Innovating for Mars, and maybe Earth, too

July 17, 2018 by  
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Could exploring another planet help our resource-constrained world?

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Innovating for Mars, and maybe Earth, too

Food for thought: WeWork pulls meat from the office menu

July 17, 2018 by  
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As companies take action on environmental issues, the coworking giant pledges to go meatless.

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Food for thought: WeWork pulls meat from the office menu

Why Recycling Paper Makes a Big Difference to the Planet

June 27, 2018 by  
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Put it in the trash or save it for the … The post Why Recycling Paper Makes a Big Difference to the Planet appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Why Recycling Paper Makes a Big Difference to the Planet

10 years after: the view from here, standing on the shoulders of giants

June 26, 2018 by  
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Revisiting the relevance of a world view based on respect for this planet and future generations in an age that continues to revere and depend on technology, the indigenous leaders who were involved with Hawaii’s initial clean energy and sustainability ambitions “talk story” about what’s happened over the past decade and offer their candid recommendations on what still needs to change. 

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10 years after: the view from here, standing on the shoulders of giants

How Bidets are Saving the Planet, One Spray at a Time

June 14, 2018 by  
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Every day, we witness copious progress in technology, science, housing, … The post How Bidets are Saving the Planet, One Spray at a Time appeared first on Earth911.com.

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How Bidets are Saving the Planet, One Spray at a Time

India plans to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022

June 6, 2018 by  
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Big news from India : the country aims to abolish single-use plastic in about four years. Prime minister Narendra Modi announced the goal on World Environment Day , and The Guardian said it’s the most ambitious commitment out of the actions to combat plastic pollution happening in 60 nations. The move could dramatically reduce the flow of plastic from 1.3 billion people. India is resisting plastic pollution with what United Nations Environment head Erik Solheim called a phenomenal commitment. The country’s Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Harsh Vardhan said single-use plastics will be banned in all of the country’s states by 2022. Solheim said the move would inspire the planet and “ignite real change.” Related: Kenya introduces world’s harshest law on plastic bags “It is the duty of each one of us to ensure that the quest for material prosperity does not compromise our environment ,” Modi said. “The choices that we make today will define our collective future. The choices may not be easy. But through awareness, technology and a genuine global partnership, I am sure we can make the right choices. Let us all join together to beat plastic pollution and make this planet a better place to live.” UN Environment released  a report providing “the first comprehensive global assessment of government action against plastic pollution,” including case studies from over 60 countries. The report included a list of states and cities in India that have banned plastic bags or disposable plastic products, and the selected case study in the country highlighted beach cleanup efforts in Mumbai; Inhabitat covered the initiative started by local lawyer Afroz Shah earlier this year. Volunteers have cleaned up around 13,000 tons of trash, largely plastics , according to the case study, and this year people spotted Olive Ridley turtle hatchlings on the beach for the first time in more than 20 years. + United Nations Environment Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos and Juggadery/Flickr

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India plans to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022

Wildfires in Siberia are emitting enough carbon to harm the entire planet

May 16, 2018 by  
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Wildfires are raging in Russia and Siberia , and they could have drastic consequences for the entire planet. Blazes burning in the Amur region since the start of 2018 have damaged an area around six times bigger than during the same time period in 2017, according to Greenpeace — and they have released nearly twice the annual carbon emissions of Moscow in a single month. This spring, dry, warm conditions in Siberia have readied the area for wildfires, according to Earther — and in May, the fires have picked up in a big way. Local farmers sometimes light fires in Siberia to replenish soil nutrients or clear land, but winds can cause the fires to blaze out of control. And more of the #AmurOblast wildfires? #Russia ?? 09 May 2018 #Copernicus #Sentinel -2B?? Album with even more and full-size images here: https://t.co/j0NIs2BNuS #wildfire #????????????????? pic.twitter.com/ddvP1jdKTE — Pierre Markuse (@Pierre_Markuse) May 12, 2018 Related: NASA map shows how climate change has set the world on fire Following a winter with little snow and strong winds, areas in Siberia that were forests just a few decades ago have succumbed to intense wildfires. And these out-of-control fires aren’t just bad news for locals, but for people all over the Earth: experts estimate that the Amur fire has released around 110 megatons of carbon dioxide . According to Greenpeace, “Each wildfire heats up the planet. At the scale we’re seeing in Amur, that’s a large amount of CO2, and a major setback in efforts to meet Paris Climate Agreement goals.” Soot from the wildfires also doesn’t bode well for the planet. Wind can carry black carbon to Arctic ice and snow, impairing their reflective properties, which “increases the amount of solar radiation absorbed by the surface” and “accelerates the melting of snow and ice,” Greenpeace said. Humans are responsible for as much as 90 percent of wildfires — but this means they can also prevent them, by taking steps like completely extinguishing cigarettes or bonfires and never leaving fires unattended. Via Greenpeace and Earther Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Wildfires in Siberia are emitting enough carbon to harm the entire planet

