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5 Empowering Conservation Jobs

December 8, 2017
empowering conservation jobs

Getting a job in conservation can be hard. There’s a lot of competition, and you might struggle to find a place for yourself if you don’t have the right degree or background. But that doesn’t make it impossible. What most conservationists look for, more than experience or a degree, are passion and a willingness to learn.

Conservation jobs are challenging. They can involve a lot of unusual work and can include travel, manual labor and working in all kinds of elements. You might expect to go in for an eight-hour day and instead work 12, or get called in for an emergency in the middle of the night. You can’t do that kind of job if you don’t care about it. If you do have the passion for the work, however, empowering conservation jobs could be the most rewarding career you’ll ever have.

1. Zookeeper or Zoo Director

Some people consider zoos to be inhumane or not in an animal’s best interest. In some cases, they’re right. Small, roadside zoos and traveling circuses often do not provide decent living conditions for the animals. However, large, nationally known zoos do some of the best conservation work around — both for their residents and for their wild counterparts.

There’s an option for zoos and even some wildlife sanctuaries to earn accreditation from the American Zoological Association. This official recognition means, in addition to meeting state and federal animal welfare laws, the organization goes above and beyond to make sure their animals get the best care possible. Part of that accreditation requires the zoos to work on conservation, donating money and research to protecting wild animals and their habitats.

Zookeepers themselves don’t make a lucrative paycheck, but their work is anything but boring. They act as both animal keeper and educator, teaching the public all about the species they work with. This job does come with some risks since you have to move potentially dangerous animals around and make sure everyone is healthy, safe and clean. A zoo director earns significantly more, but they miss out on the direct animal interactions.

2. Marine Biologist

If you love the ocean and fieldwork and have a background in science, marine biology might be the job for you! The field is incredibly competitive, so you should plan to major in it as an undergrad because getting into graduate programs is so difficult. For this job, you’ll need both a degree and a scuba certification. Getting there might be a challenge, but you can spend part of your job on a boat, diving with sharks and dolphins! Plus, you can help set up marine conservation efforts known as Hope Spots, to help the ocean recover from over-fishing and pollution.

3. Park Ranger

A park ranger is an excellent job for someone who likes to be out and about. You shouldn’t be afraid of the weather, and you should be able to keep yourself in good shape! While this job does involve some paperwork, it’s a lot more outdoorsy than others. Most of their job is to patrol national parks, including such beautiful areas as Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon.

While these jobs are exciting, they can be dangerous. Park rangers are expected to participate in search and rescue missions, give tours and answer questions, while also enforcing rules and keeping people safe. This job might be in danger, though. As we move through both a politically and environmentally changing environment, some of our national parks are facing budget cuts. Some of those may eliminate jobs in the almost $6.5 billion industry, which would make proper patrols more difficult. Soon, all our national park rangers could be volunteers.

4. Environmental Educator

One of the best ways to protect the environment is to teach other people how to do it. That can take a lot of different forms, but having it be your full-time job is an option, too! In a position like this, you may work with adults on occasion, but you’d probably spend most of your time with kids, either at a camp or within a larger kids’ program, like the YMCA. This job is the pe

rfect blend of conservationist and teacher. It gives you a chance to take kids who have never seen the forest before through one in an immersion trip. You can change people’s lives with one experience.

5. Wildlife Forensic Scientist

Being a forensic scientist will net you a decent living and allow you to work hard on improving conservation efforts in your area. However, it doesn’t always involve as much field work as some of the others on this list. Forensics is an excellent option for someone who loves conservation but isn’t as much of an outdoorsy type. It does require an advanced scientific degree, though.

Empowering conservation jobs aren’t for everyone. But if it is a good fit for your skill set and passions, you’ll never find another job that’s half as exciting or fulfilling.

Green Technology

How to Make Geothermal Energy Affordable

December 4, 2017
Geothermal heating affordable

Geothermal heating offers an attractive alternative to traditional fossil fuels. Not only does the price per kilowatt rival that of coal, but geothermal heating also creates significantly less harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The main drawback to this eco-friendly technology is the substantial startup costs of installing the appropriate infrastructure to harness the Earth’s energy.

The initial startup costs are typically what dissuade potential geothermal heating users from implementing the technology. Fortunately, new initiatives are underway which, over time, may make geothermal heating a more affordable and realistic option for multiple consumers.

