Washing beats wiping: bidets save trees and water

Bidets have never caught on in the United States, perceived as a fixture meant for posh hotels an prissy home bathrooms. Of course they're quite the norm in Europe, Japan, and other regions. But not only are bidets more sanitary than toilet paper, they're actually much more eco-conscious. From Scientific American:

Justin Thomas, editor of the website metaefficient.com, considers bidets to be “a key green technology” because they eliminate the use of toilet paper. According to his analysis, Americans use 36.5 billion rolls of toilet paper every year, representing the pulping of some 15 million trees. Says Thomas: “This also involves 473,587,500,000 gallons of water to produce the paper and 253,000 tons of chlorine for bleaching.” He adds that manufacturing requires about 17.3 terawatts of electricity annually and that significant amounts of energy and materials are used in packaging and in transportation to retail outlets.

To those who say that bidets waste water, advocates counter that the amount is trivial compared to how much water we use to produce toilet paper in the first place.

This non-electric Greenco Bidet is $25 on Amazon and has many adoring fans. Read the rest

That sea salt you bought probably has microplastics in it

Congratulations to humanity for contaminating sea salt! A new study found all but one of 17 commercial sea salt brands from eight different countries contained microscopic plastic particles. Microplastic: it's what's for dinner! Read the rest

Yes, flights are getting more turbulent thanks to climate change

Advances in Atmospheric Sciences reports that flying is going to get more and more turbulent, even at cruising altitudes, because of climate change:

Read the rest

The Carbon Bubble is about to pop

Despite Trump's denial of climate change the the ghastly attacks on climate science and mitigation in the new proposed budget, the Carbon Bubble -- which overprices hydrocarbons and the industries that rely on them, as though we'll be burning all of them with impunity -- is about to pop. Read the rest

Millions of lead-filled CRTs have been abandoned in warehouses across America

The swift replacement of CRT screens with flat panels created tons of extremely toxic e-waste, with dangerous tubes and leaded glass posing unique environmental and safety hazards for disposal workers and sites. Read the rest

Here's what Chinese smog does to a high-speed train

Chinese social media has been blowing up this year with images of high speed trains that have passed through heavy smog on their routes. Here's the same train when it's clean: Read the rest

Could you make zero trash for 30 days?

As BuzzFeed transitions from internet strip mine to legit news and information, they now to put out occasional gems like Auri Jackson's project "I tried to make zero trash for 30 days." Read the rest

Greenpeace takes on the polluted political ecosystem

In addition to a wonderful and timely message, this PSA for Greenpeace is beautifully illustrated and animated by Elliot Lim. Read the rest

Feel-good story about the future of vertical farms

There's really nothing not to love about vertical farms -- multi-story hydroponic operations, usually sited in dense urban areas -- they borrow their best tech from the space program, they're water-conserving, they don't have runoff, they're energy efficient, and they're super land-efficient, meaning we don't need to turn forests or wetlands into fields. Read the rest

Beijing subway ad for an anti-smog rebreather

Bloomberg Asia journalist David Ramli tweeted this photo of a bicep-mounted anti-pollution filter for joggers, displayed on the wall of a Beijing subway station, the day after Beijing posted record pollution levels, 24X the WHO recommendations, with 24 other cities issuing red alerts. (via JWZ) Read the rest

The sophisticated, hidden ways that trees cooperate and protect each other

Peter Wohlleben is a German forrester who has revolutionized his field by developing community forest management that does not require pesticides or heavy machinery, and recruits local communities as stakeholders in forestry preservation; but the thing that made him known around the world is his 2016 book The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World, which presents evidence for unprecedented (and even spooky) degrees of cooperation among trees in a forest. Read the rest

More than 20,000 dead fish mysteriously washed up in Nova Scotia

Tens of thousands of fish, starfish, scallops, crabs, lobsters, and other ocean life washed up dead this week at Savory Park on the western coast of Nova Scotia. The cause of the massive fish death is not yet known. From CNN:

Environmental officials are testing the water for pesticides and oxygen levels for possible clues...

While toxic chemical exposure can be one cause, most fish kills are attributed to low concentrations of dissolved oxygen in the water, according to the USGS.

Just this year, mass fish deaths were reported in Florida's Indian River Lagoon and Hongcheng Lake in Haikou,China.

Read the rest

Lovely animation of the virus that melts gypsy moth caterpillars

In the 1860s, illustrator and idiot Leopold Trouvelot deliberately brought gypsy moths from France to America. Some outsmarted him and escaped, and they now cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage each year. This charming film tells the tale and explains our greatest and grossest hope for eradicating them: baculovirus. Read the rest

Halifax declares war on "flushable" wipes

Those "flushable" baby wipes marketed to adults are causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to North American sewers and water treatment plants. Halifax Water put together a helpful and entertaining PSA on why the things are a bane to civil engineers across the continent. Read the rest

CA Governor Brown vows to launch "our own damn satellite" if Trump shuts down climate research

Yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown told an audience of scientists at the American Geophysical Union that the state would launch its own "damn satellite" and continue climate research if the Trump administration shut down federal research. Read the rest

New honeybee sperm bank racing to halt bee decline

For years, entomologist Brandon Hopkins has argued for the establishment of a germplasm repository for cryopreservation of honey bee semen. Unfortunately, bee semen us very hard to collect and even harder to preserve, but Hopkins found better ways to extract and store their genetic material. Read the rest

30-year satellite image timelapses of notable places

Google's Earth Outreach just published a series of nifty decades-long views of how world landmarks of changed, like this one of the Aral Sea from 1984 to present. Some of them are like watching slime molds grow: Read the rest

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