By Fino Menezes
Imagine an information superhighway that speeds up interactions between a large, diverse population of individuals, allowing individuals who may be widely separated to communicate and help each other out. When you walk in the woods, this is all happening beneath your feet. No, we're not talking about the internet, we're talking about fungi. As a result of a growing body of evidence, many biologists have started using the term "wood wide web" to describe the communications services that fungi provide to plants and other organisms.
All trees all over the world form a symbiotic association with below-ground fungi These are fungi that are beneficial to the plants and explore the soil. The fungi send mycelium, a mass of thin threads, through the soil. The mycelium picks up nutrients and water, brings them back to the plant, and exchanges the nutrients and water for a sugar or other substance made by photosynthesis from the plant. AlbertonRecord.co.za
This Win/Win Is a Mutually Beneficial Exchange.
While researching her doctoral thesis some 20+ years ago, ecologist Suzanne Simard discovered that trees communicate their needs and send each other nutrients via a network of latticed fungi buried in the soil – in other words, she found, they "talk" to each other.
Simard showed how trees use a network of soil fungi to communicate their needs and aid neighboring plants.
Since then she has pioneered further research into how trees converse, including how these fungal filigrees help trees send warning signals about environmental change, search for kin and how they transfer their nutrients to neighboring plants before they die.
All trees all over the world form a symbiotic association with below-ground fungi. These are fungi that are beneficial to the plants and explore the soil. The fungi send mycelium, a mass of thin threads, through the soil. The mycelium picks up nutrients and water, brings them back to the plant, and exchanges the nutrients and water for a sugar or other substance made by photosynthesis from the plant.
It's this network that connects one tree root system to another tree root system, so that nutrients and water can exchange between them.
The word "mycorrhiza" describes the mutually-beneficial relationships that plants have in which the fungi colonize the roots of plants. The mycorrhizae connect plants that may be widely separated.
Check Out This Example of Networking Opportunities.
Sixty-seven Douglas fir trees of various ages were found to be intricately connected below ground by ectomychorrhiza from the Rhizopogon genus. Rhizopogon, which means 'root beard' in Greek, is commonly found living in a symbiotic relationship with pine and fir trees, and thus is thought to play an important ecological role in coniferous forests. Areas occupied and trees connected by Rhizopogon vesiculosus are shaded blue, or shown with blue lines, while Rhizopogon vinicolor colonies and connections between trees are colored pink, or shown by pink lines. The most highly connected tree was linked to 47 other trees through eight colonies of R. vesiculosus and three of R. vinicolor.
BBC News Trees talk and share resources right under our feet, using a fungal network nicknamed the Wood Wide Web. Some plants use the system to support their offspring, while others hijack it to sabotage their rivals. YouTube/BBCNews
The Wood Wide Web Is Earth's Natural Internet.
While mushrooms are the most familiar part of a fungus, most of their bodies are made up of mycelium. These threads act as a kind of underground internet, now referred to as the "wood wide web" linking the roots of different plants and different species.
By linking to the fungal network they can help out their neighbors by sharing nutrients and information or by sabotaging unwelcome plants by spreading toxic chemicals through the network.
Fungal networks also boost their host plants' immune systems. Simply plugging in to mycelial networks makes plants more resistant to disease.
Trees in forests are not really individuals. Large trees help out small, younger ones using the fungal internet. Without this help, Simard thinks many seedlings wouldn't survive. She found that seedlings in the shade, which are likely to be short of food, received carbon from other trees.
Learn more about the harmonious yet complicated social lives of trees and prepare to see the natural world with new eyes with Suzanne Simard's TED Talk, below.
"A forest is much more than what you see," says ecologist Suzanne Simard. Her 30 years of research in Canadian forests have led to an astounding discovery -- trees talk, often and over vast distances. Learn more about the harmonious yet complicated social lives of trees and prepare to see the natural world with new eyes. Source: TED.com
- We need to get out into our local forests more.
