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Category: Sustainability

How Leonardo DiCaprio is Fighting Against Global Warming

Leonardo DiCaprio has been using his celebrity to raise awareness of the problem of climate change. The actor knows that climate change is one of the largest problems facing the world today and has taken a number of steps to convince others that the time to take action is now. Here are some of the ways that Leo is working to change the hearts of minds of an all too often apathetic public:

The People’s Climate March

The actor joined many other celebrities, including Edward Norton, Mark Ruffalo, Evangeline Lilly, and Sting in New York for the what was billed as the world’s largest march against climate change. An estimated 310,000 marchers joined the celebrities and similar marches were held around the world. Along with a more traditional moment of silence, marchers participated in what was dubbed a “moment of alarm”, in which protestors were encouraged to be as noisy as they could. The march took place along a two-mile route, culminating in midtown Manhattan on 34th street.

The event came just before members of the UN were scheduled to meet and discuss climate change. Leonardo, who was recently named United Nations Messenger of Peace on Climate Change, also went to the U.N. to discuss the issue there.

Address to the UN

Leonardo attended the UN event for the signing of the Paris Agreement and gave an impassioned speech to the members of the body encouraging them to take action on climate change immediately. Appropriately, the speech fell on Earth Day. The actor told members of the governing body that it is too late for individuals alone to make a difference:

“To be clear, this is not about just telling people to change their light bulbs or to buy a hybrid car. This disaster has grown BEYOND the choices that individuals make. This is now about our industries, and governments around the world taking decisive, large-scale action,” he said.

DiCaprio told the assembled delegates that we must take action now against the use of fossil fuels and embrace clean energy solutions if we are going to make the needed impact against the damage that man has done to the planet. He explained that clean energy was not only good policy for the planet but also good economic policy. He ended the speech with this passionate plea:

“Honoured delegates, leaders of the world, I pretend for a living. But you do not. The people made their voices heard on Sunday around the world and the momentum will not stop. And now it’s YOUR turn, the time to answer the greatest challenge of our existence on this planet … is now.”

Before the Flood

Leonardo worked in collaboration with a group of filmmakers to produce Before the Flood, a documentary on the problem of climate change. The film made its debut at the Toronto Film Festival in September of 2016 before getting a theatrical release that October and eventually airing on the National Geographic channel. To show their commitment to addressing the problem of climate change, National Geographic made the documentary available for free at several outlets. The film is available in over 45 languages and had been viewed over 2 million times the day after its release.

Leonardo serves as the host of the film, traveling all around the world to talk to climate experts about the scope of the problem and to discuss solutions that can be undertaken now to minimize the effects of climate change going forward. The film also examines changes that are already happening around the world as a result of the changing climate and discusses how we as individuals can help while we wait for the world’s governments to take the necessary action.

How Batteries and Energy Storage Are Improving Renewable Energy

Batteries have long fueled the energy need to run our electronics, cars, phones and other portable devices. Developing longer-lasting, more efficient and reliable batteries has been an important aspect of the age of renewable energy. Recently, we have seen trends where the technology began to surpass the less environmentally friendly alternatives of the past and batteries and other energy storage tools have really began to shine. As we know, most renewable sources of energy rely on sources that can come and go and so it is crucial that we are able to harvest this energy when it is available and then store it for later use efficiently and reliably.

Renewable energy storage is growing drastically in recent years. Global storage capacity for solar energy grew 190% and 40% for wind energy between 2006 and 2012 as reported by the International Renewable Energy Agency. The agency also predicts that by 2030, storage capacity will be 9 times what it was in 2013. This is dramatic growth in the industry and shows a large commitment to renewable energy sources. It’s not just commercial growth either as consumers seek to be a part of the movement. Electric car sales are predicted to grow by about 15% annually through 2024 with some manufacturers moving towards an all-electric product line including Tesla and Volvo most notably and others including Ford, General Motors, and many others drastically increasing their electric product lines in the coming years.

