764 posts tagged with Environment.
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Sapiens 2.0: Homo Deus?

In his follow-up to Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari envisions what a 'useless class' of humans might look like as AI advances and spreads - "I'm aware that these kinds of forecasts have been around for at least 200 years, from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and they never came true so far. It's basically the boy who cried wolf, but in the original story of the boy who cried wolf, in the end, the wolf actually comes, and I think that is true this time." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 24, 2016 - 23 comments

A/C: the problem began with paper, but the solution changed the world

The problem began with paper. Humidity wreaked havoc with the color register of fine, multicolor printing. Ink, applied one color at a time, would misalign with the expansion and contraction of the paper stock. A solution was designed in 1902 and patented in 1906 (as an Apparatus for Treating Air), starting the "air conditioning" industry, though it would be decades before air conditioning changed the American landscape and beyond, making hot, muggy climates more livable around the world. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 22, 2016 - 91 comments

Destined to make a difference

Maryland has the highest rate of deaths attributable to emissions--113 per 100,000 annually--of any area in the United States. The Curtis Bay area of Baltimore is the epicenter for this pollution, ranking "first in the entire country for quantity of toxic air pollutants." In 2012, when high school student Destiny Watford read online about a plan to build a so-called "clean energy" trash-burning incinerator power plant less than a mile from her neighborhood, Destiny organized students and residents to fight back. Her efforts yielded two unlikely results: successfully blocking construction on the plant, and being honored with a 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize, an international prize awarded annually to 6 grassroots activists each year from each of the world's 6 geographic regions. [more inside]
posted by drlith on Apr 19, 2016 - 5 comments

Al Gore and Bill Gates on Investing in Clean-Energy 'Moon Shots'

The case for optimism on climate change - "I'll finish with this story. When I was 13 years old, I heard that proposal by President Kennedy to land a person on the Moon and bring him back safely in 10 years. And I heard adults of that day and time say, 'That's reckless, expensive, may well fail.' But eight years and two months later, in the moment that Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, there was great cheer that went up in NASA's mission control in Houston. Here's a little-known fact about that: the average age of the systems engineers, the controllers in the room that day, was 26, which means, among other things, their age, when they heard that challenge, was 18." (via; previously) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 7, 2016 - 26 comments

E-Commerce: Convenience Built on a Mountain of Cardboard

E-Commerce: Convenience Built on a Mountain of Cardboard (sl; nyt) Online shopping is even worse for the environment than traditional retailing, with environmental costs including additional cardboard and other packaging plus emissions from "increasingly personalized" freight services. "Consumers expect that even their modest wants should be satisfied like urgent needs [....]From a sustainability perspective, we’re heading in the wrong direction."
posted by Violet Hour on Feb 17, 2016 - 85 comments

“They knew this stuff was harmful, and they put it in the water anyway.”

In 1998, Rob Bilott, an environmental lawyer, took the case of Wilbur Tennant, a cattle farmer who believed DuPont chemical dumping was killing his livestock. Internal documents would reveal that DuPont had known for decades that the chemical—PFOA, used in the manufacture of Teflon—was highly toxic, connected to organ failure, birth defects, cancer, and more. DuPont decided to keep using it anyway. Factory workers were poisoned, as was the water supply of 70,000 people; the scale may be even greater, as “by 2003 the average concentration of PFOA in the blood of an adult American was four to five parts per billion”.
posted by spinda on Jan 8, 2016 - 30 comments

"The leak accounts for 25 percent of daily greenhouse gas emissions"

Two months in, Porter Ranch [California] gas leak compared to BP Gulf oil spill: More than 1,800 families have been relocated by the gas company and more than 1,000 remain on a waiting list. Some say they can’t remember a displacement of residents this large since the Northridge earthquake in 1994, when 20,000 people were left homeless. Two local elementary schools have been impacted, with nearly 2,000 schoolchildren and staff slated to be moved to other schools in January. Enough methane gas is being released to fill the Empire State building each day, state officials have said, and the concern has even reached the Federal Aviation Administration, which issued temporary flight restrictions over the area for small aircraft and helicopters. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Jan 2, 2016 - 51 comments

factory farming: the plants are fed by fish poo alone

GrowUp: the future of food - "The new concept of commercial aquaponics, argue Hofman and Webster, has a much-reduced environmental impact. Companion farming fish and crops dates back to the Aztecs, but it took until the 2010s, in Chicago, to move it indoors at any scale. In the UK, only eco-smallholdings have so far attempted it, and the only European aquaponics farms of note use purpose-built greenhouses. GrowUp's model, by contrast, is to fit out empty urban buildings, use no chemicals, employ LED lights, source 100 per cent renewable energy and, crucially, be based within five miles of its customer base in a dense urban area."
posted by kliuless on Dec 28, 2015 - 21 comments

