All New Rooftops Must Be Covered in Plants or Solar Panels in France

Source: Returntonow

In an effort to make concrete jungles more eco-friendly, France recently passed a law requiring the rooftops of all new buildings in commercial zones to be fully or partially covered in plants or solar panels.

The concept, known as “green roofs,” is becoming so popular in some cities, like Paris, that even the owners of old buildings are voluntarily complying with the law, building giant rooftop farms, meadows and apiaries for bees and other pollinators.

Green roofs provide a long list of fantastic benefits to society, while insulating it from some of the inherent drawbacks of urban life:

1. Cools outside air

The reason city streets can be so sweltering hot in the summer is because their aren’t many or any trees to cool down the air.

Because there is little or no vegetation to absorb the sunlight, it is converted into heat energy, creating an phenomenon known as the Urban Heat Island Effect.

The daily dew and evaporation cycles of green roofs and walls are able to mitigate this effect, according to

2. Slash heating and air conditioning bills

Rooftops are the greatest source of heat-loss in the winter and heat-gain in the summer.

Green roofs provide extra efficient insulation, keeping heated air from escaping upward and absorbing sunlight that would otherwise beat down on the dark rooftops.

An extensive green roof in Canada reduced the demand for air conditioning in the summer by over 75%.

3. Cleans polluted air

Rooftop gardens can capture airborne pollutants and filter noxious gases.

That’s because plants, especially bigger plants act as air purifiers.

Also because they reduce the need for heating and AC, power plants release less CO2 and other polluting byproducts into the air.

4. Reduces water pollution

In summer, green roofs can absorb between 70 and 90% of the rain that falls on them.

This reduces the amount of storm-water that runs off buildings into overburdened sewage systems.

Urban runoff is a huge problem in which all the rainwater that hits polluted city surfaces (rooftops, sidewalks, streets) rushes into city sewers and then drains straight into rivers and lakes.

Because so much of the surface area of cities is impermeable, urban flooding is also a problem.

Rooftop gardens, especially those with deep roots and soil, can reduce both of these problems by absorbing the water and filtering any runoff.

5. Local, organic food

Because the people who install rooftop gardens tend to be ec0-minded folks, they tend to use organic agriculture, or better yet permaculture, providing fresh, local, organic food for local restaurants and citizens.

6. Habitat for wildlife

Rooftop plants provide safe havens for birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators to make homes, find food or stop and rest while passing through urban deserts.

Planned I-5 Freeway Widening Project In Portland Keeps Taking Hits

Source: OPB

Three years ago, the proposed freeway widening project near Portland’s Rose Quarter was a jewel in the crown of a landmark transportation bill passed by Oregon Legislators.

Gov. Kate Brown touted the Oregon Department of Transportation’s claim that the $450 million project would address “one of the worst bottlenecks for freight and passenger vehicles in the entire nation.”

Interstate 5 runs through the Rose Quarter in Portland, Oregon, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.

Interstate 5 runs through the Rose Quarter in Portland, Oregon, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.

Bradley W. Parks/OPB

Political leaders hoped the I-5 Rose Quarter project – along with similar projects on Interstate 205 in Oregon City and West Linn and Highway 217 in Washington County — would show voters that they were doing something concrete about the rapidly increasing congestion in the Portland area.

Fast forward to 2020, and the Rose Quarter jewel is looking increasingly tarnished. The project’s price tag is threatening to top $1 billion. Climate activists are fighting it. And local officials say ODOT is failing to address the impact of the project on the fabric of the dense urban community around it, including a middle school that backs up to I-5.

Metro Council President Lynn Peterson said ODOT has tried to speed the Rose Quarter project through environmental reviews to avoid getting bogged down.

“But what they don’t consider is the risk of not having community ownership,” she said. “And if you don’t have community ownership, you do end up with the Columbia River Crossing example … and so you have just spent years and time and resources on something that everybody agrees to, and you’d never get to construction.”

The Columbia River Crossing, the multi-billion-dollar project by Oregon and Washington to build a new bridge across the Columbia, was deep-sixed by political opposition in 2013.

Now the Rose Quarter project is at a key turning point. The concerns mounted to the point that the governor ordered the Oregon Transportation Commission to hit the pause button while studying the environmental, social and cost issues that threaten the project.

The commission will meet Thursday, and Chairman Robert Van Brocklin is laying out a long to-do list for the next several months.

“I believe these actions demonstrate our intention to be a constructive partner on the Project,” wrote Van Brocklin, a Portland lawyer.

In short, the heat is on.  Here is a look at the major issues facing the project:

The Cost

Back in 2017, ODOT estimated the project would cost $450 million. Now, a new report from ODOT pegs the cost at between $715 million and $795 million – and that doesn’t include some key changes to the project sought by local leaders. Add all of that up and it could easily top $1 billion.

When ODOT gave legislators the $450 million cost estimate back in 2017, the agency didn’t bother to forecast the impact of inflation. That accounts for about half of the increase. Metro’s Peterson, who has a graduate degree in engineering, shakes her head at this. Figuring in inflation is something you’d find in a fundamentals of engineering exam, she said.

