How California farmers are using floods to feed soil

February 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

The Oroville dam crisis inspired farmers to capture floodwater underground for use in warmer months.

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How California farmers are using floods to feed soil

Mexico City is sinking – and it’s going to cause some real problems

February 20, 2017 by  
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Mexico City , a scant mile and a half above sea level, is sinking. It’s a turn of events that shouldn’t surprise anyone with a rudimentary grasp of history. Established by the Aztecs in 1325, the city formerly known as Tenochtitlán occupies what was once a plexus of interconnected lakes that were first drained by the Spaniards, then paved over with concrete and steel by modern engineers. As a result, Mexico City has to dig deep—literally—to obtain fresh water for its 21 million residents. But the drilling weakens the brittle clay beds that serve as the city’s foundation, according to the New York Times , hastening the collapse even further. For Mexico City, climate change isn’t a game of partisan ping-pong. Per the Times : More heat and drought mean more evaporation and yet more demand for water, adding pressure to tap distant reservoirs at staggering costs or further drain underground aquifers and hasten the city’s collapse. In the immense neighborhood of Iztapalapa — where nearly two million people live, many of them unable to count on water from their taps — a teenager was swallowed up where a crack in the brittle ground split open a street. Sidewalks resemble broken china, and 15 elementary schools have crumbled or caved in. Related: Xomali House in Mexico City makes clever use of a tiny 115 square foot lot Rising temperatures and the increased incidence of droughts and floods could send millions of Mexicans fleeing north and “heightening already extreme political tensions over immigration.” At the same time, Mexico City is facing a water crisis that prevents nearly 20 percent of its residents from getting water from their faucets each day. People have had to resort to hiring trucks to deliver drinking water, sometimes at prices 10 times higher than what richer neighborhoods with more reliable plumbing have to pay. “Climate change is expected to have two effects,” Ramón Aguirre Díaz, director of the Water System of Mexico City, told the Times . “We expect heavier, more intense rains, which means more floods, but also more and longer droughts.” If rain stops filling the reservoirs, “there is no way we can provide enough trucks of water to deal with that scenario,” he added. Mexico City could still rally some long-term solutions, but like most places, the city is roiled by political infighting. “There has to be a consensus—of scientists, politicians, engineers and society—when it comes to pollution, water, climate,” said Claudia Sheinbaum, a former environment minister. “We have the resources, but lack the political will.” Via New York Times

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Mexico City is sinking – and it’s going to cause some real problems

Scott Pruitt confirmed as head of the Environmental Protection Agency

February 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

In a major loss for the planet, the US Senate confirmed climate denier Scott Pruitt as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, an agency that Pruitt has sued numerous times and has promised to render toothless . With no irony at all, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated about Pruitt: “He’s exceptionally qualified. He’s dedicated to environmental protection.” Unfortunately, that’s anything but true. Pruitt calls himself “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda,” and true to his word, he has worked hard to allow mercury pollution into the environment and coal plants to poison the planet, and has attempted to stop the efforts to clean the Chesapeake Bay. He recently called climate change ” a religious belief ” and has worked to undermine efforts to stop climate change. “Scott Pruitt is the most unqualified and dangerous nominee in the history of the EPA, and the Senators who voted to confirm him have betrayed the American people,” said Tom Seyer of NextGen Climate . According to the Sierra Club , “Pruitt has a long record of ignoring science, assaulting public health safeguards, and holding the agency he now leads in contempt. His confirmation is an environmental and public health disaster.” Related: EPA workers openly fight against potential Pruitt confirmation Thousands of activists have fought to delay Pruitt’s confirmation after a judge ruled that the Oklahoma attorney general office must turn over thousands of emails linking Pruitt to oil and gas companies. Despite their efforts, Pruitt was confirmed along a party-line vote. “Scott Pruitt is a dangerous and cynical choice to head the EPA. He’s a wholly-owned representative of polluters and Audubon will be vigilant as Pruitt sets out to dismantle the agency he heads,” said David Yarnold, Audubon’?s president and CEO. Via CNN images via Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Scott Pruitt confirmed as head of the Environmental Protection Agency

