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Eco-Friendly Christmas Trees: How Sustainable Is Your Christmas This Year?

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Ho Ho Ho! Christmas is around the corner. Is your eco-friendly Christmas tree ready? Don’t panic. In this article, I will discuss a variety of options available for you. I will also share with you several practical tips for choosing eco-friendly Christmas trees.

But first things first:

Artificial Vs. Natural Christmas Trees

To understand the sustainability of our Christmas trees, we have to answer three important questions:

  • What are the inputs in your Christmas tree?
  • How long will those inputs last? In other words, for how long can you use that Christmas tree?
  • How will you dispose of your Christmas tree eventually?

Artificial Christmas trees are made of plastics, metal, petroleum products, and other similar inputs. Natural Christmas trees are made of water and nutrients for the soil. However, the big issue is in the manufacture of these inputs. Petroleum products are one of the biggest threats to our environment. The processing plants continually pollute our atmosphere while the tankers have multiple oil spills in the ocean that pose a threat to aquatic life.

Natural Christmas trees also consume a lot of water. Luckily, if they grow tall, without being cut down, they give back to the environment by attracting more rainfall, creating a natural habitat for our wildlife, and giving us clean oxygen to breathe.

The problem with the rising demand in natural Christmas trees is that farmers are now using chemical nutrients to hasten the growth process. With time, these chemicals sip into the rivers, lakes, and oceans, and cause serious pollution issues and dead zones. They also use herbicides and pesticides that pollute the environment.

How long do these trees last?

artificial christmas tree image

People use artificial Christmas trees for years whereas you can only use the natural ones for just a year. Does that make artificial Christmas trees eco-friendly? Not necessarily!

The third question ascertains this.

Imagine thousands of homes disposing of their artificial Christmas trees at once. That would severely affect our environment, right? But that doesn’t make the natural ones less concerning. It takes 8 to 10 years to grow a Christmas tree naturally. And if you only get to use it for one year, then that is a waste of the soil’s potential. Even if ideally these trees will decompose and release their nutrients back to the soil eventually, they leave reasonable carbon footprint and traces of methane gas after decomposing.

So what options do you have?

Sustainable Options When Buying an Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree

Natural Christmas trees

In my city, there is a guy that sells potted Christmas trees. Once you order, he delivers and sets them up in your home with a tree skirt. That makes it easier for you to keep watering the tree until January when he picks them up for planting. Larger organizations such as The Living Christmas Tree Company and many others that rent eco-friendly Christmas trees have borrowed the same idea.

In my opinion, this is the best option for an eco-friendly Christmas tree. You enjoy nourishing a living tree as you teach the young ones about responsibilities. You also inspire them to become conscious of our environment for the sake of their future generations.

Besides, once these people plant the trees in January, they don’t have to use artificial chemicals to hasten growth. They let them grow naturally since they don’t need them anymore. Instead, they plant young seedlings and water them naturally awaiting the next December to rent them. So it’s a win-win situation for both you (the buyer) and the environment.

Designated Natural Christmas Trees

christmas tree love image

Have you ever driven along loop 360 in Austin, Texas? There is an entire farm full of Christmas trees open to the public for decoration. Each year, people decorate these trees as their own. It is more like rent a Christmas tree only that you don’t get to carry the tree home.

If your city offers such reserved Christmas trees, it’s only fair that you decorate the tree with eco-friendly materials.

However, if your last resort is a real Christmas tree (a branch of pine trees), ensure it has the FSC-certification logo. This proves the pine tree was grown ethically and hence promoting sustainability.

Artificial eco-friendly Christmas trees

If you live away from cities that offer “rent-a-Christmas tree-service”, you can still enjoy Christmas with an artificial tree that is sensitive to our environment. So how do you choose an artificial eco-friendly Christmas tree?

  • Buy a Christmas tree made from polyethylene plastic (PE). This is a newer technology, and the tree branches look more realistic. Polyethylene degrades naturally, but over a long period. If you dispose them to a recycling center, they have artificial ways to hasten the biodegradation process.
  • To ease the burden on your end, just make sure you re-use your PE eco-friendly Christmas tree for several years (20-plus years). In addition to preserving our environment, you will save quite a bit of money.
  • Keep off PVC trees. These contain the harmful petroleum inputs we discussed above.
  • Avoid the glossy types. These are usually coated with lead – which acts as a PVC stabilizer. The lead-laced dust sheds over time, and some might land on your kid’s gifts or on the pet’s carpet. Lead is a toxic metal, especially when inhaled or swallowed.

