The baobabs are dying

Nine of thirteen "landmark" baobab trees across southern Africa abruptly died in recent years, reports Agence Presse-France. Climate change is blamed.

“It is definitely shocking and dramatic to experience during our lifetime the demise of so many trees with millennial ages,” said the study’s co-author Adrian Patrut of the Babeș-Bolyai University in Romania.

Read the rest

National Geographic's plastics issue is a huge wake-up call

This video accompanies National Geographic's terrific reporting on the global plastic waste crisis. it shows how America became a plastic-addicted throwaway culture, and how the earth is now paying for humanity's short-sighted sin. Read the rest

Drone's-eye view of how solar farms clean all those panels

Clifford Burgoni wanted to sell his system for cleaning 86,000 solar panels, so he made a cool drone video of the gear in operation. Read the rest

Watch how organic farmers use tractor-mounted flamethrowers on weeds and pests

Flame weeding involves strapping a tank of propane to the back of a tractor and running specialized equipment down rows of crops, burning any non-crop stuff that gets in the way. Read the rest

New AI-enabled tractors target weeds, using 90% less herbicide

Farming is undergoing a quiet but radical transformation as machine learning and automation innovations reduce waste. One especially promising new technology targets individual weeds. Read the rest

Rising levels of a banned chemical are threatening the ozone layer (again)

CFC-11 was phased out under 1987's Montreal Protocol and the immediate halt of its usage has done much to reverse ozone depletion in the years since; but since 2012, atmospheric levels of CFC-11 have risen by 25%, eroding the still-healing ozone layer and suggesting that someone, somewhere, has started manufacturing the substance again. Read the rest

World's largest rodent extermination plan clears entire island of pests

South Georgia Island (population 20), due east off the tip of South America, had no rodents until 18th-century sailing ships accidentally introduced them. After seven years of work, the island is now rodent-free, allowing native birds to recover. Read the rest

Debullshitifying Microsoft's smear campaign against the recycler it helped send to prison

Eric Lundgren is the PC recycler who is going to jail for 18 months for having a Chinese factory duplicate the obsolete Windows restore CDs Microsoft lets you download for free and authorizes recyclers to distribute. Read the rest

Kickstarting a metal, reusable, self-extracting straw

The "Final Straw" is a cleverly named, cleverly engineered reusable drinking straw that folds down into a package small enough to use as a keyfob (including a little squeegee for cleaning the straw after use). Read the rest

Gorgeous reimagining of Vespas as electric scooters

Designer Giulio Iacchetti was inspired by the clean lines of the classic Vespa 98 to create a spec concept for an all electric model. He nicknamed his digital mockup the Vespampère. Read the rest

Microsoft sends recycler to jail for reinstalling obsolete, licensed copies of Windows on refurbished PCs

Eric Lundgren is an environmental hero, whose California business diverts literal tons of e-waste from landfills, refurbishes it, and puts it in the hands of people who can make good use of it. Read the rest

The used cars that Europe sends to Nigeria are filled with illegal, toxic e-waste

EU and Nigerian law both ban the export of e-waste to Nigeria, but a new study jointly authored by scholars from UN University and the Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for Africa found that exported used cars represent a smuggler's bonanza for the illegal dumping of toxic waste. Read the rest

UK's indie music fests vow to end plastic bottles and straws at events

The Association of Independent Festivals plans to take a step in the right direction on single-use plastic items with their Drastic on Plastic initiative. Read the rest

Aerial footage of a Volkswagen diesel car graveyard in California

To date, Volkswagen has bought back about 350,000 diesel vehicles in the wake of the massive environmental fraud they committed around emissions testing. Here's one of 37 VW graveyards. Read the rest

What happens to nearby streams and rivers when a tanker passes too quickly

Though hardly rekt compilation material, this footage of a feeder river turning into a roiling mess, due to a tanker going through St Lawrence seaway too fast, was good enough to get a captain in trouble and get authorities to enforce the speed limit.

This video was part of a series of videos studied and analyzed by the USCG to determine that the upriver vessels were traveling anywhere from 3 knots to 5 knots over the allowed 8 knot (land relative) upriver limit (10.4 knot water-relative limit) during the shipping season. Speed limits have now been re-enforced throughout the St Lawrence seaway, and the issues shown in this video have since subsided.

Read the rest

Environmentalists sue White House for access to withheld public records on pesticide use

The Environmental Protection Agency's mission is in its name. But it's hard to tell whether or not the EPA is doing its job if the government refuses to release any records of its doing so.

In the summer of 2017, the Center for Biological Diversity – an organization that is passionate about the link between the well-being of humanity and the ongoing safety and diversity of all the creatures bopping around the earth – requested that the EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service provide them with public records on the use of a number of pesticides: chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion. Their request for information was never acknowledged.

Unwilling to take ghosting for an answer, they filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, demanding that the thousands of pages of analysis on how the pesticides' use affects wild plants and animals, be released. In a statement released by the organization earlier today, they cited the following:

The Fish and Wildlife Service had committed to releasing its analysis of that research for public comment by May 2017 and to finalize the documents by December 2017. But last year, shortly after donating $1 million to Trump's inauguration, Dow Chemical asked federal agencies not to finalize the legally required assessments that are crucial to establishing common-sense measures to reduce the pesticides' harm to endangered species. 

The EPA’s initial analysis of the three pesticides, released in 2016, found that 97 percent of the more than 1,800 animals and plants protected under the Endangered Species Act are likely to be harmed by malathion and chlorpyrifos.

Read the rest

This weird crawling robot baby is used to study dirt and bacteria inhalation

Purdue University researchers built this bizarre crawling robot baby to study how real infants kick up dirt and bacteria from carpet that they then inhale. Engineer Brandon Boor and his colleagues ran the robot over carpet samples removed from people's homes and then analyzed the particulates that were stirred up. Turns out that the particle concentration is as much as 20 times greater than higher up in the room where we adults breathe. That isn't necessarily bad though, Boor says.

"Many studies have shown that inhalation exposure to microbes and allergen-carrying particles in that portion of life plays a significant role in both the development of, and protection from, asthma and allergic diseases," says Boor, an assistant professor of civil engineering and environmental and ecological engineering. "There are studies that have shown that being exposed to a high diversity and concentration of biological materials may reduce the prevalence of asthma and allergies later in life."

(Purdue University)

Read the rest

More posts