Five regional weather control programs in northeastern China seek to increase precipitation by 10 percent. [more inside]
Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane have been have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean. [more inside]
The Light Bulb Conspiracy is a documentary about disposable printers, light bulbs and everything else, investigating the implications of the business model and industrial design philosophy of Planned Obsolescence that drives and shapes our economy.
Economic analyst Chris Martenson explains why he thinks that the coming 20 years are going to look completely unlike the last 20 years.
The Great Debate: What's the most environmentally-friendly way to dry your hands in a public bathroom? Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have completed what is believed to be the first major study to assess the greenest way of drying your hands.
About one tenth of China's farmland is polluted with heavy metals, with whole villages being poisoned. All too frequently, local governments have reacted by ignoring the problems and even denying treatment (HRW report).
Carbon dioxide emissions increased by the largest amount on record in 2010, exceeding the worst case scenario outlined by the IPCC four years ago.
For millennia, man has yearned to block the sun (with black plastic balls). If an un-covered public water reservoir contains bromide, sunlight will combine the bromide with the chlorine used for reducing bacteria -- thus poisoning the water with carcinogenic bromate. Blocking the sunlight is the answer, but building a permanent cover for a huge reservoir is very costly. The solution for LA-area reservoirs, a few years ago: cover the entire water surface with millions of floating "bird balls", in effect turning the reservoir into a 10+ acre ball pit. [more inside]
Nest is a "brave new thermostat" from one of the creators of the iPod. It learns from your temperature adjustments.
Treshr makes it easy to give things away, or, the other way around, find free stuff. Everyone has stuff they don’t need anymore. Maybe your child outgrew their old clothes, or you moved to a new place and have old furniture to get rid of. Whatever it is you’re looking for, someone somewhere is trying to throw it away. Treshr is basically a search engine for Freecycle, a nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. [via] [more inside]
I am sorry that Wangari Maathai, inspiring Nobel Peace Prize winner famous for tree-planting programme, has died.
Climate Wizard enables you to access leading climate change information and visualize the impacts anywhere on Earth. This web-based program allows you to choose a state or country and both assess how climate has changed over time and project what future changes are predicted to occur in a given area.
An experiment done in the 1990s exposed children to various levels of lead. The lawsuit filed in 2001 by the parents of over 100 participants accuses the Kennedy Krieger Institute that the scientists knowingly used the kids as test subjects in toxic dust control study. [more inside]
I am the population problem. "Both local and broad scale environmental problems often are linked to population growth, which in turn tends to get blamed on other people [...] But actually the population problem is all about me: white, middle-class, American me. " The Feminist Breeder responds: Mother Earth Doesn’t Want Kids?
"24 Hours of Reality will focus the world’s attention on the full truth, scope, scale and impact of the climate crisis. To remove the doubt. Reveal the deniers. And catalyze urgency around an issue that affects every one of us.” — Al Gore on the worldwide event to broadcast the reality of the climate crisis. The Climate Reality Project will live stream starting at 7pm CT on September 14. [more inside]
President Obama Backs Down On Ozone Standards As two weeks of protests outside the White House against a proposed oil pipeline from Alberta's tar sands through the United States ended Friday with a total of 1,252 arrests, President Obama shocked the environmental community by requesting that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, after repeated delays since publication of new draft ozone standards in 2010 lowering permissible levels from 85 parts per billion (introduced during the Bush administration) to 60-70 parts per billion, postpone their implementation until at least 2013. [more inside]
MIT students created water bottle light bulbs that diffract natural sunlight and provide the equivalent of a 55 watt light bulb out of an empty plastic bottle, water, and a few drops of bleach. They are being installed and used in shanty towns where no natural light gets into the makeshift tin roof homes.
Subsidizing Healthy Foods by Taxing Unhealthy Foods. Mark Bitman proposes a "national program that would make progress on a half-dozen problems at once — disease, budget, health care, environment, food access and more — while paying for itself." [NYT] [more inside]
Cats are apparently the culprits behind several avian extinctions worldwide. So, are cats bad for the environment?
