In the grand scheme of trying to make the world a better place, we sometimes forget about protecting our wildlife. Every now and then, a war veteran will fight for elephant rights, or a president will adopt a dog. Now, Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio, along with the Wildlife Conservation Network, is working to save lions from extinction through the Lion Recovery Fund.
“100% of every dollar raised will go directly to the partners in the field with zero administrative fees or overhead.”
“We’re losing our planet’s wildlife – even such iconic species as the African Lion – at a dangerously rapid pace. An astonishingly small amount of philanthropic dollars go towards protecting wildlife‚ but together we can turn that around.”
Lion conservation is not just about hard work — it demands collaboration. This means wildlife organizations, governments, and donor communities all need to play an active role, and fast. Current lion populations are a tenth of what they used to be just a century ago.
“More than 26 countries have already lost their lion populations and without action‚ lions may disappear from many of their remaining strongholds‚”
We are losing the species to habitat loss via agriculture and deforestation, poaching, and invasion of wild lands. While I wish it didn’t take celebrity endorsements to encourage action, it may be the drive we need at the moment.
Developers have been doing everything to ensure the eco-friendliness of future vehicles. They are engineering sustainable commutes and even air-purifying bicycles. However, no one has gone as far as scientist Peter Mooij, whose brainchild is a wooden motorcycle powered by algae.
The single-sided swingarm is made with birch and oak, with an oiled cork/oak damper and a cork insert to provide a compression zone in the spring. The rear single-sided swingarm is made from solid oak, with some cork between the arm and the frame.
A fully functional wooden vehicle? I thought those were called wagons. As for the bike’s eco-fuel, microalgae produce oil, which is perfect for a diesel engine.
“Algae oil has some great advantages. Algae do photosynthesis and by this process algae convert CO2 from the atmosphere into oil. If this oil is burnt in Rits’ motorcycle CO2 is emitted, but the amount of CO2 emitted exactly equals the amount of CO2 the algae took up from the atmosphere.”
To put it simply, we lose nothing, which is pretty darn practical. Mooij is still working towards an enhanced model of the motorcycle. In the meantime, an extensive Google search on microalgae may be on my agenda.
For some, chocolate is the cure to a broken heart. For me, it’s a cold brew. With news of a probiotic “healthy” beer in the making, I couldn’t imagine anything better — until Trash Tiki. The sustainable pop-up bar serves tasty, low-impact cocktails made with food waste. Spearheading the project are Kelsey Ramage and Iain Griffiths.
The duo’s website features a recipe for citrus stock that makes use of already-juiced fruit, to address the fact that “citrus is once again front and centre, this time as it is by far the biggest waste product of any craft cocktail bar.”
Trash Tiki also hosts industry seminars that are open to the public — conveniently dubbed Trash Talks. The bartending twosome are among the first of their kind, stating that waste reduction is a priority mostly in restaurants.
“Perhaps surprisingly, (zero/anti-waste) isn’t really an idea that has infiltrated the bar scene that much — certainly not as much as the rest of restaurants, like it does in kitchens,”
Making the drinks are often hours-long ordeals. But if it’s doing a service to the planet (and my liver), then perhaps worth the wait.
Seeing a steady increase in our busybody tendencies, everything is now available in the palms of our hands. You want it? An online app has got it. You may even be able to throw it onto the back of your electric cargo bike. But with no time on your hands, perhaps you’d prefer a delivery. Lucky for our fellow Brits, U.K. supermarket Ocado recently launched a self-driving grocery delivery van for all essential needs.
Orders are loaded into the CargoPod at a nearby depot. There are eight containers on the back which can hold up to 128KG of groceries and allow the vehicle to stop at multiple destinations during the same trip. Once the goods are onboard, a driver manually steers the van to a starting location, where it’s then flipped into autonomous mode.
If you were concerned about a loaded van running completely on autopilot, you can now rest easy. Manufacturers of self-driving vehicles do, in fact, take precaution. Strategically places cameras make the van autonomous. Even more impressive, the van doesn’t require GPS.
The CargoPod is powered by Selenium, an autonomous operating system developed by Oxbotica. It handles minute-to-minute visualization and decision-making: where the vehicle is, what’s nearby and what it should do next.
The vehicle is still on a trial mode, but if it passes a battery of tests, should be permanently hitting the road in no time.
Believe it or not, anyone can turn plastic into a valuable and non-wasteful material — all it takes is resourcefulness. Whether as part of an art piece or repurposed into product packaging, the possibilities with plastic are endless. This Cameroon student is salvaging not just a handful, but thousands of plastic bottles into recycled fishing boats.
“We are fighting,” he said. “We are trying to find innovative solutions that are new and can be useful in order to add value to these bottles.”
Ismael Essome Ebode claims his project is meant to combat pollution.
He’s been testing the boat and trying to convince local fishermen to use it as a cheaper, environmentally-friendly option to wooden boats.
