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Holly Richmond's Posts


This wind turbine will power your apartment without keeping you up at night


The nautilus shell took time off from fitness-namesake duty to inspire The Liam F1 Urban Wind Turbine, which we are renaming The Not-So-Little Turbine That Could. Dutch firm The Archimedes designed the swirl-shaped windmill to be way quieter and more efficient than others (plus, it’s blue!). The firm says the turbine can generate 80 percent of the maximum possible energy yield, a big jump from the typical 25 to 50 percent. Hot damn.

PSFK thinks it’ll be great for your apartment, but at five feet wide, it might not exactly fit on your Brooklyn fire escape. At least the noise won’t wake you up in the middle of the night, which is one of the big drawbacks of most residential wind turbines/randy apartment neighbors.

Here are the Liam’s specs:

The Liam F1 generates an average of 1,500 kilowatt-hours of energy [per year] at a wind-speed of 5 m/s [16.4 ft/s], which resembles half of the power consumption of a common household.

If you feel like spending 8 minutes looking at wind turbines (bonus: set to the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song!), there’s also this:

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living


H&M gets slightly less evil, recycles your clothes into new jeans


Four years after H&M got (sand)blasted for throwing away perfectly good clothes cut into unwearable tatters, the company is turning your old duds into 20 percent recycled cotton jeans. So is the global clothier’s newest move yet another attempt to wash that scandal outta your mind, or the latest in a long-term Commitment to Sustainability?


Devil on shoulderKeep shopping at H&M! It's not going anywhere soon. Fast fashion is crack, and as long as the H&Ms and Forever 21s of the world offer it to the masses for dirt cheap, it might as well be sorta sustainable. According to Treehugger, H&M uses more organic cotton than any other company worldwide, and it turned 9.5 million PET bottles into recycled polyester. YAY!!!! Right?

Angel on shoulder: Quit your cheap-clothes habit. H&M’s still evil. This is just good old-fashioned greenwashing. Fast fashion companies are inherently unsustainable, from questionable labor practices overseas to encouraging a voracious consumer appetite for shiny new things. There’s also the huge wastefulness of growing cotton (pesticide and water use, for starters) and the heaps of barely worn clothes that end up in landfills. (According to Overdressed author Elizabeth Cline, only 20 percent of clothes in your typical charity shop ever get sold.)

Read more: Living


You’ve earned it: Here’s a supercut of the funniest climate change videos


Graham Readfearn recently posted his fave climate change comedy videos on The Guardian, but who has half an hour to waste on silly videos? (Don’t answer that. I totally do.) So I compiled his clips and some others into a two-minute supercut of sustainability-related punchlines.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living


Car Stalk

Meet “Traffic Droid,” the cycling superhero who calls out bad drivers


If Bruce Wayne eschewed the Batmobile for a bike, Lewis Dediare might be the result. He patrols the streets of London in black lycra, on the lookout for cars endangering cyclists. With seven cameras on his helmet and bike, Dediare is “Traffic Droid,” keeping his Gotham safe for others on two wheels.

Traffic Droid was born after Dediare was hit by a car while biking in 2009. Explains the Daily Mail:

The 39-year-old carries a ruler to measure how his [sic] distance from cars, before bellowing into the car window to admonish the driver and showing them a “red card.” He then uploads his footage to YouTube and Twitter, and will often hand it over to traffic companies and police so the drivers can be further punished.

According to Traffic Droid, the cops issue some 200 warnings to drivers each year on account of his actions, and multiple drivers have been prosecuted. He’s featured in a British documentary called The Complainers, which aired earlier this week in the U.K.:

Read more: Living


The week in GIFs: Jesus and Joseph Gordon-Levitt

And a goat thrown in for good measure. (Last week: Orange Is the New Black.)

Organic farming is great, writes Nathanael Johnson, but it's not Jesus:


Stop eating recycled toilet paper, because there's probably a little BPA in it:

Read more: Living


Is bike parking the key to better cities?

Michiel S.

Cycling advocate (and former Grist contributor) Elly Blue thinks parking spaces are a waste of money. They could be, you know, actual businesses attracting customers and juicing up the local economy, after all.


