Brian is a staff writer for Green Matters.
It was initially a "mid-life crisis," but Rich East's transformed life from working an office job to traveling around Australia has been exactly what he's needed. He explains the process in how it all happened and shares the incredible bond he has with his feline companion.
Ikea announced multiple renewable targets that they plan to reach by 2030, which includes removing single-use plastic over the next few years, offering more home solar solutions, and to reduce their greenhouse gases by 80 percent compared to their levels in 2016.
China is slowing down local growth in the solar industry, which may not sound like progress, but the entire world benefits. Lower costs from Chinese manufacturers exporting their products will create higher rates of installation around the world.
To keep rare bat species in an area where they thrive, a community that's already created nearly 100 sustainable homes is changing their street lights. These new red LED bulbs will allow humans to continue operating at night while the bats can avoid it.
The European Commission announced plans recently to further regulate single-use plastic, including outright banning certain items that have the most effect on marine pollution. These new rules would also require manufacturers to raise awareness and help with cleanup efforts.
Mountain gorillas remain an endangered species, but conservation efforts such as regulated tourism and habitat protection has increased their population over the last 35 years. It's jumped 25 percent in a specific African region in the past eight years.
There's a new way to recycle single-use plastic waste, and it's by using a dung beetle. Art designers have created a sculpture that's able to convert plastic into gas, and the event hopes to inspire others to find inventive concepts to eliminate plastic waste.
China continues to deal with rising population in their cities, and that includes immigration from other regions of the country. To promote local food growth, 1,000 "Slow Food" villages will be created in an effort to educate those on culture and sustainability.
Back in the 1940's, "Victory Gardens" were a massive effort to boost produce growth that helped feed communities and troops. They're making a return now to combat carbon emissions, and Green America has set a goal to double the amount of gardens than before.
One of the biggest databases of pollution that's been picked up off the streets has been upgraded to make the experience easier. Litterati, downloadable on iOS and Android devices, now allows for better collaboration, advanced tagging, and easier photo uploads.
Costa Rica's new president, Carlos Alvarado, plans to eliminate the country's carbon footprint by banning fossil fuels by 2021. While the timeline seems unrealistic, the country is close to fully running on renewable energy, but they have to fix their transportation infrastructure.
Levees are built to help prevent the overflow of rivers and to save land from storm surges, but they've had a negative effect on Louisiana's wetlands. The state is creating divisions in these levees to bring needed sediment to marshes in order to restore land.
For the last five years, "Power Africa" has been the push toward investing into energy growth for the second most-populous continent. Launching a revised campaign in March, they're looking to enhance the infrastructure in various countries and to receive more investments from US companies.
Over the next few months, Elon Musk and The Boring Company will be putting the finishing touches on their trial-run tunnel, offering free rides under their SpaceX headquarters. Their goal is to provide evidence that these efforts can fix congested traffic above ground.
The Sunshine State is already a power player in the renewable energy industry and it's expected to get bigger. A mandate could be set in 2020 for most new residential buildings to install solar panels, which creates pros and cons for an expensive housing market.
Construction is finally underway for Belgium's massive 370-megawatt offshore wind farm. Nearly 15 miles off the coast, the 44 turbines expect to power 400,000 homes and should satisfy 10 percent of the country's needs by 2025.
Solar import tariffs hasn't slowed down development of clean energy in the United States. In fact, according to the latest RECAI report from EY, they're only second to China as far as an attractive location to invest in sustainable power products.
Ecover, a company that manufactures eco-friendly cleaning products, is launching a temporary "'Rubbish Cafe" that offers vegetarian meals and drinks for people that donate recyclable plastic. The two-day event promotes the company's ambitions to remove single-use plastic.
Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced that the DOE is investing $30 million over the next three years to improve energy storage for large-scale systems. They're looking for solutions in various technology that will last up to 100 hours.
In collaboration with Motiv Power Systems, Winnebago is electrifying their RVs with a new EPIC chassis launched a few months ago. There will be two variations in length of the new RV and it can drive up to 125 miles on a single charge.
Similar to massive food waste problems, clothes are being tossed out at an alarming rate in Europe. This caused France to dive further into action by implementing incentives for voluntary action and passing legislation by next year.
Mayor Jacob Frey and the Minneapolis City Council announced that they'll be the next US city to fully run on clean energy. They've set a goal for 2030, though the state of Minnesota has seen significant growth in the wind energy industry already.
A new gateway into an eastern Paris suburb will feature a massive complex made from timber that spans over 300,000 square feet. It'll feature office space, community areas, recreational facilities, and will be one of many sites that helps lower their carbon footprint.
One of Hollywood's biggest environmental activists, Leonardo DiCaprio, has boosted a fast-growing, off-grid energy service for developing countries. Kingo delivers cheaper power through a prepaid service and expects to have 100 million users by 2025.
