Switzerland votes to ban nuclear power and invest in renewable energy

May 22, 2017 by  
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Switzerland just passed a new energy law that promotes renewable energy and bans nuclear power plants. The landmark vote brings the nation closer to meeting its goal of generating 4,400 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of renewable energy by 2020, and 11,400 GWh by 2035. Over the weekend, approximately 42% of the population turned up to vote in the national referendum, which marks the eighth time in recent history Swiss citizens have voted on the issue. Though the Energy Strategy 2050 was approved by Parliament last year, the country’s right wing Swiss People’s Party challenged the reform to the referendum in an attempt prevent the move from taking place. The move to initiate the reform passed easily with a 58.2% vote, however, shutting down any talk of investment in nuclear energy . At a press conference, Swiss Energy Minister Doris Leuthard said “After six years of debate in parliament and at committee level, a new chapter in Switzerland’s energy policy can begin. But there is still a lot of work to do.” Related: Tunnel collapses at America’s most contaminated nuclear waste facility Energy Strategy 2050 mandates that general licenses provided for nuclear power plants (which presently provide 38% of the country’s energy) will no longer be sold, beginning in 2019. Additionally, when existing nuclear power plants reach the end of their lifespan, they will be closed and not replaced. The reform also aims to reduce per capita energy consumption by 16 percent within the next three years, and by 43 percent by 2035. Energy Strategy 2050 intends for electricity consumption to decline by 3 percent in 2020 and 13 percent in 2035. This will be managed by increasing the output of solar , wind, biomass, and geothermal energy. Supporters of the law say that investing in renewables will make Switzerland less dependent on energy imports. At the same time, the country will maintain its highly supply standard. Activists are also celebrating the fact that by phasing out investments in nuclear energy, the environment and future generations will undoubtedly benefit. Via Swiss Info Images via Pixabay

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Switzerland votes to ban nuclear power and invest in renewable energy

Architect designs solar-powered research center to save dying Lake Chad

May 22, 2017 by  
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Lake Chad in Africa spanned over 770,000 square miles in 50,000 B.C., according to Cameroon -based architecture firm Hermann Kamte & Associates (HKA). But over the centuries it has shrunk, dwindling to a mere 1,544 square miles in 2001. HKA hopes to use architecture to jumpstart regeneration of the dying lake in the form of a desalination and research center called The Forgotten – Dead or Alive. The center would begin a process that would eventually be handed over to nature . The first humans made their home near Lake Chad, according to HKA, but this body of water is in danger of disappearing forever. It could die out in this century if no steps are taken to preserve it. Lake Chad – bordered by Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria, and Niger – is vital to the health of the region; HKA says its disappearance would impact over nine million people nearby, and indirectly, 30 million people in the region. Related: Green-roofed wooden tower in Lagos maximizes daylight and natural ventilation So they designed a center to help keep the lake alive. The self-sufficient Limnology Center would offer a location for researchers to study Lake Chad and the surrounding region. A desalination center onsite would actually connect the lake to the Atlantic Ocean via pipelines , which would transport water from the ocean. The desalination center would treat the saltwater so it could be reused as fresh water to help restore Lake Chad and provide a source of water for people in the region. HKA designed the center to have an amphibian-like form to blend in with the lake surroundings. They envision three stages to help revitalize the lake, beginning with the center and then slowly transitioning the job over to nature. Construction of the pipelines and lake research would take place between 2016 and 2026. In 2020 trees and vegetation will be planted around the lake. The greenery will eventually take over the job of regeneration; in 2080 pipelines will stop bringing in Atlantic Ocean water as natural regeneration takes over thanks to a thriving woodland. + Hermann Kamte & Associates Images courtesy of Hermann Kamte & Associates

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Architect designs solar-powered research center to save dying Lake Chad

