To salvage deteriorating resources, nations worldwide are setting ambitious eco-goals in a short span of time. By 2012, Costa Rica hopes to phase out single-use plastic products. For the first time in 70 years, Kazakhstan is reintroducing wild tigers into its cat-barren jungles. Not to be left out of the loop, St. Louis is swearing off fossil fuels in an attempt to go fully renewable by 2035.
“It can be a win-win for everyone. We can protect health. We can improve air, we can improve water. We can address climate change. We can save people money on their bills. Why wouldn’t we be moving in that direction?” said [Sara Edgar of Sierra Club.]
St. Louis is among just over 40 cities that have pledged to rely solely on wind and solar energy. For decades, the city has remained a top contributor to health issues caused by smog. It’s now clear that its local government is hoping to make a more positive name for the tourist spot.
“Some of the things that Donald Trump has done since he became commander in chief just goes against everything that I stand [for], that the people of St. Louis stand for,” [said St. Louis President Lewis Reed.]
Yikes. Trump better watch his back — it’s obvious St. Louis isn’t rolling back on its own environmental safeguards!
Plastic may be a landfill’s greatest enemy, but an innovator’s best tool. In the Philippines, thousands of bottles have been repurposed into lamps. Now, retired educator Steven Klein is creating connectable plastic bottles that are strong enough to build furniture.
Unlike traditional plastic bottles, Eco Connect bottles have a deeper recess in the base, so that the top of one can be readily connected to the bottom of the next, quite securely.
While a plastic bottle coffee table may not be everyone’s aesthetic, it is a thoughtful concept. Klein’s ultimate goal is to encourage bottling companies to switch to Eco Connect. Production will not require new machinery — just the connector pieces.
“An expanding variety of connector pieces, lights, and motors will become available to continue to grow the system. Also, a percentage of funds from connector purchases will be donated to water conservation programs,”
Eco Connect leaves consumers with no excuse for littering. It may not be stylish, but it sure is sustainable!
Lab-grown seafood may be actively solving over-harvesting, but it lacks any noteworthy benefactors. On the flip side, billionaires like Bill Gates and Richard Branson are sponsoring lab-grown meat by Memphis Meats. So what’s the beef?
“Instead of using animals as pieces of technology to convert plants into proteins to make things that we like to eat, drink and wear, we can just use biology to make those things directly,” said… an early investor in Memphis Meats.
Developers envision facilities that are more reminiscent to breweries than slaughterhouses. Admittedly, the former is less unsettling. But how will Memphis Meats grow tasty steaks and chops without the direct use of an animal?
The company’s scientists identify cells that they want to scale up production on — selecting them based on the recommendations of experts. Those cells are cultivated with a blend of sugar, amino acids, fats and water, and within three to six weeks the meat is harvested.
Production is quick but still small-scale. However, with further development, the process could cut greenhouse emissions, save water, and create a more sustainable agriculture industry. From its patrons, Memphis Meats has raised a charming $22 million. I sure hope the filet mignon is worth it.
Most discoveries are a pleasant surprise. For two Florida students, unearthing vintage NASA suits was a jackpot find. The New Jersey Liberty Hall Museum is proudly boasting a wine older than the United States. But for planetary scientist Aymeric Spiga, discovering snow on Mars was beyond unexpected.
Mars is dry compared to Earth: Its cold nature makes it unlikely that any of the ice on the Red Planet’s surface would melt, and its extremely thin atmosphere would cause any liquid water on the surface to vaporize nearly immediately. Still, Mars’ atmosphere does possess clouds of frozen water.
Snowstorms on Mars are similar to Earthly microbursts, in which dense air zips downward from a cloud. Any snow landing on Mars would be quick to disappear. More often than not, Martian snow turns to vapor before even hitting the surface.
“This is something observed on Earth sometimes, with something called virga — streaks of rain falling from the clouds can vaporize before reaching the surface,”
What, then, does this phenomenon mean for how we depict Mars? Besides the fact that the little red planet continues to surprise us, its atmosphere is more dynamic than we thought. With a constant slew of new findings making an appearance, it seems we may get to know Mars on a more personal level.
It’s not everyday hundreds of strangers come together for a greater purpose. Occasionally, 80 people will form a human chain to rescue drowning swimmers. Other times, some 300 volunteers will save a beached whale. In fact, the feat actually occurred recently.
Throughout the morning, three diggers boosted the efforts of the rescue mission as dozens of people used shovels and hoes to remove the sand, and throw buckets of water over the animal to keep it hydrated.
A handful of rescuers later multiplied into hundreds, but ditch-digging proved to be unsuccessful. Volunteers chose not to move the Humpback in fear of damaging its internal organs. Things took a hopeful turn when the marine puppy made its own effort to wiggle its way back to sea. Presumably, the situation was an ordinary case of a young whale’s wonky internal GPS.
According to experts, the puppy may have got lost from the group it was traveling with when crossing the Rio coast bound for the Antarctica. The migration usually takes place at this time of year.
