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Cycling capital Münster

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The Netherlands' recycled island

The world's most livable cities in 2018

10: Adelaide, Australia

The peninsula city of Adelaide is home to 75 percent of the South Australian state's population. The city is known for its flourishing arts scene and is recognized as a "City of Music" by UNESCO. Since the early 2000s, the government has significantly increased spending on infrastructure and redevelopment, as well as renewable energy projects.

The world's most livable cities in 2018

9: Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen was one of just two European cities included in the top 10. The Danish captial was among the European cities with the biggest ranking improvements, moving from 21st up to 9th place. Bicycle- and pedestrian-focussed city planning and a growing street life makes it very people-friendly city. The perceived threat of terrorism has hampered European cities' results in recent years.

The world's most livable cities in 2018

8: Toronto, Canada

With nearly three million people, Canada's largest city has a lot to live up to, and does so with ease. Residents often cite low crime rates, diverse neighborhoods and a booming local economy for the success of the city. Dubbed Canada's "cultural nexus," Toronto offers everything from a thriving nightlife to a hip theater scene.

The world's most livable cities in 2018

7: Tokyo, Japan

Japan's metro area is home to more than 38 million people, making it the largest by sheer population. Even if things can feel a bit cramped sometimes, Tokyo gives its residents safety, stability and an abundance of tradition and modern cultural activities. But analysts have warned that "low availability of high-quality housing" has stopped it from making it higher on the list.

The world's most livable cities in 2018

6: Vancouver, Canada

From mountains to the ocean, Vancouver has it all. Granville Island and Stanley Park are often cited as spectacular attractions. But even more than sheer natural beauty, Vancouver is home to a bustling food scene propelled by young chefs and entrepreneurs," "which have injected new energy" into the city. But infrastructure held it back from reaching a higher rank on the list.

The world's most livable cities in 2018

5: Sydney, Australia

With a population of more than 5 million, Sydney is the biggest city in Australia. Home to the Sydney Opera House and a vibrant underground music scene, the city offers the best of both worlds for culture. But that's not all. The city is home to stunning beaches, an efficient public transportation system and a robust local economy.

The world's most livable cities in 2018

4: Calgary, Canada

From excellent infrastructure to worry-free healthcare, the Alberta city is the best place to reside in North America. While it fell a bit short on "culture and environment," the city made up for this with perfect scores in every other category. Canada and Australia are the only two countries to have three cities on the list, an impressive feat for both English-speaking countries.

The world's most livable cities in 2018

3: Osaka, Japan

Straddling the line between tradition and modernity in Japan, Osaka is Asia's most livable city. Like Calgary, its "culture and environment" rating held it back from reaching higher spot on the list. But it makes up for this with perfect scores in stability, education and infrastructure. Osaka, historically a merchant city, has been described as the "nation's kitchen."

The world's most livable cities in 2018

2: Melbourne, Australia

After seven years in the top spot, the Victorian state capital Melbourne was bumped down to second place in 2018. The city is one of Australia's cultural hubs, and its street art, music and theater brings thousands to the city each year. It has the world's largest urban tram network in the world.

The world's most livable cities in 2018

1: Vienna, Austria

Vienna has pushed Melbourne out of first place in 2018. The two cities had been neck-and-neck for some time, but an improved stability ranking saw Vienna finally pull through, The EIU cited improving security scores, propelled by a return to relative stability across much of Europe as the main reason for Vienna’s rise to the top for the first time in the survey’s decades-long history.

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Tunisia's Dghoumes National Park

Megabugs: 10 of the largest insects in the world

Macrodontia cervicornis

This beetle can measure up to 17cm in length, in part thanks to its enormous mandibles - the pair of appendages near its mouth. Also known as the 'sabertooth longhorn beetle' this insect dwells in the rainforests of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, the Guianas and Brazil.

Megabugs: 10 of the largest insects in the world

Giant weta

There are 11 species of the giant weta in the world, and the largest can be up to 10cm in length - not including their spindly legs or long antennae. They're also known to be rather heavy - with one example recording 70g. The beetles are unique to New Zealand, and all but one species are considered endangered.