Pirie Associates Architects have won a design competition for Rio Iluminado, a new artwork that will help power a reclaimed waterfront that's becoming a 3.4-acre whitewater park near the Willimantic River in Connecticut.
Facing long blackouts from a dispute between a local gas supplier and utility company, Pakistani locals are turning toward other alternatives for power. One of the best solutions are solar panels, which could help many citizens who don't have access to the national grid.
"Unpackt" is Singapore's first zero-waste grocery store that features no plastic packaging and customers will use containers that they can bring or buy to store products. The process aims to cut back on a significant plastic waste problem in the country.
One of the biggest department store chains in the United States is adding EV charging stations to over 100 stores across 20 states. Target, who has worked with Tesla and ChargePoint in the past for EV stations, adds Electrify America into the mix.
Operation Warm is creating 15,000 coats created from recycled plastic bottles by the time autumn begins. Called "The Green Guardian," these will all be delivered to kids in need across North America by the upcoming fall season.
Growing pork consumption around the world, especially in China, has created an increase in carbon emissions and has made the country cut back on half of its intake.
Based on a survey from New York City's Health Department, the city has seen drops in greenhouse gas emissions and the air quality is as clean as it's been since monitoring it back in 2008. It's all part of Mayor de Blasio's sustainable efforts from 2015.
Our love affair with chocolate is wreaking havoc on the environment. But our buying choices can help turn that around.
The UK's National Grid announced that no London power stations used coal for energy production for a span of 55 hours from late Monday into early Thursday morning. It beats the old record of just over 40 hours from last October, and wind power levels continue to impress.
REC Solar is collaborating with Hawaiian Energy and the United States Navy to create a new 20-megawatt solar project at their base in Pearl Harbor. The West Loch solar farm is just the beginning of many renewable projects under the utility company.
The Marine Stewardship Council revealed their list of top British supermarkets offering sustainable seafood, and Aldi tops the list with Sainsbury's and Lidl. In general, there's been a 60 percent increase in certified fish products being offered.
Each item is factory-refurbished to like-new condition with little or no cosmetic issues, and every purchase is backed by a 90-day limited warranty.
While studying enzymes that are able to digest PET plastics, scientists have accidentally found a way to make the process 20 percent faster than its natural ability to cut back on waste. They're now attempting to manipulate it even further on an industrial scale.
A large amount of milk distributors in the United Kingdom are seeing an increase in glass bottle sales in the first part of 2018. The trend is likely due to rising awareness in plastic waste, and carbon emissions are decreased if companies follow the right procedures.
Niantic, Mission Blue, and a number of NGOs are teaming up to organize one of the biggest cleanup efforts in a 48-hour period. On Earth Day, Pokemon Go users are asked to group together and pick up trash at various sites around the world.
Geoff Carroll and Julie Young, who work with data analytics to create sustainable solutions in urban areas, have rebuilt their house to be significantly more sustainable. It's able to harvest its own food, energy, and water with minimal help from the city.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces that New Zealand will no longer be issuing oil exploration permits in their territory. The move comes after a decrease in oil production and push back from activist groups concerned about climate change.
Farmers in India have struggled with rising temperatures that lead to less crop yields. It's generated crippling debts and, sadly, suicides at an alarming rate. To combat this, a startup is creating affordable greenhouses and services for higher farming efficiency.
One of New York's most extravagant high-rise residential buildings not only impresses visually, but it also removes harmful chemicals from the air. 570 Broome's exterior has a unique technology that removes nitrogen dioxide with sunlight and self cleans its surface.
New goals include meeting all work safety conditions in the supply chain and removing harmful chemicals in their products.
The project has picked up 1.5 million pounds of trash in less than four years to help bring swimming and fishing activities back to the harbor.
BP is doing a trial run Tesla's battery storage for wind farms after seeing their wild success in Australia. The pilot project in South Dakota is going to be on a far smaller scale, but could be rolled out to other wind farms in the future.
Traditional buses are getting the electrified treatment from Blue Bird and they're showcasing the new vehicles across the country this year. They've already received approval for grants in California and New York, and they should be delivering by early fall.
A study by Champions 12.3 concludes that there's a 600 percent positive return on investment into food waste reduction. They observed 42 hotels in 15 different countries over a span of three years, with most of them making all the investment back within two years.
After buying a record number of renewable energy contracts a few years ago, those sources are now active and Google is putting as much clean power into the grid as it uses. Three gigawatts of capacity, most of it through wind generation, is the most by any corporation on the company's level.
Malaysia is rolling out two initiatives designed to boost recycling. HelloGold converts used plastics and cans into gold at vending stations; while Tesco stores are enacting "The Unforgettable Bag" campaign, offering discounts to shoppers who use the store's limited-edition, reusable shopping bags.