Blue gives the perfect example: Portland’s Apex Bar. It has modest seating inside, but the real draw is its outdoor beer garden, with rows and rows of picnic tables for sipping a craft brew on a nice day. The beer garden was originally -- wait for it -- five parking spaces. FIVE. Now it draws throngs of vitamin D­­-craving hipsters and houses up to 63 bikes on its racks. (The boom in business also benefits the taqueria next door, which delivers orders to Apex customers.) What once was undoubtedly a frustrating parking lot is now one of the neighborhood’s busiest drinking spots on a sunny day.

Blue also cites hard numbers:

Read more: Cities, Living


Just store your bike on the ceiling — it looks SUPER easy (ahem)

Katherine Lu

In case Apartment Therapy and A Beautiful Mess hadn’t convinced you of your utter failure as an amateur interior decorator, check out the Bruce/Alexander home. Located in Sydney, Australia, the artist couple’s home got a makeover by architecture firm Tribe Studio (you mean a local design company isn’t helping you remodel?).

Now the home features a second-story skylight, atrium, and pulley system so two bikes can be stored out of view while copious natural light pours down:

Katherine Lu

Surely you could easily replicate this in your own hovel. Simply knock a large hole in your ceiling (I’m sure your landlady won’t mind), throw some glass up there, add some bungee cords, and voila! A foolproof bicycle pulley system.

Read more: Living


Roll your eyes at the beer fridge that promises to “save the world”

Denmark’s got a lot going for it: Hamlet, the world’s bike-friendliest city, that statue of the Little Mermaid. But we’re not so sure about eCool, a $350 contraption that vows to help you “save the world, one earth-cooled beer at a time.” Riiiight.


Invented by four dudes in northern Denmark, the eCool stores 24 cans o’ brew underground, keeping them cool until your next barbecue or backyard picnic. There’s no need for electricity, just a three-foot hole (which you’ll dig with a shovel, “if you’re a real man,” the site says -- thanks for the free sexism!):


Your family feud is more likely to be about global warming than guns or abortion


Does life start when a sperm high-fives an egg, or do they have to make out? Who cares? Climate change is WAY more fun to argue about! At least according to a new poll by the Carsey Institute, reports Climate Progress:

Survey researcher Lawrence Hamilton polled 568 New Hampshire residents and found that Democrats and Republicans disagree most on climate change -- more so than on abortion, gun control, the death penalty, or evolution.

Here’s the divide on climate change: 83 percent of Dems know we’re contributing to climate change, but only 23 percent of Tea Partiers acknowledge that. The thing is, it’s climate SCIENCE. It’s not really something that’ll change based on the opinion of Gramps McGolfcourse. (Which is good, because he also thinks your hair is too long.)

Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire

Who knew that the unmentionable family dinner trifecta of sex, religion, and politics would one day replace “nipple piercings” with “carbon dioxide”? After Obama, climate change is responsible for the biggest percentage-point disagreement between Democrats and Republicans:

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living


roll models

Mentoring girls through cycling will melt your dry, crusty heart


Here’s some much-needed happiness amid way too much sad news: A program called Little Bellas uses cycling to encourage girls to reach their potential. Aww!

Little Bellas offers summer camps in Vermont, Colorado, and California that pair girls age 7 to 16 with a female mentor. Girls either go on a weekly mountain bike ride during the summer or do a multi-day summer camp. Explains its site:

We use mountain biking as a vehicle to teach the importance of teamwork, goal-setting, and participation in a healthy lifestyle ... [M]entors and girls ride together at a local trail network and focus on improving skills as well as participate in team-building activities.

Pro cyclists (and sisters) Lea and Sabra Davison started Little Bellas when they realized teen girls who’d once been fascinated by mountain biking were instead choosing sports like basketball or soccer. The Davison's connections mean girls get to meet professional mountain bikers from around the world, including former Olympians, and ask them about scars, shredding, and starting out. (Maybe Little Bellas can help change cycling's huge gender gap.)

Read more: Living