American Express to offer credit card created with upcycled ocean plastic

June 14, 2018 by  
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Plastic is part of so many products in our day-to-day lives, from obvious ones like plastic bags to ones you may not often think about, like your plastic credit card. American Express plans to offer the first credit card ever made with ocean plastic in a collaboration with Parley for the Oceans . The company is also committing to reduce single-use plastics in its operations worldwide. We’re collaborating w/ @parleyxxx to combat marine plastic pollution. Learn abt our plans to introduce an Amex Card made primarily from plastics recovered from the ocean & our journey to reduce single-use plastic globally https://t.co/tAWsHPjWES #AmexLife #KeepItBlue #AmexParley pic.twitter.com/7WdNeGBz3H — American Express (@AmericanExpress) June 7, 2018 American Express’s ocean plastic card will be manufactured primarily with recovered plastic from coasts and the oceans and is intended to raise awareness of ocean plastic pollution . In a press release , the company said the card is a prototype at the moment, but could be ready for the public in around 12 months. Related: Adidas unveils a Manchester United jersey created with ocean plastic Parley’s Avoid, Intercept, Redesign (AIR) philosophy is also inspiring an American Express corporate pledge to “limit single-use plastics, intercept plastic waste and redesign existing materials and plastic products.” American Express provided six steps it will take, including phasing out single-use plastic straws and stirrers for Centurion airport lounges and major offices in about a month, and phasing out single-use plastics for the airport lounges by the end of 2018. It will also undertake annual company-run river and coastal clean-ups. American Express aims to lower virgin plastic in card products, and create what it described as a comprehensive waste reduction strategy to up recycling rates and cut single-use plastic in its operations by the end of 2018. Finally, the company will pursue a zero waste certification by 2025 for its New York City headquarters. “Every second breath we take is created by the oceans ,” Parley for the Oceans founder Cyrill Gutsch said in a statement . “Without them, we can’t exist. American Express is creating a symbol of change and inviting their network to shape a blue future, one based on creativity, collaboration and eco-innovation.” + American Express + Parley for the Oceans Image courtesy of American Express

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American Express to offer credit card created with upcycled ocean plastic

High tide coastal flooding in US has doubled in the past 30 years

June 7, 2018 by  
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A new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) finds that the frequency of coastal flooding at high tide across the U.S. has doubled in the past 30 years. This type of flooding, often referred to as “sunny day flooding,” occurs without the presence of a storm; the floodwaters simply arrive with the high tide. In 2017, there was an average of six high-tide flooding days, a record high, in each of the 98 coastal areas studied. Researchers expect the next two years to bring much of the same, while the long-term forecast, exacerbated by rising sea levels and increased occurrences of extreme weather, is more foreboding. In 2017, the Northeast and the Gulf of Mexico regions were the most affected by high tide coastal flooding. Boston , Massachusetts and Atlantic City, New Jersey experienced 22 days of flooding, while Galveston, Texas, in addition to being hit by Hurricane Harvey , was affected by 18 days of high tide coastal flooding. Because of cyclical climate conditions, NOAA expects the next two years to be as bad or worse for coastal flooding in at least half of the 98 areas featured in the study. Related: California’s wild extremes of flooding and drought will only get worse as the planet warms “Breaking of annual flood records is to be expected next year and for decades to come as sea levels rise, and likely at an accelerated rate,” the report reads. “Though year-to-year and regional variability exists, the underlying trend is quite clear: due to sea level rise , the national average frequency of high tide flooding is double what it was 30 years ago.” Hurricanes and extreme weather may cause acute incidents of devastation, but the report suggests that mundane high tide coastal flooding represents a different, more pervasive kind of threat. “We need to rethink our relationship with the coastline because it’s going to be retreating for the foreseeable future,” geologist Andrea Dutton told the Guardian . “We need to take this report as a warning to prepare ourselves, or we will just sit around and wait for disaster to happen.” Despite the imminent threat, the U.S.  currently has no federal plan to adapt to rising sea levels and increased flooding. + NOAA Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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High tide coastal flooding in US has doubled in the past 30 years

Join the Wave: Wear Blue & March for the Ocean on June 9

June 1, 2018 by  
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June 9 could be a historic day for the Earth’s … The post Join the Wave: Wear Blue & March for the Ocean on June 9 appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Join the Wave: Wear Blue & March for the Ocean on June 9