If you already own an artificial Christmas tree, don’t throw it away. Just stick to the basics of “eco-friendly”: Reduce, reuse, and recycle.

The DIY Option

YouTube is full of tutorials on how you can design a Christmas tree using locally available materials such as fabric, plywood, cardboard, and crates.

And if you have a bigger garden space, it’s about time you plant your own pine tree. Just make sure you water it economically and grow it organically.

The Bottom Line

Investing in an eco-friendly Christmas tree would go a long way in preserving our environment for the sake of our future generations. You don’t have to give up the entire Christmas tree idea. Just find a solution that works well for you and enjoy a guilt-free festive season.

Happy holidays!

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The Hollow Earth Theory: Could There Be Another Earth Inside the Earth?

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The Hollow Earth Theory Image

The concept of the Hollow Earth Theory suggests that the Earth is entirely hollow and contains a substantial interior space. Simply put, some scientists believe there is another earth inside the Earth. And even more interestingly, there are beliefs of civilizations existing inside Earth. Besides, there are speculations of spiritual advancements and even alternative paradise-like environments. 

Is There Proof Concerning The Hollow Earth?

There is a lot of work that supports the Hollow Earth Theory. These range from books to works of exploration. Below are some of the notable works that fueled this theory. 

The Works of Jules Verne

In 1864, Jules Verne published a novel called The Journey to the Center of the Earth.

This novel was initially published in French but later translated to many other languages after receiving much attention. After the novel’s success, Jules Verne published an extended version in 1867.  

In the novel, a team of explorers heads down to inner Earth through the South Pole. After two months of exploration and adventure, the explorers finally get to the center of the Earth. While there, they discover a whole new civilization. They find out that they even have their own sun!

Jules Verne emphasized the civilization being as advanced as our 19th-century civilization. He puts a significant focus on the advanced infrastructure they have.

The Medialization of “The Journey to the Center of the Earth”

Jules Verne maintained that his book was entirely a work of fiction. However, the issues started when people took this book as non-fiction. People in the 1870s considered it a discovery. Interestingly, many scientists were attracted to this work of fiction and started speculating on how true it could be.

“The Coming Race”

If the hollow Earth theory is starting to pique your interest, you should definitely read the novel “The Coming Race” by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. This book was published anonymously in 1871.

This novel is the tale of a man who discovers a race of advanced beings that live in the inner Earth. These beings are the masters of Vril – a powerful energy that can both destroy and heal. The book describes the unique structure of their society as well as their powerful mental abilities.

This novel has been seen by many as a theory based on occult truth. The list of supporters of the theory described in this book includes Rudolf Steiner, William Scott-Elliot, Helena Blavatsky, Louis Jacolliot, and Adolf Hitler.

The Exploration Through the North and South Pole

Inner Earth Portals Image

In 1926, Admiral Richard E. Byrd of the United States Navy flew to the North Pole. Three years later, he made the same journey to the South Pole. After his exploration, he referred to the North Pole as the Center of the Great Unknown.  

He described his experiences in his diary, where he allegedly entered the hollow interior of the Earth, which allegedly had mountains, lakes, rivers, vegetation, and even animals. He also reported having found civilizations, cities, and emissaries called Agartha.

In his excursions, Byrd also found Neuschwabenland, which featured underground caverns flowing with warm water and signs of vegetation. However, he and his crew did not stay long enough to keep exploring due to an aircraft bombardment.

Exploration of the Inner Earth by the Third Reich

North Pole Image

According to the documents obtained by the Soviets at the close of World War II, Germans had some detailed information about the location of the inner Earth. Among these documents, there was a complete map of Agartha – a legendary kingdom of the inner Earth.

According to these documents, Nazi Germans had found the entrance to the inner Earth in Antarctica. Many scientists believe that after the fall of the Third Reich, a big group of the Nazis escaped through that entrance to the so-called New Swabia, located in Antarctica.

Other Individuals Who Have Also Explored the Hollow Interior of the Earth

There are many writers whose works involve popularizing this theory. However, some scientists believe this could be a bizarre case of misinformation.

One example of the dismissive texts was first published in the late 19th century in a book called Physical Geography. In this book, Arnoldo de Azevedo writes about the existence of a mysterious world existing beneath us. He argues that scientists knew nothing about what was 5 miles below their feet then.

