Community is the key to resilience

July 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Four weeks into the job, Josh Stanbro, chief resilience officer of the City and County of Honolulu, discussed confronting the sustainability challenges confronting the city and Hawaii as a state and part of the world at large.”On Oahu, people recognize that there are direct and immediate threats from climate change,” said Stanbro. Forward-thinking Honolulu had recently voted to establish an office of resilience that tackles affordable housing, critical infrastructure and response to natural hazards associated with climate change and sea level rise.  

View post:
Community is the key to resilience

US DOI scientist claims he was reassigned for speaking up on climate change

July 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Is the Donald Trump administration reassigning employees who speak out on the dangers of climate change ? Joel Clement, former Office of Policy Analysis director at the Department of the Interior (DOI), seems to think so. He penned an opinion piece for The Washington Post saying he was moved into an “unrelated job in the accounting office.” He said he’s a scientist and policy expert, not an accountant – “…but you don’t have to be one to see that the administration’s excuse for a reassignment such as mine doesn’t add up.” Clement said he began working in the DOI almost seven years ago, and worked with communities in Alaska to help them prepare for the impacts of climate change. On June 15, he received a letter informing him of his reassignment to “improve talent development, mission delivery and collaboration.” He was one of around 50 senior employees to receive a letter, and was shuffled to the role of senior adviser in the Office of Natural Resources Revenue – an office he said gathers royalty checks from fossil fuel companies. Related: Trump launches “witch hunt” for government employees who worked on climate change policy Clement’s background is not in accounting. He has a Master of Environmental Studies degree in Forest Sciences and Canopy Biology from The Evergreen State College . But he said he spoke out on the challenges stemming from climate change that Alaska Native communities face in the months before his reassignment, even bringing the threat up with White House officials. Clement said in his op-ed, “It is clear to me that the administration was so uncomfortable with this work, and my disclosures, that I was reassigned with the intent to coerce me into leaving the federal government.” Indeed, a few days following his reassignment, new Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke testified before Congress that reassignments might be used to eliminate employees. Clement suggested Zinke might think fed-up employees might quit, and said he has colleagues who are being moved to other locations in the country, at taxpayer expense, to jobs that don’t align well with their skill set. Clement said the Kivalina, Shishmaref , and Shaktoolik villages are “one superstorm from being washed away.” He wrote, “I believe that every president, regardless of party, has the right and responsibility to implement his policies. But that is not what is happening here. Putting citizens in harm’s way isn’t the president’s right…The threat to these Alaska Native communities is not theoretical. This is not a policy debate.” Read Clement’s full piece here . Via The Washington Post Images via Wikimedia Commons and screenshot

Originally posted here: 
US DOI scientist claims he was reassigned for speaking up on climate change

This boy accidentally found a 1.2 million-year-old fossil by tripping over it

July 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Sometimes, there are benefits to being clumsy – so discovered 9-year-old Jude Sparks on a recent hike in New Mexico’s Orange Mountains. On a trip with his family, Sparks tripped over an object which he first thought was “just a big fat rotten cow.” Instead, it turned out to be a Stegomastodon fossil from 1.2 million years ago. The young boy told KVIA TV, “I didn’t know what it was. I just knew it wasn’t usual.” His family agreed, which is why they contacted Peter Houde, a professor at New Mexico State University, and returned to the site the next day. Sure enough, what Sparks had tripped over was a fossilized tusk belonging to an ancient Stegomastodon . According to The New York Times , the ancient mammal was a cousin to the wooly mammoth and modern-day elephants. Not only are the remains large, they are quite rare, considering prehistoric bones tend to disintegrate quickly after being exposed to the elements. “This is really very unusual to find,” said Houde. Elated to have made the find, the family set up a fundraiser for a formal dig. It took months to organize a team and secure a permit, but earlier this May, an entire skull made of delicate “egg-shell thin” pieces was discovered. Houde hopes to display the remains at the university. “We’re really, really grateful that they contacted us, because if they had not done that, if they had tried to do it themselves, it could have just destroyed the specimen,” he said. “It really has to be done with great care and know-how. Jude — now 10-years-old — says he isn’t as interested in fossils as he used to be but likes the attention that comes with discovering the fossilized remains of a mammal which is slightly smaller than the average African elephant . Related: World’s oldest fossils discovered in Canada – and they’re 4 billion-years-old Believe it or not, this isn’t the first Stegomastadon that’s been “accidentally” discovered. A hiking bachelor party found a 3-million-year-old skull in 2010 while hiking in New Mexico’s Butte Lake State Park. Via The New York Times , All That Is Interesting Images via Peter Houde

See the rest here: 
This boy accidentally found a 1.2 million-year-old fossil by tripping over it

Facts and feelings matter when communicating climate science

July 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

It’s more important than ever that our approach to communicating about sustainability and climate change is evidence-based and built on a strong, theoretical foundation.

