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The latest news on Environment from Business Insider
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    San Francisco

    • New research found that the San Francisco Bay Area was sinking at a rate of up to 10 millimeters a year in certain areas.
    • Coupled with a rising sea level, the sinking could mean that much more of the area will be vulnerable to flooding by the end of the century.
    • Researchers say that beyond drastically reducing emissions, there's not much we can do to stop it.

    As if there weren't enough reasons to leave the San Francisco Bay Area, parts of it are sinking into the Pacific Ocean, new research has found.

    While scientists have long understood that the sea level is rising around the Bay Area, a new paper in the journal Science Advances says the land itself is sinking through a process called subsidence.

    The maps below show just how flooded San Francisco could be by the end of the century.

    SEE ALSO: New images of Jupiter reveal clusters of giant cyclones unlike anything else in our solar system

    Using satellites to measure the rate at which the land is sinking, the researchers found that it was about 2 millimeters a year for much of the city's coast and about 10 a year for some sections.

    Subsidence occurs when the layers of the soil, or substrate, slowly collapse. Groundwater can "deflate" the land above it — a process amplified in parts of the Bay Area built on landfill or Holocene-era mud deposits, according to the paper.



    By combining this new data on subsidence with data on sea-level rise, the researchers concluded that much more of the San Francisco Bay Area could be underwater by the end of the century than previously thought.



    To put that into perspective, the researchers generated maps — based on different emissions-reduction scenarios — combining elevation data with predicted sea-level rise and subsidence rates.

    They found that current flooding projections underestimated how much of the area could be underwater by 2100 by 3.7% at the low end and a whopping 90.9% at the high end.

    The researchers predict that up to 165 square miles of the Bay Area will be vulnerable to flooding in the future.

    The maps above show areas of the city — with the airport at the center — susceptible to flooding under three scenarios.

    The top map is how much land could be underwater when accounting for only land subsidence, or LLS. The yellow one in the middle depicts sea-level rise, or SLR.

    The third scenario, in red on the bottom, shows the combination of sea-level rise with the highest predicted rate of subsidence. It would leave much of San Francisco International Airport, Foster City, and Union City underwater.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    FILE PHOTO: An employee walks between rows of solar panels at a solar power plant on the outskirts of Dunhuang, Gansu province, China, June 10, 2011.     REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

    • Solar panels are generally useless in rainy weather. 
    • But researchers in China have found an ingenious solution: They've developed solar panels that can harness the motion of raindrops for energy.
    • It could revolutionize the solar industry.

    One of the biggest problems plaguing the widespread adoption of solar power is, quite simply, rainy weather.

    Solar panels are designed to convert sunlight into electricity. But when it's cloudy or rainy, they're rendered useless. There are batteries, like the Tesla Powerwall, designed to store electricity for those cloudy days. But the technology isn't quite effective or cheap enough to make using solar power worth it in regions that don't receive a lot of sunlight. 

    A group of researchers from Soochow University in China has come up with a promising solution to that problem: they've developed solar panels that can generate power from raindrops.

    Their research, published last month in the journal ACS Nano,details how technology known as a triboelectric nanogenerator, or TENG, could get added to a solar panel to capture energy from the motion of raindrops that hit it.

    Nanogenerators, in simple terms, are devices that convert mechanical energy, or movement, into usable electricity. The TENG would do that on a very small scale for raindrops.

    raindrop harvesting solar panel

    The researchers behind the new study developed a hybrid solar panel that incorporated the TENG technology yet was still lightweight and cheap enough to mount on roofs. To accomplish this, they experimented with different transparent plastics, or polymers, that form a layer between the TENG layer and the solar cells on a panel. The layers were connected, but could function independently — making it possible for the solar panel to generate electricity in a range of weather conditions. 

    If the researchers can figure out how to bring down the cost of production of such a product, the technology could potentially revolutionize how solar panels are used. It would make solar power an efficient clean-energy solution even in less sunny areas that aren't currently considered ideal for solar-energy collection. 

    Solar power, despite its weather-related challenges, is quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing energy sources worldwide. The price for installing commercial solar panels — those used by companies like Apple, Walmart, and Amazon — has fallen by over 58% since 2012, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

    The International Energy Agency predicts that renewable energy will comprise 40% of global power generation by 2040. In the next five years, the share of electricity generated by renewables worldwide is set to grow faster than any other source.

    SEE ALSO: Germany paid people to use electricity over the holidays because its grid is so clean

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The surprising reason why NASA hasn't sent humans to Mars yet


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    nor'easter winter storm

    • Yet another nor'easter is about to hit Boston, New York, and New England on Tuesday.
    • Winter storm Skylar looks like it'll be a blizzard, bringing a lot of snow in Massachusetts.
    • This will be the third nor'easter in less than two weeks.

    Winter doesn't officially end until March 21 — and the season seems to be making sure we all remember that.

    Yet another nor'easter is on its way, and this one seems likely to dump quite a bit of snow on Boston and the rest of Massachusetts.

    Southeast Massachusetts could get up to two feet of snow, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) Boston office, with up to 18 inches expected in Boston. 

    "Add in some wind and Nor'easter Number 3 will qualify as a 'bomb cyclone blizzard' ... as Old Man Winter heads into middle-March," meteorologist Ryan Maue said on Twitter.

    This will make for three winter storms in two weeks.

    "This event will be a little colder, confining the heavier, wetter snow to coastal areas, where winds gusting to 40-50 mph will lead to power outages, and possible blizzard or near blizzard conditions," Weather Channel meteorologist Carl Parker said in a statement emailed to Business Insider. Some coastal flooding at high tide is also possible.

    The heaviest snow will fall overnight Monday into Tuesday morning, according to a NWS briefing, making for a rough Tuesday commute.

    noreaster winter storm skylar

    Blizzard warnings are in effect through Tuesday morning for parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, with winter storm warnings in effect for much of the Northeast. A snow emergency is in effect for the city of Boston starting at 7 p.m. ET Monday. Whiteout conditions could make travel dangerous.

    Many Rhode Island state offices and schools have been closed for Tuesday.

    In New York City, some snow should fall between Monday night and Tuesday morning, according the New York office of the NWS, though the city isn't likely to see more than 4 inches.

    As the NWS tweeted about the forecast, "If you like snow and you live in New England, you'll like this message."

    SEE ALSO: A remarkable penguin 'supercolony' of over 1.5 million birds has been discovered off the coast of Antarctica — take a look

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's how groundhogs became the animal that predicted the weather


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    Amur Leopard

    Every day, species around the planet are going extinct. And for each species that goes extinct, many more become and remain endangered due to habitat loss, poaching, and climate change.

