Tag Archives: concept

Most Ohio conservatives want to pay for renewables and stop propping up coal.

Here’s the idea: Build underwater barriers in front of the glaciers most vulnerable to collapse, keeping warm ocean water from sloshing in to melt them.

Princeton glaciology postdoc Michael Wolovick presented this concept at the American Geophysical Union conference in December, as the Atlantic reports.

The Antarctic glaciers Wolovick studies are subject to disastrous feedback loops: The more they melt, the more they are exposed to melt-inducing seawater. Recent studies have suggested these massive stores of ice could collapse much faster than previously thought, potentially raising sea levels by 5 to 15 feet by the end of the century (that’s seriously bad news for coastal cities).

Wolovick has been researching the feasibility of slowing that collapse with ‘sills’ constructed out of sand and rock along the fronts of these vulnerable glaciers. Unlike a seawall, they would be entirely underwater, but would keep warm ocean water from reaching a glacier’s vulnerable base.

That could stall glacial retreat dramatically, and maybe even reverse it. In Wolovick’s virtual experiments, even the least successful version of the sills slowed a glacier’s collapse by 400 or 500 years.

It’s all still a huge if, Wolovick admits, that requires more research. But if it works, it could buy some crucial time against sea-level rise.

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Most Ohio conservatives want to pay for renewables and stop propping up coal.

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Did Donald Trump Really Hand Angela Merkel a "Bill" For NATO Services?

Mother Jones

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This story from the Sunday Times leaves me in a quandary:

Donald Trump handed the German chancellor Angela Merkel a bill — thought to be for more than £300bn — for money her country “owed” NATO for defending it when they met last weekend, German government sources have revealed.

The bill — handed over during private talks in Washington — was described as “outrageous” by one German minister. “The concept behind putting out such demands is to intimidate the other side, but the chancellor took it calmly and will not respond to such provocations,” the minister said.

What to think? On the one hand, reporting on items like this from the British press is notoriously unreliable. On the other hand, it’s moronic beyond belief, which makes it perfectly plausible that Trump might have done this. Hmmm.

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Did Donald Trump Really Hand Angela Merkel a "Bill" For NATO Services?

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4 Different Methods for Preparing Your Morning Coffee

Turns out, theres more to making a cup of coffee than simply pressing brew on your coffee machine. In fact, outside of the U.S., many people are left shaking their heads at the concept of brewed coffee and its lack of thick, rich texture and flavor. And the differences of opinion over coffee prep arent solely rooted in snobbery did you know there are actual health differences between different preparation methods?

Whether youre concerned about your cholesterol levels, in searchof a more flavorful cup of joe, or just hoping to increase your coffee-making finesse, heres what you need to know about the pros and cons of the top four coffee preparation methods.

Brewed Coffee

Lets start off with brewed coffee, the most popular preparation method in the United States. This method involves putting a few scoops of ground coffee beans into an electric coffee maker, usually over a filter. Water is then heated and pumped through the machine, dripping down over the ground beans. As the water drips through the beans and the filter, it picks up the flavorsof the coffee beans and results in a nice, flavorful cup of coffee.

Now, lets consider the benefits and drawbacks. One of the biggest benefits of brewed coffee is its convenience factor. You simply turn the machine on (or use a timer to set it to brew at a particular time) and, as long as youve put your water, filter and coffee grounds into the machine, youll get a cup of coffee about five minutes later.

The main drawback, of course, is that its pretty easy to make your coffee too weak or too strong. Many coffee snobs complain that brewed coffee is, well, watery which makes sense, when you think about it.

French Press

By contrast, French press coffee is made by mixing coffee grounds directly with water. Youll need a French press machine to do this, of course. After steeping for about four minutes (youll adjust this based on how strong youd like your coffee to be), you press the machines filter through the coffee to strain out the grounds.

The biggest downside of a French press is that has a minor difference for your health. Some students suggest that the absence of a filter causes coffee oils to remain in the coffee, which can impact your cholesterol levels.

