The 2020s are expected to be good for green energy. At the 2010’s end, renewables powered the equivalent of 43.5 million homes in America. Solar and wind generated tens of billions in investments and hundreds of thousands of jobs each. By 2025, the global industry for renewables is predicted to reach $1.5 trillion. If it happens, that will be incredible growth over a very short timespan.
While governments are supporting this growth, many strides are demand driven. Over 70% of Americans think clean energy should be prioritized. Half would purchase green energy for their personal consumption if given the option, and nearly all of that half would be willing to pay an average of $15 more per month for that privilege.
Climate awareness is motivating this choice; three quarters of Americans want to reduce pollution and provide a better life for future generations. On the economic side, 58% of Americans also think renewable energy will improve the economy, and nearly half think wind or solar will be cheaper than coal by 2028.
How will companies be able to fulfill demand for clean energy? The most important thing for them to invest in is batteries. Most renewable energy sources can’t be captured at all times. Solar energy has to be captured during the day, while wind energy is captured when it’s windy outside.
However, consumers use electricity during nights and still days as well. Power-generated at one time needs to be stored for when it’s needed another time. Right now, that is not happening. As of 2019, less than 5% of behind-the-meter solar systems included a battery.
So what’s been happening instead? Up until recently, net metering has been a popular practice for homeowners with solar panels. Residential solar sells excess power to their utility company on days when they generate more than they need. Utility companies dislike this system because they say it allows homeowners to use their infrastructure at no cost.
In 43 states, changes to residential solar regulations are likely to bring an end to net metering. As the practice is phased out, homeowners with solar panels will need a power storage system for their investment to be viable. In other words, they want a battery.
Batteries fill the gap for renewable energy on all fronts. Residential buildings store energy for evening use and backup power, industrial sites can reduce power waste from energy production exceeding consumption, and telecoms can have backup power at cell towers and data centers to increase data security. Everyone benefits from adding a battery to their renewable power system.
However, renewables shouldn’t just use any battery. Right now, the most popular battery type is lithium-ion. These batteries were first invented in 1912. They have not undergone drastic change in the 109 years since. Today, they fuel everything from smartphones to electric vehicles. Next year, lithium-ion batteries are expected to fuel 61% of demand.
Unfortunately, lithium-ion batteries suffer from several limitations that make them a poor fit for power storage. For starters, these batteries don’t last long in terms of storage and full discharging will only result in even shorter lifespan. From a safety perspective, these batteries may also explode or catch fire while in use or after disposal.
Even worse, lithium-ion batteries are not environmentally sustainable. Both production and extraction abuse the water supply, leading to dry farms and contaminated bodies of water. Variation in materials makes recycling lithium-ion batteries a difficult, costly endeavor. Lithium-ion batteries are still the best choice for mobile applications, but they should not be used for energy storage.
Instead, green energy companies should consider vanadium flow batteries for their energy storage needs. Unlike lithium-ion batteries, vanadium flow batteries don’t degrade anywhere near as quickly. With annual maintenance, they have over 25 years of useful life, during which they can be fully charged and discharged throughout.
Vanadium flow batteries are also a safer alternative because they are non-flammable and non-explosive. Most importantly, they are a sustainable choice for batteries. 100% of electrolyte in a vanadium flow battery is reusable in a new battery. Recycled vanadium is every bit as functional as freshly mined vanadium, too. The future is not just in green energy, but green batteries as well.
Your home is where you feel the safest and most comfortable. It’s your very own sanctuary. Big investments or purchases like a house require upkeep and regular maintenance to ensure everything is in good condition.
If you’re taking steps to reduce your impact on the environment, whether by eliminating single-use plastics or opting for reusable cotton rounds, then you can go a step further and convert your home into a green space.
Building an eco-friendly home brings about many advantages for the environment and your own (e.g., increases your property’s resale value, less maintenance over time, and reduces house bills). With the wealth of resources you can find online, it’s easier to create a more efficient and greener home now more than ever.
If you’re planning to get started with this sustainable home journey, we’ve got you covered. Below are some cost-efficient tips for an eco-friendly home that will instantly upgrade your space. Let’s dive into it!
Consider shopping for pre-owned items
Conserving energy and water isn’t the only way to be environmentally-friendly. Purchasing pre-owned home items instead of new ones is also an excellent way to save Earth.
New products use virgin materials and consume more energy to build. Additionally, you’re keeping the secondhand or used items from going to the landfill. You can also ask your relatives or friends to let you know if they’re going to replace a piece of furniture to see if they could hand them down to you instead of throwing them away.
Catch rainwater for gardening
If you have a home garden and lawn, then you’ll probably agree that your water bill wouldn’t cost as much if you didn’t have one. Plants need regular watering, which requires you to use a lot of water to keep them alive. Thankfully, collecting rainwater solves this predicament.
You can get a rainwater barrel to harvest water. Leave it out when it’s about to rain, then use the collected water for your garden and lawn. Not only does this help you conserve water and reduce your bill, but it also makes your plants happy.
Invest in solar panels
One of the best ways to make your home eco-friendly is by using renewable energy like solar power through solar panel technology. In a nutshell, this technology captures sunlight and converts it into electricity.
Solar energy is free, except for the installation and purchasing of solar panels. While the initial upfront costs of installing solar panels run expensive, it can save you a significant amount of cash on your electricity bill in the long run, especially if you will rely on it one hundred percent.
Opt for environmentally-friendly appliances
If you have the money and think it’s time, swap your old home appliances with eco-friendly upgrades. Choosing energy-saving appliances may seem like an expensive move, but it will make more financial sense over time.
Energy-efficient home appliances operate and perform just as well as standard models, but they consume less energy. This green change will help lower your carbon footprint while also saving you big bucks.
Replace regular light bulbs with LED bulbs
Something as simple as switching your light bulbs with LED light bulbs will make a massive difference in the green home you’re creating. With energy-efficient light bulbs, you use less electricity and replace it less frequently since LED light bulbs last longer than your traditional bulbs. Talk about saving more money while saving mother Earth.
Plant your own herbs
Growing your own herbs is worth a try, whether you already have a garden or not. Herbs don’t take a lot of space and can survive in small pots. They are also relatively low maintenance since you can place them inside the house by a sunny window.
With this, you can make your favorite dishes tastier with fresh herbs. They smell heavenly as well, making it a big plus if you plan to grow them inside the house.
Get a recycling bin and compost bin
This upgrade doesn’t cost much, and you’ve probably started recycling already if you have long begun switching to a sustainable lifestyle. Recycling glass bottles, papers, jars, and other household items prevent these things from adding to the landfill. You can repurpose bottles for your propagations, reuse jars as containers, and turn paper into wrappers.
