UN Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), officially known as Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a set of 17 “Global Goals” with 169 targets between them.

To read more about each of the SDGs visit this link: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

Eco Friendly Fireworks

In spirit of America’s Independence Day celebration, let’s talk about fireworks!

Around 8 years ago, scientists have discovered eco-friendly chemical components for pyrotechnics. But not for the reasons you might expect.

It’s not just dogs and small children who are wary of firework displays. Some environmental activists have been labelled “killjoys” for seeking to ban them. Fireworks, as one campaigner put it, “spray out a toxic concoction that rains down quietly into lakes, rivers and bays.” But there may be a solution that doesn’t spoil the fun: green fireworks.

A team of scientists at the US Army’s Pyrotechnics Technology and Prototyping Division at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, USA, has found more eco-friendly replacements for one of the troublesome chemical components of fireworks, the so-called oxidizer that sets off the explosion.

As you might imagine, the researchers, led by Jared Moretti and Jesse Sabatini, are concerned less with the civilian pyrotechnics unleashed on 4 July in the US and 5 November in the UK, or at every conceivable opportunity in China, and more with military applications such as battlefield flares, which tend to use similar chemical formulations. But Moretti says that their new formulations also “have tremendous potential for civilian fireworks applications.”

Oxidizers are chemical compounds rich in oxygen, which they can relinquish to set the mixture burning. The most common types are nitrates and chlorates or perchlorates. Potassium nitrate is the ‘saltpetre’ used in old recipes for gunpowder, while sodium chlorate is a herbicide notorious for its use in homemade ‘sugar/weed-killer’ bombs. Many civilian and military pyrotechnic devices now use either potassium perchlorate or barium nitrate as the oxidizer.

Both of these chemicals have drawbacks for the environment. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are scrutinizing the use of perchlorate because it can substitute for iodide in the thyroid gland, disrupting the production of hormones. It can also cause growth abnormalities in embryos. The strict limits placed on perchlorate levels in drinking water by the EPA has hampered military training in the US, and also threatens to cause problems for civilian firework displays.

Visit the source link here for more information on how to celebrate the 4th with green fireworks!

Here is a supplementary article as well from the ACS.

Photo credit: James Solomon

DroneSeed

Let us welcome DroneSeed–a new solution to precision reforestation!

DroneSeed is working with commercial foresters to make reforestation more efficient. Their team offers a one-stop solution of drones capable of planting tree seeds and spraying fertilizer and herbicides to keep trees healthy.

Millions of acres of forestland are currently under-utilized. The availability of dependable workers, and the safety concerns of rough terrain, prevent trees from being planted and cared for. DroneSeed is presented as a scalable solution to addressing this problem. Could this be the future of a faster, safer, and more efficient forestry?

Check out their website for  videos and more info: https://www.droneseed.co/

CEF FFT: Using drones is perhaps more efficient, but this isn’t to disregard the freedom we have to plant seeds and plant trees. If we all planted even a single seed and tree each week, what sort of transformation would we expect to see?

Wave Star: Kinetic Wave Power

Meet “Wave Star” of Denmark. It is a facility designed to convert kinetic wave power into electricity.

Wave Star is equipped with kinetic-energy harvesters called “floats.” The floats move up and down with the kinetic motion of the waves. The motion of the floats is transferred via hydraulics to rotate power generators. Their facility enables continuous energy production and a smooth output.

The full scale device will be equipped 20 floats of 10 m (33 ft) in diameter. Each power station will be able to produce 6 megawatts of energy, a single machine providing enough energy for roughly 4000 homes.

In the event of a storm, the floats can be lifted to a safe position. The facility could also be upgraded to utilize wind and solar power. The power stations are planned to hit the market this year!

Check out this video for more information!

Thanks to @SeedsofLove.Life for the share! <3

#ActOnClimate

Today at the LA State Historic Park #ActOnClimate hosted a beautiful rally and round-dance for Climate Justice.

