It took more than 25 years to build this incredible walkable world map

June 5, 2017 by  
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You’d need around 11 years to walk around the globe – if you can walk on water. But a world map in Denmark makes the feat possible in a few minutes. Verdenskortet , or world map , is a walkable map , made of soil and stone, built on top of a pond. It took Søren Poulsen more than two decades to complete this extraordinary project, and it was worth the wait. Poulsen, who was born in 1888 in Denmark, realized a stone on his land was shaped similar to the Jutland Peninsula. That stone launched the idea to create a world map, and Poulsen started the project in 1944. He continued working on the map, located at his childhood home at Klejtrup Lake, until he died in 1969. Today the map comprises the center of a park offering outdoor activities and event space. Around 35,000 people visit every single year. Related: Our World: A Giant Pixelated LEGO Map Built from 1 Million Bricks! Poulson made the map out of rocks and dirt, using just hand tools, a pushcart, and a wheelbarrow. The Verdenskortet Facebook page explains the stones comprising the world map were moved onto the ice during winter, and then in spring the stones could be moved into place. Flags mark each country, and there’s even yellow bricks dividing America up into states. Red poles indicate where the equator lies. The world map is 300 feet by 150 feet, and every 10 inches represents around 69 miles in the real world. Today the park offers guided tours of Verdenskortet, paired with coffee and cake. People can play miniature golf on the grass, or take a class field trip to the map. Visitors can take a boat trip around the mini Pacific Ocean , and on land go on pony rides, play old Viking games, or jump on a trampoline. Park entry is inexpensive; around $12 for adults and $8 for kids. + Verdenskortet Via GOOD Images via Verdenskortet Facebook

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It took more than 25 years to build this incredible walkable world map