On the other hand, a compost bin allows you to eliminate leftovers and turn them into fertilizers for your plants. You can find compost bins designed to be neat and odor-free. It’s a fantastic way to reduce household waste.
Wrapping it up
No matter how big or small steps you take turning your home into a more eco-friendly space, your contribution will bring drastic changes to the environment and make the world a better place for future generations. Imagine if there are hundreds of people like you with the same mindset. A small upgrade like using rainwater for watering plants already makes a big difference for the environment.
How ironic is it that the species considered as the most intelligent in the entire universe is on the verge of destroying its only home. Last month several teenagers, among other people took to the streets to protest about the lack of action by political leaders on the issue of climate change. Whether people may choose to believe it or not, climate change is happening for real and is a more complex problem than it seems.
We can understand some part of the problem from the fact that a mere 16-year-old Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg had to come to the UN and enlighten the world leaders about the seriousness of the issue.
According to recent research by NASA, the leading cause of rapid change in the climate is the emission of greenhouse gases that lead to the phenomenon of global warming. As we try to look behind its roots, we find that there is a 95 percent probability that human actions in the past 50 years have warmed the planet.
This and more recent cases have shaken the world and made us realize the importance of stern measures that must be taken to combat the challenge. The climate change issue is an existential crisis, and the sooner everyone realizes it, the better it would be.
But, it’s not just strict policies that can cause an impact and save our only home. We are far more advanced than we were decades back. Thanks to all the technology that we’ve developed, we can now look beyond our planet to conduct research and study the solar system.
This technology can also be utilized to tackle the issues of climate change. One such cutting edge technology that has penetrated every sector of the economy and every other walk of life is Artificial Intelligence.
A research paper that proves this theory came into the limelight this year. Titled ‘Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning’, the paper is written by some of the pioneers of artificial intelligence and machine learning. It highlights the utility of machine learning and AI for battling the climate change crisis.
Understanding the impact of AI-powered niches like neural networks, GANs, image processing, computer vision, etc. have caused around the world, it’s a great idea to use them and find solutions for situations like global warming.
Why Not AI for Climate Change?
Until now, we have limitedly used AI’s potential to drive business growth, aid doctors in the healthcare sector or reform the travel experience. However, since the climate change issue has escalated beyond the point that we can solve it through the political wand, we need AI’s intervention to take charge. Because if we can use technology for almost everything, why can’t we use it to fight one of the scariest battles the world is witnessing?
One of the authors of the paper, David Rolnick, who is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, highlighted the fact that the research paper was a ‘call to arms’. The motive of the article was to bring researchers together and give a thought to the climate change problems that machine learning can contribute to.
Although physics-based models have been used in climate change predictions, they are bottom-up approaches and forecast only based on physical boundary conditions. General circular models or GCMs were developed by the numerical representation of atmospheric physical conditions.
Similarly, Earth System Models (ECMs) consider features like biochemical cycling and atmospheric chemistry. They are advanced GCM models used for current climatic studies. However, these models suffer from significant forecast uncertainties, which is why researchers began exploring neural networks and other advanced algorithms for the job.
But, those who see the disciplines of AI as a silver bullet might also be heading in the wrong direction. Artificial intelligence and machine learning need not necessarily provide an ultimate solution to the problem. But they help us see beyond the issue by offering valuable insights. Once we have the ideas at hand, both the government and the private sector can deploy cutting-edge technology and policies to drive the battle against climate change.
Artificial intelligence through ML techniques and powered devices help in the scenarios where we are uncertain and want to start a chain reaction that will approach the climate change issue in two ways. In one way, it will reduce any further deterioration of the environment.
While in the other way, it will provide futuristic solutions to improve the conditions and maybe even restore the ecosystem to a certain extent. A learning-based AI could do much more than crunching CO2 emission numbers. It could record those numbers, study causes and solutions, and ultimately recommend the best fitting solution.
With climate change happening all across the world, more and more heating and cooling systems are being put to use. They demand a ton of energy and account for half of a residential’s energy requirements. However, with smart AI-based thermostats in the picture, this issue could be approached in a better manner.
Smart thermostats automatically adjust the indoor temperature setting by analyzing external temperatures and humidity settings. Nest’s learning thermostat is an example of an AI-powered device that works on a Wi-Fi connection. The smart thermostat also uses fans whenever necessary and automatically adjust the temperature of your home depending on whether you’re at home or not.
It also tracks user behavior and learns from manual adjustments so that it’s better able to adjust temperatures. Research indicates that using smart thermostats for the home can lower energy consumption by up to 15 percent annually.
A lot of American households have large landscapes around them. In other instance, agriculture is extensively practiced in various parts of the world. All of this leads to a massive amount of water consumption. While agriculture is fundamental to life, green landscapes have their own perks.
Statistics suggest that American households use about 320 gallons of water per day, out of which 30 percent is used for maintaining these landscapes. Meanwhile, agriculture accounts for 70 percent of the world’s freshwater withdrawals.
Using a smart AI-backed irrigation system can save a significant amount of water and help conserve a part of the environment. Like other devices, they work on a wireless internet connection and stay up to date with the local weather of the area.
These devices understand when to not irrigate the lands during a downpour or after a storm. Based on the manual irrigation pattern of a user, these devices learn and suggest a schedule for optimal water usage. It can be used to maintain the desired level of moisture in the soil and help an individual conserve water to a great extent.
Pesticides not only harm the soil but also deplete it of certain essential nutrients. Moreover, the crops harnessed from such soil lacks nutrients. Artificial intelligence can be put to use in such a scenario to identify and fight specific insects without harming the others. The technology that is being commercially used in some parts of the world, uses image recognition to identify and treat harmful pests without harming the natural environment around it.
Smart Pest Controls can significantly lower the costs for a farmer and prevent the collapse of a useful colony of insects that are fundamental to the food chain and environment. Similarly, using this device can enable farmers or other concerned technicians to click a picture of a pest and upload it to find out the best treatment methods against it.
IoT Energy Meter
Energy conservation is a must for the conversation of the environment. The IoT energy meters can help track energy consumption with its smart sensors. They just need to be clamped into electrical circuits to start tracking the amount of energy being consumed.
It is easy and convenient to install in households and sends data securely over the Wi-Fi. They charge directly from circuit panels and do not require a battery. One such system is developed by Verdigris technologies.
Leading Organizations Developing AI-based Systems
Health of Forests
Forests are the most important parts of our planet, which is why their conservation is our utmost priority. SilviaTerra, an AI-powered tool developed by Microsoft, uses satellite images to predict the sizes, species, and the health of forests. This is helping to save countless hours of manual fieldwork, which now researchers can put in improving the quality of green cover on the planet.
Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Data Centres
No matter how powerful we consider the company Google to be, it could seldom do anything to reduce its carbon footprint. The point is that Google’s widespread services across the world call for a large number of data centers. These data centers take up a lot of energy for their cooling process, leaving a massive amount of carbon footprint in the environment.
To address this issue, Google recently collaborated with a company called DeepMind to build an AI-powered system. This new neural network-based tool could teach itself to use a bare minimum amount of energy to cool down Google’s data centers.
As a result, the tech titan was able to cut down their emissions by 40 percent. Moreover, there was also a 15 percent reduction in total power saving. Due to the general approach of the algorithm, the two companies also plan to work together on building more energy-saving applications in the future.
Self-configuring Pollution Forecasts
Unless we measure the impact of climate change, it is difficult to understand whether we’re impacting anything. A plethora of cities fail to measure their emissions, and as a result, fail to take measures to reduce them. Having said this, another tech giant IBM laid the foundation of the Green Horizon Project.
The Green Horizon Project is an artificial intelligence-based system that creates self-configuring weather and pollution forecasts. It was created with the vision to help cities become more efficient in terms of energy in today’s generation. The project found ground truth through its implementation in China, where it helped the city of Beijing reduce their average smog levels by 35 percent.
Images of Weather Events
Researchers at Cornell University created an artificial intelligence-based system to produce images before and after an extreme weather event takes place. Even though it might not sound like a problem-solving technology on its own, it is very helpful when it comes to studying the impact of climate change.
Researchers can use these images to predict the impact of certain climate changes, therefore, helping prioritize efforts towards adequate measures. The research used a niche of AI known as General Adversarial Networks (GANs) for the job. GANs are basically network-based algorithms that help in generating statistics or new pieces of information.
Energy Consumption of Commercial Buildings
Among the world’s top carbon emission contributors are commercial and industrial buildings. But with AI-based remedies, energy savings mode can be utilized. Verdigris Technologies, which developed numerous award-winning AI systems, joined forces with global electrification leader ABB. This combined Verdigris’ machine learning solution with ABB’s connected low-voltage switching fabric products.
In its entirety, the goal here was to foresee unexpected surges in power consumption for commercial buildings. It is ABB’s first energy forecasting and intelligent alerts app for building a sustainable environment that aims at reducing the energy consumption of commercial buildings between 10-20 percent.
Earth Science AI
Earth’s climate change is not just impacting the atmosphere. It is also deciding the fate of several businesses, societies, and countries. The London-based tech firm Cervest has designed an AI platform called Earth Science AI to predict the impact of climate change. The platform analyzes billions of data points to forecast how changes in the climate will impact the future of countries and individual landscapes, anywhere across the world.
The three years of research combines AI, machine learning, and statistics with modeling techniques from Earth sciences such as meteorology, hydrology, and atmosphere science. The beta version of the platform is expected to launch next year.
AI Technologies with the Potential to Fight Climate Change
Machine Learning is one of the most popular technologies under the umbrella of artificial intelligence solutions that can be used to combat climate change. It can help draw conclusions based on a plethora of data one throws at it.
Having said this, predictive analysis is one of the fundamental elements that can help in learning the existing data and forecasting results based on it. Machine learning can help generate statistical models such as regression analysis for climate change forecasting.
General Adversarial networks are gaining popularity these days. Thanks to their statistics and new information generative capabilities, they can now be used to look at what houses appear before and after a weather event takes place.
GANs can be used to generate images that depict accurate, vivid, and personalized outcomes of climate change. A better version called Cyclic GANs collects the training data to extract the mapping function in order to generate realistic images.
Neural networks are one of the best technologies that have emerged out of machine learning. They take the training data as input, whether or not they are labeled, only to learn from them and process a series of output known as trends. For example, neural networks can take the temperature data of 30 years and predict the rise and fall for the next ten years.
Deep Neural Networks or DNNs can be used for a time series analysis along with detection and rigorous classification. In spite of their great potential, DNNs have been seldom used for climate change issues. The accuracy of the best global model is found to be 97 percent using LeNet for the convolution neural networks.
Computer vision is the discipline of AI which helps computers gain a high-level understanding from digital images and videos. It automates the task performed by human vision. Computer vision can be used to analyze images obtained from satellites and send signals about any alarming situations to researchers. For example, they can look at satellite images of forests and investigate whether there is a possibility of a fire within a short time.
BIM and Parametric Estimation Algorithms
Building Information Modelling or BIMs have existed for years but are seldom used to design energy-efficient architectural marvels. Parametric design and building information modeling go hand in hand when designing buildings.
Parametric design is basically a process based on the ML algorithm that allows specific variables to be manipulated to alter the outcomes of an equation. The three-dimensional model-based technology, when powered with parametric estimation algorithms, can help build cost and energy-saving architectures.
The Two Approaches to AI
But solving any problem takes time. The insights and knowledge that we now have about climate change took more than 40 years of rigorous study. In such a long time, the human race has at least been possible to study the climate and deduce that climate change exists.
If humans put another forty or fifty years of research, who knows, we might come up with nature-friendly solutions that require less energy and resources. But the question is, with the ongoing crisis, do we have this much time left? The answer is obvious, and that’s why we need machines to do this job much faster and more accurately.
As we proceed to harness the potential of artificial intelligence for climate change, we find two different approaches that can be utilized. While one is the rules-based approach to artificial intelligence, the other is based on learning. The rules-based approach is more focused on quantitative results. For example, it can help scientists compile specific data analytics, crunch numbers, etc.
The motto of this approach is to solve simple problems with if-then statements in their code. For climate change, it can help scientists find answers to complex issues within a short span of time.
The learning-based approach is a more qualitative approach to solving a problem. It is unlike the rules-based approach that has no memory capabilities and solves problems defined by humans. Instead, the learning-based method diagnoses a problem by interacting with it.
For example, if you ask the rules-based AI for a garment, it will help you find one based on the size and preference you’ve mentioned. On the other hand, when you assign the same task to a learning-based AI, it would instead study your past purchasing patterns to find out the correct size, color, or nature of the garment you are probable to like.
For climate change, both the approaches of Artificial intelligence can serve as saviors. One can tell you about the number of carbon footprints you’ve left in a day, week, month, or a lifetime, while the other can study these to find its sources and suggest ways in which you can reduce them.
AI-Powered Initiatives for the Future
In the practical scenario, there are presently only a handful of ways where machine learning and artificial intelligence can be applied.
Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Predictions of Electricity Consumption
Electricity is one of the primary renewable resources of society. But, since we’re going to need even more of it with growing time, AI algorithms must be able to predict our requirements. Although some of the algorithms already exist that can forecast the electricity demand, we need improved versions of them that can help operators schedule the resources. These must be able to predict the electricity demand in real-time by taking the local weather, household behavior, etc. into account.
Finding More Sustainable Materials
There is a need to find materials that can store, harvest, and utilize energy more efficiently. When done manually, the process of finding such materials is laborious and time-consuming. However, with machine learning to the rescue, it can be accelerated and new materials with desirable designs, structure, properties, etc. can be discovered or created. For example, we could find a material that can absorb excess carbon dioxide emissions or the one that can store solar energy more efficiently.
Optimizing Transportation and Freight
Transportation and freight require a significant chunk of energy, in terms of fuel, etc. With the ever-changing destinations across the world, transportation must be able to cater to them. With machine learning, we could develop a model that studies the freight trends and find ways to bundle shipments. This can help in minimizing the overall trips and demonstrating resilience when transportation is disrupted.
Promote Electric-Vehicle Adoption
We find a lot of electric vehicles existing today than they were decades ago. But, their adoption is still a matter of concern. One of the issues that hamper adoption is battery usage. AI-based algorithms can help in increasing adoption by improving the battery management so that the vehicles can last for a longer duration with one successful charging. They can also predict overall charging behavior so that grid operators can make decisions and manage load more appropriately.
More Environment-Friendly Buildings
With intelligent control systems in the picture, we can help make the energy consumption by buildings even more efficient. For example, a smart system could analyze weather conditions, occupancy, etc. to adjust heating, cooling, ventilation etc. needed in an enclosed space. AI could also communicate with the power grid and control the supply of power depending upon the requirements. One such example of this use case is the AI platform developed by Verdigris technologies.
Better Estimates of Energy Consumption
Very few people today have an idea about their carbon footprint. When it comes to buildings, this number is close to none. Artificial intelligence-based algorithms can help estimate the energy consumption of buildings from satellite imagery, etc. and determine it for an entire town or city.
With this information, it would be more convenient to develop effective mitigation strategies and reduce greenhouse emissions on a city’s level. Moreover, with the assistance of computer vision, this method can also be utilized to maximize the efficiency of energy consumption and find out the precise footprint of a building.
Enhance Tracking of Deforestation
Deforestation results in nearly 24 percent of greenhouse emissions today. It is one of the reasons that our planet is getting warmer and warmer with each passing year. But, tackling and preventing it can be a real hassle when it is done manually. Satellite images and computer vision algorithms can together work and find out any illegal encroachment at the earliest.
The loss of tree cover can also be identified by fitting sensors in the ground that can warn the authorities of any chainsaw sounds, etc. Moreover, we can also extend this idea to drones that can monitor extensive forests or green areas and send any warning signs before something like a fire breaks out.
One of the best things about artificial intelligence is that it can help refine images and reconstruct meaning out of it. AI-backed image processing helps in finding meaningful information in images that might not be visible to the naked eye.
This approach can be extensively applied to the detection of wildfires in forest areas. Chooch AI, a San Francisco-based technology company, is currently working on the development of an artificial intelligence-based system that could decrease the time between fire upsurge and the moment it is first spotted.
The platform uses hyper-detailed imagery obtained from satellites for evidence of wildfires. These images, when refined using AI, could lead to earlier fire detection and conservation of lives and green cover.
Encourage the Idea of Precision Agriculture
No matter where you go around the globe, all you can find in terms of agriculture is one crop dominating and growing on a swath of land. Also known as a monoculture, this practice has been helping farmers exercise more control over their fields with tractors and other necessary tools.
However, monoculture is also responsible for depleting the soil of its essential nutrients and leaving it less fertile. To combat this problem, farmers use nitrogen-based fertilizers that only add to the existing carbon emissions. AI-based models can, on the other hand, help farmers identify and manage a mix of crops that regenerate the soil and reduce the need for any fertilizers.
The purpose of artificial intelligence remains to assist the human race in combating the climate change crisis. We cannot leave it on machines to come up with an all-encompassing solution to a particular problem. But, with their intervention in the existing problem, we can hope for a positive future outlook.
The only idea is to start right away and not wait for the next Amazon fire to break out or the next city to suffer from water scarcity. The sooner we realize that we might be nearing the doomsday, the faster it is for us to build models and deploy artificial intelligence disciplines to fight the battle. Maybe, we could even use AI to predict the doomsday? Only if this is what it takes to drive a response from us.
By now, most of us will be aware that air pollution has dropped as a result of the pandemic. Imposed travel bans and reduced traffic means that the world is on track to see the largest ever annual fall in CO2 emissions. Despite this, there’s still a lot more to be done for us to avoid catastrophic global warming. You might find yourself thinking ‘what can I do?’, but rest assured, there are some easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint over summer.
Choose staycations instead of going abroad
If there’s one thing the drop in emissions over the last couple of months has shown us, it’s that flying abroad is harmful to the environment. Studies show that the average citizen exceeds climate change recommendations by a staggering 7.8 tonnes each year. Limiting international trips is a great way to lower our overall carbon footprint. Staycations are an excellent choice for environmentally-conscious holidaymakers looking to see their country in a new light and contribute to their local economy, too.
Buy local produce and sustainable products
Whether on a staycation or travelling abroad, choosing to buy locally produced food and drinks will reduce the overall carbon emissions from transporting ingredients across the world. It’s also best to limit your meat intake both at home and abroad as that requires a large amount of energy for production and impacts deforestation. Buying from local suppliers also encourages independent businesses who often produce a far lower carbon footprint than big brands.
Recycle and use renewable energy
Wherever you visit, make sure that you know what the local recycling options are and use them whenever you can. If you know that you’re staying somewhere with limited options, try to open and discard packaging before you set off and bring your own reusable drinking bottles and shopping bags. If you can, you should try and prioritize hotels with renewable energy sources and keep appliances off when they’re not in use.
Walk or cycle to and from attractions
Although it can be environmentally friendly to carpool or use electric taxis, it’s always best to walk or cycle to local attractions if you can. Keep an eye out for local bike hire services and be sure to walk with a friend if travelling late at night. If you do need to travel somewhere by public transport, try to choose a sustainable option and carry out a portion of the journey on foot. Some destinations should also offer electric vehicles to rent, which can be a good option for families.
Buy eco-friendly toiletries and clothing
Most people stock up on toiletries and clothing items in preparation for going away. If you can, try to choose eco-friendly alternatives to reduce your overall carbon footprint. For example, some sunscreens contain microbeads which don’t decompose and some shampoos are sold in non-recyclable plastic bottles. Try to buy recyclable products with eco-friendly ingredients and clothing items that you won’t throw away after wearing once.
