Burmese roofed turtle is rescued from extinction

September 4, 2020 by  
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The Burmese roofed turtle has been saved from the brink of extinction. The turtle had not been seen for over 20 years, leading many conservationists to assume that it was extinct . But in 2001, one Burmese roofed turtle was spotted in markets in Myanmar, sparking interest among scientists. From this point forward, efforts to save the endangered species were put in place by scientists in collaboration with the government of Myanmar. The efforts have paid off, with nearly 1,000 of these turtles existing today. The Burmese roofed turtle is a giant Asian river turtle that is characterized by its large eyes and small, natural smile. Since the sighting of a surviving turtle in Myanmar about 20 years ago, the population of the turtles has been increased to about 1,000, thanks to serious conservation efforts. Some of the turtles have already been released to the wild, while the others are still within captivity. Related: This turtle with a green mohawk is one of the most endangered reptiles in the world These turtles were once thriving around the mouth of the Irrawaddy river in Myanmar. But by the mid-20th century, fishing and overharvesting led to a significant drop in the number of turtles. For years, the state of the species was unknown, given that Myanmar had closed its borders. Scientists could not access the country and, as a result, could not make any efforts to save the turtles. By the time Myanmar reopened its borders in the 1990s, scientists could not find any Burmese roofed turtles and began to believe that they were extinct . “We came so close to losing them. If we didn’t intervene when we did, this turtle would have just been gone,” Steven Platt, a herpetologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society, told The New York Times . Turtles and tortoises are among the most vulnerable species globally. About half of the planet’s turtle and tortoise species , a total of 360 living species, are threatened. The scenario is especially bad for species across Asia, where turtles and tortoises are affected by habitat loss, climate change and hunting for consumption. But the recent good news on the growing population of Burmese roofed turtles gives hope that concerted conservation efforts can continue to save more vulnerable species. Via The New York Times and Wildlife Conservation Society Image via Wildlife Conservation Society

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Burmese roofed turtle is rescued from extinction

New US government rule allows drilling in forested land

September 4, 2020 by  
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A new rule published by the U.S. government legalizes oil and gas drilling within forested land. This action threatens forest ecosystems, reversing decades of work to protect forested areas. For over 50 years, a public participation system has helped protect critical ecosystems and other natural resources. The U.S. has over 193 million acres of forested land spanning 47 states. Stakeholders with a strong interest in forest resources have helped defend this land. The stakeholders’ environmental review process challenges fossil fuel companies attempting to set up operations in protected ecosystems. Consequently, thousands of species remain safe from potential harm caused by fossil fuel mining activities.  Despite this, a new rule by the U.S. federal government seeks to exclude public participation when deciding on land use in forested areas. With public input kept out of key decisions, fossil fuel companies may gain more access to forested land. Traditionally, regulations have restricted the presence of fossil fuel activities in the national forest land. To date, only 2.7% of the entire forest acreage has been leased to fossil fuel companies.  The main concern about the rule is that it eliminates critical environmental review steps, which entirely sidelines public participation. Further, the rule eliminates the U.S Forest Service’s oversight role. Consequently, fossil fuel companies seeking to operate in forested land will no longer be required to undergo a thorough environmental review.  This new rule comes amid worldwide concerns about global warming’s effects. An increase in forest fires has led to the destruction of forested lands, depleting the best-known carbon sinks . With more fossil fuel companies allowed to operate in forests, the number of forest fires may continue to spike, consequently leading to an increase in carbon emissions. As the Forest Service said in a statement, this rule is just one among many irresponsible land management policies put in place by the Trump Administration. The service now warns that if actions are not taken to stop the federal government from making such laws, the country risks losing precious natural resources. + Natural Resources Defense Council Image via Pexels

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New US government rule allows drilling in forested land