What’s next for the Paris Accord

June 5, 2017 by  
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What happens to the Paris Climate Agreement now that the leader of the world’s second biggest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions has signaled his intent to withdraw from the landmark accord? We take a closer look at the consequences of Donald Trump’s decision to rescind US efforts to limit global warming in accordance with the 2015 agreement. President Donald Trump is a showman and his press conference was political theater for the 61 million Americans who voted him into office last November. The reality is that the withdrawal process could take up to four years to complete and Trump could be exiting the White House before he exits the Paris Accord if he doesn’t win reelection. The other reality is that, thanks to Senate Republicans who would never ratify the Paris Accord as a treaty, in order to push it past the finish line with the US onboard, the deal had to be “non-binding,” meaning all actions are voluntary. Related: Trump announces U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement By declaring its intent to withdraw from the Paris Accord, the US joins Syria and Nicaragua in refusing the deal. It should be noted that Nicaragua didn’t join the agreement because it didn’t go far enough in emissions reductions for the Central American nation. Minus the US, a total of  194 countries have signed and 147 parties have ratified the accord , representing 66 percent of global emissions. The accord entered into force on November 4, 2016 — 30 days after at least 55 parties representing at least 55 percent of global emissions joined. While it certainly could be argued that Trump has damaged America’s standing in the international community, it is not so clear that Trump has actually hurt the Paris Accord, Actually, there are indications that Trump’s announcement is having the opposite effect, with countries, cities and corporations redoubling their commitments to the Paris Accord and greenhouse gas emission reductions. Many experts believe that since Trump was never serious about committing the US to climate action, that his decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord could actually free up other world leaders to draft an even stronger agreement with enforcement mechanisms not possible with a Republican-ruled Senate in the US. Australian climate scientist Luke Kemp told The New York Times, “I worry that letting the United States just stay in the agreement and do whatever it wants could show how weak Paris is. It sends the message that the agreement is more about symbolism than action.” CHINA AND EU TAKING THE LEAD With Trump ceding US leadership on climate, China and the European Union are stepping in to fill the power vacuum. In a joint statement following Trump’s announcement, China and the EU — backed by all 28 EU member states — reaffirmed their commitment to full implementation of the Paris climate deal. The statement, the first between the EU and China, commited to cutting back on fossil fuels and increasing development of green technologies. Related: China says they’ll stay in the Paris Agreement – with or without Trump “The EU and China consider climate action and the clean energy transition an imperative more important than ever,” the statement reads. “The increasing impacts of climate change require a decisive response.” CITIES, STATES AND BUSINESSES STEPPING UP A group that so far includes 30 mayors, three governors, more than 80 university presidents and more than 100 businesses is negotiating with the United Nations to have their climate contributions accepted alongside other nations who have signed onto the accord. The Democratic governors of California, Washington and New York formed the US Climate Alliance to reaffirm their commitment to the Paris Accord after Trump’s announcement. It isn’t only Democrats defying Trump — Charlie Baker, the popular Republican governor of Massachusetts, said on Friday that he was joining the US Climate Alliance . Related: US states and cities say they’re sticking to the Paris Accord without Trump “As the commonwealth reiterates its commitment to exceed the emission reduction targets of the Paris Climate Agreement, today we join the U.S. Climate Alliance to expand our efforts while partnering with other states to combat climate change,” Baker said in a statement, adding that the initiative aims “to protect the environment, grow the economy and deliver a brighter future to the next generation.” Also after Trump’s announcement, 187 mayors representing more than 52 million Americans and some of the largest US cities, stated their intention to individually join the Paris Accord and work together on stronger climate change mitigation measures and transitioning to the 21st century clean energy economy. Cities around the world protested Trump pulling out of the Paris accord, including Tel Aviv, which lit up city hall in green lights . “We need to take responsibility for the next generation,” Mayor Ron Huldai said in a statement posted to Facebook. “That means, among other things, continuing to research, learn and act on the quality of the environment and the climate.” Major corporations are also on board with the Paris Accord — 95 of the world’s largest companies have commited to 100 percent renewables, including Google, Walmart and Nike. GREEN TECHNOLOGIES GETTING CHEAPER The price of solar, wind, batteries and other green technologies are dropping fast, leading to increased integration into the electricity grid. In 2016, the amount of new solar power coming online nearly doubled from the previous year — enough to power 2 million homes. Related: The sweet moment California got a record 50% of its electricity from solar Republican-ruled states are leading the renewables revolution. Kansas tripled its wind power production between 2011 and 2015. Wyoming leads the nation with 1,600 watts of new renewable energy capacity per capita being built. Nevada leads the nation in new solar power jobs while North Dakota leads in new wind power jobs. The conservative town of Georgetown, Texas is on track to be 100 percent renewable energy this year, becoming the largest US city to achieve the clean energy goal. Dale Ross, the mayor of Georgetown, admits “it’s the reddest of cities, in the reddest of states…but we put national politics aside to do our best for the people we’re elected to serve.” Images via Wikipedia 1 , 2 , 3 , 4  and White House Archives

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What’s next for the Paris Accord

Wild bison return to Canada’s Banff National Park for the first time in 140 years

February 9, 2017 by  
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Wild bison are coming home to Canada’s Banff National Park for the first time in roughly 140 years. Although bison were common sights in the Canadian landscape with a population that numbered in the millions in the early 1800s, these huge and herbivorous mammals nearly disappeared by the end of the 19th century as a result of hunting. Now 16 bison are back at Banff as part of a carefully planned conservation effort to re-establish the species within the area’s ecosystem. With any luck, the herd’s numbers will be growing soon: many of the transferred bisons are pregnant.

