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!)

Offshore Wind

When engineers faced resistance from residents in Denmark over plans to build wind turbines on the Nordic country’s flat farmland, they found a better locale: the sea. The offshore wind farm, the world’s first, had just 11 turbines and could power about 3,000 homes.

That project now looks like a minnow compared with the whales that sprawl for miles across the seas of Northern Europe.

Off this venerable British port city, a Danish company, Dong Energy, is installing 32 turbines that stretch 600 feet high. Each turbine produces more power than that first facility.

It is precisely the size, both of the projects and the profits they can bring, that has grabbed the attention of financial institutions, money managers and private equity funds, like the investment bank Goldman Sachs, as well as wealthy individuals like the owner of the Danish toymaker Lego. As the technology has improved and demand for renewable energy has risen, costs have fallen.

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Turning Coal Carbon Emissions to Baking Soda

A coal-powered plant in Tuticorin, India has found an innovative way to capture carbon emissions — by recycling them into soda ash, an ingredient in common household products like bleach, sweeteners, and even your toothpaste.

The typical carbon capturing method filters out the carbon before it is released into the atmosphere and stores it in a separate containment. But Tuticorin is changing it up by crystallizing the coal and turning it into soda ash — otherwise known as baking soda.

That baking soda byproduct means Tuticorin has made carbon capture profitable: Not only is it environmentally wise, but dirty waste is being re-imagined to sell plastic, rubber, or glass manufacturing.

With solar, wind, and hydropower resources becoming more accessible to the masses, the demand for natural gas is expected to be on the decline, making this carbon capture method attractive to businesses and consumers alike. According to the Ren21 Global Status Report for 2015, the world invested twice as much in clean energy as they did in the oil and gas industry. Previous roadblocks have stopped the U.S. from investing in carbon capture in the past. But this new mechanism can be outfitted to any plant — no matter how old — and is much more affordable.

Visit source link here!

AirCasting

AirCasting is an open-source, end-to-end solution for collecting, displaying, and sharing health and environmental data using your smartphone. The platform consists of wearable sensors that detect changes in your environment and physiology, including a palm-sized air quality monitor called the AirBeam, the AirCasting Android app, the AirCasting website, and wearable LED accessories. By documenting and leveraging health and environmental data to inform personal decision-making and public policy, the AirCasting platform empowers citizen scientists and changemakers.

(Visit AirCasting for more info!)

New Wind

A French company called New Wind is installing tree-shaped wind turbines at the Place de la Concorde in Paris, France. The company’s founder, Jérôme Michaud-Larivière came up with the idea while in a Paris square, when he “saw the leaves tremble when there was not a breath of air.” He hopes the trees can be used to exploit small air currents flowing along buildings and streets, and could eventually be installed in people’s yards and urban centres.

He is the first to admit the efficiency of the trees is low compared to more consistent currents higher up, but believes the £23,500 trees are more viable and less intrusive than ‘monstrous’ conventional wind turbines. The 26 foot high trees, which use tiny blades inside the ‘leaves’, could potentially be profitable after a year of wind speeds averaging 7.8 mph. They can generate electricity in wind speeds as low as 4.5 mph. Visit the link below for more photos and a video.

(Source: alternative-energy-news.info )

Habitat Map

HabitatMap is a non-profit environmental health justice organization whose goal is to raise awareness about the impact the environment has on human health. Their online mapping and social networking platform is designed to maximize the impact of community voices on city planning and strengthen ties between organizations and activists working to build greener, greater cities. Participants are encouraged to utilizing their shared advocacy platform to:

  • Alert the public to environmental health hazards
  • Hold polluters accountable for their environmental impacts
  • Highlight urban infrastructures that promote healthy living
  • Identify future opportunities for sustainable urban development
  • Promote policies that enhance equitable access to urban resources

By polluting the environment we end up polluting ourselves in turn. Now, we can measure it and have the ability to share the information globally.

Purple Air: Real-time Air Quality Map

purpleair_airqualitymap(Above) A look at the PurpleAir Map broadcast of air quality in different city regions of the US.

According to their website, PurpleAir states that they are creating “an air quality monitoring network built on a new generation of Laser particle counters. PurpleAir Sensors use WiFi to report local air quality in real time to the PurpleAir Map.”

purpleair_aqi_unhealthy

As you can see above, the readings range from green (good) to a deep purple (hazardous). Keep in mind that these readings of the AQI (Air Quality Index) are real-time and often can vary between Good and Moderate or Warning and Unhealthy for example. They also provide charts to show the change over hours and days among other information you can check out on their website.

PurpleAir has available to purchase and register your own PA-II Dual Laser Air Quality Sensor to contribute to the data that is being reported real-time through a network of sensors.