The Great Barrier Reef has lost 50% of its corals to climate change

October 15, 2020 by  
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A recent study has revealed that corals of the Great Barrier Reef have more than halved since 1995. The study, which was done by researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, warns that the Great Barrier Reef is in danger. The scientists behind the study have attributed the loss to greenhouse gas emissions. Researchers now say that if actions are not taken to reverse greenhouse gas emissions, the Great Barrier Reef may soon be unrecognizable. The research was based on an analysis of the number of corals of all sizes between 1995 and 2017. Terry Hughes, one of the authors of the study and a professor at James Cook University, said that massive coral bleaching events were recorded in 2016 and 2017. These events are associated with record-breaking water temperatures experienced during these years. Related: Help NASA save endangered coral with a new gaming app The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B , accounts for all major coral bleaching events between 1995 and 2017. However, since 2017, there have been other major bleaching events, including one that took place this year. The bleaching that happened this year affected the southern part of the reef severely, causing further coral reef loss. “I began surveying the reefs in 1995, and what subsequently unfolded certainly wasn’t planned for. There have been five major bleaching events since then, including three in just the past five years,” Hughes said. Although the reef is losing corals of all sizes, Hughes says that he is more concerned with the depletion of the large ones. Without large corals, it is not possible for the reef to repair itself. According to the researchers, specific strains of corals seem to be more affected than others. The staghorn corals and the table corals are the most impacted by the recent events. “Those two types of corals are the most three-dimensional — they form habitats,” Hughes explained. “The reef is flatter and less three-dimensional now.” The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority downgraded the outlook of the reef to “very poor” in its 5-year health report released last year. The health report identified climate change as the biggest challenge to the existence of the reef. For the Great Barrier Reef to survive the coming years, actions have to be taken to reverse the effects of climate change now. + Proceedings of the Royal Society B Via The Guardian Photography by Andreas Dietzel

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The Great Barrier Reef has lost 50% of its corals to climate change

World gets F on Aichi biodiversity report card

September 18, 2020 by  
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In 2010, representatives from 194 countries met in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, and agreed on 20 biodiversity targets to reach in the next decade. Ten years later, the signatories have fallen far short. A new UN report details progress made on what are called the Aichi biodiversity targets. Overall, zero of the targets have been completely fulfilled. The 20 targets are further broken down into 60 elements. Of these, seven have been achieved. Thirty-eight show progress. As the U.S. in 2020 is faced with record-setting wildfires in the west and an unprecedented hurricane season in the southeast and the entire world reels from a pandemic and a year of heightened racial tension, the targets seem heartbreakingly idealistic. For example, “By 2020, ecosystems that provide essential services, including services related to water, and contribute to health, livelihoods and well-being, are restored and safeguarded, taking into account the needs of women, Indigenous and local communities, and the poor and vulnerable.” If only. Nor have we managed “ By 2020, ecosystem resilience and the contribution of biodiversity to carbon stocks has been enhanced, through conservation and restoration, including restoration of at least 15 per cent of degraded ecosystems, thereby contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation and to combating desertification.” Related: Naturalis Biodiversity Center reopens with a sustainable, future-proof renovation Progress looks modest when faced with the 20 ambitious targets. Global deforestation rates have decreased by about one-third, but they remain high. Some regions have curbed overfishing, but overall things are worse for marine creatures. Perhaps our best accomplishment is saving 48 species from extinction. “Earth’s living systems as a whole are being compromised,” said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, the UN’s head of biodiversity, as reported on Earth.org . “And the more humanity exploits nature in unsustainable ways and undermines its contributions to people, the more we undermine our own wellbeing, security and prosperity.” Members of the Convention on Biological Diversity are currently working on targets for the 2020s. This decade’s agenda has been delayed by COVID-19, but members expect to finalize goals in May 2021. One target under negotiation: a proposal to protect 30% of Earth. + Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 Via Earth.org Image via Wendy Cover/NOAA

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World gets F on Aichi biodiversity report card

