Shelter Sorts Dogs Into Harry Potter Houses

Across the world, animal shelters share one problem in common: overpopulation. A lack of potential owners willing to adopt mixed-breed and disabled dogs forces many establishments to euthanize their four-legged tenants. Still, many are pushing to give shelter animals a better life. Vancouver is battling puppy mills, while Semper K9 is training shelter dogs to help retired veterans. Now, the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando is sorting its dogs into Hogwarts houses in the hopes of their adoption.

“We want people to look at the dog for their behaviour and personality and what their talents are,” [said] Stephen Bardy, Pet Alliance’s executive director.

By grouping the animals according to their characteristics, Pet Alliance discourages breed discrimination. The shelter takes in nearly 1,800 animals a year — mostly from irresponsible pet owners. The new method allows visitors to more thoroughly determine their best fit.

“We want people to start talking about their own lifestyles and personalities and allow us to match a dog to them not based on looks or breed.”

Encouraging first-time owners to adopt a pit bull may be a stretch — but a pit bull in Gryffindogs? You can count me in.

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Ticket Agent Saves Teens From Human Trafficking

Heroes don’t always wear capes. In fact, most dress in uniform, willing to go to lengths others wouldn’t. Such champions include Saved In America, a group of retired officers determined to see sex trafficking to an end. But as with most, there aren’t usually enough eyes to account for every victim. Luckily, skepticism exists inherently in many, which is what led ticket agent Denice Miracle towards the rescue of two teen girls.

“Between the two of them, they had a bunch of small bags,” Miracle said. “It seemed to me as if they were running away from home. They kept looking at each other in a way that seemed fearful and anxious. I had a gut feeling that something just wasn’t right.”

Led to believe they would earn $2,000 to act in a music video, the teens ultimately fell for a far more dangerous scheme. After phoning the local sheriff, Miracle discovered both teens were carrying doctored one-way tickets.

“I’m proud of Denice and how she put her training into action to save these children,” said AA General Manager Aleka Turner.

Not all miracles are orchestrated by higher beings — sometimes they’re just people.

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Swedish Factory Burns Old H&M Clothes To Make Fuel

Due to the detrimental effects of excessive carbon emissions, researchers are scrambling to produce cleaner energy alternatives. Prototypes of algae-powered wooden motorcycles are making an appearance in the hopes of perfecting eco-vehicles. The entire state of Florida is even attempting to power its homes with waste procured by Hurricane Irma. Now tackling the fashion industry, which turns out nearly 14 million tons of waste per annum, a Swedish power plant is burning discarded H&M products to produce fuel.

“For us it’s a burnable material,” said Jens Neren, head of fuel supplies at Malarenergi AB, which owns and operates the plant in Vasteras… “Our goal is to use only renewable and recycled fuels.”

In this year alone, the plant has burned 15 tons of H&M clothing unsafe for wearing. The incinerated waste, along with 400,000 tons of trash power 150,000 homes.

“It is our legal obligation to make sure that clothes that contain mold or do not comply with our strict restriction on chemicals are destroyed,” [said H&M head of communications Johanna] Dahl…“H&M does not burn any clothes that are safe to use.”

Trends may be exciting, but are equally as damaging, especially when they come to pass.

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Realtor Repays Man For Returning Missing Check

In the midst of tragedy and political turmoil, we tend to forget that good samaritans exist everywhere. Whether they’re fixing a busted tooth for free or sheltering dozens from a storm, the goal is always kindness. Some do-gooders have next to nothing, and expect only a simple thanks for their selfless acts. When homeless Connecticut native Elmer Alvarez returned a $10,000 check to realtor Roberta Hoskie, he anticipated just that. However, the New Haven business owner refused to let the deed simply pass, rewarding Alvarez with a scholarship, job counseling, and housing.

“What I did, finding that check and returning it, I would do it all over again,” [Alvarez] said.

Hoskie admitted she felt deeply for Alvarez, having once been homeless herself. She also arranged for him to learn English as a second language. Seemingly too good to be true, the favors came only with a simple catch.

“When you get on your feet, you go ahead and you do it for the next person and the next person and the next person and the next person,” [Hoskie] said.

It’s random acts of kindness that start chain reactions. All we need to do is keep the ball rolling.

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Pepsi Debuts Ingenious Reusable Bottle

There’s a lot you can do with a plastic bottle. Turn it into an electricity-free lamp or, if you have enough of it, a piece of furniture. Now that sea levels are rising at unstoppable rates, Pepsi is taking sustainability to heart. The beverage manufacturer is debuting the Drinkfinity pod system, a 20-ounce reusable water bottle.

The pods themselves, which feature two compartments—one for liquid flavoring and one for dry ingredients like chia seeds—are made with 65 percent less plastic than a standard 20-ounce bottle.

Four varieties of flavorful pods aim to replace caffeine and sweet tea, and boast vitamin and electrolyte benefits. Talk about an all-in-one sports drink. At $20 a bottle and $5 for a pack of pods, Pepsi isn’t hogging all the cash delights.

To round out a drink tailor made for the present day and age, PepsiCo will donate $1 from each purchase made in 2018 to Water.org (mitigating the product’s potential success, the company has capped their contribution at $100,000).

