Trump administration ‘declares war’ on West Coast turtles, dolphins, and whales

June 13, 2017 by  
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Environmentalists say President Donald Trump’s administration has declared war on California marine animals after an announcement this week from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The administration canceled proposed limits on the amount of endangered whales, sea turtles , and dolphins that can be hurt or killed on the West Coast by sword-fishing nets. The proposed limits were backed by the fishing industry and environmentalists. But NOAA said other protections have helped slash the amount of marine creatures that get trapped in the nets – called gill nets – like better training for fishing boat skippers and sound warnings so creatures can leave the area. NOAA Fisheries spokesperson Michael Milstein told the Los Angeles Times, “The cap would have imposed a cost on the industry to solve a problem that has already been addressed.” Related: Unusually high number of humpback whale deaths prompts NOAA inquiry NOAA statistics reveal injuries and deaths for protected whales dropped from over 50 in 1992 to one or two every year by 2015. For common dolphins, the numbers fell from nearly 400 to just a few. But environmentalists disagree. Turtle Island Restoration Network director Todd Steiner said the Trump administration has declared war. He said the drop in numbers is due to the decline in the gill-net fishing fleet in California. He told the Los Angeles Times, “The numbers caught per set have not gone down. The California gill-net fishery kills more marine mammals than all other West Coast fisheries combined.” The restrictions were strong: if two endangered sea turtles or whales were seriously harmed or killed during two years, the gill net fishery would be shuttered for as long as two years. If any combination of four bottlenose dolphins or short-finned pilot whales were hurt or died, the fishery would also be shut down. Center for Biological Diversity senior attorney Catherine Kilduff said rare species are still being killed. And the numbers of some species are so small that the death of just one can be devastating. She told the Los Angeles Times, “Government scientists have said that West Coast fisheries can’t catch more than one leatherback every five years. They estimate that four times that have caught just in the gill-net fishery alone.” Via the Los Angeles Times Images via Salvatore Barbera on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Trump administration ‘declares war’ on West Coast turtles, dolphins, and whales

Nike makes Air Max shoebox from recycled milk jugs and coffee lids

June 13, 2017 by  
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Nike is thinking inside the box—the shoe box, that is. 30 years after the Air Max 1 changed the sneaker industry forever, the sportswear giant is revolutionizing the shoe’s packaging with a polypropylene receptacle derived entirely from post-consumer recycled milk jugs, juice containers, and coffee-cup lids. The brainchild of Arthur Huang, CEO of Taipei-based engineering firm Miniwiz , the revamped shoe box features a modular design that makes stacking for storage or display a cinch. Even better, it can be repurposed as a hardshell backpack. Another bonus? At the end of its life, the shoe box can easily be recycled. No waste, no haste. The container’s pro-planet traits dovetail neatly with Miniwiz’s own business philosophy, Huang said in a statement. “These are all intentional features and qualities which revolve around the intent of every Miniwiz product—reducing the impact on the environment in every way it can,” Huang said. “In this case, we’re adding features and efficiency to an existing product—shoe boxes—and by reusing non-virgin materials in a sustainable and responsible way.” Related: Clever Little Bag: Fuseproject and PUMA revolutionize the shoe box The sneaker the container was designed to support, the NikeLab Air Max 1 Royal, takes a similar resource-conserving tact. It’s clad in Nike’s Flyknit fabric, which the company stitches together using a seamless technique said to produce 60 percent less waste than conventional cut-and-sew means. Related: Nike’s stunning Flyknit Feather Pavilion lights up the night “We love Flyknit as a technology,” Huang said. “It gives designers a new canvas to create cool, while lowering environmental impact. We want to be associated with that and are glad that we are a part of this revolution.” + Nike Air x Arthur Huang Via Dezeen

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Nike makes Air Max shoebox from recycled milk jugs and coffee lids

