Whale mother can’t let go of dead calf likely poisoned by plastic

November 20, 2017 by  
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The impact of humanity’s pollution on nature became all too real in a heartbreaking clip from Blue Planet II . A mother pilot whale grieved her dead baby, carrying it around with her. The calf may have died because of industrial chemicals – and our plastic littering the oceans . A preview for episode four of BBC One’s Blue Planet II revealed a tragic scene: a mother pilot whale who seemingly couldn’t let go of her dead calf. The calf might have been poisoned by the mother’s milk, contaminated with pollutants of ours which enter the oceans. Narrator David Attenborough said she’d been carrying the baby for several days. “In top predators like these, industrial chemicals can build up to lethal levels. And plastic could be part of the problem. As plastic breaks down, it combines with these other pollutants that are consumed by vast numbers of marine creatures,” Attenborough said in the video. Related: Plankton Pundit video shows exact moment plastic enters the food chain Pilot whales possess large brains, Attenborough explained in the video, and have the capacity to feel emotions. He said the adults’ behavior following the death of the calf reveals its loss impacted the whole family. “Unless the flow of plastics and industrial pollution into the world’s oceans is reduced, marine life will be poisoned by them for many centuries to come,” he said. Around eight million metric tons of plastic enters Earth’s oceans every single year, according to the Blue Planet II website, and can kill ocean creatures. They offered several suggestions for how concerned viewers can get involved with ocean conservation , such as picking up trash or downloading the Beat the Microbead app, which tells users if a cosmetic or household product contains microbeads so they can avoid purchasing it (click the links to download for Android or iOS ). + Blue Planet II Images via BBC on YouTube

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Whale mother can’t let go of dead calf likely poisoned by plastic

World’s cheapest solar power to be generated in Mexico

November 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Solar power set to be generated in Mexico will be the world’s cheapest — with prices as low as 1.77¢/kWh, according to data from Mexico’s  Centro Nacional de Control de Energía (Cenace) . Mexico’s Department of Energy recently announced the companies selected to complete new renewable power projects and the rates for which this electricity will be sold. The lowest price for solar in Mexico has been set just below that of Saudi Arabia at 1.77¢/kWh, and is expected to continue to decrease to 1¢/kWh in 2019 or sooner. In this most recent bidding round, 15 bids from eight solar and wind energy companies, including Canadian Solar, ENEL Green Power, and Mitsui, were approved in a sign that Mexico’s renewable surge is not slowing down. The clean energy projects recently approved by Mexico will be online and selling power by 2020. These projects and others are important steps towards meeting Mexico’s goals under the Paris agreement as well as regional goals established by Mexico, the United States, and Canada . In 2016, all three countries pledged to source 50 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025. Canada is on track to meet this goal while Mexico continues to build up its renewable portfolio. As it was when the regional pledge was made, the United States still lags behind in its transition to clean energy. Related: World’s largest solar plant in a refugee camp opens in Jordan Mexico’s achievement of cheap solar energy exceeds the expectations of skeptics who believed that such a price in a country like Mexico, rather than one like wealthy Saudi Arabia , would be highly unlikely. Despite its economic challenges, Mexico is proving that affordable renewable energy is possible around the world, brightening the prospects of the Paris agreement even as the United States refuses to participate. If current trends continue, the world may soon be faced with the prospect of plentiful, clean, affordable energy, the possibilities for which are endless. Via Electrek Images via Presidencia de la República Mexicana/Flickr   (2)   (3)

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World’s cheapest solar power to be generated in Mexico