Encourage Government Investments in Geothermal Research

For years, proponents of geothermal heating encouraged the government to invest more money into geothermal heating research to figure out more affordable and efficient ways to harness the Earth’s natural energy. Recently, the government responded and decided to invest approximately $18 million in geothermal heating research. This funding is primarily being used in pilot studies with existing geothermal technology and researching new methods of using Earth’s energy.

One such research route that could make geothermal heating more accessible and potentially more affordable to a broader range of citizens is the hot, dry rock approach. Historically, the Earth’s natural energy was harvested by using steam or heated water already present underground. One drawback to this method is that unless the resources are carefully managed, they may be depleted early due to improper or overuse.

Hot, dry rock technology involves injecting water from above ground beneath the Earth’s surface into rock formations that are heated naturally. This water can then be converted into steam to drive turbines or heat homes and office buildings. Since the water comes from above ground, the risk of depleting the geothermal resource is decreased. It also potentially increases the number of resources available, as areas without natural hot water formations can still use geothermal energy.

Install Geothermal Heating on a Larger Scale

The average cost of installing geothermal heating in a private home ranges from $20,000 to $25,000 and requires an available plot of land nearly twice the size of the home to be heated. Despite these statistics, the initial investment can pay off in as little as 10 years. On average, most homeowners can’t afford to invest a down payment into making their home eco-friendlier.

Energy companies specializing in geothermal technology could instead work with neighborhoods to install geothermal loops that would serve multiple homes or entire communities and make geothermal heating affordable. This would reduce the overall construction cost, and homeowners could work with the companies to pay back installation fees over time as part of their monthly utility bill. This model is already successfully being employed in Canada, where over 40 percent of the residential heating systems are being upgraded to geothermal heat.

Most utility companies in the United States already employ this type of billing method. Residents and corporations are charged a monthly fee that depends on how much electricity, water or natural gas they use. Implementing a similar service for geothermal heating will ultimately make it affordable and accessible to a wider range of people.

Additionally, more experienced contractors will likely be able to complete geothermal construction projects in a shorter time period with fewer resources, which in turn will lead to reduced construction costs. Communities will then benefit from skilled laborers installing their geothermal systems and reduce the risk of errors.

Develop Better Technology for Locating Geothermal Resources

Only 13 states have known geothermal resources that are deemed suitable for energy generation. This is mainly because geothermal heating resources are underground and not easily identified without drilling technology. New investments in underground exploration or geothermal identification may lead to the discovery of additional resources, which in turn can increase the demand for geothermal energy.

Government subsidies alone aren’t enough to drive the price of geothermal heating into the affordable range for the majority the United States population. Private companies and the government need to continue research in geothermal technologies to develop more efficient methods of tapping into the Earth’s natural heating resource. Over time, larger-scale development of geothermal heating infrastructure may make this energy an affordable option for everyone.

Environment

How to Save Money for an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle

December 1, 2017

Living a green lifestyle doesn’t mean breaking the bank. Some eco-friendly accouterments — hybrid cars, for one big example — cost a lot of money, but the lifestyle isn’t actually that expensive. And how to save money for an eco-friendly lifestyle is even easier to save money than before being green. In fact, many people who make their way over to the green side find that the lifestyle they begin to lead is easier on the earth and on their budgets.

It’s also easier on their minds. A recent study found that those who do good deeds feel happier because they know that what they’re doing is purposeful and meaningful. In order to reap all of the above benefits, then, you have to learn how to protect the earth and your budget. The following are five ideas of how to save money for an eco-friendly lifestyle:

1. Have Less Stuff

Living a more minimalistic lifestyle is a great way to go easy on the earth and save yourself money. By buying less, you’ll require fewer of the Earth’s resources and, chances are, you’ll waste less, too. Plus, less buying means less spending, which means more money in the bank for you.

You may be overwhelmed with stuff as it is, which is common — and also easy to fix. Spend a weekend organizing with minimalism in mind. You can even find items that would re-sell and make money on what you no longer use, instantly making your green lifestyle a lucrative one.

2. Turn the Tap Off

There’s a reason why your showers and faucets are on every list of suggested ways to save money for an eco-friendly lifestyle. Turning off the tap while you brush your teeth, wash dishes and complete any other sink-related task can help save the planet and lower your utility bills.

