Researchers and Indigenous groups collaborate to save caribou

October 19, 2021 by  
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Scientists are working with Indigenous communities to change the fate of Arctic caribou herds threatened by climate change. Habitat loss has caused a 56% decline in North America’s wild caribou population over the past 20 years, a situation that scientists and Indigenous conservation groups are determined to change. Recently, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded $718,000 to Logan Berner, an assistant professor at Northern Arizona University’s School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems (SICCS), for a three-year study dubbed “Fate of the Caribou.” The study offers insights into how human actions and a changing environment affect the caribou. Related: Indigenous communities are crucial in protecting the Amazon According to Berner, the study will continue to collaborate with local Indigenous groups to determine the best ways to protect the vital animals . “Our interdisciplinary research team will collaborate with members of local Indigenous and rural communities to conduct large-scale ecological analyses across multiple caribou herds in North America using novel ecological modeling, decades of satellite observations, and extensive field data,” said Berner. Berner will also collaborate with other parties to carry out interdisciplinary research to find ways of advancing the protection of wild caribou. The team includes Regents’ professor Scott Goetz, Earth scientists , ecologists, remote sensing experts and more. According to the researchers, they will be working towards generating actionable results for the management of caribou herds. “Our research will help advance understanding and management of caribou as we partner with the Indigenous-led caribou and natural resource management boards that are central to Arctic governance. We will work with them to produce actionable science that can inform the policies and co-management of caribou herds stretching from Hudson’s Bay to western Alaska,” the team wrote in a research description. Wild caribou are an important land-based species in the Arctic for both humans and the ecosystem. Those who live in the region rely on these animals for food . These animals also help balance the ecosystem. However, for the past few years, the animals have faced threats causing their population to decline. In addition to researching ways to sustain caribou populations, the researchers will also train young scientists to continue with the conservation job. Via Newswise Lead image via Pixabay

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2021’s Fat Bear Week results are finally out

October 11, 2021 by  
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The people have spoken, and the results are finally out. Following days of voting to determine the fattest bear in Alaska’s Katmai National Park, officials at the park announced that 480 Otis 2021’s fattest bear . Otis became the fattest bear following two and a half months of heavy eating and deep resting. Otis is a 25-year-old bear living in the park. In preparation for the long winter, Otis developed fishing skills that have helped him gather as many salmon as possible, helping him put on enough weight for the winter. In the recently-concluded bear weight competition, he rose to first place after garnering over 51,000 votes. Related: Neurological disorder leaves bears in California vulnerable The Fat Bear Week usually runs from Sept. 29 to Oct. 5 every year. In the event, members of the public are invited to view and vote for the fattest bear. The bear that gets the most votes emerges as the winner of the competition. Those interested can vote online by simply clicking on the bear they like. To make the event even more interesting, organizers allow individuals to download a blank form and use it to predict the winner in advance. Every bear has a biography that lets voters learn more about it and its struggle to find food . In the case of Otis, he had a challenge finding salmon since he had to compete with young bears for fishing spots. “Otis must also compete with younger and larger bears who want access to his fishing spots,” the biography reads. “While Otis occasionally appears to be napping or not paying attention, most of the time he’s focused on the water, and he experiences a relatively high salmon catch rate as a result.” In 2019, The New York Times noted that Otis weighed about 900 pounds. Able to gain up to 4 pounds per day, Otis’s weight can quickly increase every year as winter approaches. This year’s win is his fourth so far. Bears have to eat heavily and put on sufficient weight to help them survive during the winter months. In far north regions, winter months usually mean that the ocean turns into ice blocks, making it difficult for bears to hunt. During this period, the bears hibernate and use fat stored under their skin to survive. + Explore.org Via HuffPost Lead image via Candice Rusch

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2021’s Fat Bear Week results are finally out