    These threatened animals are included on the International Union for Conservation (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species — the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of species.

    Here are 12 species at risk of extinction, including some that you probably didn’t even know existed:

    Simone Scully contributed to a previous version of this post. 

    SEE ALSO: Disturbing before-and-after images show what the San Francisco Bay Area could look like in 2100

    The Bornean orangutan

    Found only on the island of Borneo, Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) have a broader face and shorter beard than their cousins, Sumatran orangutans. This July, the IUCN changed their status to critically endangered because the population has declined by 60% since 1950, and, according to Scientific American, new projections estimate that their numbers will fall by another 22% by the year 2025.

    The main threats for these animals are habitat loss (forests are turned into rubber, oil palm or paper plantations) and illegal hunting. Aggravating the problem, females only reproduce every six to eight years— the longest birth interval of any land mammal — which makes conservation efforts slow.



    Pika

    Ili pika (Ochontana iliensis) is a small mammal (only 7-8 inches long) that's native to the Tianshan mountain range of the remote Xinjiang region of China. Living on sloping bare rock faces and feeding on grasses at high elevations, this little creature is very rare — there are less than 1,000 left.

    The species was only discovered in 1983, but its numbers have declined by almost 70% since then, reports CNN. This is because the mammal's habitat is being affected by climate change. Rising temperatures have forced the pikas to retreat up into the mountain tops. In addition, grazing pressure from livestock and air pollution have likely contributed to their decline.



    Giant Otter

    Found only in South America, Giant otters, or Pteronura brasiliensis, are the largest otters in the world, with some as long as 6 feet. 

    Historically, giant otters were hunted for their pelts, causing a huge decline in their numbers. While they are no longer hunted today, they remain endangered because many of their aquatic habitats (rivers and lakes) have been degraded and destroyed, causing the fish populations they rely on for food to dwindle.

    They are often viewed as nuisances by humans, especially by fishermen. They are also threatened by gold-mining in the region, which leads to mercury poisoning. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Natalie drinking water

     

    • 663 million people in the developing world don't have immediate access to water.
    • The average American household uses more than 300 gallons of water per day.
    • I went a week without water to try and see how much we really use it.
    • There are many simple ways to conserve, from turning off the tap while brushing your teeth to taking shorter showers.
    • The hardest part of my week with no water was the mental challenge.

     


    Look around you. Really look around you. Think about everything you can see, taste, and touch every day. Could any of those things exist without water?

    The answer is no.

    Everything in some way or another has been formed by water. It makes our planet habitable, it makes up to 60% of our own body. We literally are water. 

    It has been made easy for us to treat water as a limitless resource and we take it for granted. We use it for almost everything in our everyday lives, without questioning why or how we have it. And it is easy to forget that not everyone is so lucky.

    663 million people in the developing world don't have immediate access to water. Millions of those may have to walk up to six hours to find it. This is a task often reserved for young children and this often means that they don't even have time to pursue an education.

    You think about cities like Cape Town, where water may literally run out as soon as April. Or Flint, Michigan, whose water sources have been polluted by lead. Yet at the same time, the average American household uses more than 300 gallons of water per day.

    Not everyone has it, and everyone needs it. I myself couldn't imagine what it must be like not to always have it, so I decided to try and find out.

    For a full week, I challenged myself to live without water. In every way I possibly could, I eliminated it from my life. I am in the fortunate position where I was not forced into a water shortage and had time to think about all of the ways I would need water. Drinking, bathing, cooking, washing my hands, watering my plants; I thought I prepped for it all.

    Of course, I wasn't going to put myself in a life-threatening position. So the only two ways I allowed myself to interact with H2O was to eat foods that need it to grow, and out of courtesy to my roommate and coworkers, flush the toilet.

    IMG_5747

    I made sure the products I was buying and using did not have water as an ingredient. I bought powdered Acure dry shampoo, Jao hand sanitizer, Nuun hydration tablets, pure juices, foods that hydrate like cucumbers and lettuce and watered my plants one last time on Sunday, February 25 at 11:59 p.m.

    I thought I had it all figured out, but I was wrong. Here are my major takeaways after spending seven full days without water.

    I needed water for way more than I had planned.

    On the very first day, what hit me most was simply the extent to which I need it for literally everything. I woke up, went to brush my teeth, and as silly as it may seem, had forgotten that I would need water for that too. Solution? I poured coconut water over my toothbrush with toothpaste ... for the entire week.

    IMG_5741.JPG

    That night, I got home from work and made myself dinner. A very exciting meal of scrambled eggs and chopped veggies. But, wait, how on earth was I going to wash the dishes after? Something I hadn't thought of until that moment. For this, I wiped as well as I could with a paper towel, and made sure to lather the pan up with coconut or olive oil before cooking so things wouldn't stick.

    IMG_5655

    No water also meant a total restructuring of my so-called 'social life.' I naively thought I'd be able to go out for drinks and dinner as usual, but again, I was wrong. From dish-washing to using it to make drinks or to cook meals, it is unavoidable.

    When it came down to it, I found that there were 12 ways in my everyday life that required immediate access to water. Aside from the obvious drinking, bathing, and cooking mentioned above, things like doing the laundry, and ironing were out of the question.

    Cutting out water has a huge effect on your diet.

    You could probably guess that not drinking or using water would affect my diet. Yes, that is obvious. But how, exactly?

    Almost every beverage on your supermarket shelf uses water as an ingredient. The few I could find, pure coconut waters and juices, were extremely high in sugar. To give context, in my usual water-filled weeks, I would hardly ever drink anything else, unless it's boozy.

    Over the course of the week, I drank 17, 300ml Vita Coco bottles. Each alone contains 15g of sugar. The daily suggested amount of sugar based on a 2,000 calorie diet is only 25 grams. In coconut water alone, I was averaging 36.4 grams a day.

    Screen Shot 2018 03 13 at 8.17.17 PM

    After a few days, I started noticing that these sugary drinks were actually making me thirstier. And as research would have it, apparently sugar can make you thirstier. The worst of it would be waking up with the expected middle-of-the-night thirst, and only having a beverage that would add to it.

    I learned without drinking, there are also many extremely hydrating foods. It is important for me to acknowledge that these foods are grown using water and that in actual water crises, access to these foods would be limited if at all. My saving grace throughout the week, were cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, and lettuce, all coming in above 90% water.

    IMG_5746

    For the millions who live without access, it leads to much more serious health and dietary implications. Lack of water contributes to stunting of growth in children's bodies and minds, and without any at all, is fatal. According to The Independent, the drinkable water supply for every person worldwide is expected to be halved by 2050.

    More people than ever will be vulnerable, without access to a basic human need.

    I wasn't looking so great either.

