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There’s 1 thing standing in the way of U.S. clean energy, and Sigourney Weaver wants to stop it.

There's 1 thing standing in the way of U.S. clean energy, and Sigourney Weaver wants to stop it.

The United States has made some pretty great progress with the issue of climate change.

Between the recently announced
Clean Power Plan and the upcoming Paris Climate Conference and the various clean energy subsidies that have been in place for years, there’s a metaphorical Magic 8 Ball somewhere in the heartland saying “Outlook good.”

Granted, we’re also partly responsible for letting the situation get this bad in the first place:

GIF from “The Cabin in the Woods.”

Despite these efforts, President Obama has still granted permission for Shell to continue drilling for oil in the Arctic.

GIF from “Galaxy Quest.”

On the bright side, Shell hasn’t
actually gone forward with their drilling plans.

Yet.

But they still have permission, which means that that could change tomorrow. And their reasons for not risking
the entire Arctic ecosystem and causing further damage to the planet is … they don’t think they’ll make enough money right now to make it worth their while.

So regardless of all our other efforts, the planet is still facing an inevitable disaster, and we’re powerless to stop it.

Sounds familiar. Maybe we need the voice of a hero to help guide us through…

GIF from “Alien
3.”

That is, unless we all come together and demand a change.

Don’t take my word for it
here’s award-winning actress and certified Earth hero Sigourney Weaver (are you sensing a theme?) to show you what’s really going on and just how serious it is:

Join me and Sigourney and sign this petition to tell our world leaders that we demand climate action and a cleaner future.

GIF from “Aliens.”

Right here:

GIF from “Working Girl.”

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/theres-1-thing-standing-in-the-way-of-us-clean-energy-and-sigourney-weaver-wants-to-stop-it?c=tpstream

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New Chuck Norris-y hotness: #PaulRyanFacts

New Chuck Norris-y hotness: #PaulRyanFacts

http://twitter.com/#!/YoungCons/status/235445557886341120

Move over, Chuck Norris facts! There is new hotness in town: Paul Ryan facts.

I logon, 1st tweet I see. Yes, it's gonna be a good day. RT @lheal #PaulRyanFacts Paul Ryan sharpens a knife with his steely gaze.

— Yes, We Scan ⊕ (@BoldFreshJew) August 14, 2012

A good day, indeed. As Twitchy reported, President Obama frantically tweeted out “FACTS” about Paul Ryan, in a fit of terrified meltdown, the other day.  Twitter users helped the president out with some true facts about President Obama.

Now, they are offering up Paul “terrifies the Left” Ryan facts. And, boy, are they awesome.

#PaulRyanFacts Paul Ryan doesn't need a teleprompter. Teleprompters need a Paul Ryan.

— Amy Lutz (@amylutz4) August 14, 2012

#PaulRyanFacts When Atlas Shrugged, Paul Ryan was there to hold the world up. #tcot

— Amy Lutz (@amylutz4) August 14, 2012

#PaulRyanFacts Batman has a Paul Ryan signal.

— Greg Sainer (@gsainer) August 14, 2012

Paul Ryan saved a cat from being stuck in a tree. By teaching it to climb down itself. #PaulRyanFacts

— Justen Charters (@JustenCharters) August 14, 2012

Paul Ryan hunts with a bow, because using his bare hands would be unfair to the deer. #PaulRyanFacts

— You Said Russia! (@lheal) August 14, 2012

https://twitter.com/kesgardner/status/235449193928466432

#PaulRyanFacts Paul Ryan has a pet honey badger.

— Tanner (@Brumbarger) August 14, 2012

#PaulRyanFacts Paul Ryan can balance a budget in his head before Joe Biden can turn on his solar powered calculator.

— Crispin Armon Gipson (@critterman76) August 14, 2012

Chuck Norris wears Paul Ryan pajamas #PaulRyanFacts

— Brandon Kiser (@Kiser) August 14, 2012

Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders. Claustrophobia is the fear of tight spaces. Liberalism is the fear of Paul Ryan. #paulryanfacts

— Angela (@Bear2theRight) August 14, 2012

Bingo! More, please, Twitter!