Plants use sound to find water and survive, new research shows

May 22, 2017 by  
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Many people believe that playing music to plants makes them grow better , but scientists would say that’s absurd. New research from Australia might prove them wrong though. Monica Gagliano, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Western Australia, found that plants utilize the sounds of nature , from the buzzing of an insect to the sound of liquid rushing through a pipe, to find water and survive. In her recent study , Gagliano placed pea seedlings in a pot in the shape of an upside-down Y. Scientific American reports , “One arm of each pot was placed in either a tray of water or a coiled plastic tube through which water flowed; the other arm had only soil. The roots grew toward the arm of the pipe with the fluid, regardless of whether it was easily accessible or hidden inside the tubing.” According to Gagliano, the plants “just knew the water was there,” even though they could only detect the sound of the water flowing inside the pipe. When the seedlings were given a choice between the flowing tube and soil that was moistened, their roots chose the latter, however. The lead scientist says the plants use sound waves to detect water from far away, but follow moisture gradients to move in on their target when it is within reach. Related: Energy-generating ‘artificial plants’ turn greenhouse gases into clean air Gagliano’s discovery was published in the May 2017 issue of Oecologia, an international peer-reviewed journal. In the paper, titled “ Tuned in: plant roots use sound to locate water ,” she writes: Because water is essential to life, organisms have evolved a wide range of strategies to cope with water limitations, including actively searching for their preferred moisture levels to avoid dehydration . Plants use moisture gradients to direct their roots through the soil once a water source is detected, but how they first detect the source is unknown. We found that roots were able to locate a water source by sensing the vibrations generated by water moving inside pipes, even in the absence of substrate moisture. She added, “Our results also showed that the presence of noise affected the abilities of roots to perceive and respond correctly to the surrounding soundscape.” Considering the phenomena of “buzz pollination,” in which the sound of bees buzzing at a certain frequency stimulates the release of pollen in plants, has already been validated, it doesn’t seem too outlandish to propose that plants rely on sound vibrations to find water and thrive. Gagliano elaborates on her findings in the video below: Via Scientific American Images via Pixabay

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Plants use sound to find water and survive, new research shows

Finland’s Green Party says humanity must embrace nuclear power

April 17, 2017 by  
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Nuclear energy must be an option as humanity shifts away from fossil fuels , according to a recent article penned by four candidates of Finland’s Green Party , or Green League. The party strictly opposed the controversial fuel source in the past, but these four candidates said we’re running out of time to fight climate change and no longer have the luxury of picking between renewable energy and nuclear power. Humanity should take another look at nuclear power, according to Jakke Mäkelä, Tuomo Liljenbäck, Markus Norrgran, and Heidi Niskanen of the Finnish Greens. They wrote a March 6 blog post, translated by J.M. Korhonen , detailing why Finland should develop nuclear energy. Related: Germany’s massive nuclear fusion reactor is actually working Finland’s temperatures are spiking quicker than any other place in the world due to climate change, according to Forbes contributor James Conca. The country has pledged to end coal use by 2030, but they’re also widely utilizing biomass . The four Greens condemned the government’s burning of wood chips for power since it emits carbon dioxide and will destroy forests . The Greens said renewable energy won’t be able to help us wean completely off fossil fuels yet. They said solar and wind work very well up to a point, but on a large scale require lots of raw materials and land. They pointed to Germany, which shuttered nuclear power plants, but the consequence was renewable energy largely replaced nuclear energy and not fossil fuels. The four Greens said we no longer have the option of choosing between renewables and nuclear. They wrote, “Unless we spend a lot more money in all clean energy sources, we are certain to be doomed.” Korhonen notes their viewpoint is not an official recommendation from the Green Party or of the Viite, the technology and science subgroup of which Mäkelä is vice-chairman and the others are members. It’s simply the opinion of the four candidates, who were up for election in Turku. The Green Party won 12 percent of the total vote in the recent elections, gaining seats and winning the largest share in their history. Via J.M. Korhonen and Forbes Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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Finland’s Green Party says humanity must embrace nuclear power

