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!

Earth Hour: Turn Up the Dark

Earth Hour: Turn Up the Dark is this Saturday March 25th between 8:30-9:30PM local time!

Every year, hundreds of millions of people around the world switch off their lights for one designated hour to demonstrate a commitment to fighting climate change.

Turn off your lights this Saturday to join the world in a spectacular event.

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)

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!)

Climate Change All-in-One Graph

“All the risks of climate change, in a single graph”

The risks of climate change are not easy to communicate clearly. Since the atmosphere affects everything, everything will be affected by its warming — there’s no single risk, but a wide and varied array of risks, of different severity and scales, affecting different systems, unfolding on different timelines.

One of the better-known and more controversial attempts to address this problem is a graphic from the reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The so-called “burning embers” graph attempts to render the various risks of climate change — “reasons for concern,” or RFCs — in an easy-to-grasp visual form.

Long story short, they find that the graphic is generally accurate (though it has key limitations). They offer suggestions for how the RFC framework could be extended in the future to “better account for possible changes in social and ecological system vulnerability.”

As you can see, there is a ton of information about the risks of climate change crammed in there, so it’s worth unpacking a bit. It offers a remarkably coherent overview of the various risks that lie ahead this century.

The thermometer on the right shows temperatures relative to preindustrial levels; the thermometer on the left shows them relative to 1986-2005. The distance between the two blue lines is warming that occurred through 2005. (As that note on the right indicates, warming is up a bit 2003-2012.)

Following the IPCC, risks are divided into five buckets or RFCs:

  1. Risks to unique and threatened systems. These are ecological or human systems that are geographically constrained and have a high degree of “endemism” — they are uniquely adapted to a particular geography and climate. The authors cite as examples “tropical glacier systems, coral reefs, mangrove ecosystems, biodiversity hotspots, and unique indigenous communities.”
  2. Risks associated with extreme weather events. This is what it says, i.e., “risk to human health, livelihoods, assets, and ecosystems from extremes such as heat waves, heavy rain, drought and associated wildfires, and coastal flooding.”
  3. Risks associated with the distribution of impacts. This reflects the fact that some groups will be hit earlier and harder than others. Distribution of impacts can be uneven with respect to “geographic location, income and wealth, gender, age, or other physical and socioeconomic characteristics.”
  4. Risks associated with global aggregate impacts. This refers to “impacts to socio-ecological systems that can be aggregated globally according to a single metric such as lives affected, monetary damage, number of species at risk of extinction, or degradation and loss of a number of ecosystems at a global scale.”
  5. Risks associated with large-scale singular events. These are the much-discussed “tipping points,” whereby a series of incremental changes pushes some system over a threshold, at which point it shifts into a period of rapid, discontinuous, and sometimes irreversible change. The iconic example here is “disintegration of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets leading to a large and rapid sea-level rise.”

For more information on climate change and this “all-in-one” graph visit the source on Flipboard by David Roberts.

Permaculture 101

Above is a video on the fundamentals of permaculture via (Permaculture Fundamentals 101).

Take a look a what permaculture means to our species as we make our footprint on the earth.

A quick dive in, permaculture is:

A “holistic design” system for creating sustainable human settlements, food productions systems as well as preserving and extending natural ecosystems.

It is a movement concerned with sustainable, environmentally sound land use, and the building of stable communities through the harmonious interrelationship of humans, plants, animals and the Earth.

Here are the 3 Ethics of Permaculture:

Care of the Earth: Taking care of the planet that sustains and nourishes us. The earth gives us what we need. In turn, we need to treat it with consideration and respect.

Care of People: Meeting people’s needs so that they can enjoy a good quality of life, fulfill their potential and without damaging the planet.

Share the Surplus: Originally “set limits to population and consumption,” now refined and reworded. Don’t use more than you need or what the planet’s systems can sustain. This includes the philosophy of reduce, reuse, recycle.

Food For Thought: 

How would permaculture benefit from looking at modern technologies which are not only ecologically conscious (biodegradable items, vertical farming etc.) but also those involved in conservation and restoration (cleaning drones and magnetics) as well as the earth’s fundamental capabilities to sustain and revive (meal worms, mushrooms, lichen etc.)?

Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary

There is a recent movement going under the name of MAPS (Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary) and the hashtag #UNITEBYLIGHT which aspires to protect the Arctic and in turn the planet as a whole.

“We no longer live in an era with the luxury to consider one isolated region as separate from the whole. What happens in the arctic affects our entire world.” Parvati.org

MAPS is launching a 24-month long marketing plan to develop a narrative that will reach governments worldwide. Through the power of social media, supporters and increasing ecological awareness they aim to make the goal for MAPS a reality. Their first phase of business is the realization of MAPS which will be accomplished through publication of  compelling media narratives and high-quality artistic experiences that support a global shift to a sustainable future. Visit their website Parvati.org to show your support for this not-for-profit dedicated to a healthy world!

2016 United Nations Climate Change Conference

2016_climate_conference

In the 2016 United Nations Climate Change Conference (currently in session), the ways in which the Paris Agreement will be applied is the hot item on the agenda for COP22. The Paris Agreement (French: Accord de Paris) is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020.

Morocco intends to use COP22 as a means to showcase its commitment to fighting climate change. According to Hakima El Haite, the Moroccan Environment Minister, the conference will be “one of innovation with regard to adapting to and alleviating the effects of climate change,” as well as “an opportunity to develop functional tools as part of the Paris-Lima and Paris-Marrakesh Action Plans”. The financial responsibility for loss and damages, which was recognized under the Paris Agreement, will also be debated during COP22, as well as transparency rules regarding the information provided by countries pertaining to the steps they take to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions.