Shi Yan’s approach to organic farming is helping to break the country’s “addiction to pesticides”.
Beijing, China – We’d been driving for an hour and a half since leaving central Beijing when the car suddenly slowed to a halt. “This isn’t exactly where the GPS told me to go, but I think it’s the place,” says the driver.
I look out the window and see a simple wooden archway leading to a plain, one-storey building. The facade is bare except for some words painted in black capital letters. “Who is your farmer? Where does your food come from?” it reads.
“Yes,” I reply. “This is definitely the place.”
I’ve arrived at Shared Harvest, a 2.6-hectare farm in the countryside 70km north of the capital, to meet Shi Yan, its founder and chief executive. This is one of two Shared Harvest farms; the second is located in Tongzhou, half-an-hour away.
Yan greets me warmly, wearing a knitted green cardigan and long purple scarf. “Sorry I’m late. It’s busy now because of the conference,” she says.
Opened in 2012, Shared Harvest is not only a completely organic farm, it was also one of the first in China to follow the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model, where consumers buy meat and vegetables directly from producers. “We painted the question on the building ourselves,” says Yan, “because in CSA, that is the core question.”
Some observers are tipping 2016 as the year virtual reality tech takes off, but does augmented reality have more practical applications for business?
Imagine walking on Mars and being able to examine rock formations from all angles, or collaborating on the same 3D hologram design with someone thousands of miles away.
Or imagine being able to diagnose and treat the diseases of people half way around the world while you remain in your clinic, or walking around a gallery and having your own holographic guide pointing things out to you on your smart glasses.
A new twist on tiny house living, the prefab Eco-Friendly Hobbit system is virtually indestructible, and takes advantage of earth sheltering to optimize energy use. Learn more about Magic Green Homes who fabricates these hobbit houses.
Pakistan’s parliament has become the first national assembly in the world to be powered entirely by solar energy. The legislative body, known as the Majlis-e-Shoora, is in the capital city of Islamabad.
Construction on the project began last year with funding provided by the Chinese government as “an act of friendship,” the Independent reported.
The plant, which cost $52 million to build, produces 80 megawatts of electricity, 62 of which will power the national assembly and 18 of which will feed into the national grid. According to PV Magazine, the parliament could save an estimated $1 million per year in energy bills with the new solar power plant.
Feb. 12 marked the first time members of parliament met while the lower house was being powered by solar. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to formally “switch on” the program later this month, Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported.
“This is the first project of its kind [in a public building] in Pakistan, and later more public buildings will be converted to solar power to overcome the energy crisis,” Munawar Abbas Shah, special secretary at the national assembly, said previously. “The consumption of electricity in the parliament even jumps over 2 megawatts in summers when the house is in session.”
The SeaVax is a solar- and wind-powered ship that can suck up plastic waste. The inventors at Bluebird Marine Systems LTD unveiled their proof of
With more plastic than fish expected in our oceans by 2050, cleaning up this mess seems like an impossible task. But a team of inventors from Sussex, England have developed a novel solution. The SeaVax is a solar- and wind-powered ship that can suck up plastic waste.
The inventors at Bluebird Marine Systems LTD unveiled their proof of concept at the government-funded Innovate UK show in London in November. The inventors are entering prototype phase, the Express reported.
The ship purportedly works by funneling plastic waste as it moves forward. According to this mockup posted to the Innovate UK website, once built, the vessel will be around 144 feet long and fully autonomous. Deck-mounted solar panels and two wind turbines will feed power to electric pumps and filters that can suck up plastic solids and micro plastics. An onboard shredder rips and breaks up larger pieces of debris.
The builders calculated on their website that the finished robovac will be able to generate enough energy to treat an average of 89.9 million liters of seawater in a year, translating to 22,400,000 kilograms of plastic from a body of water that has high concentrations of surface solid plastic, such as river estuaries.
“Working in a fleet, these autonomous robotic boats could keep plastic buildup contained and significantly reduce the existing ocean gyres in around 5-10 years, cost effectively,” the inventors said.
The captured plastic is temporarily stored in a cargo hold that can carry around 150 tons of weight until it can be off-loaded or recycled, the inventors said.