- We must save old growth forests as they are the repositories of genes, mother trees and mycelium networks.
- Where we do cut, we must save the 'legacy' mother trees and networks so they can pass their wisdom onto the next generation of trees.
- We must regenerate our forests with a diversity of species.
As more and more information comes to light about the complex relationships existing between trees, we are better equipped to save our forests and help them thrive. Scientists like Simard are helping us change our perspective so that we work in harmony with nature; something that could dramatically alter the trajectory of environmental disaster and bring harmonious outcomes for both humans and trees.
Reposted with permission from BrightVibes.
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By Fino Menezes
April 2020 was the first month ever that renewables generated more electricity than thermal coal in the United States every single day, while across the Atlantic, the United Kingdom's rapid decarbonization of its electricity grid has achieved another significant milestone – completing a whole month (30 days) without coal power for the first time in 138 years.
Renewables Surpass Coal in U.S. Power Generation Every Day in April
April 2020 was the first month in U.S. history that renewables generated more electricity than coal on every day of the month. That's based on new data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and compiled by the nonprofit Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).
The daily consecutive run of renewables over coal began on March 25 and continued for 40 straight days through May 3. That breaks the previous record of just nine continuous days.
The strong output from utility-scale solar, wind, and hydropower is based on several factors, including low gas prices, warmer weather, new renewable capacity connecting to the grid late last year, and lower power demand because of the coronavirus.
IEEFA reported: "Coal's high cost has made it increasingly one of the last fuel choices for many utilities, a trend reflected by its declining market share for electric generation: just 15.3% in April, according to preliminary EIA figures.
"In January, coal's market share fell below 20% for the first time in many decades — and possibly for the first time in the entire history of the U.S. power industry — ending at 19.9%.
"EIA figures also show its share continued to erode, falling to 18.3% in February and 17.3% in March. As recently as 2008, coal's market share was above 50% in the months of January, February and March."
IEEFA had previously forecasted that power generation from renewables would likely surpass coal-fired generation in 2021, an important milestone in the energy transition that is well underway. But in the first quarter of 2020, renewable generation unexpectedly exceeded coal, and with this strong performance continuing in the second quarter, there is an increasing chance that the milestone could occur this year.
U.K. Goes a Month Without Coal Power for First Time for 138 Years
The United Kingdom's rapid decarbonization of its electricity grid has achieved another significant milestone – completing a whole month (30 days) without coal power for the first time in 138 years, reported The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) this week.
The milestone was reached on Sunday 10 May (U.K.) time and celebrated by National Grid ESO, the organization that runs the grid and is responsible for keeping the lights on nationwide. It was the first time this occurred since coal power was first used on the U.K. power system in January, 1882, at Holborn Viaduct.
Within a few years, there will be no coal generation at all – with the remaining plants shuttered, and one or two converted to gas by 2025. National Grid aims to be able to operate a fully zero emission grid when weather conditions allow from 2025, and is accelerating its adoption of new technologies and management systems that will allow it to side line gas power plants when possible.
Just a few days before the new month-long coal-free milestone, National Grid released its latest end of year planning report outlining the main achievements it has made in the long path to a fully decarbonized grid before 2050.
"We're really proud of our zero carbon targets," National Grid wrote in a blog a few days earlier. "In May 2019 there was a 2-week period where there was coal free operation of Great Britain's electricity system. This has quickly been beaten after the record breaking sunlight in April."
It noted that the carbon intensity of the electricity system has halved over the last five years, and is down 60 per cent when compared to 2013. "The recent low demand for energy due to COVID-19 has dramatically reduced the use of fossil fuel based generation, and this has been supported by our optimized renewable generation," it says.
"And as supply changes, so to does demand, as renewables capacity and smart grid functionality increases further to enable the side-lining of gas power plants when possible."
Reposted with permission from BrightVibes.