Lindsay Baker, ODOT’s government relations and external relations director, said it wasn’t clear back in 2017 when construction would begin. She said that made it hard to come up with a solid cost projection.

Still, she acknowledged, “if we were asked do that again today, I think we would probably build in the inflationary cost.”

Construction is now scheduled to begin in 2023. Officials say that they’ve now done enough design and engineering work to give them a lot more information about how much it will cost. That’s also led to major cost increases on everything from land acquisition to lowering sections of the I-5 roadway to accommodate highway covers.

The big issue now is how to pay for all of this. ODOT’s Baker says there are a lot of possibilities, ranging from federal grants to vehicle tolls.

House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, said she is looking at tolling to avoid cannibalizing other road projects around the state to pay the tab for the Rose Quarter work.

“We now have a challenge before the Legislature of how we do that,” Kotek told reporters Friday during an event previewing the 2020 legislative session. “And one of the things I think we’re going to have bring back to the table is more immediate implementation of region-wide congestion pricing.”

In particular, she is looking at tolling I-5 and I-205 from the Columbia River through Wilsonville. Oregon has already applied for federal permission to toll smaller sections of I-5 and I-205 around the proposed widening projects on those freeways. But broader tolling could raise a lot more revenue. ODOT has estimated it could generate $300 million a year – and that’s before taking inflation into account.

Of course, tolling faces a lot of opposition. Canby Rep. Christine Drazan, the House Republican leader, said she’d rather that the state shift work to the I-205 widening project next to her district. Right now, that project is waiting in line behind the Rose Quarter.

The Project’s Purpose

The guts of the Rose Quarter project is a 1.7-mile section stretching roughly from the junction with Interstate 405 to the Marquam Bridge over the Willamette River.

This cramped bit of freeway includes a series of tricky merges and has more than 200 crashes per year. The vast majority of those are fender benders, but they help produce about 12 hours of daily congestion. The trucking industry’s research arm calls it the 28th worst highway bottleneck in the country.

ODOT plans to install a series of “auxiliary lanes” that it says will reduce the number of crashes and make merging smoother.

“We fully admit that this isn’t going to eliminate congestion at the Rose Quarter,” said one top ODOT official, Travis Brouwer, after the transportation bill won legislative approval. “But we do expect that it will make traffic a lot better.”

The project includes several other elements besides the auxiliary lanes. They include two covers over the freeway near the Rose Center, a new bicycle and pedestrian bridge and a major reorientation of the entrance and exit ramps at the Rose Quarter.

Those add-ons bought the Rose Quarter project some early buy-in from Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

“If somebody came to me and said, ‘Ted, do you want to spend half a billion on a freeway expansion?’, I say, ‘No and hell no,’” Wheeler said at a 2017 City Council hearing. “But that’s not what this is.”

However, local officials have increasingly come to see the non-freeway parts of the project as inadequate. By mid-2019 Wheeler and Peterson were writing a joint letter calling on ODOT to take a much more careful look at several key details involving the project. That includes rectifying the damage that the original construction of I-5 wreaked on North Portland – particularly the largely African-American Lower Albina neighborhood.

“We will only get one shot to help heal the wound Interstate 5 cut in Albina 60 years ago,” Wheeler and Peterson wrote. “We have to get it right.”

Similarly, concerns have grown about the impact of the freeway on Harriet Tubman Middle School. The Portland Public School board has already voted to oppose the highway project if the state fails to do a much more detailed environmental study.

Traffic rumbles by on Interstate 5 near the back of Portland’s Harriet Tubman Middle School.

Traffic rumbles by on Interstate 5 near the back of Portland’s Harriet Tubman Middle School.

Jeff Mapes/OPB

Scott Bailey, a Portland Public Schools board member, said he worries that widening the freeway could cause further noise and air pollution impacts on the already overburdened school.

Bailey said the school district has already spent millions of dollars on an expensive air filtration system for the school. And he said ODOT officials “just haven’t done anything close to a thorough assessment” of the added risk of moving traffic even closer to the school.

ODOT officials say they are offering to build a sound wall that would help reduce the impact on the school. But Bailey said the science isn’t there to say that will work.

“If they want to build us a new school – a safe site – go for it,” he added.  Ballpark estimate for that: $100 million.

Capping The Freeway

Rukaiyah Adams is one of the most powerful civic figures in Portland. She’s chief investment officer at the Meyer Memorial Trust, one of the state’s largest charities. She is also chair of the Oregon Investment Council, which oversees one of the nation’s largest pension funds. And she heads the Albina Vision Trust, a nonprofit that has developed sweeping plans to recreate a vibrant neighborhood next to the Rose Quarter.

Adams and the Albina Vision board has pushed for a full environmental impact statement on the project, saying that the less-extensive environmental assessment conducted by ODOT is inadequate. In particular, the group wants to beef up the caps so that they could support multi-story buildings and help knit a new Albina neighborhood into the area east of the freeway.

Their call has won wide support in the local power structure, with Kotek, Wheeler and Peterson among those insisting that they want a project that heals the wounds of I-5’s original construction, not exacerbate it.

Adams, an OPB board member, declined an interview. But in advance of Thursday’s Oregon Transportation Commission hearing, she let ODOT have it in a series of tweets in which she said the agency “ran that hustle” of offering up wholly inadequate covers over the freeway.