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2012/08/14/new-chuck-norris-y-hotness-paulryanfacts/

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It Started As A Normal Van, But With A Bit Of Work, She Turned It Into A Cozy Home

It Started As A Normal Van, But With A Bit Of Work, She Turned It Into A Cozy Home

In the midst of a condo renovation, a move, a job, and caring for her father with dementia, Chris of Defying Normal somehow found time to work on her passion project — transforming an old white van into a camper. In addition to running water, she added solar power, a bed, and a sweet TV projector. It may have taken her two years and eight months to complete, but considering all that was going on in her life — and the fact that she had no prior experience in construction — this is still pretty impressive!

You can check out each of the individual steps in detail on Chris’s YouTube page. She also invites people wanting to make their own camper to download her free step-by-step guide on her website.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/chris-camper-van/

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He figured out a way to bring clean, affordable power to people who were off the grid.

He figured out a way to bring clean, affordable power to people who were off the grid.

Imagine what the world would look like if industrialized countries had skipped the age of fossil fuels and gone directly to solar power.

Our infrastructure, way of life, and environment would be radically different.

Image via iStock.

Thats the future 23-year-old entrepreneur George Mtemahanji envisions for his home country of Tanzania.

Image via SunSweet Solar, used with permission.

Of the more than 51 million people living in Tanzania, 70% don’t have electricity at all, either because theyre not connected to the energy grid, or, if they are, they still don’t have electricity due to poor connections and frequent outages.

Mtemahanji knows firsthand what it’s like to live without electricity.

He grew up studying by kerosene light and going to bed at 8 p.m. (the sun goes down in Tanzania at 6 pm).

“I understand very well the discomfort that people who have no electricity have,” he told Upworthy via email. “I was born at night in a clinic without electricity, and so I was born with the light of the moon. My mom always told me that she had to wait [until] the next day to see me, she knew I was born healthy because I weighed nearly 4kg, but she could only see me the next morning. … I was born and I lived without electricity and I know what it means, for this I decided to use all my knowledge to light up the lives of all those who do not have electricity.”

In 2003, Mtemahanji moved to Italy with his mother and became a technician in renewable energy before going to work in Switzerland. By 2014, hed saved up enough to return to Tanzania, where he started a business with a friend, Manuel Rolando.

The business they started is called SunSweet Solar Limited, and it has the potential to solve three major problems at the same time.

Solar power seemed to Mtemahanji and Rolando like the perfect way to resolve a few different problems simultaneously (1) bringing electricity to people who needed it, (2) in areas that were mostly poor, and (3) without contributing to climate change.

SunSweet Solar designs, plans, and constructs solar photovoltaic systems, water pumping systems, street light systems, and off-grid lighting.

Image via SunSweet Solar, used with permission.

SunSweet Solar’s first contract involved installing a solar power plant at a secondary school that could run 236 lights, dozens of computers, and fans.

The project was challenging, but it was also a success, and Mtemahanji was curious to see how having electricity affected the students.

He wasn’t disappointed; he says that since SunSweet Solar’s installation last year, national exam performance at Benignis Girls Secondary School increased from 81% to 94%.

Mtemahanji attributes at least some of that success to the introduction of electricity.

“This result shows that studying in a serene environment where electricity is always present, can help a lot to improve the quality of education.”

In addition to big projects like the Benignis school, the company sells solar kits and installs larger scale solar systems.

The plan originally was to sell solar kits capable of powering a few lightbulbs and charging a phone to individual households, but SweetSun Solar has since changed its model: nNow they install single solar systems that can satisfy the energy demands of a whole village.

Image via SunSweet Solar, used with permission.

SunSweet Solar customers pay for the solar setup in installments through their phones, and it costs them about $0.13 a day. The government of the village earns 5% of the revenue to assist in the development of the village.

Image via SunSweet Solar, used with permission.

In October 2015, SunSweet Solar was selected as one of the 12 best companies led by young Africans by the Anzisha Prize, an award celebrating young African entrepreneurs.

Since the award, sales have skyrocketed, and SunSweet Solar now faces a new challenge: how to keep up with demand. The company gets requests from about four villages every month, each village with an average of 30 customers/houses. Mtemahanji and Rolando are currently looking for investors so that they can scale up their business.

Mtemahanji says it can be discouraging because it seems like many investors want to work with Western and Asian companies operating in Africa rather than directly with Africans.