William Temple Hornaday was an early--and probably a founding--member of the American conservation movement, and was also director of the National Zoological Park. He wrote a tremendously bitter and accurate report for the U.S. National Museum in 1894 on the extermination of the American bison, an absolute head-shaker, detailing the history of the bison in North America and its destruction at the hands of sportsmen, hunters, mindless dolts and many others who massacred tens of millions of the animal ("murdered" is the word Hornaday uses constantly). To put the whole issue in perspective, Hornaday issued a famous map showing the shrinkage of the North American bison herd, setting out the enormity of the issue instantly on one piece of paper, a summary of hundreds of pages of bad stories and big numbers.
Industry regulators have known for years that Monsanto's Roundup herbicide causes birth defects according to a newly released report by Earth Open Source. Regulators knew as long ago as 1980 that glyphosate, the chemical on which Roundup is based, can cause birth defects in laboratory animals... Although the European Commission has known that glyphosate causes malformations since at least 2002, the information was not made public. (Previously) [more inside]
Larry Gonick is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe (later The Cartoon History of the Modern World), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn-by-way-of-Pogo chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment, and (yes!) Sex. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention, assorted math comics (previously), the Muse magazine mainstay Kokopelli & Co. (featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"), and more. See also these lengthy interview snippets, linked previously. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
Can marshmallows be the link that helps explain falling crime rates and increased environmental cleanliness? It seems that falling environmental lead levels may lead kids to have have more activity in their brains' frontal cortices. After following the kids from the marshmallow experiment for over 40 years, Walter Mischel found that those that could resist immediately eating the marshmallow were more likely to have increased activity in that area of their brains. These kids were also more likely to later exhibit such things as increased SAT scores and fewer anger management issues. [more inside]
I drive past the Meadowlands every day now for the past 2 years on the NJ Turnpike. I kept seeing construction equipment and this area of dead dumping land slowly transform into one with actual streams like out of some plan. Turns out, there was. [more inside]
Moving Beyond the Automobile is a series of ten short videos by Streetfilms that highlights new directions in urban transportation. It shows how cities in the U.S. are encouraging a shift away from car dependency and making it easier and more pleasant to get around by other means. [more inside]
Despite the federal election focus on BC ridings, Vancouverites are having a hard time looking past the municipal. Things are quite dramatic in the urban planning scene. The city's regional growth plan was recently paralyzed by disagreement from Coquitlam. TransLink announced permanent cuts to bus service during Earth Week, describing it as "service optimization," highlighting its own chronic funding issues. The city successfully stopped a "megacasino" project after community backlash, but the $3 billion freeway Gateway Project continues despite ongoing protests. As the city struggles to find its way to the goal of Greenest City 2020, it's a good time to look at the paths not taken, via this excellent podcast on Vancouver's relationship with roadways. Part of a series called "Moving Through" from the Museum of Vancouver. [more inside]
Climategate: What Really Happened? How climate science became the target of "the best-funded, best-organized smear campaign by the wealthiest industry that the Earth has ever known." [Via]
Yale's 2010 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks 163 countries on 25 performance indicators tracked across ten policy categories covering both environmental public health and ecosystem vitality. These indicators provide a gauge at a national government scale of how close countries are to established environmental policy goals.
One year after BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, a hydraulic fracturing operation in northern Pennsylvania experiences a blowout resulting in the release of fracking liquids. The use and chemical content of fracking liquids is a point of contention when debating what role natural gas will play in the future of energy.
The Economist is holding an online debate on nuclear power. These debates provide a great opportunity to get an overview of the different perspectives on an issue. If f you are so inclined, you can share your own views on the topic too. Today's discussions focus on a contribution by Amory Lovins.
Ah wilderness! What better place to escape the stifling trappings of urban existence - overflowing inboxes, two-hour commutes, social-media addiction. And, of course, indoor plumbing. "Take off your shoes for a while, unzip your fly, piss hearty, dig your toes in the hot sand, feel that raw and rugged earth," the great Western author and curmudgeon Edward Abbey once exhorted car-bound city slickers. Contemplating the reasons for taking a trek down the Appalachian Trail (and aping Abbey-ish machismo), travel writer Bill Bryson mused, "I wanted a little of that swagger that comes with being able to gaze at a far horizon through eyes of chipped granite and say with a slow, manly sniff, 'Yeah, I've shit in the woods.'"
