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originally uploaded by Diario El TIEMPO
On October 11, Cirque du Soleil founder, Guy Laliberte, returned from a trip to space during which he presided over an earthbound, 14-city media event designed to draw attention to the issue of water conservation. The spectacle featured U2’s Bono, actress Salma Hayek, and former Vice President Al Gore. For details, visit news.yahoo.com.
Farmer and sons walking in the face of a dust storm. Cimarron County, Oklahoma (LOC), originally uploaded by The Library of Congress
For the story behind the headline, visit: greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com.
Researchers have concluded that a recent installation of cell phone towers in Southern India is behind the sudden collapse of the local honey bee population. Dr. Sainuddin Pattazhy – who led the research – believes that electromagnetic waves emitted by the towers interferes with the navigational skills of worker bees. “If towers and mobile phones further increase, honey bees might be wiped out in 10 years,” Pattazhy says.
Note: there are many theories re. the disappearance of honey bees and the issue in general is highly controversial. Wikipedia offers a comprehensive look at the subject: en.wikipedia.org
Hat Tip: www.redorbit.com
British rock group Duran Duran, heavy metal band Scorpions, Senegalese star Youssou N’dour, Irish singer/composer Bob Geldorf, Chinese singer Khalil Fong, and South African archbishop Desmond Tutu are among 55 world celebrities who have joined in recording a song as part of a mass media campaign on the threats of climate change organized by the Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum.
The song entitled “Beds’r Burning,” was originally recorded by the Australian group Midnight Oil and will be available for download, for free, following a public launch in Paris on Oct. 1.
Hat Tip: green.yahoo.com.
Steve Lawrence reports that, despite ocean conditions that made an at-sea landing and takeoff unsafe, our journey to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (9/18/09) was a great success. We’ll have a detailed post from Steve on Monday. For now, he reports that when the Billabong seaplane “strafed” 5-8 mile stretches of the southern tip of the Garbage Patch from an altitude of 30 to 50 feet, he and his colleagues witnessed an endless stream of debris that ranged from plastic bottles and plastic bags to basketballs and milk crates.
To all those who’ve been following this story: thanks very much for your patience and support. See you Monday when we’ll also have an opportunity to salute everyone on the plane as well as those whose energy, ideas, and all-important funding made the trip possible.
Hat Tip: Steve Munson – a larger-than-life environmentalist/entrepreneur whose personal energy is sufficient to light a fair-sized city.
Hat Tip: Hayden Smith who captains the Waitemata Harbour Clean Up Trusts vessel, MV Phil Warren, and helps remove rubbish from the Auckland, New Zealand harbour every day.
Plastic Pacific: greenlandoceanblue’s Excellent Journey, 9/15/09
On Tuesday, September 15th, film director and greenlandoceanblue co-founder, Steve Lawrence will fly from Hawaii via seaplane, the Billabong Clipper, with a group of planet-caring souls to an area of the Pacific known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Once there, the group will experience the environment first hand as they join the ocean research vessel Alguita, captained by Charles Moore – the man who discovered this once Texas-sized soup of plastic a decade ago.
Lawrence, who directed Disney’s recent X Games 3D, will produce a diary of the journey on film which greenlandoceanblue hopes can become the centerpiece of a global lesson plan to help educate students and the media about the growing problem of plastic waste worldwide.
On their flight to the Garbage Patch, the group will also be assigned the task of noting ocean debris with GPS units and the data they collect will be used to help NOAA scientists involved in at-sea detection and removal of large amounts of debris.
Credits: For more information about greenlandoceanblue, please visit www.greenlandoceanblue.com and for information about Capt. Charles Moore and Algalita Marine Research Foundation, visit, www.algalita.org.
Thank you, Billabong (www.billabong.com)
Photo Hat Tip: Splash & Play Seaplane available for purchase here.
originally uploaded by dkamida
The East Japan Railway Company is testing an experimental system that produces electricity as people pass through ticket gates. JR claims that this sort of human-powered electricity generation system may provide a portion of the electricity consumed at train stations in the future.
Hat Tip: pinktentacle.com
Ohio Airships envisions “roadless trucking” with its zeppelin-like Dynalifter® aircraft. Dynalifter® airships – with transport costs and speeds comparable to trucking – are cost-effective for most developing nations. Dynalifters carry three times more freight than 747s but travel at about 200 kph and therefore require much less fuel. Hat Tip: freethinker.
