environment

Stroking, gasping, and long, hard cylindrical objects, all for the sake of Mother Earth.

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The 100 Soundscapes of Japan: A list of Japan’s greatest natural, cultural, and industrial sounds

“The 100 what??” That was our initial reaction too, but the official list is just what it sounds like!

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Friendly volunteers help this cute porcupine fish out of a prickly situation

Marine wildlife volunteers cleverly fight garbage with garbage in order to successfully rescue this trapped porcupine fish.

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Rent-a-goat service now available in Japan, ready to fulfill all your goat-related needs

If you need a furry friend that also doubles as an eco-friendly lawnmower, this is for you.

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The dirty reason China can’t always tell North Korea what to do

Global consumption of coal has declined significantly over the past year, driven by China, which makes up about half of the world’s demand for coal.

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No more fuel! Young entrepreneur creates lantern that runs on ocean water

Aisa Mijeno, a young Filipino engineer and environmental advocate, has conceptualized a product that is not only environmentally friendly, but will provide basic lighting  to the less-privileged: a lamp that runs on salt water!

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Toxic bubble froth in Bangalore catches fire, raises environmental flags for the second time

This is one bubble bath that you’ll never want to take a dip in.

Locals in Bangalore, India are calling for immediate action after foam which had accumulated on Bellandur Lake, the biggest lake in the city, was blown onto streets and even caught fire for the second time in only a few months. While experiencing a gigantic bubble bath outside of your bathtub may seem like a fun idea at first, the foam that is spewing out from Bellandur Lake is actually toxic in nature and supposedly has a terrible stench.

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Chinese company shines light on air pollution…creepy baby light

It’s well-known that air pollution is a major problem in parts of China. The situation has gone far enough that more and more organizations are beginning to fight back, trying to tackle the problem.

One such company is Xiao Zhu, who, in addition to producing air purifiers, has also taken up awareness-raising efforts. In their video titled “Breathe Again,” the company artistically projects the faces of children in pain onto the billowing white canvas of factory exhaust.

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Breathe easy – Toyota redesigning Prius plug-in hybrid to double car’s all-electric range

Toyota’s Prius is designed for one purpose, and it’s not to deliver the sort of exciting performance that will seduce you into taking a spirited drive through a moonlit mountain pass (that’s another car’s job). No, the Prius promise is that it will get you from Point A to Point B in the most energy-efficient way possible.

But while the standard hybrid Prius remains a popular choice for eco-conscious motorists, sales of its plug-in variant have been stagnant. Toyota is hoping to change that, though, with an updated Prius that can travel roughly twice as far under purely electric power than the current model.

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Tokyo considering removing overhead power lines in run-up to 2020 Olympics

Even though the event is still five years away, Tokyo is incredibly psyched about hosting the 2020 Olympics. As a country that prides itself on hospitality, and also one that can be surprisingly sensitive to how it’s perceived by foreign visitors, Japan has been looking for ways to put its best foot forward for the games, and some politicians are saying that now is the time for Tokyo to finally get serious about getting rid of its unsightly overhead power lines.

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Coral in Japan’s Ogasawara Islands being threatened by Chinese poaching ships

While the vast majority of Japan’s population is crammed onto its four largest islands, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Hokkaido, the country’s territories extend much farther out to sea. For example, if you head about 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) south of downtown Tokyo, you’ll come to the Ogasawara Islands, one of Japan’s most remote settlements.

We’ve talked about the Ogasawaras before, and how their beautiful ocean scenery has been helping to attract tourists (and perhaps even a new chef), to the archipelago. Recently, though, the islands have been seeing an increasing number of extremely unwelcome visitors, in the form of ships coming from China to poach coral.

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Oysters’ amazing cleaning skills shock Japanese netizens who question their shellfish habit

You may be familiar with oysters as the delicious seafood best eaten raw (or as ice cream) and served in months ending in “r,” but did you also know the little guys have impressive filtering skills that can clean even the dirtiest water?

Eating its fill of plankton and other particles floating around, a fully grown oyster can filter more than 50 gallons (189 liters) of seawater in one day. After seeing a few videos demonstrating this cleaning ability, some Japanese netizens started to question just how appetizing this made the once delicious-looking oyster.

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As we’ve seen before, many beaches across Japan are in dire need of a clean-up. It’s a major problem that requires a lot of time and effort to remedy. Of course it’s at times like these that we usually look to the adult entertainment industry for solutions.

Sure enough, like the social crusaders they are, the major masturbation aid brand Tenga has stepped up and is cooperating with environmental group Umi Sakura on the Umi Sakura Over-18 Trash Pick-Up.

The reason this event is restricted to adults is that for every bag of trash collected, volunteers are rewarded with a free Tenga pleasure device.

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Gundam creator isn’t making his new series for you, doesn’t care if you don’t like it

Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino always seems to be seething at someone. Recently, he had harsh words for the anime voice acting industry, and now he’s gnawing even further up the arm that’s connected to the hand that feeds him by setting his sights on a new target: all adult Gundam fans.

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Coca-Cola’s new vending machines don’t need electricity during the day to keep drinks cold

In some ways, the huge amount of vending machines in Japan seems like a win-win situation. In a country that gets incredibly hot and sticky in the summer, it’s nice to never be more than a few minutes’ walk from a cold drink, and for beverage companies like Coca-Cola, the machines are a huge source of income.

That said, all of those vending machines are essentially coin-operated refrigerators, collectively sucking up a huge amount of electricity. In an effort to cut down on their energy consumption, Coca-Cola has developed a new type of unit that spends as much as 16 hours a day not using any electricity at all to keep its products nice and cool.

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Tea for trash – “Methane Cafe” offering free drinks in exchange for patrons’ kitchen waste

It’s often said that, rather than splashing out on expensive new appliances and fitting solar panels to our roofs, it’s the smaller changes we can make in our daily lives that will have an enormous positive effect on the environment. The act boiling a kettle, for example, may seem like a relatively harmless one, but – often because we boil more water than we actually use – we waste thousands of tons of carbon every single day simply by making cups of tea or coffee.

With that in mind, a new members-only cafe has recently opened its doors in the town of Osaki, Miyagi Prefecture, which uses energy from patrons’ kitchen waste to boil the water needed for a relaxing brew, making the green tea they serve some of the greenest in the world by far.

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Honda readying a Fuel Cell Vehicle for buyers next year, just in time to challenge Toyota

Toyota recently announced it plans to begin consumer sales of a Fuel Cell Vehicle sometime around the beginning of 2015, which has the potential to be a huge step towards a more environmentally-friendly system of personal transportation. Rival carmaker Honda isn’t about to let Japan’s largest auto manufacturer have this new field all to itself, though, as it looks to be moving ahead with plans to start selling an FCV of its own within the country that aims to be the class leader in both performance and price.

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Yamagata politicians say thank you to… air

When life is going even reasonably well, we often forget to show our appreciation for that which we have. It’s easy to become complacent and fixated on more and better, and it’s only when we suddenly lose the things that have become commonplace – running water; free Wi-Fi; a Starbucks on every other corner – that we miss them.

One thing we’d probably all notice is missing even faster than 24-hour Facebook access, though, is the air we breathe.

With that in mind, assemblymen in Japan’s Yamagata Prefecture recently took a moment out of their day to pay tribute to the very air around them, throwing their arms up and taking in a tasty lungful.

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China to remove six million cars from its roads in an effort to make city air breathable again

Chinese cities have featured a lot in the news over the past few years. With the country experiencing rapid economic growth and its industries going into overdrive – though often with scant regard for the environment – the air quality in some cities has deteriorated to the point that health organisations have warned against spending too much time outdoors. The country’s rivers, too, bear the scars of progress as factories pump tons of waste into them, in some cases turning the water dark red.

Thankfully, though, the Chinese government has pledged to address the situation, and has this week announced plans to remove as many as six million vehicles from its roads in an effort to detoxify city air.

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Sex, sushi, and suicide – Everything you need to know about Japan in infographics 【Video】

Hey, you! You’re a busy person! You have status updates to write; tweets about your lunch to send; videos of cats dressed as humans to watch. You don’t have time to read things like some kind of ridiculous, well-educated duck.

So instead watch this video, which tells you everything there is to know about Japan – covering population, annual food wastage, social awkwardness and much more – in just 10 minutes and 59 seconds.

Go! Time is of the essence!

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