The same goes for shortening your showers, which can be an even bigger boon to your green efforts. If it helps, put on some music and try and cut down your shower sessions to one or two songs. And, if your bathroom isn’t too cold, you can try turning the water on and off during your shower so that it’s only flowing when you need it. So, after wetting your hair, you can turn off the water to lather up before turning it back on to rinse.

3. Buy Second Hand or Borrow

We already suggested selling your gently used items to others who could find better uses for them. The next time you need something, you should try buying it second-hand, too, to keep the cycle going. That way, you won’t waste extra resources when what you need has already been made — and is likely on sale second-hand at a cheaper price. Plus, buying someone’s unwanted items saves them from going to a landfill, which makes the earth that much cleaner.

You can also borrow reusable, big-ticket items from friends, family members and neighbors so that everyone buys less. For example, if you want to irrigate and re-seed your lawn, ask a friend who has a shed full of gardening tools before you buy a new one. You’ll save money and avoid wasting materials like metal and plastic on a product you’ll use a handful of times.

4. Celebrate Meatless Monday

Even if you love meat, a change-up in your diet can make a big difference to your budget and to the environment. It turns out that raising livestock wastes quite a bit of resources, from land to water; plus, these large animals can pollute the earth with their waste, which leads to even more damage.

If everyone celebrated Meatless Monday, the earth would reap a huge number of benefits. Aside from a lowered use of resources and a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, less fuel would be used to ship meat from farm to store. Plus, meatless meals tend to cost less and they can be wonderful for your health. You don’t have to go meat-free all of the time, but once a week is a great compromise for you — and a great benefit to your planet.

5. Ditch Your Car

In many places, this may be a big ask: you simply cannot get anywhere without your car. However, if you live in a city or town with well-connected public transport — or even with well-maintained sidewalks — you can ditch your car and its fuel emissions for a greener mode of transportation.

Clearly, this move will save you on gas, parking costs and repairs to your over-worked car. You’ll also get moving more often, and walking regularly has its own set of benefits. You’ll be in a better mood, help keep yourself at a healthy weight and strengthen your muscles and bones to boot.

It’s Just the Beginning

Once you adopt the above five ways to save money for an eco-friendly lifestyle, you’ll realize how easy and effective they are in both saving the earth and saving your budget. Even better is that they’re just five of the many, many ways you can lead a low-cost eco-friendly lifestyle. It’s just the beginning: take these five small steps and see where they lead you. We can promise it’ll be toward a more rewarding, less wasteful future.

Green Technology

New Technology Helping Save Wildlife

November 27, 2017
Technology helping save wildlife

If you read technology news even on an occasional basis, you’re probably accustomed to reading about chatbots, big data and cloud computing, but news stories about technology helping save wildlife are usually not as prominent. Even so, exciting things are happening to protect our planet’s worthy — but often endangered — creatures.

Advanced Cameras to Track Natural Behaviors

Scientists realize that one of the key factors of understanding extinction is knowing how animals behave in the wild. Then, they can determine if animals are living in ways that make their eventual demise more likely to happen sooner.

To broaden their knowledge, researchers often set up cameras and let them record what animals do. This technique is also known as camera trapping, and it relieves people from having to sit still for hours, hoping the animals will come out.

Today’s recording equipment is significantly more advanced than what was available in the past. For example, modern batteries can keep the cameras operating day and night for months.

Also, some cameras transmit images to scientists on other continents via satellite. The satellite transmissions are an important part of the technology helping save wildlife because they eliminate problems caused by areas of poor mobile phone reception.

Depending on Drones and Artificial Intelligence to Stop Poaching

Unfortunately, humans often contribute to the dangers animals face every day. Poaching is a particularly troubling problem throughout Africa for the elephant and rhino populations. Numerous organizations have experimented with using drones to catch poachers, but The Lindbergh Foundation is going even further to work with new technology helping save wildlife.

It depends on artificial intelligence (AI) to help reduce false alarms and look through collective footage faster. Engineers from Neurala, a deep-learning specialty company, taught the AI to recognize rhinos, elephants and poachers. That acquired knowledge allows the technology to look through real-time footage sent from the drones, including infrared video material captured at night.

Cloning Wildlife to Preserve Biodiversity

Decades ago, Dolly the sheep made headlines as the first cloned animal. Then, people began wondering if cloning in this manner might emerge as a new technology helping save wildlife.

