Will the pope go vegan for Lent?

February 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Pope Francis is known for his simplicity, favoring what’s been called “papal athleisure” over the fine silks worn by his predecessors, and urging Christians to forego greed. He doesn’t want to be a millionaire. But will he turn down the chance to donate a million dollars to the charity of his choice? That’s what a group of celebrity vegans, led by 12-year-old Genesis Butler, are offering if Pope Francis goes vegan for Lent. The group Million Dollar Vegan launched earlier this month by sending a letter from the young activist newspapers around the world. Butler’s open letter to the pope appeals to Francis’ concerns about climate change , environmental degradation and poverty. “In your encyclical letter, Laudato si’, you stated that every effort to protect and improve our world will involve changes in lifestyle, production and consumption. I agree with all my heart and seek your support in tackling one of the largest underlying causes of the problems we face: animal agriculture.” An encyclical is a papal letter sent to all the Catholic bishops. Related: If you won’t go vegan for yourself, will you do it for Beyoncé? Butler chose to go vegan at the age of six. She’s the founder of a nonprofit called Genesis for Animals and is the youngest person to give a TEDx talk. Million Dollar Vegan is a nonprofit campaign, launched by Matthew Glover and Jane Land, with a mission to fight climate change with diet change. Vegan heavyweights like Paul McCartney, Moby, Mean Suvari and Woody Harrelson support the campaign. Lent is the six-week period before Easter. Catholics mark this solemn time with prayer, fasting and almsgiving. In the Catholic tradition, fasting means significantly reducing food intake, rather than abstaining completely. Many Catholics abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent. However, also giving up fish, eggs and dairy is a big jump. The whole world is watching to see whether Pope Francis will agree to change his diet for six weeks. “We are launching this deliberately bold, audacious campaign to jolt our world leaders from their complacency,” Glover said. “We are thankful that Pope Francis has spoken out on these issues and that is why we are humbly asking him to try vegan for Lent and set an example of how each of us can align our principles of caring and compassion with our actions.” + Million Dollar Vegan Images via Million Dollar Vegan and Pete Souza

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Will the pope go vegan for Lent?

Polar bears invade small island in northern Russia, causing an emergency warning

February 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Islands in northern Russia faced a crisis last weekend after a group of polar bears invaded the region. Officials in Novaya Zemlya issued an emergency warning for the small town of Belushya Guba, leaving residents scared to venture outside of their homes. Photos of polar bears invading garbage heaps surfaced over the weekend, while school officials say they have spotted the animals near buildings and homes in the area. Authorities claim they have seen polar bears enter the town in the past but have never experienced anything of this scale. Related: Polar bears could go extinct sooner than scientists previously thought “I have been in Novaya Zemlya since 1983, but there has never been so many polar bears in the vicinity,” Zhigansha Musin, an administrative leader in the town, explained. According to EcoWatch , Russia has placed polar bears on the endangered species list, which means killing them is not an option. Officials are currently using non-lethal methods to try to remove the bears, but if they are unsuccessful, then culling them will be explored. Unfortunately, the bears have not responded to any attempts to scare them off the island. The polar bear invasion started back in December. Since then, officials have counted more than 52 bears in the region. Local officials also say that the bears are becoming more aggressive toward residents, and a few have entered homes and businesses. Locals are scared to venture outside of their homes out of fear of an attack. It is sad to hear that residents are fearful of their own safety. It is also unfortunate that these polar bears could be killed if the situation continues to escalate. But the underlying issue at hand is the growing problem of climate change and the affects global warming is having on the polar ice cap. As temperatures continue to rise all around the globe, the Arctic is experiencing double the rate of melting than any other location on Earth. The melting of permafrost and the polar cap is driving polar bears out of the region, forcing them to invade human settlements out of a basic need for survival. Via EcoWatch Image via Unsplash

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Polar bears invade small island in northern Russia, causing an emergency warning