Bill Nye is back with new (real) science show

February 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Scientist and television personality Bill Nye the Science Guy is returning to television with a new show, Bill Nye Saves the World . With bombastic claims about alternative facts and fake news threatening to distract us from issues that matter, Nye plans to inject a little reality into the mix with his new series. According to Netflix , where the show will air on April 21, the program will refute “antiscientific claims that may be espoused by politicians, religious leaders, or titans of industry.” Nye , known for his Emmy-winning children’s program Bill Nye the Science Guy , will target a different audience through his Netflix series. Bill Nye Saves the World will feature a talk show format with what Nye referred to as essentially a monologue, guests, expert panels, and comedy pieces. He’ll approach topics as diverse as climate change , sex, and technology from a point of view that is both entertaining and scientific. Related: Bill Nye the Science Guy backs revolutionary solar company https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-_HKOcYBK8 Some of Nye’s topics, specifically climate change, could be considered political, especially under a president who’s tweeted his denial of global warming . But The New York Times notes the program isn’t a reaction to the November election, as filming finished in October. And according to Nye it wasn’t the climate science community but people in fossil fuel industries that politicized the issue. He pointed out no one has to watch his show, but he does hope it will influence some people. Nye told The New York Times, “You have to be optimistic. You’re not going to solve global problems or address global issues without being optimistic. If you don’t think you can do anything about it, you won’t.” The show will feature 13 30-minute long episodes, released all at the same time. Although Nye doesn’t yet know if the new show will be renewed for a second season, he plans to continue injecting science and critical thinking into political dialogue. Via The New York Times Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr and screenshot

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Bill Nye is back with new (real) science show

Air pollution is the leading environmental cause of death worldwide

February 15, 2017 by  
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A new report shows that air pollution is the leading environmental cause of death in the world – and the number five cause of death overall. China and India lead the way with a combined 2.2 pollution-related deaths in 2015. These rising trends continue to put pressure on governments and industries that could make a difference. The State of Global Air 2017 report revealed how long-term exposure to harmful, small particulate matter in the air contributed to over 4 million premature deaths in 2015 – the equivalent of 103 million years of healthy life. The study, a combined effort by the Health Effects Institute (HEI) and Institute for Health Metrics and Evalution’s Global Burden of Disease Project , showed China and India as the nations suffering from the most health effects and early deaths due to air pollution. CNBC notes that UK air pollution deaths are also on the rise at 40,000 per year. Related: Beijing creates new environmental police force to crack down on smog “We are seeing increasing air pollution problems worldwide,” HEI President Dan Greenbaum said in a statement. “The trends we report show that we have seen progress in some parts of the world – but serious challenges remain.” Sadly, particulate matter tends to affect the very old and the very young, leaving the most vulnerable populations at a higher risk. Via CNBC Images via Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Air pollution is the leading environmental cause of death worldwide

Scientists discover immense pool of molten carbon beneath the Western United States