Sadly, Dolly died in 2003 and only lived about half as long as her species usually does. Scientists did not find evidence that cloning contributed to Dolly’s death, but the fact remains that there are many challenges associated with genetics and the risks may outweigh benefits.

Despite that reality, there are efforts to clone endangered or extinct species. People are hopeful that although this practice is probably not a long-term solution to maintain a healthy level of biodiversity, it may offer much-needed short-term assistance while biologists and other wildlife explore more feasible possibilities

Using Circuit Boards to Protect Bees

Over the last couple of years, people have gained a heightened awareness of how beneficial bees are to our environment and that the numbers of them are rapidly dwindling. There are various theories about why that’s happening, but one of the most common among them is that Varroa destructor mites are wreaking havoc for the bees.

A company called Gemalto has created a small circuit board that goes directly inside the bees’ hives. It has 32 sensors that can tell when the Varroa destructor mites enter a hive and lay eggs.

After the circuit board detects a likely case of mite intrusion, it sends the information to a corresponding app. The specialized application can change the temperature of the hive to destroy the mites without pesticides and not harm the bees.

As you can see from these forward-thinking and inspiring examples, there are some significant instances of technology helping save wildlife. It’ll be interesting to see how the techniques outlined here evolve and result in even better strategies for keeping the Earth’s non-human inhabitants safer.

Environment

Green Thanksgiving Food Preparation Tips

November 20, 2017
Green Thanksgiving food preparation tips

Thanksgiving is known as the season for golden yellows, burnt oranges and deep reds, but, this year, you can make yours a little bit greener. And you can do so without sacrificing any bit of the year’s biggest feast — one that tends to be super wasteful, which means your efforts could actually make a difference to the earth at-large.

To have an eco-friendly Thanksgiving this year, here are five green Thanksgiving food preparation tips.

1. Don’t Use Disposable Dinnerware

With a large party to feed, it may seem easier to forego traditional table settings for paper and plastic ones. And, while this certainly aids with cleanup, it does nothing to help reduce your footprint. Instead, use the holiday as an excuse to pull out all the reusable stops. Arm your guests not only with reusable flatware but with washable, reusable napkins, too. In every place that you can use a washable tool, do so — you’ll cut down on post-holiday waste that way.

If your party is simply too big, there’s one compromise: you can use disposable napkins, plates, cups and flatware so long as it’s all made from 100 percent recycled materials.

2. Plan a Plant-Centric Menu

In 2012, Americans consumed a whopping 46 million turkeys on Thanksgiving. Turkey isn’t one of the biggest offenders when it comes to the carbon footprint created by cultivating livestock, but the transport of meat requires lots of fuel, especially on high-demand holidays like Thanksgiving.

As such, you should try and build your menu around plant-based dishes that require fewer resources to cultivate and harvest. You get bonus points if you use fruits and vegetables that are in-season. Chances are, your favorite Thanksgiving recipes already contain those flavors anyway, but make sure you’re shopping for the season to stay green and potentially save money, to boot.

3. Order Smart, Too

Your Thanksgiving plans could potentially bring you to a restaurant, or you may have Friendsgiving celebrations at your favorite local eatery. Either way, you know you’ll be out to eat this holiday season, and it’s worth learning the ways you can be eco-friendly while you’re at a restaurant, too.

There are so many ways to do it. For one, you can order tap water instead of bottled beverages so that you don’t have to worry about staffers throwing your finished plastic bottle into the trash instead of the recycling. You can take your leftovers to go to cut down on waste or choose a restaurant with a farm-to-table menu so that you know the ingredients are from nearby and not shipped over large distances, thus wasting fuel.

With a few steps in mind, your Thanksgiving dinner parties — and Christmas dinner parties, and New Year’s dinner parties — will all be eco-friendlier.

4. Buy Fresh, Local and Organic

We’ve already touched on the importance of local produce, but it’s worth reiterating, especially when you’re planning a huge shop for your Thanksgiving feast. If you buy from local shops and farmers, you know your products have traveled less of a distance and therefore required less fuel to make their way to your table. This makes your menu instantly greener.

Fresh foods cut down on the energy required to preserve and store canned and bottled foodstuffs. And organic products help preserve the ecosystem and boost soil quality in a way that traditional farming cannot. In the long term, organic farming can stall soil erosion, reduce nutrient loss and hold onto water in a drought. All of these are benefits to the earth that you can help facilitate.

