CALTECH’S 2500 ORBITING SOLAR PANELS COULD PROVIDE EARTH WITH LIMITLESS ENERGY...

Apr 13, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] FUTURISM NASA In Brief The Space Solar Power Initiative (SSPI), a collaboration between Caltech and Northrup Grumman, has developed a system of lightweight solar power tiles which can convert solar energy to radio waves and can be placed in orbit to beam power to an energy-thirsty Earth. Soaking in the Sun’s Rays One of the greatest challenges facing the 21st Century is the issue of power—how to generate enough of it, how to manufacture it cheaply and with the least amount of harmful side-effects, and how to get it to users. The solutions will have to be very creative—rather like what the Space Solar Power Initiative (SSPI), a partnership between Caltech and Northrup Grumman, has devised. Prototype of the “multifunctional tile.” Credit: Caltech “What we’re proposing, somewhat audaciously, is to develop the technology...

read more

WHILE THEY WERE SHOUTING — A BOTANIST’S LAMENT ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS...

Apr 10, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]  By Andrew C. Revkin   Photo Clockwise from top left, Donald J. Trump, Hillary Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas during campaign events.Credit Left, Eric Thayer for The New York Times; Top right, Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times; Bottom right, Max Whittaker for The New York Times Peter H. Raven, a lifelong prober and defender of biological diversity and president emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden, just distributed a note placing this year’s surreally unpredictable presidential race (watch in virtual “surreality” here) in the broader context of consequential environmental and social trends that perpetually seem to hide in plain sight. He starts with a retro-feeling reflection by Adlai Stevenson and then links to an essay he just wrote for Environmental Health News, which is reposted here:...

read more

UTAH CONGRESSMAN WANTS TO SELL AMERICA’S 4TH MOST POPULAR WILDLIFE REFUGE TO PRIVATE DEVELOPERS...

Apr 10, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Nicole Gentile – Guest Contributor CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: wikimedia commons Vieques National Wildlife Refuge.   A new bill to address Puerto Rico’s debt crisis is drawing fire over a controversial provision that would enable the sale and private development of thousands of acres in the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge. The provision, authored by Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT), would give 3,100 acres of the popular wildlife refuge to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to sell off to private interests. Right now, the wildlife refuge is protected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but in the hands of private interests, it could end up being developed — a scenario that could threaten the species that call the refuge home. Vieques National Wildlife Refuge is the largest and one of the most ecologically diverse...

read more

One-Third of All Food Produced Globally Never Finds Its Way Onto a Plate...

Apr 9, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Food The majority of food waste ends up in landfills where it releases methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times stronger than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. By Nicole Mormann / EcoWatch  VIA ALTERNET April 8, 2016 It’s easy not to think about food waste when your rotting tomatoes and days-old casserole dishes are hidden away in the back of the refrigerator—out of sight, out of mind. But when it comes time to clean it out, you have to face a lot of waste food, money and the resources that took to produce it. While food waste has made a rapid rise in terms of public awareness recently, new research suggests that the future effect could end up accelerating climate changeat a worrisome rate in coming years. According to a study released Thursday by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact...

read more

A TINY ISLAND TERRITORY HAS AN AMBITIOUS PLAN FOR OCEAN PROTECTION...

Apr 9, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Katie Valentine CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Pew Charitable Trusts Rapa, French Polynesia.   A small chain of islands in the South Pacific has a big plan. The Austral Islands submitted a proposal to the French Polynesian government this week to create a 1 million square kilometer (about 386,100 square mile) marine reserve in the waters surrounding the islands. The reserve, which would be named Rāhui Nui Nō Tuhaa Pae (“the big rāhui of the Austral Islands”), would ban fishing 20 nautical miles out from the islands, creating buffers around the islands where locals can fish for subsistence. This ensures that island residents can still fish for a living, but that fish that live in the deep sea are protected. If granted approval by French Polynesia, the reserve would be the largest no-take marine...

read more

FOR THE FIRST TIME, A STATE JUST BANNED NEONICOTINOIDS, A PESTICIDE THREATENING POLLINATORS...

