A birds’-eye view of the value of natural capital

December 30, 2017 by  
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At a cost of 10 percent of the $75 trillion global economy, nature is vital to business growth and viability. Here’s how to preserve its value.

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A birds’-eye view of the value of natural capital

Predicting the Biggest Green Trend for 2018

December 29, 2017 by  
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Although Kermit the Frog once sang, “It’s not easy being … The post Predicting the Biggest Green Trend for 2018 appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Predicting the Biggest Green Trend for 2018

Predicting the Biggest Green Trend for 2018

December 29, 2017 by  
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Although Kermit the Frog once sang, “It’s not easy being … The post Predicting the Biggest Green Trend for 2018 appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Predicting the Biggest Green Trend for 2018

This map shows how uninformed Trump’s global warming tweet is

December 29, 2017 by  
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If it’s cold outside, it proves global warming is false, right? That seems to be President Donald Trump’s logic, according to his tweet last night. Vox found a map from the University of Maine ‘s Climate Change Institute showing just how incorrect the president is. Trump tweeted the East could experience the coldest New Year’s Eve on record – and then proceeded with his usual divisive commentary calling for some “good old global warming.” First off, as Vox pointed out, weather and climate are two different things. Weather is when you wake up in the morning and it’s two degrees Fahrenheit out and you really don’t want to get out of bed. Climate, on the other hand, refers to prevailing weather conditions over a long period of time. Related: US report confirms humans cause climate change – despite what Trump officials say In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2017 University of New South Wales climate scientist Matthew England told The Guardian , “Nobody ever said winter would go away under global warming, but winter has become much milder and the record cold days are being far outnumbered by record warm days and heat extremes. Climate change is not overturned by a few unusually cold days in the U.S.” The University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer map shows daily temperature anomalies compared against a 1979 to 2000 baseline. The world was around 0.5 degrees Celsius – nearly 33 degrees Fahrenheit – warmer on average compared against the baseline, even though areas in North America are 10 or more degrees below average, according to Vox. The Antarctic is 0.6 degrees Celsius, or a little over 33 degrees Fahrenheit, warmer, while the Arctic is 2.8 degrees Celsius, or around 37 degrees Fahrenheit, warmer. 1) There is a difference between #weather and #climate . 2) Short-term #cold snaps will continue to occur in a warming climate.3) 2017 will likely be a top three warmest year on record for the globe. (Graphic: Univ. of Maine – Climate Change Institute) https://t.co/kzuugeXi80 pic.twitter.com/gueOsp4yvu — The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) December 29, 2017 The Weather Channel issued a tweet after Trump’s explaining that climate and weather are different, and saying there will still be short-term cold snaps in a warming climate. Plus, 2017 is in the running to be one of the top three warmest years on record. + Climate Reanalyzer Via Vox and The Guardian

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This map shows how uninformed Trump’s global warming tweet is

Thresher sharks die in Massachusetts – likely due to cold shock

December 29, 2017 by  
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Winter is here, and it appears even marine creatures are feeling the impact. The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy responded to calls of two thresher sharks stranded on Massachusetts beaches, and said the sharks likely succumbed to cold shock. The north half of the United States is battling bitter cold with a mass of Arctic air, according to The New York Times , with meteorologists saying single-digit temperatures could be here to stay for at least another week. And even sharks are battling the frigid weather . The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy shared on their social media they were called to two thresher shark strandings near Cape Cod in Massachusetts, along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries . The conservancy said the sharks were both male, and probably stranded because of cold shock. Related: 512-year-old Greenland shark may be the oldest living vertebrate on Earth Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries marine scientist Greg Skomal told The New York Times, “If you’ve got cold air, that’ll freeze their gills up very quickly. Those gill filaments are very sensitive and it wouldn’t take long for the shark to die.” Skomal said the thresher sharks may have been working their way south with the cooling of northerly waters, but could have gotten trapped by Cape Cod and stranded on the beach, where they may have died more rapidly because of the cold. The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, which promotes Atlantic white shark conservation through scientific research and education, gathered morphometric data and organ and tissue samples for analyzing once they thaw. They called on people to report anything strange they might see on Cape beaches, with a picture and location. If you’d like to help out the conservancy, they put together a shark stranding response kit wishlist on GOODdler; you can donate here . Via the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy Facebook and The New York Times Images via the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy Twitter

