Mesmerizing white humpback whale spotted off the coast of Australia

October 4, 2017 by  
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Jump, Migaloo! In recent months, we’ve seen photographs of white giraffes and even a white moose . Now, footage has emerged of a rare white humpback whale, and nature enthusiasts can’t contain their excitement. The whale, named Migaloo (after the Aboriginal word meaning “white man”), was recently spotted off the coast of Sydney, Australia , – and he is just as majestic as you may expect. Migaloo was first spotted in 1990 and is believed to be around 30 years old. As National Geographic reports, it is unknown whether or not he has leucism (a condition which results in white or patchy skin, but the eyes remain dark) or is a true albino , meaning he doesn’t produce any pigment at all. According to Brian Clark Howard in National Geographic, three white males — including Migaloo — have been spotted off Australia in recent years. He wrote, “One has been dubbed Migaloo Junior’ or the ‘son of Migaloo’ – although no one knows whether this smaller whale is actually related to Migaloo. A third white humpback with black spots on its tail has also been spotted.” Related: Hundreds of people come together to save beached whale in Brazil Due to commercial whaling , humpback whales were once close to extinction . A mere 100 remained in the oceans. Since legal protections were put in place, however, their numbers have recovered. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says there are approximately 20,000 humpback whales that migrate to Australia each year. Fortunately, Migaloo remains one of them. Via National Geographic Images via  Earth Touch News Network,   Australian Geographic

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Mesmerizing white humpback whale spotted off the coast of Australia

Gogoro revs up Smartscooter expansion with $300 million in new funding

September 19, 2017 by  
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Get ready Gogoro fans—the firm’s innovative electric scooters could soon be coming to a city near you. The Smartscooter maker just nabbed $300 million in new funding with an impressive list of international backers. Four new high-profile partners joining their current investors include Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management, Singapore-based Temasek, Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation, and French energy giant ENGIE. A sign of growing global support in electric vehicles, this successful round of funding will go towards Gogoro’s technology development and expansion. Launched in Taiwan in 2015, Gogoro Smartscooter quickly rose to fame and was followed by expansions in Berlin and Paris in the form of electric scooter sharing programs . The major innovation lies with how the electric vehicle is powered—instead of plugging the scooter in for charging, Smartscooter owners swap out batteries at charging stations installed throughout the city. Often described as the “Tesla of electric scooters,” the innovative Smartscooter boasts over 100 million kilometers ridden by customers, including those on their new and improved Smartscooter 2. Related: Gogoro launches Smartscooter 2 with better handling, brighter headlights, and extra storage “One of the greatest challenges of our time is transitioning our cities to a smarter and more sustainable energy and transportation infrastructure,” said Horace Luke, co- founder and CEO of Gogoro. “Gogoro provides a new approach for cities to embrace sustainable energy through a smart connected infrastructure and battery swapping system that has demonstrated success across Taiwan and Berlin. New investments from leaders like Temasek and Generation combined with investments from visionary corporations like ENGIE and Sumitomo Corporation are a strong validation of Gogoro’s business and market success.” “This is a great sign that this sustainable technology of swappable batteries is something feasible that investors with high profiles around the world see as a viable solution,” added Luke in a conversation with Inhabitat. “It shows electric is here to stay and that it’s inevitable that electric will be the dominant player in the future.” The $300 million raised will be used for further development of technology and product, such as the use of big data collected from battery swapping to optimize the network and save energy. Gogoro also has plans to expand beyond its current three cities although they haven’t yet revealed which megacity they have their eye on next. + Gogoro

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Gogoro revs up Smartscooter expansion with $300 million in new funding

