Swedes Create Machine That Turns Sweat into Drinking Water

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To highlight the seriousness of potable water shortage in some parts of Africa and Asia a group of tech-savvy Swedes have created a machine that turns perspiration into drinking water. Aptly named the “Sweat Machine” was inspired by technology used by NASA to recycle everything from human sweat to urine.

Developed by a team of engineers led by Andreas Hammar, the Sweat Machine works by extracting the perspiration, which is 99% water, out of people’s clothes. Sweaty garments are tossed into a dryer, where they are spun and squeezed for every last drop of liquid. The gathered sweat then gets heated, exposed to ultra-violet light and passed through a series of high-tech filters to remove the salt and bacteria. During the final stage of the purification process, the sweat goes through a coffee filter that retains any textile fibers left over from the clothes. The result is perfectly drinkable distilled water. Although the exact capacity of the dryer is yet unknown, the inventors say it takes a full load of sweaty shirts and shorts to produce a pint of potable water. Drinking your own and other people’s sweat sounds disgusting, but according to one brave sommelier, it actually has nice sweet taste.

Sweat-Machine

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Austria’s Green Heroes: Family Lives a Life without Plastic

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Can you imagine your life without plastic? That means no computer, no mobile phone. no car and a whole lot of other stuff we’ve come to consider basic necessities. It sounds a nearly impossible task, in this day and age, but a family in Austria has proven it can be done. Sandra Krautwaschl, from a village near Graz, Austria, has recently written a book called “Plastickfrei Zone” (Plastic-Free Zone) in which she tells the story of how she and her family started living a life without plastic.

It all began in the summer of 2009, when during a vacation in Croatia, Sandra was surprised how often her three children asked where all of the trash on the beach came from. This made her think harder about how plastic really affects our world. Although recycling works very well in Austria, it’s not as effective in other parts of the world, so the petroleum-made material ends up clogging up landfills and polluting the environment. The 40-year-old physical therapist realized that as long as we keep buying products made of or wrapped in plastic, we’re just contributing to the problem. Then, shortly after she returned from Croatia, Sandra saw the documentary “Plastic Planet”, and learned how toxic plastic is for our planet.

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Florentine Artist Fights Pollution by Painting with Smog

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If you’re ever in Florence, Italy, and see a grown man on a ladder wiping the dust off statues and building, don’t worry, it’s just Alessandro Ricci gathering material for his famous smog paintings.

40-year-old Ricci is not your average artist, and I don’t say that just because he used smog as the main medium of his artworks. Unlike other painters seeking fast recognition of their talent, he doesn’t really care about “being this big artist”. Instead he is more concerned about bringing attention to how much smog there really is in his home town and how it’s destroying both its monuments and people. Although he did take a couple of art classes a few years back, he is mainly self-taught, doesn’t work in a studio, donates most of his work, and refuses to play by the rules of the Florentine Art Gallery, which he considers corrupt. Alessandro Ricci believes selling his smog paintings  would not only compromise his principles, but also contradict the very thing he’s trying to do – raise awareness about smog pollution in this great Italian city.

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Raincatch – A Raincoat That Turns Rain into Drinkable Water

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Raincatch is a water purification raincoat that turns collected rain water into drinkable water the wearer can enjoy on the go.

Let’s just put it this way, wearing Raincatch in a rainy city like London means you’ll probably never be thirsty again. Sure, in some regions of the world rain water is still clean enough to be drunk as it falls from the sky, but in today’s polluted climate drinking it without purifying it first poses a real risk. But thanks to the invention of two CIID students, Hyeona Yang and Joshua Noble, you’ll be able to enjoy refreshing rain water on the go, without a care in the world.

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Van Gogh’s Wheatfield with Cypresses Recreated with 8,000 Living Plants

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General Electric has teamed up with London’s National Gallery to create a living version Van Gogh’s A Wheatfield with Cypresses from 8,000 plants. The famous painting, originally created in 1889, was chose for its strong colors that could be effectively reproduced with living plants. 26 different varieties were used for this amazing eco-installation and the result is simply mind-blowing.

The living painting is currently displayed on the side of the National Gallery, in Trafalgar Square, where it will grow throughout Summer and Fall, until October 2011. If you’re in London this Summer, this is one sight you don’t want to miss.

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Genghis Khan Named Greenest Invader in History

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Let’s hear it for Genghis Khan everyone, his bloody conquests just earned him the title of greenest invader in the history of man.