Before you leave for your holiday, make sure that all appliances are turned off in your home to avoid your carbon footprint climbing up and only leave lights on if it’s essential for security. There may be a lot of planning involved but prioritizing the environment whenever you can is always the right thing to do.
I think it is pretty amazing how nature alone can teach us so many things and can make us realise the real beauty and meaning of life. For some, it may be boring and for some it is the answer they have been longing for.
Whether it is an old tree or a clear blue sky, a mountain top or a dark hidden cave, a clear blue ocean or a blooming flower, each one of these show what life really is.
The sky will show all its colors over the course of the day. It always begins with the cool bluish hue of the morning, its shades somewhat transitioning to red orange with the arrival of sunrise, and finally welcoming the coolness of the afternoon with its blazing golden colors. The sky’s beauty is then further highlighted with its pinkish glow as sunset approaches and basks us in its splendor.
That’s exactly how human emotions are — totally different from one another. All we need to do is express each one of them. And we must not forget about the somber vibe of the night, too! If we expect a bright morning, then we must also anticipate for the coming of the dark, deep blue, night sky. If we are open to happiness then why shun bad times? Everything has its time in our life, nothing is forever and we must understand that.
Diving deep into the beauty of nature, a tree is the best companion you can ever have! Who says a person is alone? Nature is something that never ever leaves you. It’s always there, keeping its ears attentive for all that you have been piling up inside. Its arms are wide open to give you a warm bear hug, leaving a smile on your face.
Sitting under a tree, listening to the rustling of leaves, observing the new and young ones, which are soft to touch and, at the same time looking at the old ones that have fallen beside you, closing your eyes for a few minutes and just letting the cool breeze touch you, is the best feeling you can feel!
Speak your heart out because a tree is never going to judge you. It will tell you something and listen to your somethings. It will teach you how to stand tall in spite of the heavy rain even though it knows that, at some point, the rain will do some damage; but it never stops trying to stay strong! It teaches you to be fearless, to believe in the power of perseverance, and to accept the changes happening around you.
Take out some time from your busy life, and just experience it for once. I am not saying do it daily! But trust me it’s going to be much better than the amazing party happening in the city. It’s going to be worth it! No therapy, counselling sessions, and exercises can work in maintaining your mental and physical stability until the time you give nature a chance to do its part.
For those who adore the beach, looking at the sea and releasing all your tensions right there and then actually gives you a feeling of lightness. Those sunburns have their own fun; tasting the salt from your face when you’re in the sea and trying to open your eyes when looking towards the sun are the small things which we often forget to try.
That is exactly what is called living the moment! Going on a vacation abroad just to be close to nature, but ending up clicking thousands of selfies is not living the moment and is an unfortunate waste of time. No one is telling you to stop taking pictures. In fact, photos are the best way to capture beautiful memories.
Snapping photos to have something to remember your experience by is one thing, being oblivious to the beauty around you because you’re too busy clicking and applying filters is another. And to be close to nature doesn’t mean that you need to plan a vacation in the Himalayas! It can be a park near your home, or any place where you can walk through the lane of emotions while you try to figure out life will do.
From celebrities to the average Joe, more people are taking dieting’s newest fad — the Plant-Based Diet — for a spin. Unbeknownst to most, plant-based eating is more than just a trend. Scientifically, incorporating this diet into people’s lifestyles can benefit both human health and the environment.
In the last decade, ¾ of people in the United States modified their diet plan striving for a healthier lifestyle. According to one study, a plant-based meal plan produces better results than any other diet. Given its immense popularity, how is it that most are unable to define its meaning? For instance, plant-based eating is often mistaken for veganism. Nonetheless, more than half are interested in learning more. Knowing that, let’s dig in.
Definitively speaking, a plant-based diet includes eliminating — or limiting — meat, dairy, and eggs, maximizing fruit and vegetable intake, and eating minimally processed whole foods. Given its benefits, it’s not surprising that over 40 million Americans opt for a plant-based diet as part of their day-to-day. Soy, tofu, legumes, beans, and nuts are popular choices among those seeking naturally produced protein.
Within these foods are micronutrients known as Polyphenols, which may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. In addition to the aforementioned, Polyphenols can also be sought after in dark chocolate, black and green teas, and berries. Along with this note, following a plant-based diet is a great approach to type 2 diabetes prevention and management — in combination with regular medical care, of course.
This is possible since natural eating improves (A1C) glycemic control. Vegans are the least prone to type 2 diabetes with only 2.9% diagnosed. Meanwhile, 3.2% lacto-ovo vegetarians have type 2 diabetes; 4.8% of pesco-vegetarians; 6.1% of semi-vegetarians, and 7.6% non-vegetarians do as well. Consuming less meat is also a sure-fire way to lower your risk of diabetes.
However, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and diabetes aren’t the only diseases a plant-based diet can help prevent. Many variants of vegetarian and vegan diets may lower the risk of any cancer — specifically colorectal, gastrointestinal, and female-specific cancers.
With there being so many variations of the plant-based to follow, it can be difficult to grasp an understanding of which plan is best suitable for your goals. Here’s a breakdown:
A diet honing in on fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy may lower blood pressure. Hence, vegetarians are less likely to die from coronary heart disease. A whole-food, plant-based diet will also help lower the risk of coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases. Of course, an unhealthy diet brings risks of high blood pressure. Saying this, plant-based eating can also treat heart disease and hypertension.
Previously implied, most Americans pick up dieting to improve their health. Diving further into this, the #1 benefit Americans seek from dieting is weight loss. A whole-food, plant-based diet can lower human cholesterol levels and reduce BMI — your body mass index.
In a specific instance, the average dieter lost more weight over 18 weeks when choosing a variant of vegan or veganism. Numerically: lacto-ovo vegetarians dropped 3.26 pounds in these 18 weeks. Vegetarians who didn’t count calories dropped 3.66 pounds during this same time. Losing more weight, calorie-restricting vegetarians lost 4.87 pounds, and vegans lost 5.56 pounds during this 18-week study.
Interestingly enough, 125 million Americans followed a diet-plan last year; and although plant-based dieting has skyrocketed as a trend, only 5% follow an entirely plant-based diet. However, 5% also follow a Mediterranean, Paleo, or Whole30 diet, 6% are vegetarian, vegan, or flexitarian, and 12% follow the Ketogenic, low-carb, or high-fat diet. With plant-based eating on the rise, restaurants and fast-food chains are changing their menus to adapt.