Climate change to change the color of the oceans over the next 80 years

February 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The color of the oceans is about to undergo some major changes. As a result of ongoing climate change , scientists are predicting that the color of the oceans will slowly become bluer over the next 80 years. The color difference is directly connected to microbial phytoplankton , which absorb sunlight near the surface of the ocean. As the acidity and temperature of the oceans rise, the number of phytoplankton is expected to decrease in certain regions. Once the phytoplankton populations drop off, the surface will have a harder time reflecting sunlight, which will ultimately change its color. Related: Oceans warming 40 percent faster than previously thought According to Gizmodo , new research from Nature Communications argues that the subtropical oceans will be most affected by the color change. These regions are particularly susceptible to temperature and pH fluctuations, which will harm phytoplankton populations. Conversely, oceans in the Antarctic and Arctic could become greener, because these areas are not likely to experience significant changes in water temperature. Scientists have been using satellites to monitor the color of the oceans over the past 20 years. The images taken by the satellites are manipulated by a computer algorithm, resulting in a rough sketch of how much chlorophyll is present in the water. The only issue with this tactic is that climate change is not the only force at work here. Natural forces, like El Niño , also affect the color of the oceans. This is why scientists are exploring other methods of detection that will isolate the impacts of climate change. This includes measuring food sources for phytoplankton, looking at patterns of ocean circulation and analyzing growth rates of phytoplankton populations around the world. “Our model can now suggest what such satellites might see in the future world,” MIT scientist Stephanie Dutkiewicz explained. Experts predict that by 2100, the temperature of the oceans will have risen by at least 3 degrees Celsius. This difference in temperature is expected to change the color of around half of Earth’s oceans, though the color difference will not be detectable by human sight. Via Gizmodo Image via NOAA

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Climate change to change the color of the oceans over the next 80 years

Concrete fins protect this visitor center from rising tides

February 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Green

When the Hampshire County Council’s Property Services decided to build a new visitor center on the coastal area of Lepe Country Park on the England’s south coast, it knew that it had to create a design with several resilient features . The building needed to withstand the area’s brutal natural elements and rising sea levels. Guests to the historic area can now enjoy a bite to eat in the Lookout, an elongated wooden and glass center surrounded by a row of concrete fins that will help protect the building against future rising tides. The design of the visitor center was strategically planned to provide a place where visitors and tourists could stop in to enjoy a bite to eat while taking in the incredible views of the sea. According to the architects, the building also had to be constructed to withstand the current and future climate conditions. “From the outset, it was important that the building had composure in an environment that can be both beautiful and brutal,” said the council’s design manager Martin Hallum. Related: Sleek fiberglass visitor center is a beacon for wind energy in Denmark The building’s elongated volume is comprised of two connected horizontal boxes with the front box containing the main dining area. The box at the rear houses the service areas including the restaurant’s kitchen, the administration offices, meeting spaces and a visitor information point. The center is clad in wooden panels, with the front area punctuated with a series of windows that let in ample natural light . The building’s large sloping roof hangs over the exterior walls, providing shade during the summer months and protection from inclement weather. A wooden open-air deck wraps around the sides of the structure, leading out to the east- and west-facing terraces. Picnic tables surround the building for those wanting to enjoy dining al fresco. + Hampshire County Council’s Property Services Via Dezeen Photography by Jim Stephenson via Hampshire County Council’s Property Services

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Concrete fins protect this visitor center from rising tides

How Marsh and McLennan, Allianz and other insurers are responding to climate change risks

February 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Green

New payout triggers, alongside new policy types and coverage related to the complex transition many industries face.

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How Marsh and McLennan, Allianz and other insurers are responding to climate change risks

Could wind power offshore soon prove cheaper than on land?

February 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Green

The plummeting costs of offshore wind plus strict onshore planning rules are blowing in this direction in the U.K., a new report says.

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Could wind power offshore soon prove cheaper than on land?

Built to last: The business case for living buildings in 2019

February 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Green

And four value propositions that have incentivized companies and organizations such as NRDC, Etsy and Google to complete them.