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Wild bison return to Canada’s Banff National Park for the first time in 140 years

America will soon surpass the clean energy standards Trump wants to kill

February 9, 2017 by  
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Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan , first announced in 2015, caused no end of political controversy in conservative circles for its ambitious carbon-cutting goals. By February 2016, the Supreme Court halted enforcement of the regulations due to complaints from 29 mostly Republican-led states. Opponents argued that the plan would cause massive layoffs in the energy sector. Now, a new report shows the US is actually poised to surpass the Clean Power Plan’s federal requirements – quite a different picture from the one Trump and his cabinet are painting. The new data comes from the 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook , published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy. The report notes: “Within the power sector, the progress is even more noteworthy: in 2016, greenhouse gas emissions from US power plants dropped 5.3% in just one year. Since 2005, the power sector has shrunk its carbon footprint by 24% – in other words, the US is 75% of the way to the Clean Power Plan’s “32% by 2030” headline target, with 14 additional years left to go.” Part of the reason for the lowered emissions is the fact that coal is losing its share of the energy market. Right now it only comprises 30% of the electricity grid in the US – the lowest percentage in the last 70 years. The rise in solar energy is another contributing factor – the solar industry grew by 51,000 jobs last year and seemed poised to continue growing until at least 2022, with the encouragement of the solar energy tax credit. Related: Supreme Court freezes Obama’s plan to cut CO2 emissions This report shows that the transformation in America’s energy market was in effect before the CPP was even on the table. While Obama’s clean energy policies surely accelerated it and made it easier for businesses to make the switch to renewable energy, the change was well underway. Trump’s administration may be expressing interest in repealing the rule , but it’s unlikely to stop the clean energy revolution that’s already underway. Via Gizmodo Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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America will soon surpass the clean energy standards Trump wants to kill

South America’s largest aquarium boasts a 650-foot underwater tunnel

October 18, 2016 by  
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Brazil’s newest aquarium features a 650-foot underwater tunnel , inviting guests to venture into a marine world few have ever seen before. AquaRio is set to become South America’s largest aquarium when it opens in Rio de Janeiro on November 9. Its one-of-a-kind glass tunnel and huge collection of marine animals promises to lure in visitors from all over the continent. AquaRio is not just a large aquarium ; it’s enormous. The facility will hold some 1.8 million gallons of water among its 28 tanks, which will be home to 8,000 animals from 350 mostly native species . The submerged glass tunnel itself measures just over 650 feet long, giving visitors an expansive look at undersea life. For the $40.6 million cost, the unique glass tunnel is unlike any other on the continent. Related: Airbnb is offering a night in an underwater bedroom surrounded by 35 sharks The aquarium also includes a surf museum and separate science museum, as well as a touch tank where visitors can get up close and personal with sharks, rays and invertebrates. A growing trend in the tourism industry, guests will also have the opportunity to book a night in the aquarium, as part of a sleepover right in the glass tunnel with other guests. That brings a whole new meaning to sleeping with the fishes. Via Vibe Images via AquaRio

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South America’s largest aquarium boasts a 650-foot underwater tunnel

Simple but smart design transforms a concrete plaza into a lively urban park

July 11, 2016 by  
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“The project springs from the need to create a welcoming place for the citizens of Favara while simultaneously donating to the city an innovative public space shaped from the perfect combination of wood and vegetation,” write the architects. In contrast to the site’s original and muted concrete setting, Zighizaghi is filled with greenery and playful elements from its honeycomb shape to the red light fixtures that double as loudspeakers. “Thanks to its interactive character, Zighizaghi transforms its external space into a dynamic environment where music acts as a vehicle between nature and visitors,” continue the architects. Related: Wunderbugs Pavilion Creates Music From the Movement of Insects and Humans The genius of Zighizaghi lies in the use of modular timber hexagons, made from Okoumè, which offer flexibility in design, both in the way they are configured and used. While most hexagonal elements were used as pavers, others double as seating or planters for Mediterranean plants with automatic irrigation systems. Six fourteen-sided red prisms, called the Super Pods, which stand on eight skinny black legs and are used for lighting and music, punctuate the space. + OFL Architecture Images by Guarneri and Riccio Blu

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Simple but smart design transforms a concrete plaza into a lively urban park

