What are Five Things you can do today to combat plastic pollution in your community? We’re so glad you asked.
You know that the food you eat, the water you drink, and the air you breathe is affected by pollution. The very land you live on has no true borders, meaning what gets dumped in one ecosystem anyplace in the world certainly does have an effect on the very environment that you call home. That’s not okay.
If you’re like us, you want this to change. You want to do your part to save the planet. There’s no better organization to partner with to make this change than us at Green Stars. And there’s no better time to take action than now.
At Green Stars, we’re doing our part by recruiting Community Leaders. As a community leader, you’ll use your social influence to recruit friends and family who care about the environment as much as you. Along with your crew, you can work to improve your community by ridding it of plastic waste, plant some trees, and much more. Plus, you have the opportunity to earn some money and have fun while helping the planet. Or maybe you’d prefer to go it alone. Either way, we’re happy to have you participate.
In either case, you’ll be working with your community and the Green Stars Network. We’re working hard to develop a global group of people just like you that are committed to cleaning up the environment. We are also recruiting celebrities who have dedicated themselves to making changes towards a cleaner earth and cleaning up pollution.
Here’s another bonus of teaming with Green Stars. Aside from helping the planet, you can receive prizes and awards. Regardless of your participation, individual or team-based, you have the chance to work towards becoming a Green Stars EcoChampion and have your name listed on our site’s Green Stars Leaderboard for all to see.
Additionally, we choose one person from the leaderboard each year to serve as a Green Stars Ambassador. This ambassador gets to travel throughout the world for a one-year term and earns a salary of $180K. Not chosen as an ambassador? There’s still another chance at something pretty sweet. Each year, we choose several leaders to take part in our annual expenses-paid trips to popular destinations.
So how can you get involved and get on that leaderboard? With the following five tasks, it’s really easy…
Become a Social Media Influencer. Take advantage of your group of friends, schoolmates, family or anybody else you know and promote your activity with the Trash2Cash program across as many social media platforms as you like. Be sure to use these hashtags: #GreenStarsIndia, #GreenStarsEcoChampion, and #GreenStarsNepal. Share at least 10 posts showing your participation in Green Stars activities and you’ll receive an exclusive Green Stars Award for Social Media.
Start a Community Cleanup. Organize a neighborhood and community cleanup event for an upcoming weekend. Plan on spending at least 3 hours working with your group to clean the area and make a solid impact. Take before and after time-stamped images then share them on social media. Don’t forget to tag them!
Establish a Resource Collection Center. Work with companies or local government agencies to create a place for others to deposit materials collected. Develop a description of the facility, its capacity, and agree on a length of time in months or years that it will be operational. Send Green Stars this information. Can’t establish one? That’s okay. Instead, find one that is already in place and work to get the same details to be provided to Green Stars. And, in either case, get the word out on its location and capabilities via social media to earn points.
Become a Resource Gatherer. Either you or your group can work to identify locations that need to be cleaned up of excess plastic waste. Work to clean up at least 2500 lbs., take before and after time-stamped photos, and then share these on social media. Since this is a big project with tons of impact, you will get lots of points towards your Green Star Awards.
Create a Tree Planting Event. Planting trees is super important and benefits everyone, but be sure to check with your local NGO or the Minister of Forestry to get their backing. They can tell you what types of trees are allowed in your community. To get your points for this activity, you’ll need to take time-stamped before and after shots and share them on social media.
We look forward to having you on board.
Live on Green Stars
Green Stars around the world are ready to help you make a difference in combatting pollution and changing the environment for the better. First, we work using the power of Green Stars’ expertise to identify areas most negatively impacted by plastic resource accumulation. We are looking for individuals and groups in communities that have the most discarded plastic resources in India and Nepal. It is in these areas we are looking to recruit and cultivate leaders to share the leaderboard in our Green Stars events.
Working with you, Green Stars will support you in setting up events in your community in India and Nepal. Our successful model shows that it’s best to schedule events on normal non-working days, approximately every week. This allows for better commitment and participation. Events can be centered around resource gathering, and can also include tree planting.
Billed as The Green Stars Experience Day, each event is planned out well in advance. We suggest, planning at least six weeks ahead of where resource collection efforts will be. Reach out to community leaders and businesses that may be able to help with participation prizes or even as a resource collection destination. You will want to highlight for them the benefits of the project, explaining how resource collection, clean-up efforts, and even tree planting will benefit them and the community and what you are looking for in turn. Seek their support for the event and ask that they provide prizes for your community members who take part in helping to improve the overall community. These contributions can be based on most anything such as certificates good towards food, accommodation, travel, entertainment, and much, much more.
