Posts Tagged ‘planet’

Environmental News : : Bloody Ivory and Extinct Polar Bears.

Elephants killed for religious craftsmen

Picture of mature African elephant bulls with long ivory tusks

In January of 2012, hundreds of armed men rode into Cameroon’s Bouba Ndjidah National Park. They murdered hundreds of elephants, entire families with AK-47’s. Tens of thousands of elephants are killed every year in Africa for their ivory. Horrifically so, this ivory is then used as material in which to carve religious objects out of. Ivory smuggling is illegal and yet the Philippines still manage to have a huge ivory trade going on. A reporter from National Geographic found a street merchant selling iconic religious figure in ivory. I somehow doubt that any religion would condone the slaughtering of thousands of elephants for this purpose.
Ivory has turned into a drug. There has been a global ivory trade ban intact since 1989 but that seems not to have had an effect.
Do your part and adopt an elephant now.

Arctic Ice will be gone in 4 yearsArctic ocean warming, Arctic ice, Arctic ice sheet, Peter Wadhams, Global warming feedback, Methane permafrost

According to Professor Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University, the entire Arctic ice shelf will be gone in just 4 years. Just 5 years ago it was predicted that the ice would survive until 2060. Now it won’t just be the polar bears that are gone by 2016, but it will also initiate a negative feedback loop that would heat up our planet much quicker.
The loss of ice will cause the ocean water to warm up, which then warms the ocean floor. Much of the Arctic continental shelf is composed of offshore permafrost which contains methane, a very powerful greenhouse gas. I don’t need to tell you how bad it would be if this gas was released.
What’s that? You don’t want to adopt an elephant because you like polar bears and penguins more? Just make sure you get your adoption money back in 4 years…

90,000 lbs of trash collected at Sierra Nevada

Over 2,500 volunteers collaborated to clean up thousands of pounds of garbage that clogs up this picturesque Californian landscape. Over two thirds of Californians get their water from the Sierra Nevada. It’s truly amazing how 571 tonnes of trash has been cleaned in the last 4 years. That is, it’s amazing how it becomes so littered in the first place as well as the effort of the volunteers. I helped take part during an ocean clean up in California. Never have I picked up so many cigarette buts or 6 pack holders in my life. The beach is not a trashcan.

Image

 

Gary Neville turns from United-Red to Eco-green

No, he hasn’t signed with Celtic or Panathinaikos, don’t worry. Instead, Neville is building his own house, a house that meets the highest UK environmental standards. He built his first two homes when he was just 22 and 26. Both of these experiences have helped him realise what needs to be done in order to save the planet.

“So I have had a transitional period in my personal life, from car to home, to become as efficient as I could.”

Side view of the proposed development
                                                         Gary Neville’s new home.

Many people won’t just be surprised by his sudden intelligence as a football pundit. They also will be shocked by his plethora of knowledge towards the environment. He is fully aware of how loud his voice is:

“We believe in the power of sport to deliver a message. You have seen over the past 12-18 months, the way that the Olympics and football transcends all social issues. In fact, it brings social issues that are a problem in society to a head through football.”

 

I leave you with,

The deadliest air fight in the world.
The epic migration of hundreds of thousands of hermit crabs.
Dumpsters transformed into beautiful gardens.

Environmental News : : Start skateboarding to save coral reefs

Electric skateboard becomes lightest form of electric transport

With 6 miles of battery life, this electric skateboard will save your pushing leg as well as the planet. It’s no secret that the flaw with skateboards is how you can’t ride up hill. This new skateboard changes all of that. It even brakes! Weighing in at just 12lbs, this 20mph ride could completely change your commute. If we’re being honest, it also looks incredibly cool, much more so than fixed gear bikes.

You can even take the motor off and ride it as a regular longboard. Sound appealing? Of course it does, check out Boosted Boards to become the coolest guy in the office.

 

Wind energy alone can power the planet

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, carnegie institution for science, lawrence livermore national laboratory, airborne wind turbines, high altitude wind energy, ground based wind energy, ocean based wind energy
A study from Carnegie Institution for Science has revealed that, with the help of air born wind turbines, the planet can be powered exclusively by wind power.

Currently the earth needs 18TW of energy to run. By harnessing near-surface winds, we could generate 20 times the needed amount. It turns out that more wind turbine generators are a bad thing. They create a drag effect on the wind turbines that in turn slows down the overall velocity of wind. Thus- building more wind turbines wouldn’t be too effective. By harnessing air in the atmosphere we can overcome this issue and live sustainably for many years.

The CEO of the Carnegie Institution has said that “economic and political factors still play a large role” when deciding how to use wind power.

 

Caribbean coral reefs could soon become extinct

Live coral coverage has dropped to just 8% this year. During the 1970’s, this figure was a steady 50%. The root of all causes (pollution, overfishing, disease and bleaching) can be tracked to the rise in global temperature.