“We must be content with the funds that we can have through the seed and prizes. But many of these funds help to support the company, not to scale up. I am confident, however, that this situation will change soon as possible, and we are ready for that moment.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/he-figured-out-a-way-to-bring-clean-affordable-power-to-people-who-were-off-the-grid?c=tpstream

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Check Out The Idea That's Got This Guy's Seal Of Approval

Check Out The Idea That's Got This Guy's Seal Of Approval

A very interesting way to deliver clean energy where it’s needed. Mr. President, take it away: 

Read more: http://upworthy.com/check-out-the-idea-thats-got-this-guys-seal-of-approval

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These two posts from Arnold capture why we need clean energy now. Not in the future. Now.

These two posts from Arnold capture why we need clean energy now. Not in the future. Now.

In case you missed it: Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California and star action movies like “Terminator” and “Predator,” dropped some truth bombs on Facebook Monday morning.

That’s the title of a Facebook post by Schwarzenegger. He titled it that because, even if everything scientists are saying about climate change is completely wrong (which it’s not), we should already be moving to clean energy anyway.

“Do you believe it is acceptable that 7 million people die every year from pollution?” he asks. Burning fossil fuels creates pollution, sickening and killing millions of people every year.

As the actual definition of “renewable” would suggest, renewables won’t run out. And they’re usually a good deal, too California’s energy investments are already paying off.

“I don’t want to be the last investor in Blockbuster as Netflix emerged,” he said.

Schwarzenegger lays out some realities about climate change in his second post, a Q&A video.

Image via Arnold Schwarzenegger/Facebook.

The video features Arnold standing in front of the Arc de Triomphe, taking questions from fans. Arnold was in Paris along with the current governor of California, Jerry Brown, to give a speech at the COP21 climate change talks.

Arnold fielded these questions about subjects like how teachers can explain climate change to their students and what the average person can do about climate change, while also warning against finger-pointing and divisions both internationally and within U.S. politics.

But the best was what he’d say to the people who say fixing climate change is impossible.

“I have heard people say that it’s impossible,” said Arnold.

“I’ve heard this my whole life. I’ve heard ‘it’s impossible’ my whole life about everything. If I wanted to go to America they said it’s impossible. When I wanted to be a body-building champion they said it’s impossible. When I wanted to be a movie star they said it’s impossible. When I ran for governor they said it’s impossible. So I heard it all the time.”

“So I took the words ‘impossible,’ ‘can’t be done,’ and ‘no’ out of my vocabulary,” said Arnold.

Image via Arnold Schwarzenegger/Facebook.

“If we all work together we can solve this problem.”

It’s a great video that’s well worth a watch. If you agree with Arnold that clean energy just makes sense that fossil fuels aren’t worth an estimated 7 million sick sign this petition from the League of Conservation Voters which tells Congress to spur fossil fuels and support the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/these-two-posts-from-arnold-capture-why-we-need-clean-energy-now-not-in-the-future-now?c=tpstream

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This ancient Japanese art could improve everything from bridges to surgical gear.

This ancient Japanese art could improve everything from bridges to surgical gear.

Origami: It’s more than just paper cranes!

My crane style defeats your monkey style. Photo by
Doug/Flickr.

Did you know the principles of paper folding have been used to cram car airbags into tight spaces for years? And that’s just the beginning.

All that material sits patiently inside your steering wheel until you need it. Photo by
Scott E./Flickr.

The ancient Japanese art is actually inspiring the future of engineering.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Georgia Tech, and the University of Tokyo, for example, have been toying with
a specific fold configuration they’re calling the “zippered tube.”

They say it could have some pretty amazing applications.

Whooooa. All GIFS via
University of Illinois News Bureau/YouTube.

They start by folding a strip of paper into a sort of zig zag. Then, they glue two of these folded strips together to form a flexible-yet-powerful tube. From there, multiple tubes can be combined in all kinds of different combinations and geometric formations.

The result?

Firm, yet still flexible, Transformer-like structures capable of folding nearly flat for easy transportation or storage.


Here’s a basic paper bridge holding up some hefty weights.

A lot of (our research) was driven by space exploration, to be able to launch structures compactly and deploy them in space,”
says Evgueni Filipov, a graduate assistant on the project. “But we’re starting to see how it has potential for a lot of different fields of engineering. You could prefabricate something in a factory, ship it compactly and deploy it on site.”

