Endangered black-footed ferret is successfully cloned

February 22, 2021 by  
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The birth of Elizabeth Ann, a black-footed ferret, on December 10, 2020, marked a major achievement in the recovery of the species. Elizabeth Ann is the first black-footed ferret to be cloned with the aim of increasing the genetic diversity of the species. The now 2-month-old ferret was created from frozen cells of a black-footed ferret that lived over three decades ago. Black-footed ferrets were once considered extinct , but a family of seven was discovered in 1981. The ferrets were captured to be protected by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Having been recovered from only seven ferrets, the current population of the species lacks genetic diversity. The recent cloning is important given that the clone parent, Willa, was recovered from the last wild black-footed ferrets and did not belong to the line of the recovered seven. Samples of the wild ferret were preserved at the San Diego Zoo Global’s Frozen Zoo from 1988. Related: San Diego Zoo successfully clones an endangered Przewalski’s horse To improve the species’ resilience to diseases, several organizations have come together. Among the partners involved in the process include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Revive & Restore, San Diego Zoo Global, ViaGen Pets & Equine and the Association of Zoos and Pets. “The Service sought the expertise of valued recovery partners to help us explore how we might overcome genetic limitations hampering recovery of the black-footed ferret, and we’re proud to make this announcement today,” said Noreen Walsh, director of USFWS, Mountain-Prairie Region. “Although this research is preliminary, it is the first cloning of a native endangered species in North America, and it provides a promising tool for continued efforts to conserve the black-footed ferret.” The journey to cloning has been long and with many obstacles, according to Ryan Phelan, executive director of Revive & Restore. “We’ve come a long way since 2013 when we began the funding, permitting, design, and development of this project with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.” Phelan said. “Genomics revealed the genetic value that Willa could bring to her species .” According to Walsh, while cloning is one of the ways to improve the genetic diversity of the species, the organizations are also paying attention to habitat-based threats in their efforts to recover the black-footed ferret population. + U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Images via USFWS

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Endangered black-footed ferret is successfully cloned

You can make this 3D-printed, bioplastic face shield at home

February 22, 2021 by  
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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many issues of waste into the spotlight, starting with the sheer quantity of petroleum-based personal protective equipment (PPE) used in the medical field and by everyday users gearing up to go to the grocery store or park. Designer Alice Potts homed in on this problem early, countering it with face shields made from food waste and flowers. These face shields required more than just a little research and development. Potts wanted to tackle the issue of plastic-based PPE but approached it by also addressing food waste . Potts said the face shields are biodegradable , because they are a product of food and flowers collected from local markets, butchers and households in the surrounding London area. The variety of organic materials affect the final product, meaning that each mask varies in unique ways. Related: Engineering student turns food waste into renewable energy “Every colour is completely seasonal depending on what flowers are blooming, what vegetables and fruits are growing and earth that is in and around London,” the designer said. Potts was initially inspired by her brother, a paramedic who reported a lack of PPE for himself and other first responders and medical care workers. So Potts set out to create a more sustainable option intended for the public, because the shields likely don’t offer the same level of protection as required in a medical care setting. With the recipe for the face shield and a design for the 3D-printed top section, Potts plans to make the template available to everyone via an open-source design. “I want to combine the advantages of technology with sustainability to form a template of the top of a face shield that can be 3D-printed from recycled plastic with a bioplastic recipe for the shield for people to make at home,” she said. The Dance Biodegradable Personal Protective Equipment (DBPPE) Post COVID Facemasks, as Potts named them, will be on exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, an event that highlights art, design, and architecture and runs through April 2021. + Alice Potts  Via Dezeen   Images via James Stopforth and Sean Fennessy via Alice Potts

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You can make this 3D-printed, bioplastic face shield at home

