Speed breeding technique inspired by NASA grows three times the wheat with less land

January 3, 2018 by  
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Scientists inspired by NASA have found a way to grow wheat at incredible speeds using intense lighting regimes. The method, called “speed breeding”, produces wheat that is not only healthier, but grows in half the time, meaning you could feed more people with less land. The rapid-growing technique not only works on wheat but sunflowers, lentils, peanuts, amaranth, pepper, and radish, which could signal a major breakthrough for feeding the planet’s growing population. By 2050, the planet could host an additional two billion people, but the space for growing and raising food isn’t increasing. So scientists have been looking for ways to tackle the problem of feeding a large population with less space. Scientists at the University of Sydney , the University of Queensland  and the John Innes Center took a look at technology developed years ago by NASA to grow crops in space. Building on this base, they developed their speed breeding technique. Related: Urban Produce vertical farm grows 16 acres of food in just 1/8 acre of space The technique involves growing plants under LEDs with a continuous, specific wavelength to boost photosynthesis. Using this lighting regime, the researchers grew wheat, barley, and chickpeas in half the time of traditional plants – six generations in one year to the two or three that can traditionally be grown. That’s from “seed to seed” in just six weeks. And the plants are actually better quality than traditional plants. This is likely the first time scientists have grown crops this quickly while also improving quality. “In the glasshouse we currently use high pressure sodium vapor lamps and these are quite expensive in terms of the electricity demand,” study co-author and UQ Senior Research Fellow Lee Hickey told New Atlas . “In our paper we demonstrate that wheat and barley populations can be grown at a density of about 900 plants per square meter, thus in combination with LED light systems, this presents an exciting opportunity to scale up the operation for industry use.” The researchers published their findings in the journal Nature Plants . Via New Atlas

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Speed breeding technique inspired by NASA grows three times the wheat with less land

Mirrored home in the woods is hidden in plain sight

January 3, 2018 by  
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Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao has hidden part of a holiday home inside a forest by cladding it in mirrored glass . With a footprint of just under 2,200 square feet, Los Terrenos (Spanish for “The Terrains”) comprises three structures, each built with one of three main materials: mirrored glass, earth, or wood. Despite the diversity in construction materials, beautiful and complementary modern interiors are woven throughout the experimental residence. Located on a forested slope in Monterrey, Los Terrenos currently comprises two structures—the third, which will be built of wood and elevated for treetop views, has yet to be built. The larger of the two completed buildings is clad in mirrored glass and houses an open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen in a double-height space. The one-way mirrors gives the building a greenhouse feel with floor-to-ceiling views of the forest. Related: Tatiana Bilbao’s $8,000 house could help solve Mexico’s social housing shortage The private areas consisting of two bedrooms and bathrooms are located in the L-shaped building built of clay brick and rammed earth placed diagonally opposite of the mirrored structure. A gorgeous chevron-shaped clay-brick wall in the bedrooms stylistically matches the chevron -shaped ceramic divider found in living room and the paver patterns on the paths around the residence. The bedrooms also look out to sweeping views of the forest. + Tatiana Bilbao Via Architectural Record Images by Rory Gardiner

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Mirrored home in the woods is hidden in plain sight

Earth’s population just hit 7.5 billion people

May 15, 2017 by  
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Over 7.5 billion people now reside on planet Earth , according to the World Population Clock . But with more people could comes less access to resources like food and energy . A global population of 7.5 billion people has far-reaching repercussions – including increased greenhouse gas emissions , strained food supplies, and increased total consumption, according to Charity organization Population Matters . Population Matters says that population growth could keep some countries in poverty , and it intrudes on land needed by wildlife . Head of Campaigns Alistair Currie told edie.net , “We will see cutthroat competition for shrinking resources which will include not just fossil fuels but productive land and water, pushing prices up not just for consumers but for the businesses and industries which need them too. Huge potential markets like much of sub-Saharan Africa will be stuck in poverty and we’ll see political instability arising from population and migration pressures, including conflict over resources.” China has the most people in one country; 1.38 billion people live there. India is next with 1.34 billion, followed by the United States with 326 million. The United Nations thinks our global population will hit 10 billion people by the year 2056. Related: Scientists say the world is “one crop breeding cycle away from starvation” Currie warned that while businesses may see increased global population as the opportunity to gain more customers, too much growth won’t be good for our planet – or business. He said, “Growth cannot continue indefinitely on a finite planet and fewer consumers is ultimately better for all of us. Business must start recognizing and adapting to that reality. With action now, we can limit population growth and eventually reach sustainable levels.” We’re currently using up the resources of 1.6 Earths , and we’ll need 3 Earths by 2050 unless we can alter our consumption patterns. + Population Matters Via edie Images via Stròlic Furlàn – Davide Gabino on Flickr and McKay Savage on Flickr

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Earth’s population just hit 7.5 billion people

NASA releases startling new images showing 30 years of change on Earth

January 25, 2017 by  
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We hear plenty of news about melting glaciers , droughts and massive industrial projects that are dramatically changing the face of the planet, but it’s still easy for those things to remain abstract concepts because the scale is so large. (Not to mention the new administration’s attempts to wipe out all mention of climate change .) But NASA remains resolute in its efforts to communicate the truth, recently releasing its “Images of Change” series, a collection of before and after images that show just how much and how fast certain locations on Earth have changed over the past 30 years. As Forbes columnist, Trevor Nace notes, “(t)he series shines light on how rapidly our planet has changed in the recent decades due largely to urbanization and climate change. The series allows for clear and apparent contrast of environmental systems over the past decades. Some processes are unlinked to human influence such as island building but many are affected to some degree by human population growth and pollution.” The series features 120 images from around the world, and scale of the changes that can actually be seen in the images today, from how they were just 30 years ago is almost unfathomable in some cases. And some of the images are pretty startling on their own. Related: Scientists warn rapidly melting glacier in West Antarctica cold cause serious global havoc This one of an early ice melt in Greenland is one that stands well on its own. According to NASA , “Meltwater streams, rivers and lakes form in the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet every spring or early summer, but melting began exceptionally early in 2016. Melting encourages further melting when ponds of meltwater develop, since they darken the surface and absorb more sunlight than ice does. Surface melt contributes to sea-level rise when the water runs off into the ocean and when it flows through crevasses to the base of a glacier and temporarily speeds up the ice flow.” Check NASA’s great interactive website that hosts the rest of this cool collection of Earth images. Via Forbes and NASA Images via NASA

