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Brian Spaen

Brian is a staff writer for Green Matters.

More from Brian:

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Travel

This Man Quit His Job And Traveled Australia In A Renovated Van With His Rescue Cat

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 days ago
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News

IKEA Vows To Eliminate All Single-Use Plastic By 2020

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.

By Brian Spaen
4 days ago
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News

Solar Technology Costs Tumble Further With China's Industry Shifts

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.

By Brian Spaen
5 days ago
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News

Why This Dutch Town Installed Bat-Friendly LED Street Lights

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.

By Brian Spaen
1 week ago
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News

European Commission Looks To Ban 10 Types Of Single-Use Plastic

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 weeks ago
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News

Endangered Mountain Gorilla Population Is On The Rise Despite Challenges

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 weeks ago
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News

Flaming 'Dung Beetle' Turns Plastic Waste Into Green Energy

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 weeks ago
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News

'Slow Food' Movement Heads To China To Promote Local Foods

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 weeks ago
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News

'Make America Green Again' Is A New Campaign To Bring Back 'Victory Gardens'

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.

By Brian Spaen
4 weeks ago
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Community

This App Encourages People To Take Pictures Of Their Trash To Make Recycling Easier

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.

By Brian Spaen
4 weeks ago
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News

Costa Rica Plans To Eliminate Fossil Fuels By 2021

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.

By Brian Spaen
1 month ago
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News

Louisiana Creates Unique Plan To Save Its Coast By Diverting Mississippi River

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.

By Brian Spaen
1 month ago
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News

U.S. Investors Seek Opportunities For Green Energy In Africa

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.

By Brian Spaen
1 month ago
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News

Elon Musk Is Offering Free Rides In LA Tunnel In Just A Few Months

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.

By Brian Spaen
1 month ago
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News

California Just Became The First State To Require Solar Panels On All New Homes

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.

By Brian Spaen
1 month ago
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Renewables

Belgium Officially Started Building Their Biggest Offshore Wind Farm Yet

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.

By Brian Spaen
1 month ago
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Renewables

The U.S. Is The Second-Most Attractive Country For Renewable Energy Investment

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.

By Brian Spaen
1 month ago
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Food

This 'Rubbish Cafe' Lets Customers Pay With Plastic Trash

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

U.S. Invests $30 Million Into New Batteries That Hold Power For Days At A Time

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

This Winnebago RV Is 100% Electric And Zero-Emission

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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Style

France Is About To Ban Stores From Throwing Away Unsold Clothing

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

Minneapolis Will Run On 100% Renewable Energy By 2030

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

100% Of Villages In India Now Have Electricity

India's government promised to give every inhabited village access to energy by this time three years ago. They delivered thanks to a mixture of restructuring the national power grid and using off-grid energy solutions.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

'Village Vertical' Boosts Sustainability In This Paris Suburb

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

Leonardo DiCaprio Becomes Major Investor For Off-Grid Energy Startup

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

Waterfront Arch Will Generate Solar Power For This Surprising Town

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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Renewables

Rural Pakistan Turns To Solar Panels During Energy Crisis

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

Singapore's First Zero-Waste Grocery Store Is Ready To Launch

"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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

Target Is Adding EV Charging Stations To 100 Stores By 2020

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

'Operation Warm' Announces Coats For Kids Made From Recycled Plastic

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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Food

This Plant-Based Pork Alternative Is Officially Hitting Hong Kong

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

Lyft Rides Are Officially Carbon-Neutral

Joining tech giants that have committed to 100 percent renewable energy, Lyft will be investing millions into various sustainable projects to make all of their rides carbon neutral. 

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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Travel

NYC's Air Quality Is Cleaner Than Ever Since Monitoring Began

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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Food

Your Chocolate Obsession Doesn't Have To Cost The Environment

Our love affair with chocolate is wreaking havoc on the environment. But our buying choices can help turn that around.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

The UK Just Went 55 Hours Without Using Coal For Power

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

Pearl Harbor Is Officially Getting A 20-Megawatt Solar Farm

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

Aldi Recognized As Top British Market For Sustainable Fish

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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Home

Amazon Is Making It Easier Than Ever To Save Money And The Planet This Earth Week

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

This Plastic-Eating Enzyme Could Save The Planet From Pollution

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

United Kingdom Sees Increase In Glass Milk Bottle Sales

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

'Pokemon Go' Sets Goal For Biggest Organized Cleanup On Earth Day

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

This Couple Rebuilt Their Home To Be A Stunning Self-Sustaining Eco-Friendly Haven

