Koalas declared "functionally extinct"

May 16, 2019 by  
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The Australian Koala Foundation declared koalas officially “functionally extinct,” a term which means that though there are still about 80,000 koalas, they are either unlikely to reproduce another generation, prone to inbreeding due to low numbers or may no longer play a significant role in their ecosystem. The iconic Australian animal is on a fast track to extinction and has suffered from deforestation , disease, climate change-driven drought and a massive slaughter for fur in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Australian government listed the species as “vulnerable” in 2012 when there was thought to be between 100,000 and 500,000 koalas. Since the declaration, the government has done very little to develop or implement a protection and recovery plan. Related: 1 million species are at risk of extinction, says new UN report With an estimated population that could even be as low as 43,000, koalas are very likely to inbreed and become even more susceptible to disease. At these small population numbers, the marsupial has very little impact on its ecosystem, the eucalyptus forest. Koalas were once critical to the nutrient cycling of the forest, with their feces an important source of fertilizer. Large koalas can consume up to 1 kilogram of eucalyptus leaves per night. Logging and urban development has encroached into what was once an abundant forest ecosystem, leading many to believe that the government needs to declare and expand protected areas of the forests. The Australia Koala Foundation has proposed a Koala Protection Act that focuses on conserving the forest as the primary strategy for protecting koalas. “The koala is one of Australia’s most recognizable symbols, but its survival hangs in the balance,” the  San Diego Zoo said  in a statement. “Formerly thought to be common and widespread, koalas are now vulnerable to extinction across much of its northern range.” According to fossil records, Koalas are native to Australia and have been there for at least 30 million years . Via EcoWatch Image by Mathias Appel

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Koalas declared "functionally extinct"

A Chinese highway becomes a vibrant, community-centered ‘livable street’

May 16, 2019 by  
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London-based design studio WallaceLiu has given the residents of the southwestern Chinese city Chongqing a new “livable street” to enjoy. The firm was recently tasked with converting a half-mile long, 65-foot-wide highway into a  serene linear urban park , now named Yannan Avenue Park. The green space comes complete with an open-air promenade lined with ample lounge areas, playgrounds and a series of vibrantly colored canopies that light up the area with playful pops of color. The city of Chongqing has experienced rapid growth over the last decade, and as such, the city has been developing at a breakneck pace. Unfortunately, the city’s green space has been quietly disappearing to make way for new property developments — until now. Thanks to the WallaceLiu team, local residents now have a new linear park that has something for just about everyone. Related: A disused railway will become a sustainable green corridor in Taiwan According to the architects, the inspiration behind the design was to reclaim some of the city’s urban space for the residents, replacing asphalt with greenery and a welcoming public space to enjoy fresh air. The firm said, “We imagined the entire highway to be transformed into a walkable and playful place, where the elements of a highway-dominated urban landscape — curbstone, road markings, traffic signage, pedestrian fences, hedge boundaries and limited pedestrian crossings — would be replaced by a characterful and vibrant open promenade.” Lined with shade trees, seasonal shrubs and flowers, the serene walkway includes several “nooks” that were designed to encourage neighborhood interaction. Ample benches and seating are located throughout the park, with most configured as sociable places that foster conversation. Additionally, there are more than a few spaces for children in the linear park , including a rock-climbing wall. To add a sense of whimsy to the design, the firm installed six colorful canopies that provide respite from the searing summer heat as well as reflect colorful plays of light onto the landscape. + WallaceLiu Images via WallaceLiu

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A Chinese highway becomes a vibrant, community-centered ‘livable street’

Damage to Joshua Tree during the government shutdown could take centuries to repair

