Solar panels generate power – while saving water!

A new way to save water is on the way – using solar panels! California’s Turlock Irrigation District has a cool plan to solve two problems at once, by installing solar panels over the canals that carry water through the state.

The solar panels would generate energy, while doing the double duty of greatly reducing evaporation of the water due to heat and sun. In turn, the cooling effect of the water helps keep the solar panels from overheating and losing efficiency.

What a great idea!

Read the full article here: California Will Stick Solar Panels Over Canals to Fight Two Disasters at Once

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Betty White fundraiser raises 12 million for shelter animals!

Betty White’s 100th birthday would have been on January 17th, and animal lovers decided to honor her with a wildly successful fundraiser! A whopping 12.7 million dollars was raised by the #BettyWhiteChallenge to support animal shelters and rescues. Betty was a passionate animal lover, so it’s wonderful to see her memory honored in such a wonderful way! Check out the whole story here.

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The Ocean Cleanup: Final Test Extraction Successful!

Good news! On October 11, The Ocean Cleanup project finished their final test run of System 002, designed to clear plastic garbage out of the ocean. The test run cleaned 20,000 pounds of garbage out of the water!

Their goal is to clean most of the Pacific Garbage Patch by 2040. Much of this trash consists of fishing nets and other commercial fishing debris, while the rest is consumer plastic that ends up in the water system. While there’s still a big path ahead, it’s wonderful to hear that the test run was successful, and we could be on the way to a cleaner ocean very soon!

Check out their Twitter here to stay up to date!

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Helping the Homeless with Katie’s Krops!

It all began with a cabbage. At the age of 8, Katie Stagliano brought home a tiny cabbage seedling, which soon grew into a 40 lb behemoth. She generously donated her massive cabbage to a local soup kitchen, where it fed an amazing 245 people!


After seeing how much good resulted from her donation, Katie made it her mission to start gardens to provide fresh vegetables to people in need. Her organization, Katie’s Krops, now has over 100 gardens, and has donated thousands of pounds of produce to charity. The mission of Katie’s Krops is to empower young people to grow local gardens and encourage others to do the same.


Katie’s Krops even offers grants to young people to provide funds to start their garden. Anyone between the ages of 9-16 can apply here!

It’s so wonderful to see young people taking the initiative to help those in need, while getting useful experience in growing healthy food!


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Sikh “Gift to the Planet”!

This November will be the 550th birthday of Guru Nanak, the founder of India’s Sikh religion. In celebration, Sikhs are undertaking a project to plant 1,000,000 trees all over the world!


The project, coordinated by EcoSikh, is described as “a gift to the entire planet”, and is intended to slow climate change and help reconnect people with nature. Most of the trees will be planted in India, but there are also some being planted in other parts of the world as well. They plan to use species of trees and shrubs native to the area, which provides food and shelter to local wildlife.


They are also working with Afforestt, an organization that promotes the planting and care of mini-forests, and plan to have the project completed by Guru Nanak’s birthday in November.

This is so inspiring! The whole Earth and everyone on it will benefit from this wonderful project!


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11 Year Old Crochet Prodigy!

When most people think of crochet, they probably picture little old ladies…but this young boy is busting stereotypes and giving to charity at the same time!

11-year old Jonah Larson has a passion for crochet, and incredible skills to go along with it. His interest began at only 5 years old, where he used a YouTube tutorial to crochet his first project – a dishcloth. Since then, he has created hundreds of items and received orders from all over the world.

Best of all, Jonah gives a lot of his earnings to charity. He was adopted from an orphanage in Ethiopia, and loves to send funds back to them to help other children. He also has a GoFundMe page for RootsEthiopia, a non-profit that helps local schools buy supplies.

One of his videos has a quote from Jonah that I love: “Very frequently on the news, there’s a lot of bad things happening in the world. But thankfully, there’s a lot of good things too. This coming 2019, I’m going to focus on the good things, not the bad things you see on the news. And I hope you do too.” What a great attitude to have!

Jonah seems wise beyond his years, and his dedication and giving spirit is an inspiration to us all! 

You can check out Jonah’s Instagram here, and his Facebook here.


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The Great Green Wall!

There has been a lot of talk about building walls lately…but this is one wall that EVERYONE can gladly support!

The Great Green Wall is an initiative currently happening in Africa. The goal is to build a massive wall of trees at the edge of the Sahara, to prevent the desert from expanding and taking over too much usable land. Many countries are participating, and the final wall will span the entire width of the continent — an astounding 8000km (5000mi) long!!


The project is about 15% completed so far, and the goals are to restore 100 million hectares of farmland, create 350,000 jobs, and trap 250 million tons of carbon by 2030. Once completed, the Great Green Wall will be the largest living structure on the planet, 3 times the size of the Great Barrier Reef. Wow!

