Pig manure paves road to sustainable asphalt

Pig manure could replace petroleum to create a new sustainable asphalt. Watch and share how this ‪NSF-funded‬ formula is being engineered and tested at North Carolina A&T State University. It may be coming to a road near you: 1.usa.gov/28XHQYd

And yes, they’ve dealt with the “aroma” issue.

Plastic to outweigh fish in oceans by 2050, study warns
At least 8 million tons of plastics find their way into the ocean every year equal to one truckload every minute

Plastic trash will outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050 unless the world takes drastic action to recycle the materials, a report warned Tuesday on the opening day of the annual gathering of the rich and powerful in the snow-clad Swiss ski resort of Davos. An overwhelming 95 percent of plastic packaging, worth $80 billion to $120 billion a year, is lost to the economy after a single use, according to a global study by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which promotes recycling.


Last night was ‘Earth Hour’ - an annual campaign in motion since 2007 (watch the 60 second promo spot) - whereby businesses and people all over the world are urged to turn off all unnecessary lights from 8:30pm - 9:30pm as a commitment to the conservation, environmentalism, and cooperation as a global movement for change. You can watch the official 'Earth Hour’ awareness video HERE.

Learn about the corporate partnerships and download the toolkit.

This year, however - due in part to the ever growing social media platforms evolving the way we interact with each other across vast distances - the 'Hour’ incorporated other ways one could participate, and you can view all these options HERE.

One of the featured projects (above) was 'Power Up A Ranger’, which supported rangers in Indonesia who work to secure protected land and animal habitats.

Other projects (you can see all of them here) included 'Lights 4 Stripes’ - an effort to install solar lights in Sunderban’s villages to prevent tigers from entering; 'Bancas For The Philippines’ - introducing fiberglass technology to coastal communities devastated by Typhoon Haiyan; 'Stop The Killing!’ - a Singapore effort to stop poaching; a documentary film to highlight the importance of protecting the Great Barrier Reef and address climate change; there’s even a campaign to to help Canada go renewable.

A few of the notable achievements of 'Earth Hour’

Co-opting alongside the upcoming Spiderman 2 film, 'Earth Hour’ encouraged people to be superheroes on their own accord, by participating in an Instagram Challenge…and it’s as simple and inspiring as it sounds…

You can also create your own event, HERE.

The 'Earth Hour’ Starter Kit (available here) includes logos, web banners, videos, posters, encouraging everyone to promote the event, draw awareness, and spread the word. My favorite aspect of the campaign was the attention it drew to light pollution…

Campaigns running parallel to the 'Earth Hour’ event are the ever-growing 'Globe At Night’ program which promotes citizen science effort regarding the conservation of our night skies from the harmful effects of light pollution amongst our biosphere. On the website’s news page, a 7 minute documentary video on light pollution can be viewed called Defending The Dark’, by Jason Davis, which I encourage everyone to watch, along with 'Globe At Night’ partner, the International Dark Sky Association’s video to change public perception, ’The Hidden Costs Of Light Pollution.

I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t “illuminate” the passivity of movements like these. Although awareness and a global force to instigate critical thinking and action are necessary as we progress forward as a collective society, time is something we are competing with…and an hour is simply not enough. And the commercialization of this effort is one small step for conservation awareness, one giant leap for mediocrity in the face of corporations and governments who are fully capable of implementing massive changes to infrastructure, overall business ethics, economics, society, by simply thinking about the long term habitability of this planet and the survival/welfare of all species that inhabit this great Earth.

What would Carl do?

Which brings my attention, in closing, to this VICE piece over at Motherboard by Michael Byrne, published this weekend, which deserves just as much attention as all of the above:

Earth Hour is a campaign, now eight years old, on behalf of the World Wildlife Fund encouraging people to turn out non-essential lights in their homes and businesses one day a year for an hour as a "symbol for their commitment to the planet.” The Earth Hour mission also includes pushing a more traditional spate of green actions, like girl scouts installing LED lights, rigging Indian villages with solar power, and pushing legislation. As of 2014, it is also a “crowdsourcing platform for the planet,” e.g. a future-branded vehicle for raising money for other assorted WWF activities.