While much of the green movement revolves around harvesting renewable energy, many countries, businesses and other entities are heavily investing in the means to store this energy. Places like California are heading towards this quickly! California is already home to nearly 40% of the United States energy storage but they plan to drastically add to this by just 2020. The state has committed to having half of all its energy coming from renewable sources in the same time frame. This is crucial for the future of the movement as California will serve as the beta test for the viability of renewable energy. Other states will be following their example in the very near future as they roll out this technology.

With all new endeavors, there are challenges. This is no different for renewable energy storage. There is a hesitation to move completely into using batteries in the main power grid often citing safety issues, cost and reliability concerns. Batteries can often be quite expensive and have limited lifespans, even rechargeable ones eventually fail due to efficiency issues limiting the amount of recharges available. The most common battery types used for renewable energy are lead-acid batteries which typically have a short cycle and last only about three or four years. Other options with longer cycles are available but they usually carry higher price tags or less stability.

New options are being developed all over the world. The University of Illinois, Chicago has been experimenting with using new materials like Magnesium ions which can move twice as many electrons and expand the cycle of the battery. Japan has been working on a duel-carbon battery that has a charge rate 20 times faster than Lithium-ion batteries. There has been a very recent introduction to the future as well in the realm of solid-state batteries. This means rather than relying on liquid minerals and materials to store the energy, the battery uses a conductive, solid material. Toyota has been scrambling to work out the kinks in this technology to have it ready for commercialization as early as the 2020s. The largest kink being mass production of the technology which will drastically improve driving range in electric vehicles.

Developments in battery technology and renewable energy sources are being made every day and its important to stay up to date with the newest developments to further our commitment to the planet. Stay up to date by subscribing to Dvinci below. [gravityform id=”3″ title=”true” description=”true”]

5 Celebrities Fighting Against Climate Change

When you’re a celebrity, you have a lot of eyes on you. You can get interviews on television, spread word via social media, and pretty much anywhere you go for dinner is going to be reported on dozens of different blogs. Some celebrities are choosing to use all that attention to promote efforts to fight against climate change, using their platform to try to achieve something meaningful, and positive.

#1: Leonardo DiCaprio

Hoping to avoid the fate where the rest of the world becomes the ending scene from Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the more vocal members of Hollywood who is trying to fight climate change. While he’s donated a great deal of money to climate change causes (what celebrity hasn’t?), DiCaprio also serves on the boards of several environmental organizations. In addition, though, he’s produced at least one film about global warming, though there’s no word on whether that will be the only film he makes to help promote awareness of what’s wrong, and how we can do our part to fix it.

don cheadle fighting against climate change

#2: Don Cheadle

While most folks these days know him as War Machine in Marvel’s Avengers franchise, Don Cheadle is a hero off-screen as well. He’s thrown his celebrity and voice behind social causes before, including speaking out against the genocide in Darfur, and combating climate change is one issue he has been willing to wade into. He’s worked hand-in-hand with the United Nations on climate change issues, and he is showing no sign of backing down when it comes to doing what’s right.

 

mark ruffalo in human form combating climate change

#3: Mark Ruffalo

Speaking of Avengers actors, there’s another member of the team whose even greener off-camera than he is on it. Mark Ruffalo, who plays the dual roles of Dr. Bruce Banner and the Incredible Hulk, has spoken out several times on against climate change and how it is an issue we need to take a stand against now if we expect to blunt its impact on future generations. Ruffalo founded both The Solutions Project as well as Water Defense, and he’s been an outspoken opponent of fracking, as well as other environmental causes. He describes himself as a climate change activist who keeps his eye on the future, and he has been leading by example for a lot of people hoping to fight against this global issue.

