A garbage patch bigger than Texas was just discovered in the Pacific Ocean

August 2, 2017 by  
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A few months ago, scientists found a new garbage patch in the Arctic ocean . And now, another pocket of plastics, human trash, and chemical waste has been discovered in a newly-explored region of the Pacific Ocean. Like it’s cousin the “ Great Pacific Garbage Patch ,” it’s an environmental burden that shows just how irresponsible humans have become in recent years. The new patch is located between Hawaii and the mainland US, and it was discovered by the Algalita Research Foundation . Charles Moore led the six-month volunteer voyage. Though researchers are still determining the garbage patch’s size, it is estimated to be as big as a million square kilometers (386,100 square miles) — four times the size of the United Kingdom or 1.5 times the size of Texas ! Moore told ResearchGate : “We discovered tremendous quantities of plastic. My initial impression is that our samples compared to what we were seeing in the North Pacific in 2007, so it’s about ten years behind.” Though the vortex of trash is gargantuan, pictures of the patch are somewhat misleading in terms of the size of debris. Initial analyses reveal that the majority of the plastics are the size of a grain of rice. Of course, there are larger pieces of garbage, such as bottles and fishing nets. So far, it looks as if most of the waste was disposed of by commercial enterprises, such as the fishing industry. This means general consumers are less to blame. “We found a few larger items, occasionally a buoy and some fishing gear, but most of it was broken into bits,” said Moore. Small or large in size, plastic debris still poses a serious threat to marine wildlife and terrestrial ecosystems. It’s estimated that by 2050, 99 percent of birds will have plastic in their guts due to the extraordinary amount of goods disposed of by humans. Though you may think you have nothing to do with the problem, that is unlikely – 80 percent of pollution enters the ocean from land . Over time, plastic debris breaks up into micro-particles that don’t easily biodegrade and are ingested by wildlife. If animals — such as turtles and fish — don’t die from swallowing the trash, their bodies are likely to become more toxic due to the PCBs and other chemicals found in plastics. This, in turn, makes them unsuitable for consumption by humans and other creatures. Related: Shocking study reveals 90% of seabirds have eaten plastic As IFLScience reports, garbage patches in the ocean result from giant systems of circulating currents (gyres) sweeping debris up from ports, harbors, rivers, docks, and ships. The trash then becomes trapped and oftentimes accumulates for years before it is spotted. Though this new vortex of trash is bad news, it doesn’t mean hope is lost. Humans still have time to adopt sustainable habits and prevent climate change from worsening. As innovations are developed to clean up the oceans, individuals and families can reduce their burden on the environment by eating more unpackaged whole, unprocessed foods, bringing recyclable bags to the grocery store and boycotting plastic whenever possible. Via Research Gate Images via Pinterest , Charles Moore, YouTube

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A garbage patch bigger than Texas was just discovered in the Pacific Ocean

Two storms are about to collide in rare Fujiwhara dance

July 28, 2017 by  
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Have you ever wondered what happens when two cyclones get a little too close to each other? As we’re witnessing off the coast of Mexico this week, it can be strangely beautiful. Tropical Storms Irwin and Hilary are nearing each other, and when they meet, they will engage in what is called a Fujiwhara dance, where two storms tango around each other until the stronger “eats” the weaker storm. A Fujiwhara dance occurs when two storms get close enough for their circulations to impact one another – about 600 miles apart, depending on the size of the storm. This particular storm looks like bad news for Irwin – scientists expect the two storms to whirl around each other like a giant fidget spinner before Irwin weakens and is consumed by Hilary. Related: Unchecked global warming could bring the worst hurricanes ever seen by the end of this century Fujiawhara storms are not that common, but this summer we’ve already had two. Last week, Typhoon Noru and the former Tropical Storm Kulap danced it out, resulting in Kalup’s death. The presence of two separate colliding storms is unheard of and it is likely due to the fact that we are having a much higher than average number of storms in the Pacific this year, an instance that many scientists believe is due to global warming . Via Mashable Images via Dr. Ryan Maue/Weatherbell Analytics and earth.nullschool.net

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Two storms are about to collide in rare Fujiwhara dance

Nature-inspired gallery celebrates Taiwans aboriginal cultures with cargotecture

March 31, 2017 by  
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A shimmering wave-like roof mirroring the Pacific Ocean tops this stunning new structure that celebrates Taiwan’s aboriginal cultures with eco-friendly construction. Bio-architecture Formosana recently completed the Taitung Aboriginal Gallery, a 1,921-square-meter exhibition center that draws inspiration from nature just as the architects of Austronesian culture did for centuries. With Taitung’s rich and varied landscapes as well as its seven different aboriginal tribes, the architects drew on a wealth of cultural and environmental resources for their design. The Taitung Aboriginal Gallery was created to celebrate the artistic and nature-inspired architectural elements of Austronesian culture. Thus, the architects created a large steel-framed roof with an undulating shape that mimics the topography and ocean, and is decorated with diamond shapes that symbolize the eyes of the ancestral spirits. The shape allows for access to natural light and ventilation throughout the building while providing much needed shade and cooling from the tropical sun. The sloped sides also facilitate collection of rainwater , which is stored in five small ponds in the plaza. Related: Mecanoo wins competition to design the Tainan Public Library with natural materials As an island with several major ports, Taiwan collects approximately 10,000 shipping containers from the ocean every year. The architects recycled a number of the containers into rooms within the Taitung Aboriginal Gallery. The repurposed and repainted shipping containers are individually air-conditioned and serve as aboriginal handicraft shops. “In Taitung’s tropical climate, individualized air conditioning reduces the refrigerating ton by 50%, and the electricity use by 60%,” write the architects. + Bio-architecture Formosana Via ArchDaily Images by Lucas K. Doolan

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Nature-inspired gallery celebrates Taiwans aboriginal cultures with cargotecture

Why I used crowdfunding to bring a truckload of plastic trash to Stockholm

March 23, 2017 by  
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It’s one thing to read about huge plastic gyres in the middle of the Pacific. It’s another thing to stare the actual plastic in the face.

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Why I used crowdfunding to bring a truckload of plastic trash to Stockholm

China drives toward sustainable freight policies

March 23, 2017 by  
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Transportation experts are studying a range of options, from new low-emissions zones to better methods of transferring cargo from ships to railways to trucks.

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China drives toward sustainable freight policies

CEOs spill their sustainability secrets

March 11, 2017 by  
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Execs from Dow, Pacific Seafood and more share success strategies like nixing food and packaging waste — and the trials that come with it.

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CEOs spill their sustainability secrets

Lessons from California’s drought

September 1, 2016 by  
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Peter Gleick, Pacific Institute and Felicia Marcus, CA State Water Resources Board speak on a panel at VERGE 15 in Santa Clara.Check out GreenBiz’s next event: VERGE 16, Sept. 19-22 2016 in Santa Clara, CA.

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Lessons from California’s drought

‘Water Guru’ Peter Gleick on the new role of business

August 30, 2016 by  
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Peter Gleick is the co-founder of the Pacific Institute which conducts research and policy analysis at the intersection of water systems, climate risk and sustainable development. He discusses how companies can engage in more sustainable water use and accountability, and the role of technology in providing a solution our worsening water woes at VERGE 15. 

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‘Water Guru’ Peter Gleick on the new role of business

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

Bringing Smarter Power to the Pacific

July 7, 2016 by  
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On how Sunergise is helping some of the most vulnerable communities attain energy sustainability through innovative business models to corporate customers and enabling energy access in the Pacific.

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Bringing Smarter Power to the Pacific

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