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A good backup generator can help you keep your home running smoothly, even in the event of a major power outage. And, when you choose a solar generator, you can power your home using clean, renewable energy from the sun. By contrast, gas and diesel generators burn fossil fuels, and are extremely loud and spew harmful emissions into the atmosphere. Here are the best solar power generators available today that can provide a cleaner alternative for home generators.
Our Picks for the Top Solar Generators
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- Best Overall - Renogy Lycan Powerbox
- Best All-Purpose - Goal Zero Yeti 6000X
- Best for Camping - Jackery Explorer 1000
- Most Affordable - Westinghouse iGen600s
- Fastest Charging- EcoFlow DELTA
- Best for Appliances - MAXOAK Bluetti AC200P
- Most Powerful - Point Zero Energy Titan
How We Reviewed the Best Solar Generators
There are a number of factors we considered when choosing which solar power generators to recommend, including:
- Battery capacity. Battery storage capacity is an important ranking factor. A greater battery capacity means the generator can store more energy, which ultimately means it will last longer without requiring a recharge. This is measured in watt-hours (Wh).
- Power output. When your generator is up and running, it will put out a certain amount of energy, measured in watts. It's important to select a generator that offers enough watts for you to power your essential home appliances.
- Inverter rating. The inverter is a critical part of any backup power generator. Basically, this is the component that turns solar energy into AC (alternating current) electricity. Inverter rating, along with battery capacity, determine how much power you can get from your home backup generator.
- Expandability. In order for your backup generator to function, you'll need some way of charging it. And if you plan to rely on solar energy, that means using solar panels. Expandability means that you can add solar panels to your generator as needed, making it easier to absorb more sunlight for energy.
- Number of outlets. How many devices or appliances do you need to charge? The functionality of your backup generator will be determined by how many outlets or ports are available.
- Price. Of course, as you look for the best home backup generator, one of the most crucial considerations of all is your budget. We've sought to emphasize generators that offer maximum value.
Based on these criteria, we've determined the solar backup generators that offer the most consumer value.Check out our complete list of recommendations below. You can also read our complete review of the best solar energy companies for rooftop home solar systems.
The Best Solar Energy Generators
Best Overall: Renogy Lycan Powerbox
Renogy produces several different power stations and chargers, but we especially like the Lycan Powerbox, a solar power solution that's only a little bit bigger than a suitcase. It comes with an easy-grip handle and heavy-duty wheels, making it one of the most portable solar generators around while still offering 1200W of output, which is enough power for most electronic devices and some appliances.
Why buy: The Lycan Powerbox can provide 1075 watt-hours of continuous power without the noise or fumes associated with gas generators. It offers great portability and includes an LCD display and easy, intuitive controls that allow you to switch between DC power and AC power as needed, as well USB ports and 12 volt car charger ports.
Best All-Purpose: Goal Zero Yeti 6000X
The Yeti 6000X is actually a portable power station that can be used for off-grid camping or powering an RV. With 6,000 watt-hours and two 2000W AC charger ports, it will give you plenty of power for your home. With a home integration kit, it's easy to use the Goal Zero Yeti 6000X to power essential circuits.
Why buy: Though it isn't exactly cheap, the Yeti 6000X power station is a great all-purpose backup generator, including a top-of-the-line charge controller and two robust AC outlets that make it easy for you to keep your household essentials up and running. It can even power a full-size refrigerator or microwave.
Best for Camping: Jackery Explorer 1000
The Jackery Explorer 1000 portable power station is one of the best all-around options, equally suited for outdoor activities and for emergency power readiness. Though it's rated for 1,000 watts, it can actually get closer to 2,000. The lithium battery pack offers a capacity of 1,200 watt-hours, and Jackery's professional MPPT technology makes it easy to get your unit fully charged in a relatively short span of time (usually just eight hours if you have two panels going).
Why buy: Jackery is one of the leading names in outdoor equipment and in clean energy products. This portable power station is a great pick for campers and can also be a very effective home backup power solution for small appliances and electronics thanks to its pure sine wave inverter AC outlets.