    My change in diet, and lack of bathing started to take a more noticeable toll. As the days went on, the greasier my hair would get, and the harder it would be for me to pull it off in my office. That, and the fact that my breath and odor started to smell oh, just 'a little off' without having water to wash with, made for a less than attractive week.

    Externally, I wasn't looking so great. And internally, I started to not feel so great. Aside from making me thirstier, my new high-sugar diet was giving me sporadic headaches and a slight puff to my face.

    IMG_5692

    Although all of this was less than favorable, I often reminded myself of one question: what am I complaining about? I am lucky that these were my problems. I was still able to go to work, be around friends, simple things that people who without access, don't have the luxury of even considering.

    Overall, getting into the mindset was the hardest.

    In truth, the hardest part of my week with no water was the mental challenge. First came the obvious 'tell yourself not to do something, and want to do it more' struggle. Then, the temptation of just giving in and having a darned sip. Mostly, it was reminding myself to be grateful.

    My life revolved around thinking about when I was going to be able to just end this. But, at least I knew there was an end. It was in those moments that I realized how lucky we are to always have it at our fingertips.

    IMG_5744.JPG

    So when the week did finally end, I started to research ways that I could be more mindful of my consumption. And let me tell you, there are SO many ways.

    It can be as simple as turning off the tap while you're brushing your teeth. Doing so can save around 2.5 gallons per minute. Try not running the dishwasher until it's full, and being more strategic when doing laundry. Take shorter showers. The average American shower uses 17.2 gallons and lasts for 8.2 minutes.

    If none of that sounds like you, donate when you can to water.org, a charity founded by Matt Damon that's providing access to safe water and sanitation for more than 10 million people around the world. The water.org video, 'The Wait for Water,' was the inspiration for this entire thing.

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    SEE ALSO: A grueling diet beloved by Instagrammers cuts out everything from alcohol to dairy — here's how well it works

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This indoor farm in New Jersey can grow 365 days a year and uses 95% less water than a typical farm


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    Endangered_p264 Northern White Rhinoceros

    • Sudan, the last male northern white rhinoceros in the world, died on March 19.
    • Before he died, he was photographed by Tim Flach for his book "Endangered," which is the source of the above photo.
    • In that book Flach hopes to make readers and viewers confront our relationship with the end of these species.
    • Sudan's story, and the story of the northern white rhinoceros, is emblematic of how destructive that relationship can be.

    The last male northern white rhinoceros in the world, named Sudan, died on March 19.

    "He had been suffering from age-related health issues and from a series of infection," the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, where Sudan had lived since 2009, said in a statement. "Once his condition worsened significantly and he was unable to stand up and evidently, suffered a great deal, the decision to euthanise him was made by his veterinary team."

    In his late years, Sudan was photographed by Tim Flach, who is known for photos that capture creatures' moods, expressions, and gestures in ways that make us rethink our relationship with the natural world.

    The photo above is from Flach's newest book "Endangered", which includes text by zoologist Jonathan Baillie.

    In that book, Flach and Baillie try to help readers consider how humanity has affected these animals.

    The story is particularly stark for the northern white rhinoceros.

    Of the final three of the species — Sudan, his daughter Najin, and his granddaughter Fatu — they write:

    "Their ancestors roamed through Central Africa in herds, holding a population of around two thousand until the year 1960. By 1990, numbers had fallen to just twenty-five. Now, there are three."

    And now, it's just the final two, both unable to carry offspring.

    It's the story of the end of a species. As biologist Daniel Schneider put it in a photo that went viral at the end of 2017, this is "what extinction looks like."

    The end of the northern white rhinoceros is the same as the story that has made the black rhinoceros critically endangered — and which made other species, like the southern white rhinoceros, vulnerable.

    Poachers kill them to saw off their keratin horns, which are sold for up to $60,000 per pound and used to make carvings. They are also ground up to be sold as medicine to treat cancer, hangovers, and erectile disfunction, among other things (rhino horns can't actually do any of that).

    Elephants, pangolins, and many other vulnerable species around the world are also threatened by poachers killing them for parts. And in the case of the rhinos, the stories are often particularly horrific. In 2016, about a thousand rhinos were killed for their horns in South Africa. In 2017, poachers broke into the Thoiry Zoo in France, shot and killed a four-year-old southern white Rhino named Vince, and then sawed off his horn with a chainsaw.

    To prevent that from happening, the staff at Ol Pejeta "systematically dehorned" Sudan, Najin, and Fatu, according to the "Endangered" writers.

    As sad as the story is, there is a chance that the world could see a new northern white rhino born someday. It would be a technological achievement, relying on an egg from one of the females and frozen sperm of a deceased male, potentially carried by a southern white rhino in South Africa.

    But before that happens, the world should end the conditions that lead to wanton extinction.

    As Ol Pejeta staff asked in their statement, "How many more species that we share this earth with will fall the same way before we understand the enormity of what we are doing?"

    SEE ALSO: Stunning new photos show the faces of animals on the verge of extinction

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The surprising reason why NASA hasn't sent humans to Mars yet


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    Northern white rhino

    A rhinoceros subspecies is almost extinct.

    On Monday, the world's last male northern white rhino, Sudan, died at 45 years of age.

    Sudan — who is named for his country of birth and lived under the protection of armed guards at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, away from poachers — suffered from a degenerative muscle and bone condition and was euthanized. 

    Fortunately, scientists were able to gather genetic material that could one day be used to create more northern white rhinos through IVF. Sudan also left behind a daughter and granddaughter, so there's a flicker of hope for the wildlife preservation community. 

    Even so, there are numerous other animal species and subspecies that are in danger of perishing for good. The Amur leopard and Sumatran elephant are just two of 19 species categorized as "critically endangered" by the World Wildlife Fund, while the white-rumped vulture and Chinese pangolin have been given the equivalent classification on the IUCN Red List.

    Keep scrolling to see 12 animals that are on the verge of extinction

    The Amur leopard is one of the world's most endangered wildcats, and native to the Russian Far East.

    This subspecies — which is also known as the Far East leopard, the Manchurian leopard, or the Korean leopard, despite being nearly extinct outside of the Amur River basin in eastern Russia — can run upwards of 37 miles an hour and jump as high as 19 feet in the air. 

    According to a 2015 census, there are only around 60 Amur leopards left, all living at Russia's Land of the Leopard National Park.



    In the the past 60 years, there has been a 50% decline in the Bornean orangutan population.

    Found only on the island of Borneo, Asia's largest island, Bornean orangutans have broader faces and shorter beards than their arboreal Sumatran cousins.

    There are three subspecies of Borean orangutans: Northwest, Northeast, and Central. The largest is the Central subspecies, of which there are an estimated 35,000. The most threatened is the Northeast subspecies: due to its habitat being decimated by logging and hunting, there are only about 1,500 extant Northeast Borean apes.