“Those expensive, & wimpy caps, were ill conceived as ‘parks,’” she said.  “Who wants to picnic on a piece of patch above a freeway[?]”

ODOT has so far offered only the roughest estimate — $200 million to $500 million — of the cost of more robust caps. Adams said the agency has dragged its feet on seriously looking at how to build better freeway covers.

This ODOT image shows its plan for highway covers over a section of Interstate 5 near Portland's Rose Quarter.

This ODOT image shows its plan for highway covers over a section of Interstate 5 near Portland’s Rose Quarter.

Courtesy of the Oregon Department of Transportation

Van Brocklin, the transportation commission chair, said he will propose Thursday that ODOT produce a final report by October explaining how to develop caps and other elements that “promotes the redevelopment of the Albina neighborhood.”

If this substantially increases the project’s cost, that could meet some pushback from legislators outside Portland who are primarily concerned with widening the freeway.

“If Portland wants to put lids and all that kind of stuff on freeways, the state’s job is to make sure whatever we do allows that to happen, but we’re not paying for it,” said Sen. Lee Beyer, D-Springfield, chairman of the Joint Transportation Committee. “That’s a local decision, local desire … It’s not part of the state highway system.”


The growing movement to fight climate change has fueled the fight against putting any money into widening the freeway.

“If we aren’t preparing for the radical changes that are coming ahead and we don’t have the leadership that has the guts, they need to step aside,” said Aaron Brown, the leader of No More Freeway Expansions. “Climate leaders don’t widen freeways.”

Brown and Joe Cortright, a Portland economist who has also been an influential opponent, argue that any reduction in congestion will only be temporary. They say widening I-5 will spur more demand, quickly filling up the freeway again. That means more idling vehicles producing more pollution affecting the surrounding community.

ODOT officials and other supporters of the expansion argue that improving traffic flow among all the interchanges in the Rose Quarter area won’t necessarily increase demand. And they point out that ODOT is also studying tolling to see how that helps manage demand.

Cortright has long argued that ODOT should toll at least that section of I-5 before going ahead with the project.

“You’re much better to put the congestion pricing in first and see what capacity if any you need,” he said last year. “Then you can spend that money much more wisely.”

Van Brocklin said the commission will consider “further steps” to integrate tolling with the freeway project. But even many of the local officials who have been slamming ODOT don’t oppose the project.

Peterson, for example, called it an “important congestion-relief project” that could increase safety. She said her focus is on making sure the agency studies all the issues involved in getting the project right.

“We need to have a conversation about the complete package,” she said, “and you put that into perspective when you do an environmental impact statement.”

The Rose Quarter project overview shows an ODOT rendering of what its freeway widening project would look like near the Moda Center and the Oregon Convention Center.

The Rose Quarter project overview shows an ODOT rendering of what its freeway widening project would look like near the Moda Center and the Oregon Convention Center.

Courtesy of the Oregon Department of Transportation

ODOT has so far resisted calls for a full environmental impact statement that would call for the agency to consider a wide range of alternatives. Instead, Peterson said the environmental assessment isn’t as rigorous.

Van Brocklin said he wants to decide by March 20 whether to conduct a full environmental impact statement. In addition, he’s interested in further study of air and noise quality issues – and of the project’s impact on Tubman Middle School.

Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, headed a committee that put together the list of Portland highway projects included in the 2017 transportation bill. He said the Rose Quarter project was always going to be difficult given I-5’s location in the middle of a dense urban area.

“You still have to transport these products and we have this chokepoint,” he said. “It’s just the bottom line. And we’re really out here, unfortunately, trying to pick the best of maybe what people would consider the worst solutions.”

Fashion’s latest trend? Why H&M, other big brands are investing in garment recycling

Recycled fabric
The fashion industry has a pollution problem. If the industry continues on its current pathway, it could use more than a quarter of the carbon budget associated with a 2 degrees Celsius pathway by 2050, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

These skyrocketing emissions are compounded by the fact that the fashion industry has dramatically low rates of recycling, which creates a dependence on virgin materials. Worldwide, 87 percent of material used for clothing production is landfilled or incinerated after its final use, and less than 1 percent of material used to produce clothing is recycled to produce new clothing.

“The way we recycle clothes hasn’t changed in a century or more,” said Elizabeth Cline, author of “The Conscious Closet: The Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good” and a well-known fashion journalist. “It’s really limited to shredding clothes and weaving them back new threads.”

The mechanical recycling processes of which Cline speaks degrade fiber quality, resulting in lower-value end uses or the need to mix recycled fibers with virgin ones.And for many post-consumer garments, reuse is not an option. For textile waste generated in Europe, for example, an average of only 5-10 percent was suitable for reuse within the continent, according to Swedish research institute Mistra Future Fashion. In order to stem the global flow of textile waste, an alternative to reuse must exist.

Welcome to the lab

Enter a new technology: chemical garment-to-garment recycling. This process, which has seen a flurry of research efforts in the past five years, uses chemical solvents to break down old garments into virgin-quality fibers. Chemical recycling processes can separate blends of types of fabric while retaining fiber integrity, a feat which mechanical recycling processes are incapable of. In addition, solvents used in the process often can be collected after usage and re-used continuously.