Most Affordable: Westinghouse iGen600s
Westinghouse Outdoor Power
Westinghouse is another company that specializes in solar powered generators, most of which are more ideally suited for camping trips. Their iGen600s portable generator, however, offers a wattage of up to 1,200 peak watts, which can certainly function as a decent emergency backup for certain household appliances and small devices.
Why buy: For a portable yet still very versatile solar generator, Westinghouse is a company to keep on your list. The iGen600 power system can run a mini fridge for up to 42 hours or a CPAP machine for up to 46 hours thanks to its lithium-ion battery that offers 592 Watt-hours of energy and a long battery life.
Fastest Charging: EcoFlow DELTA
The EcoFlow DELTA power station is a wonderfully rugged, dependable backup generator that can help meet your power needs during a blackout. For one thing, the charging time is incredible; you can potentially go from zero to 80 percent in under an hour with a wall outlet. Should you ever find yourself facing a power outage, this is an emergency energy solution you'll be really thankful for.
Why buy: The DELTA station from EcoFlow offers a lot of value and usability; in particular, it has one of the fastest recharging times of any solar generator, which may be reason enough for you to choose it over the competitors. The DELTA unit offers 13 ports, meaning it's compatible with pretty much any device or appliance you could ever need to charge.
Best for Appliances: MAXOAK Bluetti AC200P
For a heavy-duty emergency power solution, look no further than to MAXOAK, and particularly to a product called the Bluetti AC200P. With a 2000 Watt-hour capacity, this is one of the most robust solar generators you'll find anywhere.
Why buy: MAXOAK's Bluetti AC200P is the one you're going to want for really heavy-duty home energy backup. With massive AC inverters that offer up to 4800W surge capacity, it can provide more than enough power to fuel all your most critical home appliances, even some HVAC units. Also note the two-year warranty, a generous consumer protection.
Most Powerful: Point Zero Energy Titan Solar Generator
Point Zero Energy is one of the foremost names in disaster preparedness, and when you take a look at their product specs, you'll see why. Their Titan model solar generator offers almost twice the storage of similarly priced units with a high-capacity 2,000-watt-hour battery capacity and 3,000 watt high-efficiency inverter.
Why buy: On a purely technical level, this is the beefiest generator on our list, though of course, it's also one of the priciest. The unit is made with high-efficiency components, meaning it doesn't waste a lot of energy running the system; instead, it just supplies you with plenty of functional electricity when you need it the most.
How Does a Solar Generator Work?
Solar generators capture energy from the sun using photovoltaic solar panels, and store it in a built-in battery. Note that in order to absorb the sun's energy, your portable generator will need solar panels. These are typically sold separately, or as a package with the unit, so you'll need to factor in this additional cost. Solar panels contain solar cells, which are typically made of monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicone that acts as a semiconductor.
Once the sun's energy is stored in the battery, it is converted into AC energy. This happens via a component known as an inverter. AC power is required for most of your household appliances, as well as for charging devices like your phone, laptop, or tablet that normally require a wall charger or AC outlet.
Can a Solar Generator Power My Whole House?
Generally speaking, a rechargeable solar generator won't be able to power your entire house if you lose power. With that said, even a smaller generator can be used to power key devices or appliances, sometimes for days at a time depending on its power consumption. For instance, you can keep your refrigerator up and running, and/or ensure plenty of sustained use for medical devices, like CPAP machines.
With an especially robust generator, you may also be able to connect to core circuits, running multiple appliances at one time.
So, while having an emergency power supply from a solar generator may not mean that you can go about your life just like you would normally, you can at least keep the lights on at home, run your air conditioner, or ensure your perishable food items remain fresh until your electricity comes back on.
What are the Benefits of a Solar Generator?
There are a number of advantages you can anticipate from an emergency generator, especially when you choose to go solar. Consider:
You can minimize the disruption of a power outage.
