Greenland’s ice melt enough to cover Florida in water

August 2, 2021 by  
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Greenland’s vast ice sheets are melting away at an alarming rate, according to a recent report. As reported by the Danish government, the ice sheet lost 8.5 billion tons of surface mass on Tuesday alone. On Thursday, another 8.4 billion tons were lost thanks to high temperatures. The melting experienced on Tuesday released enough water to cover the entire state of Florida in two inches of water. This meltdown has caused concern, as continued large-scale melting of Greenland’s ice could lead to flooding in coastal cities worldwide. Related: Greenland ice sheet melting faster than in last 12 millennia While speaking to the Guardian, Marco Tedesco, a glacier expert at Columbia University, said that the current melting rate will likely accelerate future ice melting . “It’s a very high level of melting and it will probably change the face of Greenland, because it will be a very strong driver for an acceleration of future melting, and therefore sea-level rise.” Currently, Greenland is experiencing record temperatures, with a reading of 19.8 degrees Celcius (roughly 67 degrees Fahrenheit) recorded last Wednesday. Although it is normal for the region to experience warmer temperatures this time of year, this year’s temperatures have been a notch higher. The high temperatures led to the melting of seasonal ice, exposing darker core ice, which is also melting. “The snow is like a protective blanket so once that’s gone you get locked into faster and faster melting, so who knows what will happen with the melting now. It’s amazing to see how vulnerable these huge, giant areas of ice are. I’m astonished at how powerful the forces acting on them are,” Tedesco said. Tedesco adds that the current atmospheric events, while normal, are becoming longer and frequent. Greenland warms up when high pressure sucks warm air from further south and holds it over parts of the country. Usually, Greenland’s melting season starts in June and runs to August. According to recent data released by the Danish government, more than 100 billion tons of ice have been lost since June this year. While this year’s ice melt is less than that experienced in 2019, when 11 billion tons of ice were lost in a single day, the area affected is much bigger. The prolonged season is also a major concern. Via EcoWatch and The Guardian Lead image via Pexels

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Greenland’s ice melt enough to cover Florida in water

It’s time to redefine sustainability

July 27, 2021 by  
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It’s time to redefine sustainability Esteban Guerrero Tue, 07/27/2021 – 02:15 It’s time we should be able to explain sustainability to a 5-year-old — in five words or less. There really aren’t many simple definitions of sustainability. This matters because if we want more people to contribute to a sustainable future, they would first need to know what to do, what the goal is. As expressed by social and environmental leaders recently, people need to become their own problem solvers — and doers — in their communities. Outside-in, top-down solutions alone won’t do it. Therefore, wouldn’t it be more effective if people could just glance at a good definition of sustainability, easily retain it in memory and know exactly what to do from there? Any definition first needs to clearly explain its target word. A very short definition runs the risk of not containing enough words to meet that goal. But what if we could distill the essence of a target word so that a few keywords containing enough meaning could accomplish both goals? Wouldn’t it be more effective if people could just glance at a good definition of sustainability, easily retain it in memory and know exactly what to do from there? Upon hearing any new statement, our short-term memory gets triggered first. As Christopher Poppas stated , this area temporarily stores information, but can only hold up to seven “items” at a time, for roughly 10 to 60 seconds. For this information to enter your long-term memory, however, your brain filters through it and only keeps the key points. Therefore, the shorter definition will stay with you longer, because your brain doesn’t have to filter out information because every word within a small definition counts. Existing definitions Let’s begin with the most well-known definition of sustainability, from the Brundtland report: “Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs […] Sustainable development requires meeting the basic needs of all and extending to all the opportunity to fulfill their aspirations for a better life.” Although comprehensive, this definition is too long, even for sustainability professionals to try to recite. I looked at over 70 of the top schools, corporations and organizations in hopes of finding shorter but equally comprehensive definitions. Unfortunately, some definitions were too complex; others, not comprehensive enough. For example: Only 42.7 percent of the definitions mention “people” and “coexist.” Fewer, 22.7 percent, discussed our planet, resources and nature. And only 13.6 percent of the definitions included words such as “future,” “permanent” or “forever.” But nearly no definition explained what people should actually be caring about in terms of sustainability. Only 6.4 percent of the definitions used the word “fulfillment” while 8.2 percent discusses “meeting needs.” Fortunately, when we consider all these definitions in aggregate, we can see three essential themes: we want to include everyone; we want to enable people to lead the fulfilling lives they want; and we also want to enable future generations to do the same. The Brundtland definition above includes all three themes. So, if most of the other definitions do not include all three themes, or they do, but not in significantly fewer words, why are they useful? They do not offer anything new nor are they more effective at delivering the same message. To be transparent, I did find a few short definitions, but here is why they don’t work: “People, profit, planet ” is a definition by John Elkington and was very powerful and useful when it first came out, partly because of its alliteration and partly because it does seem to allude to the essential elements of sustainability. However, it is open-ended; you still have to explain to your audience what each word means. “Healthy people, healthy planet”  has a few problems. For one, is “being healthy” equivalent to “leading a fulfilling life”? “Enough for all (or “for everyone”) forever”  is the closest definition we found to adequately and simply define sustainability. It implies that people have needs to meet, that everyone should have access to resources and that these resources must be maintained. But the word “enough” is limiting. Having “enough” may not lead everyone to a fulfilled life. If mankind is to reach a truly sustained level of prosperity, we must recognize that fulfillment is a key goal to accomplish. Life is not only about meeting material needs but also about pursuing joys and aspirations. Redefining sustainability Just how much yet another definition will help? Be the judge yourself: “Fulfillment… For everyone… Forever” These 4 words (“The Three Fs”) contain all three essential elements and are very easy to remember: Fulfillment : everyone should feel confident to live the lives they dream of, not just aim for sustenance For everyone : all of mankind is included; no one should be left behind Forever : expresses the desired endless continuation of this world and encourages everyone to treat it — and each other — the best possible way to ensure future generations can enjoy life, too And this definition is actionable — you can begin acting on sustainability by contributing anything you can on any of the three dimensions: You could focus on leading a truly better life. You could help your current and future loved ones do the same. Or, you could help ensure we better (re)use resources to enable the above. That’s it. You don’t need to be an expert. Anything that you do, to fulfill yourself and everyone else, forever, helps. The next step Now that you have an easy and actionable definition, ask yourself: What’s keeping people from living more fulfilling lives? Why don’t we have full inclusion throughout everything? When will we start acting on forever instead of just the near term? Additional research will show that we need to bring about three things: empowerment; empathy; and embracing — “The Three Es.” By using each of these words as actionable verbs (empower, empathize, embrace), we can begin to evolve the current socioeconomic system at a faster rate into one that finally delivers fulfillment, for everyone, forever — for certain. Pull Quote Wouldn’t it be more effective if people could just glance at a good definition of sustainability, easily retain it in memory and know exactly what to do from there? Topics Marketing & Communication Sustainability Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz

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It’s time to redefine sustainability

UN outlines biodiversity plan to reverse climate change

July 13, 2021 by  
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The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (U.N. CBD) has set out a plan to reverse ecological destruction, cut down extinction rates and promote human coexistence with nature. The plan will also protect at least 30% of the world’s oceans and land to achieve significant climate crisis mitigation by 2030.  The latest draft arrived after extensive financial and  scientific negotiations  in May and June. The draft considers science, financial implications and nature conservation . However, it is still subject to scrutiny by governments and decision-makers before the U.N. summit to be held in Kunming China. The summit has been postponed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic and is expected to be rescheduled a third time for early 2022.  Related: UN launches program to reverse “triple environmental emergency” Besides the 2030 targets, the U.N. also aims to reduce the current rate of extinctions by 90%. The plan seeks to enhance the overall integrity of ecosystems and provide financial resources to achieve the vision. The U.N. also aims to reverse $500 billion (£360 billion) in government subsidies that support harmful environmental practices.  Basile van Havre, co-chair of the CBD working group that drafted the agreement, says that the set goals are based on the latest scientific data. He adds that the draft aims to introduce a significant shift in agriculture and other land use purposes that affect the ecosystem. “Change is coming,” van Havre said. “There will be a lot more of us in 10 years and they will need to be fed so it’s not about decreasing the level of activity. It’s about increasing the output and doing better for nature .” One of the targets is to cut the use of harmful pesticides and reduce the effects of such harmful chemicals in the ecosystem. “Cutting nutrient runoff in half, reducing pesticide use by two-thirds and eliminating plastic discharge: those are big. I’m sure they’re going to raise some eyebrows as they present significant change, particularly in the agriculture.” Scientists warn that human activities are driving the current mass extinction of species, making it the sixth mass extinction in the planet’s history. However, scientists also say that humans still have a chance to save the earth and promote an ecosystem that supports the coexistence of humans and other species.  “We don’t control what is happening on the climate change agenda but science is telling us this is what we can bring to the issues,” van Havre said. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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UN outlines biodiversity plan to reverse climate change