In an effort to test crop growth in tough climates, the German Aerospace Center's team of scientists has been growing vegetables in Antarctica without sunlight, soil or pesticides. Their first harvest yielded eight pounds of greens, 70 radishes and 18 cucumbers.
Saudi Arabia and its crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, have massive goals for renewable energy. After announcing a major metropolis that would fully run on renewable energy, they are looking to collaborate with SoftBank to create a solar project with a capacity of 200 gigawatts.
Seven years after initially being planned, Epuron has been approved by New South Wales to develop the biggest wind farm in Australia. Still checking in at over one gigawatt of capacity after being downsized, it's expected to bring in $250 million to the economy.
Aqua-Aston Hospitality, who hosts over 40 different hotels in Hawaii, is promoting sunscreen without oxybenzone to help keep our coral reefs safe.
Hyundai's luxury division, Genesis, has revealed a concept of their first electric vehicle, the Essentia. This sports car features a unique bubble top with a transparent hood and butterfly doors that open with fingerprint and facial recognition technology.
Jaguar Land Rover recently announced their new battery electric I-PACE, and it's already received a huge customer. Waymo is teaming up with the manufacturer to create 20,000 self-driving versions of the new SUV to add to their ride-hailing lineup.
Even though the United Kingdom is continuing to back nuclear energy and cut off subsidies for wind and solar projects in 2015, the latter sources surpassed nuclear for the first time in the last quarter of 2017 according to recent government findings.
"It's Fresh!" has created a new way to extend our produce's life, be it in transportation, a store, or in our homes.
In collaboration with Wanderlust and Parley of the Oceans, Adidas released new yoga apparel this month made out of recycled plastic.
At 13, Angad Daryani was creating low-cost 3D printers and workshops for people in India. He's now attempting to create a solution for developing countries to get rid of dangerous air pollution in their urban areas.
Coral bleaching is occurring at a rapid pace in the Great Barrier Reef thanks to warming water temperatures. Scientists have developed a substance that creates a very thin biodegradable film that helps protects these reefs by lowering temperatures.
Using old smartphones connected to solar panels, TensorFlow, a large student-driven project from the Rainforest Connection, can help save rainforests where illegal logging activities happen far too often.
"The Reborn Light" is an attempt by Nissan to get ahead of a future where there's a number of batteries from old electric vehicles that still have value left. Their idea is to convert them into energy storage for off-grid street lights.
Oregon State University has been looking into an integrated sensor for wind turbines to help out birds and wind farm owners. It can easily assess damage and what kind of birds are involved in any impacts, as well as attempt to steer birds out of the area.
In an effort to make vegetables more appetizing, Row 7 has created a variety of seeds that contain crops with naturally amazing taste. The idea began with creating honeynut squash, and after founding their company in February, they hope to bring other projects to the public.
McDonald's set aggressive goals to eliminate emissions from their restaurants, offices, and supply chain. They'll be the first fast food chain to use this method and they hope to reach their goals by 2030.
A new startup is rethinking how to distribute meal kits. Not only does Planted Table offer a variety of vegan options, but they don't create any excess waste, with their program to pick up glass containers after customers are done with them.
Nissan plans to bring their futuristic IMx concept into production soon. The Japanese auto manufacturer believes that this model will be a revolution in the battery-electric SUV market and could be cheaper than the competition.
Almond production has grown in recent years. This does create plenty of shell waste, but farmers and the USDA are finding ways to turn that into useful, renewable products.
Actor and activist Jaden Smith isn't slowing down after launching his new JUST Water brand. G-Star Raw, a denim clothing company that focuses on sustainability, is teaming up with Smith for a new renewable denim line coming out in the fall.
Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted announced the company was able to sell one million of their new sustainable shoe line last year and that should grow by five times this year.
York University will hold the School of Continuing Studies in a new sustainable building with a focus on net-zero energy and emissions.
For those that don't want to spend money on an electric bike, EvoWheel provides another option. Front wheels of traditional bikes can be swapped out with an "e-wheel" that converts them into an electric bike.
Shipping containers have found another sustainable use: university buildings. Copying its "Insta House" design, MB Architecture has provided Bard College in New York with a media lab that can open up and be used for other needs.
Styrofoam can be very convenient, but it's a burden on the environment and it's hard to recycle. One of the most promising alternatives is nanowood, which retains a lot of properties but is stronger and biodegradable.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last week that New York was going to add 26 large-scale renewable energy projects over the next five years.
California-based startup Bird is attempting to lead the electric scooter sharing industry just six months into operation. They've received $100 million in a second round of funding.
Oslo Airport created the first green terminal that received a high certification, and now they're looking to double down on helping the environment.
This is a huge step forward in solving China's air pollution problem.
Benjamin Von Wong creates stunning photography with a message behind it, and his latest work focuses on how little old computer parts are reused. He looks to spread awareness with his images to get people to "rethink and recycle."