Climate crisis could turn the Amazon rainforest to savanna

October 6, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Climate crisis could turn the Amazon rainforest to savanna

A new study published in the journal Nature Communications indicates that the Amazon rainforest could shift from a closed canopy rainforest to an open savanna due to the climate crisis. The study shows that the rate of deforestation coupled with forest fires sparked by climate change could significantly change the status of the rainforest in the future. According to the researchers, rainforests are very sensitive to changes in rainfall. If they experience prolonged droughts and fires like the ones recently witnessed in the Amazon , they may lose more trees and become more like a savanna. Although scientists have always known that this was possible, it was thought that such changes were decades away. The new study, led by the Stockholm Resilience Centre, now indicates that the changes are much closer than initially anticipated. Related: You can help monitor Amazon deforestation from your couch Almost 40% of the Amazon is already receiving less rainfall than usual and is at the point where it could exist as a savanna instead of a rainforest . While the researchers say that the process of fully changing the forest to savanna would take decades, they also say that once the process starts, it is nearly irreversible. “Drier conditions make it harder for the forest to recover and increase the flammability of the ecosystem,” Arie Staal, lead author of the study, told The Guardian . If the Amazon rainforest changes to a savanna, there would be dangerous consequences. Rainforests are important because they support a huge number of species and absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. If the rainforest changes, much of the plant and animal species here could be lost. The problems experienced by rainforests like the Amazon are exacerbated by harmful policies. For instance, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil has made promises to develop the Amazon , a move that has been criticized by many. This year, the Amazon has experienced a 60% increase in fire hotspots compared to 2019. The study now warns that if such fires continue, the rainforest could be permanently altered. + Nature Communications Via The Guardian Image via Jose Eduardo Camargo

Go here to read the rest: 
Climate crisis could turn the Amazon rainforest to savanna

Maryland bans single-use foam containers

October 6, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Maryland bans single-use foam containers

Last week, Maryland became the first U.S. state to ban single-use foam containers for carryout. Although the legislation banning their use was passed in 2019, it came into effect on Thursday, October 1. Among the items that will be prohibited in the new law include cups, plates, trays and containers. All entities in the state will be affected by the law, including businesses and institutions, such as schools. Originally, the state had set July 1 as the deadline for implementing the new law. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the deadline was pushed to October 1. Even with the delays, many cities and counties within the state had already implemented the ban early. Related: Maryland could become the first state to ban plastic foam containers Democratic Delegate Brooke Lierman was the main sponsor of the House bill that led to the new law. Although she had proposed the bill twice before, it was unsuccessful. But due to the recent climatic events, her colleagues started to shift their positions. According to Lierman, plastics are already hurting our environment, and actions have to be taken now to stop their effects. “Single-use plastics are overrunning our oceans and bays and neighborhoods,” Lierman said. “We need to take dramatic steps to start stemming our use and reliance on them … to leave future generations a planet full of wildlife and green space.” For a long time, polystyrene foam containers have been the go-to solution for businesses. They provide a cheap option for food packaging and are preferred by most business operators. But they are detrimental to the environment. In opposition to the new bill, the American Chemistry Council said that banning the single-use containers would vastly harm the local businesses. “Polystyrene foam packaging and containers provide business owners and consumers with a cost-effective and environmentally preferable choice that is ideal for protecting food and preventing food waste , particularly when used for food service,” the council argued. “Foam packaging is generally more than 90 percent air and has a lighter environmental impact than alternatives.” Although the law does not leave loopholes for continued use of the outlawed products, the Maryland Department of Environment allows schools and other institutions to apply for a grace period of up to one year. This will only be granted in special situations, where the institution may not be able to fulfill the ban in time. + Maryland Expanded Polystyrene Ban Via CNN Image via Jens S.

