, who is concerned about climate change, and not

Heres an interesting bit of analysis on a Pew research study. Caring about the climate is tied to democratic values.

Commitment to such democratic principles is a “nearly universal” predictor of concern for climate change around the world, the study finds—except English-speaking Western democracies where “political party has a large impact.” 

The study concludes that attitudes are different in the US because of free-market ideology. This is a classic case of our brains resisting information if we don’t like the implications.

Perhaps the reason totalitarian states tend to deny climate change is that there is a relationship between extractive economies/petro-states and authoritarianism. When a small number of people get wildly rich on a resource, they generally fight to keep the spoils themselves.

I wonder where China fits in this study. They’re investing heavily in clean energy but aren’t fans of unfettered democracy.

Climate Deniers Are More Likely to Hate Democracy - VICE