Again, inclement weather can cause power outages that last for hours, sometimes even days. During that time, you can use a backup generator to keep your essential appliances and devices up and running. This level of preparedness can offer ample peace of mind.
Solar generators offer a clean alternative to other energy sources.
Most generators are powered by fossil fuels, which means they emit a lot of noxious emissions. If you want a clean power source and a minimal environmental footprint, these solar solutions are just the ticket. They are also much quieter than traditional gas or diesel generators.
They can be very cost-effective in the long run.
While the initial purchase price of a solar generator may seem steep, keep in mind that sunlight is free. You don't have to worry about buying fuel or any additional expenses associated with your solar unit.
Find the Solar Generator That's Best for You
Disaster preparedness begins by identifying a reliable power source, and if you want that power source to be clean and renewable, solar generators are ideal. Take a moment to explore the options and find the generator that's right for you.
Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic, and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. He covers natural health, nutrition, supplements, and clean energy. His writing has appeared in Health, Shape, and Remedy Review.
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By Fino Menezes
After unprecedented bushfires devastated communities and iconic flora and fauna across Australia, non-profit group Science for Wildlife releases 12 koalas back into their natural habitat in the Blue Mountains.
First Koalas Released Back Into the Wild After Bushfire Horror
Before this current global health crisis, Australia endured an unprecedented bushfire season that devastated communities and iconic flora and fauna across the country. In the midst of the horror, 12 koalas were rescued from the Kanangra Boyd National Park in the southern Blue Mountains World Heritage area. On March 23rd and 25th, they were reintroduced back into the eucalyptus forests of their Kanangra home.
On March 23rd and 25th the Koalas Returned Home
Science for Wildlife, a not-for-profit wildlife conservation organization based out of Sydney, Australia, recently announced that all of their koalas, saved from the recent bushfires, have been returned to their home in the Blue Mountains of Australia.
They rescued the marsupials, who are representatives of the most genetically diverse population of koalas in Australia, from the devastating mega-fire that moved through the area in December 2019. They were sheltered in safety and cared for by staff at Taronga Zoo, with a team effort between Taronga and Science for Wildlife in keeping them fed.
On March 23rd and 25th, they were reintroduced back into the eucalyptus forests by the team, with the support of San Diego Zoo Global.
"While they have coped well in care, we are delighted to finally send our koalas home. We have been busy assessing the burnt area that we rescued them from, to establish when the conditions have improved enough that the trees can support them again," said Dr Kellie Leigh, Executive Director of Science for Wildlife.
"The recent rains have helped and there is now plenty of new growth for them to eat, so the time is right. We will be radio-tracking them and keeping a close eye on them to make sure that they settle in ok."
Dr. Leigh continued, "During the massive fires, as 80% of the World Heritage Area burnt, we were at risk of losing the entire koala population at this site and so that's what drove us to try something so radical and pull these koalas out before the fire hit."
The Animals are Part of a Genetically Diverse Koala Population
The Greater Blue Mountains area is a mountainous region located in New South Wales in Australia, which supports koalas that seem to break all the rules. The region was listed as a World Heritage Area by UNESCO in 2000 largely due to an outstanding diversity of eucalypt species (over 100 species), giving koalas more choice of habitats and food trees than anywhere else in Australia.
Science for Wildlife has been running the Blue Mountains Koala Project in this region for 5 years and through collaborative research they discovered that the Blue Mountains World Heritage Region is home to the most genetically diverse population of koalas in the world. The population in Kanangra-Boyd is also free of chlamydia, which is sadly a rare thing. Science for Wildlife, along with San Diego Zoo Global*, is committing resources to help ensure that the population is recovered.
*Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. A leader in global conservation, San Diego Zoo Global has been a core partner for Science for Wildlife's Blue Mountains Koala Project since it started and have been raising funds to support the rescue and other emergency wildlife work that Dr. Kellie Leigh and her team have been undertaking during the bushfires.