For example, DisneyWorld and Disneyland introduced plant-based dining at every meal stop, providing over 400 options. Subway, Qdoba, KFC, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Burger King are among popular fast food chains who have introduced natural, plant-based options in 2019 alone. Red Robin now provides plant-based options, as well.
Although there are many benefits to eating plants, it is always important to consult your doctor or healthcare provider with your diet and health-related matters. Along with this, keep the advice of author Michael Pollan in mind, “Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.” Nearly 3 in 4 have at least heard of the plant-based diet, and more than half have interest in learning more. Knowing this, check out the infographic below to read more about plant-based eating.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), on World Environment Day 2018, brought out a staggering figure. The figure showed that around 13 million of disposable and non-disposable plastics are ending up in the world oceans each year. This triggered a complete ocean cleanup project.
Though ocean cleanup is a relatively new term, some organizations are toiling hard to develop effective ocean cleanup machines and technologies. So, I decided to write about this so as to complete my social responsibilities to make you aware of the danger of ocean pollution and the technologies and machines invented to cope up with the looming danger.
I told earlier that ocean cleanup is relatively a recent term taken to concern. So, it is no surprise that there are only a few significant technologies and machines invented for the purpose. UNEP, last year, defined five ICT based technologies significant for ocean cleanup tasks.
UNEP declared that creating awareness through social sites among general people on the critical issue of ocean cleanup is a well-planned solution. Today, nearly about 2 billion people use the internet daily.
So, reaching them through the internet to create awareness about plastic pollution and ocean cleanup is easy. A campaign #BeatPlasticPollution has already on effect for such reasons.
The oceans are unimaginably huge. It’s quite impossible to scan each inch of them to apply the cleanup project. Thus, the use of satellites to capture raw images of plastic consumption across the oceans goes a long way in looking for targeting areas. The European Space Agency (ESA) and a non-profit organization named The Ocean Cleanup is working on the issue.
Using Artificial Intelligence
Popularly known as AI, artificial intelligence has gone through enormous development in recent times. Lately, the World Economic Forum suggested to harnessing artificial intelligence for ocean cleanup. The earth conservation is a key technology that includes big data analysis machine learning. They further discussed the possibilities of AI ahead.
As the use of AI and machine learning is opening up, the areas of Big data and data visualization are increasing rapidly to use for ocean cleanup. In the future, these will be the key to collect information to track and measure ocean plastic consumption.
However, one great drawback of this technology is that only 41 countries keep a record of their sea wastes.
Nowadays, there’s a popular saying if you can’t recycle, refuse it. The Plastic Bank, another non-profit organization, is upholding the motto to its fullest. They are awarding people with blockchain secured tokens in lieu of recycled plastics. They aim to reduce the flow of plastics into the oceans by recycling them.
Apart from these technologies, there are few machines developed and particularly designed to clean the wastes from the oceans.
The Ocean Cleanup
The Ocean Cleanup founded by Boyan Slat in 2013 is the pioneer in the sector. It is a non-government engineering organization which is working day and night to clean up the oceans.
The organization has already published several scientific types of research upon its findings on the oceans. They highlighted that trash usually accumulate near the five patches of the oceans. Among them, The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest.
Boyal Slat, the chief of the organization, proposed a prototype machine to clean the garbage from the oceans in early 2013. His design consisted of long, floating barriers fixed to the seabed. This would be attached to a central platform shaped like a manta ray for better stability.
However, the initiative has gone through several changes. Some significant changes took place in 2017. During the year, the working area went from 100 km to 1-2 km radius. Sea anchors were replaced in place of seabed anchors. Lastly, instead of gathering plastic,direct focus was given on concentrating the plastics to be carried away by the support vessels.
With the advent of 2018, The Ocean Cleanup took their prototypes into the real working environment. Last September 9, 2018, Maersk Launcher deployed codename Wilson about 204 nautical miles from the San Francisco coast. There, it underwent several trials and provided satisfactory results for the organization.
Then, The Ocean Cleanup sent Wilson to perform its first real-world duty to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It started with a very high note. However, the system faced several problems quickly.
It started losing the collected garbage due to the slow movement of the traveling barrier. To add to this, last December, due to severe mechanical stress, an 18-meter section was detached. The machinery and system were sent back to Hawaii to be repaired. It collected nearly 2000 kilograms of plastic during its operational period.
In 2019, The Ocean Cleanup declared to start their biggest project by summer by deploying Wilson again after repair. The organization is already raising fund for the execution of their future plans. Despite having doubts on the success of the machine and system buildup by the organizations, scientists and other organizations like UNEP have praised its idea.
Oceans are our best natural resources. However, our impatient and obnoxious craving for plastic materials have brought the deterioration of the sea environment. These resulted in a series of researches and inventions to clean up the piles of plastics in the oceans.
Thus, ideas of organizations like The Ocean Cleanup and The Plastic Bank are opening up new opportunities for us. Nevertheless, we, the people of Planet Earth, can’t deny our duty towards ensuring a cleaner ocean for our future generations.
We need to start reducing the use of plastics and recycle them whenever possible. After all, it is all about saving our mother Earth!
Don’t let the winter ruin the beauty of your garden. Take care of it using the tips you can read in the following section. Maintaining your garden in this cold season, after all, can also prepare it for when spring and summer come.
So, if you’re ready, let’s begin highlighting the things you can do to maintain your winter garden.
Removing spent plants
Cleaning up finished and rotting plants is one of the best ways to keep your garden healthy in the winter. Removing old plants will not only tidy it up but also prevent the spread of fungi, pests, and diseases.
Getting rid of spent plants and then burying those disease-free finished plants can prevent most garden pests from spreading when the spring comes. In addition, burying them will also improve soil health as they can add organic matter to it.
Pruning in winter
Pruning helps remove dead plant in order to promote the growth of larger shoots for the coming growth season.
When pruning shrubs and flowering trees, you must prune the autumn and summer flowering shrubs and trees in the early spring and late winter. You must also prune those when their flowers started fading.
Also, you should be pruning deciduous plants for their spring re-growth because many of them are inactive or dormant in the winter. And as the foliage of the plants is gone, it is easier and faster to see their shape.
For best results, keep the following in mind:
You should first prune out diseased or dead branches.
You must also consider pruning on a dry day.
In order to increase both the air and the light at a tree’s crown, you should remove smaller and overgrown branches.
Also, don’t remove the branches that keep the tree’s structure and that are developing.
You should also cut branches at the part wherein a twig or branch is attaching to another.
This winter, you should also learn how to divide and plant bulbs.
Bulbs, including daffodils and tulips, should be planted early in the winter because they require much time before blooming in the spring. These bulbs also need cool temperatures which can speed up their flowering.