“We make it possible to make clothes out of clothes again. Most of the recycled materials you encounter in fashion today are recycled not from textiles but from things like plastic bottles or nylon fishing nets,” said Harald Cavalli-Björkman, head of communications for Re:newcell. “Those materials are great, but they solve waste problems in other industries, not in fashion.”

Re:newcell, a Sweden-based company, has developed a process that uses chemical solvents to dissolve fabrics such as cotton and viscose to create “circulose pulp,” which then can be extruded into new fibers and spun to create yarn.

Re:newcell is one of a handful of companies, including U.S.-based Evrnu, Italy-based Aquafil and U.K-based Worn Again Technologies, that are pushing innovations in chemical garment-to-garment recycling processes forward. These companies are at the forefront of a technological revolution that could significantly increase recycling rates within the fashion industry.

This type of technology can be a boon for the environment as well as the economy, said Tasha Lewis, an associate professor in the Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design at Cornell University.

“This should reduce demand for pesticides, petroleum and water — to name a few potential environmental benefits,” she told GreenBiz. “There may also be new job creation [and] businesses around the collection, sorting and processing of post-consumer textile waste for large-scale recycling.”

But the companies pioneering the technology, by and large, are still in the research and development (R&D) and pilot phases. Several barriers remain that block large-scale use, such as finding steady sources of materials, adequately preparing materials for recycling and finding the capital needed for large new plants.

“I think the collection and sorting processes for the post-consumer textile waste needed to drive these technologies at scale are still lagging behind,” Lewis said. “In my research, we also had to do a bit of detective work to find out a particular fiber content for a garment since many used garments are missing content labels. This could also slow down processing.”Preparing garments for recycling (which requires removing trims and taking garments apart at the seams) introduces another variable that costs time, Lewis said.

Cavalli-Björkman also pointed to recyclers’ ability to source raw materials as a barrier. Although, he added, that’s not for lack of textile waste.

“We know that more than 20 million tons of cotton is wasted every year,” he said. “The trouble is making all of it available for recycling at a reasonable cost.”

In the meantime, Re:newcell is searching for investors to put money behind scaling up its technology, which requires much higher capital expenditures than a run-of-the-mill software startup. Put simply: “We need buildings and machines,” Cavalli-Björkman said.

H&M encourages scale

But some investors are already forging ahead. According to Re:newcell, Swedish brands H&M and KappAhl have invested significantly in the company. Cavalli-Björkman said these companies have opened doors for Re:newcell in the industry and helped accelerate its scaling process.

In addition to H&M’s venture arm, officially known as H&M CO:LAB, the nonprofit H&M Foundation also has played a significant role in accelerating garment recycling technologies. To date, the H&M Foundation has invested 6 million euros in the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA), a research facility developing separation and recycling solutions that target textile blends.

Since collaborating with the H&M Foundation in 2016, HKRITA has succeeded in developing a novel method for recycling textiles that uses water, heat and a small amount of chemical solvents. In September 2018, HKRITA opened a pre-industrial scale facility in Hong Kong that makes use of the technology.

“All work of the H&M Foundation strives to impact the entire fashion industry, not just H&M,” said Erik Bang, innovation lead for the H&M Foundation. “Hence we don’t take any ownership in the technologies we develop, instead we will through HKRITA give the separation & recycling technology away for anyone to use.”

HKRITA will be allowed to license the technology to other companies that can use it. This approach, Bang said, is how the H&M Foundation believes it can maximize impact.

The nonprofit’s support of advancing this technology comes from a need to ameliorate fast fashion’s devastating environmental effects. “The industry will not be able to meet the growing demand of fashion from a growing world population and global middle class relying on natural resources,” Bang said. “There is simply not enough land or water available in a long-term perspective of 10-20 years.”

Understanding the tradeoffs

Not everyone in fashion is convinced that garment recycling will fully circularize the industry, though

“Garment recycling may make the current overproduction seem acceptable, just as plastic recycling makes single-use plastics seem acceptable. Neither is acceptable,” said Timo Rissanen, associate professor of fashion design and sustainability at Parsons. “We need a drastic reduction in the production of clothing overall: a strategic degrowth of the fashion industry that is commensurate with the planetary emergency we are now in.”

In order to minimize its environmental impacts, the fashion industry must combine investments in garment recycling, which can reduce use of virgin resources, with a strategy to reverse growth, Rissanen said. “If all of the industry output is eventually recycled but the industry output grows overall at the same time, I’m not too hopeful about our future,” he said.

Another potential complication of widespread usage of garment-to-garment recycling is greenwashing. “If we end up with a variety of processes and companies that are not standardized or connected to one another, we may end up with confusion in the marketplace and some ‘greenwashing’ around the types of recycled materials that are being used for new garment manufacture,” Lewis said.

“Companies will only invest in sustainability when sustainability is driving efficiency,” Cline added. Combined with a focus on end-of-life solutions for textiles needs to be a focus on the beginning of life stage, through better regulations on how textiles are used and sourced, she added.

In addition, Cline points out that more research and life-cycle assessments are needed to fully understand the energy required to recycle textiles.