How Pandora hopes to reach 100% recycled silver and gold

June 29, 2020 by  
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How Pandora hopes to reach 100% recycled silver and gold Deonna Anderson Mon, 06/29/2020 – 16:55 By 2030, Pandora, the world’s largest jewelry brand by volume, will use 100 percent recycled silver and gold in its products. At least that’s the goal the Danish company set at the beginning of June. As it stands, 71 percent of the silver and gold in Pandora jewelry comes from recycled sources. And the company sells a lot of jewelry: Fast Company noted that last year, it sold 96 million pieces of jewelry, or roughly 750,000 pounds of silver, which is more than any other company in the industry. Pandora said it uses palladium, copper and man-made stones, such as nano-crystals and cubic zirconia, in its products but the volume of those materials is small compared to its use of silver, which accounts for over half of all purchased product materials measured by weight. The jewelry company also uses gold at a smaller volume. Pandora’s 100 percent recycled silver and gold commitment comes after the disclosure in January of its aspirational pledge to become carbon neutral in the company’s own operations by 2025. “With that, we then, of course, sit down and look at what are the main levers that we can pull to reach carbon neutrality and to reduce the footprint of the value chain connected with crafting our jewelry, delivering our jewelry, and then this comes in as one of those components,” said Mads Twomey-Madsen, head of sustainability at Pandora. To further move toward its larger goal of reaching carbon neutrality, Twomey-Madsen said Pandora is thinking about how the company might reduce its footprint in other parts of the business. For example, as the world reopens after shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company plans to reduce the energy it uses in its retail stores as it related to lighting and heating. The company is developing new store concepts to shift the lighting installations and also adjusting its procurement policies for electricity in its network so that its stores are more energy efficient, and that it is sourced from renewable sources sourced wherever possible, according to Twomey-Madsen. He noted that shifting from partially virgin metals to 100 percent recycled metals will make a big difference in Pandora’s carbon footprint. The company anticipates that when it reaches this goal, it will reduce its CO2 emissions, water usage and other environmental impacts. Recycling metals uses fewer resources than mining new metals. Namely, it takes a third of the CO2 to extract the same silver from consumer electronics, when compared to mining silver, according to Pandora. So, how will the company close the 29 percent gap between the amount of recycled silver and gold is uses now and what it hopes to use 10 years from now? It plans to engage with key stakeholders in its supply chain, which will be vital. “Every aspect of the supply chain needs to be connected to create a more sustainable future,”  said Iris Van der Veken, executive director of the Responsible Jewelry Council, during a session at the U.N. Global Compact Leaders’ Summit, according to trade magazine Jewelry Outlook . Pandora is a member of the Responsible Jewelry Council, which sets sustainability standards for the industry on matters ranging from labor to toxics to emissions, and Twomey-Madsen said the company plans to engage with the council on certification as it works toward its latest goal. The company was able to reach its current 71 percent recycled content rate by obtaining that content on its own, melting the metals and then crafting the jewelry themselves. But the company also buys semi-finished jewelry pieces from other sources. “That’s the focus that we’ll have now to work with those suppliers and make sure that in their operations, the pieces that we purchase from them [are] also sourced with recycled metals,” Twomey-Madsen said. One of the challenges is that the amount of recycled silver available is pretty low. With that in mind, Pandora plans to help build up the supply. And electronic waste could be a significant source for “mining” recycled silver (and gold). There is a lot of e-waste but only about 20 percent of it is formally recycled, with the rest being informally recycled or going to the landfill, according to Twomey-Madsen.  But stakeholders in this work are trying to get to work. Twomey-Madsen said Pandora is seeing interest from potential collaborators in the recycled materials space, with “some from e-waste and some with recovery from other forms of waste or collection of waste.” “We are also having interest from companies that work with new materials. We are, of course, really happy for this and are in dialogue to see if this could lead to new cooperations,” wrote Twomey-Madsen by email, just before publication.  As more key players get involved in trying to make a circular economy work for the jewelry industry, an important factor to think about is transparency in traceability. There must be processes to make sure that actors are well informed across the supply chain about the origins of the metals, he said.  “That’s probably where we need to work the most. We don’t see it as something that we cannot get done,” Twomey-Madsen said, while noting that this process will take time. Topics Supply Chain Commitments & Goals Mining Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Courtesy of Pandora Jewellery Close Authorship

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How Pandora hopes to reach 100% recycled silver and gold

New tiny home for glamping on Governors Island offers guests the best views of NYC

