AUDIs new electric car will have autonomous vehicle capability and a roof that holds real plants

May 15, 2019 by  
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AUDI revealed the concept for a new electric car with autonomous driving capabilities at Auto Shanghai 2019, and this vehicle really pushes the limits when it comes to connecting technology with nature. Apart from the AI technology implemented to take most of the effort out of driving in general, the AI:ME autonomous vehicle is completely electric. On the interior of the car, a wooden pergola roof allows climbing plants to grow and thrive. According to the company, the AUDI AI systems are “capable of learning and thinking, while also being proactive and personal. Thanks to Audi AI, models bearing the four rings will be both intelligent and empathetic in the future. They will be able to continually interact with their surroundings and passengers, and thus adapt themselves in a better way than ever before to the requirements of those on board.” That’s some serious evolution. Related: AUDI unveils two new swanky self-driving concepts in Frankfurt The autonomous driving capabilities go up to level four on the AI:ME, meaning that though the system doesn’t require any assistance from the driver themselves, it is limited to certain regions, such as highways or specific areas in inner cities. The uncommonly raised headlights will be used to alert other drivers and pedestrians to the presence of the car, rather than as a tool to illuminate the road (unnecessary, as the occupants of the car won’t be driving). The interior has plenty of storage space — a must for autonomous cars, as the passengers will need ample room to do whatever they’re doing instead of driving. Rather than pedals, the AUDI AI:ME has comfortable footrests, and the seats prioritize comfort over function. A 3D monitor with VR goggles allows for everything from watching movies to interactive gaming while in the car , and the high-quality audio system combined with the noise-canceling interior makes outside traffic noise a thing of the past. As for the “green” roof , this is a first for the automobile industry. The designers used filigree wooden struts to construct a pergola above the interior roof surface, giving it the ability to hold living plants. AUDI not only wanted to create a connection between the driver and nature with this innovation but also to improve the air quality within the car (advanced air filters also remove outside odors from traffic and the city). The AI tech uses intelligent algorithms to monitor stress levels of the car’s occupants. This helps the car itself to actually get to know the driver, therefore improving their experience, whether it be preferred temperatures or seat adjustments. + Audi Images via Audi

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AUDIs new electric car will have autonomous vehicle capability and a roof that holds real plants

UN lists plastic as hazardous waste, votes to control international trade

May 15, 2019 by  
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On May 10, 187 countries voted to list plastic as hazardous waste and tighten control over its international trade. The governing agreement, the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal dictates legally binding standards for importing and exporting toxic materials. For the first time ever, the agreement now includes plastic , with the exception of PE, PP and PET plastics. The new agreement gives lower income countries — particularly Southeast Asian countries — more control over the indiscriminate dumping of toxic materials. “This is a crucial first step toward stopping the use of developing countries as a dumping ground for the world’s plastic waste , especially those coming from rich nations,” said Von Hernandez from Break Free From Plastic. European nations and the U.S. export waste to African and Asian countries as a way to dispose of their trash and hazardous materials. Sometimes these countries are paid for their recycling or landfill services, but many times the dumping happens without permission. Under the Basel Convention agreement, export countries must receive written permits before dumping hazardous waste, which now includes most contaminated, mixed and non-recyclable plastic . Related: A guide to the different types of plastic In 2018, China banned imports of plastic waste and nearby countries Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand saw a massive upsurge in dumping. With China no longer an option, the $200 billion global recycling industry suddenly had no buyers that could handle the scale of the world’s plastic addiction. Ports in the U.S. and Europe began to overflow with plastic while exporters struggled to find new dumping sites. The U.S. is not a member of the Basel Convention and therefore could not participate in the vote. As the largest exporter of plastic, however, it will be required to obtain permits when dumping in participating countries. The American Chemistry Council and Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries were among the outspoken opponents, arguing these new obstacles will hinder recycling programs. One million citizens around the world signed online petitions in support of the new agreement. “Plastic waste is acknowledged as one of the world’s most pressing environmental issues,”  said Rolph Payet , executive secretary of the convention. “The fact that this week close to 1 million people around the world signed a petition urging Basel Convention Parties to take action here in Geneva at the COPs is a sign that public awareness and desire for action is high.” + UN Environment Via Plastic Pollution Convention and CNN Image via Jasmin Sessler

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UN lists plastic as hazardous waste, votes to control international trade

