How developing countries are insuring against climate disasters

September 9, 2019 by  
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To help countries cope with disaster, new tools have emerged over the last decade, including ‘sovereign parametric insurance.’

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How developing countries are insuring against climate disasters

Scientific consensus reaches beyond 99% on human-caused climate change

July 25, 2019 by  
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Researchers have released three additional studies confirming the consensus among scientists that climate change is real. More than 99 percent of scientists have reached the same conclusion that global warming is real and caused by human activity, with findings showing that current warming is unprecedented when compared to the last 2,000 years. Even though most deniers are political or corporate-backed — rather than driven by science — scientists continue to release worrisome research repeating and reconfirming that all evidence indicates climate change is real in hopes that the consensus itself will be convincing. Related: Climate anxiety — is hopelessness preventing us from confronting our biggest challenge? “There is no doubt left — as has been shown extensively in many other studies addressing many different aspects of the climate system using different methods and data sets,” said Stefan Brönnimann of the University of Bern. The three studies were published in Nature and Nature Geoscience and indicate that the temperature spikes over the last few decades have not been as dramatic over the last 2,000 years . While there have been other roving and site-specific temperature changes, such as the Little Ice Age , the current record-breaking temperatures impact the entire globe. The researchers used proxy indicators such as evidence in trees , ice and sediment, which show that changes in climate have never been as severe as they are now. “The good news is public understanding of the scientific consensus is increasing,” said researcher James Cook, who wrote the original paper on scientific consensus in 2013. “The bad news is there is still a lot of work to do yet as climate deniers continue to persistently attack the scientific consensus.” Last week, the original paper was downloaded for the one millionth time, making it the most-read study by the Institute of Physics. Cook also wrote a follow-up to this study, but because of the recent rise in disasters and interest in climate change , he plans to revise his paper again. Via The Guardian Image via Christopher Michel

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Scientific consensus reaches beyond 99% on human-caused climate change

Experts warn earths topsoil is almost gone

June 3, 2019 by  
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Nearly half of all the world’s top soil has disappeared over the last 150 years, despite its critical importance to our food supply. At least 95 percent of our global food supply relies on rich topsoil for production and the better the soil the more nutritious the food. Experts warn that without massive reformations to agriculture and city planning, we could run out of topsoil in the next 60 years. Intensive farming is the primary cause for the loss of topsoil. Soil that is exposed to elements like wind and rain is easily lost on farms that rely on chemical inputs to compensate for the lack of nutritious top soil. Other farming practices, like over-tilling, synthetic chemical use and lack of cover crops contributes to the degradation of soil as well. Related: Researchers rush to link toxic chemical to health concerns “We never want to see our soil unless we go looking for it,” says Keith Berns a farmer in Nebraska who advocates for the use of cover crops and no-till methods. Across the country, more and more farmers are switching to strategies that do not plow or till their land and are seeing more organic matter in their soil. Although not all farmers are sold on its benefits, the percentage of land using no-till methodology was up to 40 percent in 2017, a small but significant increase from just 32 percent in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of land with cover crops saw an increase of 50 percent from five years prior, which totals about 15 million acres of cover crop. Soil advocates are hopeful that state legislation and programs will further incentivize farmers to practice more responsible farming that maintains and replenishes soil . In Maryland and Virginia, for example, government grants helped encourage farmers to switch to cover crop systems and the benefits to the soil have been considerable. Via The Guardian Image via daeron

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Experts warn earths topsoil is almost gone

Meet Maya Kaan: Mexico’s Newest Ecotourism Destination

June 3, 2019 by  
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Mexico’s newest ecotourism area highlights natural scenic beauty and Mayan cultural experiences for travelers looking to immerse themselves in eco-friendly, sustainable activities. Maya Ka’an is a large swathe of central Quintana Roo, a state on Mexico’s Caribbean. It includes the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and Zona Maya, the traditional Mayan heartland. Local tour operators run the area’s touristic activities, aiming to keep the money in the community. “Travelers know and love Cancun, Tulum, Cozumel and Riviera Maya. Now they can learn about another side of the Mexican Caribbean in Maya Ka’an,” said Dario Flota Ocampo, director of Quintana Roo Tourism Board. “Maya Ka’an’s sustainable , off-the-grid status creates unparalleled experiences for travelers seeking true cultural immersion.”  Related: Bee + Hive to help explorers book green hotels and sustainable tourism experiences Tourists familiar with the area have probably already visited Mayan ruins or dived into a cenote. The string of indigenous communities that make up Maya Ka’an offer activities for those who have been there, done that. For example, tourists can visit the Cave of the Hanging Serpents, where red and yellow rat snakes hang from the cave ceiling, waiting to snag bats in midair as they fly by. Travelers are also able to kayak the same lagoon Mayans once used as a commercial route. Bird watching, mountain biking and snorkeling are other active tour options. Visitors interested in wellness can participate in a healing ceremony in the city of Felipe Carrillo Puerto (population 25,744). Health -related experiences here include an interpretive trail lined with medicinal plants, massage, Mayan dance and music, and a trip to the very hot local sweat lodge called a Temazcal. Mayans have a long history of making chewing gum in chiclero camps. Travelers can learn about extracting chicle– the resin that makes gum chewable– from zapote and chicozapote trees . Other cultural and natural highlights include handmade rope demonstrations, stingless bees and the Caste War Museum– which documents 400 years of Mayan struggle against foreign attacks. +Quintana Roo Tourism Board Images via CIIC