1.5C

By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster. - A historic deal has been struck in Paris to reduce carbon emissions and reduce global warming, with a ceiling of 2 degrees centigrade and a goal of 1.5C. 2015 has been the hottest year on record.
posted by Artw on Dec 12, 2015 - 80 comments

My Dark California Dream

My Dark California Dream. Confusing one’s own youth with the youth of the world is a common human affliction, but California has been changing so fast for so long that every new generation gets to experience both a fresh version of the California dream and, typically by late middle-age, its painful death. [more inside]
posted by mecran01 on Nov 30, 2015 - 51 comments

“Guilt is good! It’s the flip side of empathy.”

The Paris-based magazine Télérama have published a conversation between Thom Yorke and author/activist George Monbiot. Yorke is a professed fan of Monbiot's writing, and throughout the interview, the two men discussed climate change.Throughout the conversation, Yorke and Monbiot discuss how they've responded to climate change in their day-to-day lives—becoming vegetarian, Radiohead's carbon neutral touring initiative, and so on. Yorke said that for a time, figuring out how to reduce his carbon footprint became an obsession.
posted by Fizz on Nov 24, 2015 - 9 comments

"So many have died to defend what you see here."

You were taught in school that the rain forest is like the lungs of our planet.

It’s not that simple.

posted by zarq on Nov 12, 2015 - 17 comments

Who do you mean by we?

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari - "The book delivers on its madly ambitious subtitle by in fact managing to cover key moments in the developmental history of humankind from the emergence of Homo Sapiens to today's developments in genetic engineering." Also btw, check out Harari on the myths we need to survive, re: fact/value distinctions and their interrelationships.
posted by kliuless on Nov 8, 2015 - 7 comments

Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline

Possibly spurred on by TransCanada's request for a delayed decision, Obama has rejected construction of the long-contested Keystone XL pipeline. [more inside]
posted by crazylegs on Nov 6, 2015 - 82 comments

Kurt Vonnegut Apocryphally Has Doomed Us All!

Though it was erroneously attributed to Vonnegut, Mary Schmich first lit the flame, imploring the youth today to wear sunscreen. Baz Luhrman fanned the fire with his hit rallying anthem, Everyone's Free (To Wear Sunscreen). And today? Well, today it was announced that all that sunscreen is massacring coral reefs around the world.
posted by tittergrrl on Oct 20, 2015 - 61 comments

Time and Tide

Life behind the Three Gorges Dam
The major themes of the China story - unprecedented socioeconomic change, environmental crises, the thirst for energy, the destruction of historical and cultural heritage - are all here, framed against the backdrop of millions of ordinary Chinese struggling to cope with the powerful man-made and natural forces beyond their control. Would the huge sacrifices be worth it in the end...
Photo-Essay, over time, by Singaporean photo-journalist Chua Chin Hon
posted by infini on Oct 18, 2015 - 5 comments

Global Bleaching Event Underway

The world's coral is suddenly and rapidly starting to die - "This is only the third time we've seen what we would refer to as a global bleaching event. [The prior events] were in 1998 and 2010, and those were pretty much one year events. We're looking at a similar spatial scale of bleaching across the globe, but spanning across at least 2 years. So that means a lot of these corals are being put under really prolonged stress, or are being hit 2 years in a row." Can 'manually breeding supercorals capable of living in increasingly inhospitable waters' help in time? (via/via)
posted by kliuless on Oct 12, 2015 - 18 comments

