Believed extinct for 38 years, the world’s largest bee has been found

February 22, 2019 by  
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Measuring in at four times the size of the average honeybee, Wallace’s giant bee has been on the endangered species radar for decades and was feared to be gone forever. But after 38 years of searching, scientists have confirmed that the world’s largest bee hasn’t gone extinct just yet. A team of scientists hailing from the United States and Australia discovered a female giant bee on the North Moluccas islands of Indonesia. The bee was uncovered in a termite nest, and the team was able to capture a series of photos of the massive insect, which has somehow evaded extinction all these years. Scientists have yet to determine how many giant bees are in the wild. Related: Bee Saving Paper “works like an energy drink for bees” “It was absolutely breathtaking to see this ‘flying bulldog’ of an insect that we weren’t sure existed anymore,” Clay Bolt , one of the team’s photographers, explained. According to The Guardian , Alfred Russel Wallace, a well-known naturalist and explorer from Britain, discovered the giant bee in 1858. Although it is the world’s largest bee , sightings of the flying insect have been rare, and scientists have had a difficult time unlocking its secrets. In fact, the giant bee stayed off the radar until 1981, when an American scientist named Adam Messer found three members of the species in Indonesia. The giant bee once again disappeared after Messer’s sightings, and scientists worried that the species had gone extinct. Fortunately, finding the living solo female proves that Wallace’s giant bee is still around, sparking hope that the species will continue to evade extinction in the years to come. The IUCN currently lists Wallace’s giant bee as vulnerable. Sadly, deforestation in the region is threatening the bee’s natural habitat. Collectors also seek out the giant bee because it is so rare, which has driven numbers down even more. Indonesia has yet to enact legislation that protects the bees from being targeted by humans. Scientists hope the new sighting will raise awareness about the giant bee and prompt lawmakers to take action to prevent the insect from becoming another  endangered species that goes extinct. Via The Guardian Images via Clay Bolt

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Believed extinct for 38 years, the world’s largest bee has been found

What to expect with the rise of climate litigation

February 22, 2019 by  
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An attorney lifts the lid on the pioneering climate lawsuits in courts around the world.

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What to expect with the rise of climate litigation

Zimbabwe hopes to bring attention to trafficking endangered species with the Pangolin Project

February 20, 2019 by  
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Zimbabwe is raising awareness about animal trafficking with the annual World Pangolin Day. The pangolin is the most often trafficked mammal in the entire world, with an estimated one million of the scaly mammals being sold in the black market over the past 10 years alone. The pangolin project hopes to curb those numbers and raise awareness about the growing problem of animal trafficking around the globe. Behind drugs, weapons and humans, animal trafficking is the fourth highest illegal trade in the world. “It breaks my heart to know how the greed of mankind is pushing this animal to the brink of extinction,” the head of the Tikki Hywood Foundation, Lisa Hywood, explained. “Time is running out for the pangolin, so we all need to take action.” The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) outlawed the trade of pangolin in Asia and Africa, two regions of the world that contain all eight of the endangered species. The ban has given the pangolin protective status, but officials are still dealing with large scale poaching. Related: 60% of wild coffee species are now threatened with extinction In honor of Pangolin Day, several groups are using the occasion to raise awareness about other trafficked animals throughout the world. This includes the Tikki Hywood Foundation, which produced a documentary in 2016 about saving pangolins from poachers and the black market. While efforts like Pangolin Day are doing a great job at raising awareness, environmentalists and conservationists face an uphill battle ahead of them. In fact, animal trafficking numbers have steadily grown over the past few years, despite bans against trading endangered species like pangolins. Last week, for example, authorities in Hong Kong uncovered nine tons of pangolin scales in a shipyard, along with over 1,000 elephant tusks. The shipment was headed to Vietnam by way of Nigeria, and officials believe the cargo would have sold on the market for as much as $8 million. Sadly, experts believe around 13,000 pangolins were killed to account for the nine tons of scales seized in Hong Kong The incident in Hong Kong is one of many examples of the growing problem of animal trafficking around the world. Fortunately, initiatives like World Pangolin Day is helping raise awareness about animal trafficking and making it harder for illegal traders to operate. Via UN Environment Images via David Brossard 

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Zimbabwe hopes to bring attention to trafficking endangered species with the Pangolin Project

Grading our progress as we approach the 2020 climate turning point

February 18, 2019 by  
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A new World Resources Institute report shows us how far we’ve come — and how far we have to go.

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Grading our progress as we approach the 2020 climate turning point

Reuse makes a comeback

February 18, 2019 by  
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The three Rs were just the beginning.

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Reuse makes a comeback

How cities and the transportation sector can work together to fight climate change

February 18, 2019 by  
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The best of live interviews from GreenBiz events. This episode: Alisyn Malek of May Mobility discusses how innovation in first- and last-mile solutions can make needed emissions reductions for the transportation sector.

