background preloader

Environment

Facebook Twitter

Killing Animals at the Zoo. One afternoon last January, two years after staff members at the Copenhagen Zoo surprised many people by shooting a healthy young giraffe, dissecting it in public, and then feeding its remains to lions, another Danish zoo was preparing for a public dissection. Lærke Stange Dahl and Malene Jepsen—biology students in their early twenties and part-time guides at the zoo in Odense, Denmark’s third-largest city—sat at a table in the zoo’s education room. They were surrounded by skulls and skins, and by tanks containing live snakes and cockroaches. Fruit flies hovered, and crickets chirped. This is where the zoo greets school groups, and hosts team-building exercises, centered on rodent dissections, for Danish corporations. The next morning, Dahl and Jepsen were scheduled to dissect a young lion in front of a family audience, as part of a weekend-long event called “Animals Inside Out.”

The women were pleased to have been assigned the dissection. “There’s more cutting,” Dahl said. Why don't UPS drivers turn left? — Quartz. What does Donald Trump want for America? His supporters don’t know. His party doesn’t know. Even he doesn’t know. If there is a political vision underlying Trumpism, however, the person to ask is not Trump.

It’s his éminence grise, Stephen K. Bannon, the chief strategist of the Trump administration. Bannon transcended his working-class Virginia roots with a stint in the Navy and a degree from Harvard Business School, followed by a career as a Goldman Sachs financier. Bannon’s influence reached a new high in 2012 when he took over Breitbart News, an online news site, following the death of creator Andrew Breitbart. It’s impossible to know for sure what Bannon will do with his newfound power; he honors few interview requests lately, ours included. The three tenets of Bannonism Bannon’s political philosophy boils down to three things that a Western country, and America in particular, needs to be successful: Capitalism, nationalism, and “Judeo-Christian values.”

The new liberal order. Leaving Facebook... Explicit cookie consent. Otterly entrancing WHEN Australia’s prime minister came to visit Singapore last year, his local counterpart took him to visit not the Merlion, a statue of a mythical creature adopted decades ago as a national mascot, but the Bishan Ten—a photogenic family of otters that have become something of a national obsession. In early August Singaporeans chose the Bishan Ten as the official emblem of their country’s 51st year. A state media firm has produced a documentary on the family, narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

And the city-state has just hosted the 13th International Otter Congress. Otters had disappeared from Singapore by the 1970s, as rubbish, farm waste and sewage clogged its few short rivers. As the rivers grew cleaner, fish populations returned. Groups sprang up on social media to trade sightings and suggest good otter-spotting locations. The return of otters to the city is proof of the success of Singapore’s efforts to green itself. Frederick Law Olmsted and the Creation of Central Park. Singapore Is Taking the ‘Smart City’ to a Whole New Level.

Edible six-pack rings feed animals instead of killing them - AOL. Aol.com Editors May 19th 2016 11:22AM Plastic six-pack rings, harmless tools for humans, pose a serious threat to marine life. Sea birds, turtles, and other species end up entangled in the plastic when they are discarded and land on our beaches and in our oceans. Saltwater Brewery, a small craft beer brand, decided to create a product that would solve this problem as well as make a statement for the whole beer industry to follow. Together with We Believers, an advertising agency, the team designed, prototyped and manufactured edible six pack rings. This revolutionary six-pack packaging design feeds animals instead of killing them. The edible rings are made from barley and wheat and other beer by-products during the brewing process. The edible rings are more expensive to make than plastic rings, but the creators hope other breweries will follow suite, causing production costs to come down, making edible rings competitive with plastic ones.

See more on the edible six pack rings below: India's dying mother. Germany had so much renewable energy on Sunday that it had to pay people to u... Elon Musk is building his dream factory in the Nevada desert. “I find this to be quite romantic,” he said during an interview session at the Gigafactory on Tuesday. “It feels like the Wild West.” Located 24 miles outside of Reno, the Gigafactory is slated to be the largest building in the world (by footprint) once it’s completed sometime in the future, measuring 5.9 million square feet, about the size of 107 football fields.

It’s needed to house Tesla’s outsized ambitions to build the world’s largest, most efficient battery factory, delivering 35 gigawatt hours of lithium-ion batteries each year by 2018, more than total worldwide production just a few years ago. Like most of Musk’s dreams at the moment, only a fraction of the Gigafactory is complete (14% to be exact, says Tesla). Quartz toured the facility on Tuesday, one of the first public viewings.