    Scientists predict that the Bornean orangutan population will fall another 22% by 2025, bringing the total number down to 47,000.

     



    It was once believed that mountain gorillas would be extinct by the end of the 20th century.

    At just under 900, the current population size is low, but conservationists are working to ensure that mountain gorillas don't fall prey to human threats.

    According to the African Wildlife Foundation, the greatest threats to mountain gorillas— an eastern gorilla subspecies — are political instability (mainly conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo), human encroachment, and forest degradation.

    The remaining mountain gorilla population is spread out over three countries and four national parks, such as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, and Virunga National Park in DRC.

     



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    scott pruitt

    • Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, spent over $120,000 for a summer trip to Italy last year.
    • The trip included a flight on a military jet.
    • He flew to Bologna and Rome and took a private tour of the Vatican.
    • He was in Italy for a meeting of G-7 ministers but cut the trip short to attend a Cabinet meeting in Washington.

    WASHINGTON — Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt spent more than $120,000 in public funds last summer for a trip to Italy that included a meeting of G-7 ministers and a private tour of the Vatican.

    The known cost of Pruitt's previously reported trip grew this week after the agency disclosed a heavily censored document showing that expenses for Pruitt's security detail cost more than $30,500. That's on top of nearly $90,000 spent for food, hotels, commercial airfare, and a military jet used by Pruitt and nine EPA staff members.

    Last June, Pruitt flew to Bologna, Italy, for a meeting of environmental ministers from the world's top seven economies. Pruitt attended only the first few hours of the summit before leaving early to jet back to Washington for a Cabinet meeting at the White House.

    The trip came a week after the Trump administration announced its plans to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. He also went to Rome for a briefing at the US Embassy, a meeting with business leaders and private tours of the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica.

    The latest records were released following a lawsuit filed by the Environmental Integrity Project, an advocacy group.

    Unprecedented spending

    Pruitt is the first EPA administrator to require a full-time security detail that guards him day and night, the total cost of which has not been disclosed. He has also taken other security precautions, including the addition of a $43,000 soundproof "privacy booth" inside his office to prevent eavesdropping on his phone calls and spending $3,000 to have his office swept for hidden listening devices.

    An EPA spokesman, Jahan Wilcox, said Tuesday that the security precautions taken during the Italy trip were no different from those for prior EPA chiefs during international travel.

    Pruitt has defended his frequent travel, the full cost of which has not yet been publicly released. That includes flying in first-class seats, which Pruitt described as a security precaution taken after unpleasant interactions with other passengers in coach.

    For the Italy trip, Pruitt's commercial airfare alone cost more than $7,000 — four times what was spent for other EPA staffers on the trip. Another $36,000 was spent for a flight on a US military jet for Pruitt and two aides from Ohio to New York, which the agency said was necessary because no commercial flights were available for them to make it to JFK airport in time to catch their connecting flight.

    The EPA's Office of Inspector General is investigating Pruitt's 2017 travel costs.

    Rep. Trey Gowdy, the House Oversight Committee chairman, last month also issued a letter demanding copies of Pruitt's full travel records, due by March 6.

    On Tuesday, two weeks after the deadline, Wilcox would not answer when asked when those records would be turned over to the oversight committee.

    "We are working with Chairman Gowdy to accommodate his request," he said.

    ___

    Follow Associated Press environmental reporter Michael Biesecker at http://twitter.com/mbieseck

    SEE ALSO: There's a huge flaw in the theory that Trump could replace Jeff Sessions with Scott Pruitt

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: These bionic arms make kids feel like superheroes


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    hq2 slr

    In January, Amazon announced the top 20 contenders for its $5 billion second headquarters, HQ2Across North America, more than 200 cities, states, and regions submitted bids for the campus, which is expected to bring 50,000 jobs.

    Though not every proposal is fully public, none of the finalist cities — nor Amazon in its RFP — have openly mentioned the ramifications of climate change on HQ2. Climate change-linked events like sea-level rise, hurricanes, and heat waves could affect HQ2's employees and infrastructure in coming years. Many of the proposed sites are also along waterfronts, which would put HQ2 more at risk of flood damage.

    A new analysis from mapping-software company Esri and the IT firm Michael Baker International explores how sea-level rise could threaten each of the HQ2 finalist metro areas. Their study and interactive map suggest that increasing water levels will reshape US coasts by the end of the century.

    There are some caveats to the analysis. Since the researchers used US government data, they excluded Toronto, Canada, a finalist city that is already worried about its floodplain. (Toronto Islands saw millions of dollars-worth of flood damage in 2017, when 40% of the Toronto Island Park went underwater due to rising water levels.) The researchers also did not consider other processes that induce flooding, like erosion, subsidence, and construction. 

    Of the 20 finalists, six US locations risk inundation if water levels rise just three feet — a modest projection of sea-level rise over the next 80 years. The National Atmospheric Association (NOAA) predicts the country could see up to eight feet of mean sea-level rise by 2100. Landlocked cities in the running for HQ2, like Denver, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh, will likely see much less than that.

    In the maps below, the dark blue signifies a high chance of inundation if water levels increase at least three feet, while light blue represents a lower chance. Areas that are shaded green are low-lying, meaning they could flood to some degree.

    Take a look below.

    SEE ALSO: There's a huge, overlooked economic threat to New York City, according to the official in charge of keeping the city from flooding

    Miami, Florida

    South Florida reportedly submitted eight sites to Amazon for HQ2 consideration. These include five in Miami-Dade County, two in Broward County, and one in Palm Beach County, according to The Miami Herald.

    Miami (and South Florida in general) is also one of the areas most threatened by sea-level rise in the nation. By 2100, a combination of polar melting, carbon emissions, and ice-sheet collapses could cause chronic flooding to overwhelm large swaths of Miami.



    Washington, DC

    The city is offering up a number of sites to Amazon, including Buzzard Point, The Yards, and Poplar Point — all located on the Anacostia River waterfront, which is at risk from sea-level rise.

    A 2016 study projects that sea levels outside DC could rise as much as six feet by the end of the century, which could affect the proposed HQ2 sites.



    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Philadelphia officials pitched three unfinished developments — Schuylkill Yards, uCity Square, and Navy Yard — that span an estimated 28 million square feet, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

    Climate Central has estimated that Philadelphia area waters could rise 19 inches by 2050 and 4 feet or more by 2100, putting nearly 2,000 homes and 3,200 residents at risk.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Manhole cover explosion new york

    • An explosion rocked lower Manhattan on Thursday afternoon. The loud boom was heard for blocks around Wall Street.
    • The NYPD said the sound came from the pop of a manhole cover.
    • Manhole covers explode all the time in New York. Here's why.