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How cities and the transportation sector can work together to fight climate change

Vulnerable nuclear waste stockpiles are becoming a"global crisis"

February 4, 2019 by  
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Nuclear waste is quickly becoming one of the world’s biggest problems. Earth’s growing stockpile of radioactive waste is troublesome, because these chemicals remain in their radioactive state for several millennia — and we have yet to come up with a foolproof storage solution. A new study explored facilities that store nuclear waste in seven locations around the world, including the United States, France, Japan, Belgium, Britain, Finland and Sweden. Officials discovered that the majority of nuclear waste lacked proper defense mechanisms, like secondary protocols, and are vulnerable to failing in the wake of natural and man-made disasters. Related: Blue dye could be the next key to harnessing renewable energy Storage of nuclear waste is one of the biggest obstacles facing nuclear power plants . It was once thought that deep underground was a good storage option, but that is not the case. According to Greenpeace , all of the storage facilities in the study showed some percentage of radiation leaks, which is incredibly detrimental to the environment. “More than 65 years after the start of the civil use of nuclear power, not a single country can claim that it has the solution to manage the most dangerous radioactive wastes ,” Shaun Burnie, who works with Greenpeace Germany and led the new study, explained. Even worse, some storage facilities are located in areas prone to natural disasters. For example, the U.S. is in the process of building a major nuclear waste site in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain range, which features seismic and volcanic activity, hardly suitable for keeping radioactive waste safe. The building of the Yucca Mountain facility was placed on hold by former President Barack Obama in 2010. Donald Trump, however, has expressed interest in reviving the construction and finishing the site before his term is up. As if that is not bad enough, governments are seemingly turning a blind eye to public concerns. The nuclear waste report comes after it was revealed that the U.S. government secretly moved weapons-grade plutonium across several states, despite passionate opposition from politicians in South Carolina. If scientists do not come up with a better method of disposing of nuclear waste, then it really could become the next global crisis. Fortunately, countries are exploring alternative renewable sources for energy that do not result in radioactive waste and are healthier for the environment. + Greenpeace Via EcoWatch Image via Pixabay

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Vulnerable nuclear waste stockpiles are becoming a"global crisis"

EU proposes plan to ban 90 percent of microplastics

February 4, 2019 by  
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Microplastics may appear small on the outside, but they take a major toll on the environment. Not only do these plastics ruin soil and jeopardize ocean life, but they also create health issues for people all around the world. Fortunately, a newly proposed ban on microplastics might offer a solution to this growing problem. This week, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) put forth a new law that seeks to ban over 90 percent of Europe’s microplastics. If countries in the European Union agree to the legislation, the prohibition could significantly lower the amount of microplastics on a global scale. “Microplastics are a growing concern to a number of human rights. The steps proposed by Echa are necessary to help ensure present and future generations can enjoy what is their human right: a clean, healthy and sustainable environment ,” UN reporter Baskut Tuncak shared. According to The Guardian, there are close to 400,000 tons of these small plastic particles that end up in European environments. These microplastics come from a variety of household sources, including fertilizers, detergents, paint products and cosmetics. The proposed ban would eliminate the vast majority of microplastics that are integrated into these products, many of which are not necessary. Related: Study finds microplastics in sea turtles around the world If passed, the law would not go into effect until 2020. By that time, companies would need to have made drastic changes in the production of goods. This includes removing microplastics from a variety of products, a move that would require a major change in design . The new ban is similar in nature to what the U.K. passed last year. The country prohibited the use of microbeads in certain personal products, such as shower gel and toothpaste. The new law, however, is much larger in scope and would eventually remove the vast majority of microplastics from production. The ban, of course, would only apply to countries that are still in the EU. Following Brexit, there is a chance that the U.K. will not adopt the law, though that has yet to be determined. In the meantime, the ECHA will continue to explore the proposed ban and will vote on the measure in three months. If passed, the law is not expected to go into effect until at least another eight months after the vote is tallied. Via The Guardian Image via Shutterstock

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EU proposes plan to ban 90 percent of microplastics

Reclaimed timber clads a chic pool house near Californian vineyards

February 4, 2019 by  
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California-based architecture and design firm Ro Rockett Design recently added a pool house to a Sonoma County retreat that’s become so alluring, the clients decided to turn it into their full-time residence. Located in the northern California town of Geyserville, the property boasts stunning views of rolling vineyards and the rugged coastal landscape. The Dry Creek Pool House is carefully situated to take advantage of these impressive vistas and features a natural materials palette and minimalist design to blend in with the surrounding environment. Built as part of a narrow holiday home , the Dry Creek Pool House is the latest addition to the property’s growing amenities, which include the saltwater pool, outdoor living area, gardens, bocce court and guest arrival with overflow parking. To obscure views of the adjacent busy roadway, the architects sited the pool high on the property so that the raised pool edge would obstruct views of the road from the pool house, which boasts panoramic views of the landscape. “Nestled into the hill with it’s back to the trees, the new, earthen ground plane acts as a primitive plinth that supports a rustic enclosure,” the architects said in their project statement. “The prime program of the pool house is wrapped in grape stakes gathered from the property and re-sawn to operate as a shroud to the private innards of the building. This cladding provides solid walls where necessary and opens to the view where desirable.” Related: A lush green roof of native plants breathes life into this Texan cabana The modern and minimal design of the Dry Creek Pool House combined with a natural materials palette grounds the building into the landscape. The vine stakes that partly clad the building, for instance, were reclaimed from the fencing that had surrounded the site. The structure is also built of plaster and topped with a floating cedar roof. A stone terrace connects the saltwater pool with the pool house. The pool house celebrates indoor/ outdoor living and consists of an outdoor living space with a dining area and bar. Another sitting area can be found inside in addition to a mini-bar and bathroom. + Ro Rockett Design Images by Adam Rouse

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Reclaimed timber clads a chic pool house near Californian vineyards

Inside Planet’s mission to see change and change the world using miniature satellites

January 24, 2019 by  
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How former NASA scientists are reimaging the world, from one, static photo to an entirely new, constantly updating, global data set.

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Inside Planet’s mission to see change and change the world using miniature satellites

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