Arnoldo de Azevedo explains that such scientists spread theories and hypotheses for entertainment purposes because they have no tangible evidence to back their speculations. What do you think?

The Father of the Hollow Earth Theory

The idea that the Earth could have a hollow interior is often tied to Sir Edmond Halley, a mathematician and a colleague of Isaac Newton.

Sir Edmond Halley calculated the periodicity of the comet named after him, the Halley’s Comet. From these credentials and calculations, everyone believed that he was trying to propose that the Earth contained several concentric shells, each with its atmosphere and magnetic poles separating it from the other.

Halley proposed that each of these shells had its light source and was possibly inhabited by living beings. Halley also believed that the gas escaping from the north and south poles resulted in Aurora Borealis and other similar phenomena.

In this modern world, Hollow Earth Theorists stand by Halley’s speculations of the potential existence of life on Earth. Some call this hollow interior the Agartha, while others call it the legendary Shambhala.

How Convincing is the Hollow Earth Theory?

Hollow Earth Image

One of the most interesting hollow earth arguments is that of the rotating water droplet. In these water droplets, you can see bubbles gravitate more towards the center of the droplet, then condensing into a core.

Scientists suggest that this shows the distribution of matter is influenced by rotation as a function of time. They suggest that the Earth has been spinning for over a billion years, making it expand like a balloon. This has created a hollow crust, putting aside from the dense crust. It is between the separated shells where the scientists believe there could be life and civilizations.

Yes, the Earth may have expanded, creating hollowed-out regions between the brittle crust and more solid layers of the core and the mantle. Also, recently, Hollow Earth theorists have pointed out that those seismic waves detecting the bigger mountain ranges than the Rockies in the Earth’s mantle could be strong evidence of the theory.

Final Thoughts

These proofs make the Hollow Earth theory very convincing. However, for most people, this information seems so unbelievable that they would rather blindly deny it rather than looking into the facts. However, if we consider that so far the deepest manmade hole on Earth – Kola Superdeep Borehole (Russia) – is only 12 kilometers (40,230 ft) deep, then why do we have such confidence that there is nothing below?

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Cities Of The Future & Sustainable Building 

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There have been serious alarms raised over global warming. Different world Leaders have been attending global summits and signing low carbon footprint agreements to reduce the effects of pollution. The construction industry is no exception. They have taken a center seat and are now developing the cities of the future. 

Think of it this way, 40 to 50 years from now, the population will have skyrocketed, yet the land proportions will remain the same. To accommodate these masses, cities must redesign sustainable buildings to accommodate more people yet co-exist peacefully with nature. And not only buildings but also the future cars. The idea is that they will need to be faster and maneuver in the air since the land will be limited. 

Let’s have a detailed look at these cities, shall we?

What Will the Cities of the Future Look Like?

There are some notable key elements present in the cities of the future. These include: 

#1: The Water

Rainwater Harvesting and Recycling

As of 2022, the statistics on natural rivers and water sources are alarming. They are drying by the day, and rainfall is becoming unpredictable. The cities of the future are to be designed in such a way that they can harvest rainwater without the use of gutters since we can no longer accommodate massive roofs. Instead, these sustainable buildings will use absorbent rain gardens, bioswales, and pools to collect the rainwater. And then divert this water for filtration and recycling before channeling it into your water dispensers. 

A Sponge city

Besides rainwater, the cities are also to be built in such a way that they protect upland water systems. As a result, they will revive natural habitats while protecting the city against floods ad tsunamis. 

#2: Ecology

Sustainable Building Image

A thriving relationship between humans and nature will be a major consideration. Sustainable building technologies will ensure the cities are compact and dense with minimal impact on the ecosystem. Moreover, these buildings are designed to protect our natural resources such as water bodies, soil, and air. 

#3: The Transportation network

Well, in as much as a view of flying cars doesn’t look like a distant dream today, the cities of the future have a different school of thought. The idea is to keep a comprehensive transportation network that prioritizes pedestrian space. So we are looking into a future city that encourages people to walk and cycle more instead of using cars. 

This way, we become a healthy nation while reducing pollution generated by the automobile industry. Think of the noise from the hooting, screeching brake pads, over-speeding cars, and speed bikes to the smoke pollution common in city setups high-speed addition, commuting in the city will be more affordable and safer.

