Study finds more microplastic in baby poop than in adult

September 24, 2021 by  
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In a recent  study  published in the American Chemical Society’s Environmental Science and Technology Letters, scientists found 10 times more microplastic in babies’ feces than in adults’. Researchers discovered this in a pilot study that involved sifting through infants’ used diapers. The researchers established that each gram of infant poop contains an average of 36,000 nanograms of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PET is one of the most common polymers. Often called polyester in the clothing industry, it is also used in making plastic bottles. Previously, studies have indicated that plastic formula bottles shed off microplastics that children may swallow. A paper published last October in  Nature  revealed that plastic formula bottles could feed babies millions of microplastics per day, or almost a billion microplastics per year. Related: High PFAS levels associated with breastfeeding issues The surprising finding was that adults excrete fewer microplastics compared to babies. Researchers have several ideas as to why this might be the case. For instance, babies drink directly from plastic bottles. Secondly, babies put plenty of plastic products in their mouths, including toys and clothes.  In many cases, baby food is wrapped in single-use plastics that may also shed off a significant amount of microplastic. Besides clothing and feeding, babies also crawl on surfaces, some of which are made of polymers that shed microplastics. Kurunthachalam Kannan, an environmental health scientist at New York University School of Medicine and one of the study’s authors, said, “Unfortunately, with the modern lifestyle, babies are exposed to so many different things for which we don’t know what kind of effect they can have later in their life.” The researchers arrived at the results by collecting dirty diapers from six 1-year-olds and running the feces through filters to trap microplastics. They did the same with samples of a newborn’s first feces and still found some microplastics in the waste . For the adults, 10 stool samples were used and revealed that microplastic levels in adult feces were much lower than those in infants’ stool. These findings raise questions over the health threats children face. Although the health effects of microplastics aren’t fully understood yet, studies show that some of the chemicals used in plastic manufacturing are harmful to human health. A  study  done by researchers at ??ETH Zürich in Switzerland found that plastics contain over 10,000 chemicals, a quarter of which are potentially harmful. Via The Guardian and Wired Lead image via Pixabay

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Study finds more microplastic in baby poop than in adult

Severe droughts cause 14% drop in US hydropower generation

September 24, 2021 by  
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In 2021, electricity production by hydropower plants across the U.S. will reduce by 14% compared to 2020 levels. This is due to the extreme drought conditions affecting western states. The U.S. Energy Information Administration stated in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) that the drought will significantly affect water levels, causing some rivers to dry. States such as California and those in the Pacific Northwest, which are major contributors to U.S. hydroelectric power, have faced “extreme and exceptional” drought conditions in 2021. The Columbia River, the country’s fourth-largest river by volume, contributes immensely to hydropower generation. Its watershed runs through four states, including Washington , Idaho, Montana and Oregon. In 2020, the hydropower generated in these states was 136 billion kWh, accounting for 54% of all hydropower generated in the U.S. Related: Hydropower demand is damaging Indigenous lands The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Water and Climate Center (NWCC) has provided data showing that reservoir storages in Washington and Montana are at or above average. Even so, reservoir storage in Oregon measured just 17%. Historically, reservoir capacity in the state averages 47%. Another drought -affected state, Idaho, reported a reservoir capacity of 34%, compared to its historical average of 51%. The low water levels in reservoirs threaten power generation. And the situation may get worse as droughts continue. After record-breaking heatwaves hit major areas of the Columbia River Basin, officials issued drought warnings in several counties across Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The critical role played by these states in hydropower generation has been under continuous threat in the past decade. While California alone accounts for about 13% of the U.S. hydroelectric power generation, plants in California only contributed 7% in 2020. With the state experiencing widespread drought, it is expected that the power generated this year will be even lower than last year. In August, the second-largest reservoir in California at Lake Oroville hit an all-time low of 35% capacity, forcing a temporary closure of the Edward Hyatt Power Plant. This was the first time the plant went offline since 1967. This year, the state’s power generation has fallen on the lower end of its 10-year range. Via Renewable Energy World Lead image via Pixabay

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Severe droughts cause 14% drop in US hydropower generation