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NASA releases startling new images showing 30 years of change on Earth

How Bermuda’s iconic white roofs overcome island’s chronic freshwater shortage

December 30, 2016 by  
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Life in Bermuda may seem exotic and glamorous to outsiders, but the Caribbean Community member faces significant challenges – including a chronic lack of fresh water . To counteract the dearth of springs, rivers, and lakes, local residents designed the island’s iconic white stepped roofs, which slow rainfall so that it may be stored. While Bermuda’s stepped roofs were originally built out of necessity, they are now officially a part of Bermuda law, which states that every new home must include eight gallons of rain barrel storage per square foot of roof space. The roofs that sit atop houses, which are akin to those in British villages but with more festive pastel paint jobs, are built out of limestone to withstand hurricane force winds. Their white color reflects UV light from the sun, which helps to purify the rainwater runoff and keep the homes cool. Related: 6 innovative ways to harvest and harness rainwater As Bermuda’s population has expanded and its reputation as a vacation destination has grown, the island of 60,000 has had to expand upon its low-tech roof system to provide fresh water. “When you can’t spread out, you start building up but think of a house where the roof area and the tank area is designed to satisfy a single family – if you build up and put in another family, you double the consumption,” said Stuart Hayward, an environmental expert from Bermuda.  Tourists , many of whom desire to play a few rounds on water-intensive golf courses, do not possess the same water preservation ethos as those who were born and raised on the island, which has raised Bermuda’s water consumption. The island has integrated desalinization plants, of which there are six, throughout the island. In total, these plants generate over 3,500,000 gallons of fresh purified water each day. However, admiration for the white stepped roofs remains. “What’s good about it is individual responsibility plus collective oversight plus a dependence on social and cultural values,” said Henrietta Moore of the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London. “In terms of its advantages, it’s low-cost, has been developed over several hundred years so it’s been crafted and tailored to local circumstances,” said Roger Calow, head of the water policy program at the Overseas Development Institute. “It fits the climate , it works.” While Bermuda’s stepped roof method does not work everywhere, it may serve as a model for similar environments and as an inspiration for communities everywhere as they attempt to build water resilience in an increasingly unpredictable world. Via BBC Images via Andrew Currie  and Flickr   (1)

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We’ve already used up a year’s worth of the Earth’s resources in just 8 months

August 18, 2015 by  
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We all know about Earth Day and Arbor Day, with their focus on renewable resources and an appreciation for our great planet, but have you heard of Overshoot Day? The Global Footprint Network  tracks humans’ overall global resource consumption, and they recently named the day when we surpassed the sustainable limit of  resources for the year , which is known as Overshoot Day. This year marks the earliest date yet: August 13th – six days earlier than 2014, which means that everything we consume for the rest of the year goes beyond what the planet can sustain. Read the rest of We’ve already used up a year’s worth of the Earth’s resources in just 8 months

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We’ve already used up a year’s worth of the Earth’s resources in just 8 months

Hans Rosling Uses LEGO Bricks to Explain Climate Change and Population Growth

June 11, 2013 by  
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We’ve seen LEGO bricks used to build tons of unexpected creations – from wheelchairs to chandeliers . But everyone’s favorite toy brick can also be used to teach – Hans Rosling, a Swedish doctor and Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute , has done just that. His simple demonstration uses LEGO bricks to explain the current and future state of population growth and climate change, showing us where we are and where we’re going. Read the rest of Hans Rosling Uses LEGO Bricks to Explain Climate Change and Population Growth Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: carbon emissions , carbon emissions and population , carbon emissions by population , Climate Change , global population , Hans Rosling , Hans Rosling LEGO , Hans Rosling LEGO video , Hans Rosling YouTube , lego , Lego bricks , LEGO illustration , LEGO teaching , population growth , population increase , YouTube videos        

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Writhing Tower Boasts a Garden and Trees for Each Condo in Peru

June 18, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Writhing Tower Boasts a Garden and Trees for Each Condo in Peru Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: eco design , garden , green design , lima , LYCS Architecture , pacific ocean , peru , population growth , residential tower , sustainable design , urban green space , urban planning , Writhing Tower

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Writhing Tower Boasts a Garden and Trees for Each Condo in Peru

Family Planning As Important For Fighting Climate Change As Clean Technology: Worldwatch

December 1, 2010 by  
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photo: Paul Keller / Creative Commons Population growth is one of the touchiest issues out there. It’s really easy for people to leap to paranoia about government control of who can and cannot have children and no amount of qualification about how that’s not being advocated seems to stop it.

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Family Planning As Important For Fighting Climate Change As Clean Technology: Worldwatch

Cities and States Prepare for the Impacts of Climate Change

December 1, 2010 by  
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Photo credit: suburbanbloke / Creative Commons Congress, it’s clear, is in no rush to settle on a plan to confront climate change . For many cities and states, especially those facing increased wildfire, flooding, and drought risks, this simply isn’t good enough—they have begun developing and implementing climate change adaptation plans to prepare for the expected threats…. Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Cities and States Prepare for the Impacts of Climate Change

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