February 15, 2017 by  
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In what could be some of the worst news for climate change since the election of Donald Trump , a group of scientists have discovered a massive reservoir of melting carbon hidden deep under the Western United States. Researchers used the world’s largest array of seismic sensors to map the reservoir, which covers an area of about 695,000 square miles and challenges everything scientists have previously thought about the amounts of carbon trapped inside the Earth. To make a long story short, there’s way more than anyone has ever predicted before. Located about 217 miles beneath the planet’s surface, the reservoir is made up of carbonates that are melting under temperatures as hot at 7,230 degrees Fahrenheit. According to Science Daily , carbonates are a large group of minerals – including magnesite and calcite – which contain a specific carbon ion that when molten is believed to be responsible for the electrical conductivity of the Earth’s mantle . While it’s too deep underground to physically study, a research team from the Royal Holloway University of London employed a wide-ranging network made up of 583 seismic sensors to conduct their study. Those sensors honed in on some strange vibrations in the upper mantle, which in turn identified this immense pool of molten carbon. Based on what these sensors have told them, the researchers believe the Earth’s upper mantle might hold as much as 110 trillion tons of melted carbon. “Under the western US is a huge underground partially-molten reservoir of liquid carbonate,” explains team member, Sash Hier-Majumder. “It is a result of one of the tectonic plates of the Pacific Ocean forced underneath the western US, undergoing partial melting, thanks to gasses like carbon dioxide and water contained in the minerals dissolved in it.” It turns out this carbon is a bit of sleeping giant, as the scientists say this it will make its way out of the deep recesses of the Earth slowly via volcanic eruptions. But that seepage will add to the significant amounts of greenhouse gasses humans are adding to the planet’s atmosphere and contribute to climate change. Related: Scientists hatch crazy $500 billion plan to refreeze the Arctic “We might not think of the deep structure of Earth as linked to climate change above us, but this discovery not only has implications for subterranean mapping, but also for our future atmosphere ,” Hier-Majumder explains. “For example, releasing only 1% of this CO 2 into the atmosphere will be the equivalent of burning 2.3 trillion barrels of oil. The existence of such deep reservoirs show how important is the role of deep Earth in the global carbon cycle.” Via Science Daily Images via gunckx , Flickr Creative Commons and Pixabay

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Scientists discover immense pool of molten carbon beneath the Western United States

The self-contained mobile prefab Coodo lets you live almost anywhere in the world

February 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

What if you could make your home anywhere in the world without sacrificing creature comforts? Meet Coodo , an eco-friendly mobile home that promises just that with its flexible and modern modular design. Created in Germany, Coodo can pop up almost anywhere in the world – from urban rooftops to remote beaches – and it can be easily relocated to give you the freedom to travel with the comforts of home. Designed by LTG Lofts to go GmbH and Co. KG, Coodo is a mobile prefabricated house that can be quickly and easily installed with minimal impact on the building site and environment. The company offers a variety of Coodo models ranging in sizes from 36 to 96 square meters and usage type, such as the saunacoodo and watercoodo, which functions as a houseboat . Depending on the model selected, loading and unloading can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours. The Coodo is transported by flat bed truck and craned into place. All models boast a minimal and modern design that can be customized to the owner’s needs. In addition to the desire to provide freedom of travel to the homeowner, the company is also committed to minimizing the mobile home’s environmental impact. According to their website, all units consist of “low-pollutant, ecologically compatible, and mostly natural materials.” All condo houses are designed with passive house principles for energy efficiency and the company is currently developing off-grid units. Triple-glazed full-height windows and high-tech insulation wrap the rounded steel-framed modules and overlook an outdoor shaded deck built from recycled planking. A built-in micro-filtered ventilation and air moisture system ensures clean and dust-free indoor air. Almost all electrical devices will be connected to a wireless smart system so that they can be controlled remotely via smartphone. Related: Solar-powered Ecocapsule lets you live off-the-grid anywhere in the world “We want to lead by example by having a great impact on society and proving that high ecological and sustainable standards do not stand in opposition to equally high standards for design and comfort, but can work in harmony through innovation“, said Mark Dare Schmiedel, CEO of LTG. Prices are not listed on the website and are dependent on module type and interior options, which can be delivered as a shell, with basic interior, or fully equipped. + Coodo

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The self-contained mobile prefab Coodo lets you live almost anywhere in the world