Nuu-chah-nulth Territory

In 2014, flagging tape was discovered in the old-growth forest of the central Walbran Valley that concerned citizens feared were marking out proposed cutblocks - but the logging company, Teal Jones, denied having any logging plans in the area. Then in 2015, Wilderness Committee Vancouver Island Campaigner Torrance Coste obtained maps from the company showing that they were indeed planning to log eight cutblocks of ancient forest surrounding the iconic Castle Grove. Now the fight is on to save the Walbran Valley's remaining ancient forests. Meanwhile on the nearby Sunshine Coast, protesters have blocked roads into old-growth cutblocks, prompting speculation of a War in the Woods part 2.
posted by mannequito on Sep 21, 2015 - 21 comments

The Messengers

The Messengers Discussing grief and guilt and hope for the environment with a photographer who takes pictures of albatrosses that have died from ingesting plastic.
posted by primalux on Sep 12, 2015 - 7 comments

Basic Income: How to Fix a Broken Monetary Transmission Mechanism

FINLAND: New Government Commits to a Basic Income Experiment - "The Finnish government of Juha Sipilä is considering a pilot project that would give everyone of working age a basic income."[1,2,3] (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 4, 2015 - 24 comments

Lettuce is a vehicle to transport refrigerated water from farm to table.

Why salad is so overrated
There’s one food, though, that has almost nothing going for it. It occupies precious crop acreage, requires fossil fuels to be shipped, refrigerated, around the world, and adds nothing but crunch to the plate. It’s salad, and here are three main reasons why we need to rethink it.

Why Your Salad Obsession Could Be Hurting The Planet
Do you like salad? You're a fool
posted by crocodiletsunami on Aug 24, 2015 - 199 comments

Do not fly drones near birds of prey

Angry eagle attacks UAV: How do drones affect wildlife? "This is the last thing a small bird sees when a Wedge-Tailed Eagle decides that you are dinner"
posted by Michele in California on Aug 15, 2015 - 31 comments

Point of no return? Passed that already.

Historians may look to 2015 as the year when shit really started hitting the fan. Some snapshots: In just the past few months, record-setting heat waves in Pakistan and India each killed more than 1,000 people. [...] London reached 98ºF during the hottest July day ever recorded in the UK. [...] In California, suffering from its worst drought in a millennium, a 50-acre brush fire swelled seventyfold in a matter of hours, jumping across the I-15 freeway during rush-hour traffic. Then, a few days later, the region was pounded by intense, virtually unheard-of summer rains. Puerto Rico is under its strictest water rationing in history as a monster El Niño forms in the tropical Pacific Ocean, shifting weather patterns worldwide. [more inside]
posted by Athanassiel on Aug 5, 2015 - 148 comments

Unhealthy Fixation

The war against genetically modified organisms is full of fearmongering, errors, and fraud. Labeling them will not make you safer.
posted by Drinky Die on Jul 15, 2015 - 140 comments

No one wants a nutty hypothalamus

Coining brr-geoisie, Daniel Engber suggests in Slate that "the case against AC has always been more a moral judgment than a scientific one", responding to the idea that America is "over air-conditioned" as argued in this article by Kate Murphy in the NY Times.
posted by numaner on Jul 10, 2015 - 178 comments

Bitcoin is unsustainable

Bitcoin is unsustainable Bitcoin's power usage per transaction isn't remotely sustainable as a wholesale replacement for the conventional financial system. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Jul 2, 2015 - 82 comments

A planetary-scale platform for environmental data & analysis

According to Wired, "Paired with AI and VR, Google Earth will change the world". But just after its tenth birthday, Google Earth is already changing the world even without AI or VR, simply by giving scientists tools to map the world's problems (NYT). Google Earth Engine has become an emerging tool in environmental monitoring, conservation, water resources, regional planning, epidemiology, forestry, agriculture, climate science, and many other fields:
In 2007, not long after taking the job at Google, Askay flew to Brazil, helping an indigenous tribe, the Surui, map deforestation in their area of the Amazon, and this gave rise to a wider project called Google Earth Engine. With Earth Engine, outside developers and companies [and scientists] can use Google’s enormous network of data centers to run sweeping calculations on the company’s satellite imagery and other environmental data, a digital catalog that dates back more than 40 years.
[more inside] posted by dialetheia on Jul 1, 2015 - 12 comments

The Earth, our home, is beginning to look like an immense pile of filth

This is an extract from Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si. Here are some of the early analyses.
posted by infini on Jun 18, 2015 - 86 comments

