Philadelphia skyline to go dim in favor of migrating birds

March 17, 2021 by  
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Starting April 1, the skies of Philadelphia will stop shining so bright, all for a good cause. The Lights Out Philly program is an initiative that seeks to save the lives of migratory birds by dimming artificial lights or turning them off entirely. The program runs from April 1 to May 31 and from August 15 to November 15, when migratory birds make their way through the city. During these periods, property managers and tenants are asked to voluntarily switch off lights or dim them from midnight to 6 a.m. Bird Safe Philly announced the Lights Out Philly initiative, which brings together the Audubon Mid-Atlantic, the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. The coalition was formed following a mass collision of migratory birds last October. Related: Biden administration reinstates migratory bird protections “We have specimens in the academy’s ornithology collection from a kill that happened when lights were first installed on Philadelphia’s City Hall tower in 1896,” said Jason Weckstein, associate curator of ornithology at Drexel University’s Academy of Natural Sciences. Weckstein says that the collision last year was caused by a combination of situations, including heavy clouds on a perfect migratory day. “Conditions were perfect for a heavy migratory flight and imperfect given that there was a low ceiling of clouds and rain. That in combination with Philly’s bright city lights was a disaster for many fall migrant birds winging their way south.” When birds migrate, they depend on celestial cues such as stars to find their way. When they cannot see such cues on a cloudy day, collisions are possible. Scientists also say that artificial lighting can confuse birds. Weckstein says that when birds see cloud and star reflections in windows, they may get misguided and collide. Among the bird species at the risk of collision are the ovenbird and black-throated blue warbler. The same birds are also threatened by conditions such as climate change . The Building Owners and Managers Association of Philadelphia has said that many house managers and owners are ready to support the move. As BOMA executive director Kristine Kiphorn said, “We have some early adopters and the list is approaching 20 buildings, many of which are iconic and very recognizable members of the Philadelphia skyline.” Via AP News Lead image via Pixabay

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Philadelphia skyline to go dim in favor of migrating birds

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Flying-V concept is an important step towards sustainable aviation

July 22, 2019 by  
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The environmental impacts of air travel has become a growing global concern. The aviation industry is focused on producing faster planes that fly higher and provide more comfort for passengers, which may create the alarming potential to produce even more carbon emissions than ever before. Presented as a solution to the increasing need for more sustainable aviation options, KLM Royal Dutch Airline has revealed a design for its “Flying V” sustainable aircraft that will use 20% less fuel than the popular Airbus A350. At the 2019 IATA Annual General Meeting in Seoul, KLM President & CEO Pieter Elbers and Dean of the Netherlands Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology Professor Henri Werij signed an agreement to work together on making aviation more sustainable. Though the design is only a concept at this point, the vision of the Technical University of Berlin and researchers at Delft, the Flying V is a monumental step towards sustainable aviation. Related: Time-saving supersonic airplanes could be a disaster for the environment With a unique aerodynamic shape, the plane’s design is shorter than the Airbus A350 (the most comparable aircraft), but with the same wingspan and the same passenger capacity. Because of this, the plane will fit easily into existing gates and runways, and fit in the same hanger as an A350. Everything from the plane bathrooms to the design of the passenger seats are as lightweight as possible for the safety and comfort of passengers. The signature v-shape wings will include the passenger cabins, the cargo (which will hold the same volume as the A350) and the fuel and the combination of a lightweight design with fuel-efficient turbofan engines makes it much more sustainable than other aircrafts.  Attendees of KLM Experience Days at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to celebrate KLM’s 100th anniversary will have the chance to view a flying scale model and a full size section of the Flying V’s interior in October 2019. Via Images by Edwin Wallet at OSO Studio for TU Delft

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KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Flying-V concept is an important step towards sustainable aviation

UK supermarket tests packaging-free initiative

July 22, 2019 by  
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Bringing reusable bags to stores is now second nature to many shoppers, but will they bring their own containers, too? British supermarket chain Waitrose will find out during an 11-week trial in its Oxford store called Waitrose Unpacked. Customers are encouraged to take refillable containers to restock on options such as a choice of four types of beer and wines, detergent, coffee and 28 dry products including cereals, lentils and pastas. Other unpacked concepts simply eliminate plastic — such as 160 loose vegetable and fruit products, and flowers and plants wrapped in 100% recyclable craft paper rather than plastic. Waitrose also offers a frozen pick and mix station, where customers can choose their own blends of cherries, pineapple, blueberries and other chilly fruits. Related: Sustainable toiletries packaged in soap aim to eliminate single-use plastics Waitrose launched its Unpacked initiative in response to customers requesting more sustainable ways to shop. “This test has huge potential to shape how people might shop with us in the future so it will be fascinating to see which concepts our customers have an appetite for. We know we’re not perfect and have more to do, but we believe this is an innovative way to achieve something different,” Waitrose declared in a press release. Unpacked customers will also benefit from lower prices, since shoppers often pay for excess packaging they don’t even want. The BBC reported that produce in the supermarket’s refill stations would be up to 15 percent cheaper and frozen fruit would also be less expensive. For a £5 deposit, shoppers can load their groceries into a borrowed box from Waitrose to take home. When they return the box, the supermarket refunds their money. Waitrose will continue to offer food in its regular packaging, which will provide a useful control group for the unpacked experiment. The trial ends August 18. We hope the verdict is a win for sustainability. +Waitrose Image via Waitrose

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UK supermarket tests packaging-free initiative

Airplanes’ contrail clouds are more harmful than their carbon emissions

July 1, 2019 by  
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The streaky clouds behind airplanes are the center of a new study that looks at these clouds’ contribution to climate change . As airplanes reach higher altitudes they release not only exhaust but also water vapor that forms clouds known as contrails. While most contrails dissipate quickly, others remain for hours and warm the atmosphere. The German Aerospace Center used widely accepted climate models to predict how the impact of contrails will change over the next few decades. According to its models, the global warming effect of contrails alone could triple by 2050 . This rate of growth is higher than that of exhaust emissions, thanks to current and future innovations in fuel-efficient technology. In fact, the greenhouse gas effect of contrails is higher than the total impact of carbon emissions from airplane exhaust. Related: Time-saving supersonic airplanes could be a disaster for the environment The airline industry is expected to quadruple over the next few decades and newer planes tend to fly higher than their predecessors. This means that contrails are likely to remain in the atmosphere longer, especially over tropical areas, where the conditions extend the life of the clouds. Although low-hanging clouds tend to cool down the Earth’s temperatures, those higher up actually absorb thermal radiation emitted from the Earth and then warm the atmosphere. What start as thin, long clouds can spread across thousands of square miles in certain conditions. In relation to other emissions , the streaky clouds have a small and possibly insignificant contribution to climate change. “While the contrail forcing is certainly significant, it’s a relatively small contributor to overall warming,” an atmospheric scientist from Dartmouth College told Earther . However, because the climate crisis has reached the point of all-hands-on-deck, every identified source of emissions is a target for reduction via innovation and advanced technology . Via Earther Image via Pexels

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Airplanes’ contrail clouds are more harmful than their carbon emissions

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