Biodiverse green roof wins Grands Prix du Design award for MYTO Design

February 18, 2021 by  
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Atop a luxury home in Westmount, Montréal, MYTO Design d’espaces vivants created a biodiverse green rooftop dedicated to wellness. It’s easy to see why the elegant Clarke Terrace has just been named a winner in the Residential Patio and Landscaping category for Grands Prix du Design 2020. Designer Martine Brisson and landscape architect Roxanne Miller named their practice MYTO Design after the essential units of human life. Life-giving mitochondria are part of the energy production apparatus found in nearly every living cell. Just as plant and animal cells intelligently integrate with their environment, this project seamlessly harmonizes an outdoor living space with the surrounding landscape . Related: Modular home in Delft boasts low-carbon timber build and a green roof Lucky visitors to this sensory green roof can relax on custom ipe wood planters and comfortable seating to enjoy a spectacular view of Montreal’s downtown, framed by local wildflowers in pinks, purples and blues. In the sturdy planters and within the green terrace, Miller opted for perennials and indigenous species to cut down on garden maintenance. The planters, built by Atelier Papineau, are even insulated to protect the plants . Miller carefully chose an array of suitable species to create a biodiverse roof with a harmonious palette and long flowering season. “Wild grasses are very important and present, Miscanthus, Calamagrostis, Hordeum jubatum and so on,” Miller told Inhabitat. “One of my favorites in the green roof section is the creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis). The Sempervivum are always beautiful.” Often known as liveforever or houseleeks, these striking, succulent rosettes store plenty of water in their leaves and are extremely hardy. The 1,965-square-foot living roof was completed in summer 2018. Miller spoke of the benefits of such spaces for all. “Greening beautiful spaces is always meaningful and brings added benefits like water retention, biodiversity or becoming an accessible green space for urban residents. They should be on every building!” A streamlined glass parapet encloses the perimeter to ensure safe enjoyment of the garden and uninterrupted access to the views. Brisson and Miller achieved subtle lighting for the roof with fixtures from Jardin d’ombre et lumière. As the evening turns the sky from sunset to deep blue, the space takes on a warm, intimate and relaxing ambiance. The Clarke Terrace refines our expectations for underused roof space with a truly enjoyable green roof . + MYTO design d’espaces vivants inc. Photography by Pierre Béland via v2com

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Biodiverse green roof wins Grands Prix du Design award for MYTO Design

Dasgupta Review puts biodiversity in stark economic terms

February 3, 2021 by  
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While humans often feel like the luxuries money can buy enhance their lives, human prosperity has not been good for the planet. Now, a landmark review by Sir Partha Dasgupta of the University of Cambridge is showing just how devastating prosperity can be. Dasgupta is challenging the idea that the internationally used Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a worthy measure of economic prosperity. He believes the system needs to be redesigned to recognize nature as an asset. Related: World gets F on Aichi biodiversity report card “Truly sustainable economic growth and development means recognizing that our long-term prosperity relies on rebalancing our demand of nature’s goods and services with its capacity to supply them,” Dasgupta said in a statement. The 606-page report, titled “The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review,” stresses that humans are part of nature and that natural resources are finite. The review uses financial terms to explain the dire situation we face by living beyond our means vis a vis the natural world. “We have collectively failed to engage with Nature sustainably , to the extent that our demands far exceed its capacity to supply us with the goods and services we all rely on,” is one of the headline messages of the report. “Estimates show that between 1992 and 2014, produced capital per person doubled, and human capital per person increased by about 13% globally; but the stock of natural capital per person declined by nearly 40%.” Dasgupta offers many recommendations, including making food and energy systems sustainable with technology and setting policies to change prices and behavioral norms. The report urges more investment in addressing biodiversity loss and in community-based family planning programs. Dasgupta calls on governments to introduce natural capital into national accounting systems. Biodiversity is on a steep decline, with nearly one-quarter of global animal and plant species threatened with extinction . There’s been about a 70% decline in mammal, fish, bird, amphibian and reptile populations since 1970. “The survival of the natural world depends on maintaining its complexity, its biodiversity. Putting things right requires a universal understanding of how these complex systems work. That applies to economics too,” natural historian Sir David Attenborough said in a statement. “This comprehensive and immensely important report shows us how by bringing economics and ecology face to face, we can help to save the natural world and in doing so save ourselves.” + The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review Via BBC News Image via Jarekgrafik

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Dasgupta Review puts biodiversity in stark economic terms

Earth911 Reader: The Biden Era Arrives With Dramatic Climate Action

January 23, 2021 by  
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The Earth911 Reader collects and comments on useful news about … The post Earth911 Reader: The Biden Era Arrives With Dramatic Climate Action appeared first on Earth 911.

