Sinking island nation of Tuvalu is actually growing

February 9, 2018 by  
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The Pacific island nation of Tuvalu has long been considered at great risk to sinking beneath the rising sea levels of climate change. However, scientists at the University of Auckland have learned that it is actually increasing in size, with the island’s total land area having grown 2.9 percent between 1971 and 2014. “We tend to think of Pacific atolls as static landforms that will simply be inundated as sea levels rise , but there is growing evidence these islands are geologically dynamic and are constantly changing,” study co-author Paul Kench told Phys.org . “The study findings may seem counter-intuitive, given that (the) sea level has been rising in the region over the past half century, but the dominant mode of change over that time on Tuvalu has been expansion, not erosion.” Researchers used aerial photography and satellite imagery to study the geographical changes on Tuvalu’s nine atolls and 101 reef islands. They found that eight atolls and nearly three-fourths of the reef islands grew during the period studied, all while sea level at Tuvalu rose twice as quickly as the global average. Wave patterns and sediment deposits brought by storm activity seemed to have counteracted any “sinking” effects due to sea level rise. Related: 14 Pacific island nations considering world’s first ban on fossil fuels While climate change remains an existential threat to island nations like Tuvalu, this study could prompt a rethinking of how sea level rise will actually manifest in light of compounding factors that resulted in Tuvalu’s growth. “On the basis of this research we project a markedly different trajectory for Tuvalu’s islands over the next century than is commonly envisaged,” said Kench . “While we recognize that habitability rests on a number of factors, loss of land is unlikely to be a factor in forcing depopulation of Tuvalu.” The study authors recognize the need to make drastic changes while acknowledging that there is still time to adapt. “Embracing such new adaptation pathways will present considerable national scale challenges to planning, development goals and land tenure systems,” the authors said . “However, as the data on island change shows there is time (decades) to confront these challenges.” Via Phys.org Images via  Tomoaki INABA/Flickr (1)

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Sinking island nation of Tuvalu is actually growing

This amazing green office is covered with native plants that were rescued on-site

February 9, 2018 by  
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Ho Khue Architects has created a beautiful office space in Da Nang infused with lush native greenery . The Vietnam-based firm constructed the Modern Village Office on an old lot that was covered in native plants. Inspired by the plants’ resilience, the architects transplanted the greenery inside the building to create a soothing office that evokes the spirit of a family village. The architects built the concrete office space on an urban lot that contained some old structures, white pampas grass, and native plants like bamboo shrubs. The architects took the natural state of the lot into consideration and decided to infuse the existing vegetation into the office’s design. The banana trees, yellow bushes and native plants were carefully transplanted on the first floor, where they help create a soothing and welcoming entryway. Some of the plants were also harvested to be used in the ground floor’s water feature. Related: Translucent Ho Chi Minh City office tower infused with greenery helps combat urban pollution More native plants were transplanted on the building’s rooftop, creating a beautiful garden for employees to enjoy. The dense grass and other plants that cover the roof help cool the interior floors underneath. The greenery continues throughout the interior spaces, with long hanging vines and plants in virtually every corner. The 350-square-meter space is bright and airy thanks to the white brick walls and minimal furnishings found inside. The interior is naturally lit by an abundance of windows, and open terraces provide quiet areas for meetings or lounging. Decorative slats on the southwest facade block out the heat and provide natural ventilation. According to the architects, the green office building was designed to give modern workers a healthy environment that provides a relaxing atmosphere: “Working in this modern office evokes feelings reminiscent of childhood and a time when life was simpler. The air flow is fresh from the sea leading to comfortable temperature without being cold. Today’s younger generation may have had little or no time in the countryside. This office has brought the spirit and the heart of the rural areas to the workplace.” + Ho Khue Architects Via Archdaily Photography via Hiroyuki Oki

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This amazing green office is covered with native plants that were rescued on-site

Why the Feds want to ban swimming with dolphins in Hawaii

August 24, 2016 by  
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Federal regulators have proposed a ban on swimming with Hawaii’s spinner dolphins in the interest of wildlife safety. The attraction might be a boon to local tourism , but experts say it’s actually a huge stressor on the curious cetaceans. The ban would stretch two nautical miles from shore, where 98 percent of spinner dolphins rest during the day. The National Marine Fisheries Service says spinner dolphins – known for their spinning leaps through the air – are facing risks of reduced fitness when tourists engage with them during their slumbering hours. The nocturnal species feeds during the night on crustaceans and small fish who come out after dusk, leaving the daylight hours for sleep. Spinner dolphins sleep with half of their brains still awake, swimming through shallow bays to avoid predators. Related: Dolphins are struggling to reproduce because of chemical pollution Because of the species’ predictability in their patterns, tourists always know where to find them. Even though they appear awake, interfering with their rhythms causes them a great deal of stress. Dolphins are very protective of their pods and will remain vigilant when humans are around. Ann Garrett, assistant regional administrator of the Pacific Islands’ protected resources division of the National Marine Fisheries Service, told Christian Science Monitor , “All of these things can contribute to a reduction of fitness over time – this kind of chronic level of stress. That’s what we’re concerned about.” The proposal will be revisited in public meetings next month and the agency hopes to finalize a plan by next year. Right now, the proposed ban would cover two nautical miles away from the region’s coast, covering 98 percent of existing spinner dolphin resting sites in Hawaii . If you think swimming with captive dolphins could be a wise alternative, Whale and Dolphin Conservation disagrees. They warn of cruel capturing techniques, low dolphin survival rates, diseases, exposure to pollution, and disrupted social interactions as plenty reasons not to visit such a site. It all boils down to one simple lesson: wildlife belongs in the wild. Via Christian Science Monitor Images via Pixabay , Wikipedia