Myanmars eco-friendly startup transforms trash into treasureand jobs

April 10, 2017 by  
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Trash is a big problem in Myanmar . Garbage is scattered in the streets with smells of burning trash never far behind—but an innovative social enterprise has found a way to turn that adversity into advantage. Tucked in the rural backwaters of Dala near Yangon city, ChuChu Design is an eco-friendly startup lifting families out of poverty with the art of upcycling . Created by Italian NGO Cesvi, the ChuChu project collects waste and teaches locals to transform trash into recycled crafts with an environmental message. With the opening of Myanmar’s economy, the fast-developing country is seeing a boom in population and consumerism but still lacks much of the infrastructure to support that growth. Absence of waste disposal options in many areas leads citizens to litter or burn their rubbish, creating toxic air pollution . With the lack of education about the environment, public acceptance of recycling and waste reduction practices remains low. ChuChu Design hopes to change that. Founded in 2014 with funding from the EU, the social enterprise is now a self-sustainable startup that teaches families how to upcycle trash into marketable crafts and currently employs 30 makers. To promote their products and message, managing directors Wendy Neampui and Friedor Jeske designed and built a workshop and showroom made largely of recycled materials . Located in Dala across the river from the country’s bustling commercial capital of Yangon, this trash-made shop shows off the potential of upcycling from its bottle-embedded walls to its beautiful products constructed of recycled materials. “We want to make job opportunities for those who have low income,” said Wendy Neampui to Inhabitat. “On the other side, we are involved with the environment. Now there are thirty people working here but not all are from Dala. Some are from Mwambi or outside of Yangon.” She gestures to the myriad of products lining the walls, including sturdy purses made of car inner tubes , potato chip bag wallets, belts made from bicycle tires , recycled wine bottle glasses, and even laptop slips woven from cement bags. The waste is usually sourced from a waste collector and downtown wholesale market or from locals hired to collect rubbish from the roadside. She continues: “We teach them how to make the designs here and then they make the products at home. Twice a week (Thursday and Saturday) we meet together here and they bring all the products they make at home and then we fix the price. The price depends on how long they worked on the product. We sell the products to our regular shops, customers, and weekend bazaar in Yangon.” Related: Off-grid solar could help everyone in Myanmar receive power by 2030 The workshop behind the showroom is filled with raw material, from piles of motorbike inner tubes to enormous plastic bags of all colors. Plastic bags are the most widely used raw material at ChuChu Design and the makers cut shapes out of different colored bags then use a machine to fuse the plastic together into sheets. The colorful patterned sheets are used for purses, pencil cases, laundry baskets and other products without the need for paint. Makers also experiment with new materials they gather from the dump. Wendy is even creating a traditional Burmese dress using a blend of cotton and recycled plastic on a loom. While Wendy does not believe ChuChu Design will dramatically change society, she hopes the project will gradually spread awareness. “Local people never buy these products because they know it is made from trash,” said Wendy, referencing the social stigma around recycled products. “Only foreigners buy. But the locals don’t notice this is our trash. We need a lot of awareness.” ChuChu Design sells its products at its showroom in Dala as well as in the Pomelo shop in Yangon, the weekend Yangon bazaar, and other locations with hopes of expanding to Bagan and Inle Lake and the online marketplace. You can contact ChuChu Design and learn more on their Facebook page . + ChuChu Design Images © Lucy Wang

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Myanmars eco-friendly startup transforms trash into treasureand jobs

Off-grid solar could power all of Myanmar by 2030

December 6, 2016 by  
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Only 16 percent of rural houses in Myanmar have access to electricity , but that’s about to change. A government-led project aided by private companies could power up the entire country using off-grid solar energy . The electricity could irrigate rice farms, provide lighting in homes, and save lives. Off-grid solar could energize communities all across Myanmar. As traditional alternative power sources like diesel generators are far too expensive for many people who live in poverty in the country, government-funded off-grid solar could offer cost-effective, clean electricity for more people. Related: Off-grid healthcare housing is powered entirely by solar in Burundi Non-profit organizations are financing Myanmar solar projects too. With charity funds via Mitsui & Co. , electronics company Panasonic recently installed a Power Supply Container in the settlement of Yin Ma Chaung. The off-grid station generates 2.82 kilowatts of energy for the settlement and nearby villages. This power is critical for Yin Ma Chaung, an area populated with deadly snakes. Lifesaving antivenom must be refrigerated, but many people were losing their lives before obtaining solar power since the community previously only had coolers that frequently broke down. A portion of the newly installed solar power systems will provide energy for a community center refrigerator filled with the antivenom, allowing locals to breathe easier as they go about their daily lives. That’s just one project among thousands, according to The Guardian. Renewable energy company Sunlabob set up 11 solar mini-grids that will provide power for nearly 1,000 homes. Another renewable energy company, Myanmar Eco Solutions , installed a solar-fueled irrigation system for rice farmers in remote Myanmar. Out of 188 countries on the United Nation’s benchmark development index, Myanmar is 148. Although citizens there still wrestle with poverty, clean, renewable electricity could provide the boost the country needs to develop. Via The Guardian Images via Sunlabob Facebook and Panasonic