    A loud boom heard throughout downtown Manhattan on Thursday afternoon was due to a manhole cover explosion, the NYPD reported. 

    The NYPD quickly confirmed that a manhole cover blew open in front of 53 Nassau Street, and minutes later said there was a second manhole explosion, just down the block. Police said there were no serious injuries, though one victim was seen standing at the scene.

    Manhole explosions happen frequently in New York: on average, the city sees six such events per day. In the first week of February in 2015, Consolidated Edison, the local utility, counted a whopping 600 instances of smoke, fire, and explosions in manholes. 

    Manhole fire New York

    Old manholes throughout the city cover a maze of vulnerable, old wires and cables laid under the streets. When roads and sidewalks get coated with salt to keep ice from accumulating during snowy weather, the erosive material can seep into manholes and hit the wires. The salt wears away insulation that coats underground electrical wires. The city’s rats don’t help the problem: they’re also scurrying around down under the streets, nibbling and fraying the wires. If they get really frayed, the system can act like a combustible powder keg: the insulation heats and starts to spark and smoke. That triggers a build up of pressure that can lead to a loud boom and send the heavy metal cover flying into the air. In extreme cases, electrical fires can start. 

    Such was the case in Manhattan today, after a snowy nor'easter storm blew through the city on Wednesday. The salty snow-melt created a perfect recipe for manhole cover explosions.

    Although a reporter from WCBS said on Twitter that a transformer blew underground near the Federal Reserve, Business Insider has not independently confirmed that information.

    New York's electrical system is the oldest in the country, and some of the underground wires here are near 100 years old. Con Edison has been working to replace old manhole covers with better vented ones in New York City since 2005. But with 246,000 manhole covers around the city's five boroughs, there's a lot of ground to cover.

    SEE ALSO: Disturbing before-and-after images show how Silicon Valley offices of companies like Facebook and Yahoo could be underwater by 2100

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    NOW WATCH: What happens to your body and brain when you get hypothermia


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    the ocean cleanup plastic great pacific garbage patch

    • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a massive area measuring more than 1.6 million square kilometers, but it's just part of the North Pacific Gyre, an ocean region where currents collect plastic.
    • Researchers from the Ocean Cleanup foundation conducted a survey of plastic in the area, using planes to observe from the sky and boats to trawl the water.
    • They found that the amount of plastic there seemed to be increasing exponentially and that there could be 16 times as much as previously thought.

    Every little bit of plastic that gets tossed into the ocean or swept downstream out to sea either sinks or is picked up by currents. Much of it is eventually carried into one of five massive ocean regions, where plastic can be so concentrated that areas have garnered names like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

    While "garbage patch" might make you think of something you pass by on the side of the road, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is less like a patch and more like a massive swirling vortex more than three times the size of Spain and more than twice the size of Turkey or Texas.

    And it's growing and collecting more plastic rapidly, according to a study published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports by researchers associated with the Ocean Cleanup foundation.

    There may be more than 16 times as much plastic in the vortex than previous studies have estimated, according to the Ocean Cleanup researchers.

    An aerial view of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch might at first appear to be open water. But inside there's debris from all over the world — debris that traps or is eaten by marine animals, filling up their bodies to the point of being fatal and tainting our food supply.

    More than 320 million metric tons of plastic are produced every year — and a disturbing amount of that ends up in the ocean, with much of it accumulating in places like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

    SEE ALSO: A 22-year-old is moving ahead with a controversial plan to trap plastic floating in the great Pacific garbage patch

    Much of the Ocean Cleanup foundation's data on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch comes from a 2015 expedition involving 18 vessels.

    The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch organization started by a young entrepreneur named Boyan Slat, wants to launch a somewhat controversial effort to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and has conducted research about the scale of the problem.



    The ships trawled the waters using manta trawl nets outfitted with mesh to catch as much plastic as possible.



    The area they focused on is a particularly concentrated part of one of the five global gyres where ocean currents collect plastic from around the world.



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    satellite crash collision space junk debris illustration shutterstock_276319031

    • A falling Chinese space station dubbed Tiangong-1, or "Heavenly Palace," is about to break up into pieces in the atmosphere and crash to Earth. It will likely go down this weekend.
    • Experts say it is nearly impossible to determine the exact time and location of the crash.
    • The 9.4-ton spacecraft potentially contains large amounts of hydrazine, a toxic, flammable chemical that is very dangerous to humans.
    • But debris from Tiangong-1 is extremely unlikely to hit people.

    In 2011, China launched a space station called Tiangong-1 but lost control of it five years later, due to an apparent malfunction that ended communications with the craft.

    The 9.4-ton station is now on the verge up breaking up in the atmosphere, with the debris crashing to Earth this weekend.

    While scientists say pieces of Tiangong-1 are extremely unlikely to hit people, the station may contain a toxic, flammable chemical called hydrazine.

    The colorless and volatile liquid, used in Tiangong-1's engine for fuel, is dangerous to humans. Emitting an ammonia-like odor, hydrazine can poison the blood, kidneys, lungs, and the central nervous system. It can also severely burn skin and damage the eyes, nose, and mouth, among other things.

    The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies (CORDS) warns: "Potentially, there may be a highly toxic and corrosive substance called hydrazine on board the spacecraft that could survive reentry. For your safety, do not touch any debris you may find on the ground nor inhale vapors it may emit."

    As BI's Dave Mosher notes, it's nearly impossible to determine exactly where and when the satellite laboratory will land on Earth. On March 26, the European Space Agency released this map of where the space station might crash (highlighted in green):

    tiangong1_risk_mapThe chances of Tiangong-1's re-entry are slightly higher in New Zealand, Tasmania, the northern states of the US, northern China, the Middle East, central Italy, northern Spain, and parts of South America and southern Africa.

    The degree to which the Earth's atmosphere will burn up the craft is also still unclear, but scientists predict that some pieces will survive. The chunks could sprinkle over a long, thin area of up to 1,000 miles.

    The best-case scenario would be that Tiangong-1 lands in the sea, which is statistically more likely than it hitting land, since oceans take up 70% of Earth. If it crashes into water, there would be less of a chance of a curious human hunting for the debris and coming into contact with hydrazine.

    SEE ALSO: These may be the last photos of the Chinese space station before it falls to Earth

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: What happens to your body and brain when you get hypothermia


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    San Francisco

    San Francisco can be a tough place live for a lot of reasons. Sky-high housing prices can make it nearly impossible to find a place. In February, a 1,000-square-foot home with no working plumbing and a pile of rotting mattresses stacked in the kitchen sold for more than $520,000.