A study from the UK finds that unregulated chemicals released into the environment are causing male animals to take on feminine characteristics. “Gender-bending” chemicals may help explain, for example, why 50 percent of male fish in British lowland rivers have been found to be growing eggs in their testes. Reproductive biologist, Professor Richard Sharpe, believes that the chemicals are also linked to falling sperm counts and soaring rates of testicular cancer in male humans. The study – titled “Effects of Pollutants on the Reproductive Health of Male Vertebrate Wildlife—Males Under Threat” and can be downloaded here.
The author of a French study says that global warming-driven shrinkage could have a “significant impact on organisms” including fish, which are getting smaller as the world gets warmer, having lost half their average body mass over the past 20 or 30 years. Other marine organisms such as plankton and bacteria are shrinking as well. There’s more of this incredible fish story at mnn.com.
“Forget buckets of blood. Nothing says horror like one of those tubs of artificially buttered, nonorganic popcorn at the concession stand. That, at least, is one of the unappetizing lessons to draw from one of the scariest movies of the year, Food, Inc., an informative, often infuriating activist documentary about the big business of feeding or, more to the political point, force-feeding, Americans all the junk that multinational corporate money can buy.” Read the entire review at movies.nytimes.com. Then see the film (skip the popcorn).
Two years ago, the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, passed a Clean City law that required the downsizing or removal of all public forms of advertising. “Of all the different kinds of pollution, visual pollution is the most obvious,” says Mayor Gilberto Kassab. “It is also the one that allows for short-term results — immediate, even — if the legislation to combat it is good. Our law was radical and very simple. All major publicity in São Paulo was prohibited as of a predetermined date. The first thing that happened was that people felt a great sense of relief.” Advertisers estimate that they removed 15,000 billboards and that more than 1,600 signs and 1,300 towering metal panels were dismantled by authorities. You can read the entire story at time.com.
University of California biologists who have repeated an 80 year-old survey of animals in Yosemite National Park have found that the alpine chipmunk, found only in the High Sierra, now lives at elevations that are 2,000 feet higher. “These are animals that are apparently very sensitive to temperature increase, and a few degrees of temperature increase in the summer can cause death of individuals,” says biologist Jim Patton. “Since they can’t go any higher than the tops of these mountains, if they keep retracting upward, eventually they’re going to go extinct. Is that something that’s of concern to people? I would hope so.” Chipmunk lovers, click here for more info.
Photo Credit: Luke H
Online gambling BetUS.com has announced it will give members a chance to wager on various global warming-related issues. “It’s part of a campaign we’ve been doing for the past two and a half years called ‘pop culture gaming,’” a spokesman said. “You can wager on things in the headlines.” One bet gives members 150-to-1 odds that the oceans will rise six inches on average worldwide by the end of the year. “It’s more like a billion to one,” says Gavin Schmidt, a climate modeler at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “Anyone who puts money on that would be an idiot.”
Experts say global warming is extending allergy season, dumping more ozone into the air and attracting more bugs and bees. More rain in some areas means that mold allergies are spiking, while in drier areas, pollens and other airborne irritants have become more of a problem. In Alaska, for example, the temperature has risen 6.4 degrees in the winter and an early beginning to the pollen cycle is one result.
Photo originally uploaded by biotron.
Climate change is causing a breed of wild sheep in Scotland to shrink, according to a team of scientists. It appears that milder winters help smaller sheep to survive, resulting in this “paradoxical decrease in size”. Given the warming temperatures, even the slower-growing sheep have a chance of surviving and this means that smaller sheep are becoming increasingly common in the population. The team also found that younger sheep tended to give birth to smaller lambs – a phenomenon they termed “the young mum effect.” But according to one of the researchers, “it’s too early to say if, in 100 years, we will have chihuahuas herding pocket-sized sheep.” More on small sheep here.
Odysseus, a solar airplane entered in a competition to build an atmospheric satellite that can stay aloft for five years at a time with little or no maintenance, is a 492-foot-wide folding aircraft that can cruise at 140 mph at 70,000 feet for five years straight, powered by the solar panels that cover the top of the plane.
For more details, click here.
According to The New York Times, a $350-million renovation of the largest skyscraper in Western Hemisphere will allow the building to generate (almost) all of its own power.
Chicago’s Sear’s Tower will literally take environmental sustainability to new heights with a $350 million retrofit. The green project includes the installation of solar panels on the tower’s 90th floor roof to heat water used in the building. Different types of wind turbines will be positioned on the tower’s tiered roofs and tested for efficiency. And between 30,000 and 35,000 square feet of roof gardens will be planted. Click here for more information.
Food, Inc. (Magnolia Pictures)
Director: Robert Kenner
Cast: Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser
Plot: An unflattering look inside America’s corporate controlled food industry.