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Earth911 Reader: The Biden Era Arrives With Dramatic Climate Action

Scientists discover 503 new species in 2020

January 4, 2021 by  
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A total of 503 new species were discovered by scientists at London’s Natural History Museum in 2020. According to the scientists, the COVID-19 pandemic did not stop the work of identifying new species at the museum. Although the museum remained closed to the public, scientists continued working behind closed doors, making findings and providing valuable information to the scientific community across the world. Tim Littlewood, an executive director of science at the museum , said that identifying new species can only be made possible by referencing already known species. The museum plays an important role in providing species references and continues to increase the number of known species annually by identifying new ones. Related: IUCN’s latest Red List update comes with good and bad news “Once again, an end of year tally of new species has revealed a remarkable diversity of life forms and minerals hitherto undescribed,” Littlewood said. “The Museum’s collection of specimens provide a resource within which to find new species as well as a reference set to recognize specimens and species as new.” In an article published by the Natural History Museum , Littlewood noted that a decline in biodiversity across the world calls for rapid action in identifying species. “In a year when the global mass of biodiversity is being outweighed by human-made mass it feels like a race to document what we are losing,” he said. As time passes, many species available in nature are driven to extinction before they are even discovered. According to a  United Nations Report , the native species of land-based habitats have decreased by at least 20% since 1900. The report also shows that about one-third of all marine mammal species are currently threatened. Among the 503 new species identified this year is the unique and critically endangered Popa langur monkey. “Monkeys are one of the most iconic groups of mammals, and these specimens have been in the collections for over a hundred years,” said Roberto Portela Miguez of the Natural History Museum. “But we didn’t have the tools or the expertise to do this work before.” For humanity to protect more species, it is important that we start by knowing which species exist. The work being done by the Natural History Museum lays the foundation for the protection of endangered species worldwide. + Natural History Museum Via EcoWatch Photography by Thaung Win via Natural History Museum

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Scientists discover 503 new species in 2020

Stefano Boeri proposes SUPERVERDE urban greening modules

August 13, 2020 by  
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In a bid to bring more greenery to our cities, Milan-headquartered architecture practice Stefano Boeri Architetti has proposed SUPERVERDE, a series of scalable, modular soil blocks designed for greening urban spaces. Described as “a modular portion of living soil,” the SUPERVERDE units are meant to be installed in both public and private urban areas with the intent of strengthening connections between people and nature. The design would also help increase biodiversity, decrease the urban heat island effect and demineralize soils. Best known for his Vertical Forest project — residential towers topped with trees — architect Stefano Boeri is passionate about embedding greenery into cities worldwide. Unlike his typical projects, the SUPERVERDE concept focuses on adaptable, vegetated architecture and consists of a permeable and flexible surface that could be measured and purchased by the square meter. These modular units of living soil would be designed to support a variety of plant life and, by extension, fauna biodiversity.  Related: France’s first Vertical Forest will add a “hectare of forest” to Paris’ skyline “SUPERVERDE, which can be used for always new and different landscapes, is composed of a fine edge, available in various finishes, which contains all the technological equipment necessary for the maintenance of vegetation and supports the tectonic movements of the ground,” the designers explained. “Its versatility and adaptability to any type of urban open space — public, semi-public or private — is the main feature of the project, which allows to demineralize impermeable surfaces thanks to its modular system, suitable to cover even large areas.” The modular concept proposes two main sizes. The first is small, with surface areas ranging from 9 to 20 square meters capable of containing up to three tall trees, 20 medium-sized shrubs and numerous grasses and perennials. The second, extra-large version ranges from 60 to 100 square meters and is capable of hosting a dozen trees or 1,600 medium-sized shrubs and grasses. + Stefano Boeri Architetti Images via Stefano Boeri Architetti

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Luca Curci Architects designs a zero-energy smart city of the future

May 11, 2020 by  
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According to the United Nations, 5 billion people are projected to live in cities by 2030. In response to the growing challenge of urban populations and their accompanying carbon emissions, Italian design practice Luca Curci Architects has proposed The Link, a self-sustainable “vertical city” with the goal of net-zero energy operations. Designed to accommodate 200,000 people, the futuristic proposal will be presented to cities around the world. The proposed Link project comprises four buildings, the largest of which would serve as residences with apartments, villas, common areas and a variety of green spaces within 300 floors. The 1,200-meter-tall residential tower would be connected to three other buildings that range from 650 to 850 meters tall and house offices, government departments, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, retail and other amenities. The architects want to blanket the vertical city with more than 120,000 trees and 2 million plants of over 150 species to help clean the air, reduce the urban heat island effect and provide residents with a closer connection to nature. Related: Luca Curci Architects proposes a self-sustainable Vertical City of the future “It is the first smart city ‘conscious oriented’ that will prevent urban sprawl , produce and storage energy, improve air quality, increase urban biodiversity and create a healthier lifestyle,” architect Luca Curci said. The city temperatures, humidity levels, carbon dioxide levels and lighting systems would be managed with an AI-equipped urban operating system.  The Link would be powered by several renewable energy systems, including wind and solar. The city would also make room for on-site food production and farming that follow zero-waste policies so that each community can create its own food supply. All transport would be entirely powered by renewable energy systems; external and internal docks for public transit systems would be located in the tower basements. Each tower would also be equipped with drone ports. + Luca Curci Architects Images via Luca Curci Architects

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Luca Curci Architects designs a zero-energy smart city of the future

Luca Curci Architects designs a zero-energy smart city of the future

May 11, 2020 by  
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According to the United Nations, 5 billion people are projected to live in cities by 2030. In response to the growing challenge of urban populations and their accompanying carbon emissions, Italian design practice Luca Curci Architects has proposed The Link, a self-sustainable “vertical city” with the goal of net-zero energy operations. Designed to accommodate 200,000 people, the futuristic proposal will be presented to cities around the world. The proposed Link project comprises four buildings, the largest of which would serve as residences with apartments, villas, common areas and a variety of green spaces within 300 floors. The 1,200-meter-tall residential tower would be connected to three other buildings that range from 650 to 850 meters tall and house offices, government departments, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, retail and other amenities. The architects want to blanket the vertical city with more than 120,000 trees and 2 million plants of over 150 species to help clean the air, reduce the urban heat island effect and provide residents with a closer connection to nature. Related: Luca Curci Architects proposes a self-sustainable Vertical City of the future “It is the first smart city ‘conscious oriented’ that will prevent urban sprawl , produce and storage energy, improve air quality, increase urban biodiversity and create a healthier lifestyle,” architect Luca Curci said. The city temperatures, humidity levels, carbon dioxide levels and lighting systems would be managed with an AI-equipped urban operating system.  The Link would be powered by several renewable energy systems, including wind and solar. The city would also make room for on-site food production and farming that follow zero-waste policies so that each community can create its own food supply. All transport would be entirely powered by renewable energy systems; external and internal docks for public transit systems would be located in the tower basements. Each tower would also be equipped with drone ports. + Luca Curci Architects Images via Luca Curci Architects

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Luca Curci Architects designs a zero-energy smart city of the future

How COVID-19 changes perceptions of trade in wildlife

May 5, 2020 by  
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Between the COVID-19 pandemic and Netflix’s hit series “Tiger King,” wildlife trade is occupying our collective psyche at a level never been seen before.

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How COVID-19 changes perceptions of trade in wildlife

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