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Extreme weather shattered records in 2015

Temperatures, sea levels and carbon dioxide all hit milestones amid extreme weather in 2015, the international 'State of the Climate' report finds.


The world is careening towards an environment never experienced before by humans, with the temperature of the air and oceans breaking records, sea levels reaching historic highs and carbon dioxide surpassing a key milestone, a major international report has found. 


 The “state of the climate” report, led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) with input from hundreds of scientists from 62 countries, confirmed there was a “toppling of several symbolic mileposts” in heat, sea level rise and extreme weather in 2015.

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Solar Impulse 2 Finishes Its Epic Round-the-World Trip

Solar Impulse 2 Finishes Its Epic Round-the-World Trip | Green Living | Scoop.it

The first round-the-world flight by an electrically powered aircraft ended successfully yesterday as Solar Impulse 2 touched down where the trip began in March 2015, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Pilot Bertrand Piccard landed the aircraft after more than two days in the air between Cairo and Abu Dhabi.


The flight ends a 15-year, $170-million project meant to demonstrate the practicality of environmentally friendly propulsion. A previous, smaller version of the aircraft, the original Solar Impulse, flew across the United States in 2013. Though the flight demonstrated that electric-only flight is possible, it also illustrates how impractical it still is. The airplane cruised at an average of only 50 miles per hour, a slow pace that tested the pilot’s endurance as well as the batteries. The longest leg was 117 hours in the air between Japan and Hawaii, after which Solar Impulse was grounded for nine months with severe battery damage (which the team attributed to errors now rectified). The airplane was built of extremely light materials, and the top of its fuselage was lined with solar cells. It flew at night using battery-stored energy.

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Norway to build world's first floating underwater traffic tunnels

Norway to build world's first floating underwater traffic tunnels | Green Living | Scoop.it

An ambitious new plan in Norway would install a series of submerged floating bridges to help travelers easily cross the nation's many fjords.

Norway has hatched ambitious plans to install the world's first floating underwater tunnels to help travelers easily cross the nation's many fjords. At present, the only way to travel across the bodies of water involves taking a series of ferries - an inconvenient and time-consuming process. The "submerged floating bridges" would consist of large tubes suspended under 100 feet of water, and each one will be wide enough for two lanes of traffic.

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A giant floating barrier might be the answer to cleaner oceans

A giant floating barrier might be the answer to cleaner oceans | Green Living | Scoop.it

A 328-foot-long floating barrier will collect the miscellaneous pieces of plastic bottles, bags, fishing nets, and trash that floats about the seas.

With 7.4 billion people on the planet, it’s no surprise that we generate quite a bit of trash. A lot of it, in fact. And sadly, much of our waste ends up in the waters of the world, presenting a huge problem for marine life, and cyclically, us as well. A nonprofit in the Netherlands may have a solution for cleaning the ocean. The Ocean Cleanup Foundation has unveiled a huge, 328 foot-long floating barrier that will collect the miscellaneous pieces of plastic bottles, bags, fishing nets, and other trash that floats about the seas. And ideally, the barrier would replace the boats that are currently tasked with the mission of hunting for ocean waste.

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Smart D Home Blog: Smart Buildings are simply generating Smart Cities

Smart D Home Blog: Smart Buildings are simply generating Smart Cities | Green Living | Scoop.it
In order for a city to provide access to its intelligence behind the knowledge and become a Smart City, the development of the Intelligence System that connects the central nervous system to a brain is required-- enter smart buildings.
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The benefits of a Smart Light Bulb - Smart D Home Store's Blog

The benefits of a Smart Light Bulb - Smart D Home Store's Blog | Green Living | Scoop.it
Have you embraced smart home technology? If not, you should learn and read this article about the enormous benefits of the smart bulb. Well, this is where a Smart light bulb would come in handy. Below you will discover more information and the benefits of a Smart bulb. Smart Light Bulb It’s integrated with a …
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A satellite due to be launched into orbit Tuesday will boost Europe's ability to monitor environmental changes and provide early warning of possible migrant flows

A satellite due to be launched into orbit Tuesday will boost Europe's ability to monitor environmental changes and provide early warning of possible migrant flows | Green Living | Scoop.it
BERLIN (AP) — A satellite due to be launched into orbit Tuesday will boost Europe's ability to monitor environmental changes and provide early warning of possible migrant flows.