When planning an event, we have an agenda that has shown to work well. Following is an example of how a typical Green Star Day would play out:
7 – 10 AM – Time to Serve Our Mother
Your team arrives then is instructed to fan out in the area and collect clean and dry plastic resources, cigarette filters and anything else that is made from plastic that is also clean and dry. Once collected, team members bring the items back to the main checkpoint where items should be separated into three categories: shiny plastic aluminum or aluminum laminates (PALs), clear plastics, or cigarette filters. Each of these three categories then gets put into containers for disposal. PALs and clear plastics get bagged or put into containers while cigarette filters are placed into containers or bottles. Once contained, each is then weighed and will receive a QR code that is then uploaded through the Green Stars EcoChampion app.
During all portions of the event, community members should be reminded to take photos and post them to social media. All images should be tagged using the following: #GreenStarsIndia and @ GreenstarsIndia, #GreenStarsEcoChampion and @GreenStarsEcoChampion and/or #GreenStarsNepal and @ GreenstarsNepal. For participants working towards prizes, awards and the Green Stars EcoChampion Challenge, posting to social media is mandatory.
9 AM – Breakfast
Your group takes time for breakfast, held at a restaurant found in the community being worked in for Green Stars Experience Day. Note that while planning your event, many companies (even restaurants) have their own goals towards social responsibility. Finding one that is in tune with helping the environment can possibly benefit your team with the addition of new members.
As part of the breakfast session, there is a presentation and open chat on Trash2Cash.
Once everything has been weighed and the challenges have been completed, prizes will be awarded to community members as follows:
Afternoon – Community Member’s Choice
Participants can choose to take some time for rest and relaxation, socializing with others, or they can take part in the Fundraising, Creativity & Innovation activity that can put them closer to achieving a challenge goal.
Evening – Group Social Fun
Chosen by the Green Stars Leadership Lead, there are many types of activities for community members to participate in. Some examples in the past have included time spent collectively at local clubs/pubs, theatres, social clubs, or comedy clubs.
Various sponsorship arrangements can be made by you with the chosen location, usually guaranteed with a pre-established contract. For example, a business might provide complimentary snacks to verified attendees of the Green Star Day event. In cases where sponsorship cannot be obtained, Green Starts will provide 1.5 rounds at the location of choice.
Are you ready to start setting up a community event? We want it to all go smoothly for you so we’ve got some things to help you out. Trash2Cash can help you choose a location where a group of 15 to 25 people can work effectively. We can provide you with a list of deliverables that your team would be expected to accomplish from start to finish. We can even give you a simple contract to use when booking your breakfast location and your evening entertainment.
Now’s the time to get started. Simply fill out this form and select submit.
Currently Posted on Green Stars
Supporting endangered insect populations with designer flora.
The troubling collapse of bee populations worldwide gets more worrisome with every spring. According to BBC News, “Scientists have long suspected that insects are in dramatic decline, but new evidence confirms this. Research at more than 60 protected areas in Germany suggests flying insects have declined by more than 75 percent over almost 30 years.”
Matilde Boelhouwer, a graduate of the Netherlands' Artez Institute of the Arts, decided to do something about it. According to Boelhouwer’s site, designers are “obliged to think about new possibilities and opportunities and show new perspectives instead of only making more beautiful products.”
That obligation drove her to use her design skills in a positive, impactful way. Boelhouwer learned that jeopardized insects often faced a lack of food accompanied by exhaustion. She realized that if she could produce some type of artificial flower that would attract not only bees, but also the other important pollinators of the insect world (hoverflies, butterflies, and moths), these flowers could become a source of nourishment and respite for the insects.
Boelhouwer tapped her artistic talents and worked with entomologists to determine which design elements and other attractants would entice insects to feed at these auxiliary stations. This collaboration of art and science, according to an article in Fast Company, resulted in the production of artificial flowers that can be used repeatedly in urban areas.
Boelhouwer continues her mission from her studio, where she hopes to make people understand the importance of nature while also raising awareness of new ideas and solutions. Her recent creations include insect terraria and sweets made from insects.
Published on OvertureGlobal.com
Consisting of a group of 15 lanthanide elements plus yttrium, the rare earth elements are all metals, grouped together on the periodic table due to their similar properties.
What sets these elements apart from others on the periodic table is the arrangement of their outer electrons. These electrons can change energy states and release visible light (fluorescence). They can absorb light or UV rays and re-emit the energy as a red or green glow. Additionally, many of the elements of this group have strong magnetic properties. When alloyed with other metals, the result is a very compact, yet strong, magnet.