At an international environmental campaign in Korea the situation was listed as “critical” with “time running out”.  Scientists from the World Resources Institute have predicted that by 2050, virtually all coral reefs will be in danger.

So next time you go snorkelling, remember that everything you see is alive. Don’t remove anything from its natural habitat or stir sediment with your Michael Phelps sized flippers. Oh, and don’t buy dried coral from stores!

 

Sea otters can slow global warming

Two researches have found that an increase in sea otters would increase the amount of carbon dioxide being absorbed by kelp. Sea otters feed off sea urchins which in turn feed off kelp. Therefore, if there were a surge of sea otter reproductivity, kelp forests would prosper as there would be less sea urchins. 12 times the amount of carbon dioxide could be absorbed if this happened.

What’s that? You were thinking of adopting a sea otter for your next loved ones birthday? No? Well now there’s no reason not to!

 

Generate electricity with a rocking chair

Otarky, Rocking Chair, Modern Furniture, Renewable Energy, Electric Generator, Electricity, Igor Gitelstain, Israel
It’s called the Otarky and has been designed by a graduate student. Not only does this chair look incredibly stylish, but it will charge your iPad at the same time. Now just imagine what would happen if every homeowner had this chair?

The chrome rockers hide ball bearings which convert kinetic energy into electricity when the chair is rocked from back to forth. It’s a genius invention, allowing anyone to create sustainable energy whilst reading the newspaper. Be sure to check up on the Otarky in a year or so as it is still just a prototype.

I leave you with
Is the iPhone 5 green?
Man-made cabin in Wisconsin, built for musicians. 
Own an electric Batmobile by 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Environmental News! 19th June 2012

1) Canadian cycles to Earth Summit in Rio.

Naomi Devine, a 33 year old Canadian woman has given “fuel efficient” travel a whole new meaning this week. Naomi decided to hope on her bike in Vancouver, British Columbia, and pedal down to the Earth Summit in Rio, Brazil. She had some help with trains along the way but her journey is estimated to have been 1000 miles long. Hopefully, this will ignite the Earth Summit into producing some decent conclusions. Kyoto Protocol “take two” anyone?

Considering her worst part of the trip was as follows, ‘the idea that you might get hit and be seriously injured or die. In those moments you have to dig deep and hope for the best, because it certainly has happened to other cyclists”, would you ever attempt anything so crazy?!

2) Diesel fumes worse than second-hand smoke.


Reports filtering through from the World Health Organisation are showing how diesel fumes can cause lung cancer. The fumes are more carcinogenic than second-hand smoke fumes. So yes, you may get great mileage on your new Ford “eco-friendly” Zetec, but you’re putting people at harm. For more information on why diesel cars aren’t as good as you think, read this. What’s your opinion? With electric cars still years from being ready for everyday use, what other option do we have?

3) Environmental Activists being killed at a rate of two a week.
The death toll in people attempting to protect forests, rivers and land has almost doubled in the last 3 years. Brazil, the site of tomorrow’s UN Earth Summit, has the highest amount of deaths. A shocking 365. This represents the horrifying struggle currently going on for the world’s resources. We must desperately find a balance where all justifying needs can be met, otherwise it won’t just be the environment that suffers.

 

4) The earth IS warming.
Ignore all the “scientific uncertainty”. Ignore the blissfully ignorant. Ignore the lies. The earth currently has the lowest ice surface area in history. In fact, it’s not even been close to being this low. There are over 500,000 square kilometres less of ice than previous ‘low’ years (2007, 2011). Forgive the poor resolution, but you can clearly see the red 2012 line and how it is descending quickly, very quickly.


5) 48 cities to cut 248 million tons of pollution.

To end on a more positive note, it looks like the Kyoto Protocol “take two” is underway! It will be spoken about over the next few days in Rio at the Earth Summit. According to the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, 248 million tons can be cut from 48 major cities by 2020. More information will filter through over the next few days but this is a huge step forward for the earth on the road to a more sustainable planet.

What is your view on this decade’s UN Earth Summit? There are already signs to show how serious some countries are taking these issues now. Will the conference be a success? Will words be turned to positive action? We can only hope so!

The importance of the Rio 2012 Earth Summit.

The environment has gained much political attention over the last 30 years; no longer can 1st world countries like America, Japan and China ignore this fact. Environmental benefits still come after economic and social ones in developed countries. Unfortunately, these developed countries are the ones that effect the environment the most, both negatively and positively. The 5th Earth Summit is coming up in 10 days and provides a chance for certain 1st world countries to finally step up to the problem of environmental degradation and exploitation.

       The whole environmental movement began with John Muir in 1892 who started the Sierra Club and used to it express environmental opinions towards the government. The National Trust was then formed 3 years later in 1895. England and America still viewed the environment as something to be feared. The majority wanted control of the environment. Art and literature were used to promote the inherent “goodness” of the environment. People like William Wordsworth dedicated their careers to convincing people that the environment was something magical to be enjoyed. This period was known as the “enlightenment” – Something America still has to go through.