17th-century farm transformed into amazing hotel in the hills of Norway

November 20, 2017 by  
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Communing with Norway’s incredible landscape won’t be hard when staying at the green-roofed Nordigard Blessom Farm . Tucked into rolling green landscape in the rural countryside of Vågå, this 17th-century farm was converted into a series of green-roofed guest rooms, complete with grazing sheep. Guests of the farm are treated to an atmosphere straight out of a fairy tale. Lush green hills surround the farm, which has its own gardens and orchards. There are three wooden guest rooms, each covered with a green roof . The rustic but sophisticated interior design includes solid log walls and old-Norwegian furnishings – some dating back to the 17th century. Related: Sheep farm deep in Iceland’s fjords transformed into luxury off-grid retreat Guests of the farm will enjoy scrumptious daily breakfast spreads that includes homemade bread and marmalades. After breakfast, guests can leisurely take in the farm’s idyllic surroundings or explore the activities in the area, such as hiking the adjacent mountain ranges and glaciers, horseback riding, caving, or strolling in Rondane National Park. + Nordigard Blessom Farm Via Uncrate Photography by Ingrid Blessom  

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17th-century farm transformed into amazing hotel in the hills of Norway

This breathtaking new street art is made entirely out of trash

November 20, 2017 by  
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Portuguese street artist Artur Bordalo, known by the moniker Bordalo II , is showing off some bold new street art in an abandoned Lisbon warehouse. Bordalo drwas attention to wastefulness by creating massive vibrant animals out of discarded plastic , car parts, and other trash – and the whimsical designs are unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Garbage is given new life as colorful animal sculptures in Bordalo II’s solo exhibition Attero – the Latin word for ‘waste.’ The trash is locally sourced, according to Colossal , and might come from old cars, construction materials, or whatever else the artist happens to find. He often transforms the detritus into animals because they are particularly vulnerable to harm from our society which too often throws items away, polluting the environment. Related: Street artist turns trash into incredible wild animal sculptures Attero calls us to reflect on our own consumption, according to Lara Seixo Rodrigues, founder of nonprofit arts organization Mistaker Maker , which curated Attero. She told Colossal, “Whether on a large or small scale, his unusual sculptural creations oblige us to question and rethink our own role as actors in this static, consumerist, and self-destructive society, which exploits, often in an abusive way, the resources that nature offers us.” Bordalo II echoes these ideas in his Facebook biography , saying he belongs “to a generation that is extremely consumerist, materialist, and greedy.” The artist, who was born in 1987, revitalizes end-of-life materials discarded by others to create his pieces. Bordalo II’s sculptures are often massive, sprawling across building walls. While those large, attention-grabbing pieces are certainly part of Attero, the exhibition also includes smaller pieces on old doors, windowpanes, or siding. Around 8,000 people visited the show during its first week. Attero is on through November 26 at Rua de Xabregas 49, 1900-439 Beato, Lisbon. Bordalo II’s website says entry into the show is free. If you can’t make it to Lisbon, check out more of Bordalo II’s pieces on Facebook and Instagram . + Bordalo II Via Colossal Images via Bordalo II Facebook and Mistaker Maker Facebook

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This breathtaking new street art is made entirely out of trash

IKEA, David Chang and ruler of Dubai invest $40 million in AeroFarms vertical farming

November 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

If there was any question that indoor vertical farming is the future of agriculture, the latest announcement from AeroFarms will remove any doubt. The revolutionary company just secured a whopping $40 million in financing from world-renowned chef David Chang, megabrand IKEA and the ruler of Dubai — Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid. The company intends to use the money to address the escalating challenge of bringing healthy, sustainable food to the growing global population using their innovative aeroponic growing system. AeroFarms grows leafy greens without sunlight or soil in vertically-stacked troughs in a fully-controlled indoor environment. It’s better for the planet than traditional agriculture because it requires 95 percent less water, grows in half the time of traditional crops, doesn’t deplete soil and can be grown year-round and served locally — even in cold climates. Related: AeroFarms is building the world’s largest indoor vertical farm just 45 mins from Manhattan David Chang, founder of the Momofuku Group, said, “Momofuku has always championed local farmers and is continuously looking for innovative solutions to improve our quality and sustainability practices. AeroFarms’ incredible technology allows them to grow consistent, high-quality ingredients all year round. At the end of the day, the goal is always to find delicious ingredients from local purveyors we admire, and I am excited to partner with AeroFarms.” IKEA, which has long championed indoor farming, funding innovations through Space10 and releasing their own indoor gardening system , also invested in the company. Rounding out the investment was Meraas , the investment vehicle of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, vice president of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai. + AeroFarms Via Agfundernews