Man plans to swim the Pacific Ocean to raise awareness for plastic pollution

May 25, 2018 by  
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You’ve heard a lot about the ocean plastic crisis, and may even know a fair amount about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch . But for many of us, the issue can still seem far away when we drink out of a plastic bottle or tote groceries in a plastic bag. Professional distance swimmer Ben Lecomte aims to offer a fresh, personal perspective on ocean health as he swims 5,500 miles across the Pacific Ocean . Inhabitat caught up with Lecomte just days before he plans to leave for the potentially record-setting trek. Lecomte could be the first man to swim across the Pacific Ocean, but that’s not his goal for this venture. “My goal is to do something a little bit out there, a little bit extreme, to get the attention on an issue very important to everybody: the state of the ocean ,” he told Inhabitat. He’ll leave from Tokyo and swim to San Francisco, across thousands of miles, in a journey that could take around six months. Related: The Ocean Cleanup is about to send a giant plastic collector to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch Lecomte’s father taught him how to swim in the Atlantic Ocean . “I remember spending a lot of summers on the beach and never seeing plastic. Within my lifetime, now it has suddenly changed. I cannot walk on a beach where I don’t see any plastic,” he said. “I have children, and I ask myself, how is it going to be for them when they are older and they walk with their kids, is it going to be worse, is it going to be better? The only way to make it better is first of all, we have to be aware of the problem, and second of all, we have to start taking action. And it’s something that we can do. We have a solution, but it means we change our habit, we change our behavior, and then by our collective action, we can make a difference.” A volunteer-staffed, wind – and solar -powered sailboat will accompany Lecomte as he swims for around eight hours a day. He’ll need to consume about 8,000 calories daily, but he said he won’t take breaks on the boat and so won’t each much during those eight hours, just liquids like soup. He’ll eat two large meals in the morning and at night, and eat if he wakes up in the middle of the night. Will the sailboat inadvertently cover some of the distance? Lecomte says they’ll try to keep the boat in the place where he stops, but if they move, they will travel back so he can pick up where he left off. Along the way, they’ll gather over 1,000 samples for 27 scientific partners with two main research focuses: ocean health and human health . Lecomte said that in the past, scientists typically haven’t been able to gather samples from across an entire ocean — that would take too long. But his journey offers a perfect opportunity to do so. Plastic is a primary emphasis; Lecomte will swim right through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Radiation from Fukushima and phytoplankton are among other ocean research areas. To delve into human health, Lecomte will be working with NASA . “Since I’m going to be in low gravity, there are a few things they would like to find out how it’s going to affect me or not. My bone density is going to change; pressure on my eyes is also something that affects astronauts, [and they want] to find out if that’s going to change for me,” he said. The wealth of information Lecomte could collect, and awareness he could raise, has the potential to be immense. But will such a voyage leave its own impact on the Pacific Ocean? Lecomte told Inhabitat renewable energy will generate the power they need. They won’t throw out trash, keeping everything on the boat, and will limit plastic packaging . The team has partnered with several organizations, including Mission Blue , the Ocean Voyages Institute , and the Ocean Institute . “They already have initiatives in place we want to reinforce,” said Lecomte. “For example, the Ocean Institute has 2,500 kids that go to their activities and learn about the plastic problem in the ocean, and that will do some of the data and collect some of the samples we’ve collected, and replicate some of what we do. We’ll try to be in connection with them and interact with those kids so they know what they are doing is being done in the middle of the ocean as well.” Lecomte is scheduled to leave on Wednesday, May 30. Seeker and Discovery are partnering for a project to cover Lecomte’s journey called The Swim , and they’ll produce content with Nomadica Films . Live coverage, mid-form and short-form videos, weekly Instagram stories, and weekly Discovery updates will all be part of The Swim, and the groups plan to release a feature-length documentary next year. You can also see where Lecomte is via The Longest Swim’s live tracker . + The Longest Swim + The Swim Images courtesy of Ben Lecomte

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UNStudio designs cocoon-like pavilion made of 100% recyclable materials