Paul McCartney and two of his daughters, fashion designer Stella and photographer Mary, are heading an initiative called Meat Free Monday, which hopes to persuade Britons not to eat animals one day a week. Britain’s National Farmers Union opposes the idea. Stay tuned.
Hat Tip: ecorazzi.com
Climate change may threaten the survival of thousands of species, but biologists still document up to 20,000 new ones every year. For example, in 2008, a new microbacterial species was discovered in off-the-shelf hair spray. Microbacterium Hatanonis, which has been named one of this year’s Top Ten New Species, “…presumably just turned up here as a contaminant,” said Quentin Wheeler, director of the International Institute For Species Exploration.
Hat Tip: news.nationalgeographic.com
The High Line was a 1.5-mile-long unused elevated rail structure running through NYC’s lower west side. Today, thanks to community-based group Friends of the High Line and famed architects Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, the amazing public space is being reclaimed and refitted with pathways resembling train tracks, weed-like plants and benches made of wood, concrete and steel. The southern section, from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street, is now open to the public. For details, visit thehighline.org.
Hat Tip: coolhunting.com
Hotter temperatures, an increase in heavy downpours, and rising sea levels are among the effects of “unequivocal” warming, concludes the first major climate report from the Obama administration. Winters are now shorter and warmer than they were 30 years ago, with the largest temperature rise — more than 7 degrees Fahrenheit — observed in the Midwest and northern Great Plains. The changes are already affecting human health, agriculture, coastal areas, transportation and water supplies. And climate change will intensify over the next century even with significant action to limit greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.
“I really believe this report is a game changer. Much of the foot dragging is a reflection of the perception that climate change is way down the road,” said Jane Lubchenko, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “This report demonstrates and provides the concrete scientific information unequivocally that it’s happening now and in our own backyards, and it affects the things people care about.”
Hat Tip: nytimes.com
Just one post today. Put aside an hour and a half (we know, impossible) and watch the film. It’s called, HOME. The aim of the filmmakers is to reach the widest possible audience and to convince us all of our individual and collective responsibility towards the planet. For this purpose, HOME is free. A patron, the PPR Group, made this possible. EuropaCorp, the distributor, also pledged not to make any profit because it is a non-profit film.
HOME can also be viewed via the official website:
PPR is proud to support HOME
HOME is a carbon offset movie
Namaste: Scarlett Wallingford
Indonesia is considering renting some of its 10,000 islands to climate change refugees. Friends of the Earth representative, Damien Lawson believes the idea is worth considering, pointing out that “people in places like the Carterets (Papua New Guinea islands) are being forced to relocate already.” More here.
Sir Jonathan Porritt, Chair of the UK’s Sustainable Development Commission, believes that to solve the problem of climate change, we must also address the issue of obesity. “The World Health Organisation recently published some data showing that each overweight person causes an additional one tonne of CO2 to be emitted every year.,” he said. “With one billion people judged to be overweight around the world – of whom at least 300 million are obese – that’s an additional one billion tonnes.” He further points out that overweight people eat more protein-rich food such as beef or lamb, which is responsible for producing greenhouse gases and suggests that obese people are more likely to use cars rather than walk or cycle, therefore producing more carbon emissions. Definitely something to chew on.
Hat Tip: telegraph.co.uk
More than 300 000 people are killed due to climate change every year, a new report on the human impact of climate change has said.
The findings also indicate that climate change affects 325 million people seriously and also results in losses of US$125 billion to the global economy. In addition, four billion people are left vulnerable with 500 million others at extreme risk. The report says human activities, including in particular emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are recognized as its principle cause, while clearly showing that climate change is already causing widespread devastation and suffering around the planet today.
Click to learn more about: Human Impact Report: Climate Change – The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis – the first ever-comprehensive report looking at the human impact of climate change.
A Sherpa from Nepal who holds the world’s record for scaling Mount Everest said Monday the planet’s highest peak was littered with trash and warned that its glaciers were melting because of global warming.
“We have only one Everest, we need to clean it, protect it,” said Appa, who flew back to Katmandu on Monday after reached the 29,035-foot (8,850-meter) summit last Thursday for the 19th time. “The warming temperature is increasing the volume of glacial lakes.”
Appa, 48, placed a banner at the summitt last week that read, “Stop Climate Change _ Let the Himalayas live,” to urge the world to take action against global warming.
Read more at huffingtonpost.com.
Environmental campaigners and residents have pledged to fight plans to turn historic meadows close to the river Avon in Bath into a car park for 1400 automobiles. Protesters say the plan will ruin the meadows and become an eyesore visible from miles away. They are asking the town council to come up with more radical and more sustainable solutions. Details here.
