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What Is Geo-Engineering And How Could It Affect The Future Of Our Planet?

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Geo-engineering

Most people believe that the best way to safeguard our planet for future generations is to reduce the amount of energy we are using so that we limit the amount of damage we are doing to our climate.

This involves things such as adopting green living initiatives, developing renewable fuels and making sure our homes and businesses are as energy efficient as possible. However, there is another school of thought. One that believes we can carry on living how we are and still give our planet a future.

The ideas in this school of thought are collectively referred to as geo-engineering and scientists have come up with various ways in which we can protect our environment. Some of these are more viable than others but all have seriously been considered. But, first, the nuts and bolts of engineering our weather.

 

What is Geo-Engineering?

Geoengineering is the deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s natural systems to counteract climate change. Solar radiation management (SRM) and carbon dioxide removal (CDR) are the two main types of geoengineering. 

SRM involves reflecting sunlight back into space to cool the planet, while CDR involves removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

There are various ways to achieve SRM and CDR, but all come with challenges. For example, one way to reflect sunlight back into space is by injecting sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, which would create a reflective ‘shield’. 

However, this would also have negative impacts on the ozone layer and human health. Another challenge with geoengineering is that it is not a permanent solution to climate change – once we stop using geoengineering techniques, the Earth will warm up again very quickly. 

There is also a risk that geoengineering could be used as a weapon, for example if one country decided to cool down its own region while deliberately making other regions hotter.

Geoengineering is a complex topic with many pros and cons. It is important to continue research in this area so that we can better understand the risks and benefits involved.

 

Mirror, Mirror Up In Space

geo-engineering using giant mirrors

This idea is a form of Solar Radiation Management or SRM and instead of looking at ways to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere SRM attempts to find ways of keeping the planet cool without addressing climate change.

The use of mirrors in space is actually one of the best and most feasible SRM options and would mean that a small amount of the sun rays would be reflected away from the earth before they penetrate the atmosphere; resulting in stable temperatures regardless of global warming.

The problem being that these mirrors could cause disruption to satellites and space craft and should they ever cease to be effective or fall to earth then we would be left with many years’ worth of repercussions in terms of global warming.

 

Cloud Whitening

Cloud whitening is aimed at making the clouds in our skies brighter so that they reflect more of the sun’s rays and thus keep the earth’s temperature cooler. All that would be needed to do this is the addition of salt to these clouds which could be done by stationary ships with large funnels that would spray the salt into the clouds.

A version of cloud whitening already happens naturally when exhaust fumes from ships meet the clouds, so we know this method would work in theory and could negate the effects of climate change for around fifty years.

There are quite a few downsides to this geo-engineering idea though. The main one being that this has yet to be tested in practice so we are still unsure about how effective it would be.

There is also a danger that it could create variable microclimates in coastal areas which could lead to increases in wind strengths and higher levels of precipitation; not to mention the fact that the moment the salt spraying stops we will be left with the almost catastrophic effects of climate change.

 

Artificial Trees

artificial trees

This geo-engineering idea involves erecting thousands of tree-like structures all over the world that would effectively filter out large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere and then store it underground.

These fake trees would be around the same size as natural ones but would be able to absorb much more CO2 than their leafy counterparts.

Although this is one of the most viable geo-engineering options as it involves technology that we already have available; there is no telling just how many of these ‘trees’ would be needed, and the initiative is likely to be met with rejection from people saying they are eyesores.

 

Feeding The Seas

This form of SRM is also referred to as iron fertilisation and involves putting large amounts of iron into deficient parts of the ocean in order to stimulate the growth of algae and plankton on the surface.

These organisms would help to take certain levels of CO2 out of the atmosphere whilst also benefitting other living creatures in our seas which could be affected by global warming.

Debate rages however over the fact that doing this to our seas could be highly dangerous. As yet we aren’t clear of the side effects that would occur from dumping iron into the seas and we could end up causing large amount of damage to our ocean ecosystems.

 

Controlling the Weather

All of these ideas are still being developed at the moment and it is sure to be a long time before anything will be put in place.

For now the best chance we have to safeguard our planet’s future is by living in a responsible manner and reducing our domestic energy consumption.


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for freshness and consistency.

Cooling Your Home… Passively

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passive home cooling

Hats, fans, sprinklers, and pools. We all look for ways to keep cool in the summer, so why not do the same for your home? Typically we crank the AC or plug in a fan, which both get the job done, but consume a considerable amount of energy while doing so.

The demand that air conditioners put on the electricity grid is actually a major concern during the summer months in Ontario. Fortunately, you can help alleviate this issue by relying on one – or all – of the following energy-saving strategies.

 

1. Find Some Shade

shaded home

Although windows provide a great view of the outdoors, they also serve as a mechanism for solar heat gains.

These are beneficial in the winter, but a detriment in the summer. In the warmer months, try shielding your indoor space from the sun by covering windows with blinds, shades, or even exterior window covers.

The latter provides more coverage, and can range from simple covers to more sophisticated systems that can be programmed to mechanically open or close depending on the time of day and outdoor temperature.

 

Shielding windows

Still want a view of the outside? You don’t have to cover all of your windows to still see the benefits. The most critical windows to target are those in the south and west facing directions.

Windows facing south experience the highest solar heat gains over the course of a day. Windows facing west are a slightly different story. Towards the early evening (think around 5pm), your house has absorbed heat over the course of the day and is likely at its highest indoor temperature.