The War on Coal

The war on coal is not just political rhetoric, or a paranoid fantasy concocted by rapacious polluters. It’s real and it’s relentless. Over the past five years, it has killed a coal-fired power plant every 10 days. It has quietly transformed the U.S. electric grid and the global climate debate.
posted by Long Way To Go on May 28, 2015 - 64 comments

The Real No-Go Zone

"When you imagine France and its scenic countryside, you might think of the picturesque villages, vineyards a plenty and endless rolling green hills to drive through on a blissful summer road trip. But there’s one corner of this scenic country that no one has been allowed to enter for nearly a century, known as the 'Zone Rouge'."
posted by orange swan on May 26, 2015 - 34 comments

Dead Malls Make Excellent ReEducation Camps

"To spell out the law of the land in the dead language of your time: on a Letterman Top Ten list of this situation, we are all number one, and you are numbers two through ten. The fleek have inherited the earth." -- A Millennial Revenge Fantasy ( The Hairpin)
posted by The Whelk on May 14, 2015 - 134 comments

On biological ensembles

Biologists E. O. Wilson and Sean Carroll in conversation @ Mosaic Science. [more inside]
posted by khonostrov on May 4, 2015 - 4 comments

"It's something we must do, and we can do, and we will do."

Tesla Powerwall Battery Economics: Almost There - "Elon Musk announced Tesla's home / business battery today. [video] tl;dr: It'll get enthusiastic early adopters to buy. The economics are almost there to make it cost effective for a wide market... That said, for large scale grid deployment (outside of the home), it still looks like flow batteries[1] and advanced compressed air[2] are likely to be far cheaper in the long run." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 1, 2015 - 101 comments

It tastes a little herbedcidey...

When Dr. Patrick Moore appeared on cable channel Canal+ to argue for the safety of the widely used herbicide glyphosate he asserted that it would be completely safe to drink right from a glass. When the interviewer challenged him to follow through on the act, he backed down. Recently, Stu Burguiere of The Blaze decided to accept the challenge and drank a glass of the herbicide along with fracking fluid and artificial sweeteners. The cocktail also included a salt rimmed glass and a lemon garnish. It had the neon green appearance of a Vodka and Diet Dew. Don't try this at home. Or anywhere.
posted by Drinky Die on Apr 29, 2015 - 47 comments

“I’m not going to stop watering,”

California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth [New York Times]
A punishing drought is forcing a reconsideration of whether the aspiration of untrammeled growth that has for so long been the state’s engine has run against the limits of nature.
California Water Use [New York Times] Are you affected? [New York Times] The Drought, explained. [New York Times Video] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Apr 5, 2015 - 168 comments

The Marines Are Building Robotic War Balls
A research team from Stamford, Conn. has developed an amphibious drone that they are currently testing with the Marines. The GuardBot is a robot ball that swims over water at about 4 miles per hour and then rolls along the beach, at as much as a 30-degree incline and 20 miles per hour.
posted by Fizz on Feb 18, 2015 - 102 comments

Buy high, sell low

Treading Water by Laura Parker [National Geographic]
Phil Stoddard, in his third term as mayor of South Miami, is one of the few politicians willing to talk about when that time might come... He drew a graph with three lines that show population, property values, and sea level all rising. Then abruptly, population growth and property values plummet. “Something is going to upset the applecart,” he says. “A hurricane, a flood, another foot of sea rise, the loss of freshwater. People are going to stop coming here and bail.”
[more inside] posted by overglow on Jan 29, 2015 - 32 comments

[GREEN] JOBS FOR ALL

Let Us Face the Future - "All parties pay lip service to the idea of jobs for all. All parties are ready to promise to achieve that end by keeping up the national purchasing power and controlling changes in the national expenditure through Government action. Where agreement ceases is in the degree of control of private industry that is necessary to achieve the desired end. In hard fact, the success of a full employment programme will certainly turn upon the firmness and success with which the Government fits into that programme the investment and development policies of private as well as public industry." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 29, 2015 - 10 comments

Beautiful Forest

Bangladesh is struggling to clean up an oil spill that threatens environmental damage in the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest and home to rare Bengal tigers and river dolphins. [more inside]
posted by Ziggy500 on Dec 12, 2014 - 8 comments

No Cure, No Pay

Marine salvage master Captain Nick Sloane is the man to call when your cruise ship or supertanker founders at sea. "Sloane had a six-man team. They found the Ikan Tanda lying broadside to the weather about two miles offshore. It was rolling heavily and was being swept by seas so large that the entire deck was going under, and waves were bursting over the top of the superstructure. The waves were running 14 seconds apart, an interval just large enough to allow each member of the team, in helmet and life vest, to be winched down onto the deck and take cover. They landed on one of the massive cargo hatches, unhooked from the harness, rolled to the edge, and dropped down to the side deck to crouch behind a coaming—the raised steel perimeter around a cargo hatch—just as the next wave swept across."
posted by Eyebrows McGee on Nov 23, 2014 - 21 comments

The Wild?