“With our system all sizes of rubbish, from huge fishing nets to deadly micro particles, can be swept or sucked up, ground down and stored in SeaVax’s tanks,” project director Chris Close explained to the Express.
The UK Labour Party is considering universal basic income as part of its new economic policy. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said the Labour Party would not rule out unconditional pay for all members of society during a talk at the London School of Economics on Tuesday night. “It’s an idea we want to look at. Child benefit was a form of basic income so it’s not something that I would rule out,” he said.
Source: http://www.naturalsociety.com | Original Post Date: May 29, 2014 – Algae has already been touted as a natural healing wonder. Not only does have its high chlorophyll content and special plant compounds been shown to defeat cancer and heart disease, it also shows promise as a replacement for bu
Alternative Fuel: Scientists Turn Algae Into Usable Fuel In Less Than An Hour
Source: www.naturalsociety.com | Original Post Date: May 29, 2014 –
Algae has already been touted as a natural healing wonder. Not only does have its high chlorophyll content and special plant compounds been shown to defeat cancer and heart disease, it also shows promise as a replacement for butter and eggs in gluten free and vegan baked goods. Even giants like Unilever, which make unhealthy household items, have looked to algae as a replacement for palm oil in many of its products since palm oil production is destroying our bio-diverse rain forests. But perhaps the latest and most promising news about algae, though, is that it could replace petroleum fuels.
Aside from polluting the planet, petroleum-based products, used in cosmetics and a thousand other products including bicycle tires, fertilizer, paint, shag rugs, and ever shoes, are very detrimental. Cancer-causing chemicals like 4-dioxane and other poisonous compounds (up to 10,500 of them) are in everything from soap to bubble bath and toothpaste.
If your lips are chapped and you’ve used petroleum jelly, you’ve also exposed your body to carcinogenic compounds that may temporarily relieve your cracked lips, but can cause breast cancer, lymphoma, Parkinson’s, and a multitude of other diseases.
Alternatively, algae shows promise as a replacement for both petroleum and palm oil as a fuel source. Within algae lay dormant, vast stores of biofuel – estimates compare algae to oil and find that algae can produce from seven to 31 times the fuel than the next best crop that has been planted to power the planet – palm oil. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy pledged to invest up to $24 million in three research groups looking at ways to commercialize algae-based biofuels, and $16.5 million have already been invested in programs in Hawaii, New Mexico, and California.
The Smithsonian recently reported that scientists turned algae into usable fuel (crude oil) in less than an hour. Scaling up the use of algae would take land about the size of the state of Maryland. Conversely, palm oil is eating up our rainforests globally at a rate of at least 10 times as fast, eating up usable land.
“. . .palm oil is expected to be the world’s most produced and internationally traded edible oil. . .”
While deforestation is happening due to a number of causes, including commercial agriculture, subsistence farming, palm-oil plantations, and clear-cutting for paper and furniture, reducing the land we use for fuel would save our rainforests and also produce a healthy by-product which even oxygenates the air.
Though a Mercedes-Benz bio-diesel E320 was premiered a while back that might conceivably run on algae fuel, most cars haven’t been tested for emissions or gas-mileage. Also, algae has to be grown under very specific conditions, with controlled temperature, relatively high up-front capital expense, and the requirement of phosphorous to grow the plant – which is quickly becoming scarce. Oh, and of course genetic engineers looking at utilizing GMO algae that could through the planet into yet another ‘un’ natural catastrophe (not).
Still, weighing the pros and cons of algae-based bio-fuels, they look quite promising.
Source: Beaufort Court
An example of a groundbreaking refurbishment of a disused poultry farm into a state-of-the-art eco-friendly head office for Renewable Energy Systems just outside the M25.
The site has a range of renewable energy technologies in action;
Crop Store – Purpose built structure, bales of miscanthus are dried naturally after harvesting, ready for use in the biomass boiler.
Solar Power – Large array of solar panels provide both heat and electricity for the office buildings. The sun heats the water in the solar panels which is then used to heat the building. The innovative PVT panels convert daylight to electricity as well.
Wind Power – Each year, the wind turbine will generate more than twice the amount of electricity the buildings need, so they sell the surplus to the local grid.