Since the sun sets in the west, it is also around this time (i.e. the early evening) that the sun’s rays hit west-facing glass at a more direct angle (i.e. one that is perpendicular to the window). Since the sun’s path is more direct, a greater amount of heat will enter the indoors (this is because less light has been scattered and/or refracted while traveling to the window).

Shielding these windows is an easy way to block unwanted heat and keep you and your house cool.

 

2. Veg Out

We’ve all heard that a plant-based diet can do wonders for your health, so could some extra plants do some good for your home? With some strategic gardening, the answer to that question is yes!

Planting deciduous trees around your house’s perimeter can help create a pleasing indoor climate. In the summer, the leaves help block out the sun’s UV rays and consequently shield your home from unwanted heat.

In the winter, these trees shed their leaves, which allows for maximum solar heat to enter your home, thereby creating a toasty indoor temperature.

 

3. Put on a Hat

Eco-friendly roofing for cooler summers

Try a new hat… for your home! When it’s time to invest in a new roof, try a greener option such as a white or green roof that will help keep things cool in the summer. A green roof is covered in vegetation and will help moderate your indoor temperature and better manage storm water and precipitation.

A white roof is typically a flat roof that has been painted white. This allows the sun’s rays to be reflected, instead of absorbed. Both of these roofs do come with their challenges though.

Green roofs can be difficult to maintain and often leak, while white roofs can peel and lose their effectiveness over time. If you still prefer a more traditional option (and one that requires less maintenance), choose a lighter shade of shingles so that less of the sun’s energy is absorbed.

These are only a few of the many ways to passively cool your home. Hopefully at least one will appeal to every homeowner so that we can collectively cut down on our consumption this summer.

 

4. Install Fans

Installing fans is a cheap and relatively passive way to keep a home cooler during hot summer months. The key is to install the fans properly so that they are effective at circulating air and creating a cooling breeze. 

First, locate the fan so that it is positioned in front of a window. This will allow the fan to draw in cool air from outside. Next, make sure that the blades of the fan are pointing downwards. This will help to create a downward airflow that will cool the room. 

Finally, ensure that the fan is set to rotate counter-clockwise. This will create a cooling effect as the air circulates around the room. By following these simple tips, you can easily keep your home cool and comfortable all summer long.


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for freshness and consistency.

8 Incredible Indoor Garden Ideas

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indoor garden ideas

Growing plants indoors is an excellent way to bring a touch of nature into your home. But if you’re limited on space or don’t have a lot of natural light, it can be tricky to know how to set up an indoor garden that will thrive.

There are plenty of ways to get creative with your indoor gardening. We’ve rounded up ten of the best ideas to get you started.

 

1. Try a hanging garden

hanging gardens - creative indoor garden ideas

A hanging garden or just a few hanging plants is a great option if you’re short on space. Use any container you can hang – baskets, pots, or even recycled bottles – and fill it with potting soil and your chosen plants.

Water as needed, and choose containers with drainage holes so the excess water can drip out.

Make sure your plants are getting enough natural light. Hanging gardens should be placed in a bright spot, such as near a window. If you don’t have enough natural light, you should supplement it with artificial lighting.

 

2. Try an Aquarium Garden

Aquariums make beautiful and unique indoor gardens! They are a beautiful and low-maintenance way to bring some greenery into your home. Plus, they can help purify the air and provide your fish with a natural food source.

You can fill them with aquatic plants, rocks, and even small fish.

If you’re thinking of setting up an aquarium garden, there are a few things you’ll need to consider. First, choose a location that gets plenty of sunlight. Then, decide on the type of plants you want to grow. Some good options include water sprite, hornwort, and Java fern.

Once you’ve selected your plants, it’s time to prepare the tank. Fill it with fresh water and add a layer of gravel or sand for the plants to root in. You can then start planting your aquarium garden. Leave enough space between each plant, so they have room to grow.

 

3. Create a terrarium

terrarium

Terrariums are self-contained gardens perfect for people who want to create their own little ecosystem. They’re easy to care for and can be made in any size or shape of the container.

To make one, start by adding a layer of gravel or sand to the bottom for drainage. Then, add a layer of activated charcoal (this helps to keep the terrarium clean). Next, add a layer of potting soil and start adding your plants. Once you’ve added all your plants, mist them with water and close up the container.

A terrarium is a fun, cheap, and easy way to bring a bit of the outdoors inside, and there are lots of different plants that can thrive in this type of environment. Here are some of the best options

  • Ferns: Ferns are beautiful, air-purifying plants that come in various shapes and sizes. They do best in terrariums with high humidity levels, so make sure to mist them regularly.
  • Spider plants: Spider plants are perfect for beginners, as they are very easy to care for. They prefer bright, indirect sunlight and well-draining soil.
  • Venus flytraps: These Carnivorous plants are definitely not for everyone, but they make a fascinating addition to a terrarium. Venus flytraps need bright light and high humidity, and you should feed them live insects every few weeks.

With so many different options available, it’s easy to create a unique and beautiful terrarium that suits your style.

 

4. Wall-Mounted Gardens

One of the great things about wall-mounted gardens is that you can customize them to suit any space. Whether you have a small balcony or a large patio, there’s bound to be a wall-mounted garden that’s perfect for you.

And, best of all, you can grow just about any plant in a wall-mounted garden. From herbs and spices to flowers and vegetables, the sky’s the limit on what you can grow.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are a few of the best plants to grow in a wall-mounted garden:

Herbs: Herbs are versatile, delicious, and easy to grow, making them ideal for wall-mounted gardens. Popular options include basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.