Continued here:
Facts and feelings matter when communicating climate science

Caltech scientists accelerate part of carbon sequestration process by 500 times

July 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Carbon sequestration , or removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it long-term, could help us fight climate change . It’s a complex chemical reaction , but a team of six scientists led by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) just made a breakthrough in speeding up a slow part of the reaction. They were inspired by oceans, which naturally absorb carbon dioxide. Study co-author Jess Adkins said, “This is one of those rare moments in the arc of one’s career where you just go, ‘I just discovered something no one ever knew.” Right now, the oceans hold around 50 times the carbon dioxide as the atmosphere. But in seawater, carbon dioxide is an acid, and the acidified waters are gobbling away at coral reefs . The acidified water eventually makes its way to the ocean floor, where calcium carbonate shells neutralize the carbon dioxide – but that process takes tens of thousands of years to finish. It was while studying how fast the coral will dissolve in this whole process that the scientists made their breakthrough. Related: World’s first commercial carbon-sucking plant goes live in Zurich They added an enzyme, carbonic anhydrase, during the carbon sequestration reaction. This enzyme, according to Caltech, is the same one that helps uphold the pH balance of blood in some animals and in humans. Adding the enzyme made the rate-limiting step of the chemical reaction move 500 times faster. The team’s research will be published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America ; a paper about the work was put up online in advance of publication. Scientists from the University of Southern California and Hebrew University of Jerusalem collaborated on the paper. Lead author Adam Subhas, a graduate student at Caltech, said, “While the new paper is about a basic chemical mechanism, the implication is that we might better mimic the natural process that stores carbon dioxide in the ocean.” Via ScienceAlert and Caltech Images via Tim Marshall on Unsplash and Yanguang Lan on Unsplash

See the rest here: 
Caltech scientists accelerate part of carbon sequestration process by 500 times

Solar-powered prefab homes for struggling millennials can be set up in a day

July 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

An increasing number of people in the United Kingdom make too much money to qualify for social housing, but struggle to afford high rent prices. Prefabricated homes manufactured at the Legal & General Leeds factory could meet housing needs for that group, largely millennials, and the first houses from the factory recently popped up in the London area. Called LaunchPod , the 280-square-foot homes were ordered by housing association RHP , and designed by architecture firm Wimshurst Pelleriti . They’ll be available to rent for less than the average cost of a nearby one-bedroom apartment. Legal & General is an insurance company which is now churning homes out of a new factory – at a rate of 3,500 flats and houses a year. Their modular homes arrive at a location nearly finished and can be set up in one day. The homes are energy efficient, made out of cross laminated timber (CLT), and can be built to Passivhaus standards. A kitchen, curtains, fitted carpet, bathroom, and even furniture can be part of the home arriving on site. Legal & General says they can manufacture homes from detached houses to apartments 20 stories high. Related: Six factories will supply the UK with 25,000 prefab houses every year RHP nabbed the first houses out of the factory for a site in Richmond, a town southwest of London. A LaunchPod makes creative use of space to sneak in features that would more commonly be found in a larger flat, according to Wimshurst Pelleriti. But they said RHP didn’t want to resort to space-saving gimmicks like fold-down beds. Instead, features like raised mezzanine beds hide storage beneath, and the height of the homes, which are taller than normal, make them feel spacious. A LaunchPod is equipped with a luxury kitchen and lounge, bedroom, bathroom, and veranda. They have underfloor heating and are solar-powered , so residents will only pay around $13 a year in electricity. Neither Legal & General nor RHP would say how much the units cost, according to The Guardian. But RHP did say the price is around 15 percent less than the £2,600 to £3,000 per square meter cost common to conventional homes in the area, suggesting a LaunchPod could cost around £60,000 to £70,000, or around $78,155 to $91,182. But these particular modular homes will be rented, and as opposed to the typical rent of a one-bedroom flat in the area, which is a little over $1,300, the LaunchPods will be rented for between $782 and $912 a month. + Wimshurst Pelleriti + RHP + Legal & General Via The Guardian Images via Andrew Holt/Wimshurst Pelleriti