The hour itself is tonight at 8:30 p.m. (local time), if you’re interested in expressing your “commitment” to the Earth while not exerting any actual effort or demonstrating the slightest capacity for real-world sacrifice. I understand, of course, that anything that calls attention to our whole Earth situation is good, even if it’s the smallest amount of good, but maybe we should be asking if campaigns like this that ask for so little are all that helpful in conveying the real-life 2014 gravity of our ecological/climate situation, which will not actually be solved by being more aware of household power usage.

I guess a more fair way of looking at it would be as a way to call attention to WWF’s many various (and worthy) green campaigns, an advertisement of sorts. If in the event that your neighborhood or town is noticeably dark, and a large percentage of that neighborhood or town is privy to the Earth Hour campaign, then maybe just maybe it will have had some effect. That said, public action that will only be recognized by those participating in that public action (via awareness of it) is kind of a tautology, no?

Anyhow, while I’m being a dick, there’s a quick point to be made about WWF’s related crowdfunding campaigns. You can find them all here, and I’m not about to say that any one of them doesn’t deserve lots of money, but this is pop environmentalism at its very most pop and there’s a point to be made about that and how it merges with the larger question of crowdfunding in science. Should things like this be subject to the crowd at all? The crowd after all isn’t made of scientists and doesn’t make decisions based on greatest impact/most scientific merit. It tends to make decisions based on emotions, on cuteness and fads and to what they can most relate in their day to day lives.

That’s not a body I’m very into trusting with science or big questions of Earth-fixing. The Earth Hour crowdfunding campaigns all deal with very significant amounts of money and range in mission from training puppies to saving the Amazon. Giving control over to the crowd seems to admit some amount of helplessness, I think, in the grand green scheme, that there is not an ordered and objective way to get at the larger, interconnected problems in the environment and instead we might as well let the people at home pick favorites.

So, that’s your asshole take on Earth Hour. You should probably ignore it and just celebrate popular action of any kind because maybe that’s just what we have to work with. Our scientifically determined mass-action will have to remain an illusory best case, subject to the whims of politics and other means of amassing deep feelings.

If you really want a sobering look at the importance of environmental conservation, watch 'END|CIV: Resist Or Die’; a documentary film that examines our culture’s addiction to systematic violence, environmental exploitation, and among other things, globalization via capitalism. Based on the book Endgame’ by author/environmentalist Derrick Jensen. END:CIV synopsis and trailer HERE.

"If your homeland was invaded by aliens who cut down the forests, poisoned the water and air, and contaminated the food supply, would you resist?”
- Derrick Jensen (listen to him here)

ReNUWIt: Changing the way we manage urban water

Watch how researchers and students at the NSF-funded ReNUWIt Engineering Research Center combine innovations with smart natural systems to engineer more efficient, affordable and sustainable water: bit.ly/2eh3RJM


Selling my Kryolan HD Micro Foundation Cream palette - 15 colors.
HD Micro Foundation Cream is a micronized foundation with unique light reflection.
Optically, it significantly reduces the shadow effects of wrinkles. Which means that it enables natural, youthful appearance especially with make-up for high-definition camera techniques for film, TV and photography.
Also a great palette for natural highlighting & contouring.
At the same time, special ingredients protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation and from harmful environmental influences.
HD Micro Foundation Cream is ECARF certified.
Thinly and evenly apply HD Micro Foundation Cream with a very fine-pore make-up sponge or foundation brush and set it with HD Micro Finish Powder or a generic translucent powder.

As you can see I’ve used two of the pans a fair bit, but the rest are either untouched or have a small scraping from them.
Ideal for any makeup artist kit!
The front of the palette is a little battered due to being carted about.

Its been hygienically used by scraping out the foundation with the use of my palette knife.
I’ve used this palette on A-list celebs such as Formula 1 driver Jenson Button, for TV & interviews.
RRP - £89.00 selling for £55 plus P&P.

I am selling this palette and more on my Depop app - @SHOWMEMAKEUP You can also contact me on here to purchase.

'ReLeaf' operation aims to replant 10,000 trees in Fort McMurray
Tree Canada’s efforts, undertaken as one of its so-called “ReLeaf Operation” missions, will specifically look to reforest areas within the city of Fort McMurray.

A Canadian foundation is looking to restore Fort McMurray’s leafy canopy after an estimated 10,000 urban trees were destroyed in the devastating Alberta wildfire earlier this year.