Dragonflies are losing their color due to climate change

July 13, 2021 by  
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A  new study  published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science shows that dragonflies are losing key features due to climate change . The study has established that global warming is causing male dragonflies to lose their color, a feature used to attract mates. The study was lead and co-authored by Michael Moore, an evolutionary biologist at Washington University in St. Louis. In the study, researchers analyzed over 300 dragonfly species from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. They also cross-referenced wing colors between about 2,700 individual dragonflies from different locations and climates. It was found that male dragonflies were losing their wing colors due to increasing global temperatures.  Related: Global warming driving mass migration of marine life “Our research shows that males and females of these dragonfly species are going to shift in pretty different ways as the climate changes,” Moore said in an interview. “These changes are going to happen likely on a much faster timescale than the evolutionary changes in these species have ever occurred before.” A  different study  done in 2019 found that male dragonflies with darker wing patterns thrive in colder conditions. The darker pigmentation absorbs more heat and is likely to increase their body temperature by 2 degrees Celsius. In contrast, they tend to give away their color to adapt to higher temperatures.  “Evolutionary changes and wing coloration are a really consistent way that dragonflies adapt to their climates ,” Moore said. “This got us wondering what the role of evolutionary changes in wing coloration might be as dragonflies respond to the rise in global temperatures.” While the study raises serious concerns about the future of dragonflies and mating, the researchers are unable to explain the changes experienced in female dragonflies. According to Moore, female dragonflies usually do not show drastic changes to climate change, and when they do, it is the opposite of what happens to male dragonflies. In other words, female dragonflies may get darker as temperatures rise. “We don’t yet know what’s driving these evolutionary changes in female wing coloration,” Moore said. “But one of the very important things that this indicates is that we shouldn’t assume that males and females are going to respond to climatic conditions in exactly the same way.” Via CNN Lead image via Pixabay

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Dragonflies are losing their color due to climate change

A tropical forest will soon grow in Helsinki and provide all the citys heat

July 13, 2021 by  
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A design proposal for a series of tropical islands has just won the Helsinki Energy Challenge. The goal of this contest is to decarbonize heating systems in the capital city by 2030. Projects like Hot Heart by Carlo Ratti Associati are going to make that happen. Hot Heart is a series of islands that store thermal energy and can support tropical forest ecosystems from all over the world. The islands are actually 10 basins that are cylindrical in shape. Each measures almost 740 feet in diameter. The basins serve as hot water reservoirs that are capable of storing millions of gallons of water . The system works like a thermal battery. Related: CRA unveils designs for Biotic, a high-tech district in Brazil Four of the 10 reservoirs are enclosed in transparent domes, and this is where the floating forests will thrive. These tropical ecosystems will serve as social gathering spots, and the domes will be warm even during the harsh Helsinki winters. Imagine sitting in a rainforest during the coldest day in Helsinki! Here are the basics of how it works: seawater heat pumps convert wind and solar power into heat, which is stored in the Hot Heart reservoirs. An AI system controls the production and consumption of thermal energy and will help to stabilize the national energy grid. In fact, the system is expected to provide for all of Helsinki’s heating needs by the end of the decade. It will produce zero carbon emissions. The cost? It will be 10% lower than present-day heating costs. The Hot Heart project is expected to be fully implemented in 2028. The proposal was developed by Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) in collaboration with Ramboll, OP Financial Group, Danfoss Leanheat, Transsolar, Schneider Electric, schlaich bergermann partner and Squint/Opera. Once complete, this will be the largest infrastructural facility of its kind. The idea was inspired by a Finnish concept of Jokamiehen Oikeudet, meaning that everyone has the right to relax and enjoy nature. Harnessing nature’s energy to provide carbon-free heating solutions is definitely a great way to enjoy the natural world. This design also still respects the environment even while harnessing energy thanks to the tropical biomes and the zero-emission design. + Carlo Ratti Associati Images via CRA

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A tropical forest will soon grow in Helsinki and provide all the citys heat