Someone built a tiny wall around Trumps Hollywood Walk of Fame star

July 28, 2016 by  
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Someone finally listened to the passionate “build a wall” chants of Donald Trump supporters, but it’s not exactly what the Republican presidential nominee requested. A tiny, six-inch-tall wall was constructed around the billionaire’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last week, on the very day his nomination was secured, by a provocative street artist . The artist Plastic Jesus posted a photo to his Instagram account of the sight, saying, “Hollywood sight-seers on the famous walk of fame were confronted with an unusual edition to Trump’s Famous Star.” The teeny, tiny wall is made from concrete and features razor wire, “keep out” signs, and itty bitty American flags. Related: Climate denier Donald Trump’s favorite Florida estate is being swallowed by the sea Along with his plan to build an enormous and expensive wall along the Mexican border – which “ gets 10 feet higher ” when he is confronted with the fact that the Mexican government has no interest in paying for his preposterous proposal – America’s worst nightmare also believes “ there is no drought ” in California and has voiced his intent to withdraw the U.S. from the COP21 climate agreement. During the Republican National Convention last week in Cleveland, Donald Trump officially secured the party’s nomination for president of the United States. Via CNN Images via Instagram ( 1 , 2 )

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Someone built a tiny wall around Trumps Hollywood Walk of Fame star

New mayor wants to create Italy’s first ‘vegetarian city’

July 21, 2016 by  
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What if your entire city adhered to a vegetarian diet? Recently elected Turin mayor Chiara Appendino pledged that promoting vegetarian diets will be a “priority” for her. But there could be backlash, as Piedmont, the Italian region in which Turin is located, is home to famous meat dishes and meat producers. How might Appendino create a “vegetarian city?” We don’t yet know the strategy details, but many expect Turin to focus on school education and teaching children about nutrition . But there are those who would guard a meat-eating lifestyle in Italy. Last year the World Health Organization classified cured meats as carcinogenic , and Italian meat producers called the label “meat terrorism.” Dishes like brasato al Barolo (wine-braised meat) or vitello tonnato (veal in tuna sauce) have been staples of northern Italy’s cuisine for ” centuries .” Related: Danish council proposes red meat tax to combat climate change Environment councilor Stefania Giannuzzi indicated the administration may be willing to work with meat producers. She told Italian publication Corriere della Sera (translated by The Guardian), “I would not want to create a contrast with the meat industry. We do not want to close the small shops or ruin the people who have worked for years to develop the Piedmontese food and wine heritage.” Many within the Five Star Movement (M5S), the party of which Appendino is part, espouse vegetarian or vegan diets. In the past, M5S founder Beppe Grillo praised the documentary Cowspiracy and supported vegetarian childcare centers on his popular blog. Potential party leader Luigi di Maio had a vegan cake for his 30th birthday. A “vegetarian city” may sound like the hallmark of a progressive party, yet The Guardian noted while M5S promotes clean energy and environmentalism, they’re more ambiguous on other issues such as LGBT rights and migration. The Guardian also described M5S as “eurosceptic,” or anti-European Union. Via The Guardian Images via Pexels and Wikimedia Commons

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New mayor wants to create Italy’s first ‘vegetarian city’

The rise of the soil carbon cowboys

August 19, 2015 by  
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Cows, oil, the Tea Party and a true story of regenerating our land while slowing climate change.

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Why it’s time to invest in clean energy in Africa

August 19, 2015 by  
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Private-sector investment in electricity is sitting on the sidelines in Africa. Here’s how we can change that.

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Islands become clean energy trendsetters

August 19, 2015 by  
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From Hawaii to the Canary Islands, a look at how resource-constrained islands are pioneering new forms of low-carbon energy independence.

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Can the Republican Party accidentally save the environment?

June 19, 2015 by  
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You can certainly cause climate change without actually believing in it, but is it possible to save the environment while still denying climate change even exists? A new video by The Guardian suggests that Republican support for solar energy may actually help combat the changes without ever convincing them that climate science is correct. The video points out that “56% of Republicans question climate science” and quotes Jeb Bush saying “It may not be warming.” In contrast, the video also quotes Debbie Dooley, the founding member of the Tea Party, who said “Solar empowers the people.” Read the rest of Can the Republican Party accidentally save the environment? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “wind power” , Climate Change , climate change deniers , climate change sceptics , keep it in the ground , renewable energy , Republican Party , republicans , solar city , Solar Power , The Guardian

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