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Swiss Pioneers Complete the First Ever Round-The-World Solar Flight

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NASA's Global Hawk Soars During the HS3 Mission 2012 by NASA Goddard via FLickr

With their zero-emission electric and solar airplane capable of flying day and night without fuel, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg succeeded in their crazy dream of achieving the first ever Round-The-World Solar Flight.

 

By landing back in Abu Dhabi after a total of 23 days of flight and 43’041 km travelled in a 17 leg journey, Si2 has proven that clean technologies can achieve the impossible. Beyond this historic milestone, the two Swiss pioneers will continue to urge the global implementation of energy efficient solutions through the creation of the International Committee for Clean Technologies and leverage the expertise and technology gained over the years in Solar Impulse by launching new innovative projects, such as the development of solar powered drones.

Coming from Egypt, Bertrand Piccard landed in Abu Dhabi this morning at 4:05 am local time (UTC+4) completing the final leg of an endeavor that was until now considered impossible: flying around the globe in an electric airplane powered only by the sun and capable of flying many days and nights in a row without fuel. This landing brings full circle the historic circumnavigation that began on 9 March 2015 when Si2 set off from Abu Dhabi with André Borschberg at the controls. Taking turns in the single-seater 3.8m3 cockpit, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg have flown Si2 around the world in 17 legs, crossing Asia, the Pacific Ocean, the USA, the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East. A total of 19 world records were set or are still pending by the World Air Sports Federation (FAI), in particular when André Borschberg accomplished the pioneering first of flying five consecutive days and nights over the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Hawaii in the longest duration a solo airplane of any kind has ever flown and when Bertrand Piccard achieved the historic first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a solar airplane.

For the two Swiss pioneers, it’s the accomplishment of a dream that was considered impossible by many experts and the demonstration that renewable energies and efficient technologies offer tangible solutions for sustainability. Bertrand Piccard, an explorer and medical doctor at heart, had the vision of an airplane of perpetual endurance after his non-stop round the world balloon flight in 1999, when he made the promise to circumnavigate the Earth again, but this time without any fuel. In 2004, he began bringing together the partners who provided funds and technology for this adventure and partnered with André Borschberg. An entrepreneur and skilled aviator, Borschberg took on the technical challenge of developing the solar airplane and making it fly. More than taking turns at the controls of Si2 in the air, the first ever Round-The-World Solar Flight is also a tandem achievement on the ground: while Piccard developed the project outreach to promote clean technologies, Borschberg pulled together the team that designed and constructed Si2 as well as organized the flight missions.

“This is not only a first in the history of aviation; it’s before all a first in the history of energy. I’m sure that within 10 years we’ll see electric airplanes transporting 50 passengers on short to medium haul flights. But it’s not enough. The same clean technologies used on Solar Impulse could be implemented on the ground in our daily life to divide by two the CO2 emissions in a profitable way. Solar Impulse is only the beginning, now take it further! ” said Initiator, Chairman and Pilot Bertrand Piccard addressing the crowd while exiting the cockpit of Si2.

“Flying one leg with a completely new type of airplane is difficult enough, but flying around the world is a real challenge. More than a demonstration, it’s the confirmation that these technologies are truly dependable and reliable,” emphasized CEO, Co-Founder and also Pilot André Borschberg. “There is so much potential for the aeronautical world: while one hundred percent solar powered airplanes might take longer to materialize, electric airplanes will develop in the near future because of their tremendous advantages such as energy efficiency.”

This is a historic day for Captain Piccard and the Solar Impulse team, but it is also a historic day for humanity.

A few hours before touching down in Abu Dhabi, Bertrand Piccard spoke to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon live from the Si2 cockpit: “Solar Impulse has flown more than 40,000 kilometers without fuel, but with an inexhaustible supply of energy and inspiration. This is a historic day for Captain Piccard and the Solar Impulse team, but it is also a historic day for humanity,” said the UN Secretary-General. “You may be ending your around the world flight today, but the journey to a more sustainable world is just beginning. The Solar Impulse team is helping to pilot us to that future.”

Looking forward, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will continue to actively promote the use of modern clean technologies as a way to improve the quality of life on Earth. Firstly, through the already announced creation of the International Committee for Clean Technologies that will build on the #futureisclean initiative and regroup the main global actors in the field of clean technologies to bring independent and credible guidance on energy policy to governments and corporations alike. Secondly, by carrying on the work initiated by the engineering team on unmanned and high endurance electric aircrafts, which could fly in high altitude for months, offering services that could provide exponential added value and complement the work being done by satellites today in a flexible and sustainable way.

“We have flown 40’000 kilometers (around the world) without fuel, but there is still a lot to be done to encourage a worldwide implementation of clean technologies and to motivate everyone to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels in their daily lives, hence the creation of the International Committee for Clean Technologies,” emphasized Bertrand Piccard.

“Solar Impulse is of course very well positioned to contribute to the next generations of manned or unmanned electric aircrafts. By capitalizing on the engineering skills and expertise gained over the past decade, we will continue to work to encourage concrete innovations and disruptive solutions,” concluded André Borschberg.

Thanks to the Solar Impulse team, both on the Round-The-World and in the Mission Control Center in Monaco as well as the Main, Official and Round-The-World partners, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg were able to make their dream a reality and accomplish their pioneering adventure. In addition, Solar Impulse would like to extend its gratitude to: Host Partners Masdar and Mubadala as well as the Government of the United Arab Emirates as the Solar Impulse Round the World Host Country; and to the Swiss Confederation, in particular to the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, the Federal Department of Defense, the Civil Protection and Sport as well as Presence Suisse. Among the hundreds of guests present to witness the historic arrival of Si2 in Abu Dhabi, were HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, HE Doris Leuthard, Vice President of the Swiss Confederation, and HE Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar.

Upon landing, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco said: “Solar Impulse will mark our history. And we will remember this day, which will remain the day of great victory for solar aviation, also as the day when we were given the proof that we can move towards a low carbon economy, reconciling the mobility and progress we all need, with protection of our planet, which is our greatest duty.”

It is a historic moment for Monaco and for me, because the Principality has the pleasure of housing Solar Impulse’s control Centre and my Foundation is a partner of this adventure.

“It is a historic moment for Monaco and for me, because the Principality has the pleasure of housing Solar Impulse’s control Centre and my Foundation is a partner of this adventure. We have shared so many hopes and so many joys together throughout this epic journey,” he added.

Vice President of Switzerland Doris Leuthard welcomed this extraordinary accomplishment with a message of optimism for the international community: “Solar Impulse is succeeding where Ikarus failed. An idea born in Switzerland has shown to the world that by investing in innovation and sustainable clean energies, all our dreams can come true. Let’s follow on this great success by good implementation.”

HE Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, emphasized: “We are pleased to welcome back Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg after their outstanding success in circumnavigating the world using only the power of the sun.”

“As a leader in developing innovative renewable energy projects and technologies, Masdar is committed to supporting ground breaking initiatives, like Solar Impulse, which will inspire and deliver a more sustainable future. Solar Impulse has proven just how practical the application of solar energy can be. It will also provide valuable data that will lead to critical improvements in two key areas, energy storage and efficiency. Masdar is truly excited about the endless possibilities of solar energy and we will be part of taking such technologies to the next level,” HE Dr. Al Jaber concluded.

As stated in Bertrand Piccard’s manifesto for clean technologies written in 2004, Solar Impulse’s ambition is “for the worlds of exploration and innovation to make a contribution to the cause of renewable energies; to demonstrate the importance of clean technologies for sustainable development; and to place dreams and emotions back at the heart of scientific adventure.” Upon the final landing of the revolutionary airplane, designed and built by a team of engineers pulled together and led by André Borschberg following more than ten years of calculations, simulations and testing, members of the Solar Impulse team could be seen carrying banners that read: 40’000 km WITHOUT FUEL – A first for energy – TAKE IT FURTHER! There is still much to be done to make the world we live in more energy efficient, but through innovation and pioneering spirit, the first ever Round-The-World Solar flight is credible proof that change is possible and that there is reason to hope for a more sustainable world.

Environment

Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness

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Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.

While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.

One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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Environment

6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move

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Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.

1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.

4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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