Antarctica’s newest iceberg may destabilize the entire ice shelf

August 3, 2017 by  
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For eighteen months, scientists and concerned citizens waited for a giant iceberg to break off the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica. On July 12, the highly-anticipated event finally occurred . Because the iceberg, named A68, was predominantly submerged in the water before it detached, the event did not dramatically raise sea levels — phenomena which would propel natural disasters. While this is fortunate, it turns out the iceberg saga isn’t over: cracks are spreading towards a location that is paramount to the stability of the remaining ice shelf . For months, satellites have been capturing footage of the region to track the effects of climate change . After A68 broke off the shelf, satellites continued to track its movements. According to new data published by the University of Leeds, the structure has drifted approximately 3.1 miles (5km) away from its initial location. When the event finally took place, Larsen C lost about 10 perfect of its area; at least 11 smaller icebergs — some up to 8 miles (12 km) long — were also formed. NewAtlas reports that as the network of cracks continues to sweep across Larsen C, the number of icebergs will keep increasing. Related: Dubai firm wants to tow icebergs from Antarctica for fresh water Said Anna Hogg, a researcher at the University of Leeds: “The satellite images reveal a lot of continuing action on Larsen C Ice Shelf. We can see that the remaining cracks continue to grow towards a feature called Bawden Ice Rise, which provides important structural support for the remaining ice shelf. If an ice shelf loses contact with the ice rise, either through sustained thinning or a large iceberg calving event, it can prompt a significant acceleration in ice speed, and possibly further destabilization. It looks like the Larsen C story might not be over yet.” As Inhabitat previously reported, A68 is not a direct result of climate change . In fact, the process happens quite naturally during the life cycle of ice shelves. However, it is possible that it is breaking away progressed faster than normal due to changing environmental conditions . “Although floating ice shelves have only a modest impact on of sea-level rise, ice from Antarctica’s interior can discharge into the ocean when they collapse,” said Hilmar Gudmundsson, a researcher from the British Antarctic Survey. “Consequently we will see increase in the ice-sheet contribution to global sea-level rise. With this large calving event, and the availability of satellite technology, we have a fantastic opportunity to watch this natural experiment unfolding before our eyes. We can expect to learn a lot about how ice shelves break up and how the loss of a section of an ice shelf affects the flow of the remaining parts.” The findings were published in the journal Nature Climate Change . + University of Leeds Via NewAtlas Images via Pixabay

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Antarctica’s newest iceberg may destabilize the entire ice shelf

More mayors are appointing chief resilience officers

July 28, 2017 by  
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As cities take climate matters into their own hands, all 24 U.S. members of the 100 Resilient Cities Network have added the CRO title.

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More mayors are appointing chief resilience officers

Nebraska landowners fight Keystone XL pipeline with solar panels right in its path

July 12, 2017 by  
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Many Nebraska landowners are opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline slashing through their land. So they’re fighting the proposed oil pipeline with a clean, renewable tactic: solar panels . Activists have launched the Solar XL campaign to install solar on land Nebraska locals refuse to sell – directly in the path of the pipeline. The Solar XL campaign is intended to raise money for solar installations to power ranches and farms in Nebraska. Landowner Bob Allpress is one of those people hoping for a solar array. He said, “The need for the KXL pipeline product is non-existent in the United States. The monetary benefit to the peoples of Nebraska will be gone in seven years, while the risks to our state are for the life of this pipeline. The installation of wind and solar production in Nebraska will provide many good Nebraska jobs and provide years of cheap electricity for everyone in our great state.” Related: The Keystone XL pipeline would only create 35 full-time, permanent jobs Keystone XL could threaten multiple Nebraska sites like the Ponca Trail of Tears, the Ogallala Aquifer, and the Sandhills. Bold Nebraska , 350.org , Indigenous Environmental Network , CREDO , and Oil Change International are backing the campaign, and hope to install the first solar array at Jim and Chris Carlson’s farm. The Carlsons have refused to sell their land even though TransCanada , the company behind Keystone XL, has offered them $307,000. Family-owned company North Star Solar Bears would install the panels, which will be connected to the grid . According to the campaign, “If Keystone XL is approved, TransCanada would have to tear down clean and locally-produced energy to make way for its dirty and foreign tar sands.” If you’d like to donate to the Solar XL campaign, you can do so here . Each nine-panel installation costs $15,500, including labor and connection to the grid. Donations go to Bold Nebraska. + Solar XL Via Curbed Images via Mary Anne Andrei/Bold Nebraska ( 1 , 2 ) and 350.org on Flickr

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Nebraska landowners fight Keystone XL pipeline with solar panels right in its path