Apr 9, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Natasha Geiling CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Shutterstock   Bonnie Raindrop has been beekeeping for just nine years, but that’s been more than enough time to see the precipitous decline in bee populations that has been plaguing Maryland. Last year, according to the USDA, Maryland beekeepers lost 61 percent of their honeybee populations, which is two times higher than the national average. Over the last five or so years, Raindrop herself has witnessed crushing losses in her own hives, fluctuating between 50 and 100 percent. Which is why Raindrop is so happy that the Maryland legislature has started to take notice. Thursday night, the Maryland House and Senate agreed upon and jointly passed a final version of the Maryland Pollinator Protection Act, which would eliminate consumer use of neonicotinoids, a widely-used class of pesticides...

read more

WE’RE TELLING OUTER SPACE ALL ABOUT OUR BIGGEST EARTH MISTAKES...

Apr 8, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Maria Starovoytova / Shutterstock By Suzanne Jacobs   GRIST Don’t answer right away, but here’s a question for you: “How will our present environmental interactions shape the future?” This is what the people behind Edinburgh-based nonprofit A Simple Response to an Elemental Message are asking the public as they put together a kind of time capsule of this current moment in the Anthropocene. Later this fall, they’ll beam that time capsule into space, where our words will propagate for eons upon eons, probably outlasting all of humanity and whatever climate change havoc we’ve wrought on this Earth. So, you know, choose your words wisely. The project, a collaboration between researchers at the Edinburgh College of Art, the U.K. Astronomy and Technology Center, the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh, and the University of Edinburgh, is less an attempt to convince E.T. that we have a moral compass and understand...

read more

SHRIMP SOUND OCEAN ACIDITY ALARM...

Apr 7, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Tim Radford / Climate News Network  VIA TRUTHDIG     The snapping shrimp is the noisiest marine creature in coastal ecosystems. (Tullio Ross/University of Adelaide) This piece first appeared at Climate News Network. LONDON—The slow change in water chemistry as more and more atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolves in the sea and causes acidification could make the oceans much less noisy and slow the growth of life at the sea’s margins. In one study, Australian scientists warn that as the acidity levels grow, the snapping shrimp may grow ever quieter. And in another study, Californian scientists have tested the water chemistry in coastal rock pools and discovered that they become most corrosive at night. The snapping shrimp is the loudest invertebrate in the ocean. It forms bubbles in its snapping claw and...

read more

CAN A CITY BE SUSTAINABLE? STATE OF THE WORLD CONFERENCE...

Apr 7, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Join the Worldwatch Institute for the launch of State of the World: Can a City Be Sustainable   Tuesday, May 10, 2016 | 1:00–5:00 PM EST Reception to follow 1400 16th Street NW Washington, D.C. 20036 Near Dupont Circle Metro RSVP for the DC Event RSVP for the Live Webcast Cities are the world’s future. Today, more than half of the global population—- 3.9 billion people—- are urban dwellers and that number is expected to double by 2050. Will the world invest in the physical and social infrastructure necessary for livable, equitable, and sustainable cities? Join us to discover the most pressing challenges facing cities and the most promising solutions currently being developed. Confirmed Speakers: Garrett Fitzgerald | Strategic Partnerships Advisor, Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) Hilari Varnadore | Executive Director, STAR Communities Gregory Kats | President, Capital E...

read more

WHY RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES ARE OPTING FOR COMMUNITY-SCALE SOLAR...