Some of the world’s most powerful conservationists are giving up on wilderness. They are making a big mistake [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 14, 2014 - 37 comments

Why Obama is "a historic success"

"Am I damning with faint praise? Not at all. This is what a successful presidency looks like. No president gets to do everything his supporters expected him to. FDR left behind a reformed nation, but one in which the wealthy retained a lot of power and privilege. On the other side, for all his anti-government rhetoric, Reagan left the core institutions of the New Deal and the Great Society in place. I don't care about the fact that Obama hasn't lived up to the golden dreams of 2008, and I care even less about his approval rating. I do care that he has, when all is said and done, achieved a lot. That is, as Joe Biden didn't quite say, a big deal." Paul Krugman (previously) writes "In Defense of Obama" for Rolling Stone.
posted by jbickers on Oct 8, 2014 - 309 comments

Cowspiracy is a documentary now being screened

Cowspiracy is a crowdfunded documentary now being screened that examines the environmental impact of animal agriculture and seeks to examine why prominent environmental groups have apparently not made it a focus of their efforts. David Robinson Simon, the author of Meatonomics who appears in the film, interviews filmmakers Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn. [more inside]
posted by Drinky Die on Oct 4, 2014 - 32 comments

Global population likely to hit 11 bn +

New global population predictions published in Science today says that world population stabilisation is unlikely this century, with an 80% probability that world population, now 7.2 billion, will increase to between 9.6 and 12.3 billion in 2100, greatly exceeding previous consensus figures that settled around 9 billion, and is expected to keep growing next century. More in the Guardian.
posted by wilful on Sep 18, 2014 - 105 comments

A dot of orange beneath an art-deco masterpiece.

Halfway through my three-week, 417-mile journey down the “most endangered” river in America, the water began flowing backward and the mud started talking. It spoke in baritone gurgles, like Barry White trapped in a bong. You know what this is, John? No, Barry White mud. This is QUICKSAND.
posted by lonefrontranger on Sep 3, 2014 - 10 comments

Can the World Really Set Aside Half of the Planet for Wildlife?

Wilson recently calculated that the only way humanity could stave off a mass extinction crisis, as devastating as the one that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, would be to set aside half the planet as permanently protected areas for the ten million other species. “Half Earth,” in other words, as I began calling it—half for us, half for them. [more inside]
posted by viggorlijah on Aug 31, 2014 - 41 comments

New research: Reduce your carbon footprint by reducing meat consumption

An Oxford University study of over 50,000 participants, published this month in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal Climatic Change: Dietary greenhouse gas emissions in meat-eaters are twice as high as those in vegans.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jul 18, 2014 - 144 comments

Rolling Coal: Everything Else About It Is Pretty Good

Slate: "Prius Repellent is a perfect introduction to one of the Obama era’s great conservative subcultures: the men and women who “roll coal.” For as little as $500, anyone with a diesel truck and a dream can install a smoke stack and the equipment that lets a driver “trick the engine” into needing more fuel. The result is a burst of black smoke that doubles as a political or cultural statement—a protest against the EPA, a ritual shaming of hybrid “rice burners,” and a stellar source of truck memes." [more inside]
posted by porn in the woods on Jul 6, 2014 - 134 comments

Mine is the beige house. No, the other one. No, the one next to that.

In his new book Ciphers, German photographer Christopher Gielen (previously) reveals haunting images of our endlessly repetitive development through aerial views of American urban sprawl. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Jul 5, 2014 - 50 comments

Pablo Escobar’s hippos: A growing problem

A herd of hippopotamuses once owned by the late Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar has been taking over the countryside near his former ranch
posted by T.D. Strange on Jun 26, 2014 - 36 comments

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