National Weather Service claims 2019 flooding could cause record-breaking damage

March 26, 2019 by  
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The historic flooding that has been devastating the Midwest may be just the beginning of an ongoing trend. Last week, the National Weather Service released the flood predictions for 2019, and it does not look good. Toward the end of spring, the flooding could spread to over two-thirds of the United States, causing more record-breaking damage. The vast majority of rivers and lakes in the Midwest are at elevated levels, increasing the likelihood of flooding over the next few months. This includes the Missouri River, the Red River of the North, the Mississippi River, the lower Cumberland River, the Tennessee River basins and the lower Ohio River. Related: Climate change causing Nebraska’s worst floods on record, damage visible from space “This is shaping up to be a potentially unprecedented flood season, with more than 200 million people at risk for flooding in their communities,” the NOAA’s National Water Center’s Ed Clark explained. According to Grist , the floods this month have cost the Midwest around $3 billion in damage, and those estimates are expected to increase. The flooding was caused by heavy snowfall over the winter and excess rainfall in early spring. With rain accumulations this spring set to be at an all-time high, the over-saturated ground will lead to more devastating flooding. This is one reason why the lakes and rivers are already at a breaking point. Unfortunately, there is not much anyone can do to prevent the flooding . The situation is only going to get worse over the next few months. NOAA  predicts that additional melting snow and future rainfall will lead to flooding in the Midwest — and it will be even more widespread than what Nebraska experienced this month. As a reference, the 200 million Americans that could be affected by the flooding represent close to 60 percent of the population of the entire country. With flooding expected to continue throughout the spring, the Federal Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA ) is advising people to make sure they have the right insurance to cover flood damages. Normal home insurance policies typically do not cover flood damage, which is sold as a separate policy. FEMA also urges individuals to keep an eye on weather reports and flooding alerts, so they can be prepared for when disaster hits. + NOAA Via Grist Images via NOAA and Maxstrz

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National Weather Service claims 2019 flooding could cause record-breaking damage

New study claims climate change could be linked to heart defects in newborns

February 5, 2019 by  
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Climate change may be linked to heart defects in newborns. The Journal of the American Heart Association just released new research that shows how higher temperatures are related to congenital heart issues in babies born in warmer months. With climate change worsening, mothers in the U.S. are exposed to more heat than ever before. Scientists have previously shown that women who are exposed to heat during pregnancy have a higher chance of having a baby born with a congenital heart defect. Every year in the U.S., around 40,000 newborns have heart issues at birth. Related: Follow this diet for both personal and planetary health According to CNN , the number of babies born with heart defects is expected to rise between 2025 and 2035 as temperatures continue to heat up across the U.S. The study predicted that around 7,000 additional cases of heart defects will occur during the 10-year stretch, with the Midwest region seeing the biggest rise. “Our results highlight the dramatic ways in which climate change can affect human health and suggest that pediatric heart disease stemming from structural heart malformations may become an important consequence of rising temperatures,” Dr. Wangjian Zhang explained. Heart problems are among the most common issues doctors see in newborns. Babies who are born with heart defects have poor overall health and can experience issues in early development as well. It is unclear why excess heat contributes to heart problems in newborns. Previous studies conducted on animals have shown that heat is detrimental to fetal cells and can disrupt proteins that are important in development. This could be what is going on in human pregnancies, though more research is needed to confirm. With heat being linked to heart problems, doctors are now warning women to avoid excess heat exposure while pregnant. This is similar to what doctors have been telling people with pulmonary and cardiovascular disease for years. Unfortunately, climate change will continue to drive temperatures up all across the U.S. Locations that will be directly impacted include the Midwest, the South and southeastern states, like North Carolina and Georgia. In addition to heart issues, women exposed to heat are also at a greater risk of giving birth early. Via CNN Image via Shutterstock

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New study claims climate change could be linked to heart defects in newborns