Flowers: Add some color to your wall-mounted garden with beautiful flowers. Sunflowers, petunias, and geraniums are all excellent choices.

Vegetables: With some care, you can even grow vegetables in your wall-mounted garden. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and cucumbers are all possible options.

 

5. Make a pallet garden

Pallets are an inexpensive way to create a vertical garden, which is great if you don’t have a lot of floor space. To make one, start by finding a pallet in good condition (you don’t want one that will fall apart).

Next, sand down any rough edges. Paint or stain the wood if you like. Once the pallet is ready, nail or screw it to a wall, and then fill each slat with potting soil. You can then add your plants and water as needed.

Growing plants on pallets is a great way to add some greenery to your indoor space. Pallets provide a sturdy base for plants and can be easily hung on walls or placed on shelves.

Plus, using pallets helps to recycle material that would otherwise end up in landfills.

However, there are some challenges to growing plants on pallets indoors. One is that pallets can be difficult to find. Another is that pallets are often made of treated wood, which can release chemicals into the soil and potentially harm your plants.

 

6. Try hydroponics

hydroponics at home

There’s nothing quite like gardening for those who don’t mind getting their hands dirty. The satisfaction of watching a plant grow from seedling to full maturity is hard to beat. But what if you don’t have a lot of space or live in an apartment with no yard?

Well, hydroponics gardening might be the answer. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil. Instead, the roots are suspended in water that is enriched with nutrients.

This type of gardening has several advantages.

First, it is very efficient in terms of water and space usage. Second, since the roots are not in contact with soil, they are less likely to be damaged or infected by pests or diseases. Finally, hydroponic gardens can be set up indoors, making them perfect for people who live in urban areas.

Of course, hydroponics gardening is not without its challenges. One of the biggest is ensuring that the roots have access to enough oxygen. Another is monitoring the nutrient levels in the water. Too much or too little of certain nutrients can harm plants.

But for those willing to put in the time and effort, hydroponics can be a fun and rewarding hobby.

 

7. Use recycled materials

Indoors or out, gardens are a great way to show off your personal style while connecting with nature. One of the best things about indoor (and even outdoor) gardening is that you can do it entirely with recycled materials.

There are all sorts of things that you can upcycle into planters – like old tires, boxes, barrels, or even shoes! Remember to drill some drainage holes into whatever you’re using and fill it with potting soil before adding your plants.

From start to finish, you can create your indoor garden with items you already have around the house.

For containers, repurpose anything from an old wine crate to a colander. And don’t forget about vertical gardening! Old bookshelves make great planters for vines and climbing plants.

Plastic bottles, cut in half, can be used as mini greenhouses for starting seeds. Remember to poke a few drainage holes in the bottom before adding soil and plants.

And it’s not just containers you can recycle.

  • Eggshells make excellent fertilizer when crushed and mixed into potting soil. They provide essential nutrients like calcium and magnesium, which help plants grow strong and healthy roots.
  • Coffee grounds can also be mixed into potting soil or used as mulch. They help improve drainage and aeration while providing a little extra nitrogen for plants.

So go ahead and give gardening a try – it’s earth-friendly and budget-friendly too!

 

8. Herbs on a windowsill

windowsill herbs

Growing a small herb garden on your windowsill is a great way to make your kitchen feel more like an oasis. Not to mention, it’s a super easy and low-maintenance way to add some greenery to your home.

The best part is that you can grow just about any herb this way – whether you’re looking for some classic oregano or something a little more unique, like lemon balm.

There are a few things to remember when picking your windowsill herbs. First, consider what dishes you like to cook and what herbs would complement those flavors. Then, choose herbs known for being particularly easy to grow indoors.

Some good options include basil, chives, cilantro, and parsley.

Others include:

  • Oregano is perfect for giving a boost to homemade pizza or pasta sauce.
  • Rosemary adds a delicious flavor to roasted chicken or potatoes, and
  • Sage is an excellent addition to stuffing or gravy.
  • Thyme is a must-have for making bouillon or French onion soup.

Once you’ve picked your herbs, it’s time to grow! Start by finding a sunny spot for your plants, and then fill small pots with well-draining potting soil.

Water evenly and allow the soil to dry out between watering. With a bit of patience and TLC, you’ll have a thriving windowsill herb garden in no time.

 

Get creative!

There are endless possibilities for indoor gardening – so get creative! There’s no right or wrong way to do it; experiment until you find something that works for you. And don’t forget to have fun!

5 Underestimated Benefits of Urban Forests

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urban forests

You know that trees are an indispensable factor in our environment. You know that they supply the oxygen we breathe and make our surroundings more beautiful. But, there are some incredible benefits of trees—especially in an urban setting— that you may have never considered.

How do urban forests benefit our cities? Let us count the ways…

 

Air Purification

how urban forests purify air

The United States’ urban forests remove an estimated 800,000 tons of air pollution from the Earth’s atmosphere every year. With all the buildings and vehicles pumping out harmful greenhouse gases, the trees’ ability to purify the air has become more necessary than ever.

The U.S. Forest Service has reported that a tree’s “net annual oxygen production” varies by the species, size, health and location of the tree. For example, a healthy 32-foot-tall ash will produce about 260 pounds of oxygen annually.

Given that a typical human being will consume 386 pounds of oxygen each year, it would take two medium-sized, healthy trees to supply the amount oxygen needed for one person over that amount of time. And, according to the USDA Forest Service, there are 610 million trees in U.S. urban areas working for the country’s population of roughly 314 million.