    Even tech moguls and startup founders are having trouble finding homes in an area where nearly every spare piece of real estate is gobbled up by the highest bidder. One firm estimated that a home buyer needs to make about $300,000 a year just to afford a median-priced abode.

    But San Francisco isn't just perilously overpriced: It's also perpetually teetering on the edge of disaster. If earthquakes don't shake down your workplace, consider that the city is literally sinking into mud — and into trash in certain places.

    Real-estate woes aside, here are the ways that scientists know living in the Bay Area is not for the faint of heart:

    SEE ALSO: 11 potentially cancer-causing things you might use every day

    The Bay Area is a veritable smorgasbord of complex fault lines. No less than seven different faults converge here.

    The well-known San Andreas Fault is just one of the seven "significant fault zones" the US Geological Survey cites in the Bay Area. The others are the Calaveras, Concord-Green Valley, Greenville, Hayward, Rodgers Creek, and San Gregorio Faults.

    People who live in the area experience small earthquakes and shakes all the time. Just this week, there have been a 2.9 and 3.0 shake in Aromas, California, 1 hour and 40 minutes south of the city. 

     

     



    It's the bigger, disastrous quakes scientists are really worried about. And they say San Francisco is due for another soon.

    In 2007, the USGS determined that there was about a "63% probability of a magnitude 6.7 or greater earthquake in the Bay Area" by 2037.

    Estimates have only gotten worse since then. One recent report suggests that there was a 76% chance the Bay Area would experience a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in the next 30 years.



    Seismologists are most concerned about two fault lines in particular: the San Andreas and the Hayward.

    Anything higher than a 7.9 on the San Andreas Fault line, which runs from Mendocino to Mexico, would put "approximately 100%" of the population of San Francisco at risk, while a 6.9 quake from the Hayward Fault could spell trouble for nearly everyone who lives and works there, according to the city.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    illegal fishing

    • Fishing vessels around the globe regularly turn off anti-collision devices when they approach Marine Protected Areas they shouldn't be harvesting.
    • That behavior could be hiding illegal fishing, according to a new report.
    • Protecting these areas is essential to avoid catastrophic collapse of fisheries.
    • Around the globe, hundreds of millions of people depend on fishing for food and work. Fishing industries lose billions of dollars every year to illegal fishing.

    No one knows what the Tiuna was doing when it went dark for fifteen days in October 2014.

    The Tiuna is a kind of Panamanian-flagged fishing vessel known as a purse seiner, a ship that fishes by deploying a large wall of netting that can encircle a whole school of fish before the lines are drawn tight, trapping fish and whatever else is in the net.

    Tracking data from an onboard anti-collision device called an AIS — Automatic Identification System — shows that the ship set off from Panama and traveled to the Colombian coast before heading west. On October 10th, just on the western edge of the Galapagos Marine Reserve, the Tiuna's AIS was turned off, exposing it to potential collisions but also keeping its location secret.

    It didn't resume broadcasting the ship's location until October 25, when the Tiuna sailed from the eastern edge of the Galapagos Marine Reserve straight to Manta, Ecuador.

    "We don't see it for 15 days, then 15 days later it appears on the Eastern side of the reserve and goes straight into port in Ecuador," said Lacey Malarky, an analyst who studies illegal fishing for Oceana, an organization focused on ocean protection and restoration. Malarky is one of two authors of a report recently released by Oceana highlighting the suspicious ways fishing vessels broadcasting AIS tend to "go dark" in places they're likely to be engaged in illegal fishing.

    tiuna illegal fishing

    "So we don't know what this vessel was doing during those 15 days. Fifteen days is a pretty long time — we don't know if they were fishing within the reserve, if they met up with another vessel and received fish or transferred illegally caught fish, we have no idea what's happening," she said. "There shouldn't be any questions, especially around these really valuable areas."

    Illegal fishing is a huge problem around the globe, and it threatens the marine reserves essential for ocean health.

    If those reserves aren't protected, it could cause widespread catastrophe among fisheries, which would affect hundreds of millions of lives. That possibility, along with related criminal enterprises that have sprung up around illegal fishing, are so serious that the US State Department considers illegal fishing a national security threat.

    Using a database from Global Fishing Watch that tracks AIS data from ships around the globe, Oceana discovered that fishing vessels disappear in protected, suspicious areas with disturbing frequency. Four of those cases are highlighted in the report, include the story of the Tiuna.

    Galapagos turtle

    The scale of the problem

    Marine Protected Areas like the Galapagos Marine Reserve are essential for protecting biodiversity and for giving stressed oceans a way to bounce back.

    That particular reserve is one of the richest on the planet. It's a World Heritage Site that protects corals, sharks, penguins, turtles, marine mammals, and valuable fish like yellowfin tuna, blue sharks, and more.

    Inside that zone, only artisanal fishing is allowed — traditional fishermen are allowed to catch fish and tourists can get a permit to go with them, but there is no industrial fishing allowed in the region. Unfortunately, it's also a site where illegal fishing is "rampant," according to Malarky.

    In general, illegal fishing operations thrive in areas where enforcement is lax, she said. In some cases those are protected areas on the high seas, in other cases they are in the waters of developing countries, especially sites in West Africa that may not have the naval forces needed to protect their fisheries.

    Two of the other cases highlighted in the Oceana report show suspicious AIS activity off the coast of Africa — one by a Spanish trawler whose signal disappeared repeatedly over a six-month period at the Senegal-Gambia border, the other by a Spanish purse seiner whose signal disappeared as it approached the West African coastline repeatedly over a 190-day period. The other case was an Australian longliner whose signal disappeared repeatedly over a 15-month period near a no-take marine reserve in sub-Antarctic waters.

    The owners of the Tiuna did not respond to a request for an explanation by Oceana according to the report. The owners of the Spanish vessels told Oceana their locations were tracked by private systems that their government can access (in at least one case, the Spanish government said the matter was under investigation). The Australian vessel owners said turning off anti-collision devices is a regular practice to protect intellectual property and hide locations from illegal fishing operators.

    These cases represent a fraction of what the Global Fishing Watch data shows, according to Malarky.

    releixo_1

    She said this was the first in-depth analysis on a global scale of AIS data, but that it showed millions of events where AIS was turned off by fishing vessels. Not every case is a sign of illegal activity — vessels turn off AIS anti-collision devices when they're at risk from pirates.

    But cases where this occurs repeatedly near marine protected areas are an indication that something shady could be happening.

    "Why would any vessel want to hide its tracks?" Beth Lowell, senior campaign director for illegal fishing and seafood fraud at Oceana and the report's other author, said in a statement. "Going dark from public tracking systems raises legitimate questions about a fishing vessel’s activities at sea."

