Over 200 nations commit to ending ocean plastic waste

December 7, 2017 by  
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Over 200 countries signed a United Nations resolution in Nairobi, Kenya to eliminate plastic waste in the world’s oceans. The resolution is an important step forward to establishing a legally binding treaty that would deal with the global oceanic plastic pollution problem. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), there will be more plastic by weight in the world’s oceans than fish by 2050 if current trends continue. The resolution offers hope for the future. “There is very strong language in this resolution,” said Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s environment minister, in an interview with Reuters . “We now have an agreement to explore a legally binding instrument and other measures and that will be done at the international level over the next 18 months.” Although plastic pollution is a global problem, Norway was the country that initiated the UN resolution. “We found micro plastics inside mussels, which is something we like to eat,” said Helgesen. “In January this year, a fairly rare species of whale was stranded on a beach because of exhaustion and they simply had to kill it. In its tummy they found 30 plastic bags.” Even the most remote parts of the globe have not escaped the plastic menace. In the final episode of the acclaimed  Blue Planet II ,  plastic pollution is documented in isolated areas of Antarctica . Related: Scientists discover cheap method to identify “lost” 99% of ocean microplastics China is the world’s largest producer of plastic waste and biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. However, the world’s most populous country has taken the global lead in addressing these environmental crises. “If there is one nation changing at the moment more than anyone else, it’s China … the speed and determination of the government to change is enormous,” said Erik Solheim, head of UNEP, according to Reuters . Meanwhile, the resolution, which was originally intended to have legally binding targets and timetables, was weakened by the United States , after Trump Administration officials rejected the stronger language. Current American intransigence notwithstanding, Solheim envisions a future in which products and manufacturing systems are redesigned to use as little plastic as possible. “Let’s abolish products that we do not need … if you go to tourist places like Bali, a huge amount of the plastic picked from the oceans are actually straws,” said Solheim. Although there is much work to be done before a treaty is signed, several nations are already moving ahead to protect the environment. To mark the signing of the UN resolutions, 39 countries, including Chile, Oman, Sri Lanka and South Africa, adopted new commitments to reduce plastic pollution . Via Reuters Images via Depositphotos and  Trevor Leyenhorst/Flickr

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Over 200 nations commit to ending ocean plastic waste

Soles of world’s first graphene sports shoes are 50% more resistant to wear

December 7, 2017 by  
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British sportswear brand inov-8 decided to take footwear a leap further: with graphene . Working with the National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester , they developed rubber enhanced with the game-changing material for running shoe outsoles that are, according to University of Manchester reader in nanomaterials Aravind Vijayaraghavan, “50 percent stronger, 50 percent more stretchy, and 50 percent more resistant to wear than the corresponding industry standard rubber without graphene.” Is there anything graphene can’t do? inov-8 created their forthcoming G-series with flexible graphene-enhanced rubber for footwear – you guessed it – far superior to shoes with regular old soles. Vijayaraghavan said when graphene is added to rubber for the product, it imparts its groundbreaking properties like strength. The improved material offers a long-lasting grip for sneakers without rapidly wearing down. inov-8 product and marketing director Michael Price said the shoes offer durability and traction never before seen. Related: Newly discovered property of graphene could lead to infinite clean energy Price said in a statement, “Off-road runners and fitness athletes live at the sporting extreme and need the stickiest outsole grip possible to optimize their performance, be that when running on wet trails or working out in sweaty gyms. For too long, they have had to compromise this need for grip with the knowledge that such rubber wears down quickly. Now, utilizing the groundbreaking properties of graphene, there is no compromise.” Graphene is the thinnest, strongest material on the planet, and can be folded or twisted without damage. The University of Manchester has worked on graphene-enhanced airplanes, medical devices, and sports cars – and now sports gear. inov-8 CEO Ian Bailey said the company is positioned “at the forefront of a graphene sports footwear revolution,” and hinted this is just the beginning, saying graphene’s potential is limitless. The G-series shoes will hit the market in 2018. Via inov-8 and the University of Manchester Images via the University of Manchester

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Soles of world’s first graphene sports shoes are 50% more resistant to wear

Fiji is the first country in the world to ratify the Paris agreement

February 16, 2016 by  
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Last Friday, the island nation of Fiji became the first to ratify the UN climate deal reached in Paris last December . Climate change is an issue of major concern in Fiji and other pacific island nations, which are already seeing the effects of rising sea levels flooding what little land they have. Fiji’s prime minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, told the nation’s parliament it was important to act now to protect the archipelago from floods, increasingly destructive tropical storms, and the loss of fish stocks as the surrounding seas warm. Read the rest of Fiji is the first country in the world to ratify the Paris agreement

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Fiji is the first country in the world to ratify the Paris agreement

Masdar’s failed sustainable city may be doomed to become a green ghost town

February 16, 2016 by  
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Masdar City was supposed to represent the future of sustainable energy and, for a while, it did that. More than a decade in development, the planned community on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi is falling well short of its original goals. Now, what might have been the sparkling gem of the United Arab Emirates is on its way to becoming the world’s first green ghost town . Read the rest of Masdar’s failed sustainable city may be doomed to become a green ghost town

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Masdar’s failed sustainable city may be doomed to become a green ghost town

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