Megabugs: 10 of the largest insects in the world

Goliath beetle

Among the largest insects on earth, the Goliath beetle can measure up to 11cm and weigh 100 grams in the larval stage (although adults are around half this weight). There are five species of Goliath beetle. They're found in tropical rainforests in Africa, where they mainly eat tree sap and fruit.

Megabugs: 10 of the largest insects in the world

Queen Alexandra's birdwing

This butterfly is the largest in the world, with females' wingspans reaching just over 25cm. An endangered species, it is restricted to about 100km of coastal rainforest in the Oro Province in eastern Papua New Guinea. The species was named in 1907 in honor of Alexandra of Denmark.

Megabugs: 10 of the largest insects in the world

Tarantula hawk wasp

This is what's known as a 'spider wasp' because - yep, you guessed it - it hunts tarantula spiders. They use their sting - one of the most painful insect stings in the world - to paralyze their prey before hauling it to their nest, where they lay a single egg on the victim, which when it hatches to a larva eats the prey alive. At about 5cm long, it's one of the largest wasps in the animal kingdom.

Megabugs: 10 of the largest insects in the world

Atlas beetle

This is a species of rhinoceros beetle, known for its feisty behavior. Named after Atlas, a Titan condemned to hold up the sky for eternity in Greek mythology, the male beetles can reach up to 13cm in length. They're found in southern Asia, particularly Indonesia.

Megabugs: 10 of the largest insects in the world

Giant water bug

The giant water bug encompasses a large species of carnivorous freshwater insects, which includes the 'Lethocerus' that can grow to more than 12cm in length. Their large foreleg pincers are used to catch underwater prey like small fish and frogs. In some places they're known as 'toe biters' because of their tendency to deliver a painful nip when disturbed by swimmers that get too close. 

Megabugs: 10 of the largest insects in the world

Atlas moth

This insect may have a tiny body, but it's wingspan measures a whopping 25-30cm, and it has a wing surface area of about 400cm squared. It lives in dry rainforests and shrublands throughout South Asia, South East Asia, and East Asia. It doesn't eat - it's only purpose as an adult is to find a mate, which takes around two weeks. Once they breed and the females lay eggs, they die.

Megabugs: 10 of the largest insects in the world

Praying mantis

This exquisite insect is usually between 1.5cm and 16cm long, but can reach lengths of up to 20cm. They are carnivorous and feed mainly on other insects, although females sometimes eat their mate just after, or even during, mating. Formidable predators, the praying mantis can turn its head 180 degrees to observe its surroundings with all five of its eyes.

Megabugs: 10 of the largest insects in the world

Phryganistria chinensis Zhao

Only officially discovered in 2016, the only recorded spotting of this superbly long stick insect measured it at 62.4cm. Found in the Guangxi Zhuang region of China by Zhao Li, of the Insect Museum of West China, it's the longest insect in the world. Li brought it back to the museum where it laid six eggs - after hatching, even the smallest offspring measured 26cm.

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Saving and eating what would be wasted food

How oil leaks into everyday life

Cleaning products

Containers for cleaning products are made with oil-based plastics. They are fairly stable, light and cheap. Their contents are also by and large oil based. Surfactants are detergent substances that remove grease and water-based stains and are poisonous for aquatic organisms. People with allergies can break out in rashes and acne from them, too.

How oil leaks into everyday life

'C' is for citrus — and clean

Lemons were long used as cleaning agents before the industrial cleaning revolution. Citric acid has similar scrubbing abilities as vinegar and sodium bicarbonate — without the dangerous side affects. Citrus cleans grills and combats germs on cutting boards. The organic solutions are plentiful, biodegradable, affordable and can come free of packaging.

How oil leaks into everyday life

(Literally) tons of plastic

About 380 million tons of plastics are produced every year worldwide, but only 9 percent of that is recycled, according to a University of California study. The rest is burned, dumped or sent to a landfill. Even recycled material gets quickly trashed again. Researchers estimate that 34 billion tons of plastic will have been produced by 2050.