5. Compost What You Can

If you don’t have a compost bin already, make your own before Thanksgiving rolls around so that you can use your leftovers in an earth-friendly way. Rather than contributing to the huge quantity of food that’s wasted post-Thanksgiving, you can reuse your scraps and leftovers to fertilize your garden. It’s a pretty simple process, too, once you get the hang of composting: toss your leftovers in and wait until they make rich, natural fertilizer for your flowers and produce.

Have a Green Thanksgiving

With these tips in mind — and the many other ways you can make your holiday eco-friendlier — you’ll find your holiday even more blissful as you protect the earth and serve a delicious meal to your loved ones. There’s no better feeling than that; in fact, it’s what the holidays are all about.

Green Technology

A Roundup of Renewable Energy around the World

November 17, 2017
Renewable energy around the world

The continual consumption of fossil fuels is a serious contributing factor to climate change, and first world countries consume more than their fair share. Renewable energy around the world is one of the best options for working on reducing that. It is not a full solution to climate change, but it can help mitigate the severity of it. At this point, that’s our primary goal.

Although first world countries consume more carbon emissions than others, they are not the only ones trying to solve the carbon crisis. Most countries are trying to work toward green technology. Numerous countries making impressive strides. In fact, some small islands have been able to run entirely off of renewable energy. This is difficult for large nations to replicate because the energy demand is so much higher, but even those achievements are impressive. Costa Rica managed 76 days with only renewable energy sources, and other islands are looking to do the same.

China

China is probably the biggest surprise. They’re the leading country for overall greenhouse gas emissions, but that’s mostly because they’ve got a huge population and a large production industry. They’re also making some fantastic strides in employing renewable technologies, despite their still impressive emissions. Their reasons for doing so may be based more on watching how the new industry can help them financially, but the result is the same. They are sweeping other countries under the rug with their work on renewables.

They have built and are operating vast solar and wind farms. China has a lot of space, and much of it is unpopulated. They have room to build renewable farms on a scale that more developed countries can’t. They have set their own goals, per the Paris Agreement, and one of them is to produce 20 percent of the country’s energy needs with renewables by 2030.

Iceland

Iceland has, impressively, been getting more than 75 percent of its energy from renewable sources. Iceland has an unusual situation since they are well situated to make use of geothermal energy. They don’t need to rely on wind and solar, which are more variable, and can instead depend on a constant, steady supply of power from below their feet. Their luck has made it easy to change from fossil fuels, and they’ve taken full advantage of it.

United States

The U.S. isn’t exactly top dog when it comes to renewables, but it’s still come a long way. In the late 60’s, when rivers started catching fire from all the pollution, a series of environmental policies were enacted. That curbed a lot of the U.S. emissions from companies, but the per capita emissions in the U.S. are still some of the highest in the world.

Cities and corporations in the U.S. are making a concentrated effort to take their own measures to move toward renewable energy sources. Tesla is aiming to make electric cars available to everyone, but they’re also working on solar power for everyone. In fact, they’ve designed an entire roof made of solar panels.

And despite the government’s efforts, the U.S. has made significant strides. In the past seven years, the U.S. has reduced energy emissions by over 12 percent. That’s not a huge number, and it’s certainly not high enough, but it’s a good start.

Africa

A lot of people don’t talk about Africa, but it’s one of the biggest consumers of renewable energy in the world. A big part of that comes from the fact that they never had a solidly established fossil fuel system, so they have nothing to change from. They can only gain energy, and a lot of that comes from green tech. The other significant factor is that the fossil fuel industry has less of a hold in Africa. The energy supply there is expected to at least double by 2030, and a massive portion of that is likely to be from renewable energy.

The efforts that are being put into renewable energy around the world is impressive. All countries need to get on board, and if they don’t do it because it’s good for the planet, they should do it because it’ll be good for their pockets. Ignoring the worldwide trend of energy consumption would be like ignoring the Industrial Revolution. Doing so will leave you in the dust.

Environment

5 Ways to Volunteer on America Recycles Day

November 13, 2017
Volunteer on America Recycles Day

There’s so much natural beauty to be seen — and to preserve — across the United States. As such, the non-profit organization Keep America Beautiful (KAB) runs multiple nationwide initiatives to, well, keep America beautiful.