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Built to last: The business case for living buildings in 2019

NASA finds cavity the size of Manhattan underneath Antarctic glacier

February 7, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

NASA just made a disturbing discovering underneath the Antarctic ice. A team led by the space agency found a huge cavity — around 1,000 feet high — under a glacier in Antarctica, and it is steadily expanding in size. Experts have predicted they would a large cavity somewhere underneath the Thwaites Glacier, which is located in West Antarctica, but they did not expect such a large one between the ice sheet and bedrock. NASA scientists discovered the expansive chamber using a mix of radar and satellite imagery techniques. The cavity has been forming over the past three years as higher global temperatures have steadily melted the ice. The cavity, which is close to the size of Manhattan, is large enough to have housed around 14 billion tons of ice at one time. “[The size of] a cavity under a glacier plays an important role in melting,” Pietro Milillo, who works for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), explained. “As more heat and water get under the glacier, it melts faster.” Related: Oceans warming 40 percent faster than previously thought NASA believes the cavity illustrates a need for more Antarctic studies in the near future, especially as global temperatures continue to rise. Keeping tabs on how fast these glacier’s are melting will also give us better insight on rising sea levels and climate change around the world. The space agency hopes that additional studies will help better predict how much oceans will rise — which has a direct impact on coastal populations. Being similar in size to Florida, the Thwaites Glacier has contributed to a four percent increase in sea level over the past few years. NASA discovered the Antarctic glacier has enough mass to raise sea levels around the world by around two feet. Even more concerning, melting glaciers affect nearby bodies of ice, which leads to additional runoff. Scientists previously found that sea levels are rising faster than they have over the past 2,800 years. Experts also anticipate that oceans might double their current pace over the next 100 years. The vast majority of the rise in sea levels is due to melting Antarctic glaciers. These massive chunks of ice contribute an astounding 14,000 tons of water per second into surrounding oceans . Via Fortune Image via NASA

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NASA finds cavity the size of Manhattan underneath Antarctic glacier