How oil leaks into everyday life

Straws going au naturel

The flood of plastic won't stop if people don't change their ways. That's what the European Commission has concluded, and it wants to ban sales of plastic cutlery and straws. These are items that are quickly produced, used and thrown away, only to then burden the planet for centuries to come. One major packaging producer, Tetra Pak, has since announced it will change over to making paper straws.

How oil leaks into everyday life

Image cleanup

Germany is Europe's top producer of plastic waste, according to the Federal Environment Agency. Single-family homes purchase items in smaller and individually wrapped quantities. Plastic and styrofoam packaging is generated by online shopping and used for coffee and food on the go. The city of Hanover has taken the lead by introducing a 2-euro ($2.32) deposit scheme for reusable cups.

How oil leaks into everyday life

Desperate fight against plastic buildup

India has a major problem with plastic waste. New Delhi, the capital, has banned single-use plastic, but it is just a drop in the bucket. About 1.5 million Indians earn a living collecting plastic; there is no functioning disposal system. Trash is often burned, which releases poisonous fumes.

How oil leaks into everyday life

Like the good ol' days

Containers can be more ecologically friendly, too. Before the era of plastic, dairy products came in glass. Packaging for drinks can be made out of renewable materials like wood from sustainable sources. Consumer choices can be decisive in the potential reduction of materials based on fossil fuels.

How oil leaks into everyday life

Oily discs

Every CD and DVD contains about 30 grams of crude oil, and 40 billion discs are produced every year around the world, each one made of polycarbonate, aluminum and lacquer. Many of these get thrown away. Germany's recycling rate is about 5 percent, according to the Federal Environment Agency, though the waste gets turned into eyeglass frames, computer monitor housings and vehicle bumpers.

How oil leaks into everyday life

Perched on high with liquid wood

Who says high-end consumers don't care about their ecological footprint? Gucci customers take pumps made from bioplastics in stride. Former researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute took lignin, plant fibers and wax and liquefied the compounds together. Injecting the mixture into molds allows the malleable material to be turned into other products.

How oil leaks into everyday life

Fan and eco-friendly?

This soccer top is made from recycled plastic waste — polyester and polyamide, which are derived from increasingly scarce oil resources. It takes 28 plastic bottles to make one jersey, but that can also be made from natural fibers like cotton, wool, linen, hemp and silk.

How oil leaks into everyday life

Brush well

It's never too early to learn proper oral hygiene — not just how to brush, but also which brush to use. Common toothbrushes are made of polyamide, a product based on mineral oil. Stabilizers, softening agents and dye are in the mix, too.

How oil leaks into everyday life

Natural oral hygiene

Back to basics: Toothbrushes can be made of beech wood with pigs' bristles. Tooth powder from sodium bicarbonate, coconut oil, charcoal, and a mix of turmeric, mint, clove, sage, ginger and healing clay can be just as effective as traditional toothpaste, making use of microorganisms, chalk and fennel oil. Yet much of the packaging is still plastic. Some toothpastes contain small, plastic beads.

How oil leaks into everyday life

A clean night's sleep

In the market for a new mattress? Sleeping habits, orthopedic conditions, weight, allergies and material preference (spring, latex, natural rubber or foam) all play a role. Most mattresses are made from oil-based products. Eco-mattresses contain bioplastics made from sunflower oil and castor oil.

How oil leaks into everyday life

The natural toilet

Interior designers say that the bathroom is the new living room. Many people are after something special: Toilet covers that lower automatically to reduce noise, automatic toilet seat cleaning, integrated music systems. Most bathroom items contain plastic. The eco-toilet is instead made of wood. No plastic bin required.

How oil leaks into everyday life

Oil-free cars: just a fantasy?

Biodiesel from canola oil only works with old, smelly diesel motors. Biogas only works as a small component in fuel. The auto industry is looking for energy alternatives to oil, but we are still a ways off from going completely without black gold. Even batteries need oil in their production. One bright spot: hydrogen. Regardless, the car itself contains a lot of crude oil.

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