But it’s not just paper that can be origami’d into amazing new forms.

Imagine a steel surgical probe capable of collapsing in order to fit through a tiny incision, then expanding after insertion in order to perform its function.

Imagine shelters, bridges, housing, boats, and medical equipment that can be deployed at lightning speed during natural disasters.

Imagine
an incredible, self-assembling robot. (Sound familiar?)

The possibilities are really endless.

From super cool, super convenient pop-up furniture…

This table is “more than meets the eye.” Photo by
Brett Jordan/Flickr.

… to solar panels that collapse and then expand when launched into space.

Starts small, becomes huge. Image from
BYU/YouTube.

It may take some time before we see some of these techniques reach the mainstream.

But it’s pretty exciting to think about a world where structures can be moved, modified, and stowed away with ease. And it’s even cooler to think about a world where engineering is based as much in art as it is in science.

So, let’s keep folding our way to a more beautiful, more functional world.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/this-ancient-japanese-art-could-improve-everything-from-bridges-to-surgical-gear?c=

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Dad And Son Convert Old 90’s School Bus Into A Tiny Dream Home

Dad And Son Convert Old 90’s School Bus Into A Tiny Dream Home

Patrick Schmidt was unemployed and living in California when a used 1990 school bus changed his life. Schmidt, who goes by Skoolielove, bought the bus for 4,500 USD in March and then spent three months and 9,000 USD converting it into a motor home with his dad; then Schmidt left for a 10,000 mile journey to Florida.

“My plans are to stay in Florida until March, then most likely find my way back slowly to Vegas, and up to Seattle to live again for a while,” Schmidt told Metro UK. “Find some land to park on. That’s kind of the life I’ve imagined for myself. Ride around, travel, find temporary work, and see where to go from there.”

Patrick Schmidt didn’t want to run in the rat-race


So when he saw an old school-bus for sale for for 4,500 USD, he decided to buy it


Schmidt and his father spent 3 months and 9,000 USD converting the bus into a motorhome


“I decided to check out of the game and live in a school bus tiny home conversion”


And then Schmidt left for a 10,000 mile road-trip to Florida, winding through 30 states


His mobile home is “off grid ready,” with solar power, converters, inverters, batteries etc


They’ve even installed a sink


And a tiny shower next to a toilet!


LEDs were used to create this cosy atmosphere


“My dad’s idea for storage and putting an A/C in place. It’s been tremendously useful”

“That’s kind of the life I’ve imagined for myself”

“Ride around, travel, find temporary work, and see where to go from there”

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/school-bus-dream-home-motor-patrick-schmidt/

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When do taxpayers get paid back on the $50M in VW tax credits?

When do taxpayers get paid back on the $50M in VW tax credits?

You’ve all heard by now thatVW figured out a way to trick the government agenciesthat monitor vehicle emissions in order to get better environmental ratings on its line of “clean diesel” cars.

Well, here’s a new wrinkle: how do taxpayers get paid back on the $50 million in “clean energy” tax credits that buyers received to help purchase the fraudulent automobiles?

More from the Detroit News:

The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday said it was opening an investigation into Volkswagen AGs use of about $50 million in tax credits for diesel cars that the automaker has now acknowledged have software that evades emissions rules.

In a letter to VW CEO Matthias Muller and VWs top U.S. executive, Michael Horn, Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and the ranking Democrat, Ron Wyden of Oregon, want VW to answer questions about tax credits for cars that are among the 482,000 diesel vehicles that had defeat devices on them allowing them to emit up to 40 times allowable pollution in real-world driving.

Keep in mind that these tax credit were instrumental in selling the cars:

Even worse, the liars at VW wanted team Obama to allow credits designated specifically for electric cars to go toward the purchase of the fake-clean diesels:

Now the question is, “who pays back the government?” Will it be the buyers of the car, which would mean refiling tax returnsor will VW pay?

And another problem is the reduced value of the cars people already own:

VW is taking care of their dealers, but not American who bought the cars or U.S. taxpayers who financed them:

Not right, VW.

