Rebuilding a resilient, renewable Caribbean

September 19, 2017 by  
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Instead of reconstructing the existing electricity grid, we can leapfrog ahead with technologies that make the Caribbean region less vulnerable to future storms.

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Rebuilding a resilient, renewable Caribbean

The ozone problem is back with a vengeance

September 19, 2017 by  
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The Montreal Protocol should have nixed the ozone-eating chemicals damaging the ozone layer over Antarctica. 30 years on, atmospheric chemists aren’t so sure.

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The ozone problem is back with a vengeance

The top headlines from Climate Week 2017

September 19, 2017 by  
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If you can’t keep track of all the climate-hip corporate news from New York City, start here.

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The top headlines from Climate Week 2017

Rapidly strengthening Hurricane Maria bears down on Puerto Rico and the Caribbean

September 18, 2017 by  
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Hurricane Maria , which is forecasted to slam into Puerto Rico and neighboring islands within hours, has officially strengthened into a Category 3 storm. This means that within the past 24 hours, it has doubled in strength and sustained winds of 120 mph. In preparation for the storm, Puerto Rico’s government has declared a “state of emergency” and is calling for citizens and to evacuate to safer locations. The hurricane is only expected to strengthen up to 150 mph until it makes landfall. CNN reports that as of 11 a.m. ET, the hurricane was approximately 60 miles east of Martinique. Maria is expected to make landfall at about 8 p.m. ET in the northeast Caribbean Leeward Islands — particularly St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, and Martinique. This is the first time in 85 years Puerto Rico is expected to suffer a direct landfall from a Category 4 hurricane . As a result, the country’s government has declared a “state of emergency” and governor Ricardo Rosselló has ordered evacuations. Said Rosselló, “Our call is for people to evacuate areas that are prone to floods and landslides, in addition to vulnerable structures. It is time to seek refuge with a family member, friend, or move to a state shelter because rescuers will not go out and risk their lives once winds reach 50 miles per hour.” The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has warned, “A dangerous storm surge accompanied by large and destructive waves will raise water levels by as much as 5 to 7 feet above normal tide levels near where the center of Maria moves across the Leeward Islands.” Some areas are expected to receive up to 20 inches of rain, others approximately 12 inches. “Rainfall on all of these islands could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” said the NHC. Related: New study shows a 1-in-20 chance climate change will cause a complete societal collapse Puerto Rico was the haven thousands fled to in preparation for Hurricane Irma . Now, those evacuees and native Puerto Ricans are preparing to be slammed by another devastating storm. If Maria is as damaging as forecasted, it will be “more dangerous than Hugo and Georges.” Hurricane Hugo took the lives of five people in Puerto Rico in 1989, and Hurricane Georges went down in the textbooks for causing more than $1.7 billion in damage to the island in 1998 . Via CNN Images via Pixabay , National Hurricane Center , NASA

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Rapidly strengthening Hurricane Maria bears down on Puerto Rico and the Caribbean

Hurricane Jose strengthens to an "extremely dangerous" Category 4

September 8, 2017 by  
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Hot on the heels of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma is yet another natural disaster, Hurricane Jose. The “extremely dangerous” Category 4 hurricane is located east of the Leeward Islands and is forecasted to transit west-northwest into the Atlantic Ocean in the coming days. This is the first time in history two hurricanes with 150-plus mph winds have been recorded at the same time. According to the National Hurricane Center , Jose has sustained winds near 150 mph.  As a result, Antigua, Barbuda and Anguilla, St. Martin, and St. Barthelemy — islands that were just battered by Hurricane Irma — are now on a Hurricane Watch as of Friday at 11 a.m. When Irma passed over Barbuda, a tiny Caribbean island of 1,800 residents, 95 percent of the buildings were destroyed, said Prime Minister Gaston Browne. Cuba and south Florida are now preparing for the destruction Irma is expected to unleash. Related: This image of Hurricane Irma from space will blow your mind This is the first time on record two hurricanes with 150-plus mph winds have been recorded at the same time, said Colorado State University meteorologist  Philip Klotzbach . And, it turns out humans deserve most of the blame. For years, scientists have warned that unsustainable habits would exacerbate climate change , resulting in melting glaciers, rising sea levels , and worsening natural disasters due to increased precipitation and a few other factors. The only silver lining from this situation might be that the events inspire more people to invest in sustainable initiatives. + National Hurricane Center Via CNN Images via National Hurricane Center, Pixabay

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Hurricane Jose strengthens to an "extremely dangerous" Category 4

