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Going Solar Has Never Been Easier Thanks to Google Earth
It just got a whole lot easier to decide whether or not to get solar panels for your roof. Google's Project Sunroof site will help you locate your home, see how much sun it gets on average and what you could save if you purchased panels.
The project was initially launched in 2015, but has become more popular as solar technology gets more affordable. Google uses a combination of Google Maps, Google Earth and machine learning technology to calculate the sun's path to give an accurate account of your solar situation. It then uses industry standard models to tell you the cost benefit analysis of going solar.
The project is still in progress, but 60 million buildings have been analyzed across 50 states. From that information alone, Google was able to calculate that 79 percent of all rooftops could go solar and in Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico, 90 percent of homes are viable. Houston, Texas has the most viability as a whole with an estimated 18,940 gigawatt-hours of solar generation from rooftops per year.
Once homeowners see the potential, they can use the site to see how much they will save on their monthly electricity bill based on typical utility rates in their location, as well as annual savings. The site then tells users how much square footage of solar panels to get and how to finance them.
There's even a function to see what an entire community could save should they collectively decide to go solar. For example, in Fresno, California, 92 percent of the rooftops are viable and if they reached full solar capacity, it would be equivalent to taking 261,000 cars off the road each year or planting 31 million trees.
It's still a common misconception that solar is too expensive or that an area doesn't get enough sunny days. Now, homeowners can see for themselves what their potential is and make a more conscious decision about where their energy comes from.
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Nestlé cannot claim that its Ice Mountain bottled water brand is an essential public service, according to Michigan's second highest court, which delivered a legal blow to the food and beverage giant in a unanimous decision.
A number of supermarkets across the country have voluntarily issued a recall on sushi, salads and spring rolls distributed by Fuji Food Products due to a possible listeria contamination, as CBS News reported.
If you read a lot of news about the climate crisis, you probably have encountered lots of numbers: We can save hundreds of millions of people from poverty by 2050 by limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, but policies currently in place put us on track for a more than three degree increase; sea levels could rise three feet by 2100 if emissions aren't reduced.
Poverty and violence in Central America are major factors driving migration to the United States. But there's another force that's often overlooked: climate change.
Retired Lt. Cmdr. Oliver Leighton Barrett is with the Center for Climate and Security. He says that in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, crime and poor economic conditions have long led to instability.
"And when you combine that with protracted drought," he says, "it's just a stressor that makes everything worse."
Barrett says that with crops failing, many people have fled their homes.
"These folks are leaving not because they're opportunists," he says, "but because they are in survival mode. You have people that are legitimate refugees."
So Barrett supports allocating foreign aid to programs that help people in drought-ridden areas adapt to climate change.
"There are nonprofits that are operating in those countries that have great ideas in terms of teaching farmers to use the land better, to harvest water better, to use different variety of crops that are more resilient to drought conditions," he says. "Those are the kinds of programs I think are needed."
So he says the best way to reduce the number of climate change migrants is to help people thrive in their home countries.
Reporting credit: Deborah Jian Lee / ChavoBart Digital Media.
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
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Chris Pratt was called out on social media by Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa after Pratt posted an image "low key flexing" with a single-use plastic water bottle.