This apple factory turned artist ranch is a budding community

September 23, 2021 by  
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This is the story of how a decommissioned apple processing facility became a modern rural retreat. Created by Best Practice Architecture, Cloud Ranch is an amazing combination of the old and the new. Cloud Ranch is in Tieton, Washington , a spot surrounded by expansive views. Before its construction, many people just saw an old warehouse building, a run-down spot where agriculture and industry once met. But Michael Northrup saw much more. He hired Best Practice Architecture to transform the space into the vision he had: a bridge between the agricultural and artistic communities. Related: Ranch Dressing house sets example for modernization with minimal impact A brand-new building sits next to the repurposed barn, which now serves as a gathering place to promote and share art . The facility is a thriving artist community with a writer’s cabin, workshop, bathrooms and even guest quarters. Though the property has a single owner, local artists are welcome to use the community building and public areas. As for the property’s past, Michael Northrup said, “I love living near structures with tangible human history. I respect this building for withstanding the winds, protecting the fruit that passed through and the many people who worked here. There are recipes, drawings and even romantic scribbles on the plywood walls. It’s an endless discovery.” Northrup’s new home is separate from the existing barn structure. Part of the old warehouse was removed to create a more cohesive design. Best Practice Architecture intentionally used rugged, low-maintenance building materials so the structures can withstand the heat and wind during summer. Concrete blocks, fiberglass windows, corrugated metal siding and plywood interiors contribute to the durable build. The home has a covered patio where inhabitants can enjoy the orchard views. On the upper floor, a large living area offers views of the countryside and the old warehouse, a feature of the property that Northrup loves. The south and west side of the house have peek-a-boo windows that provide privacy and limit solar gain during the hot summer months. + Best Practice Architecture Photography by Rafael Soldi

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This apple factory turned artist ranch is a budding community

What you should know about carbon removal purchase agreements

September 23, 2021 by  
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The industry recognizes the need to share lessons, which is one reason you’ve seen companies including Microsoft, Shopify and Swiss Re all publish playbooks about how they are selecting and valuing projects that have verifiable permanence.

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What you should know about carbon removal purchase agreements

Overcoming the cold chain isn’t small potatoes

September 23, 2021 by  
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Father Farms is removing reliance on the freezers and fridges for one of America’s favorite snacks.

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Overcoming the cold chain isn’t small potatoes

How US cities and corporations can collaborate on clean energy

September 23, 2021 by  
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Companies and cities should work together on renewables to get the most benefits, share knowledge across the public/private divide and ensure equality for communities.

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How US cities and corporations can collaborate on clean energy

These shipping container tiny homes provide for the unhoused

September 22, 2021 by  
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The pandemic showed us all how close anyone can come to having nothing. Many people are much closer to losing everything than they even want to know. Monarch Village, created by Studio 804, offers a shelter solution to meet the needs of unhoused people and families. Everyone deserves a clean, safe place to live. And when someone is transitioning between permanent living situations, temporary housing like Monarch Village can be a real lifesaver. Studio 804 worked through the pandemic to build 12 clean and comfortable housing units. These units provide the privacy and safety people need to live well. Related: LEED Gold apartments provide supportive housing in Los Angeles These private housing units are different from the large, open-style housing that shelters traditionally provide. Each unit is a tiny home that shares a covered patio area. The units are built around a community vegetable garden and a spot that will soon become a butterfly garden. There’s also a large public space just north of the garden . Monarch Village’s main building houses a cafeteria where meals are served to the entire shelter population. The food is prepared and served with a farm-to-plate concept. Each tiny home has enough space to sleep four people in two separate sleeping areas. There’s also a full bathroom and kitchenette in each unit, and one is fully ADA accessible. Students of Studio 804 built the furniture and cabinetry for each home. Studio 804, a not-for-profit corporation, offers hands-on design and build experience for students. Graduate students from the University of Kansas Department of Architecture join the program to further their studies and learn more about the innovative building solutions that can create a better future. Students here work on all aspects of design and construction over a nine-month academic year. Built to meet USGBC LEED Platinum sustainable design standards, Monarch Village is Studio 804’s latest completed project. Used shipping containers form the structure of the tiny homes, repurposed materials are used throughout the project and passive strategies address heating and ventilation concerns. + Studio 804 Images courtesy of Studio 804

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These shipping container tiny homes provide for the unhoused

