Oregon initiates first modern statewide refillable glass bottle system in the US

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At the beginning of the century, refillable bottles where the only option when you purchased a beer or soda from the local merchant. With the invention of the steel can in 1938, however, that practice began to change. Within 10 years, the 100% refillable glass usage for beer had dropped to 84%. When non-refillable glass started taking over mainstream production, that number dropped to 8% by 1986 and, according to the Container Recycling Institute, refillable beer bottles now account for less than… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building



China’s new rain-making system could increase rainfall by billions of cubic feet

China needs water — and their answer to the issue is a massive weather modification system. South China Morning Post reported the country is testing technology that could bring more rain to the Tibetan plateau — increasing rainfall by as much as 10 billion cubic meters every year. View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

NASA confirms asteroid came from another solar system – and it’s incredibly bizarre

The presence of an elongated asteroid hurtling through our solar system prompted a call to action from observatories throughout the world. It’s the first confirmed object from another star according to NASA, and it may be as long as a quarter mile. And while the rocky asteroid may not really be piloted by aliens – it could give us clues into the formation of other solar systems.

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NexLoop unveils water management system inspired by spiders, fungi, bees and plants

In its quest to sustainably serve the needs of urban farmers, Team NexLoop found inspiration for its water management system in the natural world. Seeking to create a system that is self-sufficient and adaptable to local needs, the team observed the ability of cribellate orb weaver spiders to craft webs that capture water from fog in the air. The team then incorporated this design into their work to allow their system, called the AquaWeb, to passively capture water from the atmosphere. The biomimetically-designed… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Cloud House makes it rain on demand with creative water harvesting system

You won’t have to do a rain dance to make it rain at the Cloud House—sitting in one of its rocking chairs should do the trick. Artist Matthew Mazzotta created the Cloud House, a gabled pavilion with a cloud-like sculpture that releases collected rainwater whenever someone sits inside the building. Crafted from reclaimed materials, the art installation was commissioned in Springfield, Missouri to bring attention to our dependence on natural systems, like the water cycle, that grow the food we… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green BuildingEco funeral – Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

NASA discovers 7 Earth-sized planets outside our solar system

 

In a press conference today, NASA scientists revealed an intriguing new discovery – the first known system of seven rocky, Earth-sized planets orbiting a single star. Three out of the seven planets are situated at the perfect distance from the sun to potentially harbor liquid water, making them habitable for life as we know it.

 

This is the largest number of habitable-zone planets ever found around a single star outside our own solar system. It’s important to note… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green BuildingEco funeral – Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Solar-power system could provide clean drinking water in rural India for the first time

+ University of Edinburgh

Via FastCo.Exist

Photo by Jake Givens View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green BuildingEco funeral – Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Smog-fighting music academy proposal uses an air purifier system as effective as 33,000 trees

The Polish city of Krakow has some of the worst air pollution in the world. In hopes of improving the city’s air quality, FAAB Architektura proposed a smog-fighting music academy fitted with a German air purification system that they say works effectively as 33,000 city trees. The music academy was designed as part of a larger “Krakow Music City” masterplan that envisions a largely car-free and environmentally friendly development atop a former military base.

Located between Krakow… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green BuildingEco funeral – Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Goodbye to Jumpy: Lessons for the Health System

Hamster care of cdrussorusso on flicker
Hamster care of cdrussorusso on flicker

This article by Janice Lynch Schuster was originally published on American Society on Aging’s Aging Today, and is republished with permission by the author. Janice will guest host our #DWDchat this Thursday to chat with our Twitter community about the topics in this article more in-depth. All are welcome; please join in the conversation! The chat will start at 4:00pmPT/7:00pmET and will last for one hour.

Janice Lynch Schuster is the co-author of Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011). She is a senior writer for the Altarum Institute in Washington, D.C.

For 15 years, I have made a living writing about death and dying, and about aging and caregiving. My experience stems from having cared for my grandmother in the early 1990s, and I was motivated by my outrage at discovering a healthcare system that was anything but caring. These days, my nightstand is laden with books bearing titles such as The Denial of Aging: Perpetual Youth, Eternal Life, and Other Dangerous Fantasies, Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age, A Bittersweet Season: Caring for our Aging Parents—and Ourselves, and Twelve Breaths a Minute: End of Life Essays. Each is a good read, and each, in its own way, prepared me for the recent death of Jumpy, my 9-year-old son’s dwarf hamster.

These days, I write about caregiving and care transitions. I was intrigued by the situation we faced with Jumpy’s demise and struck by how well our veterinarian managed a situation physicians routinely back away from.

Jumpy’s Diagnosis and Treatment Plan

In the early days of what would prove to be, in hamster years, a long illness, Jumpy just didn’t look right: his ears were swollen and he scratched incessantly. Diagnosing either a parasitic infection or an allergic reaction, our vet treated Jumpy with the full arsenal of veterinary weapons: an antiparasite medication, along with antibiotics and painkillers.

For two weeks, twice a day, one of us held the hamster while the other administered minuscule doses of what we hoped would relieve and cure him. Jumpy seemed to improve, although we failed to comply with a recommended follow-up appointment. I was on vacation, and my husband was busy. When we went back a couple weeks late, Jumpy had regressed and we were back to square one. More treatment followed, but Jumpy did not improve. His ears swelled, his belly was distended and he spent most of the day huddled in his hamster castle. His treadmill never moved.

I took him back to the vet, who explained our options. We could continue to treat Jumpy, every other week for the rest of his life, to the tune of some $200 per visit. Or we could end treatments—and Jumpy—with an overdose of some drug. It was left to me to decide.

The irony of my situation was not lost on me. I have spent years writing about how families contend with decisions just like this: Insert a feeding tube or not, try a ventilator or let nature take its course. In the hypothetical world of writing, the answers always seemed plausible and I seemed confident. In the real-world situation in which I found myself—with a sobbing 9-year-old boy and a quaking hamster of indeterminate age—it was less straightforward. Eventually, we agreed that it was time to end Jumpy’s suffering, that he would be cremated and that we would acknowledge and celebrate the happiness he had brought to my son.

Facing the End

It was so hard. I know, you’re thinking, “We’re talking about a hamster, for God’s sake!” And yet it was a living, breathing creature, one with whom my son had bonded and enjoyed good times. I can still picture Jumpy in the pilot’s seat of a G.I. JOE helicopter, and flash to an image from the movie of Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle. He was a rodent, pure and simple, and his problems paled in comparison to the rest of the world.

But in those problems lie kernels of understanding about the difficulty of end-of-life work. It was hard, painfully so, to tell my son that we could do no more for Jumpy. It was wrenching to witness him saying good-bye to his beloved pet. My son’s cries echoed through the vet’s office. The vet stood close to my son and told him how sorry he was for his loss, and how he hoped that he understood we were doing the best and right thing. How seldom we encounter that kind of compassion—that willingness to stand by us—in the healthcare system, yet how essential it is.

I would like to write a thank-you letter to the vet, acknowledging him for the compassion and human touch he showed to my little boy, who had just confronted the first of what is ultimately a lifetime of loss. Isn’t that the heart of what we can offer one another—a consoling and knowledgeable presence, someone to say how sorry they are, an affirmation that we are doing what is right and that parting is painful? I hope someone is there for my boy when he has to see me through, and I hope we all have a care system that has learned how to care.

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