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!

Open Litter Map

Open Litter Map is a web-based litter-mapping game to generate Open Data for a healthier planet. By switching your phone’s camera to allow for “Location Tags,” when you take a photo of litter, the approximate location will be geotagged into the image. Once you upload the image to Open Litter Map’s website, it will need to be verified. After verification is complete it will appear on their global map data as in this screen grab!

Check out their website for more info on how to start uploading your own geotagged photos of trash needing cleanup!

CEF FFT: What would be a next step for the application for mapping litter data? Well, first thing that comes to mind is trash not easily accessible for someone to remove without proper gear, for example in a public park with a large pond where fish, turtles, ducks and other creatures live.

Marine Debris Tracker

 

(ABOVE: Marine Debris Tracker)

The Mobile App Marine Debris Tracker originated in 2010 from a joint partnership of the NOAA Marine Debris Program and the Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative (SEA-MDI), located within the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia.

A primary goal of SEA-MDI was to use innovative technologies and unique expertise to add culturally relevant outreach tools and information to the NOAA Marine Debris Program.

Marine Debris Tracker is a product of this initiative. Their goal is to spread awareness of marine debris, as well as serve as an easy to use and simple tool for marine debris data collection. In 2015, funding from 11th Hour Racing (A Program of The Schmidt Family Foundation) is allowed them to expand the tracker as a culturally relevant outreach and data collection tool for the sailing community.

Check out Marine Debris online for more information and to start geotagging litter!

CEF FFT: This could be a very useful tool for cleanup crews to use to arrange events knowing ahead of time there is something to clean.

A Sponge for Oil Spills

A group of researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory have developed a sponge that will collect oil from bodies of water, which could improve how harbors and ports are cleaned, as well as how oil spills are managed.

“The Oleo Sponge offers a set of possibilities that, as far as we know, are unprecedented,” said co-inventor Seth Darling, a scientist with Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials and a fellow of the University of Chicago’s Institute for Molecular Engineering.

At tests at a giant seawater tank in New Jersey called Ohmsett, the National Oil Spill Response Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility, the Oleo Sponge successfully collected diesel and crude oil from both below and on the water surface.

“The material is extremely sturdy. We’ve run dozens to hundreds of tests, wringing it out each time, and we have yet to see it break down at all,” according to Darling.

The team is actively looking to commercialize the material; those interested in licensing the technology or collaborating with the laboratory on further development may contact partners@anl.gov.

For more info and a video demonstration visit Argonne’s website here!

Wolves: The Protectors of Rivers

wolvsandtrophiccascade

We Love Animals make a fascinating point that wolves (in this case Yellowstone National Park) help to contain the dispersion of water in rivers by regulating the population of deer and other familiar prey which feed on vegetation. In the headlines to their video, they prime you that 14 wolves were released in a park within Yellowstone in 1995 and were able to see how their return and presence in their natural environment sparked the means for the land and rivers to stabilize. Check out this video to see how important they are in the whole trophic cascade of life on our amazing planet.

Whilst wolves play a massive part in keeping the river clean and dispersed, it’s also important that other people get an honorable mention too. It’s not just the predators of the Yellowstone National Park that keep the river clean and flowing efficiently. Due to the ever-increasing population of animals that feed on the vegetation in the park, it’s essential that they are controlled and regulated with the help of hunters. Both hunters and wolves can control the population of these animals. For hunters, this can be for recreational sport. By using air rifles or crossbows during the hunting season, hunters can keep the vegetation growing steadily without being eaten by these animals. For any hunters interested in visiting the Yellowstone National Park, it’s advised that they bring their own hunting equipment. If they need to purchase one beforehand, there are rifle and crossbow reviews available on Outdoor Empire, for example. That can help hunters find the best hunting equipment to ensure the population of deer, and other similar animals, are regulated in this ecosystem.

Both wolves and hunters can help to control the dispersion of water by managing the population of deer and other animals that eat the vegetation. By reducing the number of animals that eat the vegetation, rainwater will get absorbed into the ground, instead of flowing straight into the river and disrupting the natural dispersion of the water.

Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

pioppino_mushroomsPaul Stamets of British Columbia is a mycologist who has discovered some fascinating results in his research on the fungi we call mushrooms!

Pioppino mushrooms have been shown to induce tumor regression, reversing cancer in lab mice. Oddly enough, this same species also controlled blood sugar in diabetic mice.

There are mushrooms which can clean up the oil from oil spills, beehive-like Agarikon dangles that can provide a defense against weaponized smallpox. It is amazing to think about what potential tools we can find to reverse the damage we’ve done to the planet and they are all naturally occurring in nature.

Some types of mushrooms can even be used to help people to manage mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. Psilocybin, the active ingredient found in magic mushrooms, or shrooms, is a powerful psychedelic that is being investigated for its potential medical benefits. Psilocybin is a psychedelic tryptamine.

These types of chemicals have a structure very similar to the structure of serotonin, a chemical messenger with important roles in the brain and digestive system. Because of this similarity, psilocybin can bind to receptors in the brain that are meant for serotonin. This binding and activation of serotonin receptor sites therefore correlates with the manifestation of psychedelic effects.

Correspondingly, it is thought that psilocybin works by suppressing parts of the brain that filter out information from the senses. This causes more sensory information to reach conscious levels of thought, causing hallucinogenic effects and changes in perception. You can learn more about the potential health benefits of magic mushrooms by doing some research into shrooms online.

Stamets also has written a book, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World. He believes that these particular mushrooms can serve as revolutionary tools in the fields of medicine, forestry, pesticides and pollution control. To find out more information check out this link to a full article with Stamets.

Magnetic Water-Cleaning Technology

A hydro-magnetic system, the first of its kind, was made by the scientists at Omni Enviro and installed in the Sochi River near the Black Sea in western Russia. This system is a hydro-technical structure installed in the river and is described as “a running/flowing type” of magnetic water treatment plant.

Within a few hours of the hydro-magnetic system’s operation in the Sochi River, the scientists, as well as thousands of other people who had come to see this experiment, witnessed unique changes.

One change was that shoals of fish could be seen swimming from the direction of the sea towards the water that had flowed through the magnetic system. Because magnetic water coagulates particles floating in the water causing them to sink to the bottom, the water becomes much clearer with visibility improving markedly. Witnesses claim that there were so many fish in the river, it was impossible to see the bottom even though the depth of the river in that area is no more than 1.5 meters.

Widespread interest in the hydro-magnetic system in Sochi lead Omni Enviro to build a complex called a “Magnetic Quay” and located it on the banks of the river.

This complex includes a “Magnetic Coffee Shop”, and a gallery exhibiting magnetic devices. Company representatives are always available at “Magnetic Quay” to explain to tourists the everyday use of magnetic technologies. (OmniEnviro Source link: https://www.omnienviro.com/environment/rivers-lakes.php)

Check out their website for more research and video testimonials! Does this mean fish can swim in cleaner water? Are there any adverse effects in using this magnetic technology?

Recyclone: Sir James Dyson’s River Cleaner

RecycloneLike a knight coming back after retirement to slay another dragon Sir James Dyson has begun to fashion a river-cleaning barge modeled after his famous Dyson vacuum technology. He explains in an interview with Fast Company “The nets face upstream and skim the surface of the river for floating debris. The plastic waste is shredded on board and then different grades of plastic are separated by a huge cyclone–very similar to the way our cyclonic vacuums work.”

Around a year ago he was quoted saying his project “Recyclone” is still in development.  One of his primary concerns was finding effective ways of preventing aquatic life from being sucked in along with the trash.  Another question that arose was that of sorting larger trash like plastic bottles from smaller trash like plastic beads. In response, Dyson explains that his team is developing a system analogous to the Dyson Vacuum in the sense that it sorts trash from largest to smallest.

Here is a great article and interview inhabitat hosted with Sir James Dyson on his new invention in the works.