The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Vote for Your Favorite Company Expediting Renewable Energy
Every quarter, the nonprofit Green America gives out their People & Planet Award and a $5,000 cash prize to three businesses that practice the best in sustainability in categories such as community development, green travel, worker empowerment and more. This winter's 10 finalists have been recognized for their efforts in advancing clean energy. You can help decide the winners by voting for your three favorites before 8 p.m. EST, March 2.
1. Organic Transit (Durham, North Carolina)
Organic Transit builds solar-powered ELF (“Electric, Light and Fun”) bikes that can go up to 30 miles per hour and comes with headlights, turn signals, a roof and plenty of cargo space, The Atlantic’s CityLab reported. The company says that if their ELF is used in place of a car, it could prevent up to six tons of CO2 from spewing into the atmosphere each year.
2. Rain Catchers (Kernersville, North Carolina)
Addressing global water shortages, food insecurity and climate change, Rain Catchers secures quality water supply through rain water harvesting and storing it below ground. They practice innovative water harvesting solutions, such as solar pumping from any water source, storm water management, UV filtration and more.
3. SkyBar (Tucson, Arizona)
Sky Bar is the only solar-powered bar on Earth and also shares its 300 solar panels with its sister restaurant, Brooklyn Pizza Company. When it gets dark, the bar offers astronomy shows along with deep space images displayed from their own telescopes.
Are you sick of lunar eclipse photos? We're not; we basically got the best photos ever. pic.twitter.com/UCCZ8NUGGd
— SKY bar (@SKYbartucson) April 16, 2014
4. Sunlight Solar Systems (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Locally owned Sunlight Solar Systems has installed more than 250 residential, commercial and industrial projects since 2008. Their green practices are from top to bottom—their office and warehouse is a net-zero building and they recycle everything from glass, cardboard, metals and plastics.
9th & 9th area. 6kw solar array paired with a solar thermal system pic.twitter.com/SnHiEbivp0 — Sunlight Solar Pro (@SunlightSolarUT) September 22, 2014
5. Technicians for Sustainability (Tucson, Arizona)
Since 2003, Technicians for Sustainability has installed more than 9 megawatts of solar in Southern Arizona. The company specializes in renewable energy and sustainable technologies for residential and commercial settings, including solar electric and solar hot water.
"Solar in Arizona is a ‘no brainer.’ To me, the cost was like buying a small car, but unlike a car, solar pays for itself after a few years and offsets your electricity bills for the next 25 years,” said Technicians For Sustainability customer Marri. Photo credit: Technicians For Sustainability
6. Clean Power Perks in (Boston, Massachusetts)
Clean Power Perks is a web-based platform that helps people find clean energy brands and also rewards them with exclusive deals and discounts from brands like prAna, Preserve, Emmy’s Organics, Timberland and other businesses that use clean energy.
7. Ethical Electric in (District of Columbia)
Energy company Ethical Electric allows their customers to buy 100 percent clean power from renewable sources like wind and solar. In 2014 alone, Ethical Electric's customers have abated 605 millions pounds of CO2, the equivalent of preventing the burning of 294 million pounds of coal, taking 57,773 cars off the road or planting 7 million trees, the company says.
The Ethical Electric team hearts wind! #iheartwind pic.twitter.com/XsfUu7Omjx
— Ethical Electric (@ChooseEthical) February 13, 2015
8. Envision Solar (San Diego, California)
Envision Solar aims to transform parking lots into solar power plants that can also charge electric vehicles at the same time. The company creates solar tree structures and the world’s only transportable solar-powered electric vehicle charging station, called the EV ARC.
9. Maple Hill Farm Inn and Conference Center (Hallowell, Maine)
It's not your average B&B, that's for sure. Maple Hill Farm Inn runs on solar and wind power, heats with a sustainable wood-pellet boiler, uses LED lighting and is planning an EV-charging station. "We have always been committed to protect Maine’s beautiful environment (which is why our guests come to stay with us) and to tread as lightly on the Earth as we can," the company says. "We have always used local and Maine-made products, minimized our use of harmful chemicals, reduced our solid waste and shared our commitment to sustainability with all our guests."
