Episode 108: State of Green Business 18; Blackrock hypes purpose

January 19, 2018 by  
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In this week’s episode, why Larry Fink champions social purpose, the state of the green profession and business goes loggerheads with sea turtles.

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Episode 108: State of Green Business 18; Blackrock hypes purpose

Japanese train barks and snorts to protect deer from harm

January 18, 2018 by  
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Researchers from the Railway Technical Research Institute in Japan have equipped a train with a speaker that plays the sounds of dogs barking and deer snorting to protect deer from harm. A three-second deer snort is played first to catch the attention of any nearby deer, followed by 20 seconds of dog barking to scare the animals away. So far, the late-night tests of the anti-deer device have proven successful, resulting in a reduction in deer sightings by half. If further evidence supports the practice, it may be adopted more broadly, though the deer-dog combo noise would likely not be blasted in residential areas. Deer fatalities by train have proven to be a challenge because the animals are attracted to train tracks. To meet their iron dietary needs, deer lick the tracks to pick up iron filings that have formed through friction between the train wheels and the tracks. The transport ministry of Japan reports that in 2016, there were 613 cases of trains hitting deer and other wild animals, a record high number, with each collision resulting in delays of 30 minutes or more. Related: Utah plans $5 million wildlife bridge over deadly I-80 highway There have been several attempts to make railroads less attractive spots for deer, including spraying lion feces along the tracks. This plan was abandoned after rain washed away the animal waste products almost immediately. Another more successful plan involved the use of ultrasonic waves, projected when a train is coming to deter animals , then dropped when the coast is clear to regulate the use of the train tracks. Trials of this technology resulted in a notable decrease in deer deaths. For this, railway employee Yuki Hikita was awarded Japan’s Good Design Award in December 2017. Via BBC Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Japanese train barks and snorts to protect deer from harm

Tightening the net on illegal fishing

January 18, 2018 by  
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Although it has taken years, governments and the international community are finally acting to end this crime and mete out fitting punishments.

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Tightening the net on illegal fishing

Iceland supermarket commits to eliminating plastic within five years

January 17, 2018 by  
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Iceland Foods has committed to removing all plastic from its brand-name products within the next five years and replacing it with recyclable materials such as pulp and paper. The UK-based supermarket chain is the first major retailer in the country to commit to a complete elimination of plastic. “The world has woken up to the scourge of plastics. A truckload is entering our oceans every minute, causing untold damage to our marine environment and ultimately humanity – since we all depend on the oceans for our survival,” Iceland managing director Richard Walker told the Guardian . “The onus is on retailers, as leading contributors to plastic packaging pollution and waste, to take a stand and deliver meaningful change.” Iceland acknowledges that it is now practical to make the switch to plastic-free products, thanks to technological advancements in alternative packaging . “There really is no excuse any more for excessive packaging that creates needless waste and damages our environment,” said Walker. The supermarket chain has already removed plastic straws from its stores and products and will soon switch to paper-based food trays. Related: Britain’s first zero-waste store is packaging-free and only sells ethical goods The move by Iceland has been praised by environmental activists like John Sauven, executive director for Greenpeace UK , who acknowledged the “bold pledge” while pressing “other retailers and food producers to respond to that challenge,” according to the Guardian . “Iceland’s commitment to go plastic-free by 2023 shows that powerful retailers can take decisive action to provide what their customers want, without the environment paying for it,” added Samantha Harding of the Campaign to Protect Rural England . Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has committed to eliminating all avoidable public waste within the next 25 years. May has also supported anti-plastic policies such as the expansion of a plastic bag tax, encouraging supermarkets to add plastic-free aisles, and funding research and development of plastic alternatives and support for developing countries as they seek to shift to away from plastic and its pollution . Via the Guardian Images via Iceland Foods

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Iceland supermarket commits to eliminating plastic within five years

