(3BL Media/Just Means) - One of the most interesting and creative variations of recycling is upcycling, which means giving an object a new lease of life, perhaps in a totally new format. Anything can be upcycled, from cutlery that gets upgraded into jewelry to old jeans that can become - why not - carrier bags.
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – BRICS countries, which include Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, comprise over one-fifth of the global economy. The growing economic power of BRICS nations has surpassed the level of negotiating power they command at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The value of South-South trade has exceeded that of North-South trade by about $2.2 trillion – which is more than a quarter of global trade.
(3BL Media/Justmeans) We’ve been hearing about the potential wonders of the Smart Grid for several years now. It will save energy, make utility operations more streamlined, support renewables and save money for consumers. All these things are true, and they will be even more important in the years ahead as the impacts of climate change are felt more strongly. But blackouts are happening right now, and they are costing utilities money. That seems to be the primary driver for many power companies to begin investing in technology today.
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), power outages cost US businesses $150 billion per year. The number of blackouts has increased 285% since 1984 and their duration, here in the US, is the longest among industrialized countries.
Why is that? There are two reasons. First, there is more power going through our electric grid than ever before. Second, and most important, the grid is getting old.
The U.S. electrical grid, once considered a marvel, is becoming a dinosaur. Going back over 60 years, some of the designs date back to Edison himself. It consists of some 7,000 power plants pushing electrons out over 450,000 miles of transmission lines, to businesses and homes that are interconnected by some 2.5 million miles of feeder lines. According to the Edison Electric Institute, it is worth $876 billion, though the value of what it produces is incalculable.
It was built for a time and a scale when things could be done manually. Meter readers would go from house to house reading mechanical meters, and linemen could inspect the lines to see where repairs were needed. Today, it has become too big and too indispensable for that.
(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Many of the first naturalists to encounter the New World disembarked in the colony of South Carolina in the late 1600s, where they encountered the beaches, salt marshes and productive estuaries of coastal Carolina, marshes, meadows and forests, and the mysterious Carolina Bays, a series of oval northwest-southeast oriented depressions that extend through North and South Carolina.
(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Have you heard of a bio-literate world? A world where you could know in minutes the name of any animal or plant – at any-time or place, including everything about that life-form, from what are its habits to is it endangered or dangerous? Should it even be there, or is it an invader from somewhere else? Imagine how science could use this knowledge to protect the planet's biodiversity and promote human health and well being?
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Tensions between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas are running high after days of fighting. The peace process has faltered and the shadow of terrorism remains as property is vandalised, farmers' olive trees destroyed, and homes and businesses destroyed.
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Aggressive use of pesticides to push agricultural output has had an undesirable impact on the ecological balance in several ways. Environmentalists have continued to warn against the rampant use of pesticides and their ill effects. One of the classes of pesticides called neonic is known to boost crop yield, and is also extensively used on plants grown in lawns and gardens.
(3Bl Media/Justmeans) - We see a lot of analyses and projections showing why renewables, despite their rapid growth will not be able to provide sufficient energy to allow us to get off fossil fuels or nuclear for decades to come. Those analyses are based on assumptions regarding population growth, economic development and rate of energy consumption on a per capita basis.
But if you look at disparities in energy consumption, not just the obvious ones—developed vs. developing countries, but rather between countries and states with similar quality of life, we can see that there are still tremendous opportunities to be in exploited with regard to how efficiently we use energy. As an example, the state of Texas, uses 50% more energy than California, despite California’s 48% larger population.
If forecasts and projections were based on the best populations, who are bound to get even better, rather than the average, these renewable goals might begin to look far more achievable
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) just completed a ranking of the 16 largest economies in the world. Results are somewhat surprising. The US, which likes to think of itself as technologically advanced, actually ranked 13th out of 16, while China, despite its sizeable growing pains, managed to achieve a 4th place rank.
Below is the list in order.
12. South Korea
The ranking are based on thirty-one metrics, divided between policy metrics, which they call national efforts (e.g. national energy savings target, fuel economy standards) and performance metrics (e.g. Average mpg, energy per square foot in buildings). State and local policies were not included. Performance metrics were divided between Buildings, Industry, and Transportation. These four categories were equally weighted, receiving 25 points apiece.