Dow Chemical and Ocean Conservancy’s smooth sailing partnership

June 13, 2017 by  
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Dow Chemical and nonprofit The Ocean Conservancy have partnered for 30 years to clean up marine plastic — “longer than most marriages,” according to Susan McPherson, founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies.McPherson interviewed Jeff Wooster, Dow’s global sustainability director and Emily Woglom, vice president of The Ocean Conservancy, about what it takes to keep the partnership strong throughout the years. 

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Dow Chemical and Ocean Conservancy’s smooth sailing partnership

First estimate of plastic entering oceans from rivers yields shocking results

June 7, 2017 by  
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How much plastic do rivers dump into the world’s oceans ? The Ocean Cleanup decided to find out. They conducted what they say is the “first-ever estimate of plastic emissions from rivers” and the results are shocking, as in, between 1.15 and 2.41 million metric tons annually shocking. They say knowing the trash’s origins will help them better deploy their plastic-scooping cleanup arrays. Scientists have known for a long time rivers deposit plastic into oceans, but before this study no one had ever quantified just how much plastic is flowing from rivers, or how much each river contributes, according to The Ocean Cleanup . To answer such questions, researcher Laurent Lebreton of The Ocean Cleanup designed a model drawing from data on waste management , population density, dam locations, hydrography, and topography. Related: Redesigned Ocean Cleanup arrays to start scooping up Pacific garbage patch within a year The researchers found out of 40,760 rivers, a mere 20 contribute two thirds of the plastic input. The plastic also enters oceans more heavily between May and October: three quarters of plastic released makes its way into ocean waters then. The Ocean Cleanup created an interactive map to help visualize the issue. The map tells a user how many kilograms of plastic have entered the oceans just since they started viewing it. You can check it out here . The Ocean Cleanup founder and CEO Boyan Slat said in a statement, “We’re pleased to see how many initiatives have been taken in the past few years to raise awareness of the ocean pollution problem. However, for our work in the deep ocean to succeed in the long run, it’s crucial that governments and other organizations speed up their efforts to mitigate the sources of the problem we aim to resolve. The results of this latest study can assist with those efforts.” The journal Nature Communications published the study online today . Four Ocean Cleanup researchers were joined by one scientist from North Carolina State University and an expert from HKV Consultants in the Netherlands . + The Ocean Cleanup Images via The Ocean Cleanup

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First estimate of plastic entering oceans from rivers yields shocking results

A spectacular staircase draws you into this breathtaking daylit loft in Vienna

June 7, 2017 by  
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This renovated loft in Vienna has a sculptural staircase at its core that appears to support the entire upper floor. Design studio Smartvoll sought to preserve as much of the original space as possible while cultivating a minimalist feel reminiscent of Adolf Loos’s interiors. The renovation of the 3,767-square-foot Loft Panzerhalle introduced an abundance of natural light into the interior. The architects left the ribbon windows on the upper floor intact instead of creating galleries typical in modern loft design . An impressive central staircase sweeps upwards like a concrete sculpture, rounding off the composition. The staircase also divides the room while creating a roof over the kitchen, recesses and elevations. Related: Architects turn a cramped apartment into a gorgeous loft where the owner’s cats can roam freely While concrete dominates the space, semi-transparent materials were used to delineate the guest area and bedroom. All the furniture looks integrated into the construction, celebrating free space and minimalist aesthetics. “We wanted to revitalize the space’s original charm,” said the architects. “Magnanimity and a spatial experience of both storeys were priorities. In all dimensions.” + Smartvoll Architects Via v2com Photos by Tobias Colz/smartvoll

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A spectacular staircase draws you into this breathtaking daylit loft in Vienna

NGOs alone will not turn the tide on ocean trash

May 30, 2017 by  
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A clear-eyed optimistic strategy involving businesses, governments and individuals can create a seismic shift in the way we tackle the ocean plastic crisis

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NGOs alone will not turn the tide on ocean trash

Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal step up on deforestation

May 30, 2017 by  
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The multinational personal care companies are among new supporters of the CDP’s forest supply chain initiative, which requires deeper disclosure from key suppliers.