It is these two main properties that have made these elements highly desirable in the production of today’s high technology devices.
Color televisions use europium and yttrium oxides to produce red colors and praseodymium and neodymium to reduce glare on screens. Cameras and binoculars with optical lenses are made with lanthanum oxide while other lanthanide compounds are used in high-intensity lighting and even street lights.
Because of their rich and varied optical properties, rare earth elements are used in glazes for earthenware (adding erbium oxide produces a pink lemonade hue). Europium, the most visible of all the rare earth elements, emits blue and red light when added to phosphors used in the production of computer monitors (even those in small, personal devices such as iPods and cell phones).
Their magnetic property has made them useful in green technology as well. Wind turbines use lanthanide-flecked supermagnets to generate electricity. Auto engines are being made more efficient by using an iron alloy of terbium and dysprosium. This blend expands and contracts efficiently in the presence of a magnetic field, helping sensors, actuators and injectors to perform better. Car batteries used in electric-powered vehicles also rely heavily on rare earth elements.
The technology explosion of the past two decades has seen a rise in demand for rare earth elements. These elements are mined in many areas around the world, including countries such as Brazil, India, China, Vietnam, the United States, Nigeria and Canada. Currently, China has the largest operations available for the mining and processing of rare earth elements. It is expected that more operations will be developed around the world in the near future as demand for high-technology devices rises and because future uses are being explored in fields such as laser technology, telecommunications and medical diagnostics.
Originally Published in Headline Discoveries
With all of the plastic that’s used on a daily basis comes the need to have it recycled.
Most plastic bottles produced in the United States are made from Polyethylene Terephtalate (PET). In 2005, U.S. manufacturers produced 5.1 billion pounds of PET products, according to the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR). NAPCOR has estimated that if the current rate of production remains the same, then 40 billion pounds of PET waste will be
added to landfills within a decade.
To help counteract this growth, some states offer financial incentives to consumers who bring in plastic bottles for recycling. In addition, companies are being encouraged to design bottles in ways that make them more efficient and cheaper to recycle. One of the most interesting ideas to come from this challenge is the collapsible plastic bottle.
BEGINNING OF THE COLLAPSE
In 1985, a patent was filed for a collapsible plastic bottle. According to the patent description, the bottle would be constructed with walls that would look and behave like bellows, allowing them to be squeezed together and collapse upon themselves, thus reducing the overall size of the bottle by at least half.
The technology discussed in this patent has been used over the years; however, it has been limited to products geared mostly toward outdoor enthusiasts and athletes, and for corporate promotional giveaway items.
THE CHALLENGE BEGINS
One of the greatest impacts to the environment could be if major beverage manufacturers would incorporate some form of a collapsible bottle into their product lines. For example, in early 2010, package designer Andrew Seunghyun Kim went public with a set of design
concepts aimed at repackaging 20 oz. Coca-Cola® features a square package instead of a cylindrical design. Kim’s design results in 66 percent less space being occupied than when the bottle is not collapsed. While there are many advantages to this particular
design, it is more unlikely that re-engineering the bottle in a square shape will take off due to reasons that involve engineering problems, distribution challenges and production line changes that could be too costly.
However, other companies, like Plasto Solutions, are working on further developing the idea of collapsible beverage bottles. They are staying with a cylindrical bottle design to lessen the impact on manufacturing process changes for the end user. Their design uses a complex system of ribs instead of bellows and their plastic bottle folds by slightly twisting the bottle’s body. This produces a flat circle of plastic that takes up only 10 percent of the original space.
BENEFITS OF COLLAPSE
The idea of impacting how much space is being occupied in landfills by plastic soda bottles is very appealing to those who are environmentally conscious. By reducing the amount of space that a bottle occupies, more can be placed in collection containers and thus provide a more
cost-effective means of recycling.
Written for Headline Discoveries
Abundantly found in the stardust that makes up the cosmos, space diamonds consist of carbon just like those found on Earth, but they differ in size and importance.
These gemstones, commonly called nanodiamonds, are roughly 25,000 times smaller than a grain of sand. Unlike regular diamonds that hold great monetary value the bigger they are, the tiny nanodiamonds have a different value—in the form of knowledge. With the adage of knowledge being power, some could argue that they are therefore worth much, much more by opening up new ways to learn about the universe.
Nanodiamonds, just like all objects in the universe, emit light over the entire electromagnetic spectrum and scientists believe that by studying the properties of this light, they can better understand the origins of the universe and learn more about how it has developed and changed over time.