Power and publicity trump protection in large marine protected areas

May 15, 2019 by  
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Nations have just one more year to reach the global marine conservation goal to protect 10 percent of the world’s oceans by 2020. Although 7 percent is already legally protected, many new declarations are massive, offshore areas. Some conservationists argue these offshore achievements fail to protect more critical coastal waters and may even be aggressive ocean-grabs by colonial powers. The goal to legally protect 10 percent of the ocean was ratified under the Convention of Biological Diversity in 2010, and in 2015 it was added to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. According to the World Database of Protected Areas , although 7 percent of the ocean is protected, only 20 marine protected areas account for 70 percent of that area. Offshore areas have significantly fewer stressors than coastal areas, including fishing, tourism, development and mining and host considerably less biodiversity. By contrast, coastal coral reefs are home to 25 percent of all marine species. Related: Drones — the future of ocean conservation Because of the diversity in both uses and species, governments have a difficult time finding compromises to effectively declare and sustainably manage coastal areas, but they can easily make headlines and reach their targets by sectioning off large areas of deep sea. The colonization of marine protected areas Ecological concerns are not the only issue. Many critics also believe political — and colonial — power dynamics are behind these declarations. In recent years, the United States, Britain and France have declared large protected areas in their island territories, while declaring very few at home. The U.S. has less than 1 percent of continental waters under legal designation, while 43 percent of its colonial ocean territories are under protected status. England has just 2.9 square miles of marine protected areas but controls 1.5 million square miles around its territories. Control and displacement in the Indian Ocean In the 1960s, Britain maintained the Chagos Archipelago islands in the Indian Ocean, even after granting independence to nearby Mauritius. In order to make a naval base, the British forcibly removed 2,000 citizens who have spent decades demanding to be allowed to return to their homeland and continue their traditional fishing practices. In 2010, Britain declared the islands a protected area, and suddenly, peoples’ traditions became a crime. Despite official claims that the protected area had nothing to do with preventing displaced people from returning to their homeland, leaked documents revealed an explicit connection to this motive. In 2019, the International Court of Justice at The Hague declared Britain’s actions wrongful and ordered the island to be handed back to Mauritius. Why prioritize coastal areas? Larger protected areas are praised for their ability to preserve more space for migratory species like whales and tuna and for protecting deep sea areas from future exploitation. The problem, however, is when large offshore declarations distract attention from the harder work of protecting coastal zones. The declaration of protected or managed coastal areas requires compromise from many different stakeholders, including transportation, businesses, hotels, local fishers and coastal residents. Unsustainable development, pollution and competing interests exacerbate environmental degradation in coastal areas and require explicit management legislation and compliance — a feat that many governments lack the capacity to take on. In fact, only 5 percent of all marine protected areas have implemented management plans. Enric Sala, a marine ecologist with the National Geographic Society,  argues that protected area declarations that aren’t accompanied by management plans are “false and counterproductive” achievements that look good on paper but do nothing to protect the long-term sustainability of ocean resources. Money and management The lack of local government resources and investment means that the majority of marine conservation activities are funded and implemented by foreign conservation groups and private philanthropists — the majority of whom are American. According to Fred Pearch, a journalist with Yale Environment 360, “Some see such philanthropists as planetary saviors; others as agents of a creeping privatization of one of the last great global commons.” Again, foreign powers have jurisdiction and decision-making power over foreign waters and what indigenous communities can and cannot do. Many local groups are pushing back against this invasion. John Aini, an indigenous leader in Papau New Guinea explained in an interview with MongaBay about the decolonization of marine conservation: “I’ve basically given up working with big international nongovernmental organizations, basically given up networking with them. And we are doing our own thing now with funding that’s available, and funding from people that understand that we are in touch, that we own the land, the sea, we know the problems of our people better.” What is the right way to protect the ocean? There is no one-size-fits-all solution and no way to make all marine conservationists and ocean users agree, but positive examples of protected areas do exist. Last year, Honduras declared a marine protected area in Tela Bay, which includes 86,259 hectares of coral reef. Although it is relatively small at only 300 square miles, the coastal protected area is a model for its outreach strategy, local management committee and “managed-access fishery” program that supports coastal residents. Belize also became the first country to implement a nationwide, multi-species fishing rights program for small-scale local fishers that is incorporated into the country’s intricate network of protected and locally managed areas. The key to successful legal protections is more science- and community-based conservation, not what New York Times contributor Luiz A. Rocha calls “convenient conservation” to meet numbers, make headlines and ignore realities and power dynamics on the ground — and under the sea. Via Yale Environment 360 Images from Bureau of Land Management , Arnaud Abadie , Dronepicr , Drew Avery , USGS Unmanned Aircraft Systems , Daniel Julie and Fred

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Power and publicity trump protection in large marine protected areas

EasyJet set to trial the first hybrid hydrogen plane

February 8, 2016 by  
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EasyJet recently announced plans to trial a new hybrid hydrogen plane. The aviation company claims that although their passengers’ carbon footprint is already 22 percent lower than those who travel on a traditional airline, the new plane, if successful, could drastically decrease fossil fuel consumption. Don’t get too excited though – the planes will still need to use jet fuel whilst in the air. Read the rest of EasyJet set to trial the first hybrid hydrogen plane

