Leonardo DiCaprio Is at It Again, Invests in Energy Technology Company Zuli
Zuli, creator of the Zuli Smartplug, announced today that world-renowned actor and environmental philanthropist Leonardo DiCaprio has joined the company’s board of advisors. DiCaprio also invested an undisclosed sum in the company, joining a group of existing Zuli advisors and institutional and private investors that includes Menlo Ventures, Logitech, Winklevoss Capital, Guy Kawasaki and Hossein Eslambolchi (Former CTO, AT&T).
Zuli builds proprietary software and hardware that simply optimizes energy efficiency by enabling homes to adapt passively around individual preferences.
“Our world faces an unprecedented climate challenge—but every person can be part of the solution if they commit to making sustainability and conservation part of their daily lives and routines,” said DiCaprio. “Technologies like Zuli empower individuals to turn their homes into models of energy efficiency. This technology is scalable, and an important part of helping reduce an individual’s impact on the environment.”
With Zuli’s first product, the Zuli Smartplug, just plug it in, connect any light or appliance, and immediately gain control of it from your smartphone. The Zuli app allows you to turn appliances on/off, dim lights, set schedules, see energy usage and even estimate monthly costs of all your devices.
Zuli’s proprietary “Presence” technology can accurately pin-point your location within the home, adjusting lighting, temperature and more to your preferences simply by walking into a room. Zuli also works in the background to passively save energy by shutting off unused devices when you leave a room—cutting off phantom power from devices in idle mode.
“Adding smartphone control to our homes is a great step, but to make them truly smart, we need to be focused on how we enable our homes to learn about what we like, understand our needs contextually, and make autonomous and efficient decisions for us,” Zuli CEO Taylor Umphreys said. “We are pleased to have the involvement of advisors and investors like Leo as we work to put our technology to work in every home in America.”
Zuli is the featured Smartplug on the Works with Nest platform, and enables users to control their Nest temperature and enable Zuli Presence with their thermostat all within the Zuli App. Zuli has also announced upcoming partnerships with Logitech Harmony and Research Frontiers Smartglass.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Naomi Larsson
For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.
Biodiversity and Habitat Loss<p>Their near extinction is a symbol of the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/global-biodiversity-outlook-targets-extinction-summit-new-york-pledge/a-54932895" target="_blank">biodiversity crisis</a> in the UK, largely driven by habitat destruction. Britain is now one of the countries with the most <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/future-of-UK-nature#:~:text=The%20UK%20is%20one%20of,than%20half%20are%20in%20decline" target="_blank">depleted nature</a> in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Half its plant and animal species are in decline and more than <a href="https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/let-nature-sing-wales/#:~:text=a%20natural%20tragedy.-,Over%2040%20million%20birds%20have%20vanished%20from%20UK%20skies%20in,unaware%20of%20the%20impending%20danger" target="_blank">40 million birds</a> have vanished in just half a century.</p><p>"[Turtle doves] are the canary in the [coal] mine because there are all these other species before it and after it," said Tree. "It's an umbrella for all the other species that are heading that way."</p><p>Turtle doves migrate south through Europe to sub-Saharan Africa between July and September, ending up in dry woodland and farmland areas of countries like Mali and Senegal for winter. </p><p>Droughts in West Africa and the Sahel region are believed to have contributed to the fall in turtle dove species recorded in northern Europe, with low rainfall reducing supplies of the seeds and insects the birds rely on for energy for the long journey home.</p>
Conservation and Farming<p><a href="https://www.operationturtledove.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Operation Turtle Dove,</a> a partnership project of charities including the Essex Wildlife trust, works with landowners and farmers to actively build turtle dove habitat.</p><p>Outten works with <a href="https://www.ebws.org.uk/birdsites/blue-house-farm-ewt-north-fambridge" target="_blank">Blue House Farm</a>, a 660-acre nature reserve in the UK county of Essex, where they have replicated weedy fallow plots. </p><p>"We work on it every year to make sure it's in the condition it needs to be with plants such as clovers and black medic," Outten said. "These plants are native to the landscape and produce the seed the birds feed on." </p><p>The birds eat a wide range of seeds from various plants that would have been abundant 50 or 100 years ago, added Guy Anderson, program manager for species recovery with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). </p><p>"But it's simply true that with the gradual process of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/farming-without-pesticides-how-can-we-make-agriculture-greener/a-52216796" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">intensifying our agricultural production</a>, the availability of those seeds has dropped and dropped," said Anderson.</p><p>Part of the project includes supplementary feeding — providing sources of food in the form of seed or grain. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, farmers can receive financial support to create a turtle dove habitat. </p><p>Though they haven't recorded an increase in doves across the sites in the four years of working on the project, Outten said they are seeing improvements in how landowners and farmers manage habitat for the birds. </p>
A Turtle Dove Haven<p>The 3,500-acre Knepp Estate in West Sussex is another project taking a different approach and one of the few places where turtle dove numbers are increasing.</p><p>Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell converted their intensively farmed land into a rewilding project almost 20 years ago. They have let the land return to nature.</p><p>Just one year after they'd finished <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/uks-most-talented-architects-are-not-human/a-35952128" target="_blank">rewilding</a> the southern part of their property, they heard turtle doves for the first time. It's now a breeding hotspot for the birds with an estimated 19 pairs. Knepp is also home to <a href="https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding/rewilding-projects/knepp-estate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2% of the UK's population</a> of nightingales. </p><p>Tree is critical of supplementary feeding schemes that, in her view, are short term. She questions the chances of turtle doves getting to feed on scattered seeds before other mammals eat them first.</p>
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