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2015/10/09/when-do-taxpayers-get-paid-back-report-vw-buyers-got-50-million-in-clean-energy-tax-credits/

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The Paris climate accord has been approved! Now here’s what that actually means for you.

The Paris climate accord has been approved! Now here's what that actually means for you.

For the first time in history, representatives of 195 nations agreed to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Rejoice! Hooray! The world is saved!

GIF from “Captain Planet,” obvi.

Well. Sort of. Ish. For now.

The so-called “Paris Agreement” was signed into effect Saturday evening, Dec. 12, 2015, after two weeks of grueling negotiations (and technically one day after what was supposed to have been the end of the Conference of the Parties, but that’s OK).

It is a landmark step in slowing the effects of climate change across the globe. The mere fact that 195 nations actually came together and agreed on something is a pretty remarkable feat in itself, especially considering that the last 20 times the United Nations tried to get together to address global warming, all ended in resounding shrugs.

GIF via MTV News/Kanye.

While the historical importance of this cooperation is certainly worth celebrating, it’s also an easy distraction from the more … lackluster aspects of the climate deal.

Imagine those 195 nations involved in the agreement are 195 friends who all went out for dinner one night.

Now imagine the nightmare of trying to split the bill 195 ways. The Democratic Republic of the Congo doesn’t want to go in on the $300 bottle of wine that the United States bought for the table. And the Marshall Islands had two more pieces of calamari than Brazil did, so Brazil wants them to pay the difference. Then, of course, there’s Monaco, who only got a salad and yes OK paid for exactly what they ate plus a stingy tip, but they didn’t factor in the tax and everyone else wants them to split the cost of the appetizers, too. And we haven’t even gotten started on entrees yet!

Let’s just say there was a lot of compromise involved. But hey, at least everyone had a good time, right?

Actual footage from the signing of the agreement. GIF via New York Times.

For example, there was a whole lotta hemming and hawing about the difference between a 1.5 and 2C global temperature increase.

We know the overall climate is warming and we need to stop it before it gets worse. But there’s some disagreement on what “worse” means, exactly.

The general consensus has been that 2 degrees Celsius is the cutoff for rising global temperatures by the end of the century. Any hotter than that, and it gets increasingly difficult to predict just how unpredictable the ecological damage could be. Also, 2 degrees seemed like a pretty attainable goal for most countries.

There are others, however, who were pushing to cap the rise at 1.5 degrees. And while that half-degree might seem like splitting hairs, there are some parts of the world where it could be the difference between life and death.

GIF from “Anchorman.”

The result of all this back-and-forth? The global temperature increase will be capped at … um … well, we’re gonna cap the global temperature increase.

Basically, every country gets to set its own limits for greenhouse gas emissions. These limits will be publicly available through the UN website so all nations can be held to proper public scrutiny.

Unfortunately, there’s not really any requirement for these emission reductions other than “less than what we’re doing now.” Amid the fancy legalese of the formal agreement, it actually says: “Parties aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible” (emphasis mine).

That’s remarkably vague and noncommittal, especially for a legally binding contract. But the parties will reconvene every five years to review their progress and maybe-possibly increase those limits. So that’s something?

The upside of the Paris Agreement: Everyone agrees that we need to take climate action.

Even if specific action is still left to the discretion of each nation, this is a big move in the right direction.

While the issue of global warming is hardly “solved” and we’re not any closer to saving the planet once and for all (if such a thing is even possible), at least we acknowledge there’s a problem, and we’re committing to fix it.

Yes, there are some changes that will happen in your country and some things that might be integrated into your day-to-day lives. But you might not even notice them, and they might not be enough to make a difference.

That might seem like cold comfort. But it all depends on what we do from here on out.

So let’s pledge as individuals to embrace climate-conscious lives whenever possible.

Vote with your dollars and go green when you can. You don’t have to buy solar panels for your home just pay attention to what you recycle. Walk, bike, or carpool when you can (and maybe next time you buy a car, aim for electric). Be aware of the world as you move through it, and consider the impact that actions might have on the future of our planet. And whenever there’s an option that involves less fossil fuels, I implore you to take it.

That might be as vague and noncommittal as the Paris Agreement. But everything has to start somewhere.

Let’s get started.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/the-paris-climate-accord-has-been-approved-now-heres-what-that-actually-means-for-you?c=tpstream