And if you don’t fancy cycling, you will have a fully automated high-speed rail network traversing different regions within the city. See, we are slowly advancing into a high-speed commute. With electric trains and alternative fuel cars already developed, we are looking into a future with high-speed rail stations.

#4: Energy

Electricity is good but not sustainable, and so is gas energy. The cities of the future are looking into harnessing power from natural sources, especially solar and wind. The sustainable buildings will have solar windows and walls instead of the current bulky independent solar panels. That way, you don’t need extra space to tap your energy. Similarly, you don’t need to heat your home during the cold seasons because, first, the buildings are self-heating, and secondly, such an ecosystem cannot experience extreme temperatures.  

#5: Recreation

Have you experienced virtual reality? Brace yourself for the future of recreation. And not just for the entertainment but as a more advanced way of reconnecting with humanity globally. Today we can comfortably tour a museum in France in the comfort of our homes. We will experience these and more in the near future because then, arts, entertainment, culture, and recreation will be shared worldwide via virtual and augmented reality.

#6: The Community

We have had our share of how dangerous a stressed community can be. The cities of the future will be addressing this problem by ensuring community integration through the use of shared spaces and social amenities. This way, the residents feel a sense of belonging and enjoy social equality.

In addition, since automation and artificial intelligence are projected to advance soon, people will not be required to work as hard as they do now. Our economy will be flexible enough to accommodate flexible working hours.

A Look at Some of the Cities of the Future

Given the above features, we already have these cities built and thriving. 

Forest City Liuzhou, China

Designed by architect Stefano Boeri and constructed in 2017.

They have designed this city to accommodate massive forests and green vegetation, as the name suggests. Different species of trees and plants almost entirely surround the houses, schools, offices, hospitals, and hotels. The 175 hectares of land stretching along the Liujiang River can accommodate 30,000 residents, 40,000 trees, and 1 million diverse plant species. Amazing, right? 

This city is estimated to absorb 10,000 tons of CO2 annually and over 57 tons of fine dust. The result is a clean city free from atmospheric pollution.

Net City, China

Designed by NBBJ, “Net City” is a product of Tencent, the internet goliath, also located in China Shenzhen province. Sitting on 320 acres of land, “Net City” mainly targets employees with offices for work, homes, and recreational centers.

It fits in the “Sponge City” feature since they plan to manage flooding and runoff as their primary water source.

Oceanix City, South Korea

Introducing the world’s pioneer floating city in Busan, South Korea. The key feature will be the infrastructure that rises with the sea. In other words, a flood-proof city. Talk of a sustainable building beyond expectations. Now, they will achieve this effect by using Biorock, a material that is not only buoyant but also self-healing. The older it grows, the stronger it becomes. According to the engineers behind this city, this material is three times stronger than ordinary cement concrete. Let’s wait and see what the beautiful city Oceanix will look like. 

The Bottom Line

No matter what your feelings may be about global warming and sustainability, the cities of the future are being developed in an effort to create a more symbiotic relationship between nature and people. If pollution is indeed reduced through sustainable development, then the dream of a zero carbon footprint may only be a few years away from now. Do you think this is possible? 

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Planetary Intelligence: the Evolution, the Present, and the Future 

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Planetary Intelligence Image

When an individual human brain thinks, the entire planet world thinks. With that, our planet is slowly becoming a global brain. Planetary intelligence is the most critical development in the history of our planet, an evolution that goes back up to four and a half billion years. And, what we humans do in the next decade or so could be the determining factor between the extinction of humankind in the worst case, or a brilliant new age of prosperity for all humans, if we do things right. 

Evolution of Planetary Intelligence: Interconnectedness of Life-forms and Planets

Looking at the scientific theory of creation, in the beginning, individual atoms came together to form molecules and ultimately developed cellular intelligence. In this intelligent interconnectivity, molecules clumped into multi-cellular intelligence, collective intelligence for cells. Then, they evolved multiple times until the Homo sapiens came into being.

Next, the human beings began working together using collective human intelligence at the tribal level, then at the city level. Ultimately, the growth of the internet makes it possible for collective human intelligence to work at a planetary level; hence, planetary intelligence.

Human beings are only a section of the biosphere. The other creatures making up the biosphere include plants and microbes. Eventually, the biosphere discovered how to host life. It created self-sustaining systems that helped the Earth exist for billions of years. As a result, the interconnectedness of life and planets continues to deepen throughout the billions of years.

