In our busy lives, even the most “G”-friendly peeps overlook their energy footprint in terms of the appliances that make life easier. In the 20th century, perhaps the most life-changing appliance next to the fridge is the washing machine, but we may forget that these revolutionary appliances shifted energy demand from humans (and thus the sun) to fossil fuels.
As a result, much of the 21st century will be dedicated to making appliances more efficient and sustainable. Beko, a UK manufacturer leading the efficiency revolution, has just released a new generation of front-loading washing machines that offer an energy-reducing, “world’s-fastest” 14-minute wash.
Many believe that if you can think it and picture it in your mind, you can build it. Italian architect David Fisher is employing that philosophy with his plan for the world’s first moving skyscraper. Although Fisher hasn’t ever built a skyscraper, and there’re some discrepancies with his professional background, he’s pressing on with his swirling skyscraper. (video after the jump) Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Is it just me or when you hear the words “Three Mile Island” you think of a nuclear disaster? Though that label may be technically correct, the truth is not one person died at Three Mile Island. Not one person was even injured.
I may have only been 5, but I am usually a somewhat more astute historian, as I thought Three Mile Island was some sort of nuclear holocaust. I thought there were at least some people who melted. To say that someone’s publicity team didn’t do a very good job of spinning that story is perhaps an understatement. If I’m your average consumer, and you add Chernobyl into the marketing mix, you’ve got yourself one very wary nuclear public. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Just incase you missed the massive in-depth up to the second coverage of the G8, we thought we would do a recap. Yes, we know it happened in July, but it seems like no one really noticed, so here it is again.
I suppose we have to look at this year’s G8 summit as somewhat of a success. However porous the language may be, however ineffectual cutting current emissions levels 50% by 2050 ultimately will be, and even though that figure could not be agreed upon by the emerging economies of the world, at least it’s a step in the right direction. At least we have the dirty little secret about carbon polluting out into the worldwide open. Right? Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Atelier Workshop’s Port-a-Bach shipping container home might just make standard RVs obsolete. A veritable home on-the-go, you can roll into place, fold down one side, make your bed and be right at home. As long as you have some property, of course.
Taking the portability of shipping container housing to an altogether new level of portability, this 20-foot container has been outfitted with an entire studio apartment, including a kitchen and a full bath with a composting toilet. It also has a “non-invasive foundation”, which allows for plenty of flexibility in terms of ground placement.
In a world where the blame game often boasts a larger player roster than the lastest Wii adventure, global warming can find itself an easy scapegoat for all disastrous things happening on the planet. Take for example a 2006 study that blamed climate change on a deadly outbreak of frog fungus in South and Central America. The results, published in the journal Nature, stated that the rise in the Earth’s temperature had contributed to the vast spreading of the chytrid fungus< (aka Chytridiomycota).
But a new study contradicts these findings, saying the fungus — which has caused mass amphibian extinction by thickening the outer layer of their skin (the one through which they breathe and drink), then roughening it and causing it to separate on a cellular level — actually “spreads in waves like other infectious diseases” such as Ebola or West Nile.
What I dig most about the influx of prefab housing on the market are the leaps and bounds they’re making in terms of design and building efficiency. Not only are they popping up (literally, in some cases) everywhere, but the structures themselves are getting more daring and architecturally stimulating.
A fine example is the Ehrlich House near Chapel Hill, NC. This 3,200 square foot custom prefab was the brainchild of architect Dustin Ehrlich. Highly modern in function and form, this house was designed to reflect its surrounding rural landscape.
A stunning exterior of rusted corrugated metal mixed with wood, stone and stainless steel bring a rustic quality to the simple, hard-cornered design, giving it the feel of a modern log cabin in some sections and a futuristic shed in others. (I mean this in a good way.) Simple but very groovy is the best way I can describe it.
Scientists in Montana and Wyoming recently uncovered another species that has disappeared from its natural habitat: the white-tailed jackrabbit. This cute little guy hasn’t been seen in Yellowstone since 1991, and only three have been spotted in Grand Teton since 1978. All while wolf, bison, and grizzly populations have been on the rise.
What’s odd is that scientists didn’t really pay any attention to the rabbit’s disappearance until a recently published article by Dr. Joel Berger, a biologist from the University of Montana, called for reintroducing the animals. And no one can explain why the rabbits are gone; global warming doesn’t seem to be a likely culprit, but the timelines do coincide.
All this throwing around of the term “ecotourism” (and I’m just as culpable as the next guy; I’ve used it many times here on G Living) begs the question of just how sustainable a hotel can be. Some places offer to conserve water by not washing your sheets, others boast of utilizing solar (rare) or wind power (even rarer).
Certainly the concept of mass tourism collides with environmentalism on many levels. And a zero footprint for a hotel that employs a hundred or more people and services many more than that seems almost impossible. But it’s nice to see more and more making the effort – and to observe the ways in which they do it.
What would it take for you to give up the spacious luxury of your Suburban, Expedition or Escalade? Nothing? Even if the word “compact” fills you with horror, bear with me a second. Let’s just say you were ready to take the plunge into downsizing for clean air’s sake. You might want to check out the iQ microcar.
Created in Toyota’s advanced European design studio, the iQ was first previewed at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September. Designed with their Vibrant Clarity philosophy in mind, Toyota managed to create a petite but viable alternative to the CO2-emitting vehicles we’ve been told are as good as it gets.
Can “green” and “off-road vehicle” come anywhere near commingling, sentence-wise? I bet if you asked The Wilderness Society, the Sierra Club or any other environmental org, they would say no. (Actually, it would probably sound more like “NO!!!”) The argument being that ORVs add unnecessary air & noise pollution, erosion and contribute to species loss, habitat loss and land damage (come on — anything that features an activity called “dune bashing” can’t be good for the environment.)
But if we’re looking at a lesser-of-two-evils factor (or if by chance you’re one of those earth-conscious off-roadies), you might want to check out what Zero Motorcycles is calling the fastest, lightest and cleanest dirt bike around.
It’s too bad there’s no match.com for birds. At this point that seems to be the only thing that’s can save New Zealand’s Magenta Petrel. This rare and critically endangered seabird (also known as the Chatham Island Taiko) is, like so many of us, having a really hard time getting lucky.
Not to be confused with New Zealand’s Storm Petrel, the Magenta was first discovered at sea in the late 1860s. In 1978, it was rediscovered on New Zealand’s Chathan Island but with an 80% population cut, courtesy of introduced species like pigs, cats and rodents competing for the Petrel’s nesting burrows.
If you thought finding a mate was hard, try these odds: of the known Magenta Petrels in existence, 95% of them are male. And if you weed out the potentially sterile ones or the shy ones (who knows…there could even be some gay ones), you’re left with somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 to 15 breeding pairs in the world.