Best vegan Halloween cocktails for any pumpkin bash

October 8, 2021 by  
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It’s that haunted time of year again. Whether you’re hosting a boo-tiful event (see what we did there?) or are simply looking to challenge yourself in the mixology realm, don’t be spooked by coming up with ghoulish drinks to serve.  The Display Start by setting the chilling mood with the right decorations that also double as ingredients. While creating displays for the table, windows and front door, why not add some haunting messages to the bar? You can create bottle labels at home, order online or pick up at a craft supply store. These fun labels stick right over the existing bottle label, turning your rum into “poison” and your sparkling water into “elixir.”  Related: This distillery helps you make delicious, carbon-negative cocktails Ingredients and Supplies When selecting ingredients for hot or cold drinks, keep your vegan guests in mind by skipping cream-based liqueurs. Most distilled spirit is naturally vegan. Use fruit and vegetable juices and tonic or sparkling water as mixers. Fresh is best, so get the juicer out to squeeze grapefruit, limes, and oranges . You can also pick up bottle pomegranate and cranberry juices at the store. If you want a creamy result, source some coconut or almond milk. When a sweet touch is needed, rely on plant-based agave, a simple syrup made from unprocessed sugar or other sweetener of choice.  For the best presentation, keep a lookout for skull-shaped glasses and an ice mold that forms skulls , skeletons, brains, or ghosts. Test tubes make another delightfully creepy shot-sized serving vessel. Hopped Daiquiri This one comes to us from our friends at Greenbar Distillery who produce USDA-certified organic spirits and a concoction that will fit the mood of the season from the first falling leaf through Thanksgiving dinner. See the Hopped Daiquiri recipe here .  Hot Toddy The hot toddy is more of a technique than a specific recipe. It’s traditionally defined as a combination of hot water , liquor, a sweetener, herbs and spices. Most commonly, hot toddies are made using bourbon, brandy or whiskey, but dark rum is another good choice .  1 cup hot water 1.5 ounces dark liquor .5 ounces fresh lemon juice 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon of honey, to taste You can spice it up with a cinnamon stick , cardamom or star anise if you like.  Prickly Apparition Grab the shaker for a pretty spooky cocktail that includes prickly pear. The flavor can be found in brandy, gin and vodka .  1 ounces prickly pear liqueur 1 ounces vodka (you can use .5 ounces vodka and .5 ounces Triple Sec) 2 ounces fresh-squeezed lemon juice 1 ounces agave or sugar simple Put all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and shake until it is too cold to hold. Run a lemon rind around the ring of a cocktail glass and dip it in extra fine sugar. Then strain the apparition into the glass. Spooky Halloween Blackberry Grape Punch This versatile recipe can be served to the kids or the adults. In essence, it’s nothing more than fruit and club soda, but the technique makes a beautiful and flavorful drink for everyone to enjoy. For adults, use a different type of glass and add one shot of vodka or white rum. Find the recipe from At the Corner of Happy and Harried here . Pomegranate Ghost Pomegranate juice can be combined with a variety of flavors for a tasty treat. Here’s a simple and quick drink to shake up: 1 ounces lemon vodka .5 ounces triple sec 2 ounces pomegranate juice .5 to 1 ounces simple, depending on taste Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass. Warm Cranberry Cider There’s nothing cozier than slippers, a warm blanket and a hot beverage in your hands. Of course, you can go with traditional hot cocoa or a cup of herbal tea, but there’s something about cider that is distinctively fall. Buy fresh-pressed apple cider at the farmer’s market or pick up a jug at the store. At home , warm it with your favorite spices such as nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Stir cranberry juice into the mix. Use a combination of ¾ cup of cranberry juice for each one cup of apple cider. For garnish, drop a few cranberries into the hot mug and include a cinnamon stick for aroma and flair. Add one shot of white rum, brandy or vodka if desired. Poison Apple Remember: autumn is about more than gourds and pumpkins. It’s also apple season. Bring the flavor home with this recipe from the DIY Network . Ghastly Margarita For this spin on a classic, make your own infused simple sugar by boiling peppers into the simple syrup. Slice two jalapeno peppers into rings or in half down the middle. Include the seeds for the best flavor. Combine one cup of turbinado, demerara or other unprocessed sugar with ½ cup of water and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the peppers and lightly simmer for around five minutes. Turn off the heat and let the mixture steep until cool. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and put into a bottle.  1 ounces fresh lime juice 1 ounces Triple Sec .5 to 1 ounces jalapeno simple, depending on taste 2 ounces tequila Mix all ingredients in a shaker. Rim the glass with a turmeric sugar mixture for some extra zest. Shake well and pour over ice. Images via Pexels

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Best vegan Halloween cocktails for any pumpkin bash