 

Water Management

Because cities have so many impermeable surfaces (concrete, asphalt, etc.), rainwater pools instead of being absorbed into the ground. This makes it possible for even a small rainstorm to cause flooding. As built-up rainwater flows over the pavement, it becomes polluted and will likely end up in our urban waterways — or even our faucets.

One street tree is capable of intercepting 760 gallons of rainwater in its crown, which helps to reduce runoff and flooding.

Collectively, enough urban trees can result in a city not having to build as many artificial stormwater controls, which will save the city and its citizens millions of dollars. The rainwater that falls on an urban forest is also purified before it reaches the ground, and any that is retained helps to sustain the growth of the trees, parks and vegetation.

 

Reducing Energy Consumption

Urban forests provide shade for our homes, businesses, roads and parking lots. Strategically planted trees around a home can provide enough shade to drastically reduce air-conditioning use in the summer. And, their ability to cut wind exposure can also reduce heating bills in the winter.

During the hot months, trees provide relief from the scorching sun, lowering the temperature both inside and outside of buildings. This leads to significant savings on air conditioning costs. 

In addition, urban forests help to reduce the “heat island” effect, in which built-up areas are significantly hotter than surrounding rural areas. This is because trees and other vegetation help to cool the air through evapotranspiration, a process in which water is vaporized from leaves and turned into water vapor. 

As a result, urban forests can play an important role in mitigating the effects of climate change. 

Additionally, urban forests help to clean the air, trapping pollutants and providing a respite from smog and other forms of pollution. In doing so, they improve public health and further lower energy costs by reducing the need for medical care. 

Finally, urban forests provide numerous other benefits such as reducing noise pollution, providing habitat for wildlife, and contributing to the aesthetic value of cities. Consequently, it is clear that urban forests make significant contributions to lowering energy costs while also improving the quality of life for city dwellers.

 

Human Experience and Mental Health

urban forests and mental well being

Urban trees can also reduce the noise of a city significantly. Tall trees with dense crowns and a soft ground surface can cut noise by 50 percent or more. If kept healthy and cared for properly, urban trees can also provide bird and wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities, improve soil quality, reduce erosion, add to property values.

Many studies suggest that urban trees help to provide a feeling of community well-being.

Several such studies have proven that street trees contribute to fewer property crimes and a better economy. Experts report that tree-lined streets attract tourists and consumers, encouraging them to shop and dine a little longer. This research also says that real estate in wooded areas is bought and rented more quickly.

According to a growing body of research, spending time in nature can have a profound impact on our mental health. Studies have shown that being in green spaces can reduce stress levels, improve moods, and increase feelings of vitality and well-being. 

In fact, one study even found that exposure to nature can help to reduce symptoms of depression. There are several reasons why green spaces can be so beneficial for our mental health. 

For one, they provide us with an opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of city life and connect with the natural world. They also give us a chance to get some exercise and fresh air, both of which are important for our physical and mental wellbeing. 

Finally, green spaces can provide us with a sense of calm and tranquility, helping us to relax and de-stress. It’s no wonder that urban forests and green spaces are becoming increasingly popular in cities around the world.

 

Climate Change Mitigation

Urban Forests help to stave off climate change in two ways: through the absorption and sequestration of carbons, and by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted.

Trees and shrubs can store carbon in their heartwood, roots and leaves for decades — even centuries — removing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere and and slowing the rate of climate change. In fact, urban trees in the U.S. store 770 million tons of carbon.

Because trees help limit the need for cooling and heating, they effectively reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by power plants, commercial and residential buildings. According to the U.S. Forest Service, “reduced emissions from trees can be substantial, especially in regions with large numbers of air conditioned buildings, long cooling seasons and where coal is the primary fuel for electric power generation.”

So, the next time you find yourself amongst an urban forest, do as the Japanese do, and soak it up.


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for freshness and consistency.

Best Vegan Fast Food Chains in the U.S.

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vegan fast food chains in the US

The United States has long been a stronghold of the fast food industry, with chains like McDonald’s and Burger King dominating the landscape. However, there has been a growing trend toward vegan fast food in recent years.

Several factors have led to this growth, including the increasing popularity of plant-based diets and the growing awareness of the environmental and ecological impacts of meat production.

Vegan fast food joints such as Veggie Grill have been cropping up in major cities across the country and proving popular with customers looking for healthier, more sustainable options.

With the fast food industry estimated to be worth $200 billion in the U.S. alone, it seems likely that vegan options will continue to gain ground in the coming years. Here are several of the best vegan fast food chains in the U.S., listed in no particular order.

 

1. Veggie Grill

vegan fast food chains food samples

Founded in 2006, Veggie Grill is a vegan fast food chain with more than 30 locations across the United States. The restaurant is known for its delicious, plant-based dishes and unique features, such as a “veganizer” option that allows customers to veganize any menu item.

Popular dishes include the V.G. Ultimate Cheeseburger, the Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’ Plate, and the Carne Asada Steak Plate. In addition to its delicious food, Veggie Grill is also committed to sustainability and offers several Eco-friendly features, such as reusable to-go containers and compostable packaging.

 

2. Plant Power Fast Food

Plant Power Fast Food is a popular vegan fast food chain with locations in California and Oregon. The chain was founded in 2016 by Mitch Wallis, Zach Vouga, and Jeffrey Harris to provide delicious and convenient plant-based meals to the growing number of people interested in veganism.

