Carbon Capture by RMIT University

The cost-effective method could revolutionize how we remove carbon from the atmosphere, particularly in regard to climate change.

A team of scientists used liquid metal and a liquid electrolyte to convert gaseous CO2 into a solid, coal-like substance.

Compared to current methods, the new approach could prove to be a more efficient and scalable way to remove carbon from the atmosphere and safely store it.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the global community must remove 100 billion to 1 trillion metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by mid-century in order to avoid catastrophic global warming.

Scientists have created a method to convert carbon dioxide back into solid coal, a breakthrough that could change the ways carbon is removed from the atmosphere and permanently stored.

It’s one of several recently developed negative emissions techniques that seek to make carbon capture and storage cheaper, safer and more efficient. This particular method was developed by a research team led by RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, and it uses a liquid metal electrocatalyst, containing nanoparticles of the rare-earth metal cerium, to convert the greenhouse gas into a stable, coal-like solid.

“While we can’t literally turn back time, turning carbon dioxide back into coal and burying it back in the ground is a bit like rewinding the emissions clock,” study co-author Dr. Torben Daeneke told The Independent. “To date, CO2 has only been converted into a solid at extremely high temperatures, making it industrially unviable.”

Original article on BigThink here!

Climate Crisis is a Health Crisis

The Climate Crisis is a Health Crisis (Graphic from The Climate Reality Project)

The world’s leading scientists agree we must slash emissions by 2030 and keep global warming below 1.5 degrees C to avert a truly dangerous future. Carbon pollution poisons our air, water, and soil, threatening our health.

When we protect our planet, we protect ourselves. The Climate Reality Project is calling on the world’s leaders to ACT NOW.

Visit their website @ Climaterealityproject.org

Three Squares Inc

It was great meeting @threesquaresinc at 24 Hours of Reality 2018 at Los Angeles Historic Park earlier this month. 

As it so happens, film productions have a nasty reputation for wasting and improper disposal of materials. Enter Three Sqaures Inc.! 

Each day of production they held a meeting (as seen above) where they debriefed the production crew on how to properly dispose of their waste on set. 

We also had set up 4 options for dumpsters: compost, landfill, recycling and construction/demolition (as seen in photos). At one point when I found catering dumping excess food waste (non-meat) into the landfill I asked them to use the compost bags and use the compost dumpster. They replied that they green compost bags tended to tear open while they carried them so they used garbage bags instead. I offered the idea that they could use a milk crate to transport the compost bags and thankfully they listened and the new plan worked minimizing any spillage.

It was great to have the support of Three Squares Inc to help make our set as green as humanly possible! 

Imagine if every production set were able to properly sort their waste–it would surely reduce the environmental impact of the modern entertainment industry.

Visit Three Squares Inc at: http://www.threesquaresinc.com/

The Climate Reporter

The Climate Reporter is an international youth-led news organization building a platform to become the leading news outlet for the environmental movement. #ReportOnClimate Give them a follow and get up-to-speed on environmental issues:
https://medium.com/the-climate-reporter
@reportonclimate 📰📰📰📰📰

24 Hours of Reality 2018

🌍🌎🌏 Join #24HoursofReality till 9pm EST today December 4th for the live broadcast online at https://www.24hoursofreality.org and become a citizen producer at climatereality.org! 🌍🌎🌏

Happy Earth Day 2018

Happy Earth Day 2018!

“In our obscurity, in all this vastness,
there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere
to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the onl world known so far to harbor life.

There is no where else, at least in the near future,
to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet.

Like it or not, for the moment,
the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is humbling, and
character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the
folly of human conceits than this distant image.

To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more
kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish
the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

– Carl Sagan

“I want to know my ancestors–all of them.
I want to be a good, strong link in the chain of generations.
I want to protect my children and the children
of ages to come.
We, who embody the local eyes and ears and thoughts and feelings of the cosmos,
we’ve begun to learn the story of our origins–star stuff
contemplating the evolution of matter, tracing that long path by which it arrived
at consciousness.
We and the other living things on this planet carry a legacy of cosmic evolution
spanning billions of years.
If we take that knowledge to heart,
if we come to know and love nature as it really is,
then we will surely be remembered by our descendents as good,
strong links in the chain of life.
And our children will continue this sacred searching,
seeing for us as we have seen for those who came before,
discovering wonders yet undreamt of…in the cosmos.”
– Neil DeGrasse-Tyson

(Quoted from Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey S1:E13 Unafraid of the Dark)

Mutant Enzyme that Eats Plastic Bottles

Scientists have created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles – by accident as posted in the Guardian recently on April 16th! The breakthrough could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis by enabling for the first time the full recycling of bottles.

The new research was spurred by the discovery in 2016 of the first bacterium that had naturally evolved to eat plastic, at a waste dump in Japan. Scientists have now revealed the detailed structure of the crucial enzyme produced by the bug.