This is such a cool project, and I can’t believe I’ve just now learned about it! It’s an amazing show of solidarity for so many countries to work together on such an ambitious plan, and the results sound promising so far. Not only is it good for the people of Africa, it should also be enormously helpful for wildlife and the Earth’s climate as well.


It’s wonderful to see people working together to create a win-win situation for the entire world!  You can see more details about the Green Wall project at their website here.


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Beautiful Bio-Plastics for a cleaner world!


In recent years, we’ve all become aware of the problems caused by plastic pollution. Petroleum-based plastics, which can take literally hundreds of years to disintegrate, fill up our landfills and cause huge problems in the ocean.

Thankfully, some ingenious inventors are busy developing alternatives to traditional plastics, called “bioplastics”. These alternatives aim to have the same uses as traditional plastics, but be much more environment-friendly than fossil fuel based substances. To do this, they’re using unexpected things like seaweed, sugar, and…bugs? Yep!

An inventor from Chile named Margarita Talep has created a bioplastic made from seaweed. Red algae, which grows naturally in marine environments, contains an important jelly-like substance called agar. Talep uses agar to make a plastic alternative made entirely of natural materials that breaks down in a few months. She has even experimented with coloring the bioplastic with natural vegetable colors for more packaging versatility.


The makers of Lego toys have begun to use an interesting plastic alternative, made from sustainably sourced sugar cane. They have even partnered with the World Wildlife Fund and other organizations to promote bioplastics and ensure that they are sustainably sourced. The bioplastic is currently being used for the tree and plant pieces, and they plan to have all Lego blocks made from it by 2030. Very cool! 🙂


One of the strangest materials used in bioplastics comes from Aagje Hoekstra, who created a new plastic made from, of all things, insects! The bugs, called darkling beetles, are the adult stage of the mealworm, a grub that is commonly farmed as animal feed. Normally the beetles die after laying eggs and are simply discarded, but Hoekstra discovered that their shells can be collected and pressed into a waterproof sheet. Personally I don’t see this being very popular as *food* packaging, but it could have some less gross applications! 😉


Another interesting alternative comes from Jeongwon Ji, who has designed a plastic alternative from the shells of invasive crabs. Chinese mitten crabs are an invasive species that have been taking over waterways in the UK. Ji found a way to use these pests as a resource, by combining the chitin in the shells with glycerin to make a bioplastic called Crustic. Unlike the others, this bioplastic warps as it dries, creating interesting artistic shapes.


One pair of designers,  Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros, have created an algae-based bioplastic that can be used in 3D printers! They plan to establish a network of printing stations called the “3D Bakery”, where anyone can print objects they need from bioplastic.


It’s inspiring to see these plastic alternatives being developed! Plastic packaging is very useful for keeping our food and water fresh, but it’s sad to see the damage it does after it is thrown away. With these alternatives, we can have the same uses as plastic, but with the added benefits of being sustainable and biodegradable!

I’m excited for the future, how about you? 😀

Check out these articles from for more detail on these cool inventions!

Lego blocksCrusticBeetlesAlgae3D Bakery10 Bioplastics


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Good Things that Happened in 2018!

According to the news, the world is going to hell in a handbasket, getting worse and worse every day. But that’s rarely the truth — the news wants us to be stressed and worried, because they think we’ll tune in more and buy more from their advertisers.

In reality, good things happen every day! In a lot of ways, 2018 was a rough year, but it was also a year when we made a lot of progress in multiple areas.

Check out this great article from Future Crunch:99 Good News Stories You Probably Didn’t Hear About, with a list of almost 100 great things that happened in the past year.


This article from Good News Network lists advancements made on the environmental and conservation front: “The Best Environmental News of 2018”


And this cute article from BoredPanda shows artist Mauro Gatti’s cute illustrations of some positive news stories: “I’m Honestly Fed Up With All The Bad News So I Illustrated The Best News Of 2018”


Despite some of the tumultuous stories we hear, the world is getting better and better in a lot of ways. Don’t let the bad news get you down; focus on all of the good news instead! 🙂


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City Supports Boy’s Hot Dog Stand!

A couple of years ago, 13-year-old Jaequan Faulkner started a hot dog stand selling hot dogs, chips, and soda to the locals. Most everyone loved it, but one person didn’t – and they reported him to the city for lack of a food vendor permit.

But instead of shutting him down, Minneapolis Health Director Dan Huff took a more positive route and helped Jaequan qualify as a real business! The health department paid his permit fee, equipped him with a thermometer and a hand-washing station, and trained him in food safety regulations. They even set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to buy him a mobile hot dog stand.


Jaequan originally started the business to help him work through depression and raise funds to buy clothes. It’s so nice to see that city officials have a heart and are working with him to make his small business a success!


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