10 world landmarks would look if air pollution worsens

May 10, 2022 by  
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Housefresh completed a study that looks at the visual impact of worsening air pollution on the world’s top 10 landmarks. They warn us if we don’t reduce air pollution, we might lose some of the most beautiful places on Earth. From St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to the Eiffel Tower , here’s how the world’s destinations with the most incredible views will suffer if air pollution continues to increase. “We curated a list of the most beautiful city views around the world, pulling examples from articles from Insider, RTE and The Times,” Housefresh said. “The air pollution levels for each city with regards to PM2.5 concentration were sourced from  IQAir .” Related: Air pollution now directly affects 99% of the world The side-by-side images show how current views from each city will look if pollution levels reach that of Ghaziabad, India , the second most polluted city in the world, according to IQAir. At the time the study was collecting its data, Ghaziabad had a PM 2.5 level 18.2 times higher than the WHO annual air quality guidelines value, with an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 169. A good rating falls between 0-50 AQI. Data was collected in February 2022. Furthermore, Housefresh chose Ghaziabad because Hotan, China , the world’s most air polluted city, has the worst air mostly because of dust storms rather than man-made pollution. Housefresh took the images of these popular destinations and replicated visibility levels from Ghaziabad by sourcing images that “convey the smog levels experienced in Ghaziabad.” So, can we prevent the world from continuing down the road of the world’s most polluted places? “Ultimately, the effects of air pollution on our beloved views may be a gift in disguise,” the founders of the study said. “Poor air quality tends to go unnoticed day to day, and it takes events such as Beijing’s orange skies — or the unusually blue skies of lockdown life — to draw attention to the air we breathe.” By making this problem visible, Housefresh hopes to contribute to the conversation about how air quality directly impacts our health and quality of life. Seven million people die each year from air pollution related causes. And this is worsening with wildfires in the western U.S. and the Amazon. The World Health Organization recently reduced maximum safe levels of air pollution, reporting that polluted air is more dangerous than previously thought, and suggested that “almost 80% of deaths related to PM 2.5 could be avoided in the world if the current air pollution levels were reduced to those proposed in the updated guideline.” + Housefresh Images via Housefresh

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Twitter is fighting against climate change misinformation

April 28, 2022 by  
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Twitter announced through a World Earth Day post on their  blog last Friday that it will no longer allow advertisements that go against the scientific consensus on climate change . Advertisers that use scientific language on the platform must conform with the current agreed-upon language by scientific bodies. In the process, all climate change deniers will no longer be able to advertise on the platform. “We believe that climate denialism shouldn’t be monetized on Twitter , and that misrepresentative ads shouldn’t detract from important conversations about the climate crisis,” the company stated in the post.  Related: Teen tracks Elon Musk’s jet, brings attention to pollution This is not the first step the giant social media company took to stop climate deniers. Previously, the company rejected all posts contradicting climate change through the  inappropriate content policy . Although the approach worked for a while, the company has now formalized the process. The company will now rely on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to control these types of advertisements. The IPCC is a United Nations body responsible for assessing the science of human-caused climate change.  Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have been a weak link in the fight against climate misinformation. People who rely on the platforms for information are often misled by advertisements that are not based on research. Twitter’s announcement came at a time when the company was trying to avoid a takeover from Elon Musk . But now that it is, who knows what will become of the place.  Via Business Insider and CNET Lead image via Pexels

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Twitter is fighting against climate change misinformation

Airport expansion aims to become the greenest in the U.S.