Airbnb will let you rent your own off-the-grid Caribbean island

August 4, 2017 by  
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Why settle for a beachfront cabana when you can rent the whole island? For $595 per night, Bird Island off the coast of Belize in the Caribbean could be yours. The listing comes courtesy of Airbnb , which plies such unique retreats as a treehouse in a 150-year-old oak , a replica of Vincent Van Gogh’s Bedroom in Arles , and a “floating” house on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. “Stay on your own in a truly private island on a beautiful atoll, with excellent swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and exploring—with all the comforts,” Airbnb promises. “It is a perfect setting for either a romantic get-away for a couple, a family gathering/reunion or for a small group of friends.” The spot, which is 20 minutes by boat from Placencia Village on the mainland, includes a private three-bedroom home that can accommodate up to six guests, a brand-new propane refrigerator and freezer, and a rainwater filtration system. Although Bird Island is off the grid—power is generated through solar and wind—you don’t have to be cut off from the world if you don’t want to. The locale boasts a phone for local numbers, plus “good and reliable” WiFi. Related: Washington Hobbit Hole is the first of three in an off-grid Shire Self-sufficiency is key, however. You’ll have to supply—or fish for—your own food. Snorkling or angling equipment is also strictly BYO. “The central theme of Bird Island is a self-catering, Robinson Crusoe type of adventure, yet with all the comforts, where one could get to do their own thing in total privacy,” Airbnb says. “We offer Bird Island at an exceptional price for an experience best-suited for the adventurous who are totally self-sufficient.” + Airbnb Photos via Airbnb Via Thrillist

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Airbnb will let you rent your own off-the-grid Caribbean island

How Bermuda’s iconic white roofs overcome island’s chronic freshwater shortage

December 30, 2016 by  
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Life in Bermuda may seem exotic and glamorous to outsiders, but the Caribbean Community member faces significant challenges – including a chronic lack of fresh water . To counteract the dearth of springs, rivers, and lakes, local residents designed the island’s iconic white stepped roofs, which slow rainfall so that it may be stored. While Bermuda’s stepped roofs were originally built out of necessity, they are now officially a part of Bermuda law, which states that every new home must include eight gallons of rain barrel storage per square foot of roof space. The roofs that sit atop houses, which are akin to those in British villages but with more festive pastel paint jobs, are built out of limestone to withstand hurricane force winds. Their white color reflects UV light from the sun, which helps to purify the rainwater runoff and keep the homes cool. Related: 6 innovative ways to harvest and harness rainwater As Bermuda’s population has expanded and its reputation as a vacation destination has grown, the island of 60,000 has had to expand upon its low-tech roof system to provide fresh water. “When you can’t spread out, you start building up but think of a house where the roof area and the tank area is designed to satisfy a single family – if you build up and put in another family, you double the consumption,” said Stuart Hayward, an environmental expert from Bermuda.  Tourists , many of whom desire to play a few rounds on water-intensive golf courses, do not possess the same water preservation ethos as those who were born and raised on the island, which has raised Bermuda’s water consumption. The island has integrated desalinization plants, of which there are six, throughout the island. In total, these plants generate over 3,500,000 gallons of fresh purified water each day. However, admiration for the white stepped roofs remains. “What’s good about it is individual responsibility plus collective oversight plus a dependence on social and cultural values,” said Henrietta Moore of the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London. “In terms of its advantages, it’s low-cost, has been developed over several hundred years so it’s been crafted and tailored to local circumstances,” said Roger Calow, head of the water policy program at the Overseas Development Institute. “It fits the climate , it works.” While Bermuda’s stepped roof method does not work everywhere, it may serve as a model for similar environments and as an inspiration for communities everywhere as they attempt to build water resilience in an increasingly unpredictable world. Via BBC Images via Andrew Currie  and Flickr   (1)

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How Bermuda’s iconic white roofs overcome island’s chronic freshwater shortage

Huge solar array in the Dominican Republic is the Caribbean’s largest

March 30, 2016 by  
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A new solar power project in the Dominican Republic will be the largest of its kind in the Caribbean upon its completion. The Monte Plata project, named for the capital city and province in which it is located, is the 33.4 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic solar array destined to churn out five times as much clean energy as the nation currently generates. By increasing renewable energy generation, the energy-scarce island country will be able to greatly reduce its need for imported fuel and take a leap forward toward economic independence. Read the rest of Huge solar array in the Dominican Republic is the Caribbean’s largest

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Huge solar array in the Dominican Republic is the Caribbean’s largest

Walking fish unlike any other on Earth discovered in Thailand

March 30, 2016 by  
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Researchers from the New Jersey Institute of Technology have discovered a strange new species of fish in the caves of Thailand. The blind cavefish, newly dubbed Cryptotora thamicola , is able to walk on land and even crawl up waterfalls the same way a four-footed animal would. Though there are other species of fish in the world that can walk outside of water , none of them bear the strange features of Cryptotora . Read the rest of Walking fish unlike any other on Earth discovered in Thailand

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Walking fish unlike any other on Earth discovered in Thailand

WHO: the Zika Virus is officially a public health emergency of international concern

February 2, 2016 by  
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After an Emergency Committee meeting held February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization announced it now officially deems the Zika virus spreading across Latin America and the Caribbean to be a public health emergency of international concern. This designation is expected to result in a coordinated global response “to minimize the threat in affected countries and reduce the risk of further international spread,” according to a statement released yesterday. The mosquito-borne virus is expected to infect up to 4 million people by the end of 2016. Read the rest of WHO: the Zika Virus is officially a public health emergency of international concern

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WHO: the Zika Virus is officially a public health emergency of international concern

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