California plans to launch its own satellite to monitor air pollution

September 17, 2018 by  
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California has promised to launch its own satellite to track air quality in the fight against air pollution. Governor Jerry Brown announced the major initiative amid President Donald Trump’s bid to decrease NASA’s part in monitoring climate change. Brown has not announced when the state will launch the satellite or how much it will cost taxpayers. Brown has long stood in opposition to Trump’s administration, which has fought California’s tough emissions standards. Following the effort to cut NASA funding for climate research, Brown hopes that the satellite will ensure that California has independent access to data gathering in the long term. “We’re going to launch our own satellite — our own damn satellite to figure out where the pollution is and how we’re going to end it,” Brown explained. Related: Striking, solar-powered LA roundabout manages stormwater runoff with art NASA has its own climate change program called the Carbon Monitoring System (CMS). The system gathers data from a collection of satellites and high-altitude aircraft to keep track of carbon emissions around the world. The program came under fire in the latest rounds of White House budget cuts, which were directly aimed at climate change initiatives. Fortunately, the appropriations committee did not cut CMS funding, but the threat left many scientists worried about the program’s future. Brown is collaborating with a company based out of San Francisco called Planet Labs to launch the satellite. The company will work with California’s Air Resources Board to build the satellite and track carbon emissions throughout the state and the world. So far, Planet Labs — backed by companies like Google and DCVC — has a fleet of 150 satellites, all of which take photographs of the earth and transfer the data to various governments, private companies, journalists, agriculture business and hedge funds. Brown hopes the program will lead to better climate monitoring, despite the efforts from the Trump administration. Via Earther and Huffington Post Image via Prayitno

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Trump breaks campaign pledge by asking Congress for money to build Mexico border wall

January 9, 2017 by  
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In a direct contradiction to his campaign promise, President-Elect Donald Trump recently said that he will ask congress for funds to build a wall across the U.S. – Mexico border. The move breaks with Trump’s repeated campaign promise that he would make Mexico pay for the wall by October 2017. Meanwhile, Mexico’s leaders have maintained they will, under no circumstances, pay for the wall. CNN reports that Trump’s transition team signaled on Friday to congressional Republican leaders that he would prefer to pay for the border wall through the appropriations process. Under attack for the reneging, Trump took to Twitter on Friday morning and said he wants to use congressional appropriations to speed the building process along. “The dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later!” Trump tweeted Friday, according to CNN . Chris Collins, a New York Republican and congressional liaison for Trump’s transition team says Trump has all the cards he needs in his hand to win negotiations with Mexico and get the fronted Congress money back. “When you understand that Mexico’s economy is dependent upon US consumers, Donald Trump has all the cards he needs to play,” Collins told CNN.”On the trade negotiation side, I don’t think it’s that difficult for Donald Trump to convince Mexico that it’s in their best interest to reimburse us for building the wall.” Related: Mexican designers envision Trump’s border wall in “all its gorgeous perversity.” Trump’s team says it has the authority it needs to build the wall via a G.W. Bush-era 2016 law, but they currently don’t have the money to build it. So they want the money to fund the project tacked on to the bill that allows them to build it. Via CNN Images via Wikipedia and Gage Skidmore

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Trump breaks campaign pledge by asking Congress for money to build Mexico border wall

Obama shuts down all pending permits for seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean

January 9, 2017 by  
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Outgoing President Barack Obama made another last-minute effort to secure his environmental legacy last week, when he formally denied all pending permits to conduct seismic airgun blasting in the Altantic Ocean . The practice is used to search for oil and gas deposits below the ocean’s surface, but conservationists say it poses unique threats to the ocean’s wildlife, and that it can disrupt entire marine ecosystems. This new move not only protects vulnerable ecosystems from the direct effect of the tests – it also sends a message to oil and gas companies that new development in the Atlantic is not welcomed by the federal government or coastal communities. Seismic airgun testing is conducted by blasting intense bursts of compressed air into the ocean continuously for weeks or even months on end. The noise from these blasts is loud enough to be heard up to 2,500 miles away from the source and is intensely disruptive to many forms of marine life which depend on their ability to detect sound in order to communicate and survive – including fish, sea turtles, and whales. Some of these species , like the right whale , are critically endangered. This is more than simply an environmental issue: it’s also an economic problem. As Oceana has pointed out in their campaigns, research shows that seismic blasting ends up reducing catch rates of commercially valuable fish. So this decision by the Obama administration protects communities that depend on income from fishing to survive. Related: Obama creates two new western national monuments in last minute effort The decision to ban airgun blasting is one of several groundbreaking environmental decisions Barack Obama has made in the closing days of his term: he’s also shut the door on new Arctic and Atlantic drilling over the next five years, and created two new national monuments in the Western US. Via Oceana Images via Gabriel Barathieu , Green Fire Productions , and Lauren Packard