The European Space Agency says Sentinel-3A is one of more than a dozen satellites that will make up the most sophisticated Earth observation system ever launched.

Two satellites already in orbit are equipped with radar and high-resolution cameras, to which Sentinel-3A will add sophisticated instruments for measuring sea and surface temperatures.

Josef Aschbacher, who oversees the Earth observation program, says the satellite will be able to spot upcoming droughts and even identify spots where people may be gathering to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

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Community Composting Grows from a Seed into a Movement

Community Composting Grows from a Seed into a Movement | Green Living | Scoop.it
Three years ago, Dustin Fedako attended the US Composting Council’s annual conference. As founder of Compost Pedallers, a bike-powered compost recycling program in Austin, Texas, Fedako didn’t know what to expect from the conference, which is geared toward the industrial composting model. He just wanted to “sponge up as much as he could.” He learned a lot and he also spent a lot of time explaining what community composting is.

Via Alan Yoshioka
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By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans, study says

By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans, study says | Green Living | Scoop.it

There is a lot of plastic in the world’s oceans.

It coagulates into great floating “garbage patches” that cover large swaths of the Pacific. It washes up on urban beaches and remote islands, tossed about in the waves and transported across incredible distances before arriving, unwanted, back on land. It has wound up in the stomachs of more than half the world’s sea turtles and nearly all of its marine birds, studies say. And if it was bagged up and arranged across all of the world’s shorelines, we could build a veritable plastic barricade between ourselves and the sea.

But that quantity pales in comparison with the amount that the World Economic Forum expects will be floating into the oceans by the middle of the century.

If we keep producing (and failing to properly dispose of) plastics at predicted rates, plastics in the ocean will outweigh fish pound for pound in 2050, the nonprofit foundation said in a report Tuesday.

 

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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
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Solar Impulse 2: Around the World without Fuel or Fear – from Davos

Solar Impulse 2: Around the World without Fuel or Fear – from Davos | Green Living | Scoop.it
Learn how breakthroughs in clean technology can take us to new heights with the explorers who are set to break the record for the world’s longest solo flight using only solar energy. André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard took off from Abu Dhabi in March and aim to complete the circumnavigation of the Earth by returning to the UAE. Watch them speak live at the World Economic Forum in Davos at 12.45pm.

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More Than 1,000 Sustainability Reports Expected in Next Two Years in North America: CSE Research

More Than 1,000 Sustainability Reports Expected in Next Two Years in North America: CSE Research | Green Living | Scoop.it
there is a clearly visible trend of public companies (82%) to publish sustainability reports in order to disclose information and be transparent about their sustainability performance. What is also interesting is that there is a growing trend for Small-Medium Enterprises to publish sustainability reports in order to increase their transparency, attract customers and grow their business.

Via EcoVadis
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EcoVadis's curator insight, January 19, 2016 4:38 PM

Things are turning around in the US for sustainability...

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Photos of Paris’ Monumental Housing Projects That Challenge Ideas About How the French Live

Photos of Paris’ Monumental Housing Projects That Challenge Ideas About How the French Live | Green Living | Scoop.it

Since 2011, French photographer Laurent Kronental has been working on an ongoing series documenting life on the edge of Paris in the “grands ensembles.” These monumental housing projects were built between the 1950s and the 1980s on the outskirts of major French cities as answers to a dearth of housing and an influx of foreign migrants. Aging monolithic concrete structures with an almost alien presence in the French landscape, they are a far cry from the Haussmannian apartment blocks that dominate central Paris and the world’s collective imagination about how the French live.