The mission: “Together, we will rally for the steps we know are necessary to deliver on the goals of Paris: moving to 100% renewable energy, stopping new fossil fuel projects, divesting from coal, oil and gas companies, and more.”

Among the great speakers who came before the crowd included: Jack Eidt, Co-Founder of SoCal 350 Climate Action; Lydia Ponce, Co-Director of American Indian Movement Southern California; Paul Koretz, Council Member of City of Los Angeles; Martha Dina Arguello, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Matt Pakucko, Co-Founder of Save Porter Ranch.

Check out 350 to get involved in events in your local community! (https://350.org)

 

Happy World Environment Day!

Happy World Environment Day! 

In the words of Sadhguru:

“It not because of us that the planet is here, it is because of the planet that we are here. Even to think ‘me and the planet’ is a completely wrong notion because what do you call as ‘myself,’ the physical presence of who you are is just an outcrop of this planet. Whatever you experience as a part of yourself, with that, no one has to tell you ‘please take care of this,’ you will take care of anyways. The planet is for all of us and we cannot exist by ourselves. Our existence here is not here because of our economic activity. Right now, we are made to believe it is because of the percentages of growth happening in this country that you will live well. No, we will live well here if everything is green, water is flowing, air is pure, we will live well here. This idea has to go into every human beings mind.”

To watch Sadhguru’s “Our Environment is Our Life” click here!

Zero-Emission Fossil Fuel Power

(photo credit: CHICAGO BRIDGE & IRON)

This is NET Power’s prototype plant near Houston, Texas. It is testing an emission-free technology designed to compete with conventional fossil power.

Zero-emission fossil fuel power sounds like an oxymoron. But when that 25-megawatt demonstration plant is fired up later this year, it will burn natural gas in pure oxygen. The result: a stream of nearly pure CO2, which can be piped away and stored underground or blasted into depleted oil reservoirs to free more oil, a process called enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Either way, the CO2 will be sequestered from the atmosphere and the climate.

That has long been the hope for carbon capture and storage (CCS), a strategy that climate experts say will be necessary if the world is to make any headway in limiting climate change. But CCS systems bolted to conventional fossil fuel plants have struggled to take off because CO2 makes up only a small fraction of their exhaust. Capturing it saps up to 30% of a power plant’s energy and drives up the cost of electricity.

In contrast, NET Power, the startup backing the new plant, says it expects to produce emission-free power at about $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. That’s about the same cost as power from a state-of-the-art natural gas-fired plant—and cheaper than most renewable energy. The key to its efficiency is a new thermodynamic cycle that swaps CO2 for the steam that drives turbines in conventional plants. Invented by an unlikely trio—a retired British engineer and a pair of technology geeks who had tired of their day jobs—the scheme may soon get a bigger test. If the prototype lives up to hopes, NET Power says, it will forge ahead with a full-scale, 300-megawatt power plant—enough to power more than 200,000 homes—which could open in 2021 at a cost of about $300 million. Both the company and CCS experts hope that the technology will then proliferate. “This is a game-changer if they achieve 100% of their goals,” says John Thompson, a carbon capture expert at the Clean Air Task Force, an environmental nonprofit with an office in Carbondale, Illinois.

Even if NET Power’s technology works as advertised, not everyone will be a fan. Lukas Ross, who directs the climate and energy campaign at Friends of the Earth in Washington, D.C., notes that the natural gas that powers the plant comes from hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” and other potentially destructive practices. And providing a steady supply of high-pressure gas for EOR, he adds, will only perpetuate a reliance on fossil fuels. Ross argues that money would be better spent on encouraging broad deployment of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power.

Yet oddly enough, NET Power could help smooth the way for renewables to expand. The renewable portfolio standards in many countries and U.S. states require solar, wind, and other carbon-free sources to produce an increasing proportion of the electric power supply. But those sources are intermittent: The power comes only when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. Nuclear and fossil fuel sources provide “base load” power that fills the gaps when renewables aren’t available. Conventional natural gas power plants, in particular, are viewed as a renewable-friendly technology because they can be ramped up and down quickly depending on the supply of renewable power.