Now Trump wants to condemn wild horses to slaughter

May 26, 2017 by  
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There’s a new group on the chopping block under President Donald Trump’s latest budget proposal: wild horses . His administration thinks they could save $10 million next year by allowing the sale of wild horses snared in the American West. But they’d toss out a requirement presently in place that requires buyers to guarantee the horses won’t be resold for slaughter. Under the Trump budget, these iconic animals could be disposed of to foreign slaughterhouses to be processed as food. Wild horses are integral to the West’s wild history. Where would a cowboy be without his horse? But Trump’s budget bows to the wishes of livestock interests by discarding the current stipulation that buyers of wild horses won’t sell them for slaughter. Thousands of free-roaming mustangs could meet their end in a foreign slaughterhouse. Related: Trump budget proposes 31% cut to EPA funding Wild horse advocates say the move would toss out nearly 50 years of protection for these animals. There are around 59,000 wild mustangs in the region, which livestock interests don’t like because they compete for over 40,000 square miles of forage managed by the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) across 10 states. Nonprofit group Wild Horse Education president Laura Leigh said of the budget, “This is simply a way to placate a very well-funded and vocal livestock lobby.” The last three presidents also struggled with how to manage those wild horses and another 45,000 kept in pens and pastures. BLM said the current program is unsustainable, and the new budget could allow the government to manage the horses in a more cost-effective way “including the ability to conduct sales without limitation.” BLM said rangeland in America can only sustain less than 27,000 horses and burros. Rangelands are being damaged and horses are starving, according to Ethan Lane of the lobby National Cattlemen’s Beef Association , which backs the Trump proposal to allow slaughter of wild horses. American Wild Horse Campaign executive director Suzanne Roy disagrees with the budget propsal. She said, “America can’t be great if these national symbols of freedom are destroyed.” And the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) president Matt Bershadker said wild horses can be humanely managed with simple fertility control, “…yet the BLM would rather make these innocent animals pay for draconian budget cuts with their very lives.” Via NBC News Images via Pixabay and firelizard5 on Flickr

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Now Trump wants to condemn wild horses to slaughter

India cancels plans for coal power stations as solar prices hit record low

May 26, 2017 by  
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India has canceled plans to construct nearly 14 gigawatts of coal-fired power stations in the country as prices for solar electricity “free fall” to levels once considered impossible, The Independent reports. Experts expect a profound shift in global energy markets as the cost of solar has dropped by 25 percent in some regions. Tim Buckley, the director of energy finance studies at the IEEFA, explains that 13.7GW of coal power projects have been canceled just this month. He added that the dip in solar prices is so low, it will never be repeated. A few factors have contributed to the decline in solar prices. Reportedly, the price of photovoltaic panels — which account for a major percentage of solar power plant’s costs — have dropped by a staggering 30 percent in the past year. This has helped lower prices. Additionally, the Narendra Modi government is working hard to “assure private renewables developers by backing a payment security mechanism,” according to Scroll . For instance, the Solar Energy Corporation of India , the country’s largest solar power purchases, was included in an agreement last year between the Central government, the Reserve Bank of India and the state government. This safeguards it against payment defaults — which is important, as power distribution compares are reportedly notorious for delayed payment to renewable energy producers. Overaggressive bidding is also resulting in a decline in prices, according to The Independent. An auction for a 500-megawatt solar facility, for example, resulted in a tariff of just 2.44 rupees compared to a wholesale price charged by a major coal power utility of 3.2 rupees. That’s a 31 percent difference. Related: Chile’s solar price hits record global low – at half the price of coal “For the first time solar is cheaper than coal in India and the implications this has for transforming global energy markets is profound,” said Buckley. “Measures taken by the Indian Government to improve energy efficiency coupled with ambitious renewable energy targets and the plummeting cost of solar has had an impact on existing as well as proposed coal -fired power plants, rendering an increasing number as financially unviable.” What India is witnessing, says the analyst, is a further indication of the “rise of stranded assets across the Indian power generation sector.” He added, “The caliber of the global financial institutions who are bidding into India’s solar power infrastructure tenders is a strong endorsement of India’s leadership in this energy transformation and will have significant ripple effects into other transforming markets, as is already seen in the UAE, South Africa, Australia, Chile, and Mexico.” In 2017, India’s solar-generation capacity is expected to reach 8.8 gigawatts – a 76 percent increase from 2016. According to renewable energy consultancy Bridge To India, that will make the country the third-largest solar market in the world. Via The Independent Images via Pixabay

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India cancels plans for coal power stations as solar prices hit record low

How 5G Technology Will Power a Greener Future

May 15, 2017 by  
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It is becoming increasingly clear that the conservation and protection of our natural resources is the key to a prosperous future for us all — not just the current generation, but future generations as well. Distributing and managing these natural…

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How 5G Technology Will Power a Greener Future

The no-brainer case for saving fuel economy standards

March 17, 2017 by  
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4 reasons why the Trump administration should reconsider dismantling our current automotive fuel standards.

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The no-brainer case for saving fuel economy standards

Dear Shannon: How can I promote leadership in the age of Trump?

February 20, 2017 by  
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Here are 5 to-dos to if you’d like to leverage your position at work to resist the current administration.

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Dear Shannon: How can I promote leadership in the age of Trump?

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