Read more: 
Maryland bans single-use foam containers

Mealworms can serve as protein source, research says

September 10, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Mealworms can serve as protein source, research says

A new study published in the Journal of Insects as Food and Feed has revealed that yellow mealworms can serve as an alternative protein source for animals and, possibly, humans. The study comes at a time when global food demands keep rising. Spontaneous population growth in developing countries has led to a shortage of protein sources, prompting researchers to look for alternative options. The new research, conducted by Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), proposes yellow mealworms as a food source. Christine Picard, associate professor of biology and the director of the Forensic Investigative Sciences Program at IUPUI School of Science, led the research. The study focused on analyzing the genome of a mealworm species known as tenebrio molitor. “Human populations are continuing to increase, and the stress on protein production is increasing at an unsustainable rate, not even considering climate change ,” Picard said. Findings explain that the yellow mealworm can offer several agricultural benefits. Fish and domestic birds can use the worms as an alternative source of protein. The worms can also help produce organic fertilizer, with their nutrient-rich waste. The mealworm genome research employed a 10X Chromium linked-read technology. Researchers now say that this information is available for use by those seeking to utilize DNA to optimize mealworms for mass production. According to Picard, IUPUI’s research has dealt with the challenging part, opening doors for interested stakeholders. “ Insect genomes are challenging, and the longer sequence of DNA you can generate, the better genome you can assemble. Mealworms, being insects, are a part of the natural diet of many organisms,” Picard said. Since fish enjoy mealworms as food , the researchers propose adopting these worms for fish farming. Researchers also say that pet food industries can use the worms as a supplemental protein source. In the future, mealworms could also serve as food for humans. “Fish enjoy mealworms, for example. They could also be really useful in the pet food industry as an alternative protein source, chickens like insects — and maybe one day humans, too, because it’s an alternative source of protein,” Picard said. To facilitate the yellow mealworm’s commercialization, the IUPUI team continues researching the worm’s biological processes. + Journal of Insects as Food and Feed Via Newswise Image via Pixabay

See the original post: 
Mealworms can serve as protein source, research says

Painting wind turbines may reduce bird collisions and deaths

August 27, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Painting wind turbines may reduce bird collisions and deaths

A new study published in the journal Ecology and Evolution shows that painting one blade on a wind turbine black may reduce bird deaths at wind farms by up to 70%. For a long time, organizations, such as the Royal Society For The Protection of Birds (RSPB), have been championing for more care when it comes to setting up wind power plants to avoid the deaths of birds through collisions. This study could reveal a simple solution. Although wind farms provide one of the cleanest sources of energy , they are tainted by the effects of the turbines on birds. It is common for birds to collide with the turbines and die on the spot. The study now shows that if the blades of turbines are painted black, the rate of accidents could greatly decrease. The study was conducted off the coast of Norway; the location is home to the Smøla plant, where six to nine white-tailed eagles are killed annually. Related: US and Canada in drastic crisis with 3 billion birds lost since 1970 According to Roel May, researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Nature Research and one of the authors of the study, wind power negatively impacts wild bird populations. “Collision of birds, especially raptors, is one of the main environmental concerns related to wind energy development,” May said. The main purpose of the study was to find out if there are any mitigating measures that could reduce the collisions. The researchers found that if one of the main rotor blades is painted black, it reduces the motion smear, making the blades visible to birds when they are in motion. While the findings are promising, the study authors warn that more research still has to be done. The new study provides a platform for more studies to explore the possibility of reducing bird deaths at renewable energy plants. “Although we found a significant drop in bird collision rates, its efficacy may well be site- and species-specific,” May explained. “At the moment there exists interest to carry out tests in the Netherlands and in South Africa.” Further studies will need to be carried out in diverse locations to determine the viability of such a move in different areas and on specific bird species. Members of RSPB are also championing for establishing wind power farms in safer locations, where there are no large populations of birds. + Ecology and Evolution Via BBC Image via Matthias Böckel

Continued here: 
Painting wind turbines may reduce bird collisions and deaths

Norway oil drilling expands to Svalbard

August 27, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Norway oil drilling expands to Svalbard