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These crazy CarTubes could move city traffic underground

December 6, 2016 by  
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Imagine how peaceful our cities would be we took honking, idling cars off the road and put them underground. PLP Architecture is proposing we do just that – their CarTube project proposes a network of underground tubes with massive conveyor belts that move vehicles from one place to another. They’re proposing we do away with above-ground roads altogether, freeing up space for parks and recreation. Check out the cool simulation video below. https://vimeo.com/193911357 According to The Architects’ Journal , PLP has called their CarTube the “next best thing since teleportation,” by integrating the existing roadways in large cities into a network of small underground tunnels. Once there, the automatic cars would be moved along by what’s called a “platoon system,” which basically means they travel in groups that are controlled using artificial intelligence. This means the cars can travel closer quarters since the distance required for a human reaction isn’t needed. Thus, the tunnels can accommodate a higher capacity. With that in mind, PLP claims such a tube system would double a city’s transport capacity for about the same investment as your average public transit system – while also cutting down travel time by as much as 75 percent. According to The Architects’ Journal, PLP director of research, Lars Hesselgren said the CarTube concept is a “direct response” to mass transit and traffic congestion in the world’s largest cities. “CarTube has the potential to be the next best thing to teleportation,’ he said. ‘It will revolutionize existing cities and allow for unprecedented urban forms.” Related: PLP Architecture unveils the design for London’s first timber tower The system already has at least one critic, Francesca Perry of the Guardian, who, according to Tree Hugger , says such a system is expensive, and would have a hard time finding a home amongst the sewers pipes, building foundations and other underground infrastructure. She also notes that such a system is a massive technical challenge, and questions whether a not a system based on car-based city transport is the way to go. Via TreeHugger and Architects’ Journal Image and video via PLP Architecture Vimeo

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These crazy CarTubes could move city traffic underground

Massive hidden fault could cause a cataclysmic earthquake, scientists warn

July 12, 2016 by  
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Predicting the date and time of an earthquake is impossible, but seismologists can use trends in tectonic activity to suggest where a big tremor might occur. A recent study revealed a massive, hidden fault line running under miles of river sediment . Scientists suggest the fault, which runs beneath Bangladesh, parts of east India and Myanmar, could cause a magnitude 8.2 to 9.0 earthquake. A quake of that strength would be devastating in such a densely populated region. http://vimeo.com/26131107 The recently discovered fault has created a lot of work for researchers, who are eager to learn more about it. However, since the fault has been hidden for so long, seismologists aren’t able to say as much about it as other faults around the world that have been under close watch for decades. Without knowledge of the fault’s trends over time, little can be done to protect the very people who might suffer if a major earthquake occurs along the fault line. Related: NASA says ionized air molecules may help predict earthquakes “We don’t know if it’s tomorrow or if it’s not going to be for another 500 years,” said study co-author Michael Steckler, a geophysicist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) at Columbia University in New York City. Steckler and his colleagues discovered the fault while working to map plate-motion data throughout Bangladesh, India, and Myanmar. The team, working with researchers at Bangladesh’s Dhaka University , used ultrasensitive GPS devices throughout Bangladesh between 2003 and 2014 to collect the data, which revealed the existence of this previously unknown fault. Researchers estimate that some 140 million people live within a 60-mile radius of the fault and, because of unsustainable building practices (like pumping sand out of the ground to build up areas for skyscrapers ), a major earthquake in the region would leave countless casualties and massive infrastructure damage. The results of the study were published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience . Via CBS Images via Wikipedia and  LDEO