But in an industry where the average number of times a garment is worn decreased by 36 percent from 2002 to 2017, garment recycling is a light of hope for many large fashion retailers.

Aquafil, for example, the Italy-based company that makes Econyl nylon, told GreenBiz that their nylon, made primarily from recycled nylon carpets and fishing nets, reduces the global warming impact of nylon by up to 80 percent compared with nylon made from oil. The company recently has partnered with brands such as Napapijri to create a take-back and recycling program.After a minimum of two years of purchase (in order to promote mindful consumption, says Aquafil), customers send the jackets back to Napapijri, and the jackets are recycled into Ecoynyl nylon. Furthermore, customers receive a voucher to purchase any new Napapijri jacket made from recycled material. Aquafil says Ecoynyl Nylon can be recycled again and again without sacrificing fiber quality.

“We want to help brands leave linear production models and become closed loops unto themselves — keeping their material footprint to a minimum by circulating a certain amount of physical material in an endless cycle of design, use, recovery, design, use and so on,” Cavalli-Björkman said.

He pointed to the paper recycling industry, which has burgeoned over the past three decades to a global recycling rate of 58 percent, according to the Global Forest and Paper Industry, after initial doubts that the technology could be effectively scaled.

“There’s no reason we couldn’t or shouldn’t get to at least the same level in fashion,” he said.

Molokini Snorkeling Reviews and Tips To Make Your Snorkeling Trip an Eco Friendly One

Screen Shot 2020 01 10 at 4.03.53 PM

Make the most out of life by exploring the sea. Wear them goggles right, plunge into the water, and snorkel away! Soak in the physical benefits of snorkeling, such as muscle strengthening, cardiovascular fitness, joint mobility, and better mental health while rejuvenating your soul with the beauty that the ocean holds.


The real question that needs to be asked is where’s the perfect spot? In all honesty, there are a lot of places to go snorkeling, but one of them holds a legendary place in the hearts of divers, thanks to its crystal clear waters and flourishing marine life. Go all out and dive into one of the world’s best diving spots — the Molokini crater in Maui, Hawaii!


The Molokini Crater, Hawaii


Look for the best Molokini snorkeling tours in Hawaii and make sure that your tour makes the most out of your time. Some tours have two stops — the Molokini Crater and the Makena Coast. Also, look for tours that serve local dishes as you should definitely have the full Hawaiian experience.


Molokini Crater is worth every breath held and every paddle. If you fear sharks and deep waters, this spot is perfect for you. The crater is shallow — perfect for snorkeling and a complete turn off for sharks. There’s a lot of fish swimming around the area and a few turtles that would pop in to say hi.


Additionally, if you’ve been to Maui, you’re very well aware of the flora and fauna in Molokini Crater — over 200 species of fish! One activity that can be loads of fun for all ages is scouring the waters and crossing off species on your list as you see them. Kai Kanani tour guides are knowledgeable of some of the fish species, too, so don’t hesitate to ask them questions and make small talk.


Eco-friendly Snorkeling Trip


Different types of tours that stop at the crater are offered, but have you ever tried going for something that benefits you, the ocean, and the animals that are living in it?


Also, if traveling with your family, teaching your kids to go green, like spending time outdoors, can help them learn about nature and the planet so that they grow up as well-rounded individuals. It also helps if the entire family knows how to be eco-friendly.


If it sounds like something you would want to do, here are a few things you can practice to be a step closer to having an eco-friendly snorkeling trip:



  1. Ditch The Plastic


Single-use plastic is a thing of the past and it should be left there! Going plastic-free is also an upcoming trend in 2020. Give yourself an upgrade and use recyclable containers or upcycled bags instead.


When floating, single-use plastic reminds sea critters of food that can be very inviting if they’re hungry. However, these plastic products are indigestible and can bring about harm to almost all who encounter it.


  1. Coral Reef-sake Skincare Products


Sustainable living is becoming more and more popular. Innovations are being made of traditional products to accommodate this holistic approach to life and the market is more open to eliminating single-use plastics. The availability of products that are sustainable and eco-friendly is at its best, which brings us to coral reef-safe skincare products.


Snorkeling involves being under the sun while swimming in salt-water that could cause uncomfortable burns to your skin if not taken care of properly. Because of the variety of chemicals, some sunscreen or beauty products can be harmful to our friends living in the sea. However, there are different brands that sell sunscreen that’s not harmful to coral reefs. Thus, before diving into the ocean, make sure that the beauty products you’re wearing won’t cause any damage to the sea critters.


  1. Practice CLAYGO


Whether the trash is yours or not, picking it up helps not only the planet but also everything that lives on it.


Clean as you go (CLAYGO) was coined to help encourage people to clean up after eating. Along with practicing CLAYGO, sorting your rubbish is also a big step.


This rule applies when snorkeling. Since there’s a tendency that the original owner of the trash can no longer be traced, don’t just leave it there floating and waiting for fishes to get poisoned by it. If you ever see trash when snorkeling, give mother nature a hand by picking it up and throwing it properly.


  1. Have Healthy Snacks


Snorkeling can use up a lot of energy and surface intervals are usually spent eating or resting. Snacks usually come along with wrappers and, most of the time, are not disposed of properly.