January 21, 2020 by  
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Finding a little serenity in NYC is never an easy feat and often requires New Yorkers to head outside of the city to take in a little quiet time. But thankfully, Big Apple residents and visitors alike can now enjoy a relaxing stay in a fabulous new tiny home retreat on Governors Island . Just a 7-minute ferry ride from downtown Manhattan, Outlook Shelter offers guests a high-end, luxury glamping experience with city vistas they won’t find anywhere else. Previously, adventurers looking to spend the night on Governors Island were limited to sleeping in glamping tents located on a campsite known as the Collective Governors Island Retreat . Now, the campsite has broadened its accommodation offerings with five contemporary tiny cabins, designed by tiny home specialists, Land Ark RV . Related: Kennebunkport campground offers tiny cabins, Airstreams and more Designed to blend the features of a luxury hotel with the serenity of a quiet glamping experience, the tiny homes boast a contemporary design. Clad in corrugated metal and Brazilian hardwood on the exterior, each 400-square-foot structure includes two decks. These outdoor spaces provide unobstructed views of the Statue of Liberty and the harbor. Once inside, guests will be able to enjoy some down time in living spaces inspired by Scandinavian design . Furnished with items from Danish design brand Hay, the tiny homes feature high ceilings and ultra-large windows that create a bright and airy atmosphere. Each cabin has a small living space and kitchenette along with a bedroom featuring either one king-sized bed or a king-sized bed plus a double bed upon request. The en suite bathroom comes with a rain shower and a luxurious tub that sits under a massive window, so guests can take in one of the best views in New York while soaking their cares away. The unique tiny home retreat is a short ferry ride from downtown Manhattan, yet this peaceful oasis is tucked into hills of the historic island. Sleeping up to three guests, each tiny home comes with a number of high-end features that may or may not justify the rates, which start at a whopping $595 per night. + Glamping Hub + Outlook Shelter Via Tiny House Talk Images via Glamping Hub

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New tiny home for glamping on Governors Island offers guests the best views of NYC

Valuable wetlands are disappearing 3 times faster than forests, new study warns

September 28, 2018 by  
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Wetlands around the world are disappearing at an alarming rate. New research shows that these valuable ecosystems are vanishing at a rate three times that of forests . Unless significant changes are made, the disappearance of wetlands could cause severe damage around the globe. The Global Wetland Outlook , which was completed by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, found that more than a third of the wetlands on Earth have disappeared over a 45-year period. The pace that wetlands are vanishing jumped significantly after the year 2000, and regions all over the planet were impacted equally. Unfortunately, there is a handful of reasons why wetlands are diminishing around the world. This includes climate change , urbanization, human population growth and variable consumption patterns, all of which have contributed to the way land is used. Related: Natural wetland in India filters 198 million gallons of wastewater a day with zero chemicals There are several different types of wetlands found on Earth, including marshes, lakes, peatlands and rivers. Lagoons, coral reefs , mangroves and estuaries also fall into the wetland category. In total, wetlands take up more than 12.1 million square kilometers, an area larger than Greenland. Wetlands are crucial, because they provide almost all of the world’s access to freshwater — something that is key to survival. Humans also use wetlands for hydropower and medicines. From an environmental perspective, wetlands help retain carbon and regulate global warming . They also serve as the ecosystems for 40 percent of living species on Earth, providing food, water, breeding spaces and raw materials for these animals to live. If the wetlands keep vanishing at the current rate, many species will go as well. “The Global Wetland Outlook is a wake-up call — not only on the steep rate of loss of the world’s wetlands but also on the critical services they provide. Without them, the global agenda on sustainable development will not be achieved,” said Martha Rojas Urrego, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. “We need urgent collective action to reverse trends on wetland loss and degradation and secure both the future of wetlands and our own survival at the same time.” With wetlands in danger of disappearing, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands has pledged to make saving these regions a top priority. The parties involved with the group have targeted 2,300 sites for protection and hope to expand that to include more wetlands around the globe. + Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Image via Jeanethe Falvey / EPA

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Valuable wetlands are disappearing 3 times faster than forests, new study warns