February 1, 2019 by  
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The recent month-long government shutdown may have caused “irreparable” damage to Joshua Tree National Park, according to former superintendent Curt Sauer. During those 34 days, visitors ruined trails, cut down trees and vandalized the park, and when workers returned, they found absolute chaos. “What’s happened to our park in the last 34 days is irreparable for the next 200 to 300 years,” Sauer — who ran the park for seven years — told the Desert Sun . The shutdown reduced ranger supervision, which led to increased vandalism. Officials decided to temporarily close the park on January 8. But the next day, they managed to avoid the closure and stay open with the help of revenue from recreation fees. Related: National Parks are being trashed during the government shutdown During the shutdown, many national parks were forced to operate without rangers, and volunteers helped out by hauling trash and cleaning bathrooms. Joshua Tree national park is 1,235 square miles, and the volunteer help wasn’t enough to keep people from ignoring the extra care warnings and damaging the park. Park spokesman George Land said that some visitors had created new roads with their vehicles and destroyed some of the Joshua trees. David Smith, the current superintendent, explained that there were a dozen different instances of vehicles going off-road and into the wilderness, creating two new roads inside the park. People also cut chains and locks to access campgrounds. “We’ve never seen this level of out-of-bounds camping ,” Smith said. “Everyday use area was occupied every evening. Joshua trees were actually cut down in order to make new roads.” Many locals were not happy with the park staying open during the shutdown . John Lauretig, executive director of the non-profit group Friends of Joshua Tree, said that the parks shouldn’t be held hostage. He added that having a park open and partially staffed isn’t good for the park, the public or the local community. He also believes that if the government shuts down again, the park should close completely to prevent more damage. Via Desert Sun  and  The Guardian Image via Christopher Michel

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Damage to Joshua Tree during the government shutdown could take centuries to repair

South Africa is relaxing restrictions on GMOs to fight drought-related food crisis

February 25, 2016 by  
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Food supplies have grown so unstable in South Africa that the government may soon allow imports of some genetically modified foods , which were previously under tight restrictions, in order to fend off a food crisis. GM corn maize crops from the United States and Mexico may soon be crossing the borders to make up for 3.8 million metric tons of corn crops that South African farmers are unable to grow due to severe drought. Amid fears of cross-contamination of GM crops, the government is considering making exceptions to tough regulations in order to continue to feed people. Read the rest of South Africa is relaxing restrictions on GMOs to fight drought-related food crisis

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South Africa is relaxing restrictions on GMOs to fight drought-related food crisis

What the government shutdown teaches millennials about advocacy

October 14, 2013 by  
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Younger sustainability-minded Americans need to stop being so willfully ignorant about political advocacy.

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What the government shutdown teaches millennials about advocacy

Tesla Model S is rated the safest car of all time

August 21, 2013 by  
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No other car on the road has gotten marks this high from the government's traffic safety agency.

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Tesla Model S is rated the safest car of all time

“Anti-Rape” Electric Undies Fend Off Attackers With an Electric Shock

April 6, 2013 by  
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In response to the  horrific gang rape  in Delhi last December, three engineering students have come up with  anti-rape lingerie  that will deliver an electric shock to a would-be attacker. The underthings, named SHE (Society Harnessing Equipment), are also equipped with GPS and the ability to text emergency services and the girl’s parents to alert them of her location and situation. The trio created the electro-shock underwear because they felt helpless that the government wasn’t doing enough to prevent rape. While these electro-undies address the symptom and not the root cause of rape, they at least represent a step towards protecting India’s women. READ MORE >   Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: anti-rape underwear , ecouterre , electric underwear , India , rape , Undies , women’s health , women’s panties        

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“Anti-Rape” Electric Undies Fend Off Attackers With an Electric Shock

What’s really killing energy behavior change?

November 28, 2012 by  
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Forget the oil companies, or the government. It's the utilities that are stiffling energy efficiency.

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What’s really killing energy behavior change?

Incandescent Light Bulb Ban Pushed Back

December 16, 2011 by  
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A Congressional spending deal made late last night includes a provision that prevents the Department of Energy from enforcing the incandescent light bulb ban set to go in effect in January for another nine months. The first phase of the ban , which still remains on the books but just can’t be enforced, includes higher efficiency standards for 100-watt bulbs.  By the end 2014, all incandescents will be phased out.  According to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, many American light bulb makers had already started investing money on making the change from incandescents to more efficient bulbs like halogen, CFLs and LEDs and this delay may now cause them to lose money to foreign competitors still selling the cheaper bulbs. The delay in enforcement will end on September 30, 2012 at the end of the government’s fiscal year when hopefully the legislation will be able to go into effect. via Chicago Tribune

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Incandescent Light Bulb Ban Pushed Back

Efforts to Reduce Cars’ Impacts Find Only Stop-and-Go Momentum

September 28, 2011 by  
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The Energy Department said this week it needs to invest more in the transportation sector to help wean the country off oil. At the same time, the government will delay new fuel economy rules and the top five most congested cities are named.

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Efforts to Reduce Cars’ Impacts Find Only Stop-and-Go Momentum

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