Norway is expanding oil drilling operations farther north into the Arctic. Environmentalists are concerned about the fragile Arctic ecosystem, and campaigners worry relations with Russia will deteriorate as Norway pushes the limits of the Svalbard treaty. The Svalbard archipelago is northwest of Norway, east of Greenland and south of the North Pole. In addition to the 2,667 people who lived in Svalbard as of 2016, polar bears, Svalbard reindeer and Arctic foxes make their home in the remote and rugged terrain. Svalbard is one of the northernmost inhabited areas of the world. Related: Trump administration furthers Arctic drilling plan “Irrespective of changes in the environment, the Arctic is a very harsh place,” said Ilan Kelman , a professor at UCL and Agder University in Norway.  “A lot can go wrong, and when something goes wrong … it can cause extensive damage for a long time.” Several environmental groups, including WWF, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth Norway , sent an open letter to the Norwegian government pointing out its long track record of ignoring the wisdom of environmentalists to not continue a decades-long northward expansion of oil exploration. “Given that we don’t yet have the technology to clean up spills in an Arctic environment, it really doesn’t make any sense to continue with offshore extraction there,” Kelman said of the Svalbard move. Two of the reasons that this oil expansion is so tricky are the Svalbard treaty and the definition of the “ice edge.” Originally called the Spitsbergen Treaty, eight countries signed it in Paris in 1920 to try to regulate administrative and economic activities in an area that has been compared to the Wild West. Now, 46 countries are involved. The treaty states that Norway governs Svalbard legally and administratively, but that citizens from all treaty signatory nations can access Svalbard for economic activities. No nation, including Norway, is allowed to permanently station its military on the archipelago. Some experts are worried that Norway’s petroleum development in Svalbard will cause tension with other countries, especially Russia. Then there’s the ice edge, that place where open seas meet ice. This area is important because it’s where marine mammals, fish and birds feed on plankton. Because it’s so ecologically sensitive, the ice edge has been a no-fly zone for petroleum activities. But Norway has continually nudged its definition of the ice edge north to accommodate oil extraction. This latest move to open parts of Svalbard to petroleum companies is the farthest push north yet. Via The Guardian , High North News and The Maritime Executive Image via Einar Storsul

See the original post:
Norway oil drilling expands to Svalbard

The prefab Tiny Tetra House in Bali is made of recycled waste

August 24, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on The prefab Tiny Tetra House in Bali is made of recycled waste

Launched by Stilt Studios, the Tiny Tetra House in Bali is a small, prefabricated home that makes use of recycled waste materials, wood and glass for construction plus an elevated base for minimal site impact. Tiny Tetra House has 688 square feet of space with a diagonally oriented floor plan. It is elevated 40 centimeters off the ground via point foundations in order to help blend the structure into the surroundings. There is a bedroom, en suite bathroom, open kitchen, living room and outdoor terraces. Apart from the sustainable advantages of the recycled elements used in construction, the materials also act as an artistic reflective agent. Related: The FLEXSE tiny house module is built from 100% recyclable materials “At Stilt Studios, we believe we have the responsibility for both creating unique designs and reducing the environmental impact of our buildings,” said Alexis Dornier, co-founder and chief designer at Stilt Studios. “How about if we could not only reduce total material used and the footprint, but be a part of the circular economy by the choice of material used.” Bali’s waste recycling problem is similar to many places around the world, as most of what gets thrown away doesn’t end up getting recycled. The studio hopes to use this project as an example of contributing positively to the local community and the circular economy. The roof and walls of Tiny Tetra House are made of recycled Tetra Pak beverage cartons, with panels made of 25% plastic and aluminum provided by Eco Bali Recycle. This aluminum layer ensures 100% waterproofing and is proven to be more insulating and noise-reducing than common tin sheets. The contemporary sloping design of the roof helps channel rainwater to be stored for garden irrigation, and facade panels provide cross-ventilation for natural temperature regulation. The first prototype is set to be built this August, with sales starting to open up by October. Those interested can check out the project’s Kickstarter page, which Stilt Studios is using to increase community feedback. Supporters of the project can purchase a voucher to stay at the Tiny Tetra House in Bali once it is built. + Stilt Studios Images via Stilt Studios