For fall-planted bulbs, you should soak them in warm water for 12 hours before planting them, especially for tunicate-type bulbs that have teardrop-shaped or enclosed, round bulbs. However, this method is not suitable for lilies and other bulbs with fleshy scales.
By soaking them, the bulbs will absorb enough water to grow fast, saving you three weeks of time, especially if you’re in a northern climate location. Divide and then fertilize the bulbs to promote their blooming.
For bulbs that have few or no flowers, you might want to divide or fertilize them first. You can also consider using slow-release bulb fertilizers to keep its effectiveness in the early spring.
Use these tips to prepare your garden for the next gardening season. These tips will improve your yields in the end aside from helping you keep a lovely garden in the spring and the summer.
Have you noticed how we seem to be piling up a lot of our electronic devices at home? Some we use and some collect dust in some forgotten drawer. If you’ve always puzzled how to do some electronic spring cleaning, here are some ways that you can get rid of old gadgets.
Take it to a Retail Location
Did you know that several retail stores will accept old and broken electronics? Best Buy accepts a huge selection of electronics ranging from car GPS units to larger appliances. You can drop your fax machines, shredders, tablets, and phones at Staples. Finally, Lowes accepts rechargeable batteries at no cost to you. They’ll take your old electronics and dispose of them in a safe and effective manner.
Even if your electronic is a few years old and still works, many nonprofit agencies or charities would be glad to have them. You can start by calling and asking senior centers in your area if they’re interested. If you have any thrift stores in your area like Goodwill, they may be interested as well. eBay for Charity lets you sell you things through the platform and donate your earnings to whatever charity you choose. Just be sure that you keep your receipt because this will let you write it off to taxes at the end of the year.
Recycle Your Electronics
Almost every city or town has one or two days a year where they accept all types of electronic devices for recycling. You can gather up all of your outdated or broken electronics and bring them in on this day. If you don’t want to wait, look for a rechargeable battery and recycling program in your area.
Call2Recycle is a great option because it accepts batteries and old cell phones. All you do is input your zip code to find the closest location where you can bring your items and drop them off. Their services are available in Europe and UK as well.
Many electronic manufacturers don’t want to see their items end up in a landfill. This is why they offer large recycling programs where they’ll take back your outdated or broken electronic device and recycle it for you. Apple and Sprint both have Buyback programs available. You can get phone line credits or gift cards for returning certain items instead of throwing them out.
Trade Your Device In
There are reputable tech recyclers, like Plunc.com, that will let you swap and trade in your electronics for money. You enter your electronic’s details and the company gives you a quote. They’ll send you a shipping label and envelope to send your device to the retailer. When they get it, they’ll send you a check, gift card or deposit your money into your PayPal. It’s perfect if you want to sell your iPad, phones, tablets, or computers.
List them on Electronic-Based Apps
There are several quality apps available that allow you to list your electronic devices free of charge and sell them to people who will use them. Certain apps are for face-to-face meetings and restrict you more to your local area while others will generate shipping labels for you, so you don’t have to worry about trying to send your items to the buyers. This lets you connect to more people. You do most of the communicating through the apps as well.
Sell It on eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook
Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook are sites that let you list your unwanted electronics free of charge. You can list them through Facebook’s Marketplace or in local selling groups. Craigslist has selling lists for each state, and you can even narrow it down to the city if you live in a larger one. eBay lets you list to sell or auction, and you send the item to the buyer once they purchase it. Local classified ads are another great option to consider if you’re not moving the items as quickly as you’d like.
If you have a lot of older electronics laying around, chances are your family, coworkers, and friends do as well. You can all get together and host an electronics drive. When it’s over, take all of the bulk electronics you have to a certified electronics recycler. This is a great way to clear out any electronics you have gathering dust. You can have your event run for a few days or a few weeks at a time.
Consider Repairing It
Just because you don’t have a need for your old electronics doesn’t mean someone else won’t want it. Taking your electronics to a computer or electronic repair shop is the first step. They’ll tell you if they’re able to get it back to good working condition. If they are, have them repair and call your local schools to see if they have students who could use your old electronics. They usually do, and they can give the electronics to the students for you.
Now, don’t forget. It’s important that you keep your own safety in mind when you’re dealing with your old electronics. You want to make sure that you wipe any personal or sensitive information off of your device before you get rid of it. This can help protect your identity, and it can stop people from seeing things that they shouldn’t see.
Done right, these nine e-waste tips will help you get rid of your old electronics in a safe and effective manner. You won’t have to worry about them cluttering up your local landfills, and someone may get more use out of them.
Green roofs are roofs covered with vegetation. Before, vegetation growing on a rooftop was mostly due to neglect. Today, however, growing greens on a roof are making a trend.
And for good reason. Green roofs have many benefits for the environment and the home itself. Investing in a living roof can minimize storm waters, add to your home’s insulation, and provide protection for your rooftop. It can even help reduce your home’s carbon footprint and boost its appeal.
Some green roofs are easier to implement than others. It mostly depends on the size of the area you want to turn green and the slope of the roof.
There are three basic types of green roof system:
Extensive systems are for roof areas that are out of reach and not used for other purposes. These areas need appropriate vegetation that will make them low maintenance and self-sustaining.
Semi-intensive system requires some maintenance from time to time.
Intensive systems can make use of any vegetation and should be easy to access as it requires frequent maintenance. This type of green roof functions as a garden on your roof.
Flat roofs can become a lovely rooftop garden. Slope roofs, meanwhile, can have an aesthetic impact on your home. You can use the roof on top of your garden shed or the one on your porch.
Whichever it is, keep in mind that it is not recommended to install a green roof on a slope of over 10° or under 2° without professional advice. The roof should be in good condition and with a decent lifespan. Making sure that your roof can hold the weight of the vegetation and extra weight of saturation during rainfall is crucial to ensure that the roof won’t collapse.
It does not matter whether you choose a small DIY green roof on top of your garage or if you get a professional to turn your sloped roof into a habitat for wild birds. The steps to building a green roof are the same.
How To Build A Green Roof
The first layer should make your roof waterproof as well as root resistant. Therefore, you need to lay out an impermeable layer or root proof membrane. A single sheet is ideal for covering the whole area.
At your local garden center, you can find a heavy duty pond liner. This is the next layer to your green roof that will require the use of an adhesive or mastic sealant. Mark all outlets as you will cut them out later to ensure proper drainage.
Drainage is essential for your green roof as it allows excess water to escape. For this level, cut into the containment frame where the water can run into the gutter of the roof. Pebbles can be used to keep the outlets clear. You can add a layer of stones or rocks to avoid blockages or use them around the edges of the roof to stay clear of unwanted vegetation in that area.