 

Kronental said in an artist’s statement that he is “fascinated by these projects’ ambitious and dated modernistic features” that “are today often stigmatized by the media and marginalized by public opinion.” He hopes that his images provide “sharp contrast with these cliché views” and celebrate the often overlooked “urban veterans who have aged there.”

 

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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
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Bio-Powered Chips Might One Day Fit Inside Cells

Bio-Powered Chips Might One Day Fit Inside Cells | Green Living | Scoop.it

For the first time, researchers have developed a microchip that is powered by the same energy-rich molecules that fuel living cells, researchers say. Thisadvance could one day lead to devices that are implanted within cells and harvest biological energy to operate.


The molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP) stores chemical energy and is used inside cells to ferry energy from where it is generated to where it is consumed. The new microchip relies on enzymes known as sodium-potassium ATPases. These molecules break down ATP to release energy the enzymes use to pump sodium and potassium ions across membranes, generating an electrical potential during the process.


“Ion pumps are electronics-like components in living systems,” says study senior author Ken Shepard, an electrical engineer at Columbia University in New York. Shepard and his colleagues detailed their findings in the 7 December edition of the journal Nature Communications.


The researchers embedded sodium-potassium ATPases taken from pig brains in artificial fatty membranes. There were more than 2 million of these molecules active per square millimeter of the membranes, about 5 percent of the density naturally occurring in mammalian nerve fibers.


In the presence of ATP, these ion pumps generated 78 millivolts. A “biocell” of two membranes provides enough of a voltage to operate a CMOS integrated circuit. The ion pumps have a chemical-to-electrical energy conversion efficiency of of 14.9 percent.


“These ion pumps generated an electrical field that we harnessed to power a solid-state system,” Shepard says.


Since ATP is only really found within cells and not in the bloodstream, Shepard cautions that this new system is not a way to power conventional implantable medical devices such as pacemakers.


“However, such a system might power an implant small enough to sit inside a cell,” Shepard says. “Solid-state materials are already used in nanoparticles for various therapeutic and imaging purposes in the body, but those are all just passive materials. Our idea is to make something that would have the ability to compute and act, to make decisions and then actuate in some way.”


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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PACE Innovators ‘Beat the Street’ with Explosive Growth in Clean Energy Financing

PACE Innovators ‘Beat the Street’ with Explosive Growth in Clean Energy Financing | Green Living | Scoop.it

At a time when investors are skittish over market volatility, they couldn’t be more bullish on the economic potential of renewables, in particular a form of clean energy financing known as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).

PACE allows residential and commercial property owners to finance 100 percent of over 60 categories of renewable energy, energy efficiency and water conservation improvements with no money down, no FICO score requirements or encumbrance of personal or business credit.

Improvements include solar, wind and storage as well as heating and cooling systems, lighting improvements, water pumps, insulation, low water-flow fixtures and new windows and doors. Eligibility is based strictly on property values. Financing is repaid over periods of up to 25 years via voluntary assessments on property tax bills.


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Why Do We Pretend to Clean Up Ocean Oil Spills?

Why Do We Pretend to Clean Up Ocean Oil Spills? | Green Living | Scoop.it

[Editor's note: This article is from Hakai Magazine, an online publication about science and society in coastal ecosystems. Read more stories like this at HakaiMagazine.com.]

When the Deepwater Horizon well operated by BP (formerly British Petroleum) exploded and contaminated the Gulf of Mexico with at least 650 million litres of crude oil in 2010, blue-smocked animal rescuers quickly appeared on television screens. Looking like scrub nurses, the responders treated oil-coated birds with charcoal solutions, antibiotics and dish soap. They also forced the birds to swallow Pepto-Bismol, which helps absorb hydrocarbons. The familiar, if not outlandish, images suggested that something was being cleaned up.