40 lifeless tiger cubs discovered in Thailand temple’s freezer

June 1, 2016 by  
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After officials began to remove tigers from Thailand’s Tiger Temple this week, they discovered 40 dead cubs in a freezer. The temple, marketed as a sanctuary, has been accused of animal abuse , wildlife trafficking , and breeding tigers illegally. Monks at the temple deny the accusations. Controversy has shrouded the temple for years. Visitors reported tigers seemed drugged, ex-workers said they weren’t fed properly, lived in concrete cages, and received beatings from so-called caretakers. Others suspected illegal breeding to sell tiger parts utilized in traditional medicines. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), in 2007 there were 18 tigers at the temple, but by this year that number rose to 147. Wildlife groups have been working for the tigers’ release since 2001. Related: Tiger farming is cultivating a taste for luxury tiger products in China – and increasing poaching The BBC reports that Thailand’s Department of National Parks (DNP) attempted to seize the tigers but multiple times the monks would not allow them to enter the temple. This current raid is successful because the DNP came armed with a court warrant. So far dozens of tigers have been rescued, but babies were found in the freezer. Police Colonel Bandith Meungsukhum told AFP that the find would lead to criminal charges. Officials were unsure how long the cubs had been frozen, but many appeared to have been alive for only one or two days. Reporters and wildlife officials noted other animal body parts and a dead boar in the freezer. The temple says several years ago a vet told them to keep the cubs, “probably” to silence accusations they were trafficking the cubs. According to a post on their Facebook page, the Tiger Temple said the DNP knew about the babies inside the freezer and had even entered the freezer a few times before. Deputy Director-General Adisorn Nuchdamrong told Reuters , “They must be of some value for the temple to keep them. But for what is beyond me…The temple has notified us when grown tigers die, but never the cubs.” Via the BBC Images via Xiquinho Silva on Flickr , screenshot , and Eli Duke on Flickr

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40 lifeless tiger cubs discovered in Thailand temple’s freezer

Antibiotic-Resistant Super-Germs Found in Chinese Parks Irrigated With Recycled Water

August 5, 2014 by  
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Scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing have made an alarming discovery: After surveying parks across seven Chinese cities, they found that those watered with recycled waste water had higher counts of microbe genes for antibiotic-resistance than parks watered with fresh water. In fact, the antibiotic-resistance gene (ARG) levels were up to 8,655 times higher . Read the rest of Antibiotic-Resistant Super-Germs Found in Chinese Parks Irrigated With Recycled Water Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: antibiotic resistance , china , Chinese Academy of Sciences , genetics , germs , irrigation , microbes , parks , public health , reclaimed water , recycled waste water , recycled water , sewerage , superbugs , unsafe water , water issues

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Antibiotic-Resistant Super-Germs Found in Chinese Parks Irrigated With Recycled Water

New Renderings of Dramatic “Mantaray” Overlook for Brooklyn Bridge Park Unveiled

September 25, 2013 by  
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A lot of excitement has been surrounding the upcoming development of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6, and new renderings of the project’s dramatic “Mantaray” overlook have fueled the fire even more. BIG and MVVA released the new images , which show a triangular form that appears to jut out over the East River for spectacular city views, this week. READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bjarke ingels , Brooklyn , brooklyn bridge , Brooklyn Bridge Park , Brooklyn Bridge Park Mantaray , City Gazing , gardens , green spaces , Lower Manhattan Views , Michael Van Valkenburgh , New York Tourist Spots , New York. , News , outdoors , parks , Places to Visit in New York , Trees        

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New Renderings of Dramatic “Mantaray” Overlook for Brooklyn Bridge Park Unveiled

Sydney’s Lizard Log Parklands Offer a Solar-Powered Weekend Getaway

June 4, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Sydney’s Lizard Log Parklands Offer a Solar-Powered Weekend Getaway Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: city parks , grey water , grey water irrigation , Lizard Log parklands , McGregor Coxall , park design , park redesign , parks , parks Australia , Pimelea Sydney , solar panels , sydney australia , Sydney picnic areas , water reuse        

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Sydney’s Lizard Log Parklands Offer a Solar-Powered Weekend Getaway

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