Despite enforcing a ban on disposable plastic bags in Cameroon in 2014, the law does not extend to rural areas. Other materials are too expensive for simple merchants, while plastic is available and affordable. Ebode has successfully crafted five boats, proving it doesn’t always take a village to make a difference.
With over 100 million on the streets, it’s places like Studio Elmo Vemijs that are providing them with temporary refuge. In the absence of shelters in Dublin, an Islamic center in Clonskeagh is welcoming anyone in need of sanctuary as Hurricane Ophelia hits.
“We provide food and soup,” said [administrator Malek Madani]. “It’s the minimum that we can do as humanitarians. We try to contribute along with council organizations, who have helped us with beds, too.”
One of the worst storms to hit Ireland in just over 50 years, Ophelia will likely be devastating. To avoid casualties, the city has closed schools, cancelled flights, and advised motorists to refrain from being on the road. Madani is encouraging other centers across Ireland to follow suit.
“They are part of society and they should too,” he said. “We never know [who will come during the storm] but we try to do our best.”
With over 100,000 homes off the power grid, the Islamic center is setting the benchmark for other groups.
There is a rare population of good samaritans willing to provide services for free. Among them are Pizza Hut, which delivered free pizzas to Hurricane Harvey victims, and Merkez restaurant, which offers free meals to the poor. Recently added to the list is Dr. Kenny Wilstead, who fixed a battered woman’s front tooth free of charge.
“I said, ‘Well, I’m not going to wait for your tax returns. That’s next year. Let’s fix this right now,’” Dr. Wilstead recalled.
For nearly two years, Kyleigha Scott had been living with a broken front tooth. She had been assaulted by an ex-boyfriend, who continued to stalk her even after their relationship ended. A wisdom tooth infection prompted Scott to seek help from Wilstead, who insisted on going the whole nine yards.
“That 10 minutes that he took to give me what I thought I lost a long time ago back is the most indescribable, beautiful, joyful emotion,” Scott said. “I wish that I could come up with a new word for how I felt.”
The lucky lady will also receive a $20,000 smile reconstruction from Wilstead at no cost. If Scott isn’t grinning from ear to ear, you can bet I’m doing it for her!
The holidays are nearing, and the charitable cheer is just about to pick up speed. Celebrity chef José Andrés is Puerto Rico’s very own Santa Claus, whipping up meals for thousands of flood victims. For shelter animals across the U.S., Christmas is coming early, thanks to Petsmart’s donation of 30 million meals. Also sharing the love is NFL player Chris Long, who pledged all his season checks to education groups.
“In my 10th year, I want to celebrate the awesome opportunity I’ve had to play football by giving back to the communities that have given me that gift,” Long said in a statement.
His $1 million salary will go to groups and scholarship funds in various states. In a society influenced by hate culture, proper education is vital for change.
“Educational opportunity and equity are the best gateway to a better tomorrow for everyone in America.”
Long has stood alongside teammates to protest racial inequality and police brutality. He has since launched the “Pledge 10 For Tomorrow” campaign to aid underprivileged children.
In the sustainability race, India is coming in first. In the past year, it engineered the world’s first solar train and set a record for planting trees. The country relies not on advanced technology but the sheer determination of it’s citizens. In fact, 700 villagers made it their mission to restore a dead river by hand in just 70 days.
For two decades, the Kuttemperoor river in south Kerala’s Alappuzha district slowly choked under the weight of rampant illegal sand mining and construction sites that dumped tons of sewage on its once-pristine banks.
A… local group of villagers… have spent weeks wading through toxic waste, algae and risking deadly water-borne diseases to physically de-silt and clean the river.
The river is a primary water source, making it potentially hazardous if in a polluted state. A non-responsive government and harsh droughts forced villagers to take matters into their own hands.
“Once we removed all waste [the] river started recharging on its own and on [the] 45th day flow started. For women folk, it was not just a work for money but it was [a] gargantuan task to revive a lifeline,”
The village may have seen success, but the challenge is far from over. Kuttemperoor river will demand a lifetime of maintenance, something it’s beloved community will surely make a priority.
It’s been proven time and again that music is an effective form of therapy. It has allowed people to improve their communication skills and reduce stress. While music tends to calm animals equally as much as it does so with humans, dog whisperer Cesar Millan thinks there is something even better. Audiobooks for dogs are now available for your canine companion.
Audible for Dogs is designed for anxious pets that don’t like being left at home alone; Millan’s Dog Psychology Center reports that audiobooks are much more effective in relaxing dogs and reducing their stress than music… These audiobooks will calm dogs and help them feel less alone.
While you can choose pretty much whatever audiobook you prefer, Millan does have a list of suggestions. Among the handpicked titles are “A Dog’s Purpose” and “The Art of Racing in the Rain” — perfect for your pooch. Others, such as “Pride and Prejudice” are a bit more eccentric (and perhaps for dogs who enjoy classical literature).
This isn’t a completely separate program; subscribers to Audible will be able to purchase these audiobooks, and anyone can access Millan’s videos for free on the website.
While we may never know if audiobook therapy has any true scientific merit, it does seem like a fun activity for both man and his best friend.