April 28, 2022 by  
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The new expansion of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is a showcase of sustainable design. It is also a celebration of the natural landscape itself. It’s an airport design for a greener future. The C Concourse Expansion at SEA was designed by Miller Hull and Woods Bagot. SEA is operated by the Port of Seattle , which has a clear and distinct goal: to become the greenest, most energy-efficient port in all of North America. Related: CLT and local materials comprise new airport terminal The concourse has been designed with multiple sustainable features. Rooftop photovoltaics provide solar energy , while the electrochromic glazing on the windows prevents energy loss. The heating and hot water systems doesn’t use fossil fuel energy. There are also low-flow water fixtures everywhere. Carbon reduction strategies and biophilic design principles were used throughout the design. Additionally, the design will add fur new floors to the existing design. The Grand Stairs serve as a centerpiece for Concourse 2. The stunning design includes seating, views of the airfield and space for music and art. There are multiple dining and retail options. “You can feel the difference now at the newly modernized N Concourse and soon to open International Arrivals Facility. The C Concourse Expansion is what’s next in how SEA serves travelers, and we can’t wait,” said SEA Managing Director Lance Lyttle. In the coming years, the airport will continue to evolve. Upcoming projects include a modernization of the N Concourse and a brand-new International Arrivals Facility. Moreover, the natural forests of the Pacific Northwest inspired the design. The canopy effect of the grand stairs, the way the building captures light , the size and scale of the concourse itself all evoke the natural grandeur of the Washington state landscape. The concourse also includes areas for farmers’ markets, dining areas and retail spaces . There’s even an amphitheater for live performances. Like the forest itself, the shell of the building collects energy and modulates light. Materials used in the public areas were picked to reflect the textures of Seattle itself, the markets and the nature that give this city its distinct look and feel. Meanwhile, gorgeous views of the airfield and the Olympic Mountains beyond create an amazing backdrop. It’s a reminder of how powerful and important nature really is. + Miller Hull and Woods Bagot Images via Woods Bagot and The Miller Hull Partnership

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Scientist climate protests call out government inaction

April 20, 2022 by  
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Last week, scientists worldwide held protests to pressure government agencies to address rapid climate change . The scientists say leaders must make drastic cuts to significantly reduce emissions before it’s too late. Climate protests came following a United Nations  report  saying the world has just three years to act. According to the report, failure to make “rapid and deep” emissions reductions will cause severe climate disasters. The U.N. report explains that if the world doesn’t act by 2025, then the world will warm by a median of 3.2 degrees Celsius by 2100. Across the world’s major cities, scientists are protesting to demand government action. Related: Indigenous leaders hold Ecuador accountable for oil spill In London, 25 scientists glued their hands and pages of the U.N. report to windows at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The scientists say the agency must address the report instead of ignoring it like much of the British government. In Los Angeles, police arrested four scientists (including  NASA scientist Peter Kalmus) on Wednesday for participating in the protests. The arrests occurred at the front door of a Chase bank, where scientists protested the company’s fossil fuel investments. In Madrid , over 50 protesters were arrested for throwing fake blood on the steps of the Spanish Parliament’s Congress of Deputies. These cases represent just a few of the over 1,000 scientists who took part in the protests globally. While speaking to the  Business Insider , Kalmus said the U.N. report confirms what scientists have warned people about for years. He says that the scientific community demands action to stop emissions and climate change. “We’ve been trying to warn you guys for so many decades that we’re heading towards a fucking catastrophe, and we’ve been being ignored,” said Kalmus. “The scientists of the world are being ignored, and it’s got to stop. We’re not joking. We’re not lying. We’re not exaggerating.”  The protests were part of a week of civil disobedience organized by Scientist Rebellion, a branch of the climate change activist group Extinction Rebellion. Via The Hill Lead image via Pexels

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Scientist climate protests call out government inaction

Forest elephants do their part to slow climate change

April 20, 2022 by  
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In the West and Central African rainforests, forest  elephants  are unwittingly helping to save the world. As this relatively small elephant tears through the rainforest, stripping bark from trees and digging up roots, its actions help the forest store more carbon in its trees. According to a  2019 study , each forest elephant helps increase the rainforests’ carbon capture by 9,500 metric tons of CO2 per square kilometer. This approximately equals the emissions from driving 2,047 gas-guzzling cars for a year. Elephants perform this service by trampling the smaller trees competing with larger ones for light and nutrients, thus increasing the average tree diameter and total above-ground biomass. Related: Both African elephant species face extinction Even elephant excrement helps reverse  climate change , as they deposit nutrients and seeds wherever they go. “Elephants help disperse trees, which other animals rely on,” said lead author Fabio Berzaghi, as reported by BBC. “The trees promoted by elephants support primates and many other animals.” Unfortunately, the elephant population has plummeted from 1.2 million in the 1970s to about 100,000 in a 2013 study. They could go extinct. According to wildlife scientist Fiona Maisels, between 2002 and 2013, elephants were lost at the rate of 60 a day, or one every 20 minutes. “By the time you eat breakfast, another elephant has been slaughtered to produce trinkets for the  ivory market ,” Maisels said at the time. In some circles, ivory from a dead forest elephant is worth $21,000. Now Ralph Chami, assistant director of the Institute for Capacity Development at the International Monetary Fund, wants to put a better value on forest elephants. Instead of focusing on how much the elephants need us to save them, he thinks we should focus on how much we need them to save us. Each elephant’s carbon capture potential is worth $1.75 million, Chami estimated. “The forest elephant is a natural asset that provides value to us over its lifetime,” Chami said, as reported by BBC. “A living elephant provides services worth millions, it is helping us fight climate change and is worth much more alive than dead.” Via BBC Lead image via U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters

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Forest elephants do their part to slow climate change

20 new electric vehicles driving onto the scene in 2022

November 29, 2021 by  
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Technology is advancing at the speed of light. Fortunately, some of that innovative effort is being funneled into more efficient and more appealing electric vehicles . As the new year approaches, production lines are rolling out a variety of new options at all ends of the electric vehicle spectrum, from luxury rides, to trucks, to recreational vehicles.  Audi E-tron GT The 2022 Audi E-tron GT shares some body-style characteristics with the notable Porsche Taycan. Along with the sporty look, the dual electric motors crank out a combined output of 469 horsepower. There’s also a higher-performance Audi RS E-tron GT that shows up with 637 horsepower. EPA fuel-economy is pending, but is estimated to come in at around 232 to 238 miles. Related: Kalk anti-poaching e-bikes join the battle in the African bush Audi Q4 E-tron Not quite as expensive as the Q5, the Audi Q4 E-tron gives an option for those seeking a compact luxury SUV . The rear-wheel drive Q4 40 offers a single electric motor and 201 horsepower while the Q4 50 has two electric engines with a combined 295 horsepower output. There is also a Sportback model to consider.  BMW i4 The all-new electric vehicle by BMW offers the identifiable style of the Gran Coupe and a distinctive front grille with a base model in the eDrive40 and a dual-motor all-wheel drive in the M50. Range estimates predict 245 to 300 miles.  Bollinger B1 and B2 Some vehicles just make a statement and the long-anticipated Bollinger models are expected to deliver on that front. Love them or hate them, customers have been waiting through production delays, so we may see some roll out by the end of 2022.  These rugged beasts mirror the days of the classic Land Rover, yet aim to deliver 200 miles of range without the environmental impact. It’s exciting to see the EV world moving offroad, as well as addressing improved performance such as towing and hauling. The B2 is expected to handle a 7,500 lbs tow and have a payload capacity of 5,000 pounds.  Cadillac Lyriq This isn’t your grandparents’ Cadillac . In fact, the Lyriq is an SUV built for a new generation of modern EV enthusiasts that have been considering the likes of the Tesla Model Y, Jaguar I-Pace and Audi E-Tron. In addition to the comforts one would expect from a Cadillac, the Lyriq promises to deliver a 300 mile range. The company just began taking orders with a deposit to hold your place in the production line. Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle Let’s have some fun. This is the 2022 version of the original Volkswagen van, with a much greener design . Canoo is set to launch next year and is promoting it as a multi-purpose rig that can haul or accommodate sleepovers. The starting price is approachable at $34,750 and estimates 250 miles of range.  2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV It’s new, yet familiar. That’s because it’s basically a longer version of the widely successful Bolt . It’s a crossover SUV with front-wheel drive and an estimated 247 miles of range. Ford F-150 Lightning Truck lovers unite on Ford’s F-150 Lightning . The EV market started with small cars, so the fact that we’re finally moving into mainstream options for big rigs in the EV world will open the doors to an entirely new customer base. While it looks like the much beloved F-150, this full-size crew-cab truck comes in several trim options at different price points. There will be two battery options that provide 230 to 300 miles of range.  Fisker Ocean Now we even have entirely new companies joining the party too. Fisker was founded in 2016, so they’re likely just as excited as consumers to see the first model roll out next year. There aren’t many details yet, but it’s one to watch. Ford E-Transit When you need to haul cargo or passengers, the Ford E-transit can meet the demands without the carbon emission waste . Although it only offers a 126-mile range, Ford anticipates the E-Transit will offer an option for companies to make deliveries on regular routes with lower impact.  Genesis GV60 Adding to the slightly less-luxury-class of the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 , the GV60 hatchback will provide another option and will offer a variety of models and trims. GMC Hummer EV Pickup The easily identifiable GMC Hummer EV Pickup makes a statement in its massive composure, yet leaves behind a small footprint. The off-road design will take you places and the three electric motors will haul a load. However, you’ll have to get on a waitlist for this one or wait for other trims to be released next year.  Hyundai Ioniq 5 The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is an EV with many of the features you’d expect from the brand, but an entirely new exterior. The rollout may be sooner than expected as it may even hit the market before the end of 2021. There are a variety of trims and models with ranges from 244 to 300 miles. Kia EV6 Comparable to the Hyundai Ioniq 5 in many ways, the Kia EV6 brings battery options to an SUV-hatchback with a range up to 300 miles.  Lucid Air If you think Tesla is the only brand offering a sleek electric sedan, check out the much-anticipated Lucid Air. Not only will it bring a high-score for visual appeal, but it’s likely to set a new standard for energy-efficiency with a range estimate of 451 to 520 miles. Mazda MX-30 Another recognizable automaker is entering the EV market with Mazda’s MX-30 hatchback . The range is low at 100 miles and it will initially only be released in California, but we look forward to future redesigns.  Mercedes-Benz EQB and EQS What could be better than Mercedes-Benz quality blended with environment-loving EV technology? The fact there are two models to choose from. In fact, M-B plans to roll out a host of new electric SUVs and sedans over the next few years. The EQS carries a hefty price tag at around $100,000, but the EQB offers more affordability at half the price. While they work on a longer range, for a rig this size, the estimated 260 miles is worth consideration.  Rivian R1T Like we said, it’s fun to see EV trucks compete in the market. The all-new, fully-electric Rivian R1T brings four electric motors and notable ground clearance, so it’s suited for off-road action or a trip to the store. The range estimate is 316 miles.  Subaru Solterra Here again, we have yet another identifiable name with a first-time EV release. The Subaru Solterra has been a long time coming and will offer standard with all-wheel drive.  Volvo C40 Recharge Finally, at the end of the alphabet we have Volvo ’s first 100% EV. The all-wheel drive and dual motors offer a ride of 210 miles between charges. Via JD Power and Business Insider Lead images via Pexels

