The 10,000-year-old East Coast Grand Canyon 100 miles from NYC

April 5, 2017 by  
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The East Coast has its own Grand Canyon -like natural wonder – just 100 miles southeast of Lady Liberty in New York City. And the mile-deep Hudson Canyon brims with biodiversity , but it is at risk of being exploited for oil and gas exploration. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)’s New York Aquarium recently nominated the canyon as a National Marine Sanctuary in a bid to protect endangered creatures dwelling there from the fossil fuel industry. The Hudson Canyon formed around 10,000 years ago during the last ice age, but few New Yorkers or East Coast residents know it exists. It’s under around 60 feet of water on the continental margin, or ocean floor zone separating thin oceanic crust from thick continental crust, at the Hudson River’s outlet. Scientists don’t even know a lot about what is at the bottom of the canyon, which is the East Coast’s largest submarine canyon , but they do know it’s home to endangered whales , sea turtles , sharks , and hundreds of plankton species. Related: Leonardo DiCaprio gives Seychelles $1 million for monumental marine sanctuary New York Aquarium visitors will get a glimpse into the canyon in the upcoming 57,000-square-foot exhibit “Ocean Wonders: Sharks!” set to open in 2018. The exhibit will include Canyon’s Edge, a recreation of the experience of sitting on or standing just below the edge of Hudson Canyon. WCS wants to preserve the Hudson Canyon from fossil fuel exploration and extraction through nominating the site as a National Marine Sanctuary. They say such a designation will also sustain recreational and commercial fisheries and whale and bird cruises. WCS vice president Jon Forrest Dohlin also told NYMetro a sanctuary designation could also help scientists obtain resources necessary to explore the canyon further. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) did determine the Hudson Canyon meets criteria necessary to be “an ecological site of national significance worthy of protection,” according to WCS, and they have a petition going asking NOAA to rapidly start the designation process. You can sign the petition here . Via 6sqft and NY Metro Images courtesy of Deepwater Canyons 2013 – Pathways to the Abyss, NOAA-OER/BOEM/USGS and Dominic Sherony on Flickr

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The 10,000-year-old East Coast Grand Canyon 100 miles from NYC

This Tower of Biodiversity is designed to spread seeds throughout Paris

November 18, 2016 by  
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Maison Edouard François took a new approach to their tower design. When planning cities, many in France have worried buildings will be too high, according to the firm, but they wanted to demonstrate the potential of tall buildings with a design that disperses seeds to encourage greater biodiversity. The tower is largely able to accomplish the feat due to its 50 meter, or 164 foot, height. Related: Paris allows anyone to plant an urban garden In their building description, Maison Edouard François says, “Covered with plants from wild natural areas, our tower is a tool for seeding: it allows the wind to spread class one purebred seeds into the urban environment. Its height is a key element for its capacity to regenerate urban biodiversity.” Titanium cladding also contributes to the unique tower design. The recyclable cladding is green, and is intended to look almost like moss. Maison Edouard François said the distinctive material affords a fluctuating look to the tower through moiré patterns, and “distills a ‘green’ aura to the Parisian cityscape.” Stainless steel netting covers the 16-story tower over the cladding, granting creeping plants an opportunity to thrive all the way up the building sides. When wind sweeps through the area, it will carry seeds from the plants out into Paris . There’s even a garden on the roof. Inside, exposed concrete contrasts with colorful art and lighting. The M6B2 Tower of Biodiversity stands next to smaller structures with zinc and aluminum facades and roof gardens. Maison Edouard François said when pedestrians stroll among the buildings, they’ll feel as if they’ve stepped outside the city into a garden. + Maison Edouard François Via Dezeen Images via Pierre L’Excellent

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This Tower of Biodiversity is designed to spread seeds throughout Paris

Saving seeds in the North Pole

November 18, 2016 by  
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With American climate policy now highly uncertain, the founder of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault talks about his efforts to protect our agricultural future.

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Saving seeds in the North Pole

Can digital ecosystems save species from extinction?

November 3, 2016 by  
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It’s a fact: Homo sapiens are wiping out the rest of the planet’s species. How can the surge of digital technology be harnessed to protect biodiversity?

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Can digital ecosystems save species from extinction?

New study finds eco-assets boost property sale price

November 3, 2016 by  
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Assessing property for the endangered species it saves or wetlands it preserves could pay off for some California landowners.

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New study finds eco-assets boost property sale price

Tenth of world’s wilderness destroyed in last 20 years, study finds

September 9, 2016 by  
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A tenth of the world’s wilderness has been lost since the early 1990s and if trends continue there could be no wilderness left on the planet by 2100, according to new study published in the journal Current Biology. The researchers found that an area twice the size of Alaska and half the size of the Amazon — 3.3 million square kilometres — has been destroyed by human activities such as large-scale land conversion, industrial activity and infrastructure development. That equals to approximately 9.6 percent of the world’s wilderness. The most losses have occurred in South America (29.6 percent loss) and Africa (14 percent loss). The researchers discovered that 30.1 million square kilometres (23.2 percent of the world’s terrestrial areas) now remains as wilderness.

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Tenth of world’s wilderness destroyed in last 20 years, study finds

Affordable chandi gar homes made with recycled plastic bricks pop up in a matter of hours

September 9, 2016 by  
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People living in Karachi, Pakistan generate 12,000 metric tons of trash every day. To deal with the issue, many burn the garbage, which comes with a slew of environmental and health hazards. Nargis Latif, a local environmentalist, decided to do something about the burgeoning plastic waste in particular, transforming it into bricks that can be used to build homes ” in just a matter of hours .” Latif started the organization Gul Bahao , the ” Pakistan’s first research center on waste management ,” according to its website. Chandi ghar, or homes made from the recycled plastic bricks, are one of Gul Bahao’s innovations. According to the website, they have also worked on “instant compost,” a mobile toilet, and a method to purify water. Related: These LEGO-like recycled plastic bricks create sturdy homes for just $5,200 The plastic utilized in chandi ghar are mainly food wrappers discarded by factories often because of printing issues. Latif said while some shy away from the idea of living in houses made of waste, the trash she utilizes is clean. The homes are low cost as well: Gul Bahao receives 300 to 400 rupees per square foot (that’s about $2.90 to $3.80). To build a chandi ghar, strips of recycled plastic are put into a ” thermopore shell ” which is tied together to form the bricks. The bricks are then attached to wooden pillars to rapidly construct homes. Latif said in a video the homes are “modular” and “weatherproof,” and a two story house can be erected in just four to five hours. After an earthquake in 2005, chandi ghar were constructed as shelters for those who had lost homes. They’ve also been set up for families of patients at a hospital in the poor district of Tharparkar. Latif said the chandi ghar could also be beneficial for nomads who have traditionally lived in mud shelters. Residents of chandi ghars aren’t as susceptible to diseases they can be exposed to while living in mud shelters. Latif told Al Jazeera since 2005, over 150 chandi ghar have been built in Pakistan. She said, “You can make beautiful structures using rejected material…If you make such bricks, it’s bye-bye to pollution, climate change, and the melting glaciers. Because you’ve stopped burning garbage and plastic.” Via Al Jazeera Images via Gul Bahao

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Affordable chandi gar homes made with recycled plastic bricks pop up in a matter of hours

Dangerously low biodiversity levels could trigger ecological recession, researcher warns

July 15, 2016 by  
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Biodiversity has dropped dangerously low across more than half of the world’s land surface, according to a new report published in the journal Science . The study, led by researchers from University College London, the Natural History Museum, London, and the United Nations Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), found that 58 percent of the Earth’s land, which is home to 71 percent of the human population, has surpassed a safe limit for biodiversity loss, threatening long-term sustainable development efforts. “It’s worrying that land use has already pushed biodiversity below the level proposed as a safe limit,” said Professor Andy Purvis of the Natural History Museum, London, one of the study’s authors. “Decision-makers worry a lot about economic recessions, but an ecological recession could have even worse consequences — and the biodiversity damage we’ve had means we’re at risk of that happening. Until and unless we can bring biodiversity back up, we’re playing ecological roulette.” Related: One in five plants on Earth are at risk for extinction The authors of the report analyzed 2.38 million records for 39,123 plant and animal species at 18,659 sites across the planet, finding that grasslands, savannas and shrublands have experienced the most biodiversity loss, followed by forests and woodlands. The safe limit is defined as a 10 percent reduction in the Biodiversity Intactness Index (BII), a measure put forward last year by ecological experts updating the planetary boundaries framework. Dr Tim Newbold, the study’s lead author and a research associate at University College London, suggested that ecological restoration efforts might be needed because if ecosystem functions begin to break down, it could impact the ability of agriculture to sustain human societies. “The greatest changes have happened in those places where most people live, which might affect physical and psychological wellbeing,” said Newbold. “To address this, we would have to preserve the remaining areas of natural vegetation and restore human-used lands.” + Report: Has land use pushed terrestrial biodiversity beyond the planetary boundary? A global assessment Via Science Daily Images via Wikimedia

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Dangerously low biodiversity levels could trigger ecological recession, researcher warns

How the circular economy boosts biodiversity

June 2, 2016 by  
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General Motors and LafargeHolcim are just two companies taking nature out of the corner and into the spotlight.

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How the circular economy boosts biodiversity

Are sustainable farming certifications making a difference?

April 28, 2016 by  
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The Rainforest Alliance and SAN look back at the accomplishments and limitations of their agricultural certifications.

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Are sustainable farming certifications making a difference?

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