But during the chaotic disaster, Silvia Gaus poked a large hole in that myth. The German biologist had worked in the tidal flats of the Wadden Sea, a region of the North Sea and the world's largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud, and critical bird habitat. A 1998 oil spill of more than 100,000 litres in the North Sea had killed 13,000 birds in Wattenmeer National Park, and the scientist had learned that cleaning oil-soaked birds could be as harmful to their immune systems as the oil accumulating in their livers and kidneys. Kill, don't clean, she advised responders in the 2010 BP spill.


Gaus then referred to scientific studies to support her unsettling declaration. One 1996 California study, for example, followed the fate of brown pelicans fouled by oil. Researchers marked the birds after they had been "cleaned" and released them into the wild. The majority died or failed to mate again. The researchers concluded that cleaning brown pelicans couldn't restore them to good breeding health or "normal survivability." Another study from 1997 observed that once birds affected by an oil spill had been cleaned, they fared poorly and suffered higher than expected mortality rates.


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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
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In Our Climate-Changed Future, How Will Solar Perform?

In Our Climate-Changed Future, How Will Solar Perform? | Green Living | Scoop.it

The solar panels manufactured today will need to power a climate-changed world over the next 25 to 50 years. They will need to be engineered to continue to operate in a climate that will gradually become more extreme.
Many regions will hold more moisture in the air, while others will become drier and warmer, climate scientists predict. So solar panels will need to be engineered to withstand rising temperature and increased humidity over the typical module lifetime.


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Smart D Home Blog: Energy Efficient Lighting Approach to get a Smart Home

Smart D Home Blog: Energy Efficient Lighting Approach to get a Smart Home | Green Living | Scoop.it
We currently are in a place and time where everyone is important for the amount of energy they consume. Sustainability has hence become a global concern, and a major attention has shifted towards energy efficient solutions. This is not just good for humanity as a whole, but you would also directly enjoy a reduction in your energy bills.
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To compensate for this lack of light, you could use daylight G9 light bulbs. These bulbs produce a "whiter" light when compared to the yellow hues given off by incandescent bulbs. Those work spaces of visual artists have a great need for daylight bulbs as it would enable the artists to view all colors as they would under normal light.
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Making your home green smart with wind power - Smart D Home Store's Blog

Making your home green smart with wind power - Smart D Home Store's Blog | Green Living | Scoop.it
These days it’s entirely possible for people to utilize wind power turning them at home green smart places. In terms of using wind power for a home, one essential component is the turbine. The propeller style turbine looks very similar to an airplane propeller and generally has three blades to catch the wind. One of …
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A Fracking Massive Methane Leak is Brewing in Texas

A Fracking Massive Methane Leak is Brewing in Texas | Green Living | Scoop.it

The Aliso Canyon Oil Field, a natural gas storage facility in southern California, spewed an estimated 96,000 metric tons of methane into the air over the last four months, before it was temporarily capped this week. At its worst, the leak, which has been likened to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, was responsible for a 25 percent increase in the state’s daily methane emissions. It also pushed hundreds of residents of the nearby Porter Ranch neighborhood out of their homes and prompted California’s governor to declare a state of emergency.

But a comparable climate disaster brewing in Texas has received far less attention from regulators and the media — perhaps because there isn’t a single huge leak to point to. Every hour, natural gas facilities in North Texas’ Barnett Shale region emit thousands of tons of methane — a greenhouse gas at least 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide — and a slate of noxious pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and benzene.

The Aliso Canyon leak was big. The Barnett leaks, combined, are even bigger. But regulators in Texas have done very little to address this well-documented problem.

 

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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
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The Strategic Sourceror: Balancing supply chain sustainability and risk management

The Strategic Sourceror: Balancing supply chain sustainability and risk management | Green Living | Scoop.it
Improving sustainable practices
In its effort to reduce risks of disruptions while still managing to be sustainable and efficient in operations, some supply chain leaders are at a crossroads. This predicament is understandable since, as Ian Lefshitz, a contributor to Supply Chain Executive, worded it, "While there are obvious long-term benefits to more sustainable practices, a major challenge for corporations and procurement professionals in particular is ensuring that the entire supply chain meets established standards."