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Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal step up on deforestation

One of the world’s most remote islands is also the most polluted

May 16, 2017 by  
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There’s a lonely island in the Pacific Ocean that has no human inhabitants, yet it’s completely covered in trash. Henderson Island is so remote, humans only visit it for research every five to 10 years. But the island is also home to the highest density of plastic debris found anywhere on Earth, according to the University of Tasmania . Scientists found the island’s beaches are polluted with around 671 pieces of trash per 10 square feet. No humans live on Henderson Island, part of the Pitcairn Islands that are British territories in the southern Pacific Ocean. Henderson Island is 3,106 miles away from the closest major population center. But it’s located near the middle of the South Pacific Gyre ocean current, and waste from South America rolls up on its shores. Jennifer Lavers of the university and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds , with colleague Alexander Bond, recently found an estimated 37.7 pieces of plastic on the remote island. Related: Plankton Pundit video shows exact moment plastic enters the food chain Lavers said, “What’s happened on Henderson Island shows there’s no escaping plastic pollution even in the most distant parts of our oceans .” The research was published online yesterday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America . The amount of trash shocked Lavers, who told The Guardian she’s seen plastic pollution around the world but still expected Henderson’s remote location to provide it some protection. Instead, she found a staggering amount of garbage and hundreds of crabs dwelling in our trash. She told The Guardian, “This plastic is old, it’s brittle, it’s sharp, it’s toxic. It was really quite tragic seeing these gorgeous crabs scuttling about, living in our waste.” She estimates 3,570 new pieces of trash wash up on Henderson Island every single day on just one of the island’s beaches. Around 17 metric tons of plastic has likely been deposited on the island, based on sampling at five different sites. She said 55 percent of the seabirds in the world are at risk – two of the species at risk live on Henderson. Via the University of Tasmania and The Guardian Images via Jennifer Lavers/University of Tasmania and Wikimedia Commons

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One of the world’s most remote islands is also the most polluted

New plastic garbage patch discovered in Arctic Ocean

April 20, 2017 by  
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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch isn’t the only place where plastic pollution is gathering in the world’s oceans . An international team of scientists from 12 institutions in eight countries recently discovered a new garbage patch in the Greenland and Barents seas north of Norway. Between 100 and 1,200 tons of plastic have concentrated there, threatening wildlife already grappling with climate change . The Tara Expeditions Foundation dragged for plastic in the Arctic Ocean to find the new Arctic garbage patch. They visited 42 sites, and found over a third of the locations didn’t have any plastic. But then they found plastic amassing in Arctic waters above Norway. The garbage patch is smaller than the Pacific or Mediterranean garbage patches, but researchers hadn’t anticipated finding so much trash in that part of the Arctic, previously considered to be quite pristine. Related: World’s first ocean trash recon mission is complete – and the results are way worse than we thought Andrés Cózar of the University of Cádiz in Spain told The Verge, “We did not expect to find high concentrations of plastic there, so far from the populated regions and the large sources of plastic pollution.” He’s the lead author on a study published online yesterday in the journal Science Advances . So where’s all the trash coming from? Europe and America’s East Coast are likely at fault. Study co-author Erik van Sebille, who during the research was with Imperial College London and now works for the Netherlands’ Utrecht University , told The Verge, “If a plastic bottle or a plastic bag gets into the Atlantic from Europe or the East Coast of the U.S., that has a very good chance of ending up in the Arctic. The problem with plastic specifically being in the Arctic is that it’s going to get into the food chain of animals that are very much under threat already, that are struggling to survive in a changing climate.” Via The Verge Images © Anna Deniaud/Tara Expeditions Foundation

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New plastic garbage patch discovered in Arctic Ocean

Yoga pants, fleece jackets and the microplastics dilemma

March 28, 2017 by  
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No clothing brand intended for their synthetic products to be discharged into the environment in the former of tiny bits of plastic. Now that they know, they must step up and tackle the problem.

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Yoga pants, fleece jackets and the microplastics dilemma

9 VR videos that dive deep into water issues

March 24, 2017 by  
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Immersive experiences bring people face-to-face with our impact on marine ecosystems.

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9 VR videos that dive deep into water issues

Boyan Slat’s Ocean Cleanup takes to the air to count plastic trash in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