The international team then tweaked the enzyme to see how it had evolved, but tests showed they had inadvertently made the molecule even better at breaking down the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic used for soft drink bottles. “What actually turned out was we improved the enzyme, which was a bit of a shock,” said Prof John McGeehan, at the University of Portsmouth, UK, who led the research. “It’s great and a real finding.”

The mutant enzyme takes a few days to start breaking down the plastic – far faster than the centuries it takes in the oceans. But the researchers are optimistic this can be speeded up even further and become a viable large-scale process.

“What we are hoping to do is use this enzyme to turn this plastic back into its original components, so we can literally recycle it back to plastic,” said McGeehan. “It means we won’t need to dig up any more oil and, fundamentally, it should reduce the amount of plastic in the environment.”

About 1m plastic bottles are sold each minute around the globe and, with just 14% recycled, many end up in the oceans where they have polluted even the remotest parts, harming marine life and potentially people who eat seafood. “It is incredibly resistant to degradation. Some of those images are horrific,” said McGeehan. “It is one of these wonder materials that has been made a little bit too well.”

Original link here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/16/scientists-accidentally-create-mutant-enzyme-that-eats-plastic-bottles

Drawdown EcoChallenge

The Drawdown EcoChallenge is a fun and social way to learn about and take action on the 100 climate solutions featured in the seminal work of Paul Hawken “Drawdown.”

From April 4-25, individuals and teams from around the world will take part in simple daily activities to reduce their carbon footprints and delve into the world’s most substantive solutions to global warming. At the end of the Challenge, the teams with the most points will win great prizes, including copies of Drawdown and a one-hour video session with Paul Hawken!

The EcoChallenges are broken down into these sections (with an added note of current participants):

LAND USE (1260)

ELECTRICITY GENERATION (1751)

FOOD (3156)

WOMEN AND GIRLS (1392)

BUILDINGS AND CITIES (1598)

TRANSPORT (1814)

MATERIALS (2094)

Executive Director of Drawdown, Hawken states “All of life is comprised of self-organizing systems and the Drawdown EcoChallenge is exactly that—people coming together to share, learn, support, imagine, and innovate for a better world. We are honored to be a part of this significant and brilliant initiative.”

Visit http://www.drawdown.org/ecochallenge for more information!

Biocarbon Engineering Drones

Biocarbon Engineering, headed by CEO Lauren Fletcher is a company seeking to plant 1 BILLION trees every year using drone technology. By mapping out a grid in deforested regions, a single operator can control and automate up to 15 drones which can put in roughly 360 current-standard man hours of tree planting each day. Each drone precisely propels down biodegradable seedpods that are designed to enhance germination success. With their research and development they are looking to overcome varied challenging environments, manage large-scale projects and utilize their drone technology for precision planting to help restore entire ecosystems for the planet.

Their team is comprised of experts in the fields of physics, environmental engineering, biomedical engineering, UAV swarm intelligence, UAV design and control, environmental resource management, forestry maintenance, electrical engineering, mechatronics, robotics, automation engineering, environmental data analysis and more.

For more information visit their website: https://www.biocarbonengineering.com

CEF FFT: Imagine a world where we see their goal met of 1 billion trees planted per year. What kind of effect would that have in drawing down carbon emissions?

Mental Health and Climate

Here is an excerpt from the 2017 APA Mental Health on Climate white-paper:

MENTAL HEALTH
The ability to process information and make decisions
without being disabled by extreme emotional responses is
threatened by climate change. Some emotional response is
normal, and even negative emotions are a necessary part of
a fulfilling life. In the extreme case, however, they can interfere
with our ability to think rationally, plan our behavior, and
consider alternative actions. An extreme weather event can
be a source of trauma, and the experience can cause
disabling emotions. More subtle and indirect effects of
climate change can add stress to people’s lives in varying
degrees. Whether experienced indirectly or directly, stressors
to our climate translate into impaired mental health that can
result in depression and anxiety (USGCRP, 2016). Although
everyone is able to cope with a certain amount of stress,
the accumulated effects of compound stress can tip a
person from mentally healthy to mentally ill. Even uncertainty
can be a source of stress and a risk factor for psychological
distress (Greco & Roger, 2003). People can be negatively
affected by hearing about the negative experiences of
others, and by fears—founded or unfounded—about their
own potential vulnerability.
PHYSICAL HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTH
Compromised physical health can be a source of stress
that threatens psychological well-being. Conversely, mental
health problems can also threaten physical health, for
example, by changing patterns of sleep, eating, or exercise
and by reducing immune system function.
COMMUNITY HEALTH
Although residents’ mental and physical health affect
communities, the impacts of climate on community health
can have a particularly strong effect on community fabric
and interpersonal relationships. Altered environmental
conditions due to climate change can shift the opportunities
people have for social interaction, the ways in which they
relate to each other, and their connections to the
natural world.

Link to article: https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2017/03/mental-health-climate.pdf