Trump administration ‘declares war’ on West Coast turtles, dolphins, and whales

June 13, 2017 by  
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Environmentalists say President Donald Trump’s administration has declared war on California marine animals after an announcement this week from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The administration canceled proposed limits on the amount of endangered whales, sea turtles , and dolphins that can be hurt or killed on the West Coast by sword-fishing nets. The proposed limits were backed by the fishing industry and environmentalists. But NOAA said other protections have helped slash the amount of marine creatures that get trapped in the nets – called gill nets – like better training for fishing boat skippers and sound warnings so creatures can leave the area. NOAA Fisheries spokesperson Michael Milstein told the Los Angeles Times, “The cap would have imposed a cost on the industry to solve a problem that has already been addressed.” Related: Unusually high number of humpback whale deaths prompts NOAA inquiry NOAA statistics reveal injuries and deaths for protected whales dropped from over 50 in 1992 to one or two every year by 2015. For common dolphins, the numbers fell from nearly 400 to just a few. But environmentalists disagree. Turtle Island Restoration Network director Todd Steiner said the Trump administration has declared war. He said the drop in numbers is due to the decline in the gill-net fishing fleet in California. He told the Los Angeles Times, “The numbers caught per set have not gone down. The California gill-net fishery kills more marine mammals than all other West Coast fisheries combined.” The restrictions were strong: if two endangered sea turtles or whales were seriously harmed or killed during two years, the gill net fishery would be shuttered for as long as two years. If any combination of four bottlenose dolphins or short-finned pilot whales were hurt or died, the fishery would also be shut down. Center for Biological Diversity senior attorney Catherine Kilduff said rare species are still being killed. And the numbers of some species are so small that the death of just one can be devastating. She told the Los Angeles Times, “Government scientists have said that West Coast fisheries can’t catch more than one leatherback every five years. They estimate that four times that have caught just in the gill-net fishery alone.” Via the Los Angeles Times Images via Salvatore Barbera on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Thousands take to the streets to march for science in cities around the globe

April 23, 2017 by  
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Tens of thousands of people took to the streets for Saturday’s March for Science , a series of rallies and marches held on Earth Day . With over 600 rallies across the world, the “celebration of science” advocated the use of evidence-based policy making in all levels of government, with climate change a core topic. President Donald Trump administration’s recent budget cuts to many environment-related programs and his perceived hostility to science served as a major spark for the movement. Inspired by the 2017 Women’s March of January 21, 2017, the March for Science amassed large support in a short amount of time thanks largely to social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Co-led by nonprofit Earth Day Network , the March for Science was officially declared non-political although many protestors used it as an opportunity to protest Trump’s administration. The main march kicked off in the early morning with a mass gathering on Washington D.C.’s National Mall followed by a march down Constitution Avenue toward the Capitol in the afternoon.t Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Hundreds of satellite marches were held around the world on every continent except for Antartica. In D.C., the event was headlined by Bill Nye , Mona Hanna-Attisha, and Lydia Villa-Kmoaroff who, along with other well-known activists in the science community, presented a series of speeches complemented by “teach-ins,” educational sessions that covered topics from climate change to endangered wildlife. Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Related: Why scientists are marching in over 400 cities on Earth Day Many protestors displayed homemade signs with many indirectly and directly attacking Trump with slogans such as “What do Trump and atoms have in common? They make up everything,” “Mr. President, science gave us Romaine,” and “Pruitt Plus Trump Equals Bad Chemistry.” A few hours after the marches kicked off, President Trump released a statement on Saturday saying: “Rigorous science is critical to my administration’s efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection. My administration is committed to advancing scientific research that leads to a better understanding of our environment and of environmental risks. As we do so, we should remember that rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate.” Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images The March for Science was held just a week prior to another major science-related march , the People’s Climate March that will take place in cities across the world on April 29, 2017. + March for Science Lead image via Wikimedia Commons Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

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Groundbreaking new material for longer-lasting batteries inspired by leaf veins