Lessen the hassle and maximize your surface interval time by snacking on some fruits. Some fruits have peels that edible and biodegradable, which can be beneficial for you, the sea animals, and mother nature.




Planning an eco-friendly snorkeling trip is not that hard, even if a lot of people are telling you otherwise. It only takes a bit of research, the best tour package, and the conscious effort to save the planet to make your future trip a success.

The climate case for construction

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It’s not easy to make the transparent visible, particularly when it comes to infrastructure. It’s easy to take the mundane for granted except for when things go wrong: our cell phone networks; the modern electrical grid that has been around for more than 100 years; our water and sewage systems; and especially the buildings we spend most of our lives inside of.

The building you call home, or the one you call your office — the building you are sitting in at this very moment —has a huge impact on the environment. From heating and cooling, to lighting, insulation and more, every small home, medium warehouse and large high-rise office building is responsible for emitting carbon into the atmosphere. Referred to as operational carbon — or the carbon emissions associated with building operations — this well-known output has seen years of innovation across the built environment to mitigate some of its dire environmental impacts.

However, one other significant piece of the sustainable building puzzle, embodied carbon, is sorely overlooked. Embodied carbon is operational carbon’s often-overlooked counterpart; it is the footprint that results from the building and construction of a project, including the extraction, fabrication, transportation and erection of construction materials. While many tools exist to better manage energy associated with building operations, to date, there has not been an efficient method to measure and therefore manage the carbon emissions associated with building construction.

In fact, even in the environmental community, few know that the emissions from manufacturing building materials actually contribute more than 11 percent of global emissions (good luck wrapping your head around a record 37.1 gigatons of global CO2 emissions in 2018). Unfortunately, all embodied carbon processes are invisible to the future tenant and their true cost is not part of the development equation.”Out of sight, out of mind” no longer can justify a willfully ignorant approach to a significant source of CO2 and a knowable footprint of new construction.

As natural disasters become more destructive and “climate strikes” take hold around the globe, we no longer collectively can turn a blind eye to the climate crisis we’re racing towards. It’s time for governments, businesses and citizens (and especially the real estate and construction industry) to answer the calls of climate action that are being shouted from all corners of the world.

That’s why today, it’s increasingly important for corporations, investors and innovators to work together to create new solutions that can address embodied carbon and its inherent hidden challenges at scale.

Leadership is coming from global construction multinationals such as Skanska, which through a partnership with Microsoft, the Carbon Leadership ForumMagnusson KlemencicCharles Pankow Foundation and many other parties, is taking the lead on sustainable building through its Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator tool, or the EC3 tool. The EC3 tool accesses an open-source database of environmental product declarations (EPDs) for thousands of building materials from suppliers across the industry and relies on sophisticated, research-based methodologies to support the analysis and representation of the carbon footprint of common building materials. As a result, for the first time, the EC3 tool enables anyone in the construction value-chain to more quickly and accurately measure the embodied carbon impacts of a project’s materials and empowers more “carbon smart” choices.

At the same time, we’re seeing a significant amount of investment and growing interest in proptech startups, including those building solutions to make construction more efficient, resilient and safer. Think Katerra, a technology-driven offsite construction company, or Versatile Natures, which is leveraging machine learning and AI to improve construction processes, or Toggle, a startup using robotics and automation to assemble rebar for prefabricated concrete — the world’s most ubiquitous building material. Using innovative technologies such as IoT, AI and robotics, these startups are taking age-old construction practices and turning them on their heads to better align with the needs and technology of the 21st century.Despite the continued growth of the construction industry — which creates $1.3 trillion worth of structures each year, according to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) — today’s construction industry predominantly relies on 20th-century tools, regulations and manual processes. This costs developers millions of dollars due to construction inefficiencies and design errors. It also ensures that construction remains one of the most dangerous jobs and environmental impacts are relegated to an afterthought. By integrating technology to revamp construction practices, Katerra, Versatile Natures and Toggle are, in their own way, working to change this reality and empower the construction industry to build more efficiently, safely and sustainably than ever before.

As more leaders across the built environment accept, adopt and scale innovations from the likes of emerging startups, we will be able to more forcefully and adequately address pollution due to the built environment, tackle the threat of embodied carbon and meet the climate crisis head on.

Green Moving Basics: How To Make Your Move Eco-Friendly

Conducting a green move isn’t always an easy decision. There are a ton of factors especially pertaining to sustainability and conservation of resources in general that can affect the efficiency of the move. if this isn’t your first time conducting a win move, you’d likely understand what we mean when we say green moving takes a lot of time and planning. And if you’re a newbie, just because this concept can be a bit complex doesn’t highly mean it’s impossible. If you want to conduct a green move you can pertain to some of the basic steps below.


