Amazing partnership bringing mattresses to displaced Haitians

 

 

The specially designed WorldBed will help displaced people in Haiti

The specially designed WorldBed will help displaced people in Haiti

With so much relief effort currently focused on Haiti, a unique partnership has come together to bring specially designed “transitional” mattresses called the “WorldBed” to the people there. 

 

U.S. mattress manufacturer Anatomic Global announced that they’ve partnered with five key suppliers – FXI Foamex Innovations, UPS, Deslee Textiles USA, Royal Packaging and the Brookwood Companies – and that the first 500 mattresses shipped from Southern California this past weekend expected to arrive in Haiti later this week. Thousands more will be shipped each week until a goal of supplying some 200,000 mattresses is reached. 

 

Covered with rugged nylon, this foam mattress is moisture resistant too

Covered with rugged nylon, this foam mattress is moisture resistant too

The “World Bed” has been designed as a cot-sized foam mattress that can be quickly shipped in volume to any area in need, anywhere in the world. The mattresses - made from raw, recycled or new materials – are covered in a rugged nylon cover and are specially treated to be moisture resistant. They have a specially designed strap so they can be rolled, secured and carried over one’s shoulder. Each one comes with care and use instructions and an announcement in English, French and Creole, stating it is a gift from members of the U.S. bedding industry.

 

This critically needed bedding is produced by several companies pulling their resources together to make a difference.

“There has never been concentrated destruction and human tragedy of the scale seen in Haiti,” said Anatomic Global CEO David Farley.

 

Five suppliers have come together to make a difference in Haiti

Five suppliers have come together to make a difference in Haiti

Anatomic Global said it was also re-investing all its corporate profits in the first quarter of 2010 to manufacture WorldBeds for Haitian relief. 

 

Farley said many of Anatomic Global’s distributors and retailers were in the process of joining the program along with other suppliers. He welcomes other mattress manufacturers to work with Anatomic Global on this initiative.

It’s good to know that corporate America is coming together like this, when so many need so much.

New kit will help keep pharmaceuticals out of our water

Prescription drugsOn March 10, 2008, MSNBC’s website read:

“Pharmaceuticals lurking in U.S. drinking water … AP probe found traces of meds in water supplies of 41 million Americans”

More stories have since revealed how extensive the problem’s  become. The real ramifications of prescription drugs in the water we drink hasn’t been fully determined but this news is certainly enough to scare the heck out of most of us.

Leave it to the ingenuity of a pharmacist and an engineer to come up with a viable solution.

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No wonder the environment is losing

The worldThere’s been much lamenting across the media about the apparent failure of the Copenhagen Summit last month. Yet in reading today’s headlines, it really couldn’t have ended any other way.

Take for instance the following:

And then there’s yesterday’s headline:

“Alaska senator moves to bar EPA rules on greenhouse gas emissions

With so much pressure and financial backing coming from so many directions, how could the Summit’s outcome been otherwise?

Melting glacierBalance this against continued evidence that climate change is indeed speeding along, with the Arctic northwest passage now being tussled over for a variety of development projects – from laying underwater telecommunications cable to prospective oil drilling. Seems the politicians and corporate America see dollar signs amidst the melting glaciers.

Too bad for the island and countries that will go underwater due to rising sea levels, creating tens of thousands (if not more) of displaced and homeless. Too bad that more marine species are threatened or will go extinct. Just gotta have our progress, you know.

As environmentalists and a concerned public clamor for effective action by government leaders, is it merely whistling in the wind?  One has to wonder.

With climate change comes … lilypads?

Living Lilypad 2Even conservative estimates suggest that by the year 2100 many low-lying islands and nations around the globe will be under at least a foot of water. With those kind of rising sea levels, where will those displaced folks live?

Belgian architect Vincent Callabaut has come up with an intriguing solution. His amphibious city - aptly named Lilypad - will be a car-free, clean energy paradise that can support 50,000 people with no additional external supplies. Wind and solar power will provide renewable energy, and suspended rooftop gardens will be for food production. This would be the most efficient, advanced, self-contained community ever dreamed of.

Living Lilypad 3Since the lilypad floats, it can be placed in any lake or on any ocean body, towed where needed. Each city will have a lake at its center for fresh water collection and will use solar, wind and wave power for energy generation.

Though Mr Callebaut is still working out the cost of this amazing concept community, one wonders if world leaders will give it credence or scoff it away. Then again, politicians being what they are, seeing the larger picture and taking effective action aren’t usually on their gameboard unless and until disaster is truly imminent.

Hmm…

"How green are you?" – the latest couples debate?

A growing trend - fighting over who's more "green"

A growing trend - fighting over who's more "green"

According to a recent New York Times article, therapists are reporting an increase in bickering  between couples and family members about how green they’re willing to become.Food in particular – whether it’s buying or eating habits – seems to be an emotionally charged issue. It seems that for some, battle lines are being drawn and judgement passed over how much someone does or doesn’t do.

