42 people own same wealth as bottom 3.7 billion – new Oxfam report

January 22, 2018 by  
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82 percent of the wealth created in 2017 “went to the richest one percent ” of the world’s people, according to Oxfam . In their recent report entitled Reward Work, Not Wealth , published just as world leaders are preparing to convene for the upcoming World Economic Forum in Davos, the non-profit organization reveals a worsening inequality crisis in which “the benefits of economic growth continue to concentrate in fewer hands.” The Oxfam report shows that 2017 “saw the biggest increase in the number of billionaires in history” – a new one every other day during a year. There are 2,043 dollar billionaires on Earth, and “nine out of 10 are men.” The billionaires’ wealth increased by $762 billion in 12 months – “enough to end extreme poverty seven times over.” Related: The wealthiest ten percent of the population generate half of the world’s emissions While 42 people “own the same wealth as the bottom 3.7 billion people,” 61 people own the same wealth as the bottom 50 percent. And “the richest one percent continue to own more wealth than the whole of the rest of humanity.” Economist Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University said in the report, “Sometimes the super-rich call out Oxfam and others for ‘stoking class warfare’ but the truth is that in many societies, including my own, the United States, many of the super-rich have in effect declared war on the poor. The urgent need is to rebalance the tables, defend the rights of the poor, and re-establish fair societies that meet the needs of all in line with globally agreed goals.” Oxfam called on policy makers to acknowledge how the world’s economic system is impacting poor people in the world, and make changes to promote greater equality. They listed such policies as ending the gender pay gap, and protecting women workers’ rights as steps toward that goal. They also said in their statement they estimate “a global tax of 1.5 percent on billionaires’ wealth could pay for every child to go to school .” + Reward Work, Not Wealth + Oxfam Lead image via depositphotos , others via Hermes Rivera on Unsplash and Benny Jackson on Unsplash

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42 people own same wealth as bottom 3.7 billion – new Oxfam report

Geologists discover bacteria that turns small bits of gold into solid nuggets

January 22, 2018 by  
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Geologists in Queensland, Australia have discovered a unique type of bacteria that forges small bits of gold into solid nuggets. The discovery could allow mining companies to reprocess previously undesirable gold into market-ready products, and transform the ways in which gold-containing electronics are disposed. “In electronic waste, there’s a lot of gold,” University of Adelaide associate professor Frank Reith told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) . “We need a technique without impact to health or community or environment to [recover] the noble metals that are in everyone’s smart phone or computer.” Current techniques to do so are not nearly as sustainable as they need to be, but that could change if the bacteria proves an effective scalable tool. In 2016, electronic waste, which includes disposed phones , computers, and televisions, contained $84 billion worth of recoverable materials, including $29 billion worth of gold. Reith and his team are collaborating with New Zealand -based Mint to craft a solution to this problem that utilizes the special gold-molding bacteria. “We’re working with electronic waste as a feedstock, and are piloting a process that uses microbes as a method of purifying precious metals from the mix of other metals that old circuit boards contain,” Mint chief strategy officer Dr Ollie Crush told ABC . Related: This jewelry is made with upcycled gold from Dell computers The bacteria works by filtering out other metals and piecing together gold nuggets, one grain at a time. The process of recycling gold could take between 17 and 58 years, which, in geological time, is no time at all. The process would need to be sped up considerably for it to be more widely applied throughout the world. However, the promise of capturing what otherwise would be lost wealth is enticing. “If you can make a recoverable resource from those parts, then you’re adding to the bottom line of any mine,” said Reith. Via ABC Images via Depositphotos and University of Adelaide

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Geologists discover bacteria that turns small bits of gold into solid nuggets

Unilever teams with big banks on blockchain for supply chain

December 13, 2017 by  
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The year-long proof of concept also involves U.K. supermarket giant Sainsbury’s and packaging company Sappi. It will start with tea farmers in Africa.

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Unilever teams with big banks on blockchain for supply chain

Influential investors urge 100 carbon-intensive companies to step up climate action

December 13, 2017 by  
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The list includes fossil fuels, aviation, automotive and consumer products firms representing 85 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

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Influential investors urge 100 carbon-intensive companies to step up climate action

Thai Union hooks a new CSO; Ford Foundation invests in Mission

December 13, 2017 by  
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December’s career moves involve new leadership in seafood traceability, chemicals at Costco and sustainability in spirits.

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Thai Union hooks a new CSO; Ford Foundation invests in Mission

Why the Clean Power Plan is good for business

December 13, 2017 by  
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Apparel company VF Corporation: The policy will help reinforce falling costs for clean energy.

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Why the Clean Power Plan is good for business

Brand new "mega-carnivore" dinosaur discovered in Africa

October 26, 2017 by  
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Paleontologists have discovered fossil remains of what may have been the largest predator to ever hunt on the African savanna. The fossilized footprints were found in Lesotho, and they belong to a previously unknown “mega-carnivore” dating back to the early Jurassic Period, 200 million years ago. Although its size and demeanor was likely on par with well-known species such as Tyrannosaurus Rex and Allosaurus, the carbon dating of the fossil remains suggests this new dinosaur may have existed far earlier than its “mega-carnivore” comrades. At 22-inches-long and 20-inches-wide, the three-toed footprints are the largest of their kind ever found in Africa . The fossilized theropod (suborder of large, carnivorous dinosaur ) footprints were discovered by an international team of scientists from the University of Manchester, University of Cape Town, South Africa, and Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil. The new species, which has been named  Kayentapus ambrokholohali , would have been 10-feet-tall at the hip and 30-feet-long, almost twice the size of the average early Jurassic theropod. “The latest discovery is very exciting and sheds new light on the kind of carnivore that roamed what is now southern Africa ,” said Fabien Knoll, co-author of the study recently published in the journal PLOS ONE . “That’s because it is the first evidence of an extremely large meat-eating animal roaming a landscape otherwise dominated by a variety of herbivorous, omnivorous and much smaller carnivorous dinosaurs. It really would have been top of the food chain.” Related: Scientists discover 52-million-year-old tomatillo fossil The fossilized footprints are surrounded by current-ripple marks and cracks, which indicate that the animal likely died near a watering hole or river bank , where prey is often located. Although later predators such as T Rex were larger than Kayentapus ambrokholohali, the new theropod’s early existence is notable. “This discovery marks the first occurrence of very large carnivorous dinosaurs in the Early Jurassic of Gondwana – the prehistoric continent which would later break up and become Africa and other landmasses,” said Lara Sciscio, co-author of the study. “This makes it a significant find. Globally, these large tracks are very rare. There is only one other known site similar in age and sized tracks, which is in Poland.” Via New Atlas Images via University of Manchester

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Brand new "mega-carnivore" dinosaur discovered in Africa

Study finds pollution is more deadly than war, natural disasters, and disease

October 23, 2017 by  
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Environmental pollution isn’t just inconvenient, it’s also deadly. Every year, more people are killed by pollutants — from toxic air to contaminated water — than by all war and violence. Pollution is also responsible for more deaths than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. This disturbing revelation was revealed in a new study published in the Lancet medical journal. Scientists determined that one out of every six premature deaths (about 9 million in 2015) results from pollution; and while life is more important than money, these deaths cause $4.6 trillion in annual losses or about 6.2 percent of the world’s economy. Epidemiologist Philip Landrigan, lead author and Dean of global health at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York, said, “There’s been a lot of study of pollution, but it’s never received the resources or level of attention as, say, AIDS or climate change. ” Landrigan added that pollution is a “massive problem” few truly comprehend, as what they’re witnessing are “scattered bits of it.” This is the first study of its kind to take into account data on all diseases and death caused by pollution combined. According to the study , developing countries — primarily in Asia and Africa — are putting the most people at risk due to a lack of air and soil pollution monitoring systems. In 2015, one out of four (2.5 million) premature deaths in India and one out of five (1.8 million) premature deaths in China were caused by pollution-related illness. “In the West, we got the lead out of the gasoline, so we thought lead was handled. We got rid of the burning rivers, cleaned up the worst of the toxic sites. And then all of those discussions went into the background,” said Richard Fuller, head of the Pure Earth and one of the 47 scientists who contributed to the report. In Bangladesh , Pakistan, North Korea, South Sudan and Haiti, nearly one-fifth of premature deaths are pollution-related. Based on this information, it should not come as a surprise that the poorest suffer most from pollution-related illness. 92 percent of sickness related to environmental toxicity occurs in low- or middle-income countries. Phys reports, “Environmental regulations in those countries tend to be weaker, and industries lean on outdated technologies and dirtier fuels.” Fuller noted that this safety of the public is being compromised for industrial growth, which has negative repercussions. He said, “What people don’t realize is that pollution does damage to economies . People who are sick or dead cannot contribute to the economy. They need to be looked after.” To determine the global impact of pollution , the study’s authors used methods outlined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for assessing field data from soil tests, in addition to air and water pollution data from the Global Burden of Disease. Though 9 million pollution-related deaths is a “conservative” estimate, it is still 15 times the number of people killed in war or other forms of violence, and six times the number killed in road accidents . Ernesto Sanchez-Triana, the lead environmental specialist at the World Bank, said, “The relationship between pollution and poverty is very clear. And controlling pollution would help us address many other problems, from climate change to malnutrition . The linkages can’t be ignored.” + Lancet Via Phys Images via Pixabay

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Study finds pollution is more deadly than war, natural disasters, and disease

Kenyas Bird Nest is a breathtaking safari suite in the African wilderness

October 16, 2017 by  
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If we ever won the lottery, this breathtaking Bird Nest in Kenya is where we’d like to spend the night. The award-winning Segera Retreat and NAY PALAD just unveiled a breathtaking luxury escape that lets lucky guests sleep beneath the stars in one of Africa’s most iconic safari locations. Designed by architect Daniel Pouzet near a river full of wildlife, this unique suite above the treetops is surrounded by pristine nature and 360-degree panoramic views of the Laikipia plains. Perched above the tree canopy, the Bird Nest blends into the landscape with its timber frame woven together with locally sourced raw materials. Individual tree branches make up the crowning bird’s nest structure, where guests can lay out beneath the stars. The interior suite, wrapped with glazing and wooden louvers , is a cozy den richly layered with bespoke furnishings and textiles. The fully equipped bathroom includes running water heated by solar and a flushing toilet. The luxury suite sleeps two, but can also accommodate a small family. Related: 7 eco-friendly and conservation-minded safari lodges across Africa The Bird Nest experience begins just before sunset when guests are whisked away on a tour of the area then greeted at their suite with champagne, culinary delights, and beds prepared with luxurious linens with mood lighting set by lanterns. Adventurous guests have the option of dining on the top open-air deck with views of the sunset and sleeping beneath the stars. “To wake up to the magical sound of wildlife and birds, surrounded by pristine nature as far as the eye can see, is a life-changing experience; this is a place of true, untouched wonderment,” said Jens Kozany, the General Manager of Segera. Unsurprisingly, this one-of-a-kind stay at the Bird Nest doesn’t come cheap—the cost of the Bird Nest Experience starts at $1,150 USD per night. + Bird Nest Images by Jimmy Nelson

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Kenyas Bird Nest is a breathtaking safari suite in the African wilderness

70-mile wide group of butterflies shows up on radar, confuses weather scientists

October 6, 2017 by  
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“It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… a flock of migrating butterflies!” After spotting a colored mass flitting over Denver and nearby counties, weather scientists at the National Weather Service supposed the phenomenon was just a group of birds. With the help of social media users, however, they later realized that the group of loosely spaced insects with big wings comprised thousands of butterflies. It turns out, there are so many butterflies migrating across central U.S., they showed up on the radar . Look at what's flying into Denver! Radar from last hour showing what we believe to be birds. Any bird experts know what kind? #ornithology pic.twitter.com/EAqzdMwpFU — NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) October 3, 2017 Weather scientists at the Boulder meteorology office posted the images to social media with the caption, “Look at what’s flying into Denver! Radar from last hour showing what we believe to be birds. Any bird experts know what kind?” After confirming that avians “rarely produce such a coherent radar signature” and taking into account social media users’ answers, the Boulder meteorology office realized they were actually butterflies. Related: 8 Ways that you can help save monarch butterflies “Migrating butterflies in high quantities explains it,” the group posted afterward. The Denverite reports that it is presently migration season for the painted lady butterfly. Orange-and-black in color, the butterflies are making their way from north to south, in time with the changing seasons. According to The Prairie Ecologies , thousands of the painted ladies butterflies travel between the southwest part of the United States/northern Mexico and the central U.S. every year. Because butterflies migrate with the wind, they were able to cover an area about 70-miles-wide. Birds, on the other hand, fly straight toward their destination. This was a big clue in differentiating the mass of flying objects. Said Sarah Garrett, a lepidopterist at the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, Colorado , people as far away as North and South Dakota have spotted the butterflies , whose populations typically surge when flowers are abundant. Scientists believe the painted lady butterflies migrate to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico in the fall. Using radio tracking , studies have shown they also travel south from Europe to Africa in the fall, and return in the spring. Via Denverite Images via National Weather Service ,  Pixabay

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70-mile wide group of butterflies shows up on radar, confuses weather scientists

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