  • Avoid having multiple trips to your new home. With or without a mover, it’s understandably tricky to get all your things moved to your new home. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should just make a ton of trips to bring a few boxes to your new house. If possible, invest in borrowing a truck or two to bring as much things to your new home in as few trips as possible. This might be hassling on your end, as you might need to pack more things faster. However, if this means having to bring more things in a shorter time, that would reduce your moving time dramatically. In turn, this can help you save time and money, and cut down on your carbon emissions as well. 
  • Assess and confirm green policies. Aside from checking for green moving opportunities, check your location if there are rules and regulations pertaining to green lifestyles at large. Do make sure to check whether services like green movers and a long distance moving company can actually operate in your particular state. Aside from that, do make sure that you’re aware whether your state actually supports or incentivizes moves towards sustainable and green living. This gives you and your family the opportunity to plan not just your move but green living in general. 
  • Consolidate your inventory very early on in the moving process. Consolidate your inventory to remove items you don’t need. It’s important to create an inventory for your move, as this allows you to be aware exactly what you own and what you might want to do with your belongings. It’s advisable you use a digital spreadsheet so you don’t waste on paper while doing this. List everything you own and other relevant information, such as quantity, your estimated price, and relevant notes for reference. Consider if these objects, furniture, and accessories have sentimental value or need to go to your new home. If not, consider selling or donating them. This not just ensures you’re reusing your belongings, but you’re making the best use out of them. This is important especially if you plan on hiring services. For instance, if you have a lot of musical instruments at home, then long distance piano movers may have the right tools for the job. As such, not only is this helpful to save you money, it can help you avoid unnecessary expenses like buying new furniture or accessories. 
  • Dispose of dangerous materials in an eco-friendly way. While decluttering your home, you’ll likely encounter materials such as insecticides and pesticides that can be harmful to the environment. That, coupled with expired food and old electronics, can be a dangerous combination not just for you, but also the people around you. When disposing of these materials, try clarifying with experts as to how you can approach this process in a way that won’t endanger your lives and the environment at large.
  • Hire the right professionals for the job. It helps to try finding professional assistance to help you double down on your green move. While a significant population of movers out there tout themselves as a long distance moving company, they also tend to have a variety of specializations – including house moves, office moves, and even green moves among others. If you’re canvassing for professional moving help, try to ask your prospective movers how they approach their business in a sustainable manner. You might be surprised with how a lot of moving companies have become adding focus on using plastic crates, and renewable energy, and other forms of sustainable operations.


Green Moving: Make It Easy With Planning

When it comes to conducting a green move, it’s important to remember that you should first consolidate your resources, manpower, and time in order to make the move as smooth and stress-free as possible. Of course, this isn’t always the easiest thing in the world – but it can feel refreshing knowing you’re doing a move that can benefit nature in the long run. And with the tips above, you’ll hopefully be able to conduct a green move that wouldn’t exactly stress you out.

The truth behind Portland’s Holiday Martini

Source: Oregonian

Over the years, various people have read various meanings into the oversized and ornately lit martini glass that beams down over Portland each holiday season.


To some, the West Hills fixture is a familiar symbol of Christmas cheer. To others, it’s an homage to Portland’s anti-establishment ethos. To a few, it’s unfortunate encouragement to party too hard this time of year.


Monty Meadows was in high school when he got the bright idea to replicate a smaller display he’d seen in the neighborhood. He swiped two-by-fours from a few nearby construction sites and borrowed some Christmas lights. He was not, as at least one Oregon trivia book states, trying to alert buddies that his parents were out of town.

“I don’t even know where that idea came from, although I have heard it from several people over the years,” he says. “It was the 1970s. Cocktail parties were cool.”

Two days after he erected his ramshackle sign on the side of the family’s Southwest Buckingham Court home, wintry winds knocked it down. Meadows put up a stronger version, but Mother Nature struck again. Finally his father, onetime Portland car dealer Merritt “Bud” Meadows, offered to help.

The sign, built in either 1976 or 1977 depending on whom you ask, became a family project. Each year, Meadows and his dad would add more lights and stronger aluminum piping. Sometimes one of his siblings helped out. Sometimes Meadows’ high school sweetheart joined them.

Since taking over, Dr. Gary Cooke has made the sign taller and more noticeable from a distance. He’s bunched the lights closer together and more consistently, giving it a more professional look. He’s added fog lights to help define the olive.

Under pressure from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, he built a big red slash that appears over the glass toward closing time.

Up close, the display seems surprisingly fragile: The martini glass is just a thin piece of tubing dotted with white bulbs. Four bigger bulbs –three green, one white –create the olive. The whole display stretches maybe 20 feet from top to bottom, nearly the same height as the unassuming –at least for this neighborhood –house it hangs on.

Although Meadows and his family haven’t lived with the sign for 25 years, they still take pride in their original handiwork.

“Nothing about those lights encouraged drunk driving,” he says. “Some people take everything too seriously.”

But the added hint of warning doesn’t bother Monty Meadows. He’s been sober for 11 years and appreciates the gesture.

“I was just a dumb kid when I put it up,” he says. “This maybe makes people think a little bit more. There isn’t really any deep meaning when you’re 16.”

Still, the martini glass carries good memories in its glow: time spent with his father. His parents were separated when Meadows, now 46, made the first version. The youngest of eight kids, he was among the last left at home to watch their marriage fall apart and one of the few to live in that big house after their father moved out.

Bud Meadows was a busy guy, between his car dealerships, his social life and his civic work on behalf of such causes as OMSI, Jesuit High School and the Multnomah County Youth Commission. His children say they didn’t get much quality time with him during the last years of their parents’ marriage.