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EasyJet set to trial the first hybrid hydrogen plane

Pop-Up Hangar Hotel Provides Busy Passengers a Safe Place to Sleep on the Jetway

July 22, 2013 by  
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The Jetway Hotel  is a pop-up, short-stay hangar accommodation that can be wheeled to different airport docking locations to provide safe spaces for passengers to rest before departing. The scheme is composed of three telescopic fiberglass polymer-clad shells, and expandable interior sections lined with a combination of laminated glass, photovoltaic cells and low-resolution LEDs. And for those worried about sleeping next to a noisy tarmac, the interior spaces can be programmed to create an array of fully immersive environments for a cozy stay. + Jetway Hotel The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: airplane hangar , airport design , hotel suite , pop-up designs , pop-up hotel , portable hangar        

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Pop-Up Hangar Hotel Provides Busy Passengers a Safe Place to Sleep on the Jetway

Heathrow Airport switches over from diesel buses to electric pods

August 10, 2011 by  
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Pragya Bhargavi: Electric Pods Unmanned vehicles at Heathrow Airport With the increase in the environmental pollution, it is high time we start reducing the use of automobiles that run with the help of fossil fuels. This change has been recently brought at the London Heathrow Airport, where diesel buses are being rapidly replaced with driver-less electric vehicles. These new electric vehicles are being used to transport passengers from the terminal to the parking area. The electric pods are claimed to be faster and quieter as compared to the traditional diesel buses that were used earlier. These electric pods have been manufactured by ULTra PRT and have been serving the passengers at the airport from April 2011. Two diesel buses have already been replaced by twenty two new electric vehicles. After the arrival of the electric pods, carrying passenger to and fro has become easier. Earlier, the buses had to make at least 200 trips daily but with the new vehicles traveling has become less hectic. These pods have a separate route and they do not disturb the traffic in the parking area. The distance from the terminal to the parking area is about 1.2 miles and the pod covers the distance in around 5 to 6 minutes. In total, the vehicles carry around 800 people everyday. This facility has really helped the passengers to travel easily. The electric pods have lots of other attractive features that make it far more superior than the buses. The speed of the pods is about 25 miles per hour and it can carry 4 to 6 people with their luggage. It has the capacity to function even in bad weather and is a very low-maintenance vehicle. As the vehicle is unmanned, it is provided with a touchscreen where passengers need to feed in their destinations. The pod has the capacity of traveling to multiple destinations, so all the travelers can enter their own destinations and the electric vehicle efficiently drops each passenger. For the ease of the travelers, the pod has also been provided with a recorded voice that announces the name of the approaching destination. The company feels that such a vehicle has a great future in places like offices or other densely populated areas. The installation cost per mile is between $7 to $15 million. The vehicle is totally worth its cost because it is a lot more efficient than any other modes of transport. It also helps in reducing the pollution, thereby saving the environment. Via: DigitalTrends

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Heathrow Airport switches over from diesel buses to electric pods

Should a Green Writer Buy a Hybrid?

July 18, 2011 by  
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Having lived in New York City for five years, I’ve come to relish the car-less life. Honestly, I was never a huge fan of the things; I wasn’t a natural driver, and I didn’t care to be. I drove slowly and boringly (and sometimes poorly), often to the chagrin of my passengers. So I’m perfectly at home hopping on the subway and wandering around on foot. But there are scant few places in the nation where you can get by without a car. Which is why Mother Jones’ environmental reporter, Kate Sheppard, has decided she’s going to buy one. And in a piece that I think deftly sums up the concerns of many conscious auto con… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Should a Green Writer Buy a Hybrid?

First Ever Shipping Emission Regulations a Step in Right Direction, But…

July 18, 2011 by  
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Photo: Flickr , CC …not Going Far Enough & Too Many Loopholes The International Maritime Organisation (IMO, which is a part of the United Nations) has finally gotten its act together and agreed on regulations for for cargo ships (not only a huge source of air pollutants , but also a significant source of greenhouse gas). The new rules will force all ships o… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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First Ever Shipping Emission Regulations a Step in Right Direction, But…

Futuristic Audi concept car uses hydrogen for zero-emission propulsion

June 9, 2010 by  
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Eco Factor: Concept car designed to run clean on hydrogen. Auto designer Victor Uribe has come up with yet another concept car for a world where fossil fuels will be a thing of the past. The designer’s latest creation is a concept car designed for Audi.

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Futuristic Audi concept car uses hydrogen for zero-emission propulsion

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