October 3, 2016 by  
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IjaZ2g-21E The concept behind the Ocean Cleanup Array is so simple that many have criticized the device as being “too good to be true,” especially given the project’s $2.2 million price tag. However, the results of a year-long feasibility study and a test run in the North Sea this summer prove the contraption works. Slat aims, though, to clean up 42 percent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch’s plastic pollution in the next 10 years, and that goal will likely take much more than the initial crowdfunded budget. Critics say the cost is higher than the reward, but they might change their minds when they find out how big the problem really is. Related: Boyan Slat’s Great Pacific Garbage Patch expedition shows the plastic problem is “even bigger than we thought” A bird’s eye view of ocean trash The controversy exists in part because nobody really knows how much plastic trash is floating in the ocean. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) first reported on the existence of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 1988 but due to its size and location, it has been difficult to assess just how much trash is caught up in the vortex. Slat’s Ocean Cleanup Project is attempting to find out, by deploying two low-speed, low-altitude reconnaissance flights from Moffett Airfield in its modified C-130 Hercules aircraft (named “Ocean Force One”) outfitted with high-tech sensors and expert spotters. The main drive behind the aerial survey is to identify and count the ghost nets, which have been deemed one of the biggest threats to marine animals . Today, Slat shared the initial findings of the first aerial survey, which took place yesterday along the northern edge of the Garbage Patch. Flight one successfully completed! Initial results will be shared at press conference Monday 11am PT. We’ll be broadcasting live here on Facebook. Posted by The Ocean Cleanup on Sunday, October 2, 2016 Slat spent some time explaining the technology used to assess the Garbage Patch. “One of [the reasons we’re using such a large aircraft] is the size of our crew… Really the only way to get there is to have an aircraft with a very large range. Even with this aircraft, we had to install two additional large fuel tanks to get the range that we needed to get all the way to the Garbage Patch,” said Slat about the 1,000-mile trip to the middle of the Pacific Ocean. He went on to explain that the aircraft was outfitted with “experimental sensors” being used for the first time to detect plastic in the ocean. Human observers were also on board to keep notes of their observations to aid in the expedition’s goal. They also used lidar technology (like radar, but using light) to get 3D images of objects under the surface of the water. What kind of trash is in the ocean? While it’s widely known that massive amounts of plastic trash have evaded the waste collection process and found their way into open waters, not all of the debris in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is made of plastic. Ghost nets are one key exception, and they wind up floating in the ocean when fishing boats leave them behind after they become entangled on a reef, rocky sea floor, or other debris. It’s not difficult to imagine how marine creatures can become trapped in these nearly invisible nets, unable to free themselves, since that is precisely the purpose of a fishing net. Although these nets are a major threat, much of the rest of the debris found in the Garbage Patch is small, confetti-like pieces of plastic and other materials that have been broken down over time, simultaneously making it easier for marine creatures to ingest them and making it more difficult to catch them with a cleanup net. Aerial Expedition – Ocean Force One Tour Take a tour aboard the Ocean Force One, which is set to map the Great Pacific Garbage Patch this weekend. Posted by The Ocean Cleanup on Thursday, September 29, 2016 Inhabitat had the chance to speak with Boyan Slat about the project. Based on what you are seeing so far, how are you feeling about the prospect of cleaning this up? “Sometimes there is a lot of talk about this just stuff being just small pieces or there not being a garbage patch, I think it is just sort of very hard to deny when you look at it out of the door of an aircraft and you just see this stuff everywhere…There is a lot of stuff out there, it is certainly more than we thought. As time goes by we actually start to start to feel more and more confident that we will be able to clean it up.” Slat estimates that 100km of array could clean up 50% of the patch, but the team is working on improving that. “We’re really trying to optimize the design, to make it higher. We’re always asking the question how can we make it more efficient, how can we make it faster, how can we make it cheaper.” Related: World’s first Ocean Cleanup Array will start removing plastic from the seas in 2016 When will the Ocean Cleanup Array tackle the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Despite ongoing criticisms, Slat remains confident that his Ocean Cleanup Array is an effective solution to one of the biggest environmental disasters on the globe, and his team is looking forward to a full deployment in the Pacific Ocean by 2020. In the meantime, a series of expeditions are being conducted to measure the size and scope of the Garbage Patch in order to plan cleanup efforts. A ‘Mega Expedition’ of 30 vessels ventured across the center of the Garbage Patch in the summer of 2015 and worked to create the first high-resolution map of the trash vortex. The ongoing Aerial Expedition will cover some 2,316 square miles, an area 300 times the size of last year’s research mission. A Pacific Pilot test program is slated for the second half of 2017, inching closer to the 2020 launch date. You can watch the entire press conference here: NOW LIVE: Aerial Expedition press conference Posted by The Ocean Cleanup on Monday, October 3, 2016   + The Ocean Cleanup Project + Boyan Slat Images via NOAA News ,  The Ocean Cleanup Project , and  NOAA Marine Debris  

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Boyan Slat’s Ocean Cleanup takes to the air to count plastic trash in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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