HOW ARE THEY EVEN SEEN?
Given the right tools, technology and atmospheric conditions, this light could be seen by scientists on Earth. However, since the Earth’s atmosphere tends to block out certain types of radiation, the best way to study nanodiamonds is by locating a telescope outside of the atmosphere.
Enter the Spitzer.
SUPER EYE IN THE SKY
The Spitzer Space Telescope, a super-sensitive instrument launched in 2003, is the fourth and final of NASA's Great Observatories, and is best known for having a high sensitivity to infrared radiation.
Spitzer was specifically designed to house a cryogenic telescope assembly since its detectors and telescope must be cooled to only about five degrees above absolute zero (-450 degrees Fahrenheit, or -268 degrees Celsius).
When light from nearby stars hits the molecules that make up the nanodiamonds, energy is absorbed from infrared radiation and then excites the bonds in the molecules to a higher state of vibration. This causes the bonds to either bend, twist or stretch, resulting in distinctive wavelengths of infrared light being produced.
Spitzer’s super-sensitive infrared spectrometer then breaks that light into its component parts. Data collected is shown as an infrared spectrum, with the resulting image indicating wavelength patterns helping to identify what elements and molecules the object is made of, thus uniquely identifying the nanodiamonds based on their “infrared fingerprint.”
Considered a technological marvel, Spitzer includes many innovative features never used on previous space missions, yet the telescope’s fully functioning lifespan is limited. Its cooling system has been exhausted, allowing some components to overheat and not function. Still operable are the two shortest wavelength modules of the IRAC camera that will continue to be used, allowing further data discovery based on nanodiamond composition, but to a more limited degree.
NANODIAMOND DATA PROSPECTING
Recently astrochemists have focused their efforts on Elias 1, the Orion Bar, the CS region of HD 44179 and the Red Rectangle nebula where the unique infrared emission from nanodiamonds has helped identify the chemical form of interstellar matter. This provided new knowledge about the physical properties of celestial objects and their interactions over time and is helping scientists to better understand the universe.
Because of recent activity in Iceland, there have been many news reports done on volcano eruptions and the damages that can be caused by volcanic ash. So, just what is “volcanic ash?
It’s not what most people may envision. Typically, when most people think about ash, they picture something light and fluffy—like ashes in the fireplace or barbecue. So, when they hear that a volcano has erupted and everything is covered in ash, the natural assumption is that it is relatively harmless and can be easily swept away. Not true.
THE BLAST AND ITS COMPONENTS
Volcanic eruptions occur when gases in magma, or molten rock, expand and escape into the air. They also occur when water that is super-heated by magma abruptly flashes into steam, or when thermal contraction from chilling occurs after contacting water. Each
scenario leads to eruptions that occur with explosive force, causing escaping gases to shatter surrounding rock layers of the Earth. When eruptions occur in areas covered by glaciers, the resulting plume can contain glass-rich deposits that were created when melted ice quickly chilled lava prior to its explosion.
Material expelled from the volcano at this point is called ‘”tephra.” To better study components of a volcanic eruption, scientists have broken tephra into classifications based on size:
While the size of a volcanic bomb doesn’t seem so large, some perspective is needed. Take, for example, a storm producing hailstones of roughly the same size. They can
cause excessive damage to car windshields and even slate roofs. To a person struck by a volcanic bomb, the impact would feel something like getting hit with a baseball thrown by a major league pitcher due to the high rate of propulsion.
Volcanic bombs and lapilli do cause problems but, because they settle to the ground at a much quicker rate than ash, the extent of their damage is often not as far reaching. The tiny size of ash and its ability to readily travel everywhere means it can be a lot less apparent to ascertain the damages it can cause.
Much has been written about the damage to people, animals, air, soil and water, but less so the damage and chaos that ash can cause to other things, especially those that are technologically and/or mechanically based. Following are just a few things that could be heavily impacted:
These examples show that volcanic ash is dramatically more devastating than it appears and has a great potential to leech its way into so many things that are important to the day-to-day operation of life for everyone in areas affected by volcanic eruptions.
Getting to the Bottom of It
The words "tephra" and "pyroclast" both derive from the Greek language.
Properties of Volcanic Ash
Originally posted in Headline Discoveries, Fall 2010
I'm April Bailey, a freelance writer and editor for hire who has been writing about various topics for many years. Most of my early print work was destroyed in a major house fire. Luckily, I was able to pull some copies from an old PC and have posted them here. Other items on this blog reflect my current articles and blog posts written for online publications and copied here so I never lose my work again!