Via EcoVadis
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EcoVadis's curator insight, January 26, 2016 4:11 AM

Reliable indicators can help procurement teams resolve this predicament, and achieve risk reduction without sacrificing short term efficiency.

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How the GyroGlove Steadies Hands of Parkinson’s Patients

How the GyroGlove Steadies Hands of Parkinson’s Patients | Green Living | Scoop.it
A wearable device promises to help steady hand tremors by using an old technology—gyroscopes.

 

When he was a 24-year-old medical student living in London, Faii Ong was assigned to care for a 103-year-old patient who suffered from Parkinson’s, the progressive neurological condition that affects a person’s ease of movement. After watching her struggle to eat a bowl of soup, Ong asked another nurse what more could be done to help the woman. “There’s nothing,” he was grimly told.


Ong, now 26, didn’t accept the answer. He began to search for a solution that might offset the tremulous symptoms of Parkinson’s, a disease that affects one in 500 people, not through drugs but physics. After evaluating the use of elastic bands, weights, springs, hydraulics, and even soft robotics, Ong settled on a simpler solution, one that he recognized from childhood toys. “Mechanical gyroscopes are like spinning tops: they always try to stay upright by conserving angular momentum,” he explains. “My idea was to use gyroscopes to instantaneously and proportionally resist a person’s hand movement, thereby dampening any tremors in the wearer’s hand.”


Together with a number of other students from Imperial College London, Ong worked in the university’s prototyping laboratory to run numerous tests. An early prototype of a device, called GyroGlove, proved his instinct correct. Patients report that wearing the GyroGlove, which Ong believes to be the first wearable treatment solution for hand tremors, is like plunging your hand into thick syrup, where movement is free but simultaneously slowed. In benchtop tests, the team found the glove reduces tremors by up to 90 percent.


GyroGlove’s design is simple. It uses a miniature, dynamically adjustable gyroscope, which sits on the back of the hand, within a plastic casing attached to the glove’s material. When the device is switched on, the battery-powered gyroscope whirs to life. Its orientation is adjusted by a precession hinge and turntable, both controlled by a small circuit board, thereby pushing back against the wearer’s movements as the gyroscope tries to right itself.


While the initial prototypes of the device still require refinements to size and noise, Alison McGregor, professor of musculoskeletal biodynamics at Imperial College, who has been a mentor to the team, says the device “holds great promise and could have a significant impact on users’ quality of life.” Helen Matthews of the Cure Parkinson’s Trust agrees: “GyroGlove will make everyday tasks such as using a computer, writing, cooking, and driving possible for sufferers,” she says.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Mike Oehme's curator insight, January 26, 2016 2:47 AM

Interesting idea, unfortunately I don't have a gyro trainer at home anymore

 

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Storing solar energy underground for a cloudy day

Storing solar energy underground for a cloudy day | Green Living | Scoop.it
A common criticism of a total transition to wind, water and solar power is that the US electrical grid can't affordably store enough standby electricity to keep the system stable. Now a researcher proposes an underground solution to that problem.

A new study shows that wind, water and solar generators can theoretically result in a reliable, affordable national grid when the generators are combined with inexpensive storage.


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New method for converting solar energy into electrical power using photo-bioelectrochemical cells

New method for converting solar energy into electrical power using photo-bioelectrochemical cells | Green Living | Scoop.it
A new paradigm for the development of photo-bioelectrochemical cells has been reported in the journal Nature Energy by researchers from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in Israel, and the University of Bochum, in Germany.

The design of photo-bioelectrochemical cells based on native photosynthetic reaction is attracting substantial recent interest as a means for the conversion of solar light energy into electrical power.


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Health Benefits of 15 Teas #Infographic

Health Benefits of 15 Teas #Infographic | Green Living | Scoop.it

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Self-Filling Water Bottle Converts Humid Air into Drinkable H2O

Self-Filling Water Bottle Converts Humid Air into Drinkable H2O | Green Living | Scoop.it
Self-Filling Water Bottle Converts Humid Air into Drinkable H2O

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