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Massive hidden fault could cause a cataclysmic earthquake, scientists warn

Designers split a colorful Hawaii beach home in two – like a whale and her calf

July 12, 2016 by  
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https://vimeo.com/172394528 The fun design blends modern architecture with Hawaiian vernacular. Land in Hawaii is notoriously sparse, and architect Ryan Fujita and interior designer Chris Netski wanted to balance a need for indoor space with creative use of Carrazana’s yard. Instead of trying to build one house on the small lot, they pursued a unique design of splitting one house into two: a main house and a smaller guest house . Related: A unique community of modern green homes hug the desert floor in Utah In the video Netski said, “By separating the two houses we kind of forced this engagement with the site – a connection to the outdoors – and not just capturing the view with strategic openings and windows but also really feeling it; feeling the weather that day.” Carrazana compares the two houses to “two fish…a humpback whale with a calf.” Nevermind that whales aren’t fish – the concept works. The main house includes sloped roofs and an outdoor living room with two chairs, a sofa, and a small table. Indoors, a kitchen and dining room are blended into one room, allowing Carrazana to cook for guests while chatting with them during dinner parties. The guest house contains furnishings and materials similar to the main house, so the two structures feel connected – as if they were one house instead of two. Between the two houses lie palm trees and a kidney-shaped pool . Sand is a major factor to consider when outfitting a home in Hawaii. In such an environment, wood floors usually aren’t the best choice since homeowners inadvertently track in sand that could damage the floors. The H-1 F+N Design-Build Collaborative worked around this constraint by laying down floors of polished concrete instead. Not only are they easy to clean, but they’ll stand up better to sand and can be re-polished in the future if necessary. Carrazana said he “absolutely” loves his new beautiful new beach home. + Chibi Moku + H-1 F+N Design-Build Collaborative Images courtesy of Chibi Moku

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Designers split a colorful Hawaii beach home in two – like a whale and her calf

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

Endangered tiger trade soars as Myanmar offers up wild cat parts to Chinese tourists

December 29, 2014 by  
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There are less than 3,000 tigers left in the world, but that doesn’t matter in Mong La, a Myanmar town where tiger parts are big business. A new study based on two decades of data shows that tiger numbers are a mere five percent of what they were 100 years ago. Mong La borders China, and Chinese tourists can travel there to buy parts of tigers and other wild cats, like clouded leopards, as a delicacy and for medicinal purposes. Read the rest of Endangered tiger trade soars as Myanmar offers up wild cat parts to Chinese tourists Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 100 most endangered species , burma , china , Chinese tiger medicine , clouded leopard parts , clouded leopards , Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species , critically endangered species , endangered wild cats , endangered wild tigers , killing tigers , Myanmar , tiger meat , tiger medicine , tiger parts , tigers , wild cat meat

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Endangered tiger trade soars as Myanmar offers up wild cat parts to Chinese tourists

Highly toxic residue from winter road salt is killing aquatic life

December 29, 2014 by  
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Salting a snowy and icy road is standard procedure for most cities and towns. Where that salt ends up is rarely a concern, but according to new research  it is concerning because the salt washes into rivers and streams and remains highly toxic through the rest of the year. Scientific American reports that in states like Wisconsin, where salt is used liberally to clear icy roads, the levels of sodium chloride in rivers, streams, and lakes is as much as 15 times higher than the federal level suggests to protect fish, amphibians, and small crustaceans. Read the rest of Highly toxic residue from winter road salt is killing aquatic life Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alaska , eco issues , fresh water salt pollution , ground water issues , groundwater , river salt , rivers , road salt , salt , salt in drinking water , salt pollution , stormwater runoff , streams , vermont , water damage , water pollution , water runoff , waterways , wisconsin

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Highly toxic residue from winter road salt is killing aquatic life

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