        The real turning point of the movement came in 1962 when Rachel Carson published ‘Silent Spring’. It was a book that outlined a lot of the environmental problems that were occurring at the time. One example was how Rachel outlined the use of the pesticide DTT in agriculture. Not only did this leech into rivers and harm habitats and animals, it was also a cause for human cancer. Upon reading this, President John F Kennedy banned the use of DTT after many agricultural companies trued to ban the publishing of the book. The book was monumental because for the first time, information like this was available to the public. This had never happened before.

         The book prompted the first ever Earth Day to take place in 1970. This was after 150,000 people died in 3 days during the Industrial Revolution because of the smog build up. There was also an oil spill off the coast of Santa Monica in 1969. People were finally becoming aware of the damage that was taking place due to the exploitation and misuse of the environment. This culminated in the first Earth Summit in 1972 which took place in Stockholm, Sweden.

          Whilst this was a monumental occasion and milestone for environmentalists, the meeting did nothing but highlight how 1st world countries were exploiting 3rd world countries. In fact, the first time that any progress was made was 20 years later in 1992 at the third Earth Summit in Rio. The ‘Kyoto Protocol’ was introduced. This stated that by 2012, any participating country had to decrease their carbon emissions by 5%. Over 37 countries signed the document. Collectively it would make a huge difference since the limits it proposed for each country were relatively small.

      Unfortunately, 3 key countries refused to sign the document claiming that signing the document would be economic suicide. These three countries were Russia, China and America. If all of Europe was to lower their emissions by 5% it probably would be less than if America lowered their emissions by 5%. With these 3 countries out of the agreement, the Kyoto Protocol seemed almost useless.
10 years later in 2002 at Johannesburg, Japan and America refused to limit their offshore oil drilling. Again they were putting their own economic benefits ahead of the world’s environmental benefits. Finally, in 2010, Barack Obama said that “it is pointless to sign the Kyoto Protocol since it is almost over”. Whilst I understand why he said this, he neglected to go further and talk about what America was doing to counter their un-involvement in the Kyoto Protocol.

          With the Earth Summit returning to Rio in 9 days where the first positive step was taken, it will be interesting to see how attitudes towards the environment have changed from 1st world countries. In the last decade there has been a large impact on “acting as a community” and doing what you can. Recycle this, turn off that light, be “energy efficient”.

       My father recently told me how one of his friends had helped save thousands of trees in the Amazon. My first thought wasn’t how brilliant this was. Instead I thought of how pointless single actions like this will be until we can get the entire world to think the same way. Yes, we can save thousands of trees but until companies lower their emissions then we are just conserving what is left of the environment. We should be protecting and re-building it. 1st world countries desperately need to find a balance between socio-economic and environmental needs. Until this happens, the environmental will continue to deteriorate.

Dead bees, another cry out for alternative fuel?

     Recent studies have shown that diesel fumes are related to the decline of honeybee colonies. The theory states that nano-particles emitted from diesel exhausts disrupt the navigation of bees. Thus making it impossible for them to return to their hive as they eventually die. Why is this important I hear you say? Well there is a much bigger picture to look at.

      Bees produce billions for the world economy, £430 million a year in the United Kingdom alone. People do not realise just how much they aid employment by producing honey and pollinating crop fields. In return, they ask for nothing. I think they are the most underrated working class in the world. To realise that the modern mode of transport is killing them off is extremely worrying. Ten’s of thousand’s of beehives have been dropping every winter. Since 2007, the United States has seen a 35% drop in the number of hives.

     This statistic is screaming at me to sell my diesel ‘eco-friendly’ Ford Fiesta and buy an electric car. Car companies have done a brilliant job of convincing the masses that diesel fueled cars should be bought due to their efficiency and minimal effect on the environment. Yet the fact remains, diesel is a non-renewable fuel that is harmful to all living things. Yes, diesel is better than petrol; You get more miles to the gallon and it does harm the environment less, but we are merely prolonging the inevitable.

     How can we deal with this issue? I would love to tell you that scientists have just discovered a new renewable energy source as powerful as oil but we are not there yet. So all we can do is nudge people. Give people a reason to buy electric cars, a reason to cycle to work and a reason to roll the window down instead of hitting the AC switch.

      My immediate plan would be to deny raising the motorway speed limit to 80mph. This is simply telling motorists that it is ok to drive faster, burn more fuel and pump more money into the pockets of oil companies. It also widens the gulf between the speeds of electric vehicles compared to fuel driven vehicles. One major reason why the public are buying fuel cars rather than electric is due to speed.  Further on this, road tax on fueled vehicles should be vastly increased.

      We cannot sugar coat this anymore. We have to stop finding ways of prolonging this unfortunate truth. Instead, begin to use fuels that are both renewable and do not harm the environment. If an event as small as a bee dying does not convince you that something must be done, I fear we have already lost the battle.