CEF FFT: Although this is not an ideal solution, perhaps this is a step in the right direction. Who knows what this new Allam Cycle could inspire in other renewables.

Visit source article on Sciencemag.org for more information and diagrams!

Acceleration of Climate Change

Human activity is changing Earth’s climate 170 times faster than natural forces, according to scientists who claim they have devised an equation that shows people are behind global warming.

According to researchers, global temperatures decreased by 0.01C per century over the last 7,000 years—the “baseline” rate. But in the last 45 years it has increased by the equivalent of 1.7C per century, and the 12 warmest years on record have come since 1998, they said.

While “astronomical and geophysical” as well as biospheric forces have driven change in the “Earth system” over its four billion-year existence, human activity has “driven exceptionally rapid rates of change” that the authors of a new study have represented in an “Anthropocene equation”.

Anthropocene is the name given to a proposed new geological era in which the impact of human activity starts having a measurable impact on the environment.

Writing in New Scientist, the study’s co-author Owen Gaffney said: “The rate of carbon emissions to the atmosphere is arguably the highest in 66 million years, when the (non-avian) dinosaurs slipped off this mortal coil.

“The staggering loss of biodiversity in recent decades prompted researchers in 2015 to argue that the Anthropocene marks the third stage in the evolution of Earth’s biosphere, following on from the microbial stage 3.5 billion years ago and the Cambrian explosion 650 million years ago.

“In the equation, astronomical and geophysical forces tend to zero because of their slow nature or rarity, as do internal dynamics, for now. All these forces still exert pressure, but currently on orders of magnitude less than human impact.”

The risks of human impact on the biosphere includes polluted water and soils as well as a warmer climate, Mr Gaffney said.

He added: “While it would seem imprudent to ignore the huge body of evidence pointing to profound risks, it comes at a challenging time geopolitically, when both fact-based world views and even international cooperation are questioned. Nowhere has this been clearer than in the US in recent weeks.”

(Visit the source link from Independent here)

The Death Toll of Air Pollution

Pollution is no joke and the whole world involved is listening.

Pollution and environmental risks are responsible for 1.7 million deaths of children below the age of five, according to two World Health Organization (WHO) reports released Monday.

The reports reveal that 570,000 of children’s deaths each year are attributed to respiratory infections, like pneumonia, caused by both indoor and outdoor air pollution, as well as second-hand smoke. Additionally, 270,000 children a year die in their first month from conditions due to air pollution and lack of sanitation, according to the WHO.

“A polluted environment is a deadly one — particularly for young children,” Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of WHO, said in a press release. “Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water.”

Chan has previously called pollution “one of the most pernicious threats” to health around the world — far greater than the threat of HIV/AIDS or Ebola, BBC reports.

In addition to the deaths, the WHO found that 11–14% of younger children worldwide report asthma symptoms and nearly half (an estimated 44%) of those cases result from the environmental factors.

(Visit the source article on Fortune for more information!)

(Photo credit: Witch Kiki)

First Renewable Energy Island

A tiny Spanish island with just 10,000 residents is about to do something amazing. El Hierro, the smallest of the Canary Islands, plans to completely sever ties with the traditional power grid and move entirely to renewable energy. The island plans to become completely self sufficient next month when its 11.5 megawatt wind farm kicks into gear. El Hierro already has a water turbine that generates electricity, and the added wind power will enable the island to go totally off-grid.

The island actually generates enough power for its residential needs with just the water turbines, but the wind power allows El Hierro to have a little extra power, which will be used to pump fresh water from near the harbor on the island to a reservoir in a volcanic crater 2,300-feet above the sea. When there is not enough wind for electricity needs, that water will be released to feed down into the water turbines to generate more energy, so the island will always have enough power to keep things running.

Imagine if more islands are able to farm such energy. Over time and trials of projects like these, we will learn of ways to make building out wind turbines to be more efficient and effective. In a closed environment such as islands this could be rather optimal.

(Check out the source article on inhabitant for more information!)