Apr 7, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] ROCKY MOUNTAIN INSTITUTE This is the third in a series of blog posts on RMI’s Shine program. Shine is innovating and unlocking the community-scale market. Download the insight brief.  Rural electric cooperatives (co-ops) are a large and important part of the U.S. electricity landscape. Across the U.S., 840 distribution cooperatives and 65 generation and transmission cooperatives (G&Ts) serve an estimated 42 million people. Altogether co-ops provide 12 percent of the nation’s electricity and serve nearly 80 percent of U.S. counties. These co-ops are governed by 7 cooperative principles. Principle number 6 is cooperation among cooperatives. That means that when one co-op has a successful idea they spread the word and other co-ops opt-in.  Source: National Rural Electric Cooperative Association The successful idea of the moment is community-scale solar. Rural electric cooperatives are spreading...

read more

We’ve Changed a Life-Giving Nutrient Into a Deadly Pollutant—Can We Change It Back?...

Apr 6, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   Environment In the process of producing food, we’ve inadvertently filled our planet with toxic forms of nitrogen. By Elizabeth Grossman / Ensia   VIA ALTERNET A lot of dead fish on the beach Photo Credit: Brandon Seidel/Shutterstock Coastal dead zones, global warming, excess algae blooms, acid rain, ocean acidification, smog, impaired drinking water quality, an expanding ozone hole and biodiversity loss. Seemingly diverse problems, but a common thread connects them: human disruption of how a single chemical element, nitrogen, interacts with the environment. Nitrogen is absolutely crucial to life — an indispensable ingredient of DNA, proteins and essentially all living tissue — yet it also can choke the life out of aquatic ecosystems, destroy trees and sicken people when it shows up in excess at the wrong place, at the wrong time, in...

read more

The Media’s Biggest 2016 Failure Isn’t Donald Trump: It’s Ignoring the ‘Profound Crisis’ of Climate Change...

Apr 4, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Environment The clip of Hillary arguing with a protester is somehow the biggest climate story of 2016. The media must do better. By Jack Mirkinson / Salon   via alternet Photo Credit: Walker Bragman Hey, did you hear the one about how the planet is dying quickly and we’re probably all doomed? It’s true! Just this past week, the world got a fun update about just how much danger we’re in thanks to climate change. This one came courtesy of the West Antarctic ice sheet, which is, well, a giant sheet of ice in Antarctica and which is potentially disintegrating at a pace that, in the words of the New York Times, could help send sea levels rising enough to cause “a profound crisis within the lifetimes of children being born today.” That seems...

read more

CLIMATE CHANGE IS SUCKING THE COLORADO RIVER DRY...

Apr 4, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Shutterstock By John Upton GRIST Cross-posted from ClimateCentral Even as the number of Americans relying on the Colorado River for household water swells to about 40 million, global warming appears to be taking a chunk out of the flows that feed their reservoirs. Winter storms over the Rocky Mountains provide much of the water that courses down the heavily tapped waterway, which spills through deep gorges of the Southwest and into Mexico. ow water levels in late 2014 at Lake Powell, which is a Colorado River water reservoir built along the border of Utah and Arizona.Low water levels in late 2014 at Lake Powell, which is a Colorado River water reservoir built along the border of Utah and Arizona.Jessica Mercer But flows in recent decades have been lighter than would have been expected...

read more

THE INSPIRING HEROES BATTLING THE HIDDEN POACHING EPIDEMIC...

Apr 3, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Members of an antipoaching squad employed by a private hunting concession in a wildlife reserve in Mozambique, November 2015. (Photo: Laura Krantz) Once upon a time, in a pristine forest with an abundance of wildlife, the people of a small village had plenty of food. They grew cassava, a staple starch, and supplemented that by fishing from the river and hunting in the surrounding forests. Then, one year, traders from distant logging towns arrived and offered the villagers money and goods in exchange for meat. The villagers agreed. For the next five or 10 years, they filled the traders’ canoes with the bounty of the forest and sent them back down the river, to the logging towns and to cities where the men took the meat to market. At first, hunters could still...

read more

YOU CAN ORDER HONOMOBO’S PREFAB SHIPPING CONTAINER HOMES ON LINE...