May 25, 2018 by  
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If you’ve ever dreamed of cocooning yourself in nature, this woven prefabricated pavilion may be right up your alley. Dutch architect Ben van Berkel of UNStudio has unveiled the Ellipsicoon, a digitally developed and handwoven pavilion that can pop up anywhere as a sculptural and meditative retreat. The curvaceous Ellipsicoon was created as part of the pavilion series for Revolution Precrafted , a collection of limited-edition prefabricated homes and pavilions designed by the world’s leading architects, artists and designers. Inspired by the organic curves found in nature, Ben van Berkel designed the 160-square-foot Ellipsicoon with soft sinuous curves generated from 3D-modeling computer programs. Although the pavilion was designed and developed digitally, production will be done entirely by hand. Highly skilled craftsmen will hand-weave the Ellipsicoon’s continuous sculptural surface using strands of 100% recyclable high-density polyethylene (HDPE). The pavilion measures 18.7 feet in length, 13.45 feet in width and 8.53 feet in height. To enter the Ellipsicoon, users must first step over the raised threshold to reach a sunken area with built-in seating that follows the fluid curves of the space. The round openings on either side taper inwards near the top to create the sensation of being simultaneously inside and outside. Gaps in the woven structure let in natural light while the two differently sized elliptical openings frame views of the outdoors. Related: Ron Arad designs the modular Armadillo Tea Pavilion for indoor and outdoor use “I have long been interested in exploring spaces which extend function to replace the reality of the everyday with the potential for more nuanced, reflective experiences,” van Berkel said. “The Ellipsicoon offers a place of temporary disengagement, where the practicalities, duties and interruptions of daily life can momentarily fade and the imagination can take over.” Revolution Precrafted will produce limited quantities of the Ellipsicoon. The price and additional details about the pavilion are available upon request . + UNStudio Images via Revolution Precrafted

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UNStudio designs cocoon-like pavilion made of 100% recyclable materials

500-mile-long shark highway could become a protected wildlife corridor

May 23, 2018 by  
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For the very first time, scientists filmed sharks traveling along a 500-mile-long shark highway in the Pacific Ocean  that stretches between the Galapagos Islands and Cocos Island. The reason for filming? While Cocos and the Galapagos have protected areas for fish , the shark highway is not included, and scientists want to transform it into a protected wildlife corridor . Costa Rica group Fundación PACÍFICO , a collaboration of four environmental funds, organized an expedition to videotape the shark highway. President Zdenka Piskulich told NPR it’s difficult to get people interested in a corridor out in the ocean , but “finally we have visual evidence that there is a huge abundance in this area that needs to be protected, that there really is a highway.” Related: Russia built a critical wildlife corridor to help save endangered big cats The scientists utilized GoPro-style cameras, fish bait and metal frames to create what are called baited remote underwater video systems, or BRUVS. They dragged these behind a research boat for nearly two weeks. Biologist Mario Espinoza said, “We actually documented over 16 species of sharks and fish, also sea turtles and dolphins …It’s really surprising to see that many animals .” Sharks — including hammerhead, thresher and silky sharks — were the predominant marine animal. The shark highway follows an underwater mountain range, or seamounts, according to Fundación PACÍFICO . Espinoza said this was “the first time we actually documented animals using these seamounts. We don’t know exactly whether they are feeding or they’re like stopping by or using these seamounts as navigation routes.” Lee Crockett of the Shark Conservation Fund said sharks straying outside of protected areas are at risk of being caught on the long lines of high seas tuna fishing. Some species of hammerhead sharks are endangered ; others are declining. He described protecting this shark highway as “the next step in conservation .” + Fundación PACÍFICO Via NPR Image via Depositphotos

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Scandinavian-inspired hotel emerges from the lush Costa Rican landscape

May 2, 2018 by  
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European design elements meet Costa Rican craftsmanship in the newly completed Mint Santa Teresa , a modern hotel set into a steep hillside in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. San Jose-based architecture firm Studio Saxe completed the upscale hotel for Swedish owners who fell in love with the beautiful area, which has become a hotspot for surfing and yoga. Built to harmonize with the landscape, the hotel is comprised of pavilion-like structures that step down towards the beach. Mint Santa Teresa has multiple spacious,  pavilion -like guest rooms that fully open up to views of the surrounding nature while preserving privacy. Each room comes with a personal terrace overlooking the ocean in front of the hotel, as well as the tropical gardens behind it. Guests also enjoy access to a rooftop terrace with hammocks , lush landscaping, and elevated views. Rattan furniture sourced from the famous crafts town Sarchí is used throughout the hotel, as are locally sourced materials, such as the caña brava grass ceilings and other custom furniture made from  locally sourced wood. An infinity pool and sunset bar are located at the heart of the hotel, in the communal lounge area where the breakfast buffet is served. Related: Costa Rica eco-resort combines jungle yoga with sustainable design “Hotels traditionally became vast objects in the landscape that bear no relation to their surroundings and are devoid of genuine human interaction,” according to architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe. “At Mint, we endeavored to create a contextual design that adapts to its landscape and offers a new type of experience for a breed of traveler seeking authenticity.” + Studio Saxe