Top 20 greenest schools in America 2021

October 5, 2021 by  
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Sierra Club is America’s largest grassroots environmental organization with a membership around 3.5 million. It’s mission is to encourage people to enjoy the many benefits of the outdoors, while lobbying for wildlife protection, clean energy, health and safety and environmental preservation. Spotlighting on these issues, the Sierra Club ranked the green aspects of 328 colleges and universities across the United States and Canada. The results of the 15th annual “Coolest Schools” evaluation were recently released by “Sierra,” the organization’s national magazine.  Related: New LEED-targeted student housing supports net-zero goals The rankings are based on a criteria that reflects a commitment to eco-friendly actions and messaging in the curriculum. Each school in the top 20 has taken actions toward addressing climate change through architectural material selection, campus planning initiatives, operational standards and energy efficiency .  The researchers also looked at the courses offered through each institution and placed a value on environmentally-focused curricula, including environmental activism, renewable energy, waste management and protection of nature. The number one spot went to Arizona State University , which has placed in the top five for the past several years. “Sustainability at ASU is an enterprise-wide effort,” said Morgan Olsen, ASU executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer. “It’s not just recycling and energy conservation. It’s integrating sustainability in everything we do: academic offerings, the research we conduct, the way we operate campus, student experiences, investments we make with our endowment and even the food we serve.” The campus honors this commitment with 37 percent of all food and drink offerings being plant-based (some sourced from the on-campus educational garden). It also developed a protective habitat for burrowing owls and planted a forest to provide education about how trees capture carbon. Nearly 95 percent of the academic departments offer coursework on the topic of sustainability.  With similar initiatives, campuses across California reflected the environmental protection ideology prevalent throughout the state. Campuses in Irvine, Berkeley, Merced, Santa Barbara and Davis all made the short list. Also representing the west coast is Seattle University, placing 14th.   Schools in the eastern portion of the United States also represented well, placing in nine of the top 20 spots across campuses in New York , Connecticut, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maine and District of Columbia. Rounding out the top 20 from the center-left of the country is number 10: Colorado State University.  Canada showed a shared passion for environmental protections and the responsibility to educate students about eco-issues with Thompson Rivers. In British Columbia, it took the number three spot. Université de Sherbrooke (#11) and Université Laval (#13), both in Quebec, also made the list. Katie O’Reilly, Sierra’s lifestyle and adventure editor summarizes how the landscape of conscientious environmentalism has expanded in recent decades. “In the past 15 years, Cool Schools has evolved dramatically—we used to hear about light-green initiatives like double-sided printing and Earth Day parties,” she said. “Today, schools have dedicated sustainability professionals who innovate pathways toward audacious zero-carbon and zero-waste and circular goals. This year, I was particularly impressed by how campus sustainability offices used pandemic downtime to examine what it means to ‘come back’ and how sustainability and equity could be further integrated into every aspect of campus life and operations. They exhibited a real ‘let no crisis go to waste’ ethos.” Sierra’s top 20 green schools of 2021 are: Arizona State University (Tempe, Arizona)  University of California, Irvine (Irvine, California)  Thompson Rivers University (Kamloops, British Columbia) Cornell University (Ithaca, New York) State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry (Syracuse, New York) University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, California) University of California, Merced (Merced, California)  University of Connecticut (Storrs, Connecticut) University of New Hampshire (Durham, New Hampshire) Colorado State University (Fort Collins, Colorado) Université de Sherbrooke (Sherbrooke, Québec) Colby College (Waterville, Maine) Université Laval (Québec City, Québec) Seattle University (Seattle, Washington)  Chatham University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) University of California, Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, California)  Dickinson College (Carlisle, Pennsylvania) University of Massachusetts Amherst (Amherst, Massachusetts) American University (Washington, District of Columbia) University of California, Davis (Davis, California)  The Sierra Club recognizes it’s nothing new for youth to be passionate about the environment and sees the opportunity to support efforts to take action. Coupled with the support of college and university campuses, students have the opportunity to initiate lasting change. In addition to offering educational resources to students on topics related to the environment, these green schools set an example through campus policies aimed at green construction, recycling efforts, water savings, passive design elements and the use of solar power.  “Youth and students have always been at the forefront of movements for change, from the civil rights movements of the 60s and 70s to the youth-led climate strikes of today,” said Eddie Junsay, Youth Leadership Director of the Sierra Club. “School campuses play an important role providing the environment for students to collectively develop their political analysis and learn how to advocate for the world they want to see. This issue is a chance for schools to heed the calls of their students, to be leaders for climate and social justice.” The full ranking of 328 colleges and universities is online . Via Sierra Club Images via Sierra Club

