Snowfall in Baghdad, for the second time in a decade.
What a strange sight. Read the rest
Antarctica's hottest temperature ever was recorded this past Thursday: 65 degrees Fahrenheit, or 18.3 degrees Celsius.
That is not good.
Not good at all. Read the rest
Major cities in China will undertake a staged withdrawal of single-use plastics between now and 2022, with plastic cutlery and take-out containers going by the end of 2020; disposable plastics no longer offered in hotels by 2022; and postal outlets no longer providing plastic packaging/bags by the end of 2022. Read the rest
I was a anti-nuclear arms proliferation activist from a very young age, 10 or 11, and took it seriously, nearly getting kicked out of school and organizing classmates to attend large demonstrations. I felt like I was tackling an existential risk to the human race and most of the living things on the planet Earth (30+ years later, I think I was right), and that the grownups around me were not taking this seriously, and that this was probably the most urgent thing for me to focus on as a result. Read the rest
The massive scale and force of the ongoing bushfires in Australia is hard to comprehend. Read the rest
“To the world leaders and those in power, I would like to say that you have not seen anything yet. You have not seen the last of us, we can assure you that. And that is the message that we will bring to the World Economic Forum in Davos next week.”
In the Swiss city of Lausanne on Friday, Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and was joined by an estimated 10,000 others for a protest march, before many of them travel to Davos for next week's annual gathering of political and business elites. Their goal: Draw attention to the urgent need for world leaders to fight our worsening climate crisis. Read the rest
Nathaniel Stern writes, "The World After Us: Imaging techno-aesthetic futures (Flickr set) is an art exhibition that asks, 'What will — and what can — happen to our gadgets over geological time?' For the last few years, I have been working scientists to artificially age phones and computers in different ways, growing plants and fungi in watches, phones, laptops, and more, and turning phones into ink (via blenders and oils), iMacs into tools (melting down the aluminum, and shaping it into a wrench, hammer, and screwdriver), and otherwise spiking electronic waste onto 12 foot towers and/or 'growing' them (intermingled with botanicals) across 1000 square feet of wall space. Here I want people to think and act differently in and with their media devices, their electronic waste, and the damage it does to create both in the first place." Read the rest
Eric Holthaus is a meteorologist who has grown weary of the inadequacy of scientific discourse as a means of conveying the urgency of the climate crisis; instead, he's written an inspiring future history in which he traces the year-by-year steps that lead to a just climate transition: "a vision of what it could look and feel like if we finally, radically, collectively act to build a world we want to live in." Read the rest
If you can't or won't or just don't drink cow milk, Starbucks has a new option for you. Read the rest
According to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, if current trends in single-use plastic continue, "there could be more plastic than fish (by weight) in the ocean by 2050." Having spent countless family vacations at the beach since she was a child, product design student Lucy Hughes, now 24, was distraught by the amount of single-use plastic she saw littering the shore and water. So she invented a bioplastic made from fish scales and skin collected at a fish processing plant. The scales and skin are bound together with red algae. For her product, called MarinaTex, Hughes just won a James Dyson Award recognizing ingenious design. From Smithsonian:
The resulting product is strong, flexible and translucent, with a feel similar to plastic sheeting. It biodegrades on its own in four to six weeks, which gives it a major sustainability advantage over traditional bioplastics, most of which require industrial composters to break down. In addition to utilizing materials that would otherwise be thrown away, the production process itself uses little energy, since it doesn’t require hot temperatures. One single Atlantic cod fish produces enough waste for 1,400 MarinaTex bags.
Oops. Awkward. Read the rest
This video visualizes a century of tropical storm destruction in one minute. Read the rest
40 years of Reaganomic sociopathy has managed to convince hundreds of millions of otherwise sensible people that big, social problems are caused by their personal choices, and not (say) by rapacious corporations that corrupt the regulatory process in order to get away with literal and figurative murder. The Intercept's Sharon Lerner made a short doc on the subject, showing how the inevitable pollution from single-use plastics was rebranded as a matter of individual carelessness, starting with the "Crying Indian" ads, and how that continues to this day, with the plastics industry successfully lobbying states to ban cities from limiting plastic bags, even as those cities have to pay to landfill and clear them away. Read the rest
As of Jan 1, a new International Maritime Organisation standard will seriously restrict the kind of air pollution that shipping vessels can emit; in response, the industry has invested more than $12b in "open-loop scrubbers," which capture the sulphur from heavy fuel oil exhaust and reroute it, along with CO2, into waste water that is dumped from the ships directly into the sea. Heavy fuel oil is the dirtiest form of fossil fuel. Read the rest
Gavin and Alice Munro are serious about sustainability. On a two-acre field in England's Midlands, they're growing trees that are trained into forming the shape of furniture, including chairs. Read the rest
California and 23 other states are suing to stop the Trump administration's shocking legal reversal of states' authority to set their own rules on climate-warming tailpipe emissions. Read the rest