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Solar-powered houseboat boast spectacular interior design

June 3, 2019 by  
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From dingy, fishy-smelling bolt-hole to eco-friendly luxury barges, houseboats have come an amazingly long way over the years. And if you’re dreaming of sailing through some of the world’s best waterways, the Chinampa Houseboat can be yours for just over $200,000 . The beautiful one-bedroom boat is not only solar-powered , but it boasts a spectacular interior design made up of reclaimed furniture and retro pieces. Listed by the UK Real Estate Company Aucoot, the beautiful 58-feet by 11-feet widebeam canal boat is truly a floating piece of art. Designed by its current owners, who work in landscaping and fashion, the houseboat’s interior is a serene oasis that is achieved by ample natural light, high ceilings, and above all, carefully selected pieces of reclaimed furniture . Related: A solar-powered houseboat designed for the water-loving adventurer To give the space a unique and sophisticated living space, the design-savvy owners carefully chose a collection of reclaimed furnishings . For example, the galley kitchen was built with a repurposed plans chest, along with an iroko hard wood countertop. The living room and bedroom are both bright and airy spaces thanks to ample windows and a double-pitched sky light that floods the interior with natural light . The spaces are filled with various mid-century chairs and a large bookcase that keeps the living area clutter-free. For a long soak after a long day of sailing, there is a gorgeous light-filled bathroom that comes complete with a luxurious full sized rolltop cast iron bath with claw feet and antique brass taps and shower fittings. To top off the incredible design, the houseboat is powered by 4x 130w solar panels that allow the boast to go completely off-grid . Additionally, the boat is water-ready year-round thanks to quality insulation and a high-performance heating system. Via Aucoot Images via Aucoot

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Solar-powered houseboat boast spectacular interior design

Minnesota lawmakers to pay homeowners for bee gardens

May 31, 2019 by  
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New legislation is awaiting Minnesota’s Governor Tim Waltz’s approval to provide financial support for homeowners who want to transform their yards into bee-friendly gardens in an effort to help save the endangered species. The bill will allocate $900,000 and will cover up to 75 percent of the expenses associated with transitioning outdoor space into a flowering garden that attracts the indigenous and endangered rusty patch bumble bee. Like most bees, the rusty patch bumble bee population is declining rapidly. It is indigenous to North America and can be identified by a rusty-colored patch on the back of the male worker bees ’ back. The species has declined by 87 percent over the last two decades mainly due to habitat loss, climate change and pesticide use. The majority of grasslands and prairies have been destroyed or fragmented so the bees cannot find sufficient nectar and pollen to live and reproduce. Climate change also plays a roll in their place on the Endangered Species Act because changing weather patterns limit the time frame the bees have to harvest pollen, hibernate and nest. And finally, chemical fertilizers and pesticides absorbed directly from flowering crops or indirectly through pollen, are devastating populations. Related: Last male Sumatran rhino in Malaysia dies States like Michigan, Minnesota, the Dakotas, Wisconsin and Montana have all implemented programs that encourage landowners to attract and host these important pollinators. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommends planting flowering plants wherever possible in your yard and patio. Their list of preferred plants includes wild roses and geraniums, milkweeds, thistles, plums, cherries and willows. They also recommend sticking with native plant varieties and removing invasives as soon as possible. Since rusty patch bumble bees nest in the ground– typically in undisturbed soil and rodent burrows– they also recommend that farmers leave some untouched land. As unbowed, brushy and un-tilled areas give the bees a space to live and reproduce. Via The Hill Image via Nottmpictures

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Philippine students must plant 10 trees to graduate, new law says

