The Great American Rail-Trail to offer bike access from coast to coast

January 6, 2021 by  
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People have turned toward outdoor exercise as a way to keep fit, lift spirits and fight the monotony of a pandemic. Now, new and veteran outdoor athletes have something exciting to train for: the cross-country Great American Rail-Trail, which will one day let people bike or hike from Washington state to Washington, D.C. The Great American Rail Trail is a project of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), which was founded in 1986. Back then, a few out-of-service railroad corridors had been converted into usable trails . Today, the U.S. has more than 24,000 miles of rail-trails. The Great American Rail-Trail project requires another 8,000 miles to connect existing trails. Related: How to make American cities bike-friendly The plan is for the trail to traverse Washington state, the top of Idaho and part of western Montana, then cross the whole of Wyoming, Nebraska and Iowa. It will travel through the top of Illinois, then cross Indiana, Ohio and small sections of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland before ending in Washington, D.C. The route will cover more than 3,700 miles. With 50 million people living within 50 miles of the route, planners expect it to get a lot of use. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has raised more than $4 million in public and private funds to complete the massive trail. “This year has proven how vital projects like the Great American Rail-Trail are to the country. Millions of people have found their way outside on trails as a way to cope with the pandemic,” said Ryan Chao, president of RTC. “As the Great American Rail-Trail connects more towns, cities, states and regions, this infrastructure serves as the backbone of resilient communities, while uniting us around a bold, ambitious and impactful vision.” When complete, the Great American Rail-Trail will join other ambitious thoroughfares around the world. The EuroVelo 6 route travels 2,765 miles through 10 European countries between the Black Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Last year, the Great North Trail opened in the U.K. and allows hikers and bikers to travel from northern England’s Peak District to the northeastern tip of Scotland. + Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Image via Pam Patterson

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Dove launches new refillable deodorant

January 6, 2021 by  
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While some folks swear by packaging-free underarm crystals to soak up their smells, many feel they need a stronger chemical solution in the form of a name brand deodorant. So for those folks who are both eco-conscious and smell-conscious, Dove is introducing a new refillable deodorant. The beauty giant partnered with global campaigners A Plastic Planet to design a stylish, ergonomic container that will save 300 metric tons of virgin plastic waste over the next few years. U.S. shoppers can now buy the stainless steel, refillable Dove deodorant case at Walmart and Target stores, then purchase refills as needed. This system will use 54% less plastic than buying a new Dove Zero every time the old stick runs dry. Even better, 98% of the plastic packaging is made from recycled content. Related: LEGO responds to kids’ worries about single-use plastics “We are all plastic addicts,” A Plastic Planet said on its website. “Our simple goal is to ignite and inspire the world to turn off the plastic tap.” The new partnership with Dove, which is owned by Unilever, at least decreases the flow. The team worked with Dutch design consultancy VanBerlo on the refillable deodorant case. “Imagine a world where nothing hits the bin, where we can use the products we love without the guilt of creating yet more waste,” said Sian Sutherland, co-founder of Plastic Planet. “The ergonomic design, the smooth weight in the hand, elevates a simple everyday product to something of beauty and permanence. Everything we make begins at the design phase and this is a perfect example of how we can design differently in future.” While many people might wonder what difference this one product could make, A Plastic Planet and Dove provide some astounding figures. Dove’s 2019 plastic reduction announcement was one of the biggest in the global beauty industry, with a plan to reduce virgin plastic use by more than 20,500 metric tons per year. That’s enough plastic to circle the planet 2.7 times annually. “As one of the biggest beauty companies in the world, Dove recognizing this, and leading the way to make refillable personal care products widely available to all, is a major step forward for the beauty industry,” said Sutherland. + A Plastic Planet Images via A Plastic Planet

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Dove launches new refillable deodorant

Atlantic has 10 times the microplastics previously thought

August 20, 2020 by  
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We knew it was bad. But a new study of plastic in the Atlantic Ocean reveals the  pollution  problem is ten times worse than scientists suspected. The study, just published in  Nature Communications , uses data collected in fall 2016. Scientists from the U.K.’s National Oceanography Centre sampled seawater from 12 Atlantic locations, from Britain to the Falklands. Samples include large amounts of  water  from three different depths within the ocean’s top 200 meters. Using spectroscopic imaging, researchers calculated the water’s quantity of polystyrene, polyethylene and polypropylene microparticles. These three microparticle types represent the world’s most common plastics and account for approximately half of global plastic waste. Related: Record high amount of microplastic found on seafloors Scientists’ calculations suggest that the Atlantic contains about 200 million tons of these three  plastics . Previous estimates put the figure at between 17 and 47 million tons, the total amount likely released into the Atlantic Ocean between 1950 and 2015. “Our key finding is that there is an awful lot of very, very small microplastic particles in the upper  Atlantic ocean , much higher than the previous estimate. The amount of plastic has been massively underestimated,” said Katsiaryna Pabortsava, lead author of the study. Microplastics threaten both human  health  and marine life. Scientists have found microplastics in small and large animals alike, from the gooseneck barnacle to humpbacked whales. Even humans now ingest microplastics in water, air and some foods. “We definitely know we’re exposed, there’s no doubt,” said Chelsea Rochman, an ecologist at the University of Toronto in Canada. “We drink it, we breathe it, we eat it.” The problem is new enough that scientific health assessments are only just beginning. The study’s authors hope their findings will encourage policymakers’ to act before it’s too late — if it isn’t already. “Society is very concerned about plastic, for ocean health and human health,” Pabortsava said. “We need to answer fundamental questions about the effects of this plastic, and if it harms  ocean  health. The effects might be serious, but might take a while to kick in at sub-lethal levels.” + Nature Communications Via The Guardian Image via Shutterstock

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Plan Ahead for Busy Hurricane Season in 2020

June 8, 2020 by  
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Hurricane season in the Atlantic is upon us, and the … The post Plan Ahead for Busy Hurricane Season in 2020 appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Plan Ahead for Busy Hurricane Season in 2020

Plan Ahead for Busy Hurricane Season in 2020

June 8, 2020 by  
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Hurricane season in the Atlantic is upon us, and the … The post Plan Ahead for Busy Hurricane Season in 2020 appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Plan Ahead for Busy Hurricane Season in 2020

How corporates can use their land for conservation and climate action

February 1, 2020 by  
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In 2010, a partnership effort between Atlantic City Electric, New Jersey’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, and the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ found a way to use utility rights-of-way to help the eastern tiger salamander adapt to climate change.

