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Of all the sectors in technology, cleantech is one of the trickiest when it comes to investments. This is particularly true now, with much of the funding going towards late-stage companies and leaving many wondering where early-stage financing for new energy innovation will come from. We put together a survey of five questions for GigaOM and GigaOM Pro readers to poll you guys on your thoughts about the state of cleantech investing — will you continue to put funds in the sector, what’s influencing cleantech investing in 2012, and what do you think the outlook will be for 2012? Weigh in with your answers below.
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Have any leftover bananas? Why not treat your skin to homemade banana body sugar scrub. From the article “Banana Body Sugar Scrub” by Melissa Breyer, Breyer states that “banana is nourishing and moisturizing and can be used for gentle exfoliation and skin-tightening.” And, when you combine bananas with sugar, you can make your own exfoliating body scrub.
1 ripe banana
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract or your favorite essential oil (optional)
Mash ingredients together with a fork into a chunky paste. Do not overmix or it will become too watery. If you want a banana scrub for your face, reserve some of the banana and mash it separately without sugar.
In the shower, before turning the water on, slather the sugar mixture and gently massage over your body. For your face, gently massage plain banana there, avoiding the eye area.
Rinse off with warm water
Do you like candy? How about hair pieces? Why not save your candy wrappers and turn them into hair pieces? The article “Easter Day DIY project: Candy wrapper barrettes” by Beth Buczynski tells you what you need and how to do it. Now, we know it isn’t Easter, but this arts and crafts project is still fun and can be implemented any time of year.
- Candy or gum wrapper that is at least 5.5” long
- Clear, shiny tape
- Barrette with spring clip
1. Measure and cut four pieces of wrapper to these sizes: Cut one piece each: 5.5” x .5”; 4.5” x .5”; 3.5” x .5”; 1.5” x .5”
2. Create a loop with the longest piece and wrap a thin piece of tape around the middle of the piece pinching the center and creating two loops with the piece. Repeat this for the next two pieces.
3. Take the shortest piece and create a loop. Secure the loop with a piece of tape.
4. Stack all four pieces on top of each other with the shortest piece on top and ending with the longest piece.
5. Place the stacked pieces on top of the barrette. Place a piece of tape through the center of the shortest piece and wrap around the other pieces securing it onto the barrette.
Enjoy your new barrette!
Want to have an eco-friendly wedding? In the article “9 Surprising Green Wedding Traditions From Around The World” by Julia Austin, Austin shares green wedding traditions from around the world that have helped couples save money and the environment.
One wedding that Austin talks about is a Jewish wedding. In this ceremony, a portion of it is held outside and the couple stands under a marriage canopy (Chuppa). For this type of wedding, Austin shares that you can build your own Chuppah out of tallit and branches to make your wedding even more eco-friendly.
Another type of wedding that makes eco-friendly decisions is the Spanish wedding. When it comes to wedding apparel, it is custom for the bride to hand-sew an embroidered shirt for her husband to wear.
Sometimes the bride and groom can spend a lot of time driving around to stores after their wedding to return unwanted or unneeded gifts. Instead, the Italians give the gift of cash to their wedding couples so that their brides and grooms can decided for themselves what they really need.
The bride’s bouquet is one of many important items in a wedding. But have you ever thought about the bouquet consisting of weeds? In Sweden, “it is customary that the bride carry a bouquet of odorous weeds to ward off trolls.”
For all 9 Surprising Green Wedding Trends From Around The World, refer to the full article by Austin.
Turning your backyard into a Certified Wildlife Habitat might be easier than you thought. In the article “Make Your Yard a Certified Wildlife Habitat” by Joyce Broyles, Broyles reveals how to get your backyard certified.
Think this might be expensive? Wrong! It only costs 20 dollars to get started. The 20 dollars gets you “a membership with the NWF, with a year subscription to their award-winning National Wildlife® magazine; a free subscription to their quarterly tip-filled newsletter which will help you run and maintain your habitat; and your name listed in the NWF national registry of certified habitats.”
The article also cites the five main things according to NWF’s website that you need to get your Habitat started:
- Food sources like native plants
- Water sources like birdbaths or fountains
- Places to take cover like birdhouses or thickets
- Places to raise young like dense vegetation or shrubs or nesting boxes
- Sustainable gardening like chemical free fertilizers and compost”
Now that you have the tools, start creating your very own Wildlife Habitat today!
