News, World Problems

The Number of Trees has Halved Since Human Civilization Emerged

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Today, the Earth has approximately 3 trillion trees left standing – about 422 per person – but we’ve already cut 46% of them.

Climate, News

The coal industry is tanking, while execs are getting a raise

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Right now the coal business is arguably living through its most dire days ever. Nearly 300 mines have closed in the past five years, 200 coal-powered plants have been scheduled for closure, and coal corporations are basically ruined. For instance Peabody Energy, the world’s biggest coal company, sold stocks below $1 when it used to be $72 in 2011. And it could get worse. Alpha Natural Resources, the second biggest coal company in the US, filled for bankruptcy along with other smaller firms. Basically, investors wouldn’t touch coal nowadays not even with a ten foot pole. Winter is coming, but apparently coal companies execs aren’t all that stressed. While their employees have had their pays cut and thousands fired, managers and CEO have actually substantially increased their salaries. When the ship sinks, might as well grab what you can, I guess.

Environment, News

Japanese company starts building world’s largest vertical farm

Similar vertical farming techniques in use by Vancouver-based VertiCrop. PHOTO: Valcenteu, via Wikimedia Commons

Recently, I’ve become quite a fan of vertical farms. The principle is simple: instead of growing things in fields, you cultivate plant life within a skyscraper greenhouse or on vertically inclined surfaces. There are several advantages to this: they’re more productive for the space they use (about 100 times more productive), take 40% less power, 80% less food waste and 99% less water usage than

Climate, News

El Niño shaping up in the Pacific: might be strongest since 1950

El Nino, which is Spanish for "the little boy" or "the Christ child," refers to a type of weather pattern which occurs in some years and usually peaks during the winter months of the northern hemisphere.

According to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), there’s now a mature El Niño present in the Pacific Ocean. As is the case with such events, the biggest sign of an El Niño shaping up is rising surface water temperatures. Right now, the east-central tropical Pacific Ocean waters are likely to exceed 2° Celsius above average, which suggests this could be one of the strongest since 1950, placing it along similar events like 1972-73, 1982-83 or 1997-98.

Environment, News, Nutrition, Science ABC

Is organic food actually good? Here’s what the science says

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It happens to all of us. You’re in the supermarket, you’re buying vegetables and produce, and you’re faced with the inevitable choice: regular or organic? It’s a surprisingly complex question, that carries a different significance for different people. For some, organic means healthier, or more nutritious. For others, it means eco-friendly, or tastier. It can mean clean, good, or just…

Animals, Climate, News, Videos

Alaskan shore overrun by thousands of walruses – here’s why

A walrus, closeup; Shutterstock ID 111808100; PO: website animals; Job: Hillary Leo; Client: website

Thousands upon thousands of Pacific walrus were captured by photographer Gary Braasch as they came ashore on the northwest coast of Alaska last week, in an event believed to be triggered by global warming.

Climate, Design, News

Stunning condominium in Italy is what you’d call an ‘urban tree-house’

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Littered with over 150 trees and boasting a stunning asymmetrical architecture, 25 Verde – an apartment complex in Turin, Italy – is not your typical residence. Though its roots may be made of steel and concrete, this apartment building rises like a forest or urban oasis.

Climate, News, Pollution, Renewable Energy

CitiBank: $44 trillion lost by 2060 if the world fails to address climate change

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One of the largest banks in the world says choosing not to invest in renewable energy and divest from fossil fuel might come at a significant financial cost. Up to $1.8 trillion through 2040 or $44 trillion by 2060, when compared to the business-as-usual model.

Animals, Environmental Issues, News, Pollution, Science, Studies

Plastic debris in 90% of seabirds’ guts

Image via glogster

Researchers studying the plastic problem our ocean is facing predict that by 2050 nearly every single maritime bird species will have plastic pieces inside their digestive systems. The grim prediction is based on a new study showing that about 90 percent of seabirds today have plastic in their bodies.

Renewable Energy, Research

Indian airport is the first in the world 100% powered by renewable energy

india airport

India is one of the most polluted countries in the world, but for what it’s worth local authorities acknowledge this and are trying to balance their energy mix, currently heavily reliant on fossil fuel. More than 90% of India’s energy needs are met by coal, oil and gas. In all this ocean of dirt, particles and toxic fumes, the Cochin International Airport (CIAL) shines like jewel – the first international airport in the world that is 100% served by solar energy.