View original here: 
The prefab Tiny Tetra House in Bali is made of recycled waste

Severe coastal floods could affect 287 million people by 2100

August 3, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Severe coastal floods could affect 287 million people by 2100

A recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports has revealed that more than 4% of the world’s population could be exposed to severe flooding by the end of the century. The study was inspired by a continuous rise in the number of coastal floods across the world, and it builds upon previous research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Currently, about 148 million people experience flooding events across the world, but this could increase to 287 million by 2100. Many of the floods are related to the rise in sea levels caused by melting glaciers. The study has now revealed that if measures are not taken to control greenhouse gas emissions , about 77 million additional people would be exposed to flooding in the next 80 years. However, even if the measures being taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions are maintained, global warming would still continue at a rate of 1.8 degrees Celsius. This would mean that about 54 million people will be exposed to coastal flooding at the end of the century. The effects of increased coastal flooding will get worse with time. In the worst-case scenario, coastal assets worth $14.2 trillion will experience flooding at the turn of the century — an equivalent of 20% of the current global GDP. Considering such factors, efforts must be made to minimize greenhouse gas emissions. Related: Venice’s worst flood in 50 years blamed on climate change The causes of increased flooding in coastal cities are human-caused global warming , storm surges and high tides. As global temperatures rise, more land-based ice melts, leading to sea level rise. But the study indicates that even immediate action may not stop the extreme flooding. The report warns that by 2050, major flooding events will have increased in intensity. A one-in-100-years flooding event could occur every 10 years. As much as 4% of the global population might be exposed to severe flooding events. Professor Ian Young of the University of Melbourne and co-author of the study said, “We certainly need to mitigate our greenhouse gases but that won’t solve this problem. The sea-level rise is already baked in — even if we reduce emissions today the sea level will continue to rise because the glaciers will continue to melt for hundreds of years.” The study has identified some regions that are likely to be affected the most by the continuous rise in sea levels. Among the areas of highest concern include southeastern China, northern Australia and Bangladesh as well as Gujarat and West Bengal in India. In the U.S., North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia have been identified as the most likely to be exposed. Other countries that are likely to be affected by major flooding include France, Germany and the U.K. + Scientific Reports Via The Guardian Image via Kelly Sikkema

Original post:
Severe coastal floods could affect 287 million people by 2100

Polar bears could go extinct in 80 years if global warming persists

July 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Polar bears could go extinct in 80 years if global warming persists

In recent years, the rate of melting ice has been on the rise because of global warming . But the reduced amount of ice makes it difficult for polar bears to capture seals for food. A CNN report shows that polar bears are getting thinner and giving birth to fewer cubs as the sea ice dwindles. Now, a new study in the journal Nature has revealed that polar bears could be extinct by the year 2100 if humans do not put an end to global warming. According to the study, polar bears are being pushed to the brink of extinction because of current human practices. The study indicates that if humans continue emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the polar bears might not exist past the year 2100. Related: Climate change-induced melting of mountain ice threats global supply of freshwater Polar bears have been ranked as the largest terrestrial carnivores. But the survival of this species depends on the Arctic’s sea ice. Polar bears only feed during the Arctic winter, when the waters are frozen. They use the ice to stand on while capturing seals, stocking up on this food in the form of body fat to prepare for the summer, when the ice has melted. If the warmer summer weather lasts longer than anticipated, the polar bears are likely to die due to a lack of food supply. Péter K. Molnár, one of the study’s authors and assistant professor at University of Toronto Scarborough, explained that the polar bears use the ice because they aren’t skilled enough to swim and catch the seals. The polar bears cannot feed if there is no ice in the Arctic . According to the study, polar bear cubs are the most vulnerable, followed by the adult mothers. If the mature males lack food, they are likely to feed on the cubs. Given that polar bears are already producing fewer cubs than before, it is important to protect the offspring by ensuring that there is ice for the older bears to fish. “Ultimately, the bears need food and in order to have food, they need ice,” Molnár explained. “But in order for them to have ice, we need to control climate change .” + Nature Via CNN Image via Margo Tanenbaum