Coffee oils are most potent in coffees where the grounds have the longest contact with the water during brewing, states Healthline. A French press, which brews coffee by continually passing water through the grounds, has been shown to have greater concentrations of cafestol. Brewing in an American-style coffee pot with a filter, on the other hand, has relatively low levels, as the beverage is only passed through the grounds once. Most of the cafestol is left behind in the filter no matter what the roast.

Pour-Over/Chemex

Pour-over coffee, which is often associated with the popular Chemex machine, is kind of the best of both worlds. It utilizes a filter (which can help keep out cholesterol-raising coffee oils) but it offers the flavor and character of a hand-brewed coffee.

You can make your own pour-over system simply by tying some cheesecloth around a medium-sized bowl, placing ground coffee beans on top, and then slowly pouring hot water over the grounds into the bowl below. Of course, you can also invest in a machine such as the Chemex or a similar type of product.

The main drawback to pour-over coffee is that its arguably the most labor-intensive. You have to pour hot water slowly over the coffee beans, which means its a very hands-on process.

Keurig

Finally, the newest option for coffee preparation: the Keurig machine. There are plenty of other brands that manufacture machines similar to the Keurig (Nescafe is one of them), but Keurig was the first, and remains the most popular, machine of its kind.

The Keurig is incredibly easy to use. All you have to do is place a pre-made K-cup (a plastic cup filled with coffee grounds) in your machine, add water, and press brew. Youll soon have a single cup of coffee ready to enjoy. Because the amount of groundsin each cup is standard, theres little room for error, so youre unlikely to end up with watery coffee.

Of course, those of us who care about protecting the planet will already know that single-serve coffee pods come with a MAJOR drawback: Theyre horrible for the environment. If you enjoy making single-serve coffee, the best way to make your coffee more environmentally friendly is to spring for a reusable K-cup filter that can easily be put in your machine. You just add regular coffee grounds to the reusable cup, push brew, and clean the filter when youre done.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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4 Different Methods for Preparing Your Morning Coffee

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Why I Am Vegan (And You Should Be Too)

Since the vegan movement started in the 1940s, it has been mainly about ending the exploitation of animals. While veganism has grown in numbers throughout the decades, lets face it: most people simply dont care about animals enough to stop using them as food. But animal welfare is only one reason to go vegan. Other than the animals, here are some of the many reasons why I am vegan and you should be too.

Veganism Is Feminism

Veganism is based on the principle of speciesism, or the belief that no species (in this case, humans) is inherently superior to another species.

This concept is closely related to sexism, as well as racism, classism, ableism, heterosexualism, and the other isms that plague society. If you allow the belief that humans are superior to animals and thus it is okay to exploit them, then you make room for the belief that men are superior to women and so forth. To quote Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple:

The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men.

Veganism Is Good for the Planet

Unless youve been solely tuned to Fox News, you are probably aware by now that global warming is a serious problem. The 2014 UN report on climate change said that we can expect famine, drought, and wars over resources by 2050 if climate change isnt halted.

While the media focuses on things like taking shorter shower and using public transportation as a way to curb the eminent doom that is global warming, they often fail to mention what really needs to be done, which is to change the way we eat.

It will be hard to meet the 2-degree goal no matter what; it will be impossible if livestock pollution isn’t part of the mix, Doug Boucher, PhD ecologist and evolutionary biologist and director of climate research and analysis at the Union of Concerned Scientists told CNN,

How bad is meat and dairy for the planet? According to FAO, 18 percent of global emissions come from livestock. Lindsay Wilson fromShrink that Footprintlooked at the eco footprints of various diets in America, and he found that the average American has a footprint of 2.5 tCO2e per year (tons of carbon dioxide equivalent) and a meat lover has a footprint of 3.3 tCO2e. By contrast, a vegan footprint is just 1.5 tCO2e!