Apr 2, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Lidija Grozdanic  INHABITAT View Slideshow Buying a new home can get stressful and costly – but it doesn’t have to be. Canadian company HonoMobo built an entire collection of flexible, multi-use living units out of reused shipping containers. You can use the structures as a backyard cottage, garage suite, weekend getaway or combine them to create apartments and multi-family developments. The fact that you can simply order HonoMobo houses online makes them even more appealing to homeowners. The company designed three types of units with different layouts and sizes. The small 352 square foot HO2 house has an open plan with a full bathroom and functional kitchen. The HO3 knits three containers together to create a bedroom, bathroom, living room and a large kitchen with an island. The HO4 is the company’s largest, and...

read more

OIL HEIR BRINGING MORMON-INSPIRED SUSTAINABLE CITY TO VERMONT...

Apr 1, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] NewVistaFoundation.org  VIA GRIST If You Build It, They Will Groan By Katharine Wroth The tiny towns in Vermont’s Upper Valley are practically postcard-worthy: White steeples, general stores where the owners know your name, rolling hills dotted with spirals of hay and contented cows. But because they are located just off Vermont’s major highway, Interstate 89, and because fiercely independent landowners have historically opposed the idea of zoning regulations, these communities frequently face challenges to their idyllic image. Self-storage companies, cell providers, retailers, and developers have put forth decidedly unbucolic plans plenty of times over the years; sometimes they win, and sometimes — as in the case of a recent effort to build a mixed-use development spurned by environmental groups — they lose. Now residents of the area have learned about an unfolding real-estate...

read more

THIS MASSIVE WIND-POWERED SKYSCRAPER WOULD COOL THE ENTIRE PLANET...

Mar 31, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   by Lacy Cooke  INHABITAT View Slideshow Paolo Venturella Architecture just unveiled plans for a fantastical Global Cooling Skyscraper that’s designed to fight global warming by cooling the entire planet. The massive skyscraper would extend into space, providing a barrier between the Earth and the Sun in the form of a greenhouse. Accumulating heat in the colossal greenhouse would propel air to flow, generating wind to cool the planet and provide “clean energy for all.” The architects cited the challenges of climate change as an inspiration; they said the strategies we have to combat global warming are not enough, and only a “global strategy” could halt the nature disasters resulting from climate change. So they designed an imaginative skyscraper that would utilize wind power to cool the planet. Related: Bio-Pyramid turns Egypt’s ancient...

read more

SWEDEN’S NATURE PILL FOR CITY DWELLERS...

Mar 30, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] David Friedlander  LIFE EDITED Architecture Last summer we looked at kolonistuga, the garden and vacation colonies that dot Sweden and are occupied with tiny cottages. Like most great ideas in compact living, you know that Kirsten Dirksen‘s camera is not too far behind to take a more intimate look. The particular kolonistuga in this Faircompanies video is located between a bunch of freeways in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city. Rather than being littered with vacation homes, most of the tiny structures are more like garden sheds (though one of the interviewees confesses her family has crashed out there on numerous occasions). The colony is intended as a supplement to urban living, which sometimes has an alienating effect on one’s connection to nature. This colony also has an intent close to its roots (pun intended) of growing food. The kolonistuga...

read more

LOGGERHEAD, RIGHT WHALE BREEDING GROUNDS ARE ENTIRELY COVERED BY ATLANTIC BLASTING AREA...

Mar 30, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Samantha Page THINK PROGRESS CREDIT: Oceana Nearly the entire breeding areas for loggerhead turtles (purple, left) and North Atlantic right whales (red, right) would be affected.   A set of maps released Tuesday shows an incredible overlap between the critical habitats of several endangered and seafood species and the area that will be affected by seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean. Significant portions of the habitats and breeding grounds for loggerhead turtles, right whales, swordfish, cod, wahoo, yellowfin tuna, and many other species would be impacted if the Obama administration approves permits for the testing, which could start as soon as this spring. The entire breeding areas for loggerheads and the North Atlantic right whale are covered by the testing area. During seismic testing, loud noises — so loud they can be...

read more

CARBON SINKS: THE NEXT BIG THING (PART 3)...

