How to Keep the Earth Day Momentum Going

April 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco

How did you spend Earth Day? Perhaps you planted a tree, volunteered, reduced your energy use for the day, or all of the above and more. Mother Nature thanks you! But why stop saving the planet on April 23rd? In our eyes, every day should be Earth…

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How to Keep the Earth Day Momentum Going

CO2 levels just reached 410 ppm – the highest in millions of years

April 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Remember when carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere hit a terrifying 400 parts per million (ppm)? That’s number’s old news now – concentrations just reached 410 ppm for the first time in millions of years. Last week, researchers at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii recorded the record-breaking level, and scientists warn the rate of increase will only slow when we reduce our carbon emissions . Mauna Loa Observatory scientists just recorded the first CO2 level above 410 ppm since they began recording in 1958. Back then, the first atmospheric CO2 concentration was a mere 313 ppm . In 2013 concentrations hit 400 ppm . Last week’s reading was 410.28 ppm. Related: CO2 levels likely to stay above 400 ppm for the rest of our lives, new study shows University of Southampton professor of isotope geochemistry Gavin Foster told Climate Central, “It’s pretty depressing that it’s only a couple of years since the 400 ppm milestone was toppled. These milestones are just numbers, but they give us an opportunity to pause and take stock and act as useful yard sticks for comparisons to the geological record.” The United Kingdom Met Office put out a CO2 forecast for the first time ever earlier in 2017, and it turned out to be pretty close to reality; they predicted CO2 concentrations could breach 410 ppm in March but very likely would by April. El Niño is partly at fault for spiking levels of CO2, but more than natural factors, humans burning fossil fuels are to blame. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) atmospheric scientist Pieter Tans said, “The rate of increase will go down when emissions decrease. But carbon dioxide will still be going up, albeit more slowly. Only when emissions are cut in half will atmospheric carbon dioxide level off initially.” In a March NOAA article , Tans said the rate of CO2 growth over the last 10 years is 100 to 200 times quicker than the rate Earth saw as it transitioned out of the Ice Age, saying “This is a real shock to the atmosphere.” Via Climate Central Images via Flickr , Flickr  and Wikimedia Commons

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CO2 levels just reached 410 ppm – the highest in millions of years

Lithium-ion batteries made from recycled glass bottles store almost 4x more energy

April 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

A team of researchers at UC Riverside developed a low-cost way of turning disgarded glass bottles into lithium-ion batteries that store almost four times more energy and can last much longer than conventional batteries. This could mean significantly fewer charges for laptops, cell phones and electric cars, not to mention reducing waste. The team, led by Cengiz Ozkan, professor of mechanical engineering, and Mihri Ozkan, professor of electrical engineering at UC Riverside, asked themselves whether silicon dioxide found in waste beverage bottles would be able to provide high purity silicon nanoparticles that can be subsequently used for lithium-ion batteries. The three-step process of producing the anodes starts by crushing and grounding glass bottles into fine white powder, silicon dioxide is then converted into nanostructured silicon, followed by coating the silicon nanoparticles with carbon. Related: 94-year-old inventor of lithium-ion cells develops new battery that can store 3 times more energy According to lab test, coin cell batteries that were made using the glass bottle-based silicon anodes considerably outperformed conventional batteries and demonstrated excellent electrochemical performance. The team expect these high-performance batteries to not only extend the range of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles, but also provide extra power with fewer charges to laptops, cell phones, and other gadgets. Photos via University of California, Riverside

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Lithium-ion batteries made from recycled glass bottles store almost 4x more energy

Why scientists will march in over 400 cities on Earth Day

April 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Even if the president of the United States rejects science , scientists plan to make their voices heard. Tomorrow they’ll march on Washington, D.C. and over 400 locations around the world in the March for Science . While organizers say the march was inspired by the success of the January 21 Women’s March, they also emphasize their event is nonpartisan. Their march will celebrate science and highlight “the need to respect and encourage research that gives us insight into the world.” Tens of thousands of people are expected to show up for the March for Science in Washington, D.C. tomorrow. People will gather at the Washington Monument starting at 8:00 AM, and will participate in teach-ins and a rally program until the march at 2:00 PM. Speakers include Bill Nye and pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha who helped expose Flint , Michigan lead poisoning. Related: Trump inspires 400 scientists to run for office Trump isn’t the only reason for the March for Science. Scientists and academics have been concerned for years now over public distrust of science. The event’s mission page says, “People who value science have remained silent for far too long in the face of policies that ignore scientific evidence and endanger both human life and the future of our world. New policies threaten to further restrict scientists’ ability to research and communicate their findings. We face a possible future where people not only ignore scientific evidence, but seek to eliminate it entirely…We must take science out of the labs and journals and share it with the world.” The American Association for the Advancement of Science , the American Chemical Society , and the American Geophysical Union all support the march. Satellite marches will take place on six different continents. You can register for the march in Washington, D.C. or find a march near you here . If you can’t attend the Earth Day science march, you can march for climate science in the People’s Climate Mobilization on DC on April 29. + March for Science Via The Washington Post Images via Wikimedia Commons and March for Science