    "Nearly 90% of the world's fisheries are fully exploited or overfished," said Malarky.

    Up to 20% of the global seafood supply coming from illegal sources. Right now this costs economies between $10 and $23 billion a year. In the long run, it threatens the sustainability of all fisheries.

    Around the world, up to 3 billion people rely on wild and farmed seafood. In many regions, illegal fishing threatens both an essential food source and jobs for large percentages of the population.

    egaluze_1

    Solutions to the illegal fishing problem

    Oceana says that nations should require commercial fishing vessels to broadcast tracking data and that they should require vessels to explain why they've turned off anti-collision devices if they do so.

    In general, anti-collision devices are a essential tools for ensuring the safety of crewmembers and other vessels. Piracy is the main reason many fishing authorities cite for why devices might be turned off. But other types of tracking devices that usually provide non-public data can often explain where vessels were while they went dark.

    According to Malarky, Oceana would like countries to require tamper-proof AIS devices on fishing vessels around the globe. When these devices are active, they can tip off authorities to illegal activity. In August of 2017, a Chinese-flagged vessels was apprehended in the Galapagos with thousands of sharks in its hold. Ecuadorian officials tracked that ship via their anti-collision device.

    While it may seem like nations would be reluctant to give up proprietary tracking data, most nations do have an interest in protecting their fisheries. Indonesia and Peru, both countries with large fishing operations, have agreed to publicly release private tracking data (the sort that would have shown where the Spanish and Australian vessels were), according to Malarky. She and the team at Oceana hope that more nations follow suit.

    If not, the already threatened sustainability of the oceans is at even greater risk.

    SEE ALSO: 18 accidental and unintended scientific discoveries that changed the world

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    fish healthy fat

    Getting enough fat in your diet can be a great way to stay full, trim, and sharp. Fats are inherently energy- and calorie-rich foods, but that doesn't mean they're bad or that they will make you fat

    Eating the right kinds of fats feeds both the body and brain, all while keeping us full longer, so we’re not as tempted to overeat or binge on sugary, crash-inducing snacks.

    In fact, studies have shown no evidence of a link between how many daily calories a person gets from fat, and how likely they are to gain weight or develop heart disease. Besides, when food manufacturers lower the amount of fat in a food, they typically up the sugar and carbohydrates instead, so it’s better to embrace the role of fat in your diet instead of swapping it out for more sugary, cakey sweets.

    But don't assume that just because fats serve an important role in fueling the body and protecting cells that you have a free pass to slather a layer of lard on everything you eat, or consume large portions of red meat every day.

    Not all fats are created equal. Some can help your heart stay healthy, while others can do real damage to the body, increasing the risk of heart disease and early death.

    Here’s how to choose the right fats.

    SEE ALSO: There's now even more evidence that one type of protein is best for your body

    We know some fats do damage to the body. One of the worst offenders is trans fat.

     

     



    Trans fats come from both artificial and natural sources.

    Artificial sources of trans fat include vegetable oils that are laboratory-heated to prevent spoilage, as well as deep-fryer oils, margarines, and packaged foods like frozen pizzas and cookies. 

    Researchers estimate that during the heyday of trans fats in the 1990s, they led to roughly 50,000 preventable deaths every year in the US.

    The FDA is now in the process of rolling out a ban. Companies have until June 18, 2018 to stop using trans fats, though many food makers are simply replacing those trans fats with interesterified fat, which may not be any better for us. 



    "There's clear evidence that trans fats are bad," said professor Gary Fraser of the Loma Linda School of Public Health, who's studied fats for decades.

    Some small amounts of trans fats are naturally found in some meat and dairy products like butterfat and beef, but it’s not clear whether they are as harmful as artificial trans fats.



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    San Francisco Islais Creek_SkyWay_Image by BIG+ONE+SHERWOOD

    Like most US coastal regions, the San Francisco Bay Area is under threat from rising seas.

    To make matters worse, researchers say that parts of the Bay Area are sinking, which could wipe out between 20 and 165 square miles of coastal land, along with the communities that live there.

    Instead of fighting the rising tides, a group of architects and urban designers want locals to live in harmony with the Bay. In late 2017, they unveiled a regional design involving floating villages, an elevated park, tide barriers, a fast lane for buses, roads for autonomous electric vehicles, and more for the Bay Area.

    Designers from the three firms — Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), One Architecture + Urbanism (ONE), and Sherwood Design Engineers — submitted a regional proposal that focused on three sites: an area in the South Bay, another near the Golden Gate Bridge, and an industrial area surrounding Islais Creek (located near the neighborhood of Bayview).

    Out of the three sites, the City of San Francisco chose the designers to pursue their vision for Islais Creek, which calls for a new park and revamped pier. In mid-May, they will present their final plans to the city.

    Take a look at the regional proposal — and the designs that will come to fruition near the creek — below.

    SEE ALSO: Amazon officials are reportedly visiting New York City in April — here's what the city proposed for HQ2

    The regional proposal centered on the San Francisco Bay.

    The designs were part of the Rebuild By Design: Bay Area Challenge, which asked architects and city planners to come up with urban design solutions to climate change.



    It included three major components: a floating neighborhood in the South Bay, a series of tide barriers near the Golden Gate Bridge, and an elevated park with water-absorbent wetlands near Islais Creek.

    The city chose the firms to revamp an area surrounding Islais Creek, which is the only portion of the regional proposal that’s moving forward.



    The conceptual plan for the South Bay proposed floating villages in an area that's today comprised of salt ponds.



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    recycling cans waste trash

    • Not everything can be recycled, even if it's made up of recyclable materials.
    • Plastics like clothes hangers, grocery bags, and toys aren't always recyclable in your curbside bin.
    • Other things that aren't recyclable include Styrofoam, bubble wrap, dishes, and electronic cords.
    • Check for facilities in your area that may be able to recycle the items below.


    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there's a good chance you're
    recycling wrong.

    It's not necessarily your fault, though. There are a ton of rules when it comes to what can and can't be recycled, and those little symbols on products don't always make it clearer.

    Because it's so complicated, people often end up falling short on recycling goals despite having the best intentions. To help you out, we've put together a list of 18 things you should absolutely never toss into your home recycling bin.

    Styrofoam

    Styrofoam is one of the most commonly-known non-recyclable materials. It's made of polystyrene, a material that isn't biodegradable.The best solution is to avoid Styrofoam altogether in favor of more earth-friendly materials. There may be some facilities near you that accept it, though.

    Something to keep in mind is that TerraCycle likely has a recycling solution for many of the above listed items. Be sure to check out what they have available in your area.

