If not the Great Wall, it seems China’s main attraction is its everlasting devotion to the giant panda. The home of the Forbidden City has even built a solar farm inspired by the peaceful bamboo-munchers. Now hoping to increase populations, China is funding a national park dedicated to the slow-reproducing bears.
Plans for the park – which would cover 27,134 sq km – were first put forward early last year by the ruling Communist Party and the State Council, China’s cabinet.
If the 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) proves enough, the Giant Panda National Park will dwarf Yellowstone by three times. With over 80% of the world’s pandas situated in Sichuan, 2018 is the perfect year for a get-together. Getting them to breed? We’ll leave it up to luck.
Giant pandas have a notoriously low reproductive rate, a key factor – along with habitat loss – in their status as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of threatened species.
We get it, guys. Dating around can be unsettling — but perhaps not for the greater good.
Since carbon emissions and the resource greed epidemic caused the downfall of nature, many have scrambled for a quick solution. While Peru is keeping its unscathed plantations guarded, China is restoring millions of woodland hectares. Not too far behind is the City of Love, aiming to reforest 5.2 square miles of land. The anticipated lush of trees will be 5 times larger than Central Park.
For around a century, Pierrelaye-Bessancourt has been a literal wasteland. From 1896 to the 1990s, the city of Paris sprayed sewage residue across 865 acres of the fields to fertilize them.
The unofficial landfill will take 30 to 50 years to mature into a succulent plantation. In the meantime, it’ll host a swell of hiking trails, equestrian center, and conservation areas. However, the ambitious plan will inevitably face some setbacks.
As many as 1,500 trailers are squatting on the land, and getting full approval will require a lengthy series of community meetings.
Still, a great portion of the planet has seen urban transformations over the centuries. I’m sure some parts won’t mind kicking it old school.
To salvage the remnants of Mother Nature, activist groups, along with government agencies, are erecting new national parks. So far, protected areas in Chile have emerged, with Peru scrambling to assemble Yaguas National Park. The area remains one of the most intact forests on the planet.
More than 1,000 people… live along a 125-mile stretch of the Yaguas and Putumayo rivers. To them, this place is “sachamama,” a Quechua word roughly meaning “mother jungle,” the sacred heart of the area that produces the flora and fauna on which the groups depend.
Realizing the current impact of climate change, Peru is teaming up with South American countries such as Ecuador and Colombia. Together, the environmental superpowers are contending to fulfill the Paris climate agreement.
“For now, Yaguas is safe, but in the 20 years I’ve been working in the Amazon, I’ve learned the hard way that today’s remoteness is tomorrow’s access,” said Gregory Asner, an ecologist at the Carnegie Institution for Science.
In the end, it’s we who lose when we neglect the planet. After all, the Earth won’t combust–it’ll just pick us off.
As we all know, the joys of tree-planting exist beyond activist groups. Anyone can join in on the fun — from entire villages to drones. Even your not-so-usual suspects can be pretty eager to give back. Such is the case with 60,000 Chinese troops, all of whom are reforesting 84,000 square kilometers of land.
The armed police force has a specially designated forestry branch to patrol and exercise jurisdiction in forested areas such as the northeastern Greater Khingan mountain range – dubbed ‘China’s green lungs’ – in Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia provinces.
China’s current forest coverage lies at a measly 21%, which the People’s Liberation Army hopes to bump up to 23 by 2020. In this year alone, the Chinese government aims to overlay an ambitious 6.66 million hectares of land.
Heavily polluted Hebei province, which encircles Beijing, has pledged to raise its total forest coverage to 35% by the end of 2020, and the bulk of the troops pulled back from the frontlines will be dispatched there.
China is notorious for its dense amounts of smog and futile efforts to combat them with jars of air. Perhaps this route, along with other air purification methods, may be the best one to take.
Preparing for life on Mars has become increasingly tedious, especially after discoveries of snow on the planet. Nevertheless, places like the UAE are eager to push forward the limits of space study, building a massive Mars metropolis. You know — just in case. But clearly, it’s MIT engineers who are coming out on top after snatching the top prize at the Mars City Design contest for their dome habitats.
MIT’s winning design, which the team calls Redwood Forest, is a collection of “tree habitats” connected through a system of tunnels called “roots.” The roots would provide safe access to other tree habitats, private spaces and “shirt-sleeve transportation,”
If the designs make it to Mars, each dome would house up to 50 inhabitants. Realistically, the ambitious tech team hopes to build 200, which guarantees 10,000 hopefuls a spot on life beyond Earth.