Women are essential to climate resilience in the Caribbean heres why

February 7, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The impacts of climate change are felt most intimately by poor and rural women. Many women rely directly on nature for their income, and their lack of resources prevents them from shifting to alternate jobs or safer locations during disasters. However, the same factors that make women vulnerable — their connection to nature and ties to community — are also the strengths that make women critical and competent leaders in times of crises. In the Caribbean, climate experts are increasingly looking at not only at how they can include female perspectives to alleviate inequalities, but how they can empower women to lead the way toward resilience. Women and climate vulnerability According to a UN Population Fund report , “The poor are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and the majority of the 1.5 billion people living on $1 a day or less are women.” With men leaving rural communities to find jobs in urban areas or overseas, women in the country-side are often the primary — and in many cases the sole — caretaker and breadwinner for their families. Many women lack the freedom, flexibility and mobility to relocate or readjust their lives for work, or for safety when disasters hit. Small islands are on the front lines of climate change The Caribbean region is particularly vulnerable, with small rises in sea level and temperatures having drastic consequences ranging from flooding, severe erosion and massive die-off of coral reefs to consecutive category five hurricanes. Caribbean nations depend on natural resources for their economies — namely agriculture, fisheries and coastal tourism. With so much at stake, Caribbean leaders united to demand world leaders commit to curbing global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius, arguing that the agreed upon increase of 2 degrees would be catastrophic. As small islands fight to have their struggles and solutions heard in global debates about global warming, they are also fighting for the muffled, but mighty voices of women. Women, advocates argue, are accustomed to being resilient, community-driven and goal oriented — especially when it comes to the goal of feeding their families. “In climate change decision making, when women are in control in critical large numbers, we see the emphasis placed on the social issues of housing, refugees, food , food security — in a way that doesn’t happen if women are absent,” said Dessima Williams, Grenada’s previous ambassador to the UN and Chair of the Association of Small Island States. Related: The world is close to annihilation according to the iconic Doomsday Clock Natural disasters exacerbate inequalities During natural disasters, limited resources are further diminished. Limited jobs — such as clearing roads and restoring power — are often earmarked for men. Social services, such as child care, are slow to restart, preventing women from returning to work as swiftly as their male counter parts. “Homelessness and overcrowding in damaged homes, reduced income, health problems, lack of transportation, disrupted social services and other disaster effects impact women disproportionately, exacerbating preexisting power imbalances between women and men,” wrote  Dr. Elain Enarson in her book, Women Confronting Natural Disasters: From Vulnerability to Resilience . Women are part of the solution Sustainable development experts argue that a power shift to give women decision-making authority would not only uplift women and their dependents, but societies as a whole. In fact, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s website stated, “Women’s participation at the political level has resulted in greater responsiveness to citizen’s needs, often increasing cooperation across party and ethnic lines and delivering more sustainable peace.” Recognizing the benefits of including women in decision making, the Caribbean region has hosted a number of meetings to spur discussion on including gender perspectives into climate adaptation strategies. “There needs to be dialogue, learning and listening. The power relationships determine how action on climate change is played out and the success rate of projects to deal with climate change,” Vijay Krishnarayan, director general of the Commonwealth Foundation, said at a regional meeting on the intersection of gender and climate change in the Caribbean. Related: Is the Green New Deal the all-inclusive climate plan we need? “Much more needs to be done to completely capitalize on women’s potential, requiring methods that encompass their access to education and quality training, to economic resources and financial services, and to new forms of financing,” Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean Alicia Bárcena underscored at a High-Level Political Forum at the UN headquarters. The inclusion of women is not unique to the Caribbean, and leaders throughout developing nations have united to recognize the importance of sharing successful solutions across continents and then enabling women’s leadership in implementing localized projects that fit for their own communities. “A lot of women have developed micro-level adaptation approaches, indigenous solutions and traditional knowledge that are not being replicated at the macro level,” said Kalyani Raj, a representative from India during a climate conference in Paris. “We must recognize that women are not just victims, we are powerful agents for change. Therefore, women need to be included in the decision-making processes and allowed to contribute their unique expertise and knowledge to adapt to climate change, because any climate change intervention that excludes women’s perspective and any policy that is gender blind, is destined to fail.” Via Panos Caribbean Images via Shutterstock

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Women are essential to climate resilience in the Caribbean heres why

Fake trees could help in the fight against climate change

February 6, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

One of the best ways to fight climate change is to invest in trees and plants. Branches and leaves help trap carbon dioxide, effectively reducing overall pollution in the atmosphere. The only hurdle is that trees take up a lot of land and resources to cultivate, which is why scientists are turning to an alternative source in the fight against carbon emissions. Scientists in Germany just published a new study about how artificial plant life can also cut down on carbon pollution . The team created an artificial system that absorbs carbon dioxide and turns it into a product that is rich in carbon, like alcohol. The system then releases oxygen into the air and captures any excess carbon byproducts for later use. Related: How to teach children about climate change The artificial system is actually more effective than what plants and trees do naturally. In fact, some experts believe this new technology is about 1,000 times better than its natural counterpart. This is significant, because there is not enough room on the planet for trees and plants to absorb the amount of carbon we are currently emitting into the atmosphere. Although artificial trees might be the answer to help curb carbon emissions, there is one catch to the system. According to The Guardian , the cost of installing artificial trees is beyond the reach of most communities. Starting a small forest of artificial trees costs close to a quarter of a million dollars, and that is just to get the ball rolling. Scientists hope to decrease that price point in the near future, but that will only happen once technology progresses and investors get more interested in funding research. If scientists can lower the cost of artificial trees, then it might be our best option for capturing  carbon emissions. But this technology is competing against other methods of removing carbon from the air, so only time will tell if artificial systems are the answer to the growing problem of climate change. Via The Guardian  and  Popular Science Image via Pixabay

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Fake trees could help in the fight against climate change

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