Two major hurricanes, Irma and Maria, hit Puerto Rico in September 2017. It would be nearly impossible to restore Puerto Rico’s power grid to what it was before the storms. And undesirable. Puerto Rico needs an up-to-date electrical system that takes advantage of solar power and other renewable energy.
The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) managed to restore electric power to 70% of its customers the weekend after Irma’s visit.
Then came Maria, which destroyed most of the infrastructure Irma had left standing.
PREPA was already in trouble long before that disastrous September. Its mostly oil-fired power plants are, on average, twice as old as most American plants—44 years vs 18 years. Oil became so expensive that PREPA filed for bankruptcy in July 2017. It declared its infrastructure “degraded and unsafe.” Continue reading →
Contributed by Becca Stickler
Now that the holiday season is in full swing, many people have already started purchasing jewelry to give as gifts to their loved ones. Rings, necklaces, and other diamond-laden accessories are classic choices for placing under the tree, and often seen as expensive tokens of affection.
Unfortunately, the jewelry industry is laden with ethical issues, including inhumane working conditions and conflict fueled by sourcing. Mining for gold, silver, diamonds, and other precious materials commonly used in the industry also has a serious impact on the environment, as illustrated by the fact that central British Columbia is still dealing with the fallout from the Mount Polley mine disaster more than three years later.
This doesn’t mean you need to avoid jewelry altogether, though. As today’s consumers become increasingly aware of the environmental and social implications of their purchasing decisions, some companies have developed ethical sourcing and manufacturing processes. Continue reading →
People all too easily assume that electric cars are one hundred percent green. Unfortunately, they are not.
Sure, electric cars don’t rip through petroleum and natural gas like petrol vehicles, but the production process still emits a large amount of greenhouse gas. This is hardly a hallmark of sustainability. Continue reading →
Last August, the Chinese government announced new restrictions on importing recyclables.
Starting in 2018, it will no longer accept imports of two dozen different materials. These include several types of post-consumer plastic recycling, several types of used textiles, and one grade of unsorted paper. It also announced that it was reducing allowable contamination from 1.5% to 0.3%.
The announcement continues a policy that has been in effect for at least four years. China has had to put too much of what it imports into its own landfills.
The Chinese government no longer wants the country to be a dumping ground for low-quality materials. It isn’t shutting the door to imported recyclables. It just demands much higher quality than it did at first. Continue reading →
Anyone who has ever tried to declutter their home can tell you the bitter truth: decluttering isn’t as easy as collecting things. On the contrary, it’s hard work, with lots of annoyance and headaches.
And that’s only the process itself.
When it comes to deciding what to do with things we no longer need as environmentally-minded people, we find ourselves in a difficult situation: how can we actually get rid of stuff without harming the environment even further? Here are a few useful tips: Continue reading →
Developers have long built neighborhoods, especially high-end neighborhoods, around a pool or tennis courts, or a golf course. Lately, urban and suburban neighborhoods, dubbed agrihoods, are being built around a community farm.
Or a community farm comes to an urban neighborhood.
Why do people establish agrihoods? Often because suburban sprawl threatens once-rural areas. If development will happen anyway, why not try to direct its course? Continue reading →