Read the rest here:
Solar-powered prefab homes for struggling millennials can be set up in a day

Climate change could transform one of Africa’s driest regions into a wet one

July 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Climate change is often connected to heat waves and hot temperatures. But researchers recently found very different weather patterns could arise in a dry region of Africa : the Sahel. The area sprawls across multiple countries and is considered a transitional zone between the Sahara Desert and more humid regions to the south, and itself is prone to extreme dryness. But climate change here could trigger a monsoon circulation. The Sahel stretches from the Atlantic Ocean eastward into Sudan. According to Encyclopædia Britannica , eight months of the year at minimum are dry, and the wet season only sees around four to eight inches of rain . But all that could change if temperatures raise past 1.5 to two degrees Celsius , according to Jacob Schewe of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Anders Levermann of Potsdam University and Columbia University . Related: The sixth mass extinction is killing off wildlife 100 times faster than “normal” Dozens of computer simulations show this region of the world could get wetter under climate change, and the scientists scrutinized the simulations showing the greatest increase. They identified a self-amplifying mechanism that could intensify what Schewe called the Sahel monsoon as more water evaporates from hotter oceans and then falls on land. Regions which are nearly part of the Sahara Desert in Mali, Chad, and Niger could see as much rain as central Nigeria or northern Cameroon receive today. Rainfall could offer benefits for the Sahel, but the two researchers say adapting to the altered weather could be difficult for the region, some areas of which have been grappling with instability and war. In a statement, Levermann said, “…the Sahel might experience years of hard-to-handle variability between drought and flood . Obviously, agriculture and infrastructure will have to meet this challenge. As great as it hopefully were for the dry Sahel to have so much more rain, the dimension of the change calls for urgent attention.” The journal Earth System Dynamics published the research online earlier this month. Via the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research Images via Ammar Hassan on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

Original post: 
Climate change could transform one of Africa’s driest regions into a wet one

Trump may reverse decision on the Paris climate accord, says French President Macron

July 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

When President Trump announced plans to exit the Paris Climate Agreement , the decision drew criticism from US states and nations around the world. Now, it seems the president may be having second thoughts – according to French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump may reverse his previous decision. One of President Trump’s complaints against the Paris accord is that it is “soft” on leading polluters, such as China and India. As a result, Trump perceived it to be a threat to U.S. industry, reports Reuters . The weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD) says President Macron is now hopeful the U.S. President will change his mind, however. “(Trump) told me that he would try to find a solution in the coming months,” said Macron, referring to the meetings the two leaders had this past week. We spoke in detail about the things that could make him come back to the Paris accord,” he added. Trump has repeatedly stated that is he is “open to a better deal for the United States ,” therefore he isn’t ruling out all options. Related: Stephen Hawking says Trump’s Paris decision could induce irreversible climate change Only a handful of countries around the world have refused to partake in the Paris Climate Agreement. Otherwise, over 200 nations have agreed to limit global warming by 2 degrees by the year 2100, mainly through pledges to cut carbon dioxide and other emissions from the burning of fossil fuels . Costa Rica is one nation proving it is possible to thrive on renewable energy. In 2015, the tropical country relied on hydropower, geothermal plants, solar and wind to obtain 99 percent of its electricity . Germany, as well, recently generated 85 percent of its energy from renewable sources. Clearly, the future is green. The question now is, will the United States recognize this and re-commit itself to preserving the environment? Via Reuters Images via Pixabay , Wikimedia Commons

More:
Trump may reverse decision on the Paris climate accord, says French President Macron