These days, Monty Meadows is a carpenter who lives in Newberg. Two years ago, he married his high school sweetheart after 20 years apart. During this holiday season, he drives beneath his family’s former home on Interstate 405 every morning.

He likes to point out the martini glass to his co-workers, steering their attention to the lights on the hillside and saying, “You see that? I made that.”

They rarely believe him, but he doesn’t seem to care.

ecoShuttle’s mission is to provide innovative and flexible transportation options that harness alternative fuels and create a more sustainable Portland. Our goal is to improve the quality of life, now and for future generations, by committing to sustainable practices in everything we do. Each customer will be treated uniquely but with equal respect, and will be given the best possible experience focused on safety, reliability, and unparalleled customer service. Book a shuttle with us today!

City of Portland-Holiday garbage & recycling tips



If your garbage, recycling, and compost pick-up day is Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, expect a one-day delay after Christmas and New Year’s.  

Never miss a pick-up: Sign up for email reminders at

2019 Portland residential waste pick-up schedule changes


In case of bad weather, your pick-up may be delayed. Leave bins at the curb. Your garbage company will come as soon as they can.

Recycling, compost and garbage bins at the curb covered in snow


After the holidays, remove all tree decorations before setting out for pick-up.

Remove trimmings from tree before setting out

You have two options for disposing of your holiday tree:

  1. Set out your whole tree (6-feet or shorter) for a $5 charge.
  2. Or cut your tree into pieces (3-feet or shorter), and place in your compost bin for no extra charge (make sure the lid closes).

Set out whole tree or cut up and put in green bin

Note: Artificial trees and trees “flocked” with fake snow should be put at curb for pick-up as garbage ($5).


Set out extra bags or cans (32 gal and 55 lbs max) for $5 each.

For large, bulky items that don’t fit into your garbage bin (like furniture or mattresses), call your garbage company for a cost estimate (prices vary). If the item is still in good condition, consider donating! Call 503-234-3000 to find out donation organizations, drop-off locations and pick-up options.

Extra trash set out, in bag or bin


If you rent a house or apartment, ask your property manager before setting out whole trees, extra garbage or bulky items.


Read the full Winter 2019 Curbsider for more recycling tips and news.

ecoShuttle’s mission is to provide innovative and flexible transportation options that harness alternative fuels and create a more sustainable Portland. Our goal is to improve the quality of life, now and for future generations, by committing to sustainable practices in everything we do. Each customer will be treated uniquely but with equal respect, and will be given the best possible experience focused on safety, reliability, and unparalleled customer service. Book a shuttle with us today!

Salmon Die-Off Linked To Extremely Dry Conditions On Oregon’s North Coast

Screen Shot 2019 12 16 at 10.20.25 AM 1

Source: OPB


Extremely dry conditions have fueled a widespread die-off of fall chinook salmon on Oregon’s north coast.

After two months of low rainfall, hundreds of adult fish on multiple coastal streams are dying from an unusual outbreak of a naturally occurring parasite before they get a chance to spawn.

According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, extended low-water conditions have led to groups of salmon waiting to swim upstream in conditions that are conducive to the cryptobia parasite. The parasite doesn’t pose a risk to humans and only affects certain species of fish.

In response to reports from the public of dead pre-spawned fall chinook salmon in the Wilson River near Tillamook, the agency surveyed the stream and discovered at least 200 dead fish.

To protect the remaining salmon, the agency closed the Wilson River to fishing earlier this month. Then the agency surveyed the Nehalem, Trask and Kilchis rivers and found similar numbers of dead salmon.

The agency has now closed all fishing for fall chinook on the North Coast from the Nestucca to Necanicum rivers, including bays. Steelhead fishing seasons are not affected.

Robert Bradley, a district biologist for ODFW, said the parasite has killed far more fish this year than it ever has before, and it’s cutting down an already depleted run of fall chinook.

“The observed pre-spawn mortality is on top of a reduced run of fall chinook this year,” Bradley said. “We need to protect the remaining spawners to help provide for future runs of fall chinook on the North Coast.”

National Weather Service hydrologist Andy Bryant says some river flows on the north coast have dropped to just 10% of normal in the past two months.

On the Wilson River, where the parasite outbreak was first detected, river flows would normally be around 2,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), but recently they’ve fluctuated between 200 and 400 cfs. The numbers are equally dismal on the nearby Nehalem River, which is normally flowing at 1,500 and 2,000 cubic feet of water per second this time of year. It’s now flowing at 150 to 300 cfs.

“Normally for the north Oregon Coast Range we’d be seeing quite a bit of rain and we just haven’t seen that,” Bryant said. “So the river has pretty much just stayed at the low flows we had seen earlier in the fall. With the lack of rainfall it hasn’t started to come up like it typically would.”

Bryant said conditions are abnormally dry across most of the state of Oregon and across the entire Pacific Northwest.

ecoShuttle’s mission is to provide innovative and flexible transportation options that harness alternative fuels and create a more sustainable Portland. Our goal is to improve the quality of life, now and for future generations, by committing to sustainable practices in everything we do. Each customer will be treated uniquely but with equal respect, and will be given the best possible experience focused on safety, reliability, and unparalleled customer service. Book a shuttle with us today!