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Heroes

Meet the giant air-sucking wall that might help combat climate change.

Think of it as a giant, high-tech, Earth-saving Lego wall.

Do me a favor and stare at the air in front of you.

Yep — right in front of you. I know you can't see it, but you're staring at a lot of carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide naturally cycles between living things and the environment. Think back to your second grade photosynthesis lessons: photosynthesis happens when plants take carbon dioxide out of the air and convert it into oxygen. Then humans and animals breathe in that oxygen, breathing out carbon dioxide ... and on and on the cycle goes.


What's new to this equation, though, is the carbon dioxide we've artificially added to that natural cycle.

Carbon dioxide emissions increased by 7% between 1990 and 2013, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Carbon that would have previously been stored underground and released slowly (or not at all) is now being released rapidly, mostly because of industry and electricity. Traffic emissions alone — the carbon dioxide released by vehicles — account for almost 60% of those extra fumes.

Industry and factories have drastically increased carbon dioxide emissions, which can lead to global warming. Photo via Carbon Engineering.

But here's the issue: while carbon emissions have increased, our planet still absorbs the same amount of carbon dioxide, meaning that there's more in the environment than ever before (cue: global warming).

That's why a group of Canadian engineers are constructing a wall that sucks carbon dioxide right out of the air.

Yep, you read that right. Rather than letting that extra carbon dioxide hang out, these carbon engineers want to reduce the threat of climate change by absorbing CO2 molecules and creating carbon-neutral fuels.

This carbon-dioxide-sucking wall (which doesn't exist yet) will do the carbon sucking work of millions of trees. Photo via Carbon Engineering.

These engineers built a prototype of the technology in Squamish, Canada, an hour's drive north of Vancouver.

Basically, the wall will be made up of a stack of cubes, each of which will function in the same way. This means that you could make a wall whatever size you choose in whatever location you choose, simply by adding more "cubes" (think of it as a giant version of a high-tech Lego wall).

How does the prototype work? First, a fan in the "air contactor" sucks in air molecules (only 1 in every 2,500 of which is CO2), which pass through the air contactor and come into contact with carbon-absorbent surfaces. Then the carbon molecules react, becoming a liquid that is eventually hardened into solid carbonate pellets (think: tiny white pebbles made of carbon). And, finally, high temperatures melt those pellets to release pure carbon dioxide, components of which can be used as fuel.

The most useful result of this technology will be carbon-neutral fuels.

Right now, scientists have built only one prototype unit, which functions in three steps. Photo via Carbon Engineering.

Right now, Carbon Engineering CEO Adrian Corless says that the carbon produced by this technology represents a negative emission. "You've taken it out of the atmosphere," he told Upworthy, "and that's cool because it could restore balance from a climate point of view."

And, eventually, you might be able to use the carbon-neutral fuel (produced by the wall) in your vehicle, reducing carbon emissions while keeping the carbon cycle balanced, too.

For now, this is a very cool idea still in its infancy, Corless says.

They have a prototype, but the next step will be to build a pilot plant that produces fuel (one unit can produce 40 million liters of fuel per year!). Corless says that, eventually, he'd like to see a wall of these prototype units erected in Squamish, too.

In the long term, these walls could also be installed anywhere folks have space — in extra fields or even in city parking lots — solving both the carbon problem and the fuel problem for our country.

Are you sold? Check out a video from the engineers themselves to learn more about the prototype and their plans for the future of carbon emissions:

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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via Tod Perry

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