How to feed 9 billion people: The global food supply is starting to get tight, with increasing sensitivity to droughts and floods causing price spikes and food shortages. The UK commissioned a report to examine how to feed a planet with a population that is set to increase to 9 billion by 2050. [more inside]
Slow Action is a post-apocalyptic science fiction film that brings together a series of four 16mm works which exist somewhere between documentary, ethnographic study and fiction. [Via]
"The saddest part is the children... We’re seeing young children with extremely high levels of chemicals. We're altering our DNA and our bodies forever. We're a bunch of guinea pigs." (previously)
Five years ago this week, the BBC started broadcasting one of the most extraordinary documentaries ever to grace television: Planet Earth. The culmination of five years of field work, it employed the most cutting-edge of techniques in order to capture life in all its forms, from sweeping spaceborne vistas to shockingly intimate close-ups -- including many sights rarely glimpsed by human eyes. Visually spectacular, it showcased footage shot in 204 locations in 62 countries, thoroughly documenting every biome from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the lifegiving waters of the Okavango Delta, a rich narrative tapestry backed by a stirring orchestral score from the BBC Concert Orchestra. Unfortunately, the series underwent some editorial changes for rebroadcast overseas. But now fans outside the UK can rejoice -- all eleven chapters of this epic story are available on YouTube in their original form: uncut, in glorious 1080p HD, and with the original narration by renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough. Click inside for the full listing (and kiss the rest of your week goodbye). [more inside]
Essays on mining and its environmental and human health costs in the Fall 2010 Virginia Quarterly Review: Digging Out; Tin Fever; The Pit; Here Everything is Poison, The Solution: Bolivia's Lithium Dream; The Underground Giant: Life in the Hard Rock Mines of Quebec and Ontario; Jharia Burning; Mother of God, Child of Zeus. Editorial: The Price of the Paperless Revolution.
"Adbusters invites economics students around the world... to join the fight to revamp Econ 101 curriculums and challenge the endemic myopia of their tenured neoclassical profs." The gist of the Kick It Over Manifesto is largely environmental.
Waterlife — No matter where we live, the Great Lakes affect us all. And as species of fish disappear and rates of birth defects and cancer rise, it seems one thing is clear: the Great Lakes are changing and something's not quite right with the water. An interactive documentary film from the National Film Board of Canada. [more inside]
Plastic fantastic? An unpublished United Kingdom Environment Agency research report apparently shows that plastic bags, which are banned in more than 25% of the world may actually be less harmful than those made of cotton or paper. [more inside]
Chris Jordan’s “Running The Numbers” series and its sequel, along with “Intolerable Beauty”, places collections of objects in arrays and forms to visualize consumer consumption and its effects: a globular cluster of lightbulbs showing electrical waste in the United States; a landscape of empty plastic bottles (two million, the number used every five minutes), an array of tiny Barbies graphing breast augmentations; Pollockesque designs of contrails and handguns representing flights and deaths. More information at Jordan’s TED presentation; he’s also noted for his post-Katrina photographs of New Orleans.
Related: Todd McLellan (Flash) photographs disassembled vintage objects, some in patterns, others caught mid-explosion. [more inside]
Related: Todd McLellan (Flash) photographs disassembled vintage objects, some in patterns, others caught mid-explosion. [more inside]
The Bay Area’s smartest diners, chefs, and purveyors now know (and care) where every cut of grass-fed beef and stalk of pesticide-free produce comes from. Yet nearly all look the other way when fish is on the plate. What will it take to stop the eco-fibbing?
Australia is copping another pounding from natural disasters. After the floods across Brisbane (previously) in South-east Queensland, North Queensland is in the firing line for a Category 5 cyclone called Yasi. The official warning: THIS IMPACT IS LIKELY TO BE MORE LIFE THREATENING THAN ANY EXPERIENCED DURING RECENT GENERATIONS. [more inside]
The Warriors of Qiugang: A Chinese Village Fights Back, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject). [more inside]
Corexit [Bing cache] is mostly what BP has used on the spill. There are a few things to know about Corexit. One is that is was banned in U.K. over ten years ago because it is so toxic, as in poisonous to humans and sea life. ... Corexit was also used on the Exxon Valdez spill. Now read carefully: Almost all the clean up workers who worked on the Exxon Valdez spill are dead. (previously)
Interested in doing a small favour to the environment? In raising awareness about planetary issues? In supporting an international environmental organization? Next time you’re going to share a document, save it as a WWF. [more inside]