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IKEA, David Chang and ruler of Dubai invest $40 million in AeroFarms vertical farming

Beautiful Northcote Solar Home shows off modern energy-efficient family living

November 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Sustainable design principles are embedded throughout the Northcote Solar Home, a beautiful Melbourne home that shows how energy efficiency can go hand-in-hand with contemporary design. Local architecture studio Green Sheep Collective designed the light-filled home for a family who wanted flexible spaces and an emphasis on indoor-outdoor living. The sustainable, passive solar home is strategically positioned for thermal mass, while elements like double-glazing and rainwater harvesting reduce its energy footprint. Topped by an eye-catching raked corrugated zincalume roof, the Northcote Solar Home’s pitched roofline and clerestory windows help to modulate solar gain, while allowing for stack ventilation. North-facing living areas take advantage of passive heating and cooling, and high levels of insulation helps lock in desired temperatures. Large low-e, double-glazed windows frame the outdoors and bring in ample natural light. Views to the central courtyard and garden can be enjoyed throughout the home. Related: Swanky laneway house in Melbourne is built from recycled red brick The airy interior features white plaster walls and wormy chestnut flooring that flow from the inside to the outside decking and also tie into the silvertop ash exterior cladding. Large sliding doors delineate the three bedrooms from the living and dining areas, and are set up so for easy adaptation into different uses. “In addition, the courtyard affords great connectivity between spaces within the home, so while inhabitants might be undertaking separate activities, they may still be ‘together’,” wrote the architects. + Green Sheep Collective Images via Emma Cross

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Beautiful Northcote Solar Home shows off modern energy-efficient family living

Italy bans the use of animals in circuses

November 13, 2017 by  
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Animal rights activists are winning victories as more countries prohibit animals in circus acts. This month the Italian Parliament adopted legislation to phase out animals in traveling shows and circuses, according to Animal Defenders International (ADI). It’s a big move, as there are an estimated 100 circuses with 2,000 animals in Italy . Italy became the 41st country to pass measures prohibiting animals in circuses. ADI said on their Facebook page that Italy’s Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini promoted the legislation to phase out animals in circuses. Related: America’s largest animal circus closes after 146 years ADI president Jan Creamer said in a statement, “Traveling from place to place, week after week, using temporary collapsible cages and pens, circuses simply cannot provide for the needs of the animals. Through ADI’s undercover investigations we have shown the violence and abuse that is used to force these animals to obey and perform tricks. We applaud Italy and urge countries like the UK and the US to follow this example and end this cruelty.” It’s not yet clear how Italy’s phase-out will play out; ADI said within a year, Italy will outline how the law will be implemented through a ministerial decree. It’s not yet known how long circuses will have to phase animals out of their shows. ZME Science highlighted some of the issues with animals performing in circuses, pointing to an investigation from researchers at Wageningen University. They found 71 percent of observed animals were experiencing medical issues, and 33 percent of lions and tigers didn’t have access to an outdoor enclosure. They said circus lions spent 98 percent of their time inside on average. Elephants spent 17 hours a day shackled on average, and tigers – though scared of fire – were often forced to jump through flaming hoops. Ireland also stood up for animal rights recently , with a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses that will take effect on January 1, 2018. Via Animal Defenders International ( 1 , 2 , 3 ) Images via Wikimedia Commons and ~Pawsitive~Candie_N on Flickr

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Italy bans the use of animals in circuses

Crazy new building in China looks like a giant crab!