Or, to put this in terms of water usage,1lb of beef requires 1,800gallons of water. Do the math and youll see that the water used to make 10 hamburgers is well over a years worth of showers.

Yes, you could quit showering for an ENTIRE YEAR and still not save as much water if youd just stop eating meat.

Veganism Is Good for Your Health

Yes, there are some nutritional issues about the vegan diet which need to be considered (but protein isnt one of them!). And, yes, it is possible to eat nothing but junk food and still be vegan. However, numerous studies have shown that the vegan diet is linked to numerous health benefits, including:

Lower Body Weight: People who eat meat are 9 times more likely to be obese than vegans.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease: Vegans are 32 pecent less likely to get heart disease.
Diabetes: Vegans have half the risk of developing type II diabetes as meat eaters.

So, even if you dont care about animal welfare, go vegan for your fellow man (and woman) kind, the planet, and for yourself!

Image credit: Thinkstock

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Why I Am Vegan (And You Should Be Too)

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Earth Day Pledge: Zero Waste For A Day

Each year Earth Day reminds us that we all, collectively, must take care of this little blue and green home. After all, its the only one we have.  Now its all too easy to slip back into old habits come April 23rd. So, why not try something a little different for Earth Day this year?  This year, why not do something a little unorthodox — take the Earth911 Earth Day Zero Waste Challenge Pledge?

Earth Day Zero Waste Challenge

So what exactly is the challenge?  The challenge is quite simple — just two steps.

1) COMMIT

The first step is committing to the challenge by signing the Earth Day Pledge.  Don’t worry, there won’t be armed men knocking on your door to check that you’ve complied at the end of the day.  This is between you and the person you see in the mirror each morning.  Signing the pledge form is merely a reminder to yourself that you’re committing to producing zero waste for one day – Earth Day.  What better way to honor Earth than not trashing it – literally.

2) ACTION

Step two is taking action.  If its sounds too daunting – creating zero waste for an entire day – we’ve got some great resources for you below. You just may find that going zero waste for a day isn’t that tall an order.  One day may turn into a week.  A week could turn into a month.  You get the picture hopefully.  It’s all about small steps, small steps that when combined together translate into real change.  Make this year’s Earth Day a game changer.  As Bea Johnson detailed to Earth911,

“Zero Waste really starts outside the home, with the decisions that we make when we shop. If you do not buy packaging (by buying secondhand and in bulk for example), you don’t have to deal with its waste later.”

Finally, if you find yourself stumbling, don’t beat yourself up over it. Meaningful change comes with its share of setbacks and triumphs. If you live with others communicate with them about your pledge and be prepared to experience possible resistance.

Zero waste resources

There’s More to Zero Waste Than Being Green 
Zero Waste For One Week. How Hard Is It Really?
Zero Waste Home Cleaning And Laundry Tips
What Does Zero Waste Really Mean?
7 Steps Towards A Zero Waste Lifestyle
Moving Towards Zero Waste 
Is Zero Waste Grocery The Answer To Growing Landfills?
A Chat With Zero Waste Influencer Lauren Singer 
A Sit Down With Zero Waste Home’s Bea Johnson

Everything is bigger in Texas

Earth Day Texas creates a fun and engaging atmosphere for thought and experiential learning while encouraging attendees to be the change they wish to see in the world. Image Credit: Earth Day Texas

They say everything is bigger in Texas and here is another example.  Now the largest event of its type in the world, Earth Day Texas is held annually in April to celebrate progress, hope, and innovation bringing together environmental organizations, businesses, academic institutions, government agencies, speakers, interactive programming, and subject matter experts. Attendees will also enjoy numerous outdoor experiences, including live music, sustainable beer and food pavilions, electric bike test tracks, and family activities.  EDT creates a fun and engaging atmosphere for thought and experiential learning while encouraging attendees to be the change they wish to see in the world.

Earth911 is just one of over 700 vendors scheduled at this year’s EDT.  For full details about how you can participate in this FREE event, check out the Earth Day Texas website.  Stop by and visit us; we’ll be in the Grand Place building.