This fast food chain offers a variety of burgers, wraps, bowls, and salads made with plant-based meats and cheeses. The menu also features a selection of sides, including french fries, onion rings, and soft serve ice cream. In addition to its regular menu, Plant Power Fast Food also offers a rotating selection of seasonal specials.

Some of the most popular items on the menu include the “Big Zac” burger, the “Buffalo Mac” wrap, and the “BBQ Bacon” salad. Plant Power Fast Food has been praised for its delicious food, friendly staff, and casual atmosphere. The chain has also been recognized for its commitment to environmental sustainability, as renewable energy sources power all its locations.

 

3. Native Foods Café

native vegan foods

Native Foods Café is a popular vegan fast-food chain that offers a variety of plant-based dishes. The menu includes burgers, sandwiches, wraps, bowls, salads, and soups, all made with fresh ingredients.

The chain is also known for its relaxed atmosphere and friendly service. Customers can expect to find a welcoming environment at any of the Native Foods Cafes. Whether they are looking for a quick meal or a leisurely dining experience, they will be sure to find it at Native Foods Café.

Thanks to its delicious food and inviting atmosphere, Native Foods Café has become a popular destination for vegans and non-vegans alike.

 

4. Next Level Burger

Next Level Burger is a vegan fast food chain with locations across the United States. The restaurant was founded in 2014 and aims to provide delicious, plant-based food options for everyone.

All of the restaurant’s dishes are made with 100% organic and non-GMO ingredients, and they offer a wide variety of burgers, sandwiches, salads, and sides.

In addition to their excellent food, Next Level Burger is committed to sustainability and offers several unique features like compostable packaging and energy-efficient construction. So whether you’re looking for a delicious vegan meal or want to support a sustainable business, Next Level Burger is a perfect choice.

 

The rise of veganism

rise of fast food veganism

According to a report by Grand View Research, the global vegan fast food market is expected to reach $24.3 billion by 2027, growing at a compound annual rate of 7.8 percent during the forecast period (2020-2027).

The increasing popularity of plant-based diets is a significant factor driving market growth. In addition, the rising health consciousness and ethical concerns among consumers are also contributing to the growing demand for vegan fast foods.

A study by The Economist found the trend toward veganism was most pronounced among young people, with 18-34-year-olds being the most likely to purchase vegan fast food.

This is in line with other studies which have found that Generation Z is the most likely to adopt veganism, with a recent poll finding that 29 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 are interested in trying a plant-based diet.

The increasing popularity of vegan fast food is thus part of a broader trend towards plant-based eating, which is being driven by younger generations.

The increasing availability of vegan fast food options is another key factor driving the market growth. Many fast food chains, such as McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts, now offer vegan options such as plant-based burgers and sandwiches.

COVID-19 also had an impact on the vegan fast food market. With many people working from home and avoiding restaurants, there has been an increase in demand for delivery and takeaway options.

This has led to a surge in business for vegan fast food brands that offer delivery or takeaway services. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has also raised awareness of the importance of boosting immunity, which has led to a growing interest in plant-based diets.

The Promise of Solid State Batteries for EVs & Renewable Energy Storage

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solid state batteries in EVs

Solid-state batteries are an emerging technology in the field of energy storage. Compared to traditional batteries, solid-state batteries have several advantages that make them well suited for large-scale energy storage applications, especially from renewable sources.

Some of the key advantages of solid-state batteries over traditional batteries include:

  1. Increased Energy Density – Solid-state batteries have a much higher energy density than traditional batteries, meaning they store more energy per unit volume. This makes them ideal for large-scale energy storage applications where space is limited.
  2. Improved Safety – These batteries are also much safer than traditional batteries because no liquid electrolyte is involved. This means there is no risk of fire or explosion, making them much safer to use and handle.
  3. Increased Efficiency – Solid-state batteries are also more efficient than traditional batteries because they contain solid matter instead of a liquid electrolyte. This means less energy is lost during charging and discharging, making them more efficient overall.
  4. Longer Lifespan – Solid-state batteries also have a longer lifespan than traditional batteries because they contain no liquid electrolyte needing constant replacement. This means you can use them for many more cycles before needing to be replaced, making them more cost-effective in the long run.
  5. Lower Environmental Impact – Solid-state batteries also have a lower environmental impact than traditional batteries. They are less likely to leak and cause environmental damage, making them more environmentally friendly overall. But, they also have ecological challenges, including the rarity of some materials used in their production.

 

What are solid-state batteries?

solid state batteries vs lithium ion batteries 1

Solid state batteries are a type of battery that uses a solid electrolyte instead of a liquid one. The solid electrolyte can be made from various materials, but the most common is ceramic or polymer. Solid state batteries have many advantages over their liquid counterparts.

For one, they are much less likely to leak or catch fire. They are also smaller and lighter, making them ideal for use in portable electronics. In addition, solid-state batteries can be made with a higher energy density, meaning they can store more power per unit of volume.

However, solid-state batteries are also more expensive to produce and have shorter lifespans than liquid batteries. Despite these challenges, solid-state batteries are an exciting new technology with the potential to revolutionize the way we power our devices.

 

Shaping renewables consumption

In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. One of the challenges with these technologies is that they are often intermittent, meaning that they only produce electricity when the sun is shining, or the wind is blowing.

This can make it difficult to provide a consistent power supply to the grid.

Storage batteries can help address this problem by storing excess electricity for periods of low production. However, traditional battery technologies have several limitations, including short lifespans and high costs.

Solid state batteries are a newer type of battery technology that promises to overcome these limitations. The batteries are made from inorganic materials, which makes them more durable than traditional batteries. They also have a higher energy density, meaning they can store more energy in a given space.