November 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

China may have decided to steer away from “weird architecture” , but bizarre new buildings continue to pop up throughout the country. The new Ecology Center in Kunshan is one of the strangest we’ve seen – it looks a giant crab, complete with hairy claws and white pincers! The building is located on Yangcheng Lake’s eastern shore and it references the area’s famous crab-based delicacy. The outer shell is crafted from dark stainless steel , with pincers and claws resting on the ground. The crab’s durable exterior can supposedly withstand strong winds and typhoons . Related: 21 of China’s Quirkiest, Craziest and Most Fantastical Buildings Work is still underway on the building’s interior, which is expected to open to visitors in 2018. Via Archdaily

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Crazy new building in China looks like a giant crab!

Hundreds of sea turtles found dead near El Salvador

November 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Why did hundreds of sea turtles perish near El Salvador ? The country’s ministry of environment and natural resources found 300-400 dead turtles in Jiquilisco Bay, so they took samples to try and determine why the animals died. National Geographic floated fishing and algal blooms as two reasons for the sea turtle die-offs. Around 300 to 400 sea turtles died near El Salvador, according to MARN . Locals began seeing the turtles the end of October; MARN announced the die-off on Twitter in early November. Several turtle species reside in the area, but so far it looks like ridleys have been the species most hit. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature classifies ridleys as vulnerable. Related: Unusually high number of humpback whale deaths prompts NOAA inquiry A red tide , or harmful algal bloom, led to turtle deaths in El Salvador in 2006 and 2013. Turtles can die after ingesting the blooms. But it’s not yet clear if a red tide caused these deaths. On November 3, MARN said they collected samples from seawater and the turtles’ tissues, and also took blood samples from a living turtle. The fishing industry has been to blame for turtle deaths in the past during shrimp trawling, as turtles can get caught in the nets. But a month-long moratorium began October 17, so the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative ‘s Mike Liles said fishing probably didn’t cause the 300 to 400 turtles to perish. Liles did say the practice is still dangerous for the creatures. This recent event is one of the biggest turtle die-offs El Salvador has experienced. Liles said large-scale die-offs could just get more common as industrial agriculture runoff worsens red tides. Conservation Ecology Lab ecologist Alexander Gaos agreed and said more conservation programs are needed. Via National Geographic Images via MARN El Salvador on Twitter ( 1 , 2 )

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Hundreds of sea turtles found dead near El Salvador

This tiny device can scan for skin cancer at a fraction of the current cost

November 9, 2017 by  
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sKan is an inexpensive device that can detect skin cancer at its early stages. The device creates heat maps to identify abnormalities in the skin often associated with melanoma, treatment for which has a higher success rate if detected early. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer worldwide, accounting for roughly 1 in 3 cancer diagnoses, and results in tens of thousands of deaths each year. sKan won this year’s international James Dyson award, bringing with it new funding and attention that could help save countless lives. To achieve its goal, the sKan device exploits the relatively higher metabolic rate of cancer cells. After a period of cooling, skin affected by cancer cells will more rapidly warm up, due to cancer’s high metabolism, than non-cancerous skin cells. sKan uses inexpensive yet accurate temperature sensors to locate rapidly heating areas of skin, shining a spotlight on potentially cancerous cells. These results are then displayed on a heat map, which can be used by a medical professional to determine whether a patient may require additional care. Early detection may mean life or death for those with skin cancer; the estimated 5-year survival rate for skin cancer patients whose illness is detected early is 98 percent. Related: Stanford’s new ‘accelerator on a chip’ could revolutionize medical care “By using widely available and inexpensive components, the sKan allows for melanoma skin cancer detection to be readily accessible to the many,” said James Dyson, British inventor and industrial designer . “It’s a very clever device with the potential to save lives around the world. This is why I have selected it at this year’s international winner.” In addition to the honor of winning the James Dyson award, the sKan team will receive $40,000, which it plans to use to refine the device’s design to meet US Food and Drug Administration standards . “We are truly humbled and excited to be given this remarkable opportunity,” said the sKan team on its win. Via New Atlas Images via James Dyson Awards

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This tiny device can scan for skin cancer at a fraction of the current cost

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