Scientists hatch crazy $500 billion plan to refreeze the Arctic

February 14, 2017 by  
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As governments make slow progress towards alleviating climate change and denial marks the Trump Administration’s approach to the global crisis, scientists have hatched a crazy $500 billion scheme to refreeze the Arctic . Led by physicist Steven Desch of Arizona State University , a team of 14 scientists concocted a plan to replenish Arctic sea ice using ten million wind-powered pumps. The strategy involves deploying millions of renewably-powered pumps to send water onto the surface of Arctic ice during the winter. In theory, that water would then freeze, thickening the ice before summer. Desch said the pumps could add around three feet to the current layer of sea ice . If the ice is thicker, he argued, it would last longer and reduce the danger of sea ice vanishing completely during the summer. Related: Total sea ice levels on Earth lower than ever before recorded The paper’s abstract states that the Arctic could be utterly devoid of summer sea ice by the year 2030. If that occurs, the ocean would absorb the sunlight it once reflected – so replenishing sea ice now is an imperative. The paper goes on to state that the 2015 Paris agreement won’t be enough to halt the consequences of global warming . Desch told the Observer, “Our only strategy at present seems to be to tell people to stop burning fossil fuels . It’s a good idea but it is going to need a lot more than that to stop the Arctic’s sea ice from disappearing.” The American Geophysical Union ‘s journal Earth’s Future published their study in late January. Via The Guardian Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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Scientists hatch crazy $500 billion plan to refreeze the Arctic

Congressman makes statement with ‘Keep the EPA Great’ hat

February 8, 2017 by  
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Democratic Congressman Don Beyer’s Northern Virginia district is home to thousands of federal workers who make the daily commute across the Potomac River to their jobs in Washington — and many of them are EPA employees working to ensure clean air, clean water and a livable climate for their fellow Americans. On Tuesday, Beyer stood up for the agency, which is under attack from President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress who want to abolish it . During a hearing, Beyer used his speaking time to run down the agency’s accomplishments in protecting the environment and human health, before donning a red cap similar to the Trump campaign’s “Make America Great Again” hats — except Beyer’s said “Keep the EPA Great.” https://www.facebook.com/RepDonBeyer/videos/1870037156576073/ The House Science Committee is chaired by climate change denier Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who used the first hearing after Trump’s inauguration to bash the EPA with baseless accusations of politicization and questionable science. Beyer refuted Smith’s assertions, reminding the committee that the EPA was responsible for banning the pesticide DDT, reducing acid rain, mandating lead-free gasoline, regulating toxic chemicals and establishing a national commitment to protect the nation’s air and water. Related: Florida Republican introduces bill that would abolish the EPA Many EPA employees are on edge after Trump nominated anti-EPA crusader Scott Pruitt to head the agency and chose professional climate science denier Myron Ebell to lead the EPA transition team. In a recent interview, Ebell said that Trump would seek significant reductions to the EPA’s 15,000 staff and $8 billion annual budget. Ebell explained that the aim was to cut the agency down to a Nixon-era level of 5,000 employees. “This Committee should be leading the charge to protect the planet and our environment for future generations,” said Beyer. “Instead it attacks the credibility of scientists, casts doubt on accepted science, and makes life difficult for the people trying to solve urgent crises. The Science Committee’s contribution now is like that of the Emperor Nero, fiddling while Rome burned down around him. This is irresponsible and dangerous. It is not leadership and it will not make the EPA, or America, great.” Via Gizmodo Image via Twitter

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Congressman makes statement with ‘Keep the EPA Great’ hat

Bill Gates warns against climate-change denial

February 7, 2017 by  
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Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates recently spoke out against denying climate change during a student question-and-answer session at Columbia University in New York City earlier this month. Joined by voluntary tax-information sharer and fellow monied person Warren Buffett , the Microsoft founder also called for greater innovation in clean energy. He said, “Certain topics are so complicated like climate change that to really get a broad understanding is a bit difficult and particularly when people take that complexity and create uncertainty about it”. And Gates is more than happy to put his money where his mouth is. In December, he and a team of investors said they would pump more than $1 billion into Breakthrough Energy Ventures , a fund that invests in technologies that will curtail the planet’s greenhouse-gas emissions. Related: Bill Gates pledges $2 billion to renewable energy research We need to find energy that’s “reliable, cheap, and clean,” he said, before promising that “the innovations there will be profound.” He added, “There are many paths to get to where we need to go”. Perhaps another billionaire we know should pay attention? Photo by DFID Via U.S.A. Today

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Bill Gates warns against climate-change denial

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