As a result, solid-state batteries have the potential to revolutionize renewables consumption by providing a reliable and cost-effective storage solution.

 

Roadblocks

While solid-state batteries boast many advantages over traditional lithium-ion batteries, many challenges still need to be addressed before they can become the standard.

One of the key challenges is finding a material that can serve as a safe and stable electrolyte with better performance than the liquid electrolytes used in traditional and lithium-ion batteries.

This is a tough challenge because the electrolyte must be chemically and electrically stable.

Another challenge is developing a manufacturing process that is scalable and cost-effective. Current production methods are costly, and developing cheaper methods will take time and investment.

Additionally, solid-state batteries typically have lower energy densities than their lithium-ion counterparts, meaning that more space is required to store the same amount of power.

Despite these challenges, solid-state batteries are considered the future of battery technology due to their superior safety, stability, and lifespan. With continued research and development, it is only a matter of time before solid-state batteries become the new norm.

 

Future in electric vehicles

future of solid state batteries in Evs

The push for electric vehicles has led to a corresponding increase in demand for batteries that can power them. Lithium-ion batteries are currently the most common type of battery used in EVs. Still, solid-state batteries are a potential successor due to their higher energy density and charge/discharge rates.

However, solid-state batteries are not yet widely used due to production costs and durability challenges. Several companies are currently working on pilot projects using solid-state batteries in EVs, and it is hoped that these projects will help to overcome the technical challenges associated with their use.

However, even if we overcome these challenges, solid-state batteries will still need to compete with lithium-ion batteries on cost before they can achieve widespread adoption.

10 Awesome Plants that Naturally Repel Harmful Insects

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Plants that Naturally Repel Harmful Insects

Several plants have shown effectiveness in repelling insects. This is likely because these plants produce compounds that are toxic to insects or make it difficult for them to feed. The plant’s physical features sometimes make it unappealing or difficult for insects to land on or penetrate.

Some of the most common insect-repelling plants include citronella, catnip, garlic, marigolds, and lavender. These plants contain compounds, like limonene and geraniol, that effectively repel mosquitoes, flies, and other pests.

Studies have shown that these plants can be just as effective at repelling insects as commercial pesticides. However, they are generally much safer, especially around children and pets.

If you’re looking for a natural way to keep pests at bay, consider planting some insect-repelling plants in your home and garden.

 

  1. Citronella grass

Citronella grass is best known for its use in citronella candles, which are commonly used to keep mosquitoes at bay. The plant contains high levels of citronellol and geraniol, two chemicals known to be effective insect repellents.

 

  1. Catnip

Catnip is a member of the mint family and contains nepetalactone – a compound that is around ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET, the active ingredient in most commercial insect repellents.

 

  1. Lavender

Lavender is a popular herb used in various cosmetics and fragrances. The plant produces a strong scent that helps to mask the human smell that attracts mosquitoes. In addition, lavender oil has been shown to have insect-repelling properties.

 

  1. Lemongrass

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is a tropical plant often used as a culinary herb. Native to India and Southeast Asia, lemongrass has a citrusy flavor and aroma. Lemongrass oil is also popular for its ability to ward off insects, making it an ideal ingredient for natural insect repellents. 

In fact, research suggests that lemongrass oil is just as effective at repelling mosquitoes as DEET, the active ingredient in many commercially-available insect repellents. 

Moreover, unlike DEET, lemongrass oil does not appear toxic to humans. As a result, it may be a safe and effective way to protect yourself from mosquito-borne illnesses, such as malaria and dengue fever.

 

  1. Marigolds 

marigolds - insect repelling plants

Marigolds are commonly used as ornamental plants, but they also have insect-repelling properties. The flowers produce a compound called linalool, which repels various insects, including mosquitoes, ants, and beetles.

 

  1. Rosemary

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a fragrant, herbaceous plant in the mint family native to the Mediterranean region. It is often used in cooking and has some purported health benefits. 

Rosemary essential oil is also popular in aromatherapy. Some research suggests that rosemary essential oil can repel mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects. The plant contains a compound called limonene, an effective mosquito repellent.

A study published in 2009 found that rosemary essential oil was more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET, a chemical used in many commercial insect repellents. The study’s authors suggested that rosemary essential oil could be used as an alternative to DEET products.

However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.

 

  1. Sage

Sage is another herb that contains limonene, making it an effective mosquito repellent. In addition, the plant’s strong scent helps to mask the human smell that attracts mosquitoes.

 

  1. Thyme

Most people are familiar with thyme as a culinary herb, but did you know it also has natural insect-repelling properties? According to research, thyme essential oil is effective against several common household pests, including dust mites, cockroaches, and ants.

When used in a diffuser or spray, thyme oil can help keep these pests away from your home. And because it’s naturally derived, thyme oil is a safe and environmentally friendly way to ward off insects.

So the next time you’re looking for an all-natural solution to your bug problems, reach for some thyme!

 

  1. Verbena 

Verbena is a popular ornamental plant that produces a compound called linalool, which is effective at repelling various insects, including mosquitoes, ants, and beetles.

 

  1. Zinnias

Zinnias are annual flowers known for their vibrant colors and ability to bloom all summer long. But did you know these pretty flowers also have a secret weapon against pests? 

According to recent studies, zinnias may help to ward off harmful insects. The compounds that give zinnias their distinctive smell are also effective at repelling mosquitoes, ticks, and other pests. In addition, you can use the oils from zinnias to make an all-natural insecticide. 