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

New Zealand Just Announced They Will No Longer Issue Oil Exploration Permits

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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Food

These Small Greenhouses Are Helping Farmers In India Combat 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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

The Surface Of This Luxury High-Rise Helps Clean NYC's Air

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

REI Set New Sustainability Requirements For Every Brand They Sell

New goals include meeting all work safety conditions in the supply chain and removing harmful chemicals in their products.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

Family-Friendly 'Mr. Trash Wheel' Collects Junk From Baltimore Harbor

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

BP Tests Tesla Powerpacks On United States Wind Farm

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

Blue Bird Showcases Electric School Buses Across United States

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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Travel

This Is How Hotels Save Money By Reducing Their Food Waste

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

Google Confirms It Runs On 100% Renewable Energy

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

Malaysia Looks To Improve Its Recycling Rate With New Incentives

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

Greenhouse In Antarctica Has Successful First Harvest

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.

By Brian Spaen
2 months ago
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News

Saudi Arabia May Host World's Biggest Solar Project At 200 Gigawatts

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

Biggest Wind Farm Project Yet Approved In New South Wales

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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Travel

This Hotel In Hawaii Gives Out Sunscreen That Protects Coral Reefs

Aqua-Aston Hospitality, who hosts over 40 different hotels in Hawaii, is promoting sunscreen without oxybenzone to help keep our coral reefs safe. 

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

Genesis Reveals First EV At The 2018 New York Auto Show

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

Waymo And Jaguar Team Up To Create 20,000 Self-Driving EVs

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

Green Energy Passes Nuclear Power For First Time In U.K.

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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Food

This Device Can Double The 'Green' Life Of Bananas To Reduce Waste

"It's Fresh!" has created a new way to extend our produce's life, be it in transportation, a store, or in our homes.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

Adidas Launches Yoga Line Made From Recycled Ocean Plastic

In collaboration with Wanderlust and Parley of the Oceans, Adidas released new yoga apparel this month made out of recycled plastic. 

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

This 19-Year-Old Is Working On Smog Filters For Developing Countries

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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Travel

'Sun Shield' Creates Biodegradable Shade For Great Barrier Reef

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

The Creative Way These Old Smartphones Are Saving Rainforests

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

Nissan Wants To Turn Old EV Batteries Into Street Lights

"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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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Renewables

Researchers Have Finally Figured Out A Way To Protect Birds From Wind Turbines

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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Food

One Company Discovered How To Redesign Veggies To Make Them Taste Better

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

McDonald's To Cut 36% Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 2030

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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Food

'Planted Table' Delivers Vegan Meals Without The Waste

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

Nissan Promises Electric SUV Production Within Next 'Few Years'

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

This Lab Is Transforming Leftover Almond Shells Into Power, Plastic, And Beer

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

Jaden Smith Is Releasing A Sustainable Denim Line With G-Star

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

Adidas Sold 1 Million Pairs Of Sneakers Made From Ocean Plastic In 2017

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

This University Is Creating A Sustainable Building With Net-Zero Ambitions

York University will hold the School of Continuing Studies in a new sustainable building with a focus on net-zero energy and emissions.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

This Kit Can Turn Your Standard Bike Electric In 30 Seconds

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

Tesla Bids On World's Biggest Powerpack Project

Tesla seeks to outdo its successful South Australian battery project by submitting a bid to a utility company in the US for what will be the biggest battery backup facility in the world.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

Architecture Firm Creates College Media Lab With Shipping Containers

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

This 'Nanowood' Is The Biodegradable Alternative To Styrofoam We Need

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

New York To Invest $1.5 Billion In Renewable Energy Projects

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last week that New York was going to add 26 large-scale renewable energy projects over the next five years. 

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

This Electric Scooter Is The Latest Eco-Friendly Rideshare

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.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

Norway Is Planning An Entire Sustainable City At Oslo Airport

Oslo Airport created the first green terminal that received a high certification, and now they're looking to double down on helping the environment.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

China Spends $2 Million On Innovative Smog-Sucking Technology

This is a huge step forward in solving China's air pollution problem.

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago
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News

'E-Waste' Photo Shoot Turns Forgotten Electronics Into Art

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."

By Brian Spaen
3 months ago