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14 Pacific island nations considering world’s first ban on fossil fuels

July 15, 2016 by  
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14 Pacific island nations are currently considering the world’s first ban on fossil fuels. The measure is part of a climate treaty that would embrace the historic Paris climate deal and design a roadmap to meet the international goals. The proposed agreement up for discussion at the annual leaders’ summit of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) would ban new coal mines, create targets for renewable energy growth, and set limits for temperature increases. Insiders are optimistic that the treaty will progress, as national leaders have so far responded positively. “They seemed convinced that this is an avenue where the Pacific could again show or build on the moral and political leadership that they’ve shown earlier in their efforts to tackle climate change,” Mahendra Kumar, climate change adviser to PIDF, told The Guardian . Kumar said the treaty, written by a group of non-governmental organizations called the Pacific Island Climate Action Network (PICAN), will undergo several rounds of consultations leading to a report at next year’s summit. The earliest the climate treaty would go into effect, according to Kumar, is 2018. Related: Fiji is the first country in the world to ratify the Paris climate agreement Fiji ’s leadership established the PIDF in 2013, purposely excluding Australia and New Zealand, reportedly because those two nations (which belong to the older Pacific Islands Forum) tried to sabotage PIDF’s first meeting. The newer group embraces the ambitious 1.5C target set in Paris and seeks to ban new coal mines , as well as guarantee “universal access” to clean energy by 2030. The proposed treaty would also set up a “Pacific framework for renewable energy ” to that end, as well as establish a fund to compensate communities that have suffered the consequences of continued climate change. + Pacific Island Climate Action Network Via The Guardian Images via Wikipedia (1, 2, 3 ) and PICAN

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14 Pacific island nations considering world’s first ban on fossil fuels

The country’s largest wind farm is coming to New York

July 15, 2016 by  
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The largest offshore wind farm in the US could be coming soon to New York , if the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) approves the project as expected next week. The project will be set 30 miles east of Montauk, and it will have 15 turbines and a capacity of 90 megawatts. That’s three times larger than the only other offshore wind project currently under construction in the US ( off the coast of Rhode Island ). Both wind farms are backed by Deepwater Wind , which plans to eventually build a string of turbines stretching between along the East Coast generating 1,000 megawatts of power. The Long Island project alone will generate enough power for 50,000 homes on Long Island, and it’s one of the key components of Governor Cuomo’s plan to make 50% of New York City’s energy renewable in the next 15 years. Deepwater Wind will own the turbines , and plans to sell the power to LIPA at a rate that has yet to determined. It’s expected that the utility will reach an agreement with the company early next year. The site for the project has been in the hands of the developers since 2013, and all the initial marine surveys needed for construction have already been completed. That means that construction can begin right away, with power reaching customers as early as 2022 . Related: America’s first offshore wind farm to be completed by the end of this year While this may be a huge accomplishment in terms of renewable energy for the US, the project pales in comparison to some of the wind farms in Europe . There are many operations already generating hundreds of megawatts of power, and a massive wind farm currently in development will generate 700 megawatts and power a million homes in the Netherlands. + Deepwater Wind Via Environment New York Images via NHD-INFO and Kim Hansen

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The country’s largest wind farm is coming to New York

Invasive Toads in Australia Snared by Cat Food

February 18, 2010 by  
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Image credit: Wikimedia Commons The poisonous cane toad, which was introduced from Hawaii in 1935, has become a scourge in Australia.

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Invasive Toads in Australia Snared by Cat Food

Marine Protected Areas are Crucial to Save the African Penguin (And More)

February 18, 2010 by  
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Photo: WikiMedia Commons , CC They Can Also Save Countless Other Species Marine protected areas, where no fishing at all takes place, are win-win-win. These sanctuaries can protect marine ecosystems from collapse (ask Newfoundlanders about cod fishing…), they also benefit other ecosystems that are dependent on the ocean, such as the African Penguin, and they can protect fishermen from themselves, by making fishing a species to extinction a lot harder. And this isn’t just theoretical……

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Marine Protected Areas are Crucial to Save the African Penguin (And More)

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