Underground Heat Store – When it is warm, the heat generated by the solar panels is not needed. It is instead stored in a huge underground heat store comprising of 1400m2 of water with a floating insulated lid. In the colder months, this warm water is used to pre-heat the air that is circulated around the office building.
Energy from Crops – They have planted 5 hectares of an energy crop called miscanthus, or ‘Elephant Grass’. This is burnt in an environmentally-friendly biomass boiler to provide most of the heat they need in their buildings during the winter. Generating energy from crops is good for the environment because the greenhouse gases that are emitted during combustion are re-absorbed as the crop is growing, so no polluting gases are added to the atmosphere.
Solar Architecture – The original ‘horseshoe’ shape of the main building was designed to create light, airy and hygienic conditions for the chickens reared on the egg farm. Today, this has been enhanced through clever design to make maximum use of the sunlight and natural ventilation. Techniques include large windows, rooflights and vents, an open balcony design between the ground and first floor and deciduous tree planting for natural shading.
Biomass Boiler – The Elephant Grass is harvested in late winter, then dried and stored as bales in the crop store until needed. The bales are shredded before being fed into a 100kW boiler which generates heat for the offices.
Natural Cooling From the Ground – Beaufort Court is cooled naturally by cool water extracted from the local underground aquifer via a 75m deep borehole. It is pumped from the ground at 12C and is used to cool the air coming into the building. It is then circulated at 15C around the offices in the chilled beams before being pumped out to irrigate the energy crop.
Source: Beaufort Court
Whipping a campus into sustainable shape involves anything from a new build to careful maintenance of existing buildings. For example, UWE Bristol’s approach encompasses upgrading lighting systems and installing charging points for electric cars, as well as a newly developed facility for the Faculty of Environment and Technology.
Source: About us – Solar United Natives
A ‘New Consciousness’ community
We are citizens of Earth, children of the Sun. We are one family.
Solar United Natives is a virtual community on one hand, with members all around the world, and a small but growing community in a green valley of northern Hungary (land of previous S.U.N. Festivals) and in the surrounding villages. The idea grew out of the Hungarian Goa scene, but it aims to do more then merely presenting a big festival every year – the profit from the events goes back to developing a sustainable community.
By becoming a member you are entitled to visit the Summer Gathering and other events for free, and you support the initiative with your membership fee at the same time. You can even influence the organisation’s work, vote on artists, projects and so, or, if you are more serious, join us in the work on the land!
Source: http://www.proudtobeafilthyliberalscum.com | Original Post Date: April 12, 2014 – Surf’s up! The Navy appears to have achieved the Holy Grail of energy independence – turning seawater into fuel: After decades of experiments, U.S. Navy scientists believe they may have solved one of the world
Source: www.proudtobeafilthyliberalscum.com | Original Post Date: April 12, 2014 –
Surf’s up! The Navy appears to have achieved the Holy Grail of energy independence – turning seawater into fuel:
After decades of experiments, U.S. Navy scientists believe they may have solved one of the world’s great challenges: how to turn seawater into fuel.
The new fuel is initially expected to cost around $3 to $6 per gallon, according to the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, which has already flown a model aircraft on it.
Plastic is everywhere. In fact, the environment is so riddled with it, researchers predict that 99% of all birds on this planet will have plastic in their gut by the year 2050.
It is not enough to persuade people to use less, plastic needs to be repurposed and reused to be kept out of landfills. Despite informative infographics, emotional statistics, and recycling programs, many nations – especially the United States – continue to toss plastics into landfills without much care.
This unfortunate reality has spurred many to get creative with the discarded byproducts of society. Some have used plastic waste to construct marvelous sculptures and raise awareness about the issue, while others are repurposing it entirely to construct eco-friendly homes.
As phys.org reports, the housing crisis has become so bad in Nigeria, nearly 16 million units are required to address the shortage. Because crafting traditional homes would be far too expensive for most, locals adopted the idea put forth by two NGOs and are now building plastic bottle homes.
The solution not only cuts costs for building a house, it is beneficial for the environment.
A phone designed to be easy to repair or upgrade is set to go on sale.
Fairphone 2: world’s first modular phone goes on sale
16 December 2015 Last updated at 01:23 GMT
A smartphone designed to be easy to repair and upgrade goes on sale this week.