Mar 27, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] THE BLOG HUFFINGTON POST William S. Becker Executive Director, Presidential Climate Action Project This is the 3rd in a four-part post on using ecosystems to store carbon. Part 1 was about the need to bring the Earth’s carbon cycle back into balance. Part 2 discussed how restoring carbon sinks is a necessary part of America’s climate action plan. In this part, I describe why we should not always choose a technical fix to solve environmental problems. The late American critic Lawrence Clark Powell noted, “We are the children of the technological age”. He might have added that like children, we run to technology when we have a problem. We want a technical fix. A technical fix has appeal because it allows people to continue business as usual without the usual consequences — to...

read more

AFTER 115 YEARS, SCOTLAND IS COAL-FREE...

Mar 26, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Alejandro Davila Fragoso CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Guinnog/Creative Commons For nearly 50 years the Longannet power station in Scotland burned coal for energy. The plant, the last of its kind in Scotland, closed Thursday. After some 115 years, Scotland has burned its last lump of coal for electricity. The Longannet power station, the last and largest coal-fired power plant in Scotland, ceased operations Thursday. What once was the largest coal plant in Europe shut down after 46 years before the eyes of workers and journalists, who gathered in the main control room. “Ok, here we go,” said one worker moments before pressing a bright red button that stopped the coal-fired turbines that generated electricity for a quarter of Scottish homes. Longannet’s closure comes as Scotland, a country of some 5 million people, aims...

read more

HOW MUCH ENERGY COULD THE U.S. GET FROM SOLAR?...

Mar 25, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Shutterstock By Tim McDonnell  GRIST This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. It seems like every few weeks there’s some new measurement of how successful solar power is in the United States. In early March, industry analysts found that solar is poised for its biggest year ever, with total installations growing 119 percent by the end of 2016. This week, federal government analysts reported that in 2015, solar ranked No. 3 (behind wind and natural gas) in megawatts of new electricity-producing capacity brought online. That rank is even more impressive when you consider that each individual solar installation is fewer megawatts than a wind turbine, and far fewer than a natural gas plant; that means solar panels are popping up like crazy...

read more

MICHAEL SHEEN AND MASSIVE ATTACK MEMBERS SUPPORT WELSH ANTI-FRACKING FILM...

Mar 25, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] THE GUARDIAN Welsh actor narrates A River documentary highlighting risk of river pollution from shale gas drilling in Pontrhydyfen village, Richard Burton’s birthplace   The actor Michael Sheen has given his support to an anti-fracking film opposing shale gas drilling in the Welsh village of Pontrhydyfen, Richard Burton’s birth place. Sheen narrates the documentary A River, which is soundtracked by original music from Robert Del Naja and Euan Dickinson of Massive Attack, and warns of a pollution risk to the river Afan from potential fracking in the area. Shown at the House of Commons on Wednesday, the film tells the story of how the river, which flows through the Afan Forest Park and converges with the river Pelenna in Pontrhydyfen, recovered from pollution caused by a century of industrial mining to become a...

read more

GLOBAL WARMING’S TERRIFYING NEW CHEMISTRY...

Mar 25, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Our leaders thought fracking would save our climate. They were wrong. Very wrong. By Bill McKibben / The Nation  VIA ALTERNET Photo Credit: Calin Tatu/Shutterstock Global warming is, in the end, not about the noisy political battles here on the planet’s surface. It actually happens in constant, silent interactions in the atmosphere, where the molecular structure of certain gases traps heat that would otherwise radiate back out to space. If you get the chemistry wrong, it doesn’t matter how many landmark climate agreements you sign or how many speeches you give. And it appears the United States may have gotten the chemistry wrong. Really wrong. There’s one greenhouse gas everyone knows about: carbon dioxide, which is what you get when you burn fossil fuels. We talk about a “price on carbon” or argue...

read more

THE FULLY FUNCTIONAL AIRPORT THAT RUNS ENTIRELY ON SOLAR POWER...