Gatorade for a cause? I’m all in!

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London Introduces Safe Hedgehog Highways

For urban communities, the relationship between humans and animals has been, for the most part, give and take. Where turkeys (or rather, their droppings) contribute to bio-fuel, concerned citizens have set up bee farms in vacant lots. Now seeing a rise in hedgehog road deaths in London, engineer Michel Birkenwald is creating special highways for the critters.

“It’s implying that hedgehogs are basically moving into our towns and cities,” [Emily] Wilson [of Hedgehog Streets] says. “They’re quite sturdy, and able to live alongside us quite well, as long as we make space for them and link green spaces together.”

Birkenwald and his animal-loving posse drill wall holes for free, allowing the prickly pedestrians to make safe crossing. Over the years, the real-life Sonic population has dwindled by 50% due to unwelcoming agricultural procedures. As compost-dwellers, “cleaner” farms don’t bode well for the spiky natives. Despite his life-saving deeds, Birkenwald is as humble as anyone.

“I am just an average guy who decided to help one of our most adorable mammals,” he says.

We’ll do anything for the cute and powerless.

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Peru National Park To Protect Untouched Forests

To salvage the remnants of Mother Nature, activist groups, along with government agencies, are erecting new national parks. So far, protected areas in Chile have emerged, with Peru scrambling to assemble Yaguas National Park. The area remains one of the most intact forests on the planet.

More than 1,000 people… live along a 125-mile stretch of the Yaguas and Putumayo rivers. To them, this place is “sachamama,” a Quechua word roughly meaning “mother jungle,” the sacred heart of the area that produces the flora and fauna on which the groups depend.

Realizing the current impact of climate change, Peru is teaming up with South American countries such as Ecuador and Colombia. Together, the environmental superpowers are contending to fulfill the Paris climate agreement.

“For now, Yaguas is safe, but in the 20 years I’ve been working in the Amazon, I’ve learned the hard way that today’s remoteness is tomorrow’s access,” said Gregory Asner, an ecologist at the Carnegie Institution for Science.

In the end, it’s we who lose when we neglect the planet. After all, the Earth won’t combust–it’ll just pick us off.

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Paper Batteries Are A New Source Of Energy

Engineers are always on the hunt for more efficient ways to power the humble double-A battery. So far, industry geniuses have tried unusual mediums such as air and even spit. Yet the search is far from over–as electronics innovator Juan Pablo Esquivel is testing a paper battery.

“We develop small, nontoxic, inexpensive fuel cells and batteries that don’t need to be recycled and could be thrown away with no ecological impact,” he explains.

The petite power cell will charge disposable devices and microelectronics. And no–we’re not talking Hot Wheels. Esquivel aims to make pregnancy, glucose, and and disease tests cheaper and more accessible.

“Esquivel is like Cristiano Ronaldo, and, like Ronaldo, he’s playing for an excellent team. That’s why he gets results,” jokes Antonio Martínez, a professor at the Polytechnic University of Madrid.

With single-use devices hitting the bins before they lose charge, landfills could use a little less lithium.

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Germany Offers Free Transport To Fight Pollution

The best things in a sustainable life come free. Whether solar power or library books, the end goal is the same. Protect the planet. Educate. With an extensive amount of waste and pollution looming over the globe, Germany has had enough. To cut rising costs of living and minimize emissions, nation is offering free public transport.

“We are considering public transport free of charge in order to reduce the number of private cars,” three German government ministers wrote in their recent letter to the E.U… “Effectively fighting air pollution without any further unnecessary delays is of the highest priority for Germany.”

Though it hasn’t topped the list of most polluted countries in Europe, Germans remain among the 400,000 that succumb to air pollution every year. Expenses are tricky, but are encouraging other forms of eco-traveling.

The free public transport plans would be complemented by other measures, such as car-sharing schemes or expanded low-emissions zones within cities.

Sure, a crowded subway may not sound ideal — but let’s hope Germany has its reigns on that as well.

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London Crossrail To Generate Energy From Wind

Wind energy is nothing new, but it’s definitely improving. In fact, it’s powering homes in Australia and Denmark at pleasantly surprising rates. Now that other nations are catching onto its sheer efficiency, they’re brewing up other ways to utilize it. For Moya Power in London, it’s all about being creative. The pilot project will collect energy from tunnel drafts caused by speeding trains using simple plastic sheets.

“If we all live in cities that need electricity, we need to look for new, creative ways to generate it,” says [mastermind Charlotte] Slingsby… “I wanted to create something that works in different situations and that can be flexibly adapted, whether you live in an urban hut or a high-rise.”

Considering the constant movement of  countryside families into cities, urban landscapes are demanding greater volumes of energy. As the war against fossil fuels continues to be precarious, alternative energy is very much welcome anywhere.

The yield is low compared to traditional wind power plants and is not able to power whole cities, but Slingsby sees Moya Power as just a single element in a mixture of urban energy sources.

Realizing that subway tunnels might be the windiest parts of an otherwise gloomy city now makes a lot of sense. Who knew?

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