US states and cities say they’re sticking to the Paris Accord without Trump

June 2, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump said he was elected to represent Pittsburgh, not Paris, as he withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement on Thursday. Pittsburgh, however, isn’t sticking with him – at least not on climate change. The mayor of that city, along with 29 other mayors, three state governors, over 80 university presidents, and over 100 businesses have banded together to commit to the Paris Accord without the president. Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who’s helping lead the effort, said in an interview, “We’re going to do everything America would have done if it had stayed committed.” Trump’s move to yank America out of the Paris Agreement was criticized by many as abdicating American leadership on the global stage in the face of the climate change crisis. But this group of states, cities, businesses, and universities won’t leave the world to battle the crisis alone. The unnamed group is working with the United Nations to see if their submission can be added to the Paris deal. Related: BREAKING: Trump announces U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement Other mayors include those of Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City. Mars and Hewlett-Packard are among the businesses involved. And presidents or chancellors of universities like Wesleyan and Emory are getting on board as well. Bloomberg said businesses, states, and cities could reach the Obama administration’s Paris goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent down from 2005 levels by 2025. California Governor Jerry Brown, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo formed the United States Climate Alliance immediately in the wake of Trump’s announcement, and called for other states to join in. In a statement, Brown said he doesn’t believe “fighting reality is a good strategy” and that states will step up if the president won’t lead. Even former President Barack Obama broke the silence traditionally maintained by former presidents to help ease the country’s transition into new leadership. He released a statement published by The Washington Post , saying, “…even in the absence of American leadership; even as this Administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got.” Via The New York Times Images via Fibonacci Blue on Flickr , The Climate Mayors on Twitter , and Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

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US states and cities say they’re sticking to the Paris Accord without Trump

Muppet set designer’s Tower House is a psychedelic escape made from repurposed materials

June 2, 2017 by  
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This one-of-a-kind house near Woodstock has a history that is as unique as it is. John Kahn, the home’s creator, was friends with the late Muppet mogul Jim Henson and designed sets for the show. The secretary for the Grateful Dead also lived in the home for several years. Kahn built the Tower House over 15 years using re-purposed and locally available materials . If you want to experience the psychedelic home for yourself, you can nab the 3,518 square-foot building  for a cool $1.2 million. The Tower House sits on a wooded 5.5-acre estate located near Woodstock. In 2007, Kahn sold the house to its current owner, former secretary to the Greatful Dead, who was married to Owsley Stanley, a known 1960s music producer and sound engineer. John Kahn used repurposed materials including slate, copper, aircraft-grade aluminium and redwood, as well as local wood and bluestone to build this cylindrical structure that includes a guest house, a sauna, a large studio building and three storage buildings. Related: Small town restaurateurs transform former church into a stunning cafe The three-bedroom home looks different from practically every angle and resembles a set from a TV show. Each room in the house has a different visual theme, with artwork scattered all over the place. The eclectic use of materials was inspired by the Catskills wilderness, dotted with the artist’s sculptures . Via 6sqft Photos via Keller Williams Realty

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Muppet set designer’s Tower House is a psychedelic escape made from repurposed materials

These amazing terrarium lamps grow plants in even the darkest rooms

June 2, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever longed to have a lush garden inside your home, your wish is granted – thanks to these beautiful LED-lit Globe Terrariums . The hanging glass orbs, created by designer Richard Clarkson , are hand blown and come with an integrated LED light that lets the plants survive even in darker rooms. An integrated dimmer lets you create a green garden or a dark mystical rainforest inside your home. The suspended globes come in two sizes: 12″ and 8″ diameters, and look great as individual pieces or grouped together. The globe’s power cord is hidden inside a slim stainless steel cable that lets the globe “float” in the air from any height. Of course, for those with no interest in gardening, the globes can be also used as a stand-alone light source or a unique LED art display . Related: How to Make an Edible Terrarium Snow Globe Various greenery can be planted in the globes, including ferns, cacti, moss, succulents, and even aquatic fauna. Like most terrariums, creating a layered system is recommended for optimal planting. A few handfuls of small stones or gravel at the bottom of the globe will help with drainage and adding charcoal will assist with water filtration. Top that bottom filtration layer with soil suited to your plants of choice and you’re ready to go. The dimmable LED bulbs provide optimal control for the plant life inside the globe. As an adaptable light source, it can be adjusted at any time to meet the specific requirements of the greenery. + Richard Clarkson

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These amazing terrarium lamps grow plants in even the darkest rooms

"We’re getting out:" Trump pulls U.S. from Paris climate deal

June 1, 2017 by  
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After a slew of stalled announcements and pro-climate action campaigns from major U.S. companies, President Donald Trump defies supporters of the UN climate deal.