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Top 20 greenest schools in America 2021

Largest nature reserve in Jordan threatened by copper mining

October 5, 2021 by  
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Dana Biosphere Reserve is the largest and most ecologically diverse protected region in Jordan . The reserve extends over 300 square kilometers and includes a mix of natural features that give it its natural beauty. The shallow valleys, mountain ridges, plains, indigenous trees and wildlife diversity make the biosphere a beauty to behold. However, a Jordanian government plan to explore copper mining within the reserve may threaten that beauty. Abdulrahman Ammarin, a local conservationist who protects the reserve, has been open with his frustration. “The excavations will ruin the area we were protecting for so many years,” Ammarin told Al Jazeera. He warns that such an attempt would lead to the loss of key species , some of which are only available in Dana. Related: 23 species are about to be declared extinct Ammarin has worked with the Royal Society For the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) for 20 years. The RSCN is a non-governmental organization that runs Jordan’s reserves. The Bedouin tribe, which Ammarin hails from, has also protected the reserves for centuries. According to Ammarin, the exploration of copper in the reserve would lead to irreversible effects. He argues that besides the effects on birds, animals and the ecosystem, it would also affect the local communities. “The pollution will affect all of us,” Ammarin said. The Dana Biosphere Reserve was established in 1989 and has remained protected since then. The reserve is home to over 800 different species of plants and over 215 species of birds . These species represent roughly one-third of all plant species in Jordan and about half of the bird species. Some of these are already threatened, while others are native to the reserve. Conservationists are worried that mining might drive away such species. The RSCN and other conservation groups have condemned the decision by the Jordanian government to go ahead with its plans. According to Al Jazeera, the government began choosing mining areas in August. “It’s a very diverse area with four different bio-geographic zones, and it also has important archaeological sites. Its biodiversity and heritage need to be protected,” said Fares Khoury, co-founder of the NGO Jordan Birdwatch and a professor of animal biology. Via Al Jazeera Lead image via Jonathan Cook-Fisher

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San Francisco coffee shop opens right by Golden Gate Bridge

September 28, 2021 by  
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Coffee lovers have a zillion options to grab a cup of coffee in San Francisco , but Equator Coffee’s newest location will trump all the others. Its new Round House Café has a nearly 360 degree view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. Round House is part of Equator’s ongoing partnership with the national park system. Its first national park location opened in Fort Mason Center in 2017, followed by outlets in the Presidio and the Warming Hut at Crissy Field. Visitors will soon be able to get cozy with a cup of Equator coffee on the notoriously windy Alcatraz Island. But you can’t top the new Round House location in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is one of the most visited sites in the national park system. Related: HOH Cafe is a shipping container coffee shop hidden in a tranquil park “The Golden Gate Bridge is the span that connects us, and the revitalized Round House is where we’ll meet,” said Chris Lehnertz, President & CEO of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. “We are delighted to work with Equator Coffees, an organization that reflects our values of putting people and communities first.” Equator has long played an important part in Bay Area coffee culture. The company started in a Marin County garage in 1995, when Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell decided to roast coffee themselves. They wanted their coffee to focus on quality, sustainability and social responsibility. In 1997, McDonnell made her first trip to Guatemala to study coffee production at its origin. In this case, the Chipicay Cooperative. “The first visit to see the land and the people who grow coffee filled me with a sense of wonder, gratitude and privilege to be a small part of the coffee world,” she said. In 1999, Equator became one of the first fair trade certified roasters, sourcing its coffee from the Soppexcca Cooperative in Nicaragua . In 2008, the company decided to buy its own coffee farm in Volcan, Panama. Equator became the first B Corp certified coffee roaster in California in 2011, and in 2016 was the first LGBTQ -owned business to win National Small Business of the Year from the Small Business Administration. “Equator Coffees will be a beloved addition to the Golden Gate Bridge Visitor Plaza, which was transformed in 2012 for the Bridge’s 75th anniversary,” said Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz, spokesperson for the Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District. “We hope visitors will use this space to meet, learn about the history of the Bay Area’s most iconic landmark and enjoy their visit to the Bridge with a warming beverage from Equator.” + Equator Images via World Centric

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San Francisco coffee shop opens right by Golden Gate Bridge

Simple Mills on how to bake sustainability into food design

August 2, 2021 by  
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By thinking about ingredient sustainability at the start, the food company has been able to create products using ingredients with regenerative agriculture benefits.