Tree Canada, an Ottawa-based environmental foundation, has announced plans to replant trees incinerated on residential and municipal properties across Fort McMurray during the blaze that destroyed much of the city in May.

“Trees are crucial for life,” explained Mike Rosen, president of Tree Canada.

About 2,400 homes were damaged in the northern Alberta wildfire, which led to one of the largest community evacuations in Canadian history. The disaster is estimated to have caused at least $3 billion in damage.

In an effort to gauge the damage to the woodlands, officials from Tree Canada recently toured the fire-ravaged region by helicopter.

“It was obviously a very sobering flight,” Rosen said. “It was 580,000 hectares (that) were lost of wildland, (an area) bigger than P.E.I. So everywhere we looked, all we could see was burnt areas.”

Tree Canada’s efforts, undertaken as one of its so-called “ReLeaf Operation” missions, will specifically look to reforest areas within the city of Fort McMurray. One of the key reasons, Rosen says, is because trees have a proven positive impact on mental health. And while wildfires may be part of the natural life cycle of boreal forests, Rosen says trees in urban communities aren’t always able to regenerate on their own.

“It’s in town, that’s where we have to devote a bit more attention to … otherwise, the trees would never come back in,” he said.

The organization is assessing Fort McMurray to pinpoint priority areas where new trees are most needed, such as hillsides where erosion could be a problem.

Replanting efforts are set to begin in 2017, and until then Tree Canada will be accepting donations from individuals, organizations and companies to aid the cause.

Previous “Operation ReLeaf” projects include efforts to restore forests devastated by mountain pine beetles, a variety of rice-sized insects that have decimated thousands of square kilometres of Western Canadian woodlands, and a project that provides subsidies for Ontario homeowners whose ash trees have been affected by the emerald ash borer, an invasive species native to Asia.

What’s This Tropical, Venomous Sea Snake Doing in California?

El Niño’s warmer currents may be to blame for unusual occurrence, scientists say.

by Brian Clark Howard

Highly venomous yellow-bellied sea snakes are rarely spotted in the cold waters off California. But a dead one was found this week on a popular state beach in Southern California.

The specimen was discovered at Bolsa Chica State Beach, located just north of Huntington Beach, during a beach cleanup by the environmental group Surfrider Foundation.  The species had only been seen in California two other times: once in October and once in the 1970s.

The snake, which has a bright yellow belly and a paddle-shaped tail, can stay underwater up to three hours between breaths. They can reach a length up to 35 inches.

Yellow-bellied sea snakes require warm water and normally inhabit tropical swaths of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. This rare sighting “could obviously be weather related,” says Harvey Lillywhite, a sea snake expert at the University of Florida…

(read more: National Geographic)

photograph by Mark Conlin/ALAMY

Would you like to be famous and for what reason?

Question from my ask.FM

I would like to be famous to have a larger voice to advocate for things that matter to me. Like a lot of my idols have their own charities and causes they go for. Like for instance:
-Ian Somerhalder has his own foundation for environmental protection, which he uses his fan base and social media to bring attention to things that matter to him.
-Christopher Reeves [R.I.P] has his own foundation for finding a cure for spinal paralysis victims. I wrote a paper on his foundation and his foundation made very progressive steps toward their goal.
-Richard Dawkins has his own foundation for scientific education and overcoming religious fundamentalism. Through his foundation, I discovered my own atheism and began my love of science and understanding of our world. Those are the kinds of people I have the deepest respect for. To have this wealth and influence and to use it to for something more than yourself. I want to be a voice for those who need it and to make the world a better place. I can do without the fancy cars, big homes, nice clothes, but in my lifetime I would like to do something that makes a lasting difference in this world for the better.

It’s been a long weekend, but I finally got everyone’s addresses and finished all the letters. I was going to mail them out today, but apparently the post office was closed today, so they’ll be going out tomorrow.

Congrats, @invadio @dailyavdol @kurkurhonks @idemonheart @poorly-drawn-dinopants @bruce-n-poots @noellovess @ema– @braderiguh @pandawandaharvey and  @minneeh! You’ll be getting your sea creatures soon.

Like I said on the other post, all these creatures were ordered from the Reef Environmental Education Foundation and the money goes to help marine conservation research and education.

Thanks everyone for following the blog and supporting my stuff. I’d love to do another giveaway like this soon.