Since 1997, on or around November 15, the country has celebrated America Recycles Day, which is one of the aforementioned initiatives led by KAB. Prior to the big day, local communities make pledges to recycle more as they teach environmentalism and promote the practice of recycling. It all culminates in a whole bunch of activities and chances to volunteer on America Recycles Day when it finally arrives.

As you can probably imagine, there are tons of ways to take part, since so many cities and towns pledge their time to improving the reduce-reuse-recycle process. In honor of the 20th year of America Recycles Day here are five examples of how you can volunteer on America Recycles Day:

Book Swap: Honesdale, Pennsylvania

On Saturday, November 18, you can make your way to the Honesdale, Pennsylvania, Book Swap, where locals are encouraged to bring books they’ve already read or titles collecting dust on shelves and in attics. In exchange for handfuls, bags or cars full of books — brought to the site a few days before the swap — you can pick up new reads and bring them home. You can take as many as you want, too.

Plastic Bag Pick-Up: Chicago, IL

Chances are, you have tons of plastic bags laying around that you neither reuse nor recycle. The country has a massive plastic pollution problem, with 9 billion tons of plastic already produced and more being manufactured every day. It’s not a substance that can easily break down in landfills, either, which is why recycling it should be of the utmost importance.

As such, one school in Chicago will have a challenge amongst its homerooms to recycle as many clean plastic shopping bags as possible. You can challenge yourself to finally clean out your supply of bags, or spend the week surrounding America Recycles Day using only canvas or fabric shopping totes that are reusable. Setting up a bag-recycling challenge at your own school or place of work would be a great recycling effort, too.

Recycling Challenge: Charlotte, NC

Here’s another idea of a challenge you can replicate at your local school or even at your workplace. For a week, students at Bain Elementary in Charlotte, NC, are undertaking a recycling challenge where they hope to remove all recyclables from trashcans so that they’re properly reused.

Students will swap from other classrooms to objectively evaluate the trash left in the can: is it recyclable or not? Classes that dispose of trash and recyclables properly win points, and the overall winner at the end of the week gets a prize. This is a model that’s fun and informative and can be replicated in other establishments, too.

3R Bazaar: Woodlands, TX

The 3R Bazaar is a learning experience and a recycling opportunity all rolled into one. At the event, organizers will collect unusual recyclables, including eyeglasses, batteries, flip-flops, cell phones, yard signs and textiles. After dropping off your items, you can learn some reuse strategies of your own and pick up a few useful DIY ideas that’ll also be on display.

Keep Them Warm This Winter: Atlanta, GA

Old towels and blankets falling out of your linen closet? You can offload your extra, unused linens on the Atlanta Humane Society’s Mansell Office. There, they’ll be used — as you can probably guess — to keep animals warm throughout the cold winter months. We can pretty much guarantee you’ll feel good about recycling your older, well-loved items to help homeless pets.

These are just a few of the many, many ways you can get involved this America Recycles Day, November 15, 2017. With 2,400 registered events and counting you can find out how to register an event or how to volunteer on America Recycles Day on the website, there’s sure to be something near you that’ll give you the chance to help the earth first-hand.

Oceans

Why Have We Explored More of Outer Space Than the Ocean?

November 10, 2017
explored more of space than the ocean

You’d think we know more about the planet we live on than the vast openness of outer space, right? It makes sense, after all, we spend every waking hour on this Earth. Surely, we can’t have explored more of space than the ocean, right?

You might be surprised to find out that we can explain a whole lot more about space — at least the areas we know and can explore — than the ocean. How’s that for some food for thought?

Wait, what? We know more about space than the ocean?

Consider the Evidence

The ocean makes up 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, and yet a ridiculous 95 percent is completely unexplored by humans. When you put it that way, it seems much more plausible that unknown creatures — such as the Loch Ness monster — exist out there.

Since 1969, a total of 12 people have made the trip to the moon. Let’s compare that to the Marianas Trench — one of the deepest trenches in the ocean — which only a total of three people have explored. One of those three was filmmaker James Cameron who spent $10 million of his own money to finance the trip.

Of course, one could argue that the entire ocean floor has been mapped by imaging equipment. Technically, we know everything about the bottom of the sea floor, right? Except, the mapping hardware was only used at a resolution of up to five kilometers, or three miles. What does that mean? Well, anything larger than five kilometers has not been documented or mapped.

