A bulb-less indoor light? You bet.

If you could find a way to help people in need through “greenliness”, would you? Especially when the solution is extremely simple, inexpensive, and easily accessible?

That is exactly what Alfredo Moser, who now works for the MyShelter Foundation in the Philippines, has done. He came up with a solution to light up 1 million homes in need of electricity using only a bottle, bleach, and water. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

Not really. It’s just science.

Putting water and a little bleach in a bottle can generate 40 to 60 watts of light. The light is generated from the top part of the bottle being exposed to sunlight, and it acts as a “simple refraction of light”. A refraction of light is the bending of light, which is caused by a change in speed. It occurs when light passes from one substance to another with a different density, i.e. air to water.

This results in a lighting system that’s much greener (and safer) than kerosene lamps, which are what many populations living under the poverty line currently use.

A downside to this new “technology” is that it has no way to actually store the energy, and it only works in the daytime, because it’s powered by sunlight. Despite these shortcomings, it is still considered to be extremely valuable energy advance for the developing world.

What are your thoughts and opinions on this charitable work? Do you think better technology needs to be found to resolve our energy crisis, or should they just stick with this and finetune it? Tell us what you think in a comment below!

Sources: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/20/myshelter-foundation_n_3769375.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23536914

Trash into gas.

In today’s world full of consumption, sometimes you get really down. Why can’t we conserve more? Why can’t we just bike wherever we need to go?

Sometimes you become so emotional, you’re in denial.

(But you actually love the earth. You know it.)

And there is smog. And pollution.

EVERYWHERE.

But luckily, we have intelligent people in this world. Intelligent people that bring our hopes up.

And from these intelligent people has come a delightful solution. They’re turning trash into gas.

Mike Hart is the genius behind this solution. His company, called Sierra Energy, has come up with a system called FastOx Pathfinder. What is it? It’s a waste-gasifier. In other words, it takes trash and turns it into fuel.

It’s about to the size of a shower stall and has an output that includes hydrogen and carbon monoxide. What does that create? Syngas, or synthetic gas.

Syngas is an alternative to ethanol, which is a colorless, flammable liquid and is used as a solvent in fuel. And you know who is really into the idea? The United States Army.

Of course, there are a few issues with the FastOx. There will be a long time before Sierra Energy begins taking your trash and turning it into gas, and it’s because the company hasn’t yet shown any record of success in other areas. However, the Department of Transportation has given Sierra Energy $3 million to tackle this project, which means that someone in the higher-ups sees potential. And that’s promising for the rest of us.

We will just have to wait and see.

What are your thoughts on FastOx and Sierra Energy? Do you think there needs to be more agencies and cities involved in this initiative? What are some issues associated with that? Share your thoughts with us in a comment below.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/business/trash-into-gas-efficiently-an-army-test-may-tell.html/?_r=0&adxnnl=1&pagewanted=2&adxnnlx=1377626405-zNt5GD8GY/+BOX8l2D011A

LOTR lied to us. Sigh.

Ah, beautiful New Zealand.

©lotr.wikia.com

©worldwide-motorhome-hire.com

So wondrous, so ethereal, it looks like something that was painted by an extremely imaginative artist. Right?

Well yeah. Except…the LOTR movies lied to us..

Okay, so they didn’t really lie. They just showed the parts of New Zealand that were wondrous, ethereal green spaces…and left out the parts that are not exactly eco-friendly. Which, unfortunately, are kind of numerous.

Here are a few facts on NZ:

1. You can’t swim in most of New Zealand’s rivers because of high levels of pollution.

2. Its preservation of natural environments has a horrible record; it’s amongst the worst in the world.

3. It’s the only OECD country that does not produce a report on the environment consistently. (OECD stands for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, btw.)

Oh, and in breaking news? A bacteria has been found in NZ-produced dairy products that can potentially cause fatalities. The company in charge is known as Fonterra, and they export to eight surrounding countries.

Doesn’t exactly seem like a Hobbit paradise, does it?

What are your thoughts on all of this? Share them with us in a comment below!

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/06/new-zealand-environment_n_3710859.html

This cute hobbit house may have to go.

Would you ever build a house without the authorities knowing about it? Apparently in the Welsh countryside (and everywhere else), there are rules that outline how an area can be developed. Basically, it’s there to make sure that the area doesn’t become a low-density suburb.

englishdragon.deviantart.com

Yes Wales, we know you’ve got beautiful landscape. Sigh.

However, Charlie was so sure that the authorities wouldn’t let him build the house, he did it anyway. And it looks straight out of a storybook.

And hey, he ended up building this beautiful home. It’s sustainable, low impact, and made out of upcycled materials as well.

Unfortunately, the trouble might not have been worth it. Since Charlie built the house illegally, authorities are saying it will have to be torn down in accordance with the zoning laws. So although the house is beautiful and eco-friendly, maybe it wasn’t the best idea to do it without permission.

Can’t always fight environmentalism with environmentalism.

What are your opinions? Should the house stay, or should it go? Share your thoughts in a comment below.

Source: http://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/should-hobbit-house-be-demolished-flouting-planning-rules.html

I cycle, you cycle, up cycle.

So this is pretty cool.

A gentleman by the name of John Milkovisch decided to recycle all of his beer cans ever. How? By covering his house in GARLANDS OF BEER CANS. Freaking innovative, right? It all started with him trying to build a patio where he could drink beer on. He started in 1968 and lived in the house until he died in 1988. His wife continued to live there until she died as well in 1996. The man sure loves his beer. The total amount? 50,000.

