Green Living News

Green Hotel Hostal Spa Empuries goes Cradle to Cradle

The Hostal Spa Empuries is located in L’Escala, Spain and is in a restored building, overlooking the Mediterranean. Not only is the this hotel the first in Europe with LEED Gold Certification, by the Hostal Spa Empuries also promotes the “Cradle to Cradle” Principle (“C2C”), meaning it aims to use materials which are sustainable and host a useful life past their original intention. In addition, the hotel produces approximately 1/3 of the enery they consume and all the hotel’s electricity is obtained from renewable resources.

As we know, with the interest in eco-tourism and ‘green’ travel on the rise, more and more hotels are working hard to achieve eco-friendly certifications to appeal to the growing traveler interest.

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Not all GOP Like Environmental Platform

“Trump Digs Coal!”  

Not everyone attending the RNC this week was waving those placards, and one Republican Mayor from Indiana is decidedly not.  His name is Jim Brainard, the six-term Mayor of Carmel, IN.  

I’ve mentioned him to you before, and his opposition to GOP orthodoxy on environmental issues has been reasonably well chronicled, most recently in the Grist story linked below.

But he remains very open to discussing it so stay tuned for a possible interview.   Here now is that interview on Grist:

http://grist.org/cities/meet-a-republican-mayor-and-convention-delegate-who-takes-climate-change-seriously/

Unsold Comics and Magazines Pulped Again Versus Repurpose

Call to redistribute tens of thousands of publications to sick and needy

Every week, tens of thousands of unsold comics and magazines are returned from shops to retailers, who send them to be pulped, it’s been revealed.

Instead of this destruction, one national waste and recycling company suggests that they are redistributed at cost to hospitals and charities where they can be enjoyed.

According to the BusinessWaste.co.uk, there’s a particular problem with comics for children which have free gifts attached to the front cover, meaning they are often sent to be burned or buried in landfill.

“It’s an extraordinary waste,” saysBusinessWaste.co.uk, spokesperson Mark Hall, “Because there are thousands of kids who’d appreciate those comics and gifts.”

BusinessWaste.co.uk, says that all of these unsold publications are perfectly saleable.

“While some of these are retained for the back issue market, huge numbers are simply destroyed within days of being replaced on the shelves by the next edition,” Hall says. “And with recycling figures stalling, it defies logic.”

Instead, Hall suggests, there should be an approved list of hospital children’s wards, nurseries, Sure Start centres and other organisations for young people which could receive a limited number of unsold comics and magazines for the enjoyment of patients and pupils.

Opportunity for charities

“It wouldn’t be a freebie,” Hall says, “The magazines could be bought back from the wholesalers at a price to cover their costs, and could even be funded by charitable donations.”

With the help of children’s charities – and this seems an excellent project for BBC Children in Need to become involved in – the gift of reading and play could easily be passed onto young people who need it the most, Business Waste proposes.

A straw poll carried out byBusinessWaste.co.uk, found firm backing for the idea among the British public:

94% said they’d support a charity-driven scheme6% said they would not

“The nay-sayers have a valid point in that it might hit sales from the newsstands,” says Hall, “And that’s why we say such a scheme would be limited in scope to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“Shops and publishers have businesses to run, after all!”

One nurse told BusinessWaste.co.uk,: “You should see the books and comics that we have for the children – they’re falling apart at the seams, and I think even prisoners get a better deal. We rely on what parents bring in, but it’s depressing to see kids’ get bored because they have so little to read and do.

“A regular supply of recent comics and magazines would be brilliant,” she said.

There may even be scope to extend the idea to old people’s homes and hospital wards, where decent reading material is at a premium.

“It’s about improving people’s quality of life by keeping their brains active,” says Mark Hall.

Many doctors’ and dentists’ surgeries now use subscription schemes to keep their waiting rooms interesting with up-to-date magazines, andBusinessWaste.co.uk, says extending a charity scheme to the older generation would be careful not to tread on the toes of this expanding business model.

The aim, Hall says, is to stop magazines and comics going to waste by giving them to the people who need them most, but can’t usually get access to them.

“As a waste company we positively hate seeing perfectly good items destroyed,” he says, “And that’s why we want to see kids and comics reunited.

“It’ll be good for the environment, and it will be great for young imaginations, too.”

Desalination: Helping or Hurting Our Environment?

High cost and energy intensiveness remain the primary barriers for desalination, the conversion of salt ocean water into fresh water. The prospect of providing more drinking water to areas of need is appealing, but experts usually weigh the pros and cons of desalination when deciding whether it’s a suitable alternative. As such, it’s considered a final resort for providing fresh water.

Ideally, sourcing water from lakes, rivers, streams and other natural water sources is the preferred method for drinking water, but global warming and general pollution have made many former water sources become devoid of water. In addition to growing populations in desert regions, there’s an increasing need for more fresh water, which desalination can provide at a cost.

Negative Impacts on Ocean Life
Desalination contributes to the release of fossil fuels, as the process burns up significantly more fossil fuels as opposed to sourcing from fresh water bodies. Desalination plants leave a hefty carbon footprint. Ocean biodiversity is also negatively impacted by these plants, as their intake pipes have a tendency to vacuum and kill millions of fish larvae, plankton, fish eggs and other organisms in the ocean. Impacts in the food chain have a variety of negative outcomes, so fossil fuels and these plants combine for a gradually devastating effect.

Additionally, salty sludge is the resulting leftover from desalination. As is the case with any type of sludge, it has the ability to severely interrupt marine ecosystems.

Jeffrey Graham of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography’s Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine states for every one gallon of freshwater produced from desalination, we must dispose of a gallon of doubly concentrated salt water, which likely plays a role in the disappearance of some marine organisms.

Specifically, desalinating water using reverse osmosis contributes to “noise pollution, visual pollution, reduction in recreational fishing and swimming areas, emission of materials into the atmosphere,” and the brine discharge contributing to pollution, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Marine life can be severely affected by the high density of brine discharge, as their impact on the food chain is great despite their size or ocean depth.

When a Last Resort Becomes Logical
While the negative effects of desalination are clear, the potential of people dying or becoming ill due to dehydration is difficult to ignore. As such, some view the risks of losing human life as outweighing the environmental effects.

When you consider that less than 1% of the world’s water supply is fresh, and much of that is being compromised by overutilization, contamination and climatic influences, there’s a pressing need for desalination in some places. At the very least, the cost for desalination is beginning to decrease with the rise of desalination plants, with around 300 of them in the USA.

In addition to lowering costs that should increase research going toward desalination, there are new ways to combat the high energy intensity of desalination, with bio-engineered energy solutions using the process of forward osmosis to siphon clean water from the intake.

New methods like these are using less than a quarter of the electricity required for standard desalination, which shows potential for the process eventually becoming less disruptive toward the environment. For now though, there are ample concerns regarding the environment, including the high emission of fossil fuels and ecosystem disturbances.

With the process not disappearing anytime soon, the environmentally minded can hope for increased research into more efficient methods that provide the benefits of desalination without the carbon footprint and bio-system interference.

Film4Climate announces an agreement to green the film industry

The World Bank Group’s Connect4Climate program is announcing Film4Climate, a commitment by the global film industry to reduce the environmental impact of film production and an effort to tell stories about climate change through cinema at events during the Cannes Film Festival. Filmmakers Bernardo Berolucci, Wim Wenders, Fernando Meirelles, and Pablo Trapero have endorsed and lent their support to the initiative. In addition, more than 100 film industry executives have become partners of Film4Climate during the festival, and have pledged to reach a consensus on industry standards to reduce film production impact on the environment.
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Cannes, France (May 18-19, 2015)