‘It’s a common misconception that the human impact on climate began with the large-scale burning of coal and oil in the industrial era. Actually, humans started to influence the environment thousands of years ago by changing the vegetation cover of the Earth’s landscapes when we cleared forests for agriculture.” said Julia Pongratz, who headed Carnegie Institution’s study that measured carbon impact of a number of historical events that involved a large number of deaths.

Apparently, the armies of Genghis Khan killed so many people that huge cultivated areas  were once again covered with thick forests that absorbed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. According to historical data, during the rule of this famous leader, the Mongol Empire was responsible for the deaths of over 40 million people, which in turn helped remove around 700 million tons of carbon dioxide from the Earth’s atmosphere.

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Greenpeace Turns Chopsticks Back into Trees

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Can you bring dead wood back to life? No, but you can turn them into trees again! This was the slogan that fueled Greenpeace and Ogvily’s campaign to help people realize the dangers of cutting down millions of trees to create disposable chopsticks.

Two hundred volunteers from various Beijing universities answered Greenpeace’s call and set out to gather 80,000 used wooden chopsticks, from restaurants around the Chinese capital. They cleaned them all up and then assisted artist Xu Yinhai in assembling them into four life-like trees. It was no easy task, but Green peace hopes this effort will inspire Chinese people to be more conscientious about their use of resources.

According to statistics from China’s Forest Ministry, the country produces 57 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks, which require over 1.18 million square meters of forests. Since China’s wood resources are very limited (ranking 139th in the world) its people have to ask themselves if it’s worth sacrificing 3.8 million trees a year, for something they just throw away after a meal.

The chopstick trees were planted on December 20, 2010, in one of the most popular malls in Beijing, The Place, in the Chaoyang district, and are planned to be displayed at universities and art venues around the city.

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Christmas Tree Lights Powered by a Bunch of Electric Eels

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People are definitely becoming more and more concerned about the environment, also more inventive. Looking for ways to save up energy, the staff of the Helsinki Sea Life Center aquarium in Finland, discovered they had a  totally free energy source living right in their fish tanks – electric eels.

“Our electrician built a device that uses four plastic-encased steel probes to capture the eel’s electrical discharge and feed it to the lights. At feeding time though, it really powers up. You can hear the voltage increasing and the lights shine bright and steady.” explains Markus Dernjatin – from the Helsinki Sea Life Center in Finland.

These deadly deep sea creatures can produce an amount of electrical energy sufficient to light up more than one Christmas tree – around 650 volts. At the same time, the high voltage is enough to kill a grown man…

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“Read Between The Signs” – Unique Recycled Road Signs Mural

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Situated along side Route 322, near Meadville, PA, this project was thought off by artist Amara Geffen and Arts & Design Initiative Director, in 2002 and has been an ongoing work ever since. It is realized through the collaboration between he Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Allegheny College’s Center for Economic and Environmental Development (CEED).

This is a form of community based art project, an original way of celebrating Earth Day. 1200ft long by 9ft tall, this fence is supported by an already existing chain fence around PennDOT’s storage lot and it is entirely made out of recycled road signs, combined as to depict places and people – for example the French Creek watershed, Allegheny Mountains, forests, roads or even PennDOT workers – but also features solar and wind powered kinetic components, thus paying a tribute to the environment.

It’s not only beautiful and original, but it has also managed to bring together the people of the community, having become the pride and symbol of Meadville.

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Waste Monster Is Made of Thousands of Plastic Bags

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A group of Slovenian environmentalists have created a scary waste monster, made of tens of thousands of plastic bags, to raise awareness to the world’s ever growing consumerism and waste problems.

To create their unique Plastic Bag Monster, the group of enthusiasts roamed throgh the streets of Ljubljana, collecting used plastic bags and plastic cups. In the end, they managed to come up with 40,000 plastic bags and 7,500 cups, collected from 12 kindergardens, 21 primary schools, 4 high schools, 3 colleges and 500 passers-by, from around Slovenia’s capital city.

As the waste monster keeps spreading its tentacles across Ljubljana, the message it sends becomes clearer – consumerism has gotten way out of control and that’s what spawned this abomination that has managed to adapt to our environment and is about to replace us at the top of the food chain. It is capable of reproducing at unimaginable speeds and feeds on people’s sloth and irresponsibility towards the environment. It knows no mercy, and unless we find it in ourselves to change, it will destroy us all…

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SHOCKING! Second Chernobyl Uncovered in the Ukraine

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Ukrainian newspaper Segodnya revealed that a group of independent environmentalists have discovered a zone where radiation level is higher than that of Chernobyl.