Geothermal-powered Halifax home uses automation for energy savings

January 17, 2018 by  
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Omar Gandhi Architect completed a handsome luxury home in Halifax that’s both modern in appearance and in its use of energy-efficient technologies. Located in the south end of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Syncline House is a two-story residence with a mezzanine set atop a rocky foundation that inspired the home’s name. Energy efficiency was a major feature of the new-build, from the ample natural lighting and triple-glazed windows to the use of geothermal and solar energy. Set atop a concrete base, Syncline House comprises two interconnected volumes connected via a light-filled atrium and clad in textured Fibre-C panels, a type of lightweight white fiber-cement panel that boasts fire resistance and long-term durability. The taller of the two volumes houses the communal areas like the open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen on the main floor and a media room and gym on the ground floor. The second volume contains a master ensuite, office, and dressing room on the main floor and a garage on the ground floor. A guest bedroom is placed on the mezzanine level. Related: Artists’ Wooden Cabin Climbs Up a Hillside in Nova Scotia Full-height triple-glazed windows frame stunning views of Point Pleasant Park next door and the ocean waters of the North-West Arm beyond. The homeowners can also enjoy the view from west-facing walkout decks that extend from the living room and from the master bedroom. The airy and light-filled interior features wide white oak flooring, whitewashed walls, and floor-to-ceiling header-less doors. Rooftop solar panels and geothermal heat pumps power the home that uses automated blinds and recessed windows on the southwest facade for passive cooling. + Omar Gandhi Architect Via ArchDaily Images via Omar Gandhi Architect

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Geothermal-powered Halifax home uses automation for energy savings

China is planting 6.6 million hectares of new forest almost the size of Ireland

January 11, 2018 by  
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The government of China has announced its plans to plant forests in 2018 that will occupy at least 6.6 million hectares, roughly equivalent to the size of Ireland . As the United States forfeits its leadership on climate change, China has been eager to seize the moment by taking bold action to mitigate the impact of climate change . The State Forestry Administration of China is working towards raising the total percent of the country’s territory covered by forests from 21.7 percent to 23 percent by 2020, then to 26 percent by 2030. The massive reforestation project will be a collaboration between the Chinese government and internal and external groups that know how to get the job done. “Companies, organisations and talent that specialise in greening work are all welcome to join in the country’s massive greening campaign,” said Zhang Jianlong, head of the forestry administration. “Cooperation between government and social capital will be put on the priority list.” This latest announcement is not the only reforestation project being conducted in China. The strategy of planting trees has also been utilized to fight desertification in the Gobi Desert , with mixed results. The most recent reforestation project may have more success as it is focused on planting in regions already well suited for hosting forests . Related: Shanghai’s sponge districts fight flooding with green space After China declared a national emergency over pollution in 2014, the nation of nearly 1.4 billion has invested heavily in improving the health of the environment and developing clean technologies. Reforestation is one weapon in this war on pollution . In 2018, trees will primarily be planted in the northeast Hebei province, Qinghai province in the Tibetan Plateau, and in the Hunshandake Desert in the northern autonomous Inner Mongolia region. China has already spent 538 billion yuan ($82,765,920,000) on its reforestation efforts over the past five years and plans to spend much more as it transforms much of its land into forests. Via The Telegraph Images via Depositphotos and Anthony Anastas/Flickr

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China is planting 6.6 million hectares of new forest almost the size of Ireland

Belize votes to indefinitely end all oil exploration in its waters

January 8, 2018 by  
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The small Central American nation of Belize has decided to indefinitely end all new oil exploration in its waters. Belize only produces 3,000 barrels of oil a day, in contrast to the 1.5 million barrels that the United States produces each day in the Gulf of Mexico. However, this small but significant action sends a message to other developing countries trying to balance economic development with conservation. Like many developing economies, Belize’s depends on the export of its natural resources. Despite the economic importance of oil exports, the government decided that the preservation of its coral reefs and pristine waters were more important in the long run than petrodollars today. Home to a bit less than 400,000 people, Belize also hosts the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. This and Belize’s other natural attractions, such as lush rain forests, attract tourists from around the world and generate $200 million annually, over 10 percent of the country’s GDP, in tourism revenue. Allowing oil exploration along the coast could seriously endanger the country’s tourism industry and ecological health. Environmental groups have been advocating for a ban on oil exploration since 2006, when Belize’s only oil company discovered new reserves. Related: Gorgeous Belize eco-resort will offer 100% carbon neutral villas The coral reef and its accompanying tourism supports the livelihoods of more than 190,000 people in Belize, so it is no surprise that the public is engaged in protecting the ecosystem . “Belize is a small country making a mighty commitment to putting the environment first,” said World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) reef scientist Nadia Bood, according to Quartz . Environmentalists hope that Belize will inspire similar action in other countries. “Ending oil activities will encourage other countries to follow suit and take the urgent action that is needed to protect our planet’s oceans ,” said WWF campaigner Chris Gee, according to Quartz . “Like the Belize Barrier Reef, nearly half of natural World Heritage sites worldwide are threatened by industrial pressures.” Via Quartz Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Belize votes to indefinitely end all oil exploration in its waters