A great deal of political correctness seems to have become wrapped around how green we are. But political correctness isn’t the point, not really. Isn’t it more about becoming aware of one’s actions and their impact on both our personal and global environment? 

 

Taking steps to green your life is what counts

Taking steps to green your life is what counts

Each person taking whatever steps they can, staring with small ones, is what makes the difference.  It’s important to remember Lautsu’s famous quotation: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

To judge someone on what they aren’t doing seems to be missing the point. It’s what they are doing that matters.

All of us can do more to make our lives more eco-friendly. The question is: have you begun yet? And, if so, what are the next steps you can take

 

Spongy Glass – an environmental and technological breakthrough

Spongy glassCleaning up pollutants and spills in waterways is no easy feat. A new discovery by Dr. Paul Edmiston called “Osorb” may well be the breakthrough that makes the difference.

Called spongy glass, as this new material swells up to eight times its dry weight, it soaks up liquids, binding with gasoline, chlorinated solvents and pollutants. Since it won’t bind to water, it can easily clean water and make it pollution free.  This unique glass can also be reused hundreds of times.

Absorbent Materials, the company Edmiston founded. will market the product. According to Stephen Spoonamore, Absorbent’s  CEO, “this technology may revolutionize Water/Environmental Remediation, BTEX recovery.”

It’s currently undergroing testing in the U.S.. This is definitely a product with wide-reaching application and something to keep an eye out for.

A proven, eco-friendly way to kill the H1N1 virus

 

Activeion's Ionator EXP - one of 2 new devices that effectively kills the H1Ni virus

The Ionator EXP - one of 2 new devices that kills the H1N1 virus

Use water to kill the H1N1 virus?

Sounds ludicrous, but recent lab tests confirm that the new ionator EXP™ and ionator HOM™ by Activeion Cleaning Solutions LLC does the job.

These simple hand-held devices ionize plain tap water, activating and convert it into a powerful dirt-removing and bacteria-killing product. Tests show that these devices kill the H1N1 influenza A virus in six seconds. They also effectively sanitize non-porous hard-surfaces. 

I tested an earlier version of this amazing device and wrote about it last year.

Activeion HomeFormer EPA Administrator Dr. Stephen L. Johnson,  who’s now an advisor to Activeion, says “testing concludes the ionator EXP™ and the ionator HOM™ provide for complete inactivation of the Pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus, when used as directed.”

Forbes Magazine just named this product one of 2009’s ten best “disruptive technologies that could change the world”.

The ionator EXP™ is currently available and designed for commercial use. A less expensive consumer version will be available in the spring,  though it’s available now in limited quantities.

Solar panels to be micro-sized in the near future

The products including some sort of solar charger continues to grow – from backpacks to clothing. Now the technology is progressing so that we may soon see solar cells that are thinner than human hair!

Future solar cells could be microsized, making them more efficient and less costly

Future solar cells could be microsized, making them more efficient and less costly

Sandia National Laboratories have been developing glitter-sized photovoltaic cells made from crystalline silicon that are fabricated using microelectronic and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) techniques. Measuring around 14 to 20 micrometers thick and 0.25 to 1 millimeter across, these cells are expected to be cheaper and more efficient that current solar cells.

Sandia’s lead investigator Greg Nielson said  these cells would be wrapped around unusual shapes for building-integrated solar, tents and possibly  clothing. The latter would  allow consumers to walk around and charge up simultaneously. Hunters, hikers or military personnel in the field would be able to recharge batteries for phones, cameras and other electronic devices as they walk or rest.

Inverters, intelligent controls and storage would be built in at the chip level. It’s thought these amazing cells will be mass produced sometime in the future.

Green Gadgets for your home

 This is a guest post by Danielle Brycz from Verde Lifestyles, an online eco-friendly home décor store.

Green ideasWhen I think of green technology for the home, my mind jumps to energy saving devices and appliances.  But there’s so much more!

Most of the products we use have eco-friendly alternatives. Take your daily routine. You wake up, hit your alarm clock, turn on your bedside lamp. Then you shower with a low-flow showerhead, blow-dry your hair, eat breakfast, and are out the door with your backpack or briefcase.

Besides conserving water and turning off your lights when not using them, did you consider greener options the last time you made a purchase? It’s just a matter of making small changes.

Here are some great green gadgets for the home you might not have considered.

The MiniWiz solar light

The MiniWiz solar light

 

 

Solar Powered Lamp

 

MiniWiz’s indoor/outdoor lamp – introduced at 2009’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) – uses solar technology to provide light. Their SolarBulb can be attached to any plastic bottle. Its LED light automatically turns on when dark and is water-resistant. You can fill the water bottle when it’s windy. Though not currently available for sale, it will be priced around $25.

Naturally- Powered Clocks 

 

A handsome bamboo clock powered by dirt

A handsome bamboo clock powered by dirt

There’s an adorable clock from Bedol that’s powered by water and a little lemon juice. This mixture charges the clock for up to 6-8 weeks!