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Obama shuts down all pending permits for seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean

Incredible rooftop farm takes over Israels oldest mall to grow thousands of organic vegetables

January 9, 2017 by  
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An amazing farm has sprouted in an unlikely place—the rooftop of Israel’s oldest mall in the heart of Tel Aviv . Hidden between high-rises, “Green in the City” is a rooftop farm that produces 10,000 heads of leafy greens a month year-round using organic and hydroponic methods—no dirt required. This thriving example of urban agriculture is one of many surprising sustainable initiatives at the Dizengoff Center shopping mall , which includes bird habitat, a tree nursery, rooftop apiary, and even a bat cave for native fruit bats to call home. According to the United Nations , over 54 percent of the world’s population lives in cities, a proportion that is expected to grow to 66 percent by 2050. The challenge of producing enough food to feed the increasingly urbanized and growing population is one of the impetuses behind Green in the City, a rooftop farm launched in 2015 by Lavi Kushelevich of the hydroponics company LivinGreen and the Dizengoff Center’s sustainability department. The urban agriculture project was created to raise public awareness about the food crisis, provide affordable organic produce to Tel Avivians, and to give city dwellers the tools they need to start hydroponic gardens at home. Today the farm grows 10,000 heads of leafy greens a month year-round, with 17 different kinds of vegetables and herbs on rotation at a time, inside two greenhouses that total 750 square meters of growing space. The vegetables, which are grown from seedlings, are primarily cultivated using a Deep Water Culture foam raft system. The plant’s roots grow through holes in the floating foam rafts, which insulates the water and blocks sunlight. The water is oxygenated with an air pump and the pH and nutrient levels are carefully monitored. Thanks to these soil-less hydroponic farming methods, the vegetables are grown twice as fast with less spoilage, water usage, and land as compared to traditional agricultural practices. The vegetables are also grown without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, however, aren’t certified organic due to Israel’s agriculture laws that require organic foods to be grown in soil. However, organic certification isn’t the goal behind the project. Green in the City’s primary aim is to promote urban farming in Israel and beyond through educational workshops and community outreach programs. Workshops led by Lavi teach visitors how to build and use hydroponic systems at home; other workshops teach participants how to cook the fresh greens, like bok choy. The educational area includes demonstrations of Deep Water Culture systems, Nutrient Film Technique vertical and horizontal PVC pipe systems, an aquaponics system, home biogas unit, a compact Living Box greenhouse, as well as smaller hydroponic home starter kits. The hydroponic systems are developed by LivinGreen for both home and commercial use and are sold by Green in the City to help fund the initiative. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vW_5ZSqYFF0 Related: World’s largest rooftop farm sprouts 10 million pesticide-free crops each year Green in the City sells everything that they grow and the majority of the produce is sold to Tel Aviv restaurants and homes, with orders made online and shipments delivered by bicycle. A portion of the vegetables are also sold downstairs in the shopping mall through the Honesty Stand, the first model of its kind in the city, where produce and their price tags are displayed in a timber kiosk. The high-quality organically grown produce—such as chives, lettuce, basil, and celery—are sold at affordable prices thanks to the Honesty Stand’s lack of staff and reliance on an honor system and collection box. Lavi says that 80 percent of people who take produce do pay, and its high success rate has inspired him to install more Honesty Stands in the future. The Green in the City rooftop farm is still young but has already sown seeds for great success. The initiative not only provides city dwellers the means to grow their own food simply and affordably, but has also found a way to become economically sustainable with income generated through sales of vegetables, hydroponic systems, and educational workshops. The initiative also has plans for expansion, with sights set on a ground-floor urban farm in Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market. + Green in the City + Vibe Israel Tour courtesy of Vibe Israel Images © Lucy Wang

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Incredible rooftop farm takes over Israels oldest mall to grow thousands of organic vegetables

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