Nearly every square inch of the 3,200 acre site is marked out for future expansion. Entering the Gigafactory Enter the Lobby. Why Our Young Architects Have Stopped Believing in Sustainability. In her hard-hitting, candid essay, Jaxe Pan examines the disillusionment faced by young architects dealing with the sustainable movement and how this reflects the state of the green industry at large. Text by Jaxe Pan Images as credited It is 9 a.m. on a Monday morning. Michelle, an architect three years in practice, pours over a long list of qualifying criteria next to her morning coffee, which is contained in a white paper cup branded with a simple green logo. Out of the 20 rows of boxes, she puts numbers in almost all of them.

Punching the numbers quickly into the black calculator, she comes up with the number 80. I was tasked to write this article for the “Sustainability Issue,” the technologically dependent millennial in me naturally gravitated towards crowd-sourcing for ideas. Where did all this disillusion and angst come from? 1The Google Ngram, which shows the popularity of phrases in the English print over any period of time, for the phase “green products,” looks like this. Jane Jacobs believed cities should be fun — and changed urban planning forever. When Jane Jacobs published The Death and Life of Great American Cities in 1961, she was a lone voice with no credentials speaking up against the most powerful ideas in urban planning. Fifty-five years later, on Jacobs's 100th birthday (honored in today's Google Doodle), urban dwellers are all living in her vision of the great American city. The Death and Life of Great American Cities was a reaction to urban planning movements that wanted to clear entire city blocks and rebuild them, believing beautiful architecture was superior to crowded streets.

Jacobs argued this ignored everything that made cities great: the mixture of shops, offices, and housing that brought people together to live their lives. And her vision triumphed. How Jacobs left her mark on urban planning Missy S Jacobs's book transformed urban planning, throwing out the giant housing projects and sterile plazas that characterized the urban renewal movement in favor of a vision of a bustling, pedestrian-friendly city.

Lucius Riccio is the originator and chief proponent of pothole analytics. Tha... In like a lion, out like a—wham! It’s pothole season, or really, now that the magnolias, and the Mets, have wilted, the season for filling potholes and then boasting about it. Municipal crews are out counting and plugging craters. This spring hasn’t been as bad as the previous two, partly because the winter was mild, but also because in the past couple of years the city has apparently done a better job of resurfacing the streets. This latter variable is the fixation of Professor Pothole, a.k.a. Lucius Riccio, a Columbia University lecturer and former city transportation commissioner, who is the originator and chief proponent of pothole analytics.

The filling of potholes is a common, if trivial, yardstick of a mayor’s success. By the early nineties, the city was repaving fifteen hundred lane miles a year; the pothole count bottomed out at around eighty thousand. Last month, Mayor de Blasio held a press conference to hail the successful filling of his administration’s millionth pothole. Growing New York’s underground park | 1843.

Beneath Delancey Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side lies a derelict tram station that’s been closed since 1948. With cobblestones, vaulted ceilings and snaking tracks, the century-old site is a favourite of graffiti artists. But when architect James Ramsey saw it in 2009, he envisioned a different use for the gritty canvas: spraying it with natural light and creating an underground park.

At the time, Ramsey was tinkering with solar technology that could make this fantasy possible. While working at NASA, he realised that the high-quality optics he was developing for satellites could be used in architecture. Solar panels could collect sunlight and channel it via fibre-optic “helio tubes” to basements and windowless rooms, creating what Ramsey calls a “remote skylight.”

The Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal, he thought, would be the “coolest, biggest, oldest” place to apply the new technique. It sounds crazy, but the technology works. The public appears to have embraced the idea. New York State Parks, After Years of Decline, Receive Infusion of Cash and Care. The silence of the deep: free-diving in Mozambique.

How Orphaned Orangutans Messed With a Reporter’s Mind. Times Insider delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how news, features and opinion come together at The New York Times. In this piece, Joe Cochrane, The Times’s correspondent in Indonesia, shares the personal side of reporting on endangered animals in far-flung places. Photo Standing in the middle of a quiet, pristine rainforest in Indonesian Borneo watching wild young orangutans in their natural habitat is a unique experience, and in my case it wasn’t an entirely positive one. My feelings of wonder and delight during a recent assignment were followed in lightning-quick succession by pity, sadness, disgust, anger and a little bit of fear. That’s because this group of around 30 juvenile orangutans were all orphans.