For DIY green roofs, the depth of the substrate is 70-200 mm. This will differ depending on the vegetation planted. The substrate should be lightweight and that is why garden soil is not okay. It tends to become very thick when wet and it may give life to other unwanted vegetation. Mix your substrate with about 70% inorganic material and 30% organic material.
Here comes the fun part!
This is where you get to bring your green roof to life. You can plant seeds which are particularly for green roofs at your local seed supplier or by planting plug plants or plant cuttings. Another way to go is to purchase pre-vegetated mats or blankets.
With the right materials, roof angle and a solid roof, you can have your plants growing in no time. Framing around the vegetation can also be implemented if you want to ensure that the green layers stay intact.
One of the disadvantages of a green roof is precisely the process of its creation which tends to be a challenge for many. Another one is its maintenance. It does require a bit more attention than a regular garden when it comes to planting choices or irrigation.
Still, have fun while putting your green roof together and be proud that you are contributing to the green movement to make this world a cleaner place.
A majority of people might feel funny about second-hand recycling or, as it’s more commonly referred to, dumpster diving. The truth, however, is that it’s filled with lots of rewards.
Of course, I’m not talking about just any old dumpster in town. The gold mine comes around this time of year, particularly in college campuses. Those college kids love to throw shit out.
Printers, mini-refrigerators, cameras and even computers. You can find all kinds of gears simply by looking in and around college campus dumpsters. And not just that. You can also find things, like totes, bags, racks, and furniture of all kinds, in that same place.
Now, I’m not advocating one to grab a shovel and start digging to the bottom of any industrial dumpster. Heck, you can, but that’s not what I’m suggesting. Most kids leave their useful “trash” to the side of the dumpster that you won’t need to dig deep. In fact, you can get a good view of things just right on the top.
And to hell with feeling uncomfortable. There’s nothing to be ashamed of collecting perfectly useful items once used by other people. You shouldn’t feel ashamed to be seen near a dumpster just because you’re too afraid that girls or guys won’t go out with you anymore.
There’s plenty of reasonably clean gears within easy reach inside college dumpsters. That is to assume that they haven’t been sitting long and haven’t endured harsh weather conditions. Of course, plenty of things can withstand these elements for a short period and be okay, but there are also those that degrade quickly. Textbooks, for example, can provide easy cash, assuming the condition is adequate.
I like to think that most people recycle daily, though I’m probably wrong. Those who do toss their La Croix cans, beer bottles and milk jugs in those environment-friendly blue bins to be picked up and taken off to recycling factories. There, they are repurposed and transformed into other much useful things. Without a doubt, it’s a very positive thing to do for the environment.
So, why not recycle like this?
The benefits and possibilities with dumpster driving are abundant. You could start a little pawn style business with the treasures you find or even put on a dumpster art show. Nobody will stop you from using “trash” to be your creative outlet.
Food is another, though far more questionable, commodity you can retrieve from dumpsters. It’s relatively common in dumpsters you can find in grocery chains and markets, but not so much on college campuses. While I gravitate more towards household items, there certainly are people who look for perfectly fine packaged food out back.
In fact, I recently saw an American Ninja Warrior episode (I was in a Chicago hotel room with limited channels) and the dude who won the challenge was an avid dumpster diver from California, primarily for food. If an American Ninja Warrior advocates it, you know it’s legit.
Not only can dumpster diving save you money on daily products, you can also get a lot of things that work perfectly fine from the dumps and landfills. If you’re creative and willing, you could even salvage and utilize broken items for other purposes.
Knowing so much working “trash” is tossed out by tons of people is a shame. But there’s no shame in being in the thick of the recycling hustle and doing good for you and for your environment.
From your side of the world, saying goodbye to the dead might mean burial or cremation. For others, funerals are more than just burying the dead.
Call it weird, strange, bizarre, or even crazy, but here are eight unconventional ways practiced by other cultures when disposing their dead:
Hanging of Coffins
In the “acceptable” world, coffins are buried deep in the ground in a cemetery. In a place called Sagada in the Philippines, coffins mean hanging it on the cliffs.
Igorots believe that in death, the soul must be in the most solemn and peaceful place. This way, the spirit will be able to easily find its way to Kabunian, their god, and attain peace. Because of this practice, the cliffs where the hanging coffins are located have become tourist spots as well, wowing crowds from all over the world.
Tinguian Funeral: Makes It Look Like They’re Still Alive
Apparently, hanging coffins is just one of the bizarre funeral practices conducted by ethnic groups in the Philippines.
The Tinguian people make their dead look like they are still alive by dressing their bodies in their best clothes. The dead are also made to sit on a chair, have a lit cigarette on their lips, and treated as if they are alive.
Environment-Friendly and Green Funerals
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as green funerals and it happens in the United States. This is because more people are choosing environment-friendly burials. This practice means foregoing the embalming process, using biodegradable or woven-willow caskets, and reducing concrete vaults. In fact, there are 40 environment-friendly cemeteries in the US to date.
Mortuary Totem Poles
Totem poles usually tell stories of a peoples’ native culture. On the other hand, the Mortuary Totem Poles are different. They are special kinds of totem poles that house the remains of chiefs, notable warriors, or shamans after their bodies were crushed with clubs. The icons found on each pole act as guardians and guide the spirit to the afterlife.
Buried in a Fantasy Coffin
Death is not just a time to mourn but also a time to celebrate the life of the deceased. In Ghana, the dead are buried in caskets that symbolize their life, including their personality and status in the society – even if it means being buried in caskets in various styles, say a beer can or planes.
Zoroastrian Vulture Funeral
Apparently, Zoroastrians in Mumbai, India don’t need funeral plans. As part of their culture, they leave their dead in “dakhma” or the “Tower of Silence,” which will be eaten by vultures after the bodies are cleaned. They believe that the dead body becomes a source of defilement and corruption that could pollute sacred elements on Earth. Hence, they must be consumed by vultures.
Become a Memorial Reef in the Ocean
Most people want to be buried in the cemetery. Some even have mausoleums so they can be buried beside family members. For the few, they prefer a memorial reef in the ocean.
Eternal Reefs, an American company, compress the remains of the dead in a reef ball or sphere. This will be attached to a reef in the ocean and provide a habitat for sea life. Who knows, it might lure a curious fish.
Burial Beads: Turn the Dead into Colorful Beads
In case you opted for cremation, some allow you to take ashes and place it in containers like a locket. In South Korea, they do it differently. Instead of keeping the ashes as they are, they compress the remains of the dead into colorful gem-like beads. The beads are stored in jars and even used as home decorations.
What do you think? Weird? Maybe, but for people who practice these rites, it means something sacred, which we should all respect.