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- Bath Meadows ‘will be desecrated by parkand ridescheme on greenbelt’ (telegraph.co.uk)
The Belgian city of Ghent has declared Thursdays meat-free. The Flemish university town of some 200,000 people has now introduced a weekly “Veggie Thursday.” The city hopes to improve public health, reduce its impact on the environment and enhance animal welfare. “If everyone in Flanders (population: six million) does not eat meat one day a week, we will save as much CO2 in a year as taking half a million cars off the road,” said an Ethical Vegetarian Association spokesperson. You can read the meat of the story here.
The bicycle-friendly city of Muenster, Germany, has an advertising campaign that compares the space used by various modes of travel. These are the relevant statistics: (1) 72 people transported on 72 bikes requires 90 square meters (2) based on an average occupancy of 1.2 people per car, 60 cars are needed to transport 72 people, which takes 1,000 square meters and (3) 72 people can be transported on 1 bus, which only requires 30 square meters of space and no permanent parking space, since it can be parked elsewhere. For more information, click here.
Results of a 2007 study by a blue-ribbon panel of retired admirals and generals indicate that global climate change presents a serious national security threat which could impact Americans at home, impact US military operations, and heighten global tensions. The report concludes that “the decision to act should be made soon in order to plan prudently for the nation’s security. The increasing risks from climate change should be addressed now because they will almost certainly get worse if we delay.
You can read the full report at securityandclimate.cna.org.
Since the age of 10, Tayler McGillis has collected and recycled more than 23,000 pounds of aluminum from roadside trash, old homes and other sources. The Toluca, Illinois resident has thus been able to raise more than $18,000 for local charities including Habitat for Humanity. Tayler has also turned an abandoned coal mine into a wildlife preserve and designed and built a project to stop lake erosion. What’s more, he and a team of volunteers have walked and cleaned up more than 400 miles of local highways.
Hat Tip: epa.state.il.us
An infographic is a “graphical exploration of the data that surrounds us.” This one shows us the catch numbers of some of the world’s most popular fish. You’ll note that many fish catches have peaked which means there are not enough fish left to catch. Click on the image for the full-page version.
Hat Tip: Peligro
This infographic is a collaboration between GOOD Magazine and Timko & Klick
Behavioral ecologist Elizabeth Derryberry, a behavioral ecologist at Louisiana State University, has discovered evidence that “vegetation density can influence birdsong over time.” Derryberry plans to extend her research to investigate how habitat changes associated with global warming might cause birds to change their tune.
The Findhorn Foundation is a spiritual community, eco-village and an international centre for holistic education in Moray, Scotland, helping to unfold a new human consciousness and create a positive and sustainable future. The Park is the hub of the community, welcoming residential guests and day visitors. It is the site of many ecological buildings and initiatives, and home to 300 people.
Findhorn has less impact on the environment than any other community in the developed world, despite the fact that its thousands of visitors and residents still fly too much.
Polarizing Global Warming Politics – © 2009 Jan Baughman Hat Tip: swans.com
First, the good news: “The long-term impact of a West Antarctica (meltdown) is not be as serious as previously believed,” said Jonathan Bamber, a professor at Bristol University in England. World sea levels would rise by 3.3 metres (eleven feet) rather than 5-6 metres as previously estimated.
And now, the bad news: “17 million people in Bangladesh alone would be displaced by a sea level rise of 1.5 metres. The consequences for the planet and stability of society as a whole for even a 1-2 metres rise is very, very serious.” And “levels on the U.S. seaboards would still rise 25 percent more than the global average and threaten cities like New York, Washington DC, and San Francisco.”
Visit reuters.com for details.
This recycled hairstyling mannequin head keeps crows away from a garbage collection point in Ube, Japan. For the complete story, click here.
As if global warming isn’t giving us enough to worry about, now scientists say it could lead to bigger spiders of at least one species. Danish scientists have discovered that, with early spring and longer summers, the hairy, meat-eating wolf spider of northeastern Greenland has grown progressively bigger. One theory is that the extended summer allows the spiders to molt more often and thereby grow larger during their lifetimes.
You can continue to feed your paranoia here.
For sustainable living, what comes from the earth should go back to the earth. This has been done for millennia in rural India, by composting crop and food wastes. Now, in some parts of the country, environmental experts are exploring how plastic waste can be used for road construction. Click here for more information.
The American Lung Associated reports that 6 out of 10 U.S. residents –more than 186 million people — live in areas with dangerous levels of air pollution.
The air in many U.S. cities became dirtier last year, the association said in its annual “State of the Air” report.