Some of the core funding provided by San Diego Zoo Global over the years has been used for ecological studies and to find, capture and radio-track koalas at the different study sites – those tracking devices are what enabled the team to go in and find the koalas and move them out before the approaching fire. The same devices, along with more support from San Diego Zoo, will now allow them to monitor the animals and ensure they settle in ok.
What's Next for These Koalas?
The reintroduction of these koalas back to their natural habitat is just the next stage in what conservationists know will be a long-term effort to recover koala populations in the area.
"There is still a lot of work to be done to assess what is left of koalas in this region and plan for population recovery. We are dedicated to continuing to support this critical work to conserve a significant koala population," said Paul Baribault, President and CEO of San Diego Zoo Global.
The radio-tracking devices fitted to the koalas will ensure that the Science for Wildlife team can monitor their welfare, and also learn more about how koalas use the landscape after fire. This should tell them where else they might find pockets of surviving koalas. Finally, the technology will help the Science for Wildlife team plan a future for koalas under climate change, where more frequent and intense fires are expected.
To learn more about the Blue Mountains Koala Project, visit their project page here.
Koalas are Being Released in Other Parts of New South Wales
Koalas are also being released in other parts of New South Wales, the state where Sydney is located, reported The Independent last week.
Staff and volunteers at Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, based four hours' drive north of Sydney, released their first koala on April 2.
The four-year-old named Anwen was rescued in October last year, and will be the first of 26 koalas to be released into the wild by the animal hospital over the coming days.
The remaining koalas will be split into three groups and will be released back to their original habitats in Crowdy Bay (South of Port Macquarie), and two areas in the Lake Innes Nature Reserve.
Sue Ashton, president of Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, said, "This is a heart-warming day for us – to be able to release so many of our koalas back to their original habitats, even to their original tree in some cases – makes us very happy.
"Anwen was our first ever female koala to be admitted during the bushfires and her recovery has been extraordinary. It marks a proud moment for Australia; to see our Koala population and habitat starting to recover from what was such a devastating time."
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has also cared for koalas from Taree, the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury. The hospital said these will be returned to their "home" areas to be released.
Reposted with permission from BrightVibes.
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By Fino Menezes
Everyone adores dolphins. Intelligent, inquisitive and playful, these special creatures have captivated humans since the dawn of time. But dolphins didn't get to where they are by accident — they needed to develop some pretty amazing superpowers to cope with their environment.
These extraordinarily intelligent creatures have been seen to display culture, use tools, and display altruism, traits long-thought to be unique to humans. Facebook / BrightVibes
Adapting to Life in the Ocean Required Some Serious Skills for a Mammal
Dolphins have developed some incredible abilities that continue to amaze researchers.
Everything needs to sleep, but dolphins have found a clever workaround. They shut down only half their brain at a time while the other half remains conscious and takes over all functions. What's more, the mammals seem to be able to remain continually vigilant for sounds for days on end.
Besides sonar, which is itself pretty incredible, dolphins have excellent eyesight. A panoramic range of vision of 300° allows them to see in two directions at once and even behind themselves — both in and out of the water.
3. Super Skin
Dolphin skin grows about 9 times faster than ours, and an entire layer of skin is replaced every two hours. Their skin secretes a special non-stick antibacterial gel to deter barnacles and parasites.
4. They Rescue Other Species
There are many tales of dolphins helping humans in the high sea. Sometimes they'll even go out of their way to help other aquatic species.
Bottlenose dolphins can hold their breath for 12 minutes and dive to 550 metres (1800ft) due to hyper-efficient lungs. Dolphins have more red blood cells with greater concentrations of hemoglobin than we do.
Scientists are baffled by dolphins' ability to not only heal quickly but seemingly regenerate missing parts. And dolphins won't bleed to death despite huge wounds, having the ability to constrict blood vessels to stem the flow.
While an Olympic swimmer can produce around 60 or 70 pounds of thrust, a dolphin is capable of 300 to 400 pounds of thrust and is one of the oceans most efficient swimmers.