This means there’s still a lot— especially of smaller size — that we have yet to explore and uncover. Furthermore, no one has actually scoured every inch of the ocean floor. This is just imaging hardware and software we’re talking about here, so it’s entirely possible something was missed. You could make the same comparison for outer space, as we’ve only ever explored the local solar system. Sure, the Hubble telescope and similar equipment can give us a glimpse of faraway locations, but that’s all it is a quick glimpse. We don’t actually know what’s out there, just like we don’t know everything that’s beneath the ocean’s surface.

It does beg the question: Why do we know more about space, an alien plane than we do about our planet, or more specifically, the vast ocean that inhabits the Earth with us?

Why Don’t We Explore the Ocean?

For starters, there’s a lot of it to cover, and even though we’ve had the time and likely resources to do so, it would be incredibly expensive. Only about 0.05 percent of the ocean has been mapped with the highest resolution of sonar imaging. Why don’t we just do the rest?

Because it’s not that simple. Even more difficult to understand is the fact that we can’t get down there to explore with our eyes. In some places, the pressure of the ocean and gravity equals that of 50 jumbo jets resting right on top of you. And that’s before you even consider the fact that at great depths there is absolutely no visibility. It’s not just a matter of presenting a light source; it’s also about how far said light can stretch, which at the bottom of the ocean is not very far.

That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not happening. Already scientists and researchers are planning to map and explore the far reaches of the ocean floor. Thanks to modern technology the process can be much more efficient and accurate. We may even be able to locate valuable resources that can be retrieved for use back on the surface, such as copper, nickel, and cobalt.

It will, however, take quite a bit of time, dedication, and resources including money. More importantly, it will take a lot of scientists and researchers working together to achieve one common goal, but it may be possible that one day we will no longer have explored more of space than of the ocean.

Green Technology

5 Eco-Friendly Ways to Heat Your Home This Winter

November 6, 2017
eco-friendly ways to heat your home

Heating is expensive, time-consuming and often damaging to the earth, though during the cold months it’s necessary. Fortunately, there are some eco-friendly ways to heat your home throughout the winter:

1. Geothermal Heating

The first of the eco-friendly ways to heat your home is geothermal heating, which is arguably one of the most ambitious ways to embrace green living and the most costly. The average cost of installing geothermal heating is between $20,000 – $25,000. Additionally, you will need a nice plot of land, double the area that your home covers.

A major advantage of geothermal heating is that the system will work as a complete HVAC system. Geothermal heating works via a loop. Underground temperatures fluctuate much less than our atmosphere. In the summer the loop feeds in cold air from the ground to cool your home, and in the winter the loops feed in warm air from the ground to keep you toasty.

If you have the budget, this costly investment will pay for itself within a decade and has been proven to last for generations.

2. Solar Heating

Solar energy is plentiful and a great alternative to fossil fuel heating. Like geothermal heating, solar is a considerable investment.

While leasing solar panels may seem like an easier way to get started, the lease can affect the resale value of your home. It is costly to remove solar panels, and many buyers do not want an additional expense each month on top of a new mortgage.

Additionally, some buyers see solar panels as an eyesore. Fortunately, companies like Tesla are driving the market forward by creating solar roofs that have a traditional shingle look.

If buying solar panels or investing in a geothermal heating system is out of your price range, even after tax incentives, there are a few cheaper options to get you started. The best way to get started with making your home more eco-friendly is through small changes.

3. Pellet Stove

Budget pellet stoves start at about $1000 and are less costly to install than a traditional wood burning stove. They do not need a traditional chimney for ventilation and installation can occur wherever sidewall ventilation is available in your home.

More importantly, they are more efficient (between 70% – 80% EPA efficiency rating) and are an effective way to use organic waste that you can otherwise discard. If you never learned how to build a fire, the learning curve on a pellet stove is much more forgiving. Just light the pellets and enjoy the heat. Some models even have an automatic system.

One drawback to consider is that a pellet stove needs electricity to function. It’s best to have a backup option as winter storms can bring heavy snow and wind that bring down power lines.

4. Get Up and Move

It doesn’t get more eco-friendly than relying on your energy. Our resting heating temperatures in our homes have risen due to sedentary lifestyles and computer-focused work.

Sixty-five degrees is comfortable if you are moving throughout the day, though can give you a chill if you stay still. Schedule regular get up and move breaks to help keep yourself mobile, more focused, and to generate more heat. Being more active is the cheapest way to add more heat to your home at the bargain price of free, especially when combined with the other options here.