Los Angeles ranks first in ozone pollution while Bakersfield, California, was worst for year-round particle pollution and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was worst for short-term particle pollution. Particle pollution is composed of tiny bits of soot, diesel exhaust, chemicals, metals and aerosols.
Studies confirm that contaminants in the air can take months to years off you and your children’s lives.
Hat tip: uk.reuters.com
The last 100 days or so paint a green picture of the Obama administration. Here’s some of what ‘s been accomplished:
1. Obama began the process of blocking the vast majority of new coal plants.
2. He began the process of dramatically increasing the efficiency of our vehicles, by ordering EPA to support tough emissions requirements asking the Department of Transportation to quickly issue and phase-in tougher fuel economy standards.
3. In every single major speech, he has focused on the urgent need for a clean energy transition and for a price for carbon (cap-and-trade and “closing the carbon loophole”).
4. He signed into law the tax credits needed to achieve his ambitious goal of 1 million plug-in hybrids by 2015 .
5. He signed into law a massive investment in mass transit and train travel — and laid out an aggressive vision for a high-speed rail network.
6. He signed into law the tax credits needed meet his ambitious goal of doubling renewables in his first term.
7. He signed into law the funding needed to jumpstart a 21st smart grid that is critical to enable the renewable energy, energy efficiency, and plug-in hybrid revolution.
8. He signed into law the single biggest investment in the deployment of energy-efficient technology in U.S. history, along with strong incentives for state governments to fix their inefficiency-promoting utility regulations.
9. He more than doubled the annual budget for advanced energy efficiency, renewable energy, and low carbon technology.
Hat tip: www.worldchanging.com
In 2001, a Massachusetts entrepreneur named Jim Gordon proposed that a wind farm be built in Nantucket Sound. Despite the fact that the wind turbines would be six miles offshore, Cape Wind ran into some opposition from, of all people, environmentalist activist Robert Kennedy, Jr. The project is still in limbo eight years later, though the area’s oldest and largest environmental group just endorsed the proposal this month. The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.
Hat tip:http: mnn.com
Yuyun Ismawati is one of this year’s recipients of the Goldman Environmental Prize for her work related to the growing challenges of trash on small islands, where trash storage space is scarce and poses an obvious threat to the land and community.
Warner Bros. Entertainment has become the first major Hollywood studio to build a “green” sound stage. “Stage 23 incorporates numerous sustainable elements, such as local and environmentally preferred construction materials—including Forest Stewardship Council-certified lumber, which is harvested from responsibly managed forests; recycled steel and metals; non-toxic paint and adhesives; and concrete foundations with 35 percent recycled fly ash. The Stage is surrounded by a perimeter of pervious asphalt, which allows rain water to percolate into the ground instead of running off into the Los Angeles River; contains energy efficient lighting; and incorporates Ice Bear® cooling technology in the stage’s tech rooms, using off-peak electricity for daytime cooling. The Stage is also designed to include a 100-kilowatt solar electrical system that will generate clean renewable energy.”
Hat Tip to www.designtaxi.com/
In what could be a historic moment in the struggle against climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday confirmed what most people have long suspected but had never been declared as a matter of federal law: carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases constitute a danger to public health and welfare. More “wow” factor here.
Australia – Gran Barrera de Coral = Great Barrier Reef, originally uploaded by felmar73 – Regreso = Return.
Leading experts at the 2009 Aspen Environment Forum called ocean acidification caused by high levels of CO2 emissions a “planet changer”, and predicted that all coral in the ocean would be in danger of dying off by mid-century if we continued to burn fossil fuel at our current rate. Too much is unknown about possible cascade effects on climate change due to acidification, as well as any ripple effects on other marine ecosystems due to loss of coral reefs worldwide.
Hat tip to planetsave.com.
* Biomes are defined as “the world’s major communities, classified according to the predominant vegetation and characterized by adaptations of organisms to that particular environment”
The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative has recommended that President Obama appoint a high-level adviser on ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes issues equal in rank to the chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality. This new senior official would be responsible for addressing the fact that the marine environment of the United States is in serious trouble. For example, “ninety percent of large predatory fish are now gone. There is a “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, created by an estimated 1.5 million metric tons of nitrogen fertilizer carried by the Mississippi River from America’s hinterland, that has grown to an area roughly the size of Massachusetts. Nearly 90 percent of U.S. wetlands have vanished due to development, and twenty-six thousand of the country’s beaches have been temporarily closed or put under advisories because of pollution.“ Enough said. Click to learn more about how the JOCI is addressing the crisis.