10. NativeEnergy (Burlington, Vermont)
NativeEnergy provides businesses and individuals the opportunity to invest in new clean energy in the U.S. and clean water in developing countries. The company helps businesses and individuals identify and reduce their greenhouse gas pollution and attain their sustainability goals. Clients include eBay, Keurig Green Mountain, Ben & Jerry's, Interface, Stonyfield Farm, Esurance and National Geographic. The company will dedicate the $5,000 prize to helping implement the Ghana Clean water project, which will help offset 325 metric tons of CO2, the equivalent of taking about 68 passenger cars off the road for a year.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Ringed seals spend most of the year hidden in icy Arctic waters, breathing through holes they create in the thick sea ice.
But when seal pups are born each spring, they don't have a blubber layer, which is their protection from cold.
- Trump Administration Approves Exploratory Drilling in Arctic Ocean ... ›
- Arctic Ship Traffic Threatens Narwhals and Other Extraordinary ... ›
New York state now has more confirmed coronavirus cases than any single country save the U.S. as a whole.
- U.S. Now Leads the World in Coronavirus Cases - EcoWatch ›
- Coronavirus Slowdown in Washington Suggests Social Distancing ... ›
By Tom Duszynski
The coronavirus is certainly scary, but despite the constant reporting on total cases and a climbing death toll, the reality is that the vast majority of people who come down with COVID-19 survive it. Just as the number of cases grows, so does another number: those who have recovered.
In mid-March, the number of patients in the U.S. who had officially recovered from the virus was close to zero. That number is now in the tens of thousands and is climbing every day. But recovering from COVID-19 is more complicated than simply feeling better. Recovery involves biology, epidemiology and a little bit of bureaucracy too.
How does your body fight off COVID-19?<p>Once a person is exposed the coronavirus, the body starts producing <a href="https://www.mblintl.com/products/what-are-antibodies-mbli/" target="_blank">proteins called antibodies to fight the infection</a>. As these <a href="https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/27/serological-tests-reveal-immune-coronavirus/" target="_blank">antibodies start to successfully contain the virus</a> and keep it from replicating in the body, symptoms usually begin to lessen and you start to feel better. Eventually, if all goes well, your immune system will completely destroy all of the virus in your system. A person who was infected with and survived a virus with no long-term health effects or disabilities has "recovered."</p><p>On average, a person who is infected with SARS-CoV-2 will feel ill for about seven days from the onset of symptoms. Even after symptoms disappear, there still may be small amounts of the virus in a patient's system, and they should stay <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html" target="_blank">isolated for an additional three days</a> to ensure they have truly <a href="https://health.usnews.com/conditions/articles/coronavirus-recovery-what-to-know" target="_blank">recovered and are no longer infectious</a>.</p>
What about immunity?<p>In general, once you have recovered from a viral infection, your body will keep cells called lymphocytes in your system. These cells "remember" viruses they've previously seen and can react quickly to fight them off again. If you are exposed to a virus you have already had, your antibodies will likely stop the virus before it starts causing symptoms. <a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.5114%2Fceji.2018.77390" target="_blank">You become immune</a>. This is the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK27158/" target="_blank">principle behind many vaccines</a>.</p><p>Unfortunately, immunity isn't perfect. For many viruses, like mumps, immunity can wane over time, leaving you <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160421145747.htm" target="_blank">susceptible to the virus in the future</a>. This is why you need to get revaccinated – those "booster shots" – occasionally: to prompt your immune system to make more antibodies and memory cells.</p><p>Since this coronavirus is so new, scientists still don't know whether people who recover from COVID-19 are <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/faq.html" target="_blank">immune to future infections of the virus</a>. Doctors are finding antibodies in ill and recovered patients, and <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-guidance-management-patients.html" target="_blank">that indicates the development of immunity</a>. But the question remains how long that immunity will last. Other coronaviruses like <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/jmv.25685" target="_blank">SARS and MERS produce an immune response</a> that will protect a person at least for a short time. I would suspect the same is true of SARS-CoV-2, but the research simply hasn't been done yet to say so definitively.</p>