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Philadelphia International Airport grapples with climate change and sea-level rise

September 25, 2019 by  
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The airport is next to the Delaware River, which will rise as the Atlantic does.

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Philadelphia International Airport grapples with climate change and sea-level rise

Flood frequency of the Amazon River has increased fivefold

September 21, 2018 by  
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New data suggest that flooding in the Amazon River has dramatically increased by as much as five times in both intensity and frequency in the last 100 years. Scientists analyzed data points from the past century and believe the increase in flooding is linked to global warming. Scientists have measured the river’s water levels for 113 years at the Port of Manaus in Brazil . Over time, they found that large flooding events and extreme droughts have gone up over the past 20 to 30 years. In the early part of the century, massive floods only happened about once in every 20-year period. That number has increased to one major flood every four years. Related: High tide coastal flooding in US has doubled in the past 30 years The researchers believe the uptick is related to an oceanic system called Walker circulation, which describes air currents created by temperature fluctuations and pressure changes in the ocean , specifically in tropical locations. The Pacific Ocean has been cooling while the Atlantic Ocean has been getting warmer, which creates these circulating air currents. These changes are affecting the surrounding environment, including precipitation in the Amazon basin. Scientists are not sure why the Atlantic Ocean has been warming up. They do, however, believe that global warming is contributing to the temperature changes, but in a more indirect way. They theorize that global warming has shifted wind belts farther south, which pushes warm water from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic. This creates an opposite effect of El Niño and results in more rainfall in the Amazon. Flooding along the Amazon River lasts weeks on end. Not only does it spread disease and contaminate water supplies, but it also destroys farms and homes. Right now, there is no indication that the flooding will decrease. This past year, water levels rose above the flood range, and scientists believe the water levels will only get higher as the years progress. Via EurekAlert! Images via Dave Lonsdale and NASA

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Charming home uses local, natural materials to pay homage to a chestnut tree

September 21, 2018 by  
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Young Czech architecture firm Valarch Studio has completed a modest yet elegant family house built largely of timber to reference the property’s old chestnut tree in the garden. Named the Chestnut House, the home spans a compact footprint of just 840 square feet and comprises two sections: a larger living area and a smaller, green-roofed technical area united via a multifunctional vestibule. All building materials were locally sourced whenever possible with an emphasis on natural materials. When Valarch Studio was tapped with turning the small site, a former recreation area, into a place for a family home, the team’s attention was captured by the large chestnut tree growing in an overrun field. The architects decided to use that tree as a focal point for the property and allowed it to dictate the orientation and overall atmosphere of the home. “The dark brown house surrounded by the lush green landscape mirrors a chestnut breaking out of its thorny green shell,” the architects said. “It is built of raw, untreated wood with burnt lining to complement the solid chestnut tree.” Timber also lines the minimally detailed interiors, which are fitted with large windows that flood the rooms with natural light and frame views of the lush outdoors. The interior layout is split into two sections joined together with a vestibule that includes wood storage and extends into an outdoor covered terrace with seating. The living areas, located at the heart of the home, are housed in a double-height space with a small loft guestroom above. The master suite and kid’s bedroom are located on the north side of the house. Related: Compact Karst House offers a contemporary twist on classic countryside living in Slovenia Completed for a cost of approximately $160,000 USD, the Chestnut House was built with wood framing and a steel skeleton and elevated on iron and concrete supports. + Valarch Studio Photography by Jakub Skokan and Martin T?ma / BoysPlayNice

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Charming home uses local, natural materials to pay homage to a chestnut tree

2018 hurricane season may be worse than last year

May 16, 2018 by  
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Hurricanes Harvey , Irma  and Maria devastated communities in the southern U.S. and Puerto Rico in 2017, and together resulted in around $265 billion in damage. Will the U.S. and Caribbean face more brutal storms this year? Forecasts of 2018’s looming hurricane season predict it could be more active than average — and you can start preparing for it now. North Carolina State University  researchers report that 14 to 18 named tropical storms and hurricanes could form in the Atlantic basin in 2018. In comparison, the average for named storms from 1950 to 2017 was 11. The researchers said of 14 to 18 storms, seven to 11 could become hurricanes, in contrast to the average of six. Three to five storms could turn into major hurricanes. Researchers at Colorado State University anticipate similar numbers.  They forecasted 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes in the Atlantic basin. Related: How to Prepare Your Home and Family for a Hurricane or Superstorm According to The Guardian and a study led by  Pacific Northwest National Laboratory that was  published earlier this month , Atlantic storms are intensifying quicker than they did 30 years ago. Colorado State researchers said there is a “slightly above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall” in the Caribbean and the coastline of the continental U.S. The U.S. might not see the same levels of destruction this year, but people should still be prepared. “As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them,” Colorado State researchers said. “They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.” Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. You can start preparing right now — Inhabitat created a guide for getting your home and family ready for hurricanes and  superstorms . + North Carolina State University + Colorado State University Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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