What are your Earth Day plans?  Share your plans in the comments section below.

Feature image credit: petrmalinak / Shutterstock

About
Latest Posts

Chase Ezell

As Managing Editor for Earth911, Chase oversees editorial direction and content publishing for the site. Prior to his current role and spanning more than a decade, Chase served in various Public Relations, Communications and Sustainability roles.

Latest posts by Chase Ezell (see all)

Earth Day Pledge: Zero Waste For A Day – April 19, 2016
Recycling Awareness Front, Center At Landmark Events – April 15, 2016
Zero Food Waste On Display At New Grocery Concept – April 12, 2016

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Earth Day Pledge: Zero Waste For A Day

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John Oliver Explains Why It’s So Crucial Apple Is Refusing the FBI’s Encryption Demands

Mother Jones

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On Sunday, John Oliver took on the FBI’s continuing demands for Apple to unlock a cellphone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. Speaking largely on Apple’s side of the debate, the Last Week Tonight host explained the importance of encryption and broke down what’s at stake in the high-profile battle:

“There is no easy side to be on in this debate,” Oliver said. “Strong encryption has its costs, from protecting terrorists to drug dealers to child pornographers. But I happen to feel that the risks of weakening encryption, even a little bit, even just for the government, are potentially much worse.”

Even Sen. Lindsey Graham, who first came out strongly against Apple for refusing to comply with the FBI’s orders, recently admitted that upon further research, he’s realized the government’s orders could pose an enormous risk to Americans’ security.

“It’s just not so simple,” Graham told Attorney General Loretta Lynch during a hearing on the subject last week. “I thought it was that simple—I was all with you until I actually started getting briefed by people in the intel community and I will say that I’m a person who’s been moved by the arguments that the precedent we set and the damage we may be doing to our own national security.”

As Oliver notes, it’s a “miracle” Graham has finally grasped the concept of nuance.

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John Oliver Explains Why It’s So Crucial Apple Is Refusing the FBI’s Encryption Demands

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ISIS Fighters Lose Kobani In Win For Obama’s Iraq Strategy

Mother Jones

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From the LA Times:

Kurdish fighters in the Syrian border town of Kobani appeared poised Monday to deal a decisive defeat to Islamic State militants after months of street clashes and U.S. aerial bombardment, signaling a major setback for the extremist group.

….The apparent breakthrough shows how U.S. air power, combined with a determined allied force on the ground, can successfully confront Islamic State. The military watched with surprise as Islamic State continued sending hundreds of fighters, vehicles and weapons to Kobani, which was of no critical strategic importance to the overall fight but had become something of a public relations fight.

“Essentially, they said, ‘This is where we are going to make a stand’ and flooded the region with fighters,” said Col. Edward Sholtis, a spokesman for U.S. Air Force Central Command, in charge of air operations in the battle against the Islamic State.

My expert in all things Kurdish emailed me this comment today: “This is a big deal, and it proves the viability of Obama’s strategy of working with proxies in Iraq and Syria to defeat ISIS. My prediction is we won’t hear much boasting about it from Obama though. These aren’t the politically chosen proxies.”

I’ve been one of the skeptics of Obama’s strategy, and I’ll remain so until the Iraqi military demonstrates the same fighting ability as the Kurdish peshmerga. Kobani, after all, is more a symbolic victory than anything else, and ISIS continues to control large swathes of Iraq. Nonetheless, at a minimum this shows that ISIS is hardly unbeatable, something that Iraqi forces probably needed to see.

Bottom line: this is a proof of concept. When we can do the same thing in Mosul with Iraqi forces in the lead, then I’ll be a real believer.