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Simple Mills on how to bake sustainability into food design

Soil matters more than you think

November 3, 2017 by  
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Organic retailer Annie’s Homegrown unearths the food industry’s unique opportunity to tackle climate change.

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Soil matters more than you think

Soil matters more than you think

November 3, 2017 by  
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Organic retailer Annie’s Homegrown unearths the food industry’s unique opportunity to tackle climate change.

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Soil matters more than you think

6 urban farms feeding the world

October 26, 2017 by  
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A bustling city is the last place you’d ever expect to find a farm. But urban agriculture is alive and well, providing city dwellers with local, sustainable food.  These days, you can urban farms  inside warehouses, on top of buildings, and even on the tiniest plots of land. If you are looking to grow food in your city, take a look at these six different urban farming projects we’ve rounded up to highlight various creative antidotes to the pressing issue that is global food security . Detroit agrihood feeds 2,000 households for free The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative started a three-acre agrihood in Detroit to bring local, fresh produce to the neighborhood. The agrihood includes a two-acre garden, children’s sensory garden, 200-tree fruit orchard, and a Community Resource Center in the works. Nutritional illiteracy and food insecurity are two obstacles Detroit residents face, and the agrihood provides a community-friendly solution offering free produce to around 2,000 households. Related: Wind-powered vertical Skyfarms are the future of sustainable agriculture Rooftop farms in Gaza grow food where resources are scarce Urban farming initiatives don’t need to be massive to make a difference. The almost two-million population of Palestine’s Gaza Strip doesn’t have much land to farm, so in 2010 the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization introduced the concept of rooftop farming on a large scale by giving 200 homes equipment for aquaponic growing systems. Other Palestinians have built garden beds with recycled plastic and wood, planted with seeds from nearby farmers. Ahmad Saleh, a former professor and community organizer, said rooftop gardens empower people and help create healthier populations. Indianapolis warehouse farm is 100 percent powered by renewable energy Old warehouses are being transformed into farms in some areas of the world, like at Farm 360 in Indianapolis , Indiana. The farm’s hydroponic systems are completely powered by clean energy, and the indoor farm produces fresh, local food year-round. The nearby neighborhood had struggled with poverty and unemployment, and one of Farm 360’s goals was to boost economic growth by providing jobs close enough to where employees live for them to walk or bike to work. Farm on Tel Aviv mall roof produces 10,000 heads of greens every month Israel’s oldest mall, Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv , received a burst of life with the Green in the City rooftop farm. There’s no dirt necessary for the hydroponic systems able to churn out 10,000 heads of greens a month, inside two greenhouses boasting around 8,073 square feet of space. All of the produce is sold, largely to local homes and restaurants through online orders delivered by bicycle. The Green in the City garden was launched by hydroponics company LivinGreen and the sustainability department of Dizengoff Center to raise awareness of the food crisis and offer affordable local produce. World’s largest rooftop farm in Chicago can grow 10 million crops annually Chicago , Illinois is home to the world’s biggest rooftop garden after Brooklyn-based agriculture company Gotham Greens expanded out of New York to start the 75,000-square-foot garden on top of a Method Products manufacturing plant. William McDonough + Partners and Heitman Architects designed the project, which grows 10 million pesticide-free herbs and greens every year, all year round, inside a greenhouse facility powered by renewable energy . Massive Shanghai urban farm to feed nearly 24 million people Shanghai , China is home to over 24 million people, and a 100-hectare urban farm planned for the city could feed nearly all of them. Architecture firm Sasaki is behind the Sunqiao Urban Agricultural District, which is designed to weave vertical farms among towers. Hydroponic and aquaponic methods, floating greenhouses, and algae farms are all part of the design. Images via The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative Facebook , Mohamed Hajjar , Esther Boston , © Lucy Wang , Gotham Greens, and ArchDaily

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