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"We’re getting out:" Trump pulls U.S. from Paris climate deal

White House official says Trump is pulling out of the Paris Agreement

May 31, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump is set to withdraw from the historic 2015 Paris Agreement , according to several news outlets. It appears he’ll stick with his ill-advised campaign promise after all, and favor nationalist voices like that of Steve Bannon against the more moderate tones of his daughter Ivanka Trump. Even oil and gas companies like Shell and ExxonMobil called for America to stay in the deal. The move will likely mean the United States loses their footing as a global leader in the fight against climate change – but that’s not the worst of it. At a moment when decisive action against climate change has never been more crucial, the leader of one of the planet’s most influential countries could yank the nation out of the hard-fought, historic Paris deal praised as a victory for the entire world. Axios reported according to “two sources with direct knowledge of the decision,” Trump will withdraw from the agreement. That report is backed up by other news outlets such as Politico, which spoke with whom they referred to as a White House official. Related: G7 leaders openly say climate change consensus does not include US On Trump’s recent trip abroad, numerous world leaders and Pope Francis entreated the United States to stay in the deal. Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also wanted America to stay on board with the deal. Axios reports 22 Republican Senators wrote a letter, however, that helped sway Trump’s mind against the accord. Supposedly for the past week the president has been telling people close to him that he intended to yank America out of the deal, even though he refused to share his intentions with G7 leaders. Working with a small team, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt is working out how the US will pull out of the agreement, according to Axios. A formal withdrawal could take around three years. Such a drastic move from Trump could weaken the Paris Agreement, as the United States is the world’s second biggest carbon polluter. Via Axios and Politico Images via Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Flickr and Jim Mattis on Flickr

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Now Trump wants to condemn wild horses to slaughter

May 26, 2017 by  
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There’s a new group on the chopping block under President Donald Trump’s latest budget proposal: wild horses . His administration thinks they could save $10 million next year by allowing the sale of wild horses snared in the American West. But they’d toss out a requirement presently in place that requires buyers to guarantee the horses won’t be resold for slaughter. Under the Trump budget, these iconic animals could be disposed of to foreign slaughterhouses to be processed as food. Wild horses are integral to the West’s wild history. Where would a cowboy be without his horse? But Trump’s budget bows to the wishes of livestock interests by discarding the current stipulation that buyers of wild horses won’t sell them for slaughter. Thousands of free-roaming mustangs could meet their end in a foreign slaughterhouse. Related: Trump budget proposes 31% cut to EPA funding Wild horse advocates say the move would toss out nearly 50 years of protection for these animals. There are around 59,000 wild mustangs in the region, which livestock interests don’t like because they compete for over 40,000 square miles of forage managed by the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) across 10 states. Nonprofit group Wild Horse Education president Laura Leigh said of the budget, “This is simply a way to placate a very well-funded and vocal livestock lobby.” The last three presidents also struggled with how to manage those wild horses and another 45,000 kept in pens and pastures. BLM said the current program is unsustainable, and the new budget could allow the government to manage the horses in a more cost-effective way “including the ability to conduct sales without limitation.” BLM said rangeland in America can only sustain less than 27,000 horses and burros. Rangelands are being damaged and horses are starving, according to Ethan Lane of the lobby National Cattlemen’s Beef Association , which backs the Trump proposal to allow slaughter of wild horses. American Wild Horse Campaign executive director Suzanne Roy disagrees with the budget propsal. She said, “America can’t be great if these national symbols of freedom are destroyed.” And the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) president Matt Bershadker said wild horses can be humanely managed with simple fertility control, “…yet the BLM would rather make these innocent animals pay for draconian budget cuts with their very lives.” Via NBC News Images via Pixabay and firelizard5 on Flickr

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Now Trump wants to condemn wild horses to slaughter