The specified area is located in Ukraine’s Dnepropetrovsk region, around an abandoned uranium mine. According to Oleksiy Vedmidsky, a local ecologist, the mine is a huge danger to the people in the region and he has some pretty interesting data to back up his claims. He and his team have recently measured the radiation level around the uranium mine, and the results were nothing less than shocking – “My particle detector measured 2611 micro Roentgen per hour there. Even in the Chernobyl zone near the reactor the exposure is 500-600 micro Roentgen per hour,” Vedmidsky said, pointing out that normal reading is under 30 micro Roentgen per hour.

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Peruvian Inventor Paints Mountain White to Restore Glacier

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Eduardo Gold, a Peruvian inventor, came up with the ingenious idea of painting the mountain peeks in white to restore the glacier on Andes mountains.

It seems that this phenomenon is due to global warming and Eduardo Gold’s idea is based on a very basic principle stating that if  solar light is reflected onto a white or light colored surface it goes back into the atmosphere,thus preventing the excessive heating of the ground. In the last years alone, Chalon Sombrero peak has lost almost 30% of its glacier.

Gold is not only willing to solve this problem, having painted 2 hectares in 2 weeks, but has also found a way to get financial help. This idea won him the prize in the “100 Ideas to Save the Planet” competition, for which he submitted at the end of 2009. The prize, awarded by the World Bank, is of about $200.000 (£135.000).

There is one more important thing to be mentioned : The paint he uses is a mix of ecological ingredients like industrial egg-white, water and lime.

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Environment Crisis Spawns Artworks Visible from Space

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Environmental organization 350.org has just kickstarted the world’s first global climate art project, where the Earth itself is the canvas for incredible artworks visible from space.

The worldwide exhibit includes sixteen art pieces in twelve different countries, but they all have the same purpose – raising awareness about climate change. Created just before world nations leaders gather in Cancun, Mexico, for the UN climate meetings, these giant artworks will catch the attention of everyone, including aliens, since they are visible from outer space.

Trying to get leaders to accept 350 parts per million as the target for stabilization of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, members of 350.org have organized the masses around the world into living works of art, visible from space. I’m not sure this is enough to impress corporation-controlled governments to do the right thing, but their efforts are definitely commendable. Take a look of what they achieved, below:

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Russian Woman Builds Glass Bottle House

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The glass bottle house built by Olga Queen, from Novoshakhtinsk, Russia is a fine addition to our hefty collection of glass bottle architecture, which already includes various bottle houses and a unique bottle temple.

In an effort to build herself a house out of cheap and environment-friendly materials, Olga Queen spent six months collecting glass bottles, around her home town of Novoshakhtinsk. She managed to gather around 5,000 of them, which proved enough to build her very own little dream house. Using some wood for the framework and concrete to fix the bottles in place, she manged to finish construction and is now ready to move in.

Glass might not seem like the right material to use when building a house, especially in a place like Russia, but the air trapped in the bottles actually provides great insulation. We’ll just see if Olga makes it through the winter in her little glass home.

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Chinese Environmentalist Sails 1,000 Km in Plastic Bottle Boat

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Xia Yu, a man who really believes in the concept of recycling, has built a functional boat out of 2,010 plastic bottles.

The 37-year-old boat builder gathered all the plastic bottles at a tea-house he manages in Xiangtan, central Hunan Province, China. Every time a customer left behind a plastic bottle, he just added it to his supply, until he got the number he needed to start construction on his boat.

This is not Xia Yu’s first plastic bottle boat. Last year, he built hos first one out of 1,500 plastic bottles and sailed 35 miles in it. This experience gave him the confidence to built a second, larger boat, to sail in all the way to Shanghai, for the World Expo. His second creation is seven meters long, features 5 sails ( the tallest of which las a special message that reads “Low carbon emission, beautiful world”) and has room for a six man crew.

Although when he began his journey to the Shanghai World Expo, in May, he expected it to last only 45 days, Xia Yu only arrived at the event on September 15, after sailing over 1,000 miles. He hopes his achievement will raise awareness to the environmental problems afecting our lives every day.

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