Revel Systems just recently released an iPad that will help restaurants go green in the kitchen! It’s called an iPad Kitchen Display System (KDS). The new KDS is designed to help restaurants waste less paper and has three different modes: Kitchen View, Expedite View, Fryer view. According to the article “Revel’s Go Green Initiative Starts with iPad KDS” by PR.com, the system is able to “display food orders to chefs, provide feedback about the status of each order and capture service times for management reporting.”
The system will also be cheaper overall because there is hardly any hardware involved (just a flat panel display and a bump station). Once an order is completed, the chef can simply touch the iPad and with one button, the order is deleted.
“Revel’s Go Green Initiative starts with no more paper in the kitchen, faster completion times, and accurate statistics for management.”-Lisa Falzone, CEO of Revel
With the summer season, many people like to take vacations with their families or even by themselves. Have you ever thought about vacationing on a farm? From the article “Stay At a Farm This Summer” by Judi Gerber, Gerber explains the importance of our local farms and how you can make them a part of your summer vacation.
Gerber states in her article that saving our farm land is extremely important because “it can promote and protect regional food systems, play a role in environmental quality, and provide fiscal stability to a region by boosting the economy.” It helps the local economy through “sales, job creation and support services or businesses.”
So, now that we know why our farms are so important, why would we want to spend our vacation on one? Through her article, Gerber was able to explain a few good reasons. One great reason is the ability to see how the farm operates without having to run it ourselves. Some farms even provide outdoor activities. These can include “horseback riding, kayaking, or fishing.”
Gerber talks about the different types of experiences and set ups that you can have when vacationing at a farm. Some of the set ups can include “bed and breakfast inns; others offer rooms and/or space in the farmhouse, while others are actually converted barns or other farm buildings made into an inn or guest facility.” Gerber also talks about the different experiences stating that “some farms are very family friendly and provide all kinds of activities for kids, while others are only for adults and offer more of a quiet retreat. Some farm stays are operated as a working arrangement where people can come and stay and actually volunteer on a farm for a certain amount of time in exchange for food and accommodations while learning about farming.”
For more information about vacationing on a farm, see the full article.
FedEx is on the right path for lowering their environmental footprint. Recently FedEx released a new FedEx Global Citizenship Report that lists the environmental goals the company has set for itself. These future goals include reducing carbon emissions by 20 percent compared to 2005 levels, and improving fuel efficiency of its entire fleet by 20 perfect by 2020.
The FedEx Global Citizenship Report also highlights what FedEx is doing in regards to environmental sustainability. FedEx has increased its global electric vehicle and hybrid electric vehicle fleet to 408 vehicles – an almost 20 percent increase. With this increase in clean vehicle technology the company saves approximately 276,000 gallons of fuel.
FedEx is also becoming more eco-friendly in the sky as well as on the ground. FedEx added an additional six 7777F aircrafts to its fleet – making a total of 12. The 777F uses less fuel and can carry more cargo than the MD-11s it’s rapidly replacing. By 2020, FedEx plans to have 45 777Fs transporting goods around the world.
FedEx isn’t only cutting carbon emissions on the roads and in the sky, but at their facilities as well. The company has increased the use of solar power at five of its facilities – four in the U.S. and one in Europe. In total the solar power at these facilities reduces the company’s carbon emissions by 3,918 metric tons a year which is equivalent to 440,000 gallons of gasoline or 100,000 tree seedlings growing for 10 years.
Frederick W. Smith, FedEx Corp. chariman, president, and CEO believes he has a commitment to people around the globe. “A commitment to use resources responsibly, to expand our capabilities wisely and well, and to help people, businesses and communities thrive. Everyone at FedEx creates connections that change people’s lives for the better. FedEx team members’ actions speak just as loudly as the numbers that mark FedEx corporate responsibility progress.”
With more people commuting to work and gas prices continuing to soar, have you ever thought about biking to work? In the article Biking to work 101, Emily Lem shares her views on biking to work and four tips that will “ease the stress of the morning commute.”
“Getting the gear” is Lem’s first tip. She says that you don’t have to have the most expensive bike for the commute. As long as you feel comfortable on it, go for it. If your bike hasn’t been used in a while, be sure to take it to a bike shop and get it tuned up.
The next tip involves “mapping your route.” Lem says to check out maps provided by your local bike coalition. Maps by the bike coalitions, “outline existing bike routes, paths, and lanes, and they indicate the grade of a street so you can be sure to avoid those steep hills.”
The third tip, “plan your arrival.” Make sure to pack a change of clothes and deodorant if need be. And, be sure to scope out a place when you can store your bike during the day.
Final tip, “be safe.” Always wear your helmet, be aware of other bicyclists and motorists and, you can check out your local bike coalition for safety workshops and advice.