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Why scientists will march in over 400 cities on Earth Day

Why your company’s Earth Day pitch may be tone deaf

April 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Consumers are looking for more than one-off Earth Day events — they are looking for movement makers.

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Why your company’s Earth Day pitch may be tone deaf

Newly discovered exoplanet may be the best place to search for extraterrestrial life

April 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Today researchers at Harvard-Smithsonian made an exciting announcement: a newly discovered planet may be the best candidate yet for finding life outside of our solar system. Earlier this year, scientists identified seven planets orbiting a star that looked ideally-placed for hosting life, but we really don’t know enough about those planets to say with any real conviction. On the other hand, LHS 1140b is close enough that we have more data, which gives it even more potential as a site for alien life. Researchers at Harvard-Smithsonian say that LHS 1140b stands out because of its dimensions. “What really sets this planet apart from others that have been discovered is that we know the mass and the radius of the planet,” said Jason Dittmann, a researcher at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics . The exoplanet is in the Cetus constellation, which is relatively close at just 40 light years away. Related: Astronomers Reveal the Most Livable, Earth-Like Planet Ever Discovered LHS 1140b is large enough to have the gravity it needs to have an atmosphere, and it orbits a star right within the habitable zone. It also has a circular orbit, which means it is a safer place for life to form since there are fewer collisions and extremes compared to planets with oblong orbits. The exoplanet is closer to its star than Earth, with an orbit of just 25 days, but its star is much cooler than our own. The findings were published in the journal Nature , and scientists hope to gather more info soon about the exoplanet with future studies using new James Webb telescope technology . Via Cnet

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Newly discovered exoplanet may be the best place to search for extraterrestrial life

The Complete Guide to Earth Day 2017

April 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco

How are you celebrating Earth Day? You could spend it in the great outdoors (all national parks are free this weekend), or by supporting an eco-friendly company. If you need a little inspiration, we’ve compiled activities all across the…

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The Complete Guide to Earth Day 2017

How Earth Day began and how it helps the planet

April 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Earth Day is April 22nd, and to get prepared for the big day, here are a few Earth Day facts that you may not know. Founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in, the first ever Earth Day was held on April 22nd, 1970. Earth Day not only marks the beginnings of moving toward a more sustainable world, it’s a time to come together and contemplate our global environmental situation, as well as participate in community and global “green” activities. Read on to find out all about this important eco-holiday . Earth Day is one of the most widely celebrated environmental events across the globe. The first Earth Day was focused on protesting an oil spill off the coast of California, but today, the focus is on increasing awareness of the planet and all the issues around its health, from fracking and water pollution to rainforest depletion and animal extinctions. More than 20 million people and thousands of local schools and communities participated in the first Earth Day of United States that took place on 22 April 1970, and one of the results of that first celebration was the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air Act. It became an international event in 1971, when UN’s Secretary-General U Thant spoke about it at a Peace Bell Ceremony at the United Nations in New York City. On that first celebration, NYC’s mayor shut down Fifth Avenue for use on Earth Day, and allowed it to be celebrated in Central Park. Today, over 1 billion people celebrate Earth Day around the world. Earth Day is celebrated in 192 countries. This day is a time dedicated to increasing awareness about the Earth, its issues and its problems, and people in different countries take action that will benefit their region the most. For example: On Earth Day 2011, the Earth Day Network planted 28 million trees in Afghanistan. On Earth Day 2012, more than 100 thousand people in China rode their bikes to save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions from motor vehicles. In Panama, in honor of Earth Day, they planted 100 species of endangered orchids to prevent their extinction. In 2014, NASA participated in Earth Day with the agency’s #GlobalSelfie event , asking people to take a photo of themselves outside and post it to social media using the hashtag #GlobalSelfie. We can all use Earth Day as a time to reflect on our personal impact on the environment. Simply implementing something that promotes sustainability, such as a weekly recycling regimen, can truly make a difference. Let’s use today as a starting point for great change, and make every day an Earth Day. + Vangel The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link. Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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How Earth Day began and how it helps the planet