How dolphins are able to swim with open wounds in the bacteria-riddled ocean and not die of infection, scientists still don't know for sure, but the best guess is that dolphins have managed to siphon off antibiotics made by plankton and algae.
Dolphins can actually sense the electrical impulses given off by all living things. They probably use this ability to hunt fish in turbid water and muddy sediments.
These extraordinarily intelligent and graceful creatures have also been seen to display culture, use tools, and display altruism, traits long-thought to be unique to humans.
Reposted with permission from BrightVibes.
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For one year Rob Greenfield grew and foraged all of his own food. No grocery stores, no restaurants, no going to a bar for a drink, not even medicines from the pharmacy.
Literally everything that passed Greenfield's lips in the last year was something he either grew in his gardens or he went out into nature and harvested. He hopes his journey will inspire others to live with more happiness, health and sustainability.
Rob Greenfield Wants to Inspire People to Question Their Food
For some time, Greenfield had been wrestling with the question: is it possible to step away from our globalised industrialised food system, from all the destruction that it causes to the world, to other species, to other people, and step away from that and actually produce all of his own food? So he decided to find out if it was possible.
Well, one year later and Greenfield is happy to announce that he still here and he is healthier than when he started, and happier that he did it.
Another element of the experiment is that he wants to inspire people to question their food. Where does it come from? How does it get to them? What is the impact it has on the Earth, other species and ultimately themselves?
Greenfield displays "TOO MUCH HONEY" on day 357 of growing and foraging 100 percent of his food. Rob Greenfield / Facebook
And if they question it and they don't like the answers that they find, then Greenfield hopes they'll change those answers. That they'll change the way they are eating to be in a way that is more beneficial to the Earth, to our communities and to ourselves.
When Greenfield arrived in Orlando, he had no land or gardens of his own, so he had to walk around the community talking to people and ask if they would be interested in him turning their front lawn into a garden. Over a period of six months he made six small gardens around the neighborhood. The deal was that the owners could eat as much food as they wanted from the garden. Now the project is over, however all the gardens are still producing more food.
Rob has "grown over 100 different foods and foraged over 200." Rob Greenfield / Facebook
Greenfield put a lot of thought and effort into this 12 month project. Prior to the year, he began growing and learning how to forage for 10 months. He looked into everything; where he'd get his calories, fats, protein and nutrients.
He grew some 100 different foods in his garden and foraged a further 200 different foods: a variety of over 300 foods, which is extremely diverse by anybody's standards. With salt from the ocean, coconuts from the beach, caught fish, and a variety of herbs from his garden, Greenfield's diet for the 12-months was balanced, healthy, fresh, seasonal, tasty, plastic-free, pesticide-free, and above all, eye-opening.
He will be doing a lot of traveling over the next year so he won't have a garden, but says everywhere he goes he will still seek out locally produced food. Of course he will have to buy food, but he says it's about buying unpackaged foods that don't leave trash behind for future generations.
What I'm driven by… Is living a life where I can wake up and feel good about my life, and I can go to bed and feel good about my life, and where I can hopefully die many years from now and know that my life was honest. It was genuine. I knew my actions and how they affected the world. I want to live a life of truth. But beyond that, I want to spread the truth. I want other people to wake up and I want him to live lives of truth as well.
And that's so that we're living fairly, you know, in a world where we have so much. I think it makes sense for everybody to have enough, not have food systems where in one country we are wasting half of our food and another place people are literally starving today.
I think our society's advanced enough where we can take care of each other. Let's take care of each other. Let's take care of our earth.
Rob shares fresh honey, fruits and veggies from his garden with neighbors. Rob Greenfield / Facebook
Reposted with permission from BrightVibes.
The government of India is set to impose a nationwide ban on plastic bags, cups and straws on October 2, officials announced, in its most sweeping measure yet to eradicate single-use plastics from cities and villages that have ranked among the world's most polluted.