An updated Scandinavian summer cottage weaves Japanese influences throughout

July 18, 2018 by  
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There are few better places to spend a Scandinavian summer than in a breezy cottage by the water. One stellar example is the Summer House completed by Swedish architecture firm Kod Arkitekter in the northern Stockholm archipelago. Located on an island and surrounded by the forest and sea, this home makes the most of its idyllic surroundings with a design that maximizes indoor-outdoor living and combines Scandinavian cottage traditions with Japanese minimalism. Built of timber to reference the surrounding forest, the Summer House comprises a renovated old cottage and a new addition. The clients asked Kod Arkitekter to save and update the cottage — a 65-square-meter structure — and seamlessly integrate it into the extension , a long volume that stretches perpendicular to the existing building. To connect the two buildings, the architects clad both volumes in vertical stained strips of lumber and also topped the house with a dark roofing material. The roof extends over the outdoor patio so that it can be enjoyed rain or shine. Related: Timber-clad waterfront house in Norway epitomizes modern Scandinavian design “With its elongated shape, window setting and the location of the rooms and the patios , the design maximizes the outlook on the water and the unspoiled nature,” explained Kod Arkitekter of the 210-square-meter cottage. “In addition to the Scandinavian traditions, the house draws inspiration from Japan , in an interpretation where simplicity, wood and the relationship with the surrounding nature are at the heart of the architecture.” To mitigate the sloping site, the west end of the T-shaped house is partially elevated on steel posts. The private rooms can be found in the home’s north and south wings. The common areas are located in the west wing, which faces views of the water. Framed by large windows, the communal spaces connect to the outdoors for an indoor-outdoor living experience. + Kod Arkitekter Images via Måns Berg

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An updated Scandinavian summer cottage weaves Japanese influences throughout

The number of electric vehicles on the streets could triple in two years

May 30, 2018 by  
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Good news for the planet: the electric vehicle (EV) industry hit a new record last year, with more than one million EVs sold, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The result? There are now over three million electric vehicles on roads worldwide. And if that weren’t good enough news,  Bloomberg has reported  that the number of EVs traveling the streets could triple in just two years. The IEA just released their Global EV Outlook 2018 report, and it contains some exciting news for the electric vehicle industry. On average, sales could climb 24 percent each year up to 2030, and by the end of this decade alone, the global EV fleet could boast 13 million vehicles. The number of electric buses increased to 370,000 from 345,000 in 2016, and there are now 250 million electric two-wheelers such as scooters or motorcycles. Related: World’s first electric road that charges moving vehicles debuts in Sweden In their press release on the report, IEA said China is still the world’s biggest electric car market; it accounted for over half of the electric cars sold in 2017, with almost 580,000 cars total. The United States followed with approximately 280,000 cars sold last year. To keep up, the world will require at least 10 more battery gigafactories , Bloomberg said. Demand for cobalt and lithium is increasing and could rise tenfold unless technological advances reduce that figure. 60 percent of cobalt in the world is mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where child labor still occurs, so battery manufacturers have been pressured to show their wares are made sustainably. Charging infrastructure is keeping pace with the electric mobility revolution, according to the IEA, which said there were nearly three million private chargers around the world at homes and workplaces in 2017. There were also 430,000 public chargers, and about one-quarter of those were fast chargers . The IEA credited electric vehicle growth largely to “government policy, including public procurement programs, financial incentives reducing the cost of purchase of EVs, tightened fuel-economy standards and regulations on the emission of local pollutants, low- and zero-emission vehicle mandates and a variety of local measures.” + Global EV Outlook 2018 + International Energy Agency Via Bloomberg Image via Wikimedia Commons

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The number of electric vehicles on the streets could triple in two years

The new solar buyer isn’t who you expect

July 13, 2015 by  
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Here’s why the “on demand” economy is brightening the outlook for solar among younger “true believers.”

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The new solar buyer isn’t who you expect

Sou Fujimoto’s Modular Outlook Tower is Cooled by Indoor Waterfalls

November 21, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Sou Fujimoto’s Modular Outlook Tower is Cooled by Indoor Waterfalls Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Cooling Mists , Doha , Indoor Waterfalls , Modular Arches , Modular Tower , Outlook Tower , Particles of Light , qatar , Sou Fujimoto , Souk Mirage , Waterfront Complex        

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Sou Fujimoto’s Modular Outlook Tower is Cooled by Indoor Waterfalls

Susana Soares’ Glass Device Uses Honey Bees to Detect Cancer

November 21, 2013 by  
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At this year’s Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, Portuguese designer Susana Soares presented a device that can detect cancer and other diseases using honey bees . Known for their extraordinary sense of smell, bees can detect airborne molecules in the parts per trillion range and can be trained to recognize certain smells associated with diseases such as lung, skin and pancreatic cancer, as well as tuberculosis. Read the rest of Susana Soares’ Glass Device Uses Honey Bees to Detect Cancer Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bees cancer , bees diagnostics , bees diseases , bees medicine , Dutch Design Week , green design , honey bees training , pavlov’s reflex bees , portugese designers , Susana Soares bee’s , trained bees        

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Susana Soares’ Glass Device Uses Honey Bees to Detect Cancer

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