 

Another favorite is a dirt-powered clock by designer Marieke Staps. Its copper and zinc electrodes go directly into the soil for a natural source of energy. Not only is the power renewable, the clock’s made of bamboo, making it one of the most eco-friendly clocks I’ve come across. Another bonus is you can use any type of plant to power the clock!

Barbar-Eco-8000- dryerThe ECO 8000 Blow Dryer

While its hard to believe, this Barbar dryer cuts both your drying time and energy consumption in half!  Plus its ceramic heating components protect you from radiation. The cover doesn’t appear to be sustainable, but it’s a step in the right direction!

Naturally-powered Bags 

 

NoonStyle solar Messenger Bag

NoonStyle's stylish solar Messenger Bag

The Voltaic solar panel backpack has been on my wish list for a long time. It will charge all your devices, even rechargeable batteries. (Not all at once of course.) Fully charged in 6-8 hours, it comes with an adaptor to charge at home or in the car. Another bonus: the wire channels bring power to the shoulder straps for easy use and there’s a plug for headphones.  It’s a little more expensive than your average backpack, but well worth it.

 

If you’d rather have a messenger bag than a backpack, the NoonStyle Solar Messenger Bag  is for you. Same concept, different style. Though stylish, a big drawback is it’s almost double the price of the Voltaic backpack.

 

The solar grill - an eco-friendly way to cook

The solar grill - an eco-friendly way to cook

Solar Powered Grill

 

Developed by Tammock Trading, the Solar Grill is the first of its kind. Made of concave metal coated with a mirror, it focuses the sun’s rays to cook your food. While not practical for cloudy days, on sunny days it’s powerful enough to burn your food! For $240, this nifty grill’s great for camping or the beach. Compared to other eco-friendly grills, this product takes it to the max!

These are some of my favorite eco-friendly products. Feel free to share yours!

Danielle Brycz, Verde Lifestyles

Website helps schools (and teachers) help kids

Alcott7_Jan2009In this economy, everyone’s belt tightening. Education’s been squeezed to a choking point, with teachers getting creative to find resources for students.

In 2007, teachers’ out-of-pocket expenses totaled $1,7 billion a year. Nationally, the the average teacher spends around $500 out of pocket annually. An American Federation of Teachers survey found that out of 4,618 teachers, first-year teachers personally spent about $700 for students’ school supplies.

Any other employee in a company doesn’t do that, says Jerry Hall, Executive Director of iLoveSchools.com, which matches teachers, schools and school districts with individual, group and corporate donors.

 

iLoveSchools.com - an excellent resource for classrooms

iLoveSchools.com - an excellent resource for classrooms

They’re the only national website that handles new, used & in-kind stuff, he says. “In-kind” means anything a teacher wants – from a speaker for their class to business services.

 

iLoveSchools serves any place that teaches kids, running the gamut from pre-school, K-12, public, private, charter or home schools, even juvenile halls and detention centers. Similar organizations only serve public schools.

To match donors and “stuff”, teachers, schools and/or districts register online. So far over 35,000 teachers across the country have registered.

Next they build a Wish List on the website for whatever’s wanted and needed at BuildaWishList. Teachers have the option to shop iLoveSchools’ catalog which currently has over 150,000 educational products, with more coming soon. If they find things they want, they add to their Wish List. If not, they can build a custom Wish List where they can request new and gently-used items or in-kind services. These can include anything from money for a field trip to business services. They’ll then receive a customized, unique web home page at a permanent iLoveSchools.com web address.
They also get widgets, banners, logos and text links to use to help promote their home page on their district’s website, in newsletters and in email announcements.

 

On the donor side, donors can sign up to “Become a Classroom Friend”, creating a webpage and posting why they want to help. 

 

Central Elementary School benefits from generous donors

Central Elementary School benefits from generous donors

The Donor Offer Board lets donors post things they want to give. The posts end up resembling craigslist ads, covering things like business equipment that’s cycled out every few years but still in good condition or time they can give.

 

Donors wanting a more “hands-on” feel can go to their search engine and narrow their search down to specific school districts and special criteria schools and/or teachers must meet. Donors can look up teachers online and contact them directly.They can direct their giving to the type of teacher they want to serve while teachers can log in and see things that they’re specifically qualified for.

“People want to have control of where their donation goes,” said Hall, “and how much the non-profit uses for administrative costs.” With iLoveSchools, they can spell it out.

This service is for individuals, small companies and large corporations who want to donate. Lexmark donated almost-new printers they were getting rid of. Last year, the Obama campaign donated office furniture and equipment. All these would otherwise have ended up in landfills.

“We want to challenge people to think of the different ways they can use our site,” said Hall. The PTA can have a free Wish List where teachers can register, then dole out things on an equitable basis. A district can register, then post donor offers, being “an internal sharing resource for the district,” he said. If a district’s well-off, they can offer things to a sister district that isn’t. Companies can use it to help show they support their local schools. It’s a win all around.

Hall believes there’s a lot of stuff consumers have that’s reusable by teachers. If we look, our garages and closets are full of them.

There are people all over the country right now that are asking for resources, he said.

Consider getting involved with this. It’s an easy way to make a real difference.

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