April 11, 2017 by  
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Biology may hold the clues to better batteries . An international team of scientists designed a porous material inspired by the vascular structure of leaves that could make energy transfers more efficient. Similar to the way leaf veins efficiently transport nutrients, this material could help rechargeable batteries perform better and last longer. A team of researchers led by Xianfeng Zheng of China’s Wuhan University of Technology and Australia’s University of Queensland scrutinized the way leaf veins optimize the flow of nutrients, with minimum energy consumption, “by branching out to smaller scales” according to the University of Cambridge , and then applied that to their groundbreaking porous material. The nature-inspired material could help relieve stresses in battery electrodes that currently limit their lifespan. The material could also enhance the charge and discharge process. Related: American fern inspires groundbreaking new solar storage solution The team calls their product Murray material after Murray’s Law. Cambridge said according to the rule the whole network of pores in biological systems is connected in a manner “to facilitate the transfer of liquids and minimize resistance throughout the network.” Scientist Bao-Lian Su of Cambridge, Wuhan University of Technology, and University of Namur in Belgium said they applied that biological law to chemistry , saying, “The introduction of the concept of Murray’s Law to industrial processes could revolutionize the design of reactors with highly enhanced efficiency, minimum energy, time, and raw material consumption for a sustainable future.” The scientists applied Murray material to gas sensing and photocatalysis as well. Su is a co-author on a paper published online by Nature Communications late last week. There are seven other co-authors on the paper from institutions in China, Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Another co-author, Tawfique Hasan of Cambridge University, said it could be possible to manufacture the porous material on a large scale. Via the University of Cambridge Images via Christoph Rupprecht on Flickr and Pixabay

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Groundbreaking new material for longer-lasting batteries inspired by leaf veins

California hit yet another record high in solar energy generation

July 18, 2016 by  
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In California, the solar power industry is having a field day. For the second time in as many years, the largest electricity grid in the state broke its own solar generation record with 8,030 megawatts (MW) output at 1:06pm local time July 12, 2016. California Independent System Operator (CAISO) reports that is the equivalent of the power consumed by 2 million households. But, ironically, the solar energy generation record doesn’t actually include rooftop solar installations. This new record was met solely with utility-scale solar power. Last week’s record high solar energy generation beats the 2015 record by about 2,000 MW, and is double the high mark reached in 2014. The series of record-breaking highs are indicative of the massive growth of utility-scale solar power in California, as well as its massive number of sunny days. Because of that, CAISO expects the record to be broken time and time again in the months and years to come. Related: California solar energy generation jumped 1,378 percent in five years While CAISO is California’s largest electric utility, it only accounts for around 80 percent of the state’s power grid . CAISO includes the jurisdictions under Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric. Smaller municipal utilities like Sacramento Municipal Utility District aren’t included in CAISO’s figures, so the overall solar energy generation for the state is even higher than reported. Interestingly, the peak in solar energy generation is still far off from the state’s electricity demands, reports CleanTechnica.com. Utility-scale solar and other renewables make up approximately “29 percent of the network’s electricity needs,” which “wasn’t even close to the percentage record set earlier this year.” Renewable energy (produced by utility-scale operations) met as much as 54 percent and 56 percent of CAISO’s electricity needs on May 14 and May 15, respectively, although only for portions of each day. Essentially, while the records in energy generation are exciting, there is still a long way to go before California’s clean energy can edge out fossil fuels. Via Clean Technica Images via Shutterstock ( 1 , 2 )

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California hit yet another record high in solar energy generation

How Gogoro will deliver electric scooters to the people who really want them

January 5, 2016 by  
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If you want your own hip and zippy Gogoro electric scooter , now is the time to voice your demand. They’re enormously popular in Taiwan and heading to Amsterdam, and have potential in pretty much any densely-populated urban center in the world. In fact, Gogoro has sold 4,000 of their battery-swapping scooters to date. But because different countries have varying regulations when it comes to scooters, according to CEO Horace Luke, the company has to surmount certain legal hoops before introducing the scooters to further markets. In the meantime, Luke and others devised a clever way to ensure they pursue only the most relevant markets. Which is where you come in. Learn more about the Gogoro OPEN (Owner Proposed Energy Network) Initiative, which allows consumers and businesses to nominate themselves and their communities to be a part of the next market expansion. Read the rest of How Gogoro will deliver electric scooters to the people who really want them

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