Mar 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] GreenM   VIA FUTURISM In Brief At Cochin International Airport, it takes 46,000 solar panels to ensure that the entire facility’s electricity runs smoothly day in and day out. Solar Energy Everyday, we hear about the giant strides that are being made by various alternative and sustainable energy sources. But by-and-large, the public is still apprehensive about what kind of impact it will have. Basic questions such as, ‘can solar power provide round the clock power?’ or ‘can a regular household afford to switch to solar panels?’ or ‘is it really more cost and energy efficient?’ tend to plague alternative energy solutions—proving that, while it’s slowly gaining attention, large scale use remains elusive and uncertain. But check this out—in India, the Cochin International Airport, which has been outfitted to provide round-the-clock electricity solely through solar energy, is...

read more

THIS IS WHAT CLIMATE CHANGE LOOKS LIKE...

Mar 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By grumpynerd   VIA DAILY KOS   Food rioting in Algeria, 2011. Source:Wikimedia.org It’s important to express solidarity with Belgium at this time of grief and fear, but we have to also start thinking longer term about these kinds of events.  One of the overlooked factors leading to the Paris and Brussels attacks is something we’ll be living with a long time: climate change. We have to start making this point: regional political instability and the resulting export of terrorism are climate change problems. And no doubt we’ll be ridiculed for saying that. “Don’t be ridiculous,” some people will say,”the problem is radical Islam.” Well the Assads have ruled over radical Islamists for decades, and have ruthlessly but successfully put down past Islamist risings.  So what was different about 2011?  This was: Source: USDA Now note that...

read more

SPRING IS HERE, SO LET’S EAT ALL OF ITS BEST, MOST SUSTAINABLE VEGETABLES...

Mar 23, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Ramps, artichokes, and green garlic are in season, but they aren’t all grown equally. Artichokes. (Photo: Kotomi Creations/Flickr) Mar 23, 2016 Jane Lear is a regular contributor to TakePart. She was on staff at ‘Gourmet’ for almost 20 years.   Longer days and warmer weather mean that early spring greens and other things are starting to appear in the markets and not a moment too soon. Here are a few updates for you. The passion—nope, make that frenzy—this pungent wild allium inspires every year never ceases to amaze. From March through May, ramp festivals will be in full swing in Appalachia and beyond—and many chefs, home cooks, and the foragers they depend upon will do whatever it takes to get their hands on some. In May 2015, I wrote about the abusive overharvesting...

read more

POLITICIANS PUSH NUCLEAR ‘POISON PILL’...

Mar 23, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Paul Brown / Climate News Network  VIA TRUTHDIG     Construction of a nuclear reactor in Flamanville, France, is six years behind schedule. (schoella via Wikimedia Commons) This piece first appeared at Climate News Network. LONDON—The deeply troubled European nuclear industry, dominated by the huge French state-owned company EDF, home is now surviving only because of massive public subsidies from the French, British and Chinese governments. The depth of the financial problems that EDF is facing was underlined last week by the resignation of its finance director, Thomas Piquemal. He believes that building the world’s most expensive nuclear power plant—at Hinkley Point in southwest England—could threaten the viability of the group, whose finances are already stretched to breaking point, and so he decided he would leav  Within days, both the UK...

read more

SUSTAINABLE CITIES INITIATIVE

Mar 23, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] GBCI Now Developing SITES AP  by The Dirt Contributor SITES / GBCI In a recent Green Business Certifications Inc. (GBCI) survey, 80 percent of respondents said they planned on implementing SITES® in their organization or practice, and 89 percent indicated interest in earning a professional credential, such as SITES Accredited Professional, or “SITES AP.” As a result, the development of SITES AP is currently under way at GBCI. The new SITES AP credential will not only establish a common framework to define the profession of sustainable land design and construction, it will also provide landscape professionals with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, expertise, and commitment to the profession and will help scale up the market for SITES. What is involved in the process of creating the SITES AP? 1. Conception: GBCI will bring...

read more