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Scandinavian-inspired hotel emerges from the lush Costa Rican landscape

The Gulf Stream is the weakest it’s been in 1,600 years – here’s why that’s really bad news

April 12, 2018 by  
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The Gulf Stream current, which serves as an important regulator of weather and climate along the Atlantic Ocean, is now the weakest it has been in at least 1,600 years. This dramatic slowing of the current, known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (Amoc), could usher in extreme shifts in weather patterns, such as more brutal European winters, rapid sea level rise on the American East Coast , and the disruption of essential tropical rainstorms. Suddenly, the 2004 climate-change disaster film The Day After Tomorrow, which depicted the dramatized consequences of a Gulf Stream slowdown, seems less science fiction, more predictive of a future plagued by catastrophic climate change. Although scientists have been aware of Amoc’s slowdown since 2004, two recent studies paint a more complete picture of just how dramatic this weakening has been. “The [current] climate models don’t predict [an Amoc shutdown] is going to happen in the future,” Dr. David Thornalley, leader of one of these recent studies published in the journal Nature , told the Guardian . “The problem is how certain are we it is not going to happen? It is one of these tipping points that is relatively low probability, but high impact.” Thornalley’s team gathered and analyzed sediments from North Carolina ‘s Cape Hatteras, as well as shells of marine animals at various Atlantic sites, to determine the full impact of the current slowdown. The study concludes that climate change has played at least a significant role in the weakened Amoc. Related: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing at an exponential rate Also published in Nature , the second study used thermometer data from the past 120 years to reach a similar conclusion: Amoc is about 15 percent weaker than it was in 400 AD. While the second study places much of the blame on climate change , the first study also cites natural climate variability as a contributing factor to Amoc’s slowdown. Regardless of its causes, the weakening is recognized in both studies as a potentially destabilizing phenomenon. “If we do not rapidly stop global warming, we must expect a further long-term slowdown of the Atlantic overturning,” second study co-author Alexander Robinson told the Guardian . “We are only beginning to understand the consequences of this unprecedented process – but they might be disruptive.” Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos (1 , 2)

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The Gulf Stream is the weakest it’s been in 1,600 years – here’s why that’s really bad news

Episode 118: Wells Fargo banks on cleantech, Harvard’s new curriculum; debating sustainable transportation

March 30, 2018 by  
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In this week’s edition, we mull electric and self-driving vehicles, catch up with the Ocean Conservancy’s CEO and find out what’s on the agenda for a new online sustainable business strategy course.

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Episode 118: Wells Fargo banks on cleantech, Harvard’s new curriculum; debating sustainable transportation

Scientists create ‘umbrella’ spray to protect coral reefs from sun damage

March 27, 2018 by  
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Researchers have crafted a new liquid substance that can be sprayed onto the surface of the water above vulnerable coral reefs , shielding them from intense UV and visible light beaming down from the Sun . In doing so, the spray may help to defend reefs from extreme bleaching events. 50,000 times thinner than a human hair, the biodegradable spray is made from a natural lipid and calcium carbonate, a key component of coral reefs. “It is white so it reflects and scatters all the light which hits the ocean surface,” study researcher Andrew Negri told the Sydney Morning Herald . Laboratory tests revealed that the spray was capable of reducing the amount of light reaching underwater coral by 20 percent. “In the laboratory, it actually stays on the surface for several weeks, but in the ocean it could be broken up by wave action and moved around by the currents,” explained Negri. The spray will quickly biodegrade after it is broken up. Trials in a real-world environment will begin soon to refine the spray and make it more resilient to sometimes turbulent waters . Related: Spraying spiders with graphene helps them spin webs 6 times stronger than normal Conservationists are enthused about the idea of using the spray to protect acute vulnerabilities in coral reefs. “The idea being that you could in the future, knowing there is going to be hot days ahead… spray this film on top of key reefs… and this will act as a bit of a shield… almost like an umbrella, to protect these reefs underneath and the animals underneath,” Great Barrier Reef Foundation managing director Anna Marsden told the Sydney Morning Herald . “It’s important to note that this is not intended to be a solution that can be applied over the whole 348,000 square kilometres of Great Barrier Reef ,” Marsden noted. “That would never be practical, but it could be deployed on a smaller, local level to protect high value or high-risk areas of reef.” Via The Sydney Morning Herald Images via Depositphotos (2 , 3 )

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