New global bee map gives scientists a conservation baseline

November 24, 2020 by  
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Bees are crucial pollinators for crops that humans consume, but their populations are on the decline. Now, a new, global bee map is tracking more than 20,000 bee species on Earth to help aid in their conservation. Many scientists worked together on the map, including John Ascher of the National University of Singapore, who compiled a checklist of all known bee species. He and other researchers cross-referenced several datasets about bee life on every continent except Antarctica, which doesn’t support bee life. Related: New solar farm in Indiana boosts local pollinators The study concluded that bees are more prevalent in dry, temperate areas away from the equator. More bees make their home in the Northern Hemisphere than the Southern Hemisphere. The U.S., Africa and Middle East are popular with bees. These creatures prefer deserts to forests, since trees don’t offer as many food sources. “People think of bees as just honey bees, bumble bees, and maybe a few others, but there are more species of bees than of birds and mammals combined,” Ascher said. “The United States has by far the most species of bees, but there are also vast areas of the African continent and the Middle East which have high levels of undiscovered diversity, more than in tropical areas.” Honeybees have been well studied, but scientists have little information on more than 96% of bee species. While bee colonies are famous, many people might be surprised that some types of bees are solitary insects. “Many crops, especially in developing countries, rely on native bee species, not honey bees,” said study researcher Alice Hughes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Yunnan. “There isn’t nearly enough data out there about them, and providing a sensible baseline and analyzing it in a sensible way is essential if we’re going to maintain both biodiversity and also the services these species provide in the future.” The study’s authors hope that combining all of this bee data will be an important step toward conservation. + Science Daily Via BBC Image via Rebekka D

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New global bee map gives scientists a conservation baseline

World’s largest solar power plant to supply energy to Australia and Singapore

October 22, 2020 by  
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The world’s largest solar power plant has been proposed for Australia . To be located at a current cattle station halfway between Alice Springs and Darwin, the solar farm’s location has been strategically selected to meet both logistical and engineering needs. Once the project is successfully completed, the solar power plant will be visible from space. The magnitude of the power plant is so huge that it is expected to generate enough power to supply a fifth of Singapore’s power needs. According to Sun Cable, the company spearheading the project, construction is expected to begin in 2023 on a 12,000-hectare area in Newcastle Waters. Sun Cable CEO David Griffin said that the project has been submitted to the Northern Territory Environmental Protection Authority for approval. Energy production is slated to begin in 2026 and the exportation of power would start in 2027. The project is expected to generate 10 gigawatts of power once operational. Related: New solar farm in Indiana boosts local pollinators According to Griffin, the team chose the cattle station for the project site due to its strategic positioning. “It’s on the Adelaide to Darwin rail corridor, which is brilliant for our logistics given the enormous amount of material we’ll have to transport to the site,” Griffin explained. “It’s a bit of a balancing act too, because it’s far south enough to get away from the main patch affected by the wet season, so it’s a steady solar resource throughout the year. There’s plenty of sun and not many clouds.” Upon successful completion, the solar farm will supply power to the Northern Territory, where some remote communities currently rely on electricity from diesel generators. This is both expensive and harmful to the environment. The $20 billion project is also expected to generate about 1,500 jobs directly and about 10,000 jobs indirectly during its construction, plus 350 permanent jobs. The new solar power plant will help Australia in its efforts to cut down greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, the country contributes about 1.4% of the total emissions globally. + Sun Cable Via The Guardian and EcoWatch Image via Sanel Selava

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World’s largest solar power plant to supply energy to Australia and Singapore

Electric Vehicles and Power Outages

March 2, 2020 by  
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Last year’s planned power outages to prevent wildfires in Northern … The post Electric Vehicles and Power Outages appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Electric Vehicles and Power Outages