After 24 hours, the 7-ton baby beast refloated into the South Atlantic Ocean. It appeared to thank its volunteers with a wave of its fin — a total breath of fresh air. Or perhaps a breath of salty water?
Science is going back to basics. By basic, I mean down to the atom. Thanks to advanced methods of structural revision, Australian researchers have successfully created a modified metal that can purify water in minutes. Now, scientists at UC Berkeley have trained cyborg bacteria to photosynthesize, allowing them to create solar fuels.
Scientists… taught bacteria how to cover their own bodies with nanocrystals, which function as tiny solar panels that capture more energy than plants can. The bacteria ended up having 80 percent efficiency, compared to about 2 percent for plants.
Moorella thermoacetica occurs naturally and produces acetic acid, which can be turned into fuels and plastics. To enhance their efficiency, scientists threw cadmium and cystine into the mix. The bacteria then synthesized both into nanoparticles.
The nanoparticles acted like solar panels, so the new hybrid organism produced acetic acid not only from carbon dioxide, but also water and light. This made the process a lot more efficient — even more so than natural photosynthesis — and it created zero waste.
All jargon aside, it’s important to note that this could be the end of fossil fuels and the beginning of a clean future.
Following an outpour of support from dozens of celebrities, more helping hands are heading Puerto Rico’s way. This time, department store chain TJ Maxx is continuing to send paychecks to its employees in the devastated territory.
“Based on the devastating situation in Puerto Rico, we can confirm that we have continued to pay our TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods Associates on the island,” a spokesperson for TJX said.
Since Hurricane Maria struck in September, Puerto Rico has seen at least 500 fatalities. Thousands of displaced locals remain out of a job. Above its steady distribution of paychecks, TJX is also providing its workers with food and water.
Netizens have flocked onto social media to express their gratitude for TJX’s gesture. It’s good to know that every American’s go-to for best buys is putting people above profit.
In the sustainability race, India is coming in first. In the past year, it engineered the world’s first solar train and set a record for planting trees. The country relies not on advanced technology but the sheer determination of it’s citizens. In fact, 700 villagers made it their mission to restore a dead river by hand in just 70 days.
For two decades, the Kuttemperoor river in south Kerala’s Alappuzha district slowly choked under the weight of rampant illegal sand mining and construction sites that dumped tons of sewage on its once-pristine banks.
A… local group of villagers… have spent weeks wading through toxic waste, algae and risking deadly water-borne diseases to physically de-silt and clean the river.
The river is a primary water source, making it potentially hazardous if in a polluted state. A non-responsive government and harsh droughts forced villagers to take matters into their own hands.
“Once we removed all waste [the] river started recharging on its own and on [the] 45th day flow started. For women folk, it was not just a work for money but it was [a] gargantuan task to revive a lifeline,”
The village may have seen success, but the challenge is far from over. Kuttemperoor river will demand a lifetime of maintenance, something it’s beloved community will surely make a priority.
If I could measure how much of an animal lover one truly is, I’d use the locals of Kuta as my benchmark. Due to the recent activity in Mount Ugong, villagers have been relocating livestock into safe zones, despite the hazards. Perhaps the only individual who has since matched their obvious dedication is California local Peter Lang. The 77-year-old refused to evacuate in order to rescue animals from the Safari West Park and Animal Preserve.
Armed with only everyday garden hoses, Lang fought the fires as they began to close in on him and the animals he was trying to protect.
My garden hose can barely sustain my crumbling garden. Quips aside, Lang choosing to remain with the animals meant there was no hope for his own home. Though many have reached out to make donations, Lang humbly refused to receive any personal aid.
“Thank you for all the messages of love and support. So many of you have offered to donate money or establish funds in our name and we are stunned and humbled by your generosity. Please, if you do feel compelled to make a donation, direct it to a charity or organization that benefits all the victims of this terrible event,” [said Lang.]
Lang is truly the epitome of heroism. If a giraffe could, it would probably salute him.
The future is closer than ever before, and it’s brighter than we expected. Experts are optimistic about the expansion of the AI universe and it seems technology may not be killing us after all. With the wave of new technologies comes grand efforts by nations to advance society. In particular, the UAE is planning to build a Mars-like metropolis to prepare humankind for its potential march into space.
A team will live inside the experimental city for a year, which will recreate the conditions of the Red Planet. Scientists will work in laboratories dedicated to investigating self-sufficiency in energy, food and water for life on Mars.
Looks like preparations for an impending apocalypse are finally coming to fruition. Or perhaps we’re just being cautious. The dome-shaped buildings will simulate Mars’ environment down to the degree. Developers will also erect a museum and educational spaces.
“We believe in the potential of space exploration, and in collaborating with global partners and leaders in order to harness the findings of this research and movement that seeks to meet people’s needs and improve quality of life on earth,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid of Dubai.
The UAE hopes to build an initial settlement on Mars within the coming century. Will you be among the first to experience life on another planet?