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ISIS Fighters Lose Kobani In Win For Obama’s Iraq Strategy

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Torture Is Not a Hard Concept

Mother Jones

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Like all of us, I’ve had to spend the past several days listening to a procession of stony-faced men—some of them defiant, others obviously nervous—grimly trying to defend the indefensible, and I’m not sure how much more I can take. How hard is this, after all? Following 9/11, we created an extensive and cold-blooded program designed to inflict severe pain on prisoners in order to break them and get them to talk. That’s torture. It always has been, and even a ten-year-old recognizes that legalistic rationalizations about enemy combatants, “serious” physical injury, and organ failure are transparent sophistry. Of course we inflicted severe pain. Moderate pain would hardly induce anyone to talk, would it? And taking care not to leave permanent marks doesn’t mean it’s not torture, it just means you’re trying to make sure you don’t get caught.

Christ almighty. Either you think that state-sanctioned torture of prisoners is beyond the pale for a civilized country or you don’t. No cavils. No resorts to textual parsing. And no exceptions for “we were scared.” This isn’t a gray area. You can choose to stand with history’s torturers or you can choose to stand with human decency. Pick a side.

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Torture Is Not a Hard Concept

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Joni Ernst Wants to Make English the Official Language

Mother Jones

Joni Ernst has latched onto pretty much every idea favored by the tea party. On Thursday afternoon, while campaigning in western Iowa, Ernst endorsed another concept favored by the grassroots right: officially declaring the United States an English language country. “I think it’s great when we can all communicate together,” Ernst said when a would-be voter at a meet and greet in Guthrie Center, Iowa, asked if she’d back a bill making English the official national language. “I think that’s a good idea, is to make sure everybody has a common language and is able to communicate with each other.”

Ernst spent the day campaigning with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of the main architects of the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Democratic-run Senate, but not the GOP-run House, in 2013. Ernst has opposed Graham’s bill to put some undocumented workers on a path to citizenship, and regularly attacks President Barack Obama’s possible use of executive authority to allow immigrants to remain in the country as “amnesty.”

Making English the official language is a longtime cause of Ernst’s fellow Iowa Republican, Rep. Steve King (Guthrie Center is just outside King’s congressional district). As a state senator in 2002, King pushed a law that made Iowa an English-only state. In 2007, King and Ernst, then a county auditor, sued Iowa’s then-secretary of state, Democrat Mike Mauro, for offering voter forms in languages other than English.

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Joni Ernst Wants to Make English the Official Language

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Hillary Clinton in 1993: Individual Mandate Is a "Much Harder Sell"

Mother Jones

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The individual mandate has been one of the most controversial aspects of Obamacare since Congress passed the law in 2009. Conservatives have railed against the requirement that everyone purchase health insurance or face tax penalties. And the 2012 Supreme Court case that decided the fate of Obamacare centered around Republicans’ objections to the mandate.

But the individual mandate originated as a conservative goal—first proposed by the Heritage Foundation, later adopted by Senate Republicans as an alternative approach to President Bill Clinton’s efforts to reform in the health care system during his first term.

New documents unsealed Friday by the Bill Clinton’s presidential library show that then-First Lady Hillary Clinton wasn’t a fan of the individual mandate back when it was a Republican idea. In September 1993, Hillary traveled to Capitol Hill and explained White House’s health care plan to a gathering of Democratic leaders from the House and Senate. During Clinton’s remarks, which spelled out the details of the proposal before they were released to the public, she dismissed the concept of the mandate with a prescient knowledge of how tricky it would be to sell to the public:

But if the Republican alternative, as it appears now to be shaping up, at least among the moderate Republicans in the Senate, is an individual mandate, we have looked at that in every way we know to to (inaudible). That is politically and substantively a much harder sell than the one we’ve got—a much harder sell.

Because not only will you be saying that the individual bears the full responsibility; you will be sending shock waves through the currently insured population that if there is no requirement that employers continue to insure, then they, too, may bear the individual responsibility.

Unfortunately for Clinton, if she runs for president in 2016 (as widely predicted) she’ll likely have to defend Obama’s implementation of that mandate.

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Hillary Clinton in 1993: Individual Mandate Is a "Much Harder Sell"

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