Pacific starfish bounce back after massive die-off

January 1, 2018 by  
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It may feel like it’s a constant stream of bad news for the environment, so brace yourself for something good. A few years ago, it seemed as though we may completely lose sea stars after a mysterious wasting syndrome rapidly killed millions of the creatures from Canada to Mexico. But this year, researchers say that starfish are making a massive comeback. Sea Star Wasting Syndrome, which is linked to warming waters , hit the West Coast from 2013 to 2014, causing starfish to sort of “melt,” dropping limbs, deflating and wasting away. But where sea stars had practically vanished in some areas, they can be seen popping up again. “They are coming back, big time,” said Darryl Deleske, a researcher for the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium . Related: Researchers in Oregon Expect Wasting Disease to Completely Wipe Out Starfish Populations in the Near Future These types of die-offs have happened every decade since the 1970s, but never on the scale of 2013. But lately, places that were completely devoid of starfish are filling up with them once again. Sadly, it isn’t time to celebrate, yet. While populations seem to be rebounding, the disease hasn’t completely disappeared. It appears to be active in Washington and has never completely stopped in California or Oregon. Still, experts are hopeful that future generations of sea stars will be more resilient to the disease. Via Phys.org Images via Unsplash and UCSC

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Pacific starfish bounce back after massive die-off

Hundreds of dead sharks wash up on the shores of the Persian Gulf

December 20, 2017 by  
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Officials in Iran came across a gruesome sight this week: hundreds of dead sharks washed up on shore . The cause isn’t some natural phenomenon – hunters have been illegally capturing the sharks, sawing off the fins and tossing them back into the water, where they got caught up in currents and eventually wound up on land. Hossein Delshab, an official in the city of Bushehr, told a local news agency that hundreds of dead sharks had recently washed up on the shores of Shif island, raising “an alarm about the extinction of sharks” in the area. Related: 512-year-old Greenland shark may be the oldest living vertebrate on Earth Although shark fishing has been banned in the area since 2014, high demand for their prized fins has made hunting them worth the possible fine if the poachers are caught. Violators can be fined up to $7,000. But because it is believed that shark fin can help with sexual disorders, they are a popular item in local markets. Via BBC Images via Wikipedia and Deposit Photos ( 1 , 2 )

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Hundreds of dead sharks wash up on the shores of the Persian Gulf

Carnivorous marsupial alive and well after being presumed extinct for 100 years

December 18, 2017 by  
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A carnivorous marsupial thought to be extinct for a century has been found alive in the Australian state of New South Wales. The crest-tailed mulgara, one of two mulgara species, is known to have endured in the arid region of Central Australia. Its discovery in Sturt National Park near the northwest corner of New South Wales is a surprise, considering that the crest-tailed mulgara’s presence in the region was previously limited to fossilized bone fragments. Documenting the crest-tailed mulgara’s population distribution was also complicated by the fact that until 2005, crest-tailed and bush-tailed mulgaras were considered to be the same species. The crest-tailed mulgara was one of Australia’s many native species that fell victim to invasive animals . “The crest-tailed mulgara was once widely distributed across sandy desert environments in inland Australia, but declined due to the effects of rabbits, cats and foxes,” said Rebecca West of the University of New South Wales . West’s team at the university’s Wild Desert project discovered the crest-tailed mulgara in New South Wales during a recent scientific monitoring trip. Mulgaras are nocturnal and do not need to drink water , instead gaining the moisture that they need through the insects, reptiles and small mammals that they eat. Related: Google Street View captures the migration of millions of crabs on Christmas Island The mulgara’s rediscovery comes at an opportune time for the team, which is preparing to implement a predator reintroduction and rabbit eradication effort. “The aim of this project is to return mammal species not seen in their natural habitat for over 90 years in Sturt National Park,” said Jaymie Norris, National Parks and Wildlife Service area manager.“Rabbits, cats and foxes will be eradicated from two 20-square-kilometre fenced exclosures in Sturt National Park, before locally extinct mammals are reintroduced.” Via ScienceAlert Images via Reece Pedler/UNSW and Depositphotos

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