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New Upcycle Tech Gives Dead Phone Batteries a Second Lease on Life

The BETTER RE power pack taps old and discarded batteries for remaining charges.

BETTER RE is a power pack able to tap old and discarded batteries for remaining charges.

The sad thing about “smart” phones is that they very quickly lose their luster, usually just a few short years after purchase. Apps become incompatible, download times take longer and longer, and, the most popular complaint, batteries often don’t stay charged. But what if, instead of chucking your phone or its battery, you could use it down to very last drop? BETTER RE, a new kickstarter project, promises to extract the last amperes of energy as a “short term backup power pack solution.” At 67.65mm (2.66 inch) by 128.5mm (5.05 inch), this tiny device is slim, portable, and based on a simple, single platform—compatible with a variety of different smartphone batteries, both big (2,800 mAh) and small (1,810 mAh).

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Mesmerize Yourself With This Time-lapse Video of the Chicago River Going Green for St. Patrick’s Day

Dying the Chicago River for St. Patrick’s Day started as an accidental discovery, but today is a beloved city tradition

image via youtube screen capture

There’s something hypnotically soothing about seeing the Chicago River slowly turn a vivid shade of Kelly green to celebrate St. Patrick’s day; it’s like watching a gigantic lava lamp undulate through the heart of downtown Chicago.

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Best of 2013: The Future of Off-The-Grid Living Looks Promising

Best Of 2013: Energy-Efficient Buildings That Go Off The Grid

The word "sustainability" in architecture is open to interpretation. In the United States, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system is perhaps the most commonly used framework to measure a building's impact on the environment. While its implementation may make a structure greener, LEED has also been blamed for greenwashing—utilizing practices and products that claim to improve sustainability, when in fact those claims have not been proven and act merely as "green" vanity accessories.

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Green Deserts? The Promise of the Saltwater Revolution

Water, our most valuable resource, is rapidly disappearing.

Water, our most valuable resource, is rapidly disappearing. The global demand for water is growing while at the same time the world’s available freshwater levels are dropping at alarming rates. 40 percent of the world’s population is lacking water; 1 billion people lack access to clean drinking water, and an estimated 2/3 of the world’s population will live in water scarce regions in 2025.

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How to Start an Urban Farm in a Post-Industrial City

Youngstown, Ohio, may have shrunk, but its urban farms are growing.

Youngstown, Ohio, has a lot of vacant land. In its manufacturing heyday, its population topped 170,000. Now less than half that number live in the city. The 73,000 or so inhabitants live among 22,000 vacant lots and buildings.

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Wish List: Sustainable Gifts

Find a gift that will last—or repurpose one that didn't—with our roundup of the most sustainable items from our holiday wish list.

Have you gotten started on your holiday shopping list yet? This year, choose a present that you can feel good about giving. We've picked out the best sustainable items from our holiday wish list—from a reclaimed chalk board cheese board to a treeless digital sketchbook to a solar-powered iPhone charger—and topped them with a green bow. Check out our go-to list for awesome sustainable presents for everyone on your list.

Also, don't forget to take a look at our full holiday wish list for more gift ideas for living, working, wearing, going, and playing.

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