Self-sufficient hydrogen boat embarks on 6-year journey around the world

July 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

The world watched in anticipation as the groundbreaking Solar Impulse 2 plane circumnavigated the globe last year. Now, the “Solar Impulse of the Seas” has set sail, aiming to demonstrate in a fresh way that clean energy can power our world. Dubbed Energy Observer , the solar- , wind- , and hydrogen -powered catamaran will sail to 50 countries over the course of six years. Solar panels line the top of the Energy Observer, and two vertical axis wind turbines harness the power of the wind, but those aren’t the only energy sources that make this vessel self-sufficient . The boat is able to generate hydrogen from seawater thanks to an electrolysis system. That hydrogen, stored in tanks, will help the Energy Observer glide through the waves emissions-free. The project was started by French offshore racer Victorien Erussard, accompanied by French explorer and filmmaker Jérôme Delafosse. Related: Energy Observer to sail around the world using only solar, wind, and hydrogen fuel The Energy Observer is equipped with technologies like electric motors, lithium-ion batteries , and a hydrogen fuel cell . It’s around 100 feet long and 42 feet wide, with solar panels covering 1,400 square feet atop the catamaran. Built in 1983, the Energy Observer has already had a long career as a racing boat, but was recently christened earlier this month by France’s environment minister Nicolas Hulot. Energy Observer left Paris this past weekend with mayor Anne Hidalgo aboard. Erussard said on the boat’s website, “There is not one miracle solution to combat climate change : there are solutions which we must learn to operate together. That’s what we are doing with Energy Observer: allowing nature’s energies, as well as those of our society, to collaborate.” And though the boat draws on different technologies than the Solar Impulse 2, it apparently has the approval of pilot Bertrand Piccard , who was present at the christening ceremony. He said, “Energy Observer, just like Solar Impulse, makes exploration work for a better quality of life. We need to lead people towards the future by showing them solutions instead of depressing them.” You can track where the Energy Observer is here and find out more here . + Energy Observer Via ScienceAlert Images via Energy Observer ( 1 , 2 )

View original post here: 
Self-sufficient hydrogen boat embarks on 6-year journey around the world

Tardigrades will be the last surviving creatures on earth after the sun dies

July 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

In the event that Earth is struck by an asteroid , the sun goes supernova or the planet is soaked in gamma ray bursts in an extreme energetic explosion, the last surviving creatures won’t be cockroaches – they will be tardigrades. Oxford University researchers recently discovered this after exposing the microscopic water bears to the only astrophysical phenomena likely to eradicate life on Earth . Not only did the team learn that the tardigrade can endure temperature extremes of up to 150°C (302°F), they discovered that the eight-legged animals can resist radiation levels of 5000 to 6200 Gy (around the dose used in some forms of chemotherapy), making them the most indestructible creatures on this rock. Dr. Rafael Alves Batista, a researcher at the department of physics at Oxford University, told the Daily Mail that the goal was to “study what is necessary to kill all life, not just humans. Batista added that the scientists were pleasantly surprised to learn that the water bear is incredibly resilient to most threats. Co-author of the study, Dr. David Sloan, wrote: “To our surprise, we found that although nearby supernovae or large asteroid impacts would be catastrophic for people, tardigrades could be unaffected. Therefore it seems that life, once it gets going, is hard to wipe out entirely.” Related: Water bear brought back to life after being frozen for 30 years Unlike humans, the tardigrade is extremely durable. As previously mentioned, the animals are resistant to high levels of radiation and can endure astronomically high temperatures. Additionally, the water bears were once frozen for thirty years, thawed out and were found to still be alive . Said Batista, “Without our technology protecting us, humans are a very sensitive species. Life on this planet can continue long after humans are gone.” As a result of the findings, the researchers concluded that the water bears could live on Earth for at least ten billion years and would only be wiped out when the sun exploded. “Huge numbers of species, or even entire genera may become extinct, but life as a whole will go on,” said Sloan. Some are unsurprised by the water bear’s hardiness, considering Russia found the species clinging to the International Space Station — alive — even while exposed to the vacuum of space. Regardless, the finding is exciting for scientists who desire to find life on other planets. Said Batista, “Tardigrades are as close to indestructible as it gets on Earth, but it is possible that there are other resilient species examples elsewhere in the universe . If Tardigrades are Earth’s most resilient species, who knows what else is out there. There might exist other creatures similar to tardigrade in other places. We have to keep searching.” Sloan added, “Our work suggests that the search for life in such places is justified even if the planet doesn’t seem hospitable.” The study will be published soon in the journal Nature . Via Daily Mail , Engadget Images via Depositphotos 1 , 2 , YouTube , Wikimedia

See the original post here:
Tardigrades will be the last surviving creatures on earth after the sun dies

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 888 access attempts in the last 7 days.