So the next time you’re looking for a way to keep your garden safe from pests, reach for some zinnias. These pretty flowers not only add color and charm but may also help keep harmful insects at bay.

 

The science

science behind insect repelling plants

Some plants produce chemicals toxic to insects, while others release substances that are attractive to them. While the exact mechanisms vary from species to species, these chemical defenses help plants to ward off insect attacks.

For example, many plants contain essential oils that can act as natural insecticides. These oils can coat the insect’s exoskeleton, clogging its pores and preventing them from breathing.

Plants that produce chemicals that are toxic to insects typically do so as a way of deterring herbivores. The substances may interact with the insect’s digestive system, preventing the bug from feeding or damaging the plant.

In some cases, the toxins may even be fatal.

Finally, some plants simply don’t provide what insects are looking for. For instance, many butterflies prefer to lay their eggs on plants that will provide food for their larvae when they hatch. If a particular plant does not meet these criteria, it is less likely to be targeted by butterfly eggs.

On the other hand, some plants release chemicals that attract insects, such as pheromones.

These substances signal to the insect that the plant is a potential host for reproduction. As a result, the insect is more likely to lay eggs on or near the plant. While this may seem counterintuitive, it benefits the plant by providing it with a ready supply of food from the insects larvae.

Therefore, whether a plant repels or attracts insects depends on the species’ specific needs.

 

Benefits over pesticides

mosquito repelling plants

There are many benefits to using insect-repelling plants instead of pesticides. For one, they are much safer for the environment. Pesticides pollute the air, water, and soil and can even harm humans if not used properly.

Insect repelling plants, in contrast, are natural and pose no threat to the environment or human health. Additionally, they are often more effective than pesticides.

Some insects are resistant to pesticides but rarely develop resistance to plants.

Also, using insect-repelling plants is often cheaper than using pesticides. You can easily grow these plants at home; they do not require special equipment or training to use them effectively. As a result, they offer a safe, effective, affordable, and sustainable solution to the problem of pests.

 

Conclusion

These are just some of the many plants that naturally repel insects. By planting them around your home, you can keep the harmful insects at bay while attracting helpful ones like bees.

7 Ways College Students Can Go Green and Save Money

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going green in college

College students are known for their active involvement in many movements and one of those movements is definitely the “green movement and “living an eco-friendly life.

And even though most students would love to pursue a greener life, sometimes it can be hard to do on campus.

The biggest issue is that most of them are not really sure on how exactly to achieve this.

You knew what to do while they were living at home but now that you are living in a building full of people who may not share the same opinion, you do not know how to go green on you own.

There is always an obvious option for recycling but some students want to do more for our environment. As a college student, you might be wondering how you can help the environment and save money at the same time.

Luckily, there are a number of ways to do both! From using reusable water bottles to composting your food scraps, here are 7 ways college students can go green and save money.

 

1. Buy a solar charger for your devices

anker 625 smart solar alignment panels

When you think about it, your smartphone is one of the devices that you use the most. Therefore, it requires the most charging and the most electricity out of all of your devices.

Solar smartphone chargers are one of the most effective ways to make your carbon footprint smaller – you will spend a lot less electricity,” according to one expert.

By harnessing the power of the sun, solar chargers eliminate the need for fossil fuels, which are a major source of pollution.

He further stated: “The great thing about these chargers is that they can be used for more than just charging your phone – they can also be used for charging your laptop, wireless pods or any other devices you may need.”

In addition, solar chargers are often very compact and lightweight, making them easy to transport from place to place. And since they don’t require an outlet, solar chargers can be used just about anywhere – perfect for students who are always on the go.

 

2. Minimize heat appliances use

This includes a wide array of appliances like blow dryers, clothes dryers, curlers, flat irons, etc.

For a change, try to use your blow dryer only when necessary – this way you will help the environment while letting your hair recover from all that heat.

The same goes for flat irons and curlers – they damage your hair and waste a lot of power when working. Reduce your usage for your own good and the planet’s well-being.

Clothes dryers do not do you any harm but they definitely use a lot of electricity while they are on. Air-drying is a good option that will reduce your power usage too.

 

3. Ride a bike or walk

Eco-friendly living on campus

You have a lot on your plate as a college student. You’re probably trying to balance schoolwork with a social life and, often, a part-time job to boot.

There’s always the temptation to drive everywhere. It’s convenient. However, there are a few good reasons to ditch the car and walk or bike to class instead.

For one, you save money. Gas prices are always fluctuating. We’re just emerging from a rise in gas prices that has made driving extremely expensive.

Walking and biking are two affordable alternatives that can save you money and get you in shape.

That’s right, it’s good for your health. Walking and biking are also form of exercise that can help you tone your body, improve stamina, and even reduce your stress levels and enhance mental health,

And finally, it’s good for the environment. When you choose to ride or walk, you minimize pollution, conserve resources, and protect the environment.

 

4. Reduce your paper and plastic usage

Students use a lot of paper and that is inevitable. With so many assignments and classes, it is necessary. However, there are many areas where reducing the amount of paper is possible.

For example, you could replace your paper towels with rags and clothes – they do a great job at cleaning spills too.

Do not use paper plates. Instead, opt for a couple of ceramic, washable plates. Think about other places where you are using paper when cloths would do just fine too, and replace them.

“As for the plastic, there are even more areas where you could eliminate it. For example, you could use glass bottles instead of plastic bottles that are made just for one use, you could replace plastic cups with glass ones, use metal utensils instead, etc.