Why have so few people officially recovered in the US?<p>This is a dangerous virus, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is being extremely careful when deciding what it means to recover from COVID-19. Both medical and testing criteria must be met before a person is <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/disposition-in-home-patients.html" target="_blank">officially declared recovered</a>.</p><p>Medically, a person must be fever-free without fever-reducing medications for three consecutive days. They must show an improvement in their other symptoms, including reduced coughing and shortness of breath. And it must be at least seven full days <a href="https://health.usnews.com/conditions/articles/coronavirus-recovery-what-to-know" target="_blank">since the symptoms began</a>.</p><p>In addition to those requirements, the CDC guidelines say that a person must test negative for the coronavirus twice, with the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/care-for-someone.html" target="_blank">tests taken at least 24 hours apart</a>.</p><p>Only then, if both the symptom and testing conditions are met, is a person officially considered recovered by the CDC.</p><p>This second testing requirement is likely why there were so few official recovered cases in the U.S. until late March. Initially, there was a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/18/health/coronavirus-test-shortages-face-masks-swabs.html" target="_blank">massive shortage of testing in the U.S.</a> So while many people were certainly recovering over the last few weeks, this could not be officially confirmed. As the country enters the height of the pandemic in the coming weeks, focus is still on <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/clinical-criteria.html" target="_blank">testing those who are infected</a>, not those who have likely recovered.</p><p>Many more people are being tested now that states and private companies have begun <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/testing-in-us.html" target="_blank">producing and distributing tests</a>. As <a href="https://www.dispatch.com/news/20200406/coronavirus-in-ohio-from-its-rocky-start-testing-for-covid-19-slowly-ramping-up" target="_blank">the number of available tests increases</a> and the pandemic eventually slows in the country, more testing will be available for those who have appeared to recover. As people who have already recovered are tested, the appearance of any new infections will help researchers learn <a href="https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/24/we-need-smart-coronavirus-testing-not-just-more-testing/" target="_blank">how long immunity can be expected to last</a>.</p>
Once a person has recovered, what can they do?<p>Knowing whether or not people are immune to COVID-19 after they recover is going to determine what individuals, communities and society at large can do going forward. If scientists can show that recovered patients are immune to the coronavirus, then a person who has recovered could in theory <a href="https://www.vox.com/2020/3/30/21186822/immunity-to-covid-19-test-coronavirus-rt-pcr-antibody" target="_blank">help support the health care system</a> by caring for those who are infected.</p><p>Once communities pass the peak of the epidemic, the number of new infections will decline, while the number of <a href="https://www.newsweek.com/china-says-passed-peak-coronavirus-epidemic-covid-19-1491863" target="_blank">recovered people will increase</a>. As these trends continue, the risk of transmission will fall. Once the risk of transmission has fallen enough, community-level isolation and social distancing orders will begin to relax and businesses will start to reopen. Based on what other countries have gone through, it will be <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00154-w" target="_blank">months until the risk of transmission is low</a> in the U.S.</p><p>But before any of this can happen, the U.S. and the world need to make it through the peak of this pandemic. Social distancing works to slow the spread of infectious diseases and <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/what-you-can-do.html" target="_blank">is working for COVID-19</a>. Many people will <a href="https://www.yalemedicine.org/stories/2019-novel-coronavirus/" target="_blank">need medical help to recover</a>, and social distancing will slow this virus down and give people the best chance to do so.</p>
By Elizabeth Claire Alberts
The future for the world's oceans often looks grim. Fisheries are set to collapse by 2048, according to one study, and 8 million tons of plastic pollute the ocean every year, causing considerable damage to delicate marine ecosystems. Yet a new study in Nature offers an alternative, and more optimistic view on the ocean's future: it asserts that the entire marine environment could be substantially rebuilt by 2050, if humanity is able to step up to the challenge.
- 3 Ways UN Leaders Can Restore the World's Oceans - EcoWatch ›
- We Still Have Time to Restore Our Climate. But the Climate Time ... ›
- Coral in Crisis: Can Replanting Efforts Halt Reefs' Death Spiral ... ›
Across the country, the novel coronavirus is severely affecting black people at much higher rates than whites, according to data released by several states, as The New York Times reported.
- New Drilling and Fracking in California Will Hurt Latino Communities ... ›
- First-of-Its-Kind Study Finds Racial Gap Between Who Causes Air ... ›
- Environmental Negligence vs. Civil Rights: Black and Hispanic ... ›