5. Radiant Floor Heating

With equipment installed under the floor, radiant floor heat offers a non-intrusive form of heating that offers considerable efficiency, since there’s no heat lost through ductwork. Radiant floor heat also operates more quietly and is less likely to distribute allergens than forced air systems. Contrary to the belief of some, radiant floor heat can install in already-constructed homes. Additionally, programmable thermostats and solar panels can be compatible with radiant floor heat.

Finding eco-friendly ways to heat your home can be efficient and won’t require you to sacrifice the comfort level in your home throughout the winter.

Wildlife

Why Do Animals Attack Humans in the Wild?

November 3, 2017
why do animals attack humans

Animals do attack people, but those instances are rare. The question that then arises is why do animals attack humans? Well, there are a number of reasons these attacks occur. The first reason is media sensationalism. Reports are made on every animal attack, no matter how minor, and made to seem as if they happen all the time.

The other reason is that we’re trying to protect and reintroduce species that were threatened or eliminated from areas. That often means we’re trying to reintroduce large carnivore populations to areas where people aren’t used to dealing with them. Animals will attack and for a variety of reasons. Knowing why can help you understand what not to do.

Human Ignorance

Much of the time when people get attacked, it’s our fault. Let’s face it, moose are cool and seeing one is something many people want to take a picture of. But there’s a big difference between taking a picture of a moose from far off and trying to get close enough to any wild animal for a selfie. Unfortunately, many of the people going out exploring don’t know that. They invade a wild animals space and get attacked as a result.

Mistaken Identity

This is the most common cause of shark attacks. The animal often thinks we’re food because we kind of look like it, and they can’t see us very well. Surfers are more likely to be attacked because the shape of a surfboard makes them look like a seal, which is the perfect meal for a variety of shark species.

The other issue is that some sharks come into shallower water than others. Bull sharks, especially, are known for preferring shallow, murky water and even venturing upstream into rivers. Occasionally, other sharks like the Great White will also take a trip inland, but none are known to do so as the bull shark does. When they attack, it’s usually because they either think we’re food, or they’re trying to see if we are.

Self-Preservation

Sometimes animals attack because they have to, or think they have to. There was a recent video that showed an opossum, North America’s only native marsupial, being beaten with a baseball bat by some students at a college. Humans have, traditionally, attacked wild animals first and taken no prisoners. This has left animals with a deep-seated fear of us, and an increased inclination to attack if they feel threatened or cornered.

Combating this particular effect is difficult. We can start by trying to change the way we think about wildlife and show more compassion toward them. Teaching people why animals are essential to our environment and how they experience pain and emotions similar to people can be a starting point to change some minds.

Confidence

Humans have effectively removed ourselves from the food chain. This is great in some ways. We don’t have to worry about being chased by wild animals on our commute to work, and we don’t usually have to go hunt down our prey for dinner after a long day crunching numbers. But in other ways, it makes us easy prey. We’re so unused to being hunted that when something does decide to have a go at us, we don’t usually put up a good fight. Various tiger attacks have shown that some animals learn to hunt humans.

We’re also large, as far as prey animals go. A 500-pound tiger can take us down with no problem, and we’ll provide a substantial meal for them. As we continue to meet up with wild animals, our sheltered lives can lead to trouble. We aren’t alert, we panic instead of fleeing or fighting, and we make for easy prey. In remote areas, being vigilant and moving in groups are our best defenses.

Expanding into New Territories

The human population is still growing. Developing nations have leveled off, and as China and India continue to develop a higher standard of living, their reproduction rates are also expected to stagnate. But there’s quite a bit of time before that happens, and those billions of new people need places to live.

As new homes are built, we can try to keep them in cities and already developed areas, but it’s not likely to happen everywhere. It’s inevitable that we will continue expanding and moving into new areas. As we do, we encounter new animals and increase chances of an attack. We have more laws in place now that protect some species, so we can’t simply kill populations because they’re in our way. We have to find new ways to deal with them, and that can mean we run a higher risk of getting attacked.

Wildlife will protect themselves, but they aren’t scary. It’s very rare that an animal learns to hunt people, and if they do, they are often killed as a result. Take care and be vigilant in the wilderness. You might save more lives than just your own.