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20 new electric vehicles driving onto the scene in 2022

LEGO launches Women of NASA set

October 19, 2017 by  
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Trailblazing women who have been instrumental in NASA’s space program are being honored in a special way: as LEGO toys. The company just displayed the final design , with an official launch date for the 231-piece set that includes four women: Mae Jemison, Sally Ride, Margaret Hamilton, and Nancy Grace Roman. Science writer and LEGO tinkerer Maia Weinstock proposed the idea for Women of NASA on the LEGO Ideas platform last summer – and reached 10,000 supporters in 15 days. LEGO designers Gemma Anderson and Marie Sertillanges got on board to help transform the idea into an official set, which will launch November 1. Related: BIG’s LEGO House officially opens to the public in Denmark Sally Ride was the first American woman in space , while Mae Jemison was the first woman of color in space. Nancy Grace Roman was the first woman to hold an executive role at NASA, and was instrumental in planning the Hubble Telescope . Margaret Hamilton “led the team that developed the building blocks of software engineering – a term that she coined herself,” according to NASA . Weinstock said in a statement, “…when girls and women are given more encouragement in the STEM fields, they become more likely to pursue careers in these areas. With this project, I wanted to spotlight a fantastic group of women who have made seminal contributions to NASA history. My dream would be to know that the first human on Mars – or an engineer or computer scientist who helped her get there – played with the LEGO Women of NASA as a child and was inspired to pursue a STEM career as a result.” The original proposal included five women, but according to a LEGO statement, “Katherine Johnson chose not to be part of the set.” If you’re in the New York City area, there will be a pre-release event October 28 at the Flatiron District LEGO store on 200 5th Avenue from 10 AM to 2 PM. You can check out details on the Facebook event page here . Via LEGO and LEGO Ideas Blog Images via LEGO

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Amazon is buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion

June 16, 2017 by  
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Amazon is taking on the organic food market after announcing a $13.7 billion deal to purchase Whole Foods. The retail giant announced today that it was buying Whole Foods for $42 a share, as yet another step for the company to move into physical retail stores. The announcement comes just one day after it was revealed that the company has – ironically – filed a patent that blocks shoppers from checking online competition while shopping in a retail store. Amazon says that it doesn’t aim to fundamentally change Whole Foods. “Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, in this morning’s press release . “Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades – they’re doing an amazing job and we want that to continue.” Related: San Jose’s new Whole Foods is one of America’s greenest supermarkets According to Amazon, Whole Foods will continue to operate under its name and will source from its network of trusted vendors. But who knows, maybe someday soon you could be asking Alexa to grab you some organic kale when you run out. Via Business Insider Images via Sounder Bruce and Flickr

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France aims to roll out world’s first autonomous high-speed trains within 7 years

June 16, 2017 by  
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High-speed trains in France could soon be driverless, if the country’s national railway operator SNCF has anything to say about it. They aim to test what they call drone trains in 2019, with the hope the TGV trains could start running around four years after that. SNCF President Guillaume Pepy said if the project is successful, they will be the world’s first operator to run a high-speed autonomous train. Here’s how high-speed autonomous trains would work: sensors would equip the high-speed drone train, which currently travel at up to 320 kmh (200 mph), to run smoothly across tracks in France. The technology would help the trains detect obstacles and brake automatically. The train could also be piloted remotely, although a conductor would still be present at least initially in case of emergency. The onboard drivers would also manage opening and closing of doors. Related: China unveils train that travels on ‘virtual tracks’ SNCF said they’re not working on the technology to reduce their staff. They told French publication FranceInfo there will always be a need for a human onboard. SNCF adjoint director Matthieu Chabanel likened the drone trains to autopilot systems aboard an airplane , telling FranceInfo, “On high-speed, we are aiming for automation in the sense of automatic steering as in aircraft. In aircraft, you always have a driver, fortunately, but you have an automatic steering system.” Through the drone trains, SNCF hopes to ramp up the frequency and speed of TGV trips, especially around Paris . They think automated trains could increase the number of trips between the country’s capital and Lyon by 25 percent. FranceInfo reported a team of ten people is devoted to the project, and they are collaborating with research institutions and other rail companies like Alstom. The first prototype tests would transport goods, with passengers possibly hopping aboard around 2023. Via The Verge and FranceInfo Images via Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia

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Greenpeace says Apple is world’s most sustainable tech company

January 11, 2017 by  
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Five years ago, Apple , Facebook, and Google were the first companies to commit to powering their businesses 100 percent with renewable energy, according to Greenpeace . Delving into the carbon footprints of those and other leading technology companies, Greenpeace recently released a report titled “Clicking Clean: Who Is Winning the Race to Build A Green Internet?” We bet you can guess a few of the winners. Apparently Apple, Facebook, and Google are living up to their commitments; they received top marks alongside newcomer Switch, beating out the competition on factors like renewable energy use and transparency. Apple “played a catalytic role within its IT supply chain, pushing other IT data center and cloud operators who help deliver pieces of Apple’s corner of the Internet to follow their lead in powering their operations with renewable energy,” according to the report. Related: Apple’s water-resistant iPhone 7 will fight e-waste due to drowned gadgets Greenpeace gave Apple As in renewable energy commitment, energy transparency, renewable procurement, and energy efficiency and mitigation. The company’s only B was in the advocacy category. Google also received mostly As except for a B in energy transparency, but Apple edges out Google on Greenpeace’s clean energy index to be the top winner. But not everyone in the tech industry is a winner. According to Greenpeace, Netflix streaming accounts for around one third of North America’s Internet traffic, but they gave the company a D because, according to a statement, Netflix “is likely turning to carbon offsets or unbundled renewable energy credits, which do little to increase renewable energy investment.” Similarly, Greenpeace called for increased transparency from Amazon Web Services, calling them “a prime example of a company that talks up its renewable projects, but keeps customers in the dark on its energy performance while expanding into markets served by dirty energy like Virginia.” There’s hope yet for Netflix and Amazon; as recently as 2011 Greenpeace called Apple the “least clean” tech company , but today they lead the way in running a sustainable tech business. Via Greenpeace and Business Insider Images via Michele Ursino on Flickr and Mike Deerkoski on Flickr

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