Best of TreeHugger: 350 Around the World, the Car That Stops for People, and the Footprint of Meat is Heavier Than We Thought

Windmill wunderkind William Kamkwamba is a big star on TreeHugger, at GOOD, and, it seems, everywhere else these days. When we...

Windmill wunderkind
William Kamkwamba is a big star on TreeHugger, at GOOD, and, it seems, everywhere else these days. When we spoke with him at the very end of his whirlwind book tour, he told us about his hopes for his home Malawi, the highlights of his US trip, and the stress that comes not with devising a new DIY well drill but with the American college search.Sometimes, in the battle between cars and people, it seems no amount of pedestrian lobbying will do. What we need is a car that automatically stops when it senses pedestrians. Enter Volvo. If the car's speed is under 25 kilometers per hour, it puts on full brakes. (But what if the car is going faster than that?)It's nice to get some perspective-and to get compliments. For all of the marks against it in the eyes of Europe, the United States, reports Briton Sami Grover, has a number of cutting-edge green credentials going for it. Among them, a yen for entrepreneurship, and a vibrant, lively farmers market culture.Our International Day of Climate Action was all over the map. Our 350-er, 360 degree look began with a gorgeous sunrise in New Zealand and a parade of bicycles in Beijing, continued through Times Square and more, thanks to readers' photos.We couldn't resist a look also at some pretty dark environmental photography too, much of it courtesy of China's unbridled economic boom. As Nadav Kandar won the Prix Pictet prize for his Yangtze River work and Lu Guang took home the W. Eugene Smith Award for his Industrial Revolution-esque images, deranged landscape godfather Edward Burtynsky released a new series called "Oil"-with nary a drop of the black stuff to be seen within it. To top it off, a reminder of history's eight worst man-made environmental disasters.Sixty percent of Americans now support cap and trade, and there's a veritable climate expert storm on Capitol Hill this week, but it may not matter for Copenhagen: reality (along with John Kerry) is beginning to shift our attentions to a post-climate meeting climate meeting.We've known that cutting back on meat and dairy is one of the most powerful personal steps we can take towards mitigating climate change. But a new report shows that the impact of raising livestock and poultry is much greater than previously thought and actually amounts to approximately 51 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Some food for thoughtA universal phone charger-just approved by the International Telecommunication Union-isn't being forced on cell phone makers but rather recommended. But what companies wouldn't implement the charger, which has a micro USB connector, energy efficient technology, and would cut 51,000 tons of redundant chargers a year out of the waste stream?On that note, we're all juiced up over a socket that could easily and seriously cut phantom load, or vampire power. And on that note, some tips to keep your Halloween as DIY as it is scary. Keep in mind that the biggest scary movie in the country right now was made on a budget of $10,000.

McDonalds sells a lot of coffee. Over a billion cups a year, to be exact. All that coffee leads to a lot of productive mornings, but it also leads to a lot of waste. Each year, millions of pounds of coffee chaff (the skin of the coffee beans that comes off during roasting) ends up getting turned into mulch. Some coffee chaff just gets burned, leading to an increase in CO2.

Now, that chaff is going to get turned into car parts. Ford is incorporating coffee chaff from McDonalds coffee into the headlamps of some cars. Ford has been using plastic and talc to make its headlamps, but this new process will reduce the reliance on talc, a non-renewable mineral. The chaff is heated to high temperatures under low oxygen and mixed with plastic and other additives. The bioplastic can then be formed into shapes.

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For over 20 years, our country has perceived itself as more divided than united, and it's not getting better. Right after the 2016 election, a poll conducted by Gallup found that 77% of Americans felt the country was divided on the most important values, a record high.

The percentage of Americans who agree that we disagree got higher. During the 2018 mid-term elections, a poll conducted by NBC News/Wall Street Journal found that 80% of Americans felt the nation was "mainly" or "totally" divided.

We head into the 2020 presidential election more divided than ever. A new poll from USA Today found that nine out of ten respondents felt it was important to do something about the conflict in our country. We can't keep on living like this forever.

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via Honor Africans / Twitter

The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

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