“On Mars, our city will physically and functionally mimic a forest, using local Martian resources such as ice and water, regolith (or soil), and sun to support life,” MIT postdoctoral researcher Valentina Sumini said.
It’s a daunting prospect, if it does happen. Hopefully MIT’s “forest” will make future residents feel right at home.
Succeeding its “wall of trees” stint, China is finally shifting its anti-climate change efforts into third gear. It may not compare to New Zealand’s tree-planting endeavors, but the ambitious eco-warrior is coming close. Hoping to up its environmental ante, the country is reforesting an area roughly the size of Ireland. That’s 6.6 million hectares!
“Companies, organisations and talent that specialise in greening work are all welcome to join in the country’s massive greening campaign,” [head of the State Forestry Administration Zhang Jianlong] said. “Cooperation between government and social capital will be put on the priority list.”
With 21.7 percent of China covered in forest, its environmental sector hopes to expand to 23 percent by 2020. Dubbed the world’s most polluted nation, China is hoping to alleviate the need for “clean air” jars with amore eco-conscious inclinations. Tree planting? It’s a good start.
This year the new forest areas will be built in the northeast Hebei province, Qinghai province in the Tibetan Plateau, and in the Hunshandake Desert in Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region in the north.
So far, the government has shelled out $61 billion on reforesting efforts. Considering trees can save a single city $500 million a year, the forbidden land may just break even.
The humble drone — a handy tool for both aspiring and professional filmmakers and now a staple in medical emergencies. Inhabitants of Irrawaddy River are also fans, as tree-planting drones are restoring their forests thousands of seeds at a time.
The drones, from the startup BioCarbon Engineering, can plant as many as 100,000 trees in a single day, leaving the local community to focus on taking care of the young trees that have already started to grow.
Mapping drones first gather data on an area’s topography and soil quality. A second set of drones then follow the custom map, planting seeds in pods. Machines can plant up to 100,000 seeds a day.
In Myanmar (also known as Burma) the technology will be tweaked to best handle local conditions. Mangrove trees grow in brackish water along coastlines, so the drones will have to successfully shoot the seed pods underwater.
Mangroves protect Myanmar coastlines from storms and provide fish with habitats to grow. Combining the trees with crops could also help locals by means of an income.
The project is a prime example of the positive collaboration between humans and technology. If you were in over your head about robots taking our place in the workforce, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate.
It’s safe to say that dogs are eager to learn, sometimes giving back to society without even knowing it. Some dogs are using their fetching skills to battle pollution. This special trio of Border Collies is helping to restore forests in Chile by replanting hectares of trees. Yes, dogs can plant, and it’s a lot simpler than it sounds!
The Border Collies have been scampering through the charred remains with special satchels that spread seeds as they run to sow seedlings, grass and flowers.
The dogs can cover a range of 30 kilometers in a day and sow up to 10 kilos of seeds, whereas a person could only do three kilometers in a day.
The dogs, bred to herd, are perfect for the job. They are quick and intelligent with a high stamina.
This work has been under way for three months now in 15 forests of the El Maule region. In some of them, grass is back and seedlings, vines and mushrooms have pushed through the blackened earth, thanks to the moisture that comes with the winter of the southern hemisphere.
While they might not know it, Chile owes the dogs, known as Summer, Olivia, and Das more than just a bag of treats!
I’ve seen my fair share of unusual protests on the news. Belgian farmers squirting cow milk to object collapsing milk prices. A woman hanging from a boutique ceiling with fish hooks to challenge shark extinction. Extreme but effective, as I like to put it. However, activists in Romania have taken a milder approach to protest illegal logging by painting an entire forest every color of the rainbow.
A team of activists and volunteers, led by Romanian visual artist Mihai Topescu, spent the days between June 30th and July 3rd covering over 600 trees in eco-friendly paint.
Topescu hopes to create a space that encourages meditation, reflection, and self discovery. The artist described the piece as “some kind of manifesto against everything that happens with deforestation, an artistic manifesto.”
Participants have playfully dubbed their colorful wonderland Art Land “Gradina Paradisului” or “The Garden of Paradise.”
The scale of deforestation… cites a total of 9,444 registered cases of illegal logging in 2016—nearly 26 cases per day, on average.
Fines for logging have hit a massive $8 million. While I can’t put my finger on the need to uproot so many trees, deforestation remains an unfortunate reality. It’s a relief to know that people like Topescu are taking matters into their own hands–armed with a mighty paintbrush.