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Thresher sharks die in Massachusetts – likely due to cold shock

Universal DNA vaccine could make yearly flu shot a thing of the past

December 29, 2017 by  
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There were 7,000 confirmed cases of the flu in the United States by the end of November – double the amount from the same time the prior year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. University of Washington School of Medicine researchers are hoping to one day offer an alternative to the annual flu shot: a DNA vaccine . The vaccine could offer long-lasting protection from all flu virus strains – even as viruses genetically change. A DNA vaccine could instruct a person’s skin cells to generate antigens and induce antibodies and T cell responses to fight the flu, according to UW Medicine . A gene gun device could inject the vaccine right into skin cells. With the universal vaccine, people might not have to get a flu shot every year. Related: Experimental Zika vaccine to be tested on humans for the first time The DNA vaccine is able to get around genetic changes in flu strains by “using genetic components of influenza virus – the conserved areas – which do not change,” according to UW Medicine. The DNA vaccine doesn’t just repel a virus but finds infected cells and kills them. The research team tested the vaccine on primates , and found T cell responses were so fast the primates just did not get sick. Department of Microbiology professor Deborah Fuller, in whose laboratory this research took place, said in a statement, “With the immunized groups, we found that using this conserved component of the virus gave them 100 percent protection against a previous circulating influenza virus that didn’t match the vaccine.” This universal vaccine could be ready for rapid deployment in case of a deadly pandemic flu strain, and has a production time of around three months as opposed to the nine months required for the United States-approved vaccine for flu season. The DNA-based approach could also offer a mechanism for vaccines for other viruses like Zika . The vaccine could still be five to 10 years away – UW Medicine said that’s about as long as it takes from promising laboratory results to commercial viability. The journal PLOS One published the research this month. 17 researchers from institutions around the United States contributed to the paper. Via University of Washington School of Medicine Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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Universal DNA vaccine could make yearly flu shot a thing of the past

Dutch utilityplans massive windfarm island

December 29, 2017 by  
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TenneT, the primary Dutch electric utility company, is planning to construct a “windfarm island” in the North Sea. This island would serve as an operational hub for a network of nearby offshore wind farms at a facility that would dwarf any current such centers. The plan, already in its advanced stages, proposes Dogger Bank, 125km (78 miles) off the East Yorkshire coast of England, as a potential location for the wind farm island. Once constructed, the hub would transmit electricity over a long-distance, underwater cable to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, with eventual connections possible to Belgium, Denmark, and Germany .   As more desirable spots closer to shore are claimed, the maturing wind energy industry is making some bold moves to continue its growth. “It’s crucial for industry to continue with the cost reduction path,” Rob van der Hage, offshore wind grid development program manager at TenneT, told  the Guardian . “It’s logical we are looking at areas further offshore.” Though the windfarm island plan is ambitious, the specific details of running such a facility are still in development and its profitability remains to be seen. “As the industry matures, you’d very much expect them to start thinking outside the box,” energy analyst Peter Atherton told the Guardian . “Whether the economics pan out, whether you really can sell North Sea wind out to the continent, is questionable.” Related: World’s first 3D-printed bridge opens in the Netherlands The windfarm island would act as a hub for nearby wind farms , which would send electricity generated to the island along short-distance, inexpensive cables. Once stored, the electricity will be converted from alternate current to direct current, which is more efficient when sending electric power across long distances, for its journey back to the mainland. This allows greater flexibility in the wind market and ensures that a much higher percentage of wind energy is distributed to where it is needed. The Dutch are not daunted by the challenge of building their own windfarm island. “Is it difficult?,” asked Van der Hage rhetorically. “In the Netherlands, when we see a piece of water we want to build islands or land. We’ve been doing that for centuries. That is not the biggest challenge.” Via the Guardian Images via TenneT and Depositphotos

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Dutch utilityplans massive windfarm island

Artists are turning the U.S.-Mexico border fence into the worlds longest peace-themed mural

December 29, 2017 by  
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As the Trump administration pushes forward with plans to build a border wall , American and Mexican artists are working to paint a mile-long mural on the border fence celebrating peace and unity. Mexican-born, American-educated artist Enrique Chiu is leading a bi-national effort to turn the fence into a work of art which spreads a message of hope to those crossing the border. This December, Chiu launched The Mural of Brotherhood, enlisting over than 2,600 volunteers to paint uplifting messages on the Mexico-facing side of the U.S.-owned fence. The entire mural is expected to stretch more than a mile in Tijuana and shorter spans in Tecate, Mexicali, Ciudad Juarez, Naco and Reynosa. The goal is to set the Guinness World Record for the longest mural and create an artistic riposte to Trump ’s nationalist and anti-immigrant politics. Related: Ai Weiwei installs huge fences in New York City to challenge Trump’s border control measures The artist himself crossed the border with his mother when he was eight and lived in LA for a year without a legal status. After moving to Tijuana about ten years Chiu joined the city’s burgeoning artistic scene. He dedicates this project “to all those people who are looking for a better life. Who take enormous risks. Or those have been deported and are separated from their families.” + Enrique Chiu

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Artists are turning the U.S.-Mexico border fence into the worlds longest peace-themed mural

This solar-powered cabin is a dreamy green getaway in the Colorado Mountains

December 29, 2017 by  
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Perched on a rocky cliff at 10,000 feet, this pair of solar-powered cabins offer unique views of Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo mountains, the Collegiate Peaks, and the South Platte River. Renée del Gaudio Architecture designed Big Cabin | Little Cabin to capture the essence of traditional cabin vernacular with a modern twist. The site is bordered to the north by a thick forest that provides the cabins with a sense of privacy and protection. Gabled roofs and rustic materials echo the area’s vernacular architecture, while the exterior cedar siding helps the cabins blend into their wooded surroundings. A similar material palette dominates the open-plan interior of the project, with plywood interior walls and ceilings lending a rustic quality. Related: 7 new micro-cabins in Colorado provide superior insulation in extreme weather High-efficiency electric appliances and LED lighting keep energy consumption to a minimum, while closed and open cell foam insulation, double and triple pane windows with low-e glass , and rolling barn door shutters keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The project also features a 96% efficient boiler, radiant floor tubing set in a concrete slab, and a high efficiency wood-burning stove . The project is wired for a 3kw photovoltaic array , which is expected to fully meet the cabins’ energy needs. + Renée del Gaudio Architecture Via Dwell Photos by David Lauer

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This solar-powered cabin is a dreamy green getaway in the Colorado Mountains

New giant octopus species discovered near Alaska

December 29, 2017 by  
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You wouldn’t expect humans to have missed a whole species of giant octopus – but researchers recently revealed that’s exactly what we did. Per Earther , the giant Pacific octopus (GPO), which is the biggest octopus we know about on the planet, averaging 110 pounds and 16 feet across , is in reality two species. Alaska Pacific University (APU) undergraduate student Nathan Hollenbeck led the effort to discover what the team is calling the frilled giant Pacific octopus . Scientists had wondered if GPO was an umbrella name, referring to more than one species, for decades, according to Earther. In 2012, APU and United States Geological Survey scientists discovered a genetically distinct group of the giant octopus, but only gathered small samples of arm tissue before sending the creatures back to the ocean , so weren’t sure if the groups were also visually distinct. Hollenbeck hoped to unravel the enigma for his senior thesis. Related: Octopuses are taking over the oceans, and no one knows why He found some answers in shrimp trawling bycatch, where octopuses sometimes show up. It didn’t take him long to realize he could identify two types simply by looking at the cephalopods . One was a regular GPO; the other had a frill running along its body, raised skin eyelashes, and two white spots on its head instead of the one of regular GPOs. “Presumably, people have been catching these octopuses for years and no one ever noticed,” David Scheel, Hollenbeck’s advisor and APU professor, told Earther. Hollenbeck snipped off small arm pieces – and to see if in the future researchers could avoid that invasive technique, collected DNA with a cotton swab. He was the first to try the less invasive method on an octopus. And both samples confirmed the frilled one is a species distinct from the GPO. GPOs can be found from Alaska to California to Japan, but the researchers gathered reliable reports of the frilled giant octopus only from Juneau to the Bering Sea, according to Earther. But the new species could be common in the deeper water habitats they appear to prefer. Frilled giants comprised one third of the octopus bycatch Hollenbeck scrutinized. The American Malacological Bulletin published the research earlier this year here and here ; scientists from the United States Geological Survey and Alaska Resource Education contributed to the second paper. + Frilled giant Pacific octopus Via Earther Images courtesy of D. Scheel and via and Depositphotos

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New giant octopus species discovered near Alaska

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