Scientists just detected helium in an exoplanet’s atmosphere for the first time

May 3, 2018 by  
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For the first time, researchers have identified the presence of helium within the atmosphere of a planet beyond our solar system, offering yet another glimpse into the weather patterns of exoplanets. This discovery is particularly notable for the methods used to detect helium, demonstrating that it is possible to identify the atmospheric composition of some exoplanets with current technology. Although scientists have long expected to find helium on large exoplanets, its presence on planet WASP-107b has now been confirmed, thanks to a technique that involves analysis of the light spectrum of the upper levels of the planet’s atmosphere. “We hope to use this technique with the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope,” said lead researcher Jessica Spake in a statement. “For example, to learn what kind of planets have large envelopes of hydrogen and helium, and how long planets can hold on to their atmospheres . By measuring infrared light, we can see further out into space than if we were using ultraviolet light .” Related: The Earth-like planets orbiting this star could hold 250 times more water than Earth An ultra-low-density planet, WASP-107b is roughly equivalent to the size of Jupiter but only has 12 percent of that planet’s mass. WASP-107, the star around which WASP-107b orbits every six days, is so powerful that it is gradually dissolving the exoplanet’s atmosphere. As a result, WASP-107b leaves a comet-like trail of helium in its wake. “The helium we detected extends far out to space as a tenuous cloud surrounding the planet,” explained study co-author Tom Evans in a statement . “If smaller, Earth-sized planets have similar helium clouds, this new technique offers an exciting means to study their upper atmospheres in the very near future.” Via Space.com and Nature Images via Nature / EngineHouseVFX and ESA/Hubble, NASA, M. Kornmesser

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Scientists just detected helium in an exoplanet’s atmosphere for the first time

Scientists pledge to sequence the DNA of all 1.5 million known species on Earth

April 25, 2018 by  
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You may have heard of the Human Genome Project, but an international group of researchers has recently announced plans to go one step further. The Earth BioGenome Project is a massive effort to sequence the DNA of every single one of the 1.5 million species on Earth – and it will officially be the largest genome sequencing project ever undertaken. Ultimately, scientists hope that it will help us understand and protect the plants, animals, and fungi that call our planet home. Researchers announced their ambitious plans this week at the World Economic Forum , writing that “increasing our understanding of Earth’s biodiversity and responsibly stewarding its resources are among the most crucial scientific and social challenges of the new millennium. These challenges require fundamental new knowledge of the organization, evolution, functions, and interactions among millions of the planet’s organisms.” Related: Atacama ‘alien’ skeleton’s identity revealed by genetic testing So far, we’ve sequenced just 0.2 percent (about 2,500) of the eukaryotic species on Earth, so we have a long way to go to before reaching the 1.5 million known species – and that doesn’t even take into account the estimated 10 to 15 million undiscovered ones. The entire project is estimated to take about 10 years and $4.7 billion to complete. While that may sound like a ton of money, sequencing a genome is just a fraction of the cost that it used to be. In fact, today sequencing a new species costs just $30,000, compared to the $2.7 billion it cost to sequence the first human genome. Once completed, the data will be made available as part of the public domain. Via Gizmodo Image via Nikola Jovanovic and Deposit Photos

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Scientists pledge to sequence the DNA of all 1.5 million known species on Earth

Q&A: Author Talks Simple Tips to Protect the Planet

April 3, 2018 by  
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The author of a new book about protecting the planet … The post Q&A: Author Talks Simple Tips to Protect the Planet appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Q&A: Author Talks Simple Tips to Protect the Planet

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