India cancels plans for coal power stations as solar prices hit record low

May 26, 2017 by  
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India has canceled plans to construct nearly 14 gigawatts of coal-fired power stations in the country as prices for solar electricity “free fall” to levels once considered impossible, The Independent reports. Experts expect a profound shift in global energy markets as the cost of solar has dropped by 25 percent in some regions. Tim Buckley, the director of energy finance studies at the IEEFA, explains that 13.7GW of coal power projects have been canceled just this month. He added that the dip in solar prices is so low, it will never be repeated. A few factors have contributed to the decline in solar prices. Reportedly, the price of photovoltaic panels — which account for a major percentage of solar power plant’s costs — have dropped by a staggering 30 percent in the past year. This has helped lower prices. Additionally, the Narendra Modi government is working hard to “assure private renewables developers by backing a payment security mechanism,” according to Scroll . For instance, the Solar Energy Corporation of India , the country’s largest solar power purchases, was included in an agreement last year between the Central government, the Reserve Bank of India and the state government. This safeguards it against payment defaults — which is important, as power distribution compares are reportedly notorious for delayed payment to renewable energy producers. Overaggressive bidding is also resulting in a decline in prices, according to The Independent. An auction for a 500-megawatt solar facility, for example, resulted in a tariff of just 2.44 rupees compared to a wholesale price charged by a major coal power utility of 3.2 rupees. That’s a 31 percent difference. Related: Chile’s solar price hits record global low – at half the price of coal “For the first time solar is cheaper than coal in India and the implications this has for transforming global energy markets is profound,” said Buckley. “Measures taken by the Indian Government to improve energy efficiency coupled with ambitious renewable energy targets and the plummeting cost of solar has had an impact on existing as well as proposed coal -fired power plants, rendering an increasing number as financially unviable.” What India is witnessing, says the analyst, is a further indication of the “rise of stranded assets across the Indian power generation sector.” He added, “The caliber of the global financial institutions who are bidding into India’s solar power infrastructure tenders is a strong endorsement of India’s leadership in this energy transformation and will have significant ripple effects into other transforming markets, as is already seen in the UAE, South Africa, Australia, Chile, and Mexico.” In 2017, India’s solar-generation capacity is expected to reach 8.8 gigawatts – a 76 percent increase from 2016. According to renewable energy consultancy Bridge To India, that will make the country the third-largest solar market in the world. Via The Independent Images via Pixabay

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India cancels plans for coal power stations as solar prices hit record low

China subverts pollution with contained vertical farms – and boosts yield

May 26, 2017 by  
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Around one fifth of arable land in China is contaminated with levels of toxins greater than government standards, according to 2014 data. That’s around half the size of California, and it’s a growing problem for a country that faces such levels of pollution they had to import $31.2 billion of soybeans in 2015 – a 43 percent increase since 2008. Scientists and entrepreneurs are working to come up with answers to growing edible food in a polluted environment, and shipping container farms or vertical gardening could offer answers. The toxins in China’s environment have made their way into the country’s food supply. In 2013, the Guangdong province government said 44 percent of rice sampled in their region contained excessive cadmium. Around 14 percent of domestic grain contains heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, and cadmium, according to research from scientists in 2015. Related: Arctic town grows fresh produce in shipping container vertical garden Could shipping container farms offer a way around this contamination? Beijing startup Alesca Life Technologies is testing them out. They turn retrofitted shipping containers into gardens filled to the brim with arugula, peas, kale, and mustard greens, and monitor conditions remotely via an app. They’ve already been able to sell smaller portable versions of the gardens to a division of a group managing luxury hotels in Beijing and the Dubai royal family. Alesca Life co-founder Stuart Oda told Bloomberg, “ Agriculture has not really innovated materially in the past 10,000 years. The future of farming – to us – is urban .” And they’re not alone in their innovation. Scientist Yang Qichang of the Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences is experimenting with a crop laboratory, testing which light from the visible light spectrum both helps plants flourish and uses little energy . His self-contained, vertical system already yields between 40 and 100 times more produce than an open field of similar size. He told Bloomberg, “Using vertical agriculture, we don’t need to use pesticides and we can use less chemical fertilizers – and produce safe food.” Via Bloomberg Images via Alesca Life Technologies

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