     



    Bubble wrap

    Although many plastics can be recycled, the particular kind of plastic bubble wrap is made from cannot be recycled, because the thin film can tangle in recycling machines. However, there are many locations that will accept the wrap.



    Cords

    While all parts of the power cord are recyclable, it will be difficult for you to separate those parts. You can, however, find somewhere that recycles electronics and cords. Options include your community's e-waste facility — which is often located near the hazardous household items facility — or keep an eye out for e-waste collection events put on by local offices in your area.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    girl glasses skitch

    April 22nd marks Earth Day, an annual event during which people are encouraged to show their support for environmental protection.

    But whether you're an outspoken green activist or just embarking on your environmentalist journey, there are plenty of effortless steps you can take to help — and simply knowing which things should never go in the trash is one of them.

    Here are 15 recyclable things that you should never throw in the bin.

    Cardboard

    Cardboard materials — including the cardboard boxes you receive when you order something online, or moving boxes — are recyclable.

    Rather than purchasing your own cardboard boxes from a hardware store, try asking your local grocery stores when their shipments come in, and inquire whether you can use their old boxes.



    Plastic

    Plastic as we know it is a fairly new material, and has only existed for around 60 to 70 years; however, of the estimated 8.3 billion tons of plastic ever created, most of it still exists in some form today, because it is nearly impossible to break down — which means you should never throw it away.

    One way to counteract our plastic problem is to try to cut down on using plastic in our daily lives. If you eat out, try to patronize companies that push green initiatives, such as Just Salad, which urges its customers to bring a reusable green bowl in order to save money; according to the Environmental Protection Agency, that reusable bowl helps save over 75,000 pounds of plastic every year, which in turn helps save our marine life.

    Make sure to not recycle your plastic bags, however. The plastic isn't biodegradable, which means they take hundreds of years to decompose, and they're the number one source of marine debris. Store drop-off recycling is an option, instead.



    Paper

    According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about 26% of waste in the US can be attributed to paper and paperboard; so things like newspaper, paper from around the office, and more should be recycled, not trashed.



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    thrift store 1

    • I shopped exclusively at thrift stores for an entire year.
    • It saved me money and changed my relationship with fashion.
    • I developed my own personal style for the first time, and it only cost me $291.

    In 2017, I started out on a year of purposeful living. I vowed to make every single purchase that I made stretch to help the most amount of people possible. As a fashion writer, I decided that the beginning of my journey would circle around clothing.

    My plan was to only shop at thrift stores for an entire year.

    thrift store 2

    The hope was that it would save me a whole lot of money and it did. I only spent $291 on clothing for the entire year, but my thrifting ended up doing so much more than that.

    Let's backpedal a little bit. Before I started my journey to purposeful living, I was not an excessive shopper. I didn't have credit card debt because of buying sprees or go out and buy a different outfit for every occasion. But I also didn't really think about where I was getting my clothing. I saw the price tag and nothing else.

    Then came the 2016 election. Because President Donald Trump's administration does not believe in global warming — something scientists say is definitively happening— I grew worried about the planet. If there was something I could do, I was going to do it. After some Googling, I realized I could take on the apparel industry, which, according to Forbes, is thesecond largest industrial polluter on the planet.

    I will admit that I went a little drastic by only shopping at thrift stores for an entire year. Although it's not exactly practical, it is doable. I actually found it extremely easy, since I was doing it for a cause that I really believed in — saving the planet.

    The thrift store and I were not strangers before this journey.

    I have always loved walking around a secondhand shop and finding little treasures, but this time my tactic changed. It wasn't just shopping for things that looked cool. Instead, I was shopping for specific occasions. Think: a night out with the girls, weddings, and holidays.

    Only buying clothing from thrift stores was frustrating at first. I couldn't just walk up to a rack, decide I liked a top, and then find it in my size. I had to find my size section, comb through all of the pieces, and then hope that the item fit like the size on the tag. The struggle balanced out as soon as I hit the checkout line. On average, I spent anywhere from $1 to $5 per item, so, all in all, it was worth the hunt.

    Over the course of the year, I spent about $291 on clothing, according to my saved tags.

    thrift store 3

    That's roughly one and a half Anthropologie dresses, five bras from Victoria's Secret, or seven swimsuits from Target.

    Trust me when I say that I got a whole lot more than that. Not only did I have the fullest closet that I had ever had, but I didn't feel guilty when I left the store. I ended up building a healthy relationship with clothing. One where I didn't feel guilty for loaning a piece to a friend or like I had to keep an item because I invested in it. I ended up experimenting with fashion and building my own personal style without breaking the bank.

    Saving money is great, but the way thrifting affects the planet is even better.

    According to thredUP's 2018 Fashion Resale Report, buying secondhand for an entire year saves 13 trillion gallons of water and 165 billion pounds of carbon dioxide. That's equivalent to enough water for the entire state of California for 14 years and enough carbon dioxide to equal all the cars in Los Angeles taken off the road for four years.

    Contributing to a cause bigger than myself is the best feeling of all. Knowing that I am making the world a better place for everyone outweighs getting likes on an Instagram OOTD or showing off an expensive dress to friends.

    It's time that we educate ourselves on what is on our backs — what's in it, who made it, and how it's affecting the world. Because at the end of the day, what you look like only means so much. What you do for the planet while your here will outlive you. It's up to you to decide what's worth it.

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    sloth

    Sloths are notoriously slow. Living in rainforests in Central and South America, sloths spend most of their time hanging upside down in the trees, rarely coming down to the ground.

    There are two main families of sloths, two-toed sloths, and three-toed sloths, and they all share something in common: They've been around for millions of years – 64 million, to be exact. 

    For comparison, modern humans have only been around for about 200,000 years. 

    Sloths slowness, as it turns out, is the key to their survival. Far from being lazy, sloths are actually really efficient at conserving energy, and it all has to do with their diet. 

    SEE ALSO: How eating meat creates a 'dead zone' the size of New Jersey in the Gulf of Mexico every year

    There are four main types of three-toed sloths (pictured below) living everywhere from Mexico to coastal Brazil. They're some of the slowest mammals in the world

    Spending most of their lives hanging upside in trees, sloths move no further than 125 feet per day. When they make it to the ground, they crawl at a pace of about 1 foot per minute, according to the World Wildlife Federation. 



    Sloths are slow because of their diet. They mostly eat leaves, twigs, and flowers they can easily reach from where they are hanging.

    Their herbivorous diet is low in energy and lacks much of the nutrients needed — like fats and protein — for a balanced meal. 

     



    But sloths have a secret up their sleeve: Their slow metabolic rate means they can survive off of very little food, which is especially useful during droughts.

    They also take days to digest a meal, meaning they only leave their perches to defecate around once a week, reports Scientific American. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider