Use iNaturalist to Identify Flora and Fauna

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I’ve used iNaturalist for a couple years and think it’s a great tool. Two features that help the app stand out from competitors are 1: The machine learning it uses. Once you take a picture, it can automatically suggest what species you’re looking at. 2: With every photo you upload and tag with location and other metadata, you’re contributing to real science. iNaturalist shares data with scientific data repositories like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.

The app is a joint initiative between The California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society and works sort of like a Shazam for Nature in that it lets you snap a shot of something you come across and instantly get an answer for what that planet, animal, or bug might be.

Can You Speak Tree Language? New York City Does

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Created by artist Kate Holten, the New York City Tree Alphabet lets anyone send hidden messages in tree language. You can also download it as a font.

A tentative version of Holten’s new Tree Alphabet was shared across the Parks Department for months, as groups across the system chimed in on which trees should stand for which letters–a more complicated idea than one might think, given that the Parks Department is particular about the species it wants planted.

*cries in Ogham*

Examining Apple's Recycling Ambitions

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Maddie Stone wrote a great dive into Apple’s recycling ambitions and the company’s quest to some day stop mining resources.

For a company that sells over 200 million smartphones a year, along with millions more tablets and computers, achieving what sustainability wonks call a “circular economy” will amount to a complete overhaul of everything from how Apple devices are manufactured to what we do with those devices at the end of their lives…The question is whether that’s a future Apple truly wants—or one that its investors will allow.

This Watch Wants to Curb Ocean Plastic Pollution

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There’s a watch that wants to help curb ocean plastic pollution. Awake Watch’s mission is to prove that there is a smarter and more sustainable way to consume goods. It wants to show that it can create objects with innovative design and very high quality, while still limiting its environmental impact as much as possible. And give people the opportunity to make a difference. The fabric the company uses for the strap is made from plastic waste, which has been collected from South East Asian seas and Japan. It turns the plastic into pellets, and then into nylon yarn. It creates the straps directly from rolls of this material, which is made using no chemical dyes, and is certified by the Global Recycled Standard label. The leather straps are made by a French company that uses Italian leather tanned in a vegetable tanning process. The Kickstarter was fully funded in an hour. To get a watch, rewards start at US$229.

Al Gore, Lisa Jackson Discussing Climate at San Francisco Apple Store on April 19

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Former Vice President Al Gore and Apple Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson are teaming up for a climate-focused discussion at Apple’s Union Square store in San Francisco on Wednesday, April 19th. The two will talk about climate optimism, Earth Day initiatives, and more. The event is free, but you need to RSVP to attend. Their discussion starts at 7PM pacific time and odds are it’ll fill up quickly. If you want to attend, head over to Apple’s website and RSVP now.

Al Gore, Lisa Jackson Discussing Climate at San Francisco Apple Store on April 19