The ban will be comprehensive and will cover manufacturing, usage, and import.
India is set to ban 6 single-use plastic items nationwide, including plastic bags, cups, plates, small bottles, str… https://t.co/LnqBkNmfR3— Shivya Nath (@Shivya Nath)1566999009.0
India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who is leading efforts to scrap such plastics by 2022, is set to launch the campaign with a ban on as many as six items on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, officials said.
These include plastic bags, cups, plates, small bottles, straws and certain types of sachets, said the officials, who asked not to be identified, in line with government policy.
"The ban will be comprehensive and will cover manufacturing, usage and import of such items," an official said.
In an Independence Day speech on August 15, Prime Minister Modi had urged people and government agencies to "take the first big step" on October 2 towards freeing the country of single-use plastic.
The ban will shave 5-10 percent from India's annual consumption of about 14 million tonnes of plastic.
#India to ban single-use plastic products from October 2. @PMOIndia @narendramodi Ji who is leading efforts to scr… https://t.co/EPjdFngaYz— Anshul Dave (@Anshul Dave)1567153254.0
The ban on the first six items of single-use plastics is expected to shave 5 to 10 percent from India's annual consumption of about 14 million tonnes of plastic, the official said.
He added, penalties for violations of the ban will probably take effect after an initial six-month period to allow people time to adopt alternatives. Some states have already outlawed polythene bags, according to Reuters.
The government also plans tougher environmental standards for plastic products and will insist on the use of recyclable plastic only, the official said.
It will also ask e-commerce companies to cut back on plastic packaging that makes up nearly 40 percent of the country's annual plastic consumption, the officials said.
Cheap smartphones and a surge in the number of internet users have boosted orders for e-commerce companies, such as Amazon.com Inc and Walmart Inc's Flipkart, which wrap their wares — from books and medicines to cigarettes and cosmetics — in plastic, pushing up consumption.
The world is waking up to the plastic mess we are creating.
And elsewhere in Asia, China's commercial hub of Shanghai is gradually reining in use of single-use plastics in catering, and its island province of Hainan has already vowed to completely eliminate single-use plastic by 2025.
Reposted with permission from our media associate BrightVibes.
By Michiel de Gooijer
From Bus Stops to Bee Stops
In the Dutch city Utrecht 316 bus stops now have a green roof. They do not only look great, they also help capture fine dust, storage of rainwater and provide cooling in the summertime.
It is one of many measures that could improve Utrecht's air quality. Did you know that after smoking, an unhealthy environment (including bad air quality) is the second cause of diseases in the Netherlands?
Watch the video at the bottom of this article.
More Biodiversity: The green roofs of Utrecht's bus stops have also become bee stops and contribute to the city's biodiversity, supporting insects like honey bees and bumblebees.
Sedum Plants: The roofs mainly have sedum plants. They are maintained by municipal workers who drive around in electric vehicles.
LED lights: The bus stops are outfitted with efficient led lights and a bamboo bench.
Recently Utrecht has replaced 10 diesel buses for electric buses. Utrecht aims to only operate CO2 neutral buses by 2028. In the meantime, Utrecht incentivizes bus drivers to adapt to a more environmentally friendly driving style. The buses register how efficient and comfortable each bus driver operates the bus, and based on how well they drive, they can "win" prizes the cleaner, more comfortable and safer they drive.
More Electric Buses: Utrecht is expanding the number of buses powered by electricity. The electricity used by Utrecht comes from Dutch windmills.
Your Own Green Roof: The citizens of Utrecht are incentivized to transform their own roofs into green roofs too and can apply for special subsidies.
And How About Bee Stings?
Speaking from personal experience, the bees are attracted by the plants and flowers on the roof, not by the people sitting underneath the roof. And as you can read here, in general bees are not aggressive at all. They are often mistaken for the more aggressive wasps, but there really is no need to fear these busy bees on these bus stop green roofs.
Reposted with permission from our media associate BrightVibes.
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