Excerpt from:
Polar bears could go extinct in 80 years if global warming persists

Scientists discover algae species that may affect coral reefs

July 17, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Scientists discover algae species that may affect coral reefs

A new species of alga found in Hawaii is emerging as a potential threat to coral reefs. Researchers from the University of Hawaii conducted a study establishing that the red algae have been growing on the island for several years now. First spotted in 2016, the species has spread rapidly throughout the island. Published in the journal  PLOS ONE , the study revealed that a thick layer of red algae has been spreading in Hawaii . A group of scientists first spotted the species during a mission to monitor ocean life in 2016. At the time, only small patches of red algae existed on the island. When the scientists returned to the same spot four years later, they found that the algae had grown into a thick layer. According to the researchers, mat-like layers of algae cover vast groups of corals in the island’s Pearl and Hermes Atoll. This development proves especially concerning given how coral reefs usually thrive in such remote areas. The presence of this new species could threaten coral reefs on the island. Coral reefs need sunlight and space to survive, both of which are hampered by the layers of algae. According to Dr. Alison Sherwood, the study’s lead researcher, this algae issue is unprecedented. “Something like this has never been seen in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands before. This is extremely alarming to see an alga like this come in and take over so quickly and have these impacts,” Sherwood said. The scientists who discovered the red alga named it Chondria Tumulosa. Considered a “nuisance species,” Chondria Tumulosa’s rate of spread could endanger marine life . Although the algae’s exact cause is unknown, researchers list unusual water chemistry and the absence of natural algae consumers as potential factors. Researchers are now working to determine Chondria Tumulosa’s characteristics and its possible effects on marine life. + PLOS ONE Via NY Times Image via Ed Bierman

Original post: 
Scientists discover algae species that may affect coral reefs

Applying rock dust to farms could boost carbon sequestration

July 10, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Applying rock dust to farms could boost carbon sequestration

A report in the journal Nature has revealed that enhanced rock weathering (ERW) could help slow climate change by sucking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This process involves spreading rock dust on farmland to help absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide. When rocks, such as basalt and other silicates, are crushed and added to the soil, they dissolve and react with carbon dioxide, forming carbonates and lock carbon dioxide. Although this is the first time that scientists are proposing this approach in dealing with carbon dioxide, it is not a new concept. Normally, farmers use limestone dust on the soil to reduce acidification. The use of limestone in agriculture helps enhance yield. If the proposed enhanced rock weathering technique is adopted, farmers could incorporate other types of rock dust on their land. Related: Eos Bioreactor uses AI and algae to combat climate change According to the study, this approach could help capture up to 2 billion metric tons of CO2 each year. This is equal to the combined emissions of Germany and Japan. Interestingly, this technique is much cheaper than conventional methods of carbon capturing. The scientists behind the study say that the cost of capturing a ton of CO2 could be as low as $55 in countries such as India, China, Mexico, Indonesia and Brazil. For the U.S., Canada and Europe, the cost of capturing one metric ton of CO2 with ERW would be about $160. The scientists propose using basalt as the optimal rock for ERW. Given that basalt is already produced in most mines as a byproduct, adding it to farmland soils can easily be instituted. Further, the countries that contribute the highest amounts of carbon dioxide are the best candidates for the ERW technique. Countries such as China, India and the U.S. have large farmlands that can be used to capture excess CO2 from the atmosphere. Given that carbon emissions are a big problem for the entire world, this technique might just be the light at the end of the tunnel. The enhanced rock weathering technique is affordable and practical, making it a win-win. + Nature Via The Guardian Image via Pixabay

See more here: 
Applying rock dust to farms could boost carbon sequestration

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 3572 access attempts in the last 7 days.