City of Telosa enlists Bjarke Ingels Group for urban utopia

September 21, 2021 by  
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A plan for the world’s most sustainable city has been designed and is expected to welcome its first residents by 2030. Proposed for construction in an undecided desert location in the United States, the city of Telosa is estimated to cost $400 billion and accommodate a population of 5 million. Planned to span 150,000 acres, the city’s design infuses eco-friendly construction with technology to create an urban environment based on the needs of its residents. Telosa will address inequitable aspects of current society, including poor or limited access to healthcare, education and housing. It seeks to eliminate the barriers that hinder growth to create a self-sustaining society. In fact, the name Telosa comes from the Greek word telos, a word coined by Aristotle to express “highest purpose,” encouraging citizens to reach their true potential. Related: Arplan envisions a new, green City Oasis for Latvia Marc Lore, an American billionaire, former Walmart CEO and well-known investor, envisioned this urban utopia. Lore is now focusing his efforts on developing Telosa to ensure a sustainable and equitable future for its residents, making it a model for other cities. He states that the three core values Telosa embodies are being open, fair and inclusive. He aims to combine the best components of pre-existing cities to make Telosa successful. These qualities include the diversity of New York, the cleanliness of Tokyo, and the social services of Stockholm , among others. Lore plans to focus the city on its citizens and allow it to be structured on the notion of what he calls “equitism,” an economic system where residents have shared land ownership. This has been inspired by the works of Henry George, an economist and social theorist that highlighted the flaws of capitalism, particularly regarding land ownership in the United States. Internationally renowned Bjarke Ingels Group ( BIG ) designed the master plan for Telosa. A 15-minute city model will allow residents to access public spaces including school, work and recreation within 15 minutes of their homes. Plant-covered buildings and open spaces encouraging gathering weave between the pedestrian-friendly streets. These parks feature endemic plant species and reservoirs that store the city’s water. Reaching for the sky, Telosa’s central skyscraper, known as the Equitism Tower, will also take advantage of sustainable systems. It will feature elevated water storage, a photovoltaic roof and aeroponic farms that cultivate plants without using soil by spraying their roots with nutrient solutions. Meanwhile, underground systems will transport goods and dispose of waste. + City of Telosa Via CNN Renderings by Bjarke Ingels Group

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City of Telosa enlists Bjarke Ingels Group for urban utopia

Coral reef capacity has declined by 50% since the 1950s

September 21, 2021 by  
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A recent study published by  One Earth  has revealed the troubled state of coral reefs globally and their impact on the ecosystem. The researchers established that the coral reefs’ capacity to offer ecological services relied upon by humans has declined by 50% since the 1950s. The study, conducted by the University of British Columbia, found that coral reefs offer key ecological services such as food provision and protection from storms and floods. It was determined that human activities such as overfishing, climate change and habitat destruction were responsible for the declining state of the corals. The study offers the first comprehensive look at how these human activities affect coral reefs’ ability to provide essential benefits and services to humans. Related: NOAA report shows climate change is killing Florida’s coral reefs Lead author Dr. Tyler Eddy, a research associate at the UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries (IOF), said that coral reefs must be protected. “It’s a call to action – we’ve been hearing this time and time again from fisheries and biodiversity research,” Eddy said. “We know coral reefs are biodiversity hotspots. And preserving biodiversity not only protects nature, but supports the humans that use these species for cultural, subsistence and livelihood means.” Researchers analyzed decades of coral reefs trends using data from various surveys and studies. According to senior author Dr. William Cheung, professor and director of IOF, “This study speaks to the importance of how we manage coral reefs not only at regional scales, but also at the global scale, and the livelihoods of communities that rely on them.” Researchers also noted significant drops in fish catches. The study found that fish catches peaked in 2002 and steadily declined over the years. The catch per unit effort is now 60% lower than in 1950. Via Newswise Lead image via Pexels

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Coral reef capacity has declined by 50% since the 1950s

Zip around the city with CAKE’s new electric moped, the Makka

September 20, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Gasoline-burning vehicles have created enormous environmental problems, and they continue to pollute the air. It’s not just burning the gas that causes issues — it’s the whole industry. But electric vehicles can help provide solutions for these problems. One brand bringing new designs to the electric moped world is CAKE, and its new Makka model is one you have to check out. The Makka moped comes in two versions, the Flex and Range. Both run on an exchangeable lithium -ion battery and weigh in at about 132 pounds, including the battery. Charging that battery will take three hours to reach 100%, or 2 hours to reach 80%. The versions vary in speed and range; the Flex reaches a top speed of 28 mph with a range of 31 miles, and the Range reaches a top speed of 15 mph with a slightly longer range of 37 miles. Related: Crowley to build the US’s first fully-electric tugboat CAKE designed the Makka with efficient transportation in mind. As Stefan Ytterborn, CAKE CEO and Founder, explained, “With cities and urban mobility changing faster than expected with cleaner and more efficient solutions, we have been eager to share the Makka: An urban short-haul vessel, compact in size and price, reaching a wide audience in the process of deciding what their future means of transportation will be.” With an adjustable seat, the Makka can adapt for your comfort. This zero- emission transportation option also accommodates various racks and mounts to store bags and gear. Aimed at commuters in dense, urban areas, the Makka offers a quick, unobtrusive way to get around. Want to include a passenger seat? No problem. The Makka Flex can be outfitted with a passenger seat for whoever you want to bring on an adventure with you. Available in either white or gray and street legal in both the U.S. and Europe (though only the Flex is available in the U.S.), the Makka is part of CAKE’s mission toward “a zero-emission society.” + CAKE Images courtesy of CAKE

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Zip around the city with CAKE’s new electric moped, the Makka

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