Their habitat was a training area of a large rescue and rehabilitation center where they will spend years learning how to survive on their own before being released back into the wild. I couldn’t fully describe it. Yes, indeed. That actually made me happy — later on. Why America abandoned nuclear power (and what we can learn from South Korea) There's a simple, compelling argument that the world ought to be building many more nuclear power plants. We'll need vast amounts of carbon-free energy to stave off global warming. It's not at all clear that renewables can do the job alone. And nuclear is a proven technology, already providing 11 percent of electricity globally.

So what's the catch? Cost, cost, cost. More than safety or waste issues, cost is nuclear's Achilles' heel. Ever since, experts have been debating whether or not nuclear's cost problems are an intrinsic flaw that will doom the technology. But there's also an optimistic story for nuclear — and one that I think is worth hearing out. Nuclear construction costs in the US did spiral out of control, especially after the Three Mile Island meltdown in 1979. "The biggest thing we found is that there's nothing intrinsic to nuclear that leads to cost escalations," Lovering told me. How nuclear costs soared in the US — and why it wasn't inevitable (Shutterstock)

The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare. What Just Happened to Solar and Wind is a Really Big Deal. The clean-energy boom is about to be transformed. In a surprise move, U.S. lawmakers agreed to extend tax credits for solar and wind for another five years. This will give an unprecedented boost to the industry and change the course of deployment in the U.S. The extension will add an extra 20 gigawatts of solar power—more than every panel ever installed in the U.S. prior to 2015, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). The U.S. was already one of the world's biggest clean-energy investors. This deal is like adding another America of solar power into the mix. The wind credit will contribute another 19 gigawatts over five years.

Combined, the extensions will spur more than $73 billion of investment and supply enough electricity to power 8 million U.S. homes, according to BNEF. "This is massive," said Ethan Zindler, head of U.S. policy analysis at BNEF. This is exactly the sort of bridge the industry needed. Few people in the industry expected a five-year extension. How Solar and Wind Got So Cheap, So Fast. A funny change has happened this year: People have become tepidly optimistic about climate change.

That’s not because the UN climate negotiations currently underway in Paris look like they might succeed, or because the United States is finally getting serious about a clean-energy policy. And it’s not because humanity is any less likely to overshoot the 2-degree Celsius target that spells dangerous levels of global warming. No, it’s because the two renewable-electricity-generating technologies that advocates hope will one day power much of human society—solar and wind—have both plunged in price in recent years.

According to a recent report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, on-shore wind is competitive with fossil-fuel-burning plants in many parts of the world. And if you factor in coal’s devastating public-health costs, it’s already much more expensive than solar or wind. These plunging costs are key to many popular assessments of global warming. The answer is, of course, complicated. Garbage in, garbage out. Engineers and scientists will take on one of the world’s ugliest problems in 2016 as they test an ambitious method of cleaning the ocean of its tens of thousands of tonnes of floating plastic rubbish. The project is thoroughly unconventional. It was started by Boyan Slat, a teenage Dutch student, funded via Indiegogo, a crowdsourcing site, rather than by government grants—and at first criticised as impossible.

But in 2016 the Ocean Cleanup project is on track to build a 2km-long (1.2-mile) floating boom, claimed to be the longest structure the seas have ever seen, off the island of Tsushima in Japan. If it can remove floating junk cost-effectively, then planning will begin for a 100km structure capable of tackling the ocean’s most junk-ridden spots. Those include the notorious “great Pacific garbage patch” between California and Hawaii. Out at sea, you are never out of sight of plastic waste which has been thrown from ships, washed down sewers and rivers, or blown from dumps. Indonesia is burning. So why is the world looking away? | George Monbiot. I’ve often wondered how the media would respond when eco-apocalypse struck. I pictured the news programmes producing brief, sensational reports, while failing to explain why it was happening or how it might be stopped. Then they would ask their financial correspondents how the disaster affected share prices, before turning to the sport.

As you can probably tell, I don’t have an ocean of faith in the industry for which I work. What I did not expect was that they would ignore it. A great tract of Earth is on fire. It looks as you might imagine hell to be. The air has turned ochre: visibility in some cities has been reduced to 30 metres. And the media? What I’m discussing is a barbecue on a different scale. But that doesn’t really capture it. One of the burning provinces is West Papua, a nation that has been illegally occupied by Indonesia since 1963. Nor do the greenhouse gas emissions capture the impact on the people of these lands. It’s not just the trees that are burning. The Blood Harvest - Alexis C. Madrigal. Catching up with China.