May 31, 2019 by  
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The Philippine Senate passed a new law passed this month requiring all students to plant 10 trees in order to graduate. The program would total about 525 billion trees planted across one generation of students. The “Graduation Legacy for the Environment Act,” championed by Congressman Gary Alejano encourages inter-generational collaboration and responsibility for the future of the environment. The Act encompasses 12 million elementary school graduates, 5 million high school graduates and half a million college graduates every year . Related: English tree planting challenge will help plant 130,000 trees “While we recognize the right of the youth to a balanced and healthy ecology …there is no reason why they cannot be made to contribute in order to ensure that this will be an actual reality,” said Congressman Gary Alejano. Local nonprofits will assist with the implementation of the new legislation by selecting indigenous tree species and site locations. According to the Act, trees will only be planted in mangroves, existing forests, protected areas, military ranges, abandoned mining sites and urban areas. The nonprofits will also establish nurseries to ensure the stock of trees can keep up with the annual surge in demand. The Philippines is recognized as a highly deforested country. Nearly 25 million acres of forest cover was cut down in just 50 years between 1938 and 1988, primarily for the logging industry. Throughout the entire 20th century, forest cover dropped from 70 percent of land to just 20 percent. Without trees to stabilize the ground and coastline, communities and urban areas are at elevated risk for flooding and landslides. Congressman Alejano is confident that even if only 10 percent of the trees survive, the widespread planting will result in at least 525 million additional trees. Furthermore, students will learn the valuable lesson that they must be part of the solution to protect the environment for their future and for their children’s future. Via Bored Panda Image via Exchanges Photos

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Philippine students must plant 10 trees to graduate, new law says

U.S. gives South Africa millions of dollars to combat wildlife poaching

December 24, 2015 by  
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South Africa is home to 80 percent of the world’s rhinoceros population, yet poaching practices are devastating the species. The first eight months of this year saw 749 killings of wild rhinos – up from 719 last year. South Africa’s recent decision to remove a ban on domestic trading of rhinoceros horns is now leaving many worried those numbers will continue to climb. The United States is taking action against poaching in this region, dedicating millions of dollars to research and training local officials to protect endangered species. Considering the U.S. has become the second largest market for illegal wildlife products and is key in smuggling poached contraband across the Pacific ocean, it is only right that officials take the matter seriously. The U.S.’ concern is not only for the wild animals needing protection, but also for national security. The same gangs that deal in poached animal parts are also known to smuggle guns, people, and drugs. Delaware Senator Chris Coons (D), who introduced legislation for strategy development based on individual countries, says, “The impacts of this rapidly growing crisis are spreading around the world, now even threatening our national security.” Some U.S. funding is going to the Endangered Wildlife Trust , who are training officials – normally only used to dealing with street crime and murders – to secure poaching crime scenes and collect evidence for prosecutors. The U.S. Department of Justice also just received $100,000 to train southern African judges and prosecutors to fight illegal plant and animal sales. Related: Can cameras embedded in rhino horns catch poachers? Luckily, it has been observed how effective these trainings and supports have been. In Kruger National Park, a prime spot for poachers, officials nearly doubled their arrests over the last few years, catching 138 criminals versus last year’s 81. The funding for night vision goggles, boots, and tents will allow local officials to ramp up their presence and abilities to interrupt even more poaching behaviors in the area. With continued attention from multiple governmental entities, the future of the rhinoceros and other African wildlife may be taking a promising turn for the better. Via The New York Times Images via Shutterstock ( 1 , 2 )

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U.S. gives South Africa millions of dollars to combat wildlife poaching

Extinct Galapagos tortoises to be bred back to life

December 24, 2015 by  
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Lonesome George, the last of the Pinta Island saddleback tortoises, died in 2012 after living for over one hundred years. Though George is gone, his species may not suffer the same tragic fate. Scientists are hard at work reviving the Pinta Island saddleback, also known as Abingdon Island tortoise, through selective breeding of related species found on nearby  Galapagos islands . Read the rest of Extinct Galapagos tortoises to be bred back to life

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Extinct Galapagos tortoises to be bred back to life

Google just unveiled the first functional prototype of its self-driving car

December 22, 2014 by  
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Google has revealed the first functional prototype of its new self-driving car, following the debut of the “early mockup” this last May. The shape of the Google’s self-driving car hasn’t changed that much over the last few months, but Google says that the latest prototype now has all of the parts that it needs to drive on the road. Read the rest of Google just unveiled the first functional prototype of its self-driving car Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: autonomous car , Google , google autonomous car , google car , Google car prototype , Google driverless car , Google self drive car concept , google self-driving car , green car , green transportation , self-driving car

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