For the first time, climate change has caused a river to completely reroute

April 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

For the first time on record, climate change has completely changed the route of a river. In a shift that researchers called “geologically instantaneous,” a river in Canada’s Yukon territory shifted from draining into the Bering Sea to draining into the Pacific Ocean below Alaska. What makes this particularly concerning is that while shifting rivers aren’t unheard of in the Earth’s history, never before to our knowledge has a river rerouted so quickly, causing an enormous impact on the surrounding environment. The Kaskawulsh glacier in Canada has been rapidly melting. That influx of meltwater choked out the Slims River, depriving the downstream Kluane Lake of water and causing it to drop rapidly. The water shifted to the Alsek River, which empties into the Pacific Ocean south of Alaska, where the ocean water will now see a rapid influx of freshwater. The shift began in 2016 when the melting water burst through an ice dam, depriving Slims River of its glacial water source. Now, the Kluane Lake level is dropping rapidly, which will put stress on the environment around the lake and could completely alter the geology of the area. Related: Scientists warn rapidly-melting glacier in West Antarctica could cause serious global havoc Scientists determined that this shift was driven by human-caused climate change after they looked at the Kaskawulsh glacier and calculated that there was only a minuscule chance of it retreating in a stable climate. They also believe that it is unlikely that the Slims River will return to its previous water levels. The researchers published their findings in the journal Nature Geoscience . Via The Washington Post images via Nature Geoscience, Murray Foubister and Nat Wilson

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For the first time, climate change has caused a river to completely reroute

NASA announces alien life could be thriving on one of Saturn’s moons

April 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

In a live broadcast today, NASA researchers announced the agency has uncovered the existence of key ingredients for life as we know it on Saturn’s icy moon, Enceladus . Scientists already knew that the moon had liquid water on the surface, due to the presence of geysers spewing water near the moon’s south pole. Now, hydrogen has been detected in those jets of water, which suggests the strong possibility that Enceladus’s oceans could support microbial life. It may seem strange that an ice-covered world like Enceladus is being looked at as a potential source of extraterrestrial life, but beneath the planet’s icy shell spans a worldwide ocean over a rocky core. The ice is thought to act as a protective outer layer for the sea, the same way that our atmosphere protects Earth and makes life possible on our own planet. In fact, NASA is closely observing many of these “ ocean worlds ” for signs of life. While Enceladus’s geysers have been known to scientists since 2005, this is the first time the Cassini probe has been able to detect any traces of possible life within them. It’s believed that the plumes originate in a hydrothermal system within the moon’s core, estimated to be 2 1/2 times more powerful than the one that drives Yellowstone’s geysers and hot springs. Despite the icy outer shell, the gravitational pull of Saturn provides heat for the water in the moon’s interior, another encouraging sign for the development of life. Related: Trump plans to strip NASA’s earth science division, promote mission to Mars This new information about the moon comes from October 2015, when the Cassini craft flew into the plumes themselves, a mere 30 miles above the moon’s surface. The probe was able to capture particles from the plume inside a piece of equipment called an Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer, which can analyze the makeup of material encountered on its journey through space. The probe detected a number of interesting organic molecules, including molecular hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane. The level of hydrogen , in particular, was surprising to researchers . This volatile gas isn’t easily captured on small, icy worlds like Enceladus, so there must be some chemical process beneath the surface producing the molecules. It may be that hot water from the ocean is flowing into iron-rich cracks in the sea floor, causing a chemical reaction that is constantly replenishing the ocean’s supply of molecular hydrogen. This is the same process that happens in Earth’s own hydrothermal vents , which helps fuel the strange and diverse ecosystems of the deep oceans. Because we’re familiar with exactly how this process supports Earth life, there’s a strong possibility that life could thrive on Enceladus in the same way. Unfortunately, we don’t currently have the instruments necessary to detect life directly on these watery worlds – only to look for the chemical indications of an environment that could potentially support it. Related: NASA discovers 7 Earth-sized planets outside our solar system NASA also today announced that they had found evidence of similar water plumes on Jupiter’s moon Europa , though less is known about their makeup. Unlike the Saturn Cassini mission, scientists don’t currently have an up-close view of Europa. Instead, they had to rely on data from the Hubble Space Telescope , which has been monitoring the moon to try to learn more about the makeup of its oceans. We may not know for certain until the 2020s, when NASA’s Europa Clipper mission is scheduled to launch. Via NASA Images via NASA/JPL

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NASA announces alien life could be thriving on one of Saturn’s moons

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