sting combating climate change in the rainforest

#4: Sting

While most people think of him as little more than a musician and a proponent of alternative lifestyle choices, Sting has spent a number of years trying to do his part to fight against climate change by protecting the Amazon rainforests. He and his wife Trudie Styler have even established a charity, Rainforest Foundation, which has done a great deal to protect both the rainforests themselves, as well as the creatures who live in them. While it’s been a long fight so far, neither of them show any signs of giving up on one of our greatest resources.

brad pitt is another who attacks climate change

#5: Brad Pitt

While he’s been a regular on the covers of gossip magazines for years, many of them failed to report on Pitt’s greener activities. When New Orleans needed to be rebuilt after it was hit by Hurricane Katrina, Pitt’s charity was on the front lines to help those getting their city back together. Not only that, but the materials the charity provided were green, ensuring that future construction would be built not only with beauty and functionality in mind but also with an eye to how the cities we live in can affect the planet we live on. An attitude that is being adopted by a lot of places following this kind of example.

Free Energy Assessment

7 Cheap Ways to Create a More Sustainable Home Environment

You’d think that for a company that specializes on solar energy we’d only be focused on getting you to buy the products we sell. But we’ve said it from the outset, and we’ll say it again: our goal goes beyond our own profit. You don’t need to buy solar panels, an electric car, or even expensive, organic food to make a difference. Here are some inexpensive changes you can make at home that will save you time and money, while you help make the world a healthier and more sustainable place.

Good landscaping can save energy

Structures are everything. How you structure your day can change its outcome, how we structure a city can change the way people live. So why not consider what the structure of your immediate landscape is like? According to the Energy Department, “A well-designed landscape not only can add beauty to your home but also can reduce your heating and cooling costs. A well-placed tree, shrub, or vine can deliver effective shade, act as a windbreak, and reduce your energy bills.”

Turn It Off

The concept is as simple as the title of this section, just turn it off. Think about the amount of times you leave the water running while brushing your teeth, or how long certain spaces in your home remain lit without anyone inhabiting them. Turning it off also means unplugging. For example, leaving your computer or cellphone charger plugged to the wall consumes unnecessary energy, even if your devices are not connected, and increases your energy bill substantially.

Exchange Incandescent bulbs for LED lightbulbs

Many are reluctant to make the switch to LED light bulbs because of their price. It’s true, compared to incandescent light bulbs the product in itself is more expensive, but in the long run, you’ll be saving much more. LEDs tend to use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting, meaning you’ll immediately notice the benefits on your electricity bill.

Compost

In addition to creating your own compost for your garden, while simultaneously reducing waste, you’ll be helping conserve energy. Communities everywhere use different methods of energy pumping and water treatment for cleaning the waste that we dispose of from pipes and water sources. The more waste water treatment the higher everyone’s water bills are. Think about what an entire composting community could do to your energy and water bills.

Buy local

In addition to creating your own compost for your garden, while simultaneously reducing waste, you’ll be helping conserve energy. Communities everywhere use different methods of energy pumping and water treatment for cleaning the waste that we dispose of from pipes and water sources. The more waste water treatment the higher everyone’s water bills are. Think about what an entire composting community could do to your energy and water bills.

Re-use and recycle

We’ve heard this time after time. Even though more and more people are drifting away from buying plastic and paper products, there’s still plenty of things we continue to use them for. Consider whether you can reuse certain containers and get creative with re-purposing. Not only will you be promoting a sustainable environment, but you’ll be saving money on buying products you don’t need. On the other hand, it’s important to create a clear recycling plan that is easy to follow for everyone at home, so that when the time comes it doesn’t feel like a task, but rather like a habit.

Seal Windows

Per the Energy Department, “you can improve the energy efficiency of existing windows by adding storm windows, caulking and weather-stripping, and using window treatments or coverings.” Window treatments and coverings, for instance, prevent heat loss during the winter and heat gain in the summer. Therefore, adjusting the seal on your windows can help you reduce the amount of heat or air-conditioning you’re using, allowing for less energy consumption and more money saved.