New e-snowmobiles bring eco tourism to the northern lights

November 11, 2019 by  
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Between Norway and the North Pole is Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago and one of the most rugged and northern inhabited areas. With an average January high of 9 degrees and 24 hours of darkness, you might not expect this to be a tourist hot-spot. But the northern lights are drawing bigger and bigger crowds through Svalbard’s dark winter. The trick is making sure that the roughly 75,000 annual visitors don’t overwhelm the environment and culture of the archipelago’s 2,583 year-round residents. One strategy has been to spread tourism out over the entire year, and a new tactic is using electric snowmobiles to explore the area in a more sustainable way. Off the Map Travel, based in England, specializes in Northern Lights travel. Its “Truly Green Aurora Holiday” package has developed the lowest impact Arctic northern lights adventure yet. The team has harnessed Arctic winds to power e-snowmobiles. Off the Map Travel offers the new activity out of Longyearbyen, the Svalbard town where the majority of the population lives. The company recommends this activity from November to January, when the skies over the islands are almost permanently black. Related: Sleep beneath the northern lights in this unique Iceland bubble “Although the northern lights are a natural phenomenon and are never guaranteed, you need clear, dark skies to optimize your chances to see them,” noted Jonny Cooper, Arctic travel expert and founder of Off the Map Travel. “Svalbard’s dark skies and extended aurora viewing are due to the sun’s being at least six degrees below the horizon. This means it can be dark all day, so the northern lights can appear at any time. In effect, the sun never rises.” In addition to the more eco-friendly nature of the e-snowmobiles, they are also much quieter. Unlike the roar of an average snowmobile , the electric variety allows visitors a peaceful and silent experience. “The quiet engine allows for gentle searching of the northern lights, reindeer , ptarmigans and polar foxes,” Cooper said. “Exploring some of the most uncharted areas of our planet has never been more eco-friendly.” + Off the Map Travel Image via Off the Map Travel

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New e-snowmobiles bring eco tourism to the northern lights

LARQ: the world’s first portable, self-cleaning water bottle

November 11, 2019 by  
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Water is a basic necessity of life; however, water can also introduce our bodies to bacteria and illnesses if it is not properly treated prior to consumption. Over the years, treating water has involved adding iodine drops or filtering the water through a carbon-based system. Now, new technology has streamlined the process, offering effective water filtration at the press of a button with the LARQ water bottle. The LARQ water bottle features the world’s first portable, digital water purification system powered by a rechargeable lithium polymer battery. To ensure reliability, the patented, UV-C LEDs last 40 times longer than conventional, mercury-based UV technology. Batteries should be replaced monthly, depending on the frequency of use. Related: Cove launches the first 100% biodegradable water bottle Developing a nontoxic, chemical-, ozone- and mercury-free system sounds complex, but the idea is quite simple. Starting with UV technology that is already used by hospital staff and backpackers for sterilization, the team at LARQ converted the process into an all-in-one, portable option. Water inside the bottle is processed using a UV light built into the lid. With the touch of a button on the top, the water inside is purified in 60 seconds. For added safety, the LARQ water bottle continues to sterilize up to six times a day automatically. In addition to filtering water, the LARQ also sterilizes the bottle, eliminating bacteria prevalent in other water bottles without the hassle of trying to clean those tight necks and narrow vessels. Of course, you can also keep other liquids in your LARQ bottle, which keeps iced beverages cold for 24 hours and hot beverages warm for 12 hours. While the LARQ is an option for providing a healthy water supply, it is also a sustainable choice, replacing single-use water bottles that are problematic for the planet. Plus, it is BPA-free and made with stainless steel for durability. There are also no wasteful filters to replace. The newest collection, LARQ Bottle Movement, was developed with athletes and travelers in mind. The addition of a premium, food-grade silicone grip will prevent slips and keep you hydrated while hiking , playing tennis or kayaking. + LARQ Images via LARQ

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LARQ: the world’s first portable, self-cleaning water bottle

Green-roofed addition brings a mid-century home into the 21st century

November 11, 2019 by  
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There are few things we love more than witnessing the transformation of something old into something new — and sustainable. Washington, D.C.-based firm KUBE architecture has just unveiled the beautiful renovation of a 1950s home , called the Dual Modern Home, that includes a new addition with expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass and a lush green roof. Although the architects breathed new life into the home, they had a great structure to work with from the get-go. The mid-century home, which was designed by American architect Charles Goodman, had plenty of character and style to begin with. A one-story, elongated design, the original structure was built with glass walls that flooded the living space with plenty of natural light . Related: Stunning green-roofed home in Poland is embedded into the idyllic landscape To update the home , the design team came up with a new addition that stretches half a level up the natural slope of the site. Connected to the existing house with a courtyard, the addition houses a new living area, office and children’s playroom as well as two full bathrooms and a laundry room. To create a cohesive connection to the original home, the new addition follows the same basic features of the existing design, including multiple walls of floor-to-ceiling glass panels. The structure is topped with a split pitched roof that gives the space a modern aesthetic. Stretching from the old space and over the extension is a lush green roof , which also helps to connect the entire home with its natural surroundings. The new addition adds flexibility to the home. Sliding walls allow for a change of layout in the future, and a separate entrance was installed to allow the residents to turn the addition into a fully autonomous guest suite. + KUBE Architecture Via ArchDaily Photography by Anice Hoachlander and Julia Heine via KUBE Architecture