You probably use plastic much more than you think and replacing it with long-lasting materials will not only reduce plastic pollution but it will also save your money”, – explains Jim, a recycling expert.

 

5. Replace your bulbs with LED bulbs

LED lightbulbs

LED bulbs are becoming increasingly popular as a way to save energy and money. College students are especially well-suited to take advantage of LED bulbs, as they are often living on a tight budget. 

LEDs use much less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, and they also last much longer. 

This means that you can save money on your electricity bills by switching to LED bulbs. In addition, LED bulbs emit very little heat, which can help to reduce air conditioning costs in the summer months. 

Overall, LED bulbs are an excellent way for college students to save money and cut down on their carbon footprint.

 

6. Educate yourself and others about the environment

This is an indirect way to help but just as effective. If you tell other people about what you are doing without being annoying about it, they will likely follow your lead.

Show them how what you are doing is not that hard. If you get just one more person to be more attentive to our environment, it will be worth it.

Just because you’re in college doesn’t mean you know everything there is to know about climate change. Take the time to learn about the science behind it and then share that knowledge with others. The more people who understand the issue, the more likely we are to find solutions.

 

7. Get involved

get involved in the fight for the planet

If you have some free time on your hands, join activists who clean parks or other green surfaces. “You could also start a group on your campus or start a competition between dorms to see who spends the least energy.

Others ways include:

  • Join or start a club devoted to environmentalism. If you want to really get involved in the fight against climate change, consider joining an existing club or starting your own on campus. This is a great way to meet like-minded people and make a difference at your school and in your community.
  • Vote! Once you turn 18, you have the power to vote in elections. Use that power to elect officials who will fight for policies that will help combat climate change.
  • Recycle, compost, and reduce your waste. This one is easy enough to do on campus. Most colleges have recycling bins set up around campus, so take advantage of them. And if your school doesn’t have composting facilities, see if you can start a pilot program.

 

Final Thoughts

From these examples, you can see that living green and saving money on campus is not that hard. All you have to do is pay a bit more attention and make slight tweaks to your lifestyle for an amazingly positive impact. Just remember that changes begin in your own home, even if it is your campus home.


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for freshness and consistency.

How Young People Can Fight Climate Change Today

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young people fighting climate change

In recent years, climate change has become an increasingly pressing issue for people worldwide. As the effects of global warming and climate change become more evident, everyone must do their part in mitigating its impact.

This is especially true for teens and young people, who will have to live with the consequences of climate change for the rest of their lives. Young people have a lot at stake. The decisions adults make today will determine the kind of world we leave behind for future generations, and young voices must be heard in the fight against climate change.

There are many ways that young people can get involved in the fight against climate change. We’ve outlined seven of them below.

 

  1. Speak up about the issue

youth and climate change

The first step to taking action on climate change is to raise your voice and make your concerns known. Talk to your family, friends, and teachers about why you care about the environment and encourage them to take action.

You can also write letters, make phone calls, and connect with your elected representatives on social media to let them know that you want them to take action on climate change.

 

  1. Educate yourself and others about climate change

If we are to fight climate change effectively, everyone must understand what it is and how it is affecting our planet. Read books and articles, watch documentaries, and talk to experts to learn as much as you can about the issue.

Once you have a good understanding of the problem, you can start sharing your knowledge with others to help raise awareness about the issue.

Among the issues you can learn about include:

  • Animal extinction and habitats
  • Wildfires
  • Rising sea levels
  • Air pollution
  • Rising temperatures around the world
  • Deforestation

 

  1. Reduce your carbon footprint

One of the best ways to reduce your impact on the environment is to simply consume less. That means eating less meat (or no meat at all), wasting less food, using less water, and driving less.

You can also easily offset your carbon footprint by reducing consumption, planting trees, or investing in renewable energy.

Other ways include:

  • Reduce your energy consumption at home by making simple changes, such as switching to LED light bulbs and turning off lights and electronics when you’re not using them. You can also save energy (and money) by setting your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and higher in the summer.
  • Buy local produce and goods whenever possible. The food you eat and the products you buy must be transported, so buying from local businesses reduces emissions from trucks and other vehicles.
  • Recycle and compost: Make sure you recycle as much as possible and compost organic waste instead of sending it to the landfill.
  • Be mindful of water usage. Take shorter showers, turn the water off while brushing your teeth, and water your plants during the cooler hours of the day to minimize evaporation.

 

  1. Live a more sustainable lifestyle

In addition to reducing your consumption, you can also make an impact by living a more sustainable lifestyle. That means recycling and composting, using less energy at home, supporting environmentally friendly businesses, and choosing products with less environmental impact.

 

  1. Advocate for change

youth advocating for climate action

Once you’ve educated yourself and others about climate change, you can start advocating for change. This could mean participating in protests or marches, writing letters to the editor, or testifying before your local government.

Whatever form it takes, speaking up for what you believe in is a crucial way to fight climate change.

 

  1. Vote

One of the most effective ways to fight climate change is by voting. When you cast your ballot, support candidates who have pledged to take action on climate change.

You can also urge your elected officials to vote for legislation that would help combat climate change.

 

  1. Get involved in the community

There are many ways to get involved in your community and make a difference. You can volunteer for an environmental organization, work on a community garden, or start a recycling program at your school. Whatever you do, remember that even small actions can add up to significant changes.

 

Conclusion

Young people have a lot of power in fighting climate change. They can make a big impact by making small changes in their lives and raising awareness among their peers. We can all make a difference for our planet by taking action on climate change.

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