What are some interesting ways you recycle/upcycle? Share them with us in a comment below!

Source: http://grist.org/list/this-house-is-covered-with-50000-beer-cans/

Sustainable and tiny living.

When you go green, you hear about all the typical stuff — recycle! Upcycle! TURN OFF THAT FAUCET!

Yeah, pretty typical, right?

But another thing that you should definitely consider is micro-living.

ARE THOSE NOT THE CUTEST BABY-HOUSES YOU HAVE EVER SEEN?

It’s like a doll house. BUT NOT.

This is a hotel called Caravan, which is a tiny house hotel in Portland, Oregon. You get to do things like moving the bedroom stairs before moving into the kitchen. Oh, and the largest home is only 160 square feet.

Yeah, we know. Insane.

And somehow, all of these homes have normal sized beds, showers, etc. Here’s a slideshow of these little houses.

How is this important to being green? Because it takes up less space, it reduces the amount of energy, pollution, and cost involved in having a roof over one’s head. Not to mention this boosts green development in urban areas — the less space living areas take up, the more areas there are to plant trees and parks and other green things.

Would you live in a tiny space? How does this play into your expectations for college? Share your thoughts in a comment below.

Source: http://grist.org/list/test-out-micro-living-in-the-first-tiny-house-hotel/

Recycling = new beauty products. *squeal*

Hey, so….I have some news. All that earth-friendly recycling we go on and on about? It applies to your face. Kind of.

You know those Mac containers you just mindlessly threw away?

©sheckys.com

Yeah, all of THAT!?

What if we told you that if you brought back six of those containers to recycle, you would have gotten a free tube of lipstick?

Wish you knew that before, didn’t ya?

This brings up the idea of recycling our beauty product containers, such as shampoos, those little pots of cream, lipstick tubes, etc. And it’s extremely important that you do that.

Why? Because did you know that six plastic bottles provide enough energy to power a hair dryer for a half hour? You would need 41 plastic bags or 50 magazines to get the same effect.

Know what the worst part is? Only 8% of this plastic is recycled. Sad, we know.

But you can be the first ones to start! We have already mentioned that Mac Cosmetics has a fantastic recycling program, which I personally love.

Origins has a program called “Return to Origins” (cute, huh?) which lets you return basically any cosmetic product to them. Doesn’t even have to be Origins. What’s the reward? Well, there technically isn’t one, but you feel good inside. That should be more than enough, shame on you.

And lastly, Kiehl’s, a skincare company, has a program called “Recycle and Be Rewarded” which involves a punch card where you keep track of your containers and how often you recycle them. When you get ten stamps, you get a free full-size product.

Do you recycle your beauty goodies? If you don’t, you should. Tell us about any recycling programs with other beauty brands, as well as your thoughts/opinions, in a comment below!

Source: http://www.xovain.com/how-to/recycling-beauty-products

Upcycling may mean getting really buff.

We understand your pain — upcycling can be a little difficult at times! You know what to do, you know what you can do with your recyclables, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out.

However, whoever made this gym in Kiev, Ukraine executed and mastered the art of upcycling perfectly.

I can’t….

…I can’t even…

My feels can’t handle this.

For more of the pictures, click here.

Apparently, the scrap metal and various parts that were used to build this gym, or otherwise known as Kachalka Muscle Beach, is all from the Cold War. It covers approximately ten square kilometers on an island called Tuhev in the heart of the capital.

This definitely takes upcycling to another level. This is sort of an epic way to go about getting buff.

Perhaps you could take some sort of initiative to start up something like that here in the United States? With the amount of junkyards and landfills we have, that might not be such a bad idea. Share your thoughts/opinions with us below!

Source: http://www.oldtimestrongman.com/products/kachalka-muscle-beach

Vintage bikes

As you already know, we love, and I mean love to talk about biking and using alternative ways to cars to get to places you want to go. Want to go to Starbucks down the street? It’s less than 2 miles right? No reason to use your car.

But not only do we talk about carpooling, biking, walking, etc. to make the air cleaner, we also talk about ways to make our world greener. One way we can do that is by recycling or upcycling.

However…what if I told you we could do both at the same time?

Bicycled is a project that intends to use various parts from different cars giving each bike that is created from these old cars a distinct and vintage look. Although this hasn’t been tested out entirely, the concept is pretty amazing and does two good things at the same time.

Would you be interested in taking part of this project? Tell us your thoughts in a comment below.

How much wood can a woodchuck use for its car battery?

Environmental scientists and academics day by day develop and research more cost-effective resources to create more sustainable things. What’s been the latest discovery?

Wood.

©cosmosflooring.com

The latest research has shown that wood fibers can be combined with sodium and tin to create car batteries. This was inspired by trees that were able to hold mineral-rich water, which makes it ideal for liquid electrolytes. Thus, the wood fibers used to create the car batteries would become an active part of the car battery.

©cityprofile.com – Might as well do this all the way, right?

Is it safe to say that something as natural as trees will help us reinvent our cars without harmful substances? Well, we sure hope so.

What are your opinions on using wood as a material for a battery? Do you think we could do more to implement it into our lives? How? Tell us about it in a comment below!

Source: http://grist.org/list/one-day-your-car-battery-could-be-made-of-wood/