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Green-roofed addition brings a mid-century home into the 21st century

Millions of acres of Alaskan rainforest may be opened for business

August 29, 2019 by  
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As Amazon wildfires blaze, the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest faces a wholly different threat: corporate exploitation. President Donald Trump wants to open Alaska’s 16.7 million acre Tongass National Forest for logging, energy and mining projects. The Tongass is the country’s largest national forest, encompassing much of the southeast Alaskan panhandle, including the capital city of Juneau. Environmentalists have long fought business interests in the Alaskan forest. In the 1990s, the Clinton administration passed the “roadless rule,” barring commercial logging and prohibiting roads from being built without Forest Service approval. Obama’s administration saw the finalization of a plan to eliminate logging old-growth in the Tongass by 2016. Related: Bureau of Land Management moves forward with the sale of sacred land But many Alaskans don’t appreciate government intervention in their state. Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy and the state’s entire congressional delegation want Trump to reverse the roadless rule. They see it as a barrier to business and a threat to southeast Alaska’s economy. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski told the Washington Post , “The timber industry has declined precipitously, and it is astonishing that the few remaining mills in our nation’s largest national forest have to constantly worry about running out of supply.” Environmentalists point out that the Tongass’ old-growth trees provide critical habitat for Sitka black-tailed deer, black bear and the Northern Goshawk, which is a bird of prey. Chris Wood, president of Trout Unlimited, is worried about Alaska ’s wild salmon, which spawn in the Tongass. The salmon, rivers and trees have a symbiotic relationship. If the trees go, the $986 million salmon industry could also be threatened. Wood said that Forest Service officials have “realized the golden goose is the salmon, not the trees.” Not all of Alaska’s business owners are there to exploit resources. The adventure tourism sector relies on intact forests. Dan Blanchard’s company, UnCruise Adventures, takes 7,000 guests on small-ship Alaskan wilderness cruises annually. He’s seen dramatic improvements in the forest since the 1980s and doesn’t want that to be reversed. “The demand for wilderness and uncut areas have just dramatically increased,” Blanchard told the Washington Post . “Our view here is, there are very few places in the world that are wild. Here we have one, in southeast Alaska, and it’s being put at risk.” Via Washington Post Image via Bob Familiar

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Millions of acres of Alaskan rainforest may be opened for business

Treehouses made from shipping containers offer the ultimate glamping getaway in Portugal

May 31, 2019 by  
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Looking for respite from the noise and stress of the big city? Check out these gorgeous shipping container treehouses located in Portugal. Tucked into a dense forest in the northern coastal region of Viana do Castelo, the unique glamping accommodations are comprised of two repurposed shipping containers that have been renovated to provide a truly serene retreat. Located in the northern coastal region of Portugal , Viana do Castelo is known for its amazing beaches as well as its mountainous landscape farther inland. Related: Harbor town in Germany unveils urban-chic hostel made out of repurposed shipping containers The shipping container treehouses have been tucked into a pristine hillside facing a large river that cuts through the forestscape. To minimize their impact on the environment, the architects placed the structures on large metal supports. Guests at the shipping container lodgings can choose from two accommodations. Bungalow T1 is the smallest container, with one bedroom with a double bed, along with a kitchenette, bathroom and a small living area. The largest treehouse also has one bedroom, but offers more sleeping options thanks to a pull-out sofa in the living room. Both accommodations have spacious, suspended balconies with all-glass facades offering stunning views of the natural landscape. The complex also has an on-site restaurant and bar as well as a designated barbecue area and playground for children. For active adventures, guests can enjoy long walks or rent bicycles to explore the nearby village. + Glamping Hub Images via Glamping Hub

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Treehouses made from shipping containers offer the ultimate glamping getaway in Portugal

Earth911 Quiz #46: Extreme Weather & Wildfire Everywhere

January 24, 2019 by  
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The Northern and Southern Hemispheres alike are experiencing extreme weather … The post Earth911 Quiz #46: Extreme Weather & Wildfire Everywhere appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Quiz #46: Extreme Weather & Wildfire Everywhere

Earth911 Podcast, Jan. 21, 2019: Brrr! It’s Cold Outside

January 21, 2019 by  
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It’s the deepest cold of the year in the Northern … The post Earth911 Podcast, Jan. 21, 2019: Brrr! It’s Cold Outside appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast, Jan. 21, 2019: Brrr! It’s Cold Outside

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