Arctic shipping routes could threaten "unicorns of the sea"

July 3, 2018 by  
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Narwhals, or the “unicorns of the sea,” could be at risk from additional Arctic shipping routes as polar ice continues to recede. A peer-reviewed study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests as many as seven marine mammal species may face new threats and uncertain consequences from increased ship traffic. The Arctic Ocean is home to hundreds of animals, like narwhals, polar bears and whales. However, as the polar ice caps retreat, more shipping companies are taking advantage of open waters to reduce travel time. To determine how the increase of ships could affect marine mammals , the research team from University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of Washington studied wildlife during the fall shipping season. The group looked at 80 different subpopulations among the seven species to determine if they were directly exposed to the ships and how much these ships could affect the wellbeing of the marine life. Related: The melting Arctic is already changing the ocean’s circulation During the study period, over half of the subpopulations were impacted by ships, with narwhals inheriting the highest amount of risk. In addition to an increased risk of injury or death from collisions,  toothed whales also face communication challenges because of their audio sensitivity. Like dolphins, the ocean unicorn “talks” with a language of buzzing, clicking and calling. While narwhals could have the most to lose, polar bears and seals have the least risk because of the time they spend on land. But researchers note their populations also come with high long-term uncertainty, and the team concluded more data is required to determine how shipping affects their livelihood. The news wasn’t entirely bad for wildlife populations. The scientists noted through additional data collection, shipping companies could plan for environmentally-sustainable transportation options. “Regions with geographic bottlenecks, such as the Bering Strait and eastern Canadian Arctic, were characterized by two to three times higher vulnerability than more remote regions,” the researchers wrote in their study abstract. “These pinch points are obligatory pathways for both vessels and migratory [ocean mammals], and so represent potentially high conflict areas but also opportunities for conservation-informed planning .” Arctic planning groups are aware of the wildlife threats and are working out plans to balance shipping with environmental concerns. The Arctic Council instituted regulations on transport companies in January 2017, with the goal of making shipping safer for both crews and marine mammals. + Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Via Earther

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Arctic shipping routes could threaten "unicorns of the sea"

Solar-powered Swiss home uses prefabrication to minimize site impact

July 3, 2018 by  
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Ralph Germann architectes  has completed the House MW, a contemporary prefabricated home designed to overlook views of the Lac de Joux in Vallee de Joux, Switzerland. Built for a couple and their child on a budget, the dwelling was constructed using prefab systems to reduce waste, costs, and site impact. The home was built with a concrete “skeleton” clad in locally sourced spruce with fiberglass insulation. Created as a modern home with traditional farmhouse influences, the House MW is topped with a simple black corrugated iron roof and embraces the outdoors with a shaded terrace measuring 592 square feet. The timber facades and gables were constructed through off-site prefabrication in a carpenter’s workshop and were later transported by truck to the site. Locally sourced spruce boards clad the facade. “The ‘skeleton of the house was made of concrete (raft foundation, slab and staircase),” explains Ralph Germann architectes. “After the concrete masonry part was completed, the prefabricated wooden facades were attached against this interior concrete structure. By using this method we could build a house for a reasonable cost, with low ecological impact and at the same time we were able to reduce the construction time.” Related: A 1920 Swiss barn is reborn as a modern home for a family of five The interior of the home, which is nearly 2,500 square feet, is bright, airy and lined with birch plywood panels. Concrete partitions finished with plaster, painted with RAL 9010 mineral paint, round out the interior siding. The ground floor ceiling and staircase are made from unfinished concrete. All furniture designed by the architects was constructed from birch venee,r save for the solid larch indoor and outdoor dining tables. An air / water heat pump and photovoltaic solar panels power the home. + Ralph Germann architectes Images © Lionel Henriod

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Solar-powered Swiss home uses prefabrication to minimize site impact

IPCC Report Warns Climate Change is Happening Now and Nobody Will be Spared

March 31, 2014 by  
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The United Nations’  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a landmark report Monday on the impact of climate change at their gathering in Yokohama, Japan.  Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability  uses strong language to emphasise its conclusion that global warming is happening right now and will get worse unless the world acts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions . Read the rest of IPCC Report Warns Climate Change is Happening Now and Nobody Will be Spared Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: adaptation , Climate Change , Climate Change 2014: Impacts , global warming , Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , IPCC , Japan , report , risks , UN , vulnerability        

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IPCC Report Warns Climate Change is Happening Now and Nobody Will be Spared

Is New York Turning on Tesla Too?

March 31, 2014 by  
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The battle between Tesla Motors and Auto Dealers Associations across the United States keeps raging on. It turns out that New Jersey isn’t the only state that could pass legislation against Tesla’s direct-to-consumer sales approach this month – apparently legislators in New York are trying to advance a similar bill. Read the rest of Is New York Turning on Tesla Too? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: electric car , green car , green transportation , new jersey , New York League of Conservation of Voters , New York. , tesla , tesla model e , Tesla Model X , tesla model-s        

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Is New York Turning on Tesla Too?

Oxo Architects Propose a Solar-Powered Vertical Village to Replace “Mafia-Built Highway”

March 31, 2014 by  
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The Mafia-built Salerno-Reggio Calabria highway in Italy is a symbol of corruption and failure, which is why Oxo Architects proposed an idea for a solar-powered community that would stand for a brighter and more sustainable future. Working in collaboration with OFF , Philippe Rizzotti , Samuel Nageotte and Ramboll UK , the architects want to convert the old viaduct into an environmentally conscious development that would provide health centers as well as residential and leisure facilities. Read the rest of Oxo Architects Propose a Solar-Powered Vertical Village to Replace “Mafia-Built Highway” Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: mafia-built highway , OFF architects , oxo architects , Philippe Rizzotti , Ramboll UK , Salerno-Reggio Calabria HIghway , Samuel Nageotte , self-sustaining community , solar-powered vertical village        

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Oxo Architects Propose a Solar-Powered Vertical Village to Replace “Mafia-Built Highway”

European Wildlife Photographer of the Year’s Ghostly Photos of Disappearing Species

January 1, 2011 by  
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“Ghostly Cheetah” by Britta Jaschinski While runners-up came eye-to-eye with a baby sea turtle or captured a crystal-clear picture of a bird scooping up a fish for dinner, the winning image in the GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010 contest was neither close-up or sharp. Instead, it was a dark, atmospheric portrait highlighting the vulnerability of the

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European Wildlife Photographer of the Year’s Ghostly Photos of Disappearing Species

Should Dangerously Cold Homes Be Illegal?

January 1, 2011 by  
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Image credit: Stuart Pilbrow , used under Creative Commons license. Earlier this week I reported on how more Brits die from cold than Siberians , and the Government has previously faced court action for not tackling the issue of fuel poverty . Now a coalition of campaigners is stepping up the fight—calling on dan..

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Should Dangerously Cold Homes Be Illegal?

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