Scientific Studies of Planetary Intelligence

Adam Frank, an astrophysicist from the University of Rochester, carried out a “thought experiment” that used scientific theory and philosophical questions on how life on Earth can alter a planet. In his presentations, Adam claims that cognitive activities of living things like plants, animals, and microbes operate on a planetary level to transform the earth. 

He gives examples of how plants ‘invented’ a way of making their food for survival. Hence, through photosynthesis, plants release oxygen and alter how the entire planet functions.

Another notable study on planetary intelligence is by British scientist James Lovelock and American evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis, who built upon the principle of the Gaia hypothesis. Gaia’s theory claims that as life on Earth changes, it also affects how the planetary system evolves. Hence, the evolution of the biosphere alters the nature of the atmosphere, lithosphere, cryosphere, and hydrosphere. 

The back-and-forth effect has been in motion since the beginning of time. And the recent human activities that have led to deforestation, pollution, and climate change might be considered proof that the Gaia hypothesis is at work. 

Relevance of Computers & Artificial Intelligence in Advancing Planetary Intelligence

artificial intelligence image

We now have new forms of information processing that include computers and the field of artificial intelligence. Today, billions of human brains are simultaneously working on the internet. Through computing, humanity applies technology to influence the environment. We use such technologies as geo-engineering, terraforming, and seeding.

Next, there is a simultaneous rapid development of trillions of artificial intelligence that supplement and augment those human brains. Examples of how we use artificial intelligence in transportation, media, manufacturing, healthcare, education, and customer service are as follows: 

  • Development of autonomous vehicles with minimal carbon footprint;
  • AI-powered robots working on assembly lines to automate manufacturing processes;
  • Using AI to speed up pharmaceutical research, improve disease diagnosis, and facilitate virtual nursing services for a personalized patient experience;
  • Digitalization of education systems, use of virtual classes and tutors, and facial recognition systems that analyze student participation in the virtual learning sessions;
  • Use of AI in analyzing complex financial reports, extrapolating data, and making accurate projections;
  • Implementing AI assistance in customer service.

Hence, the advancement of computers and artificial intelligence networks form the basis for which the architecture of global cognition evolves. We are moving from individual human brains augmented by technology to a global brain that is trillions of times smarter and more powerful than the human brain. 

Domains of Planetary Intelligence

Scientists believe that there are four main domains of planetary intelligence as follows: 

  • Immature biosphere – Early life on the planet
  • Mature biosphere – Life forms evolving to form sufficient feedback loops between them and geophysical processes
  • Immature technosphere –Technological activities like computers and AI are developing on the planet but are not yet sufficient to sustain interconnectedness with the physical environment or other systems.
  • Mature technosphere – The ultimate goal of planetary intelligence

Today, technology, computers, and artificial intelligence revolve around degrading the planet’s ecosystems. Hence, the Earth is still in an immature technosphere state. Unless we shift to the mature technosphere phase, the planet could suffer severe catastrophes.

By steering planetary intelligence towards the mature technosphere, scientists believe it can be the key to addressing global challenges like climate change, population growth, environmental degradation, the dominance of ultra-processed foods, and biodiversity losses. 

Planetary Intelligence and Value Systems

Amidst all these advancements in computers and artificial intelligence, there is still a need for human input in setting the correct value systems that guarantee the survival of planet Earth for another billion years. 

Moreover, a typical intelligence can run logical calculations faster than the human brain. Yet, it cannot come up with a right or wrong answer better than human beings can. Yet, the most important thing is not the technology that enables this global brain. Instead, it is how planetary intelligence amplifies value systems.

So, how does the human brain derive its value systems? 

planetary evolution image

The basis of world thinking is love. And, it needs to be the core value going into the global brain. Indeed, no intelligence can create rational value systems like the human brain. Hence, whenever the human brain feeds value systems into this global brain, our planet evolves for the better. For this, love needs to be the fundamental basis for planetary intelligence. 

Conclusion

The Earth’s intelligence is in the interconnectedness of life forms and the planet itself. We are now in an eruption of this power, referred to as planetary intelligence, on a technological level. It amounts to a transformation of the evolutionary process itself. And, just like the biosphere figured out how to exist on its own, the planetary mind should develop self-maintaining characteristics that address global challenges in this technosphere.

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