Iowa grocery grows 10-15 lbs of produce on outdoor vertical garden – every week

August 29, 2017 by  
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It doesn’t get much more local than this. In Davenport, Iowa, Hy-Vee grocery store commissioned Friday’s Fresh Market (FFM) to install and maintain two eight-tower Grow Walls , or hydroponic vertical gardens, on the outside of their store – which they then sell inside. Owner Andrew Freitag told Inhabitat they can obtain between 10 and 15 pounds of fresh produce every week, depending on the crop. Basil, lettuce, and mint flourish on the outdoor Grow Walls at Hy-Vee, installed by FFM in May this year. There’s no soil needed here: the plants are suspended in a growing medium made from recycled plastic bottles and grow in the sunlight. FFM also installed a smaller Grow Wall inside the grocery store in the produce section. They maintain both systems, germinating seeds, transplanting, supplying nutrients and water, harvesting, and packaging the produce for sale in the store. Related: Berlin grocery with vertical micro-farm reimagines the future of produce departments (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10″; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); We are at the HyVee in Davenport, Iowa checking out a Grow Wall from Friday's Fresh Market! Posted by Inhabitat on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 FFM manager Chen Freitag told Inhabitat, “We see this disruptive technology becoming more and more popular in our future farming industry. It will help to improve the fresh food desert situation here in the Midwest tremendously and stimulate the local economy.” The Grow Walls aren’t the only aspect of FFM’s business. They also cultivate indoor farms in shipping containers , using the same towers and irrigation system as a Grow Wall. Freitag said these farms consume around 90 percent less water than traditional methods, and since FFM can control the environment, produce grown inside the shipping container farms is more colorful and flavorful, with a higher nutrient content. She said FFM started pursuing hydroponics as a more efficient, sustainable way to grow fresh food, no matter the weather outside. “Our goal is to improve the quality of life in our local communities,” Freitag told Inhabitat. “People here deserve to eat better, live better. We believe we are capable of being self-sufficient when it comes to fresh, local food year-round.” One small Iowa company may not be able to change the entire agriculture industry right away; instead, Freitag said they focus on changing people’s daily lives with better food, and hope the industry evolves from there. “The earth is the resource account we cannot afford to overdraw,” she told Inhabitat. “We need to think about future generations: what we leave them to live with.” + Friday’s Fresh Market Images via Lacy Cooke for Inhabitat

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Iowa grocery grows 10-15 lbs of produce on outdoor vertical garden – every week

Madison, Wisconsin commits to 100% renewable energy

March 23, 2017 by  
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Madison just became the first city in Wisconsin and the largest city in the Midwest to commit to 100 percent clean energy in just the latest example of how President Donald Trump can’t stop the renewables revolution. The state capital and college town is the 25th US city to commit to the transition away from fossil fuels and toward clean, renewable energy following Tuesday’s city council vote. The vote allocated $250,000 to develop a plan by January 18, 2018 for city operations to achieve goals of 100 percent renewable energy and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors, including electricity, heating and transportation. “Madison’s historic commitment to 100 percent clean energy shows that we are determined to lead the way in moving beyond fossil fuels that threaten our health and environment,” Madison Common Council Alder Zach Wood said in a statement. “The benefits of a transition to 100 percent clean energy are many. These goals will drive a clean energy economy that creates local jobs, provides affordable and sustainable electricity, and results in cleaner air and water. I am proud to be a part of this council that has made the historic commitment that will lead our community to a more sustainable future.” Related: San Diego to become largest U.S. city to run on 100% renewable energy Abita Springs, Louisiana also voted on Tuesday to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy. The Sierra Club said that Madison and Abita Springs both committing to 100 percent clean energy demonstrates that there is bipartisan support across the country for a renewable energy future because liberal Madison voted for Hillary Clinton while conservative voters in Abita Springs went for Donald Trump. “Transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy is a practical decision we’re making for our environment, our economy, and for what our constituents want in Abita Springs,” Greg Lemons, mayor of Abita Springs, said in a statement. “Politics has nothing to do with it for me. Clean energy just makes good economic sense. By establishing a 100 percent renewable energy goal, we have an opportunity to use solar power that we can control in our community, for our community. Clean energy is a way that we can save money for Abita Springs both today and in the future.” Other American cities that have made the 100 percent renewable energy pledge include Burlington, Vermont; Aspen, Colorado; the California cities of San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose; Rochester, Minnesota; St. Petersburg, Florida; Grand Rapids, Michigan; East Hampton, New York; Greensburg, Kansas; and Georgetown, Texas. Via Sierra Club Image 1 , 2 via Good Free Photos

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Madison, Wisconsin commits to 100% renewable energy

Minnesota plows a path toward a clean energy grid

October 28, 2016 by  
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Despite the icy (and energy intensive) winters, the Minnesota 2025 Energy Action Plan sets the state as a leader in the midwest for low fossil fuel consumption and high renewable energy use.

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Minnesota plows a path toward a clean energy grid

James Corner Field Operations eco-friendly revamp of the Chicago Navy Pier opens Friday

May 24, 2016 by  
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Located on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan, the Navy Pier is one of the most popular attractions in the Midwest and the most visited destination in the city. The pier opened to the public in 1916 as part of Daniel Burnham’s “Master Plan of Chicago,” however, has suffered the reputation as a over-commercialized tourist trap. In a bid to return the historic pier to locals and redefine it as a more welcoming urban park, JFCO reimagined the space as a 24-acre “green spine” that better…

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James Corner Field Operations eco-friendly revamp of the Chicago Navy Pier opens Friday

EPA regional head steps down after agency rules response to Flint water crisis “inadequate”

January 22, 2016 by  
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As the water crisis stemming from lead contamination continues in Flint, Michigan, the head of the Midwest region of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has tendered her resignation. Susan Hedman will leave the agency effective February 1, making her the second official to step down in the aftermath of a public health crisis impacting more than 100,000 residents, including over 25,000 children. Read the rest of EPA regional head steps down after agency rules response to Flint water crisis “inadequate”

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EPA regional head steps down after agency rules response to Flint water crisis “inadequate”

Solar Impulse Begins Round-the-World Journey

March 11, 2015 by  
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Earlier this week, the Solar Impulse aircraft took off from Abu Dhabi on the first leg of it’s atempt to fly around the globe entirely on solar power.  We’ve been especially interested in this project from its beginnings as it has moved along setting new records, and we will now be watching as they make this trip around the world. Pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg will not fly non-stop (which Picard did in 1999 in the Breitling Orbiter 3 , completing the first non-stop trip around the world by balloon), but will fly a number of legs over several months. The adventure is expected to last until July or August of this year, with the flight making a number of stops along the way.  The Solar Impulse site lists the proposed route with “stops in Muscat, Oman; Ahmedabad and Varanasi, India; Mandalay, Myanmar; and Chongqing and Nanjing, China. After crossing the Pacific Ocean via Hawaii, Si2 will fly across the Continental U.S.A. stopping in three locations – Phoenix, and New York City at JFK. A location in the Midwest will be decided dependent on weather conditions. After crossing the Atlantic, the final legs include a stop-over in Southern Europe or North Africa before arriving back in Abu Dhabi.” The idea of solar powered flight seemed like a distant possibility when the Solar Impulse team announced their concept in 2007 .  But work has proceeded methodically, with improvements and new records set along the way in the development of an entirely solar powered aircraft that can even fly through the dark of night solely from its stored power.  Circumnavigating the globe entirely on solar power will mark another milestone in flight, and in green technology, as well.

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Solar Impulse Begins Round-the-World Journey

Climate Change Could Make Fall Foliage Last Longer – But That’s Not a Good Thing

October 2, 2014 by  
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Fall foliage watchers can rejoice in the news that climate change may make the incredible autumn colors found in the Northeast and Midwest last a bit longer – but it spells bad news for the planet. New research from Princeton University shows that global warming will cause tree leaves to respond in wildly unpredictable ways come autumn. According to Modern Farmer , the research shows that leaves will start changing color later in the year and will keep their bright colors for longer. Read the rest of Climate Change Could Make Fall Foliage Last Longer – But That’s Not a Good Thing Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: autumn , Climate Change , colors , delayed , fall , foliage , midwest , New England , princeton , tourism , Trees , university

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Climate Change Could Make Fall Foliage Last Longer – But That’s Not a Good Thing

Crop-Ravaging Worm Evolves to Eat Bioengineered Corn

March 20, 2014 by  
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In a giant case of “we told you so”, a group of scientists from Iowa State University published a report this week citing evidence that corn rootworms have evolved to become resistant to Bt corn. The artificially engineered plant contains genes from Bacillus thuringiensis that allow the cells to produce toxins that used to kill large numbers of corn worms and root borers. Despite the warnings raised by the scientific community, farmers and seed companies planted large swaths of Bt corn without creating non-engineered corn refuges, thereby facilitating the pest’s resistance. Now, Bt corn accounts for three-quarters of the U.S. corn crop, and is in great danger of being wiped out by superbugs . Read the rest of Crop-Ravaging Worm Evolves to Eat Bioengineered Corn Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: aaron gassmann , bacillus thuringiensis , bioengineered crops , bt corn , chemical pesticide , corn borers , GMO , illinois , iowa , iowa state university , midwest , Minnesota , monocrop , Nebraska , south dakota        

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