How NASA Tracks Carbon Emissions from Space

How NASA Tracks Carbon Emissions from Space

Fires, drought and warmer temperatures were to blame for excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere during the 2015-2016 El Niño, scientists with NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 say. The findings, part of five papers published in the journal Science, shed light on the mechanisms through which Earth “breathes” carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas, and reveal how those mechanisms affect climate change. Global temperatures have been on the rise, thanks largely to the human-driven increase in greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. But not all of the carbon dioxide produced each year ends up in the atmosphere. Some of it gets trapped in the ocean, or locked on land thanks to plants that use the gas during photosynthesis.

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Redefining Prosperity for the Good of All

If you’re tired of hearing about all that’s wrong with the world and would rather get up and do something about it, then you’re in the right place. Doom and gloom can only go so far before we’re depressed and stunned into inaction…all while the world continues to slide. What can we do to help offset our impact on the planet and make this place safer and friendlier for our children?

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Top Ten Renewable Energy Surprises in New IEA Report

A new International Energy Agency report contains some startling findings about solar energy dominance and its future. The study found that renewables comprised 66% of all new net electricity capacity additions in 2016. Two-thirds of added capacity, in other words, consisted of photovoltaic solar cells, wind turbines and biofuels. 165 gigawatts of new solar was added in 2016. In 2016, new solar photovoltaic capacity globally grew by 50 percent.

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Art, Data, and Environmental Stewardship

Art, Data, and Environmental Stewardship

Parents and teachers who are searching for ways to engage kids with local environmental issues might look to their community parks or science museums for opportunities. But what about art? Environmental issues can often be overwhelming or disheartening for members of the public, and art offers an innovative way to promote interest that can lead to deeper engagement down the line. This approach presents a particular opportunity for younger audiences, combining activities they love – like coloring, building, and crafts – with the basics of environmental issues.

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Siblings Open Zero-Waste Store to Return to Old-Fashioned Values

Siblings Open Zero-Waste Store to Return to Old-Fashioned Values

A brother-sister duo have teamed up to give shoppers on Auckland’s North Shore a taste of nostalgia. Andrea and Robert Watt have opened The Source Bulk Food in Milford, bringing unbranded, bulk food retail to the community in an effort to revitalize old-fashioned grocery shopping. The business stocks more than 400 products from as close to the source as possible, and is committed to being zero-waste, vetoing the use of plastic bags in favor of recyclable paper ones. 

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How C&A Created the World’s First Cradle to Cradle T-shirt

In June, C&A, the international Dutch chain of retail clothing stores launched a line of T-shirts certified to the Cradle to Cradle standard, meaning that they were designed and manufactured in a way that is benign to the environment and human health, and whose materials can be recirculated safely back into industrial materials or composted into the soil. It represents, in no small measure, the future of product design and manufacturing. Creating a Cradle to Cradle (or C2C) T-shirt — at scale and at an affordable price to the consumer — was no small feat for C&A. It required a board-level commitment, close partnerships with contract manufacturers, an arduous search for replacements for problematic materials and some new messaging to customers.

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Largest Urban Farm in the U.S. Planned for Pittsburgh

Largest Urban Farm in the U.S. Planned for Pittsburgh

A former 107-acre public housing site in South Pittsburgh’s St. Clair neighborhood is being transformed into a massive urban farm. According to Next Pittsburgh, once construction of the Hilltop Urban Farm is complete, the site will be home to the largest urban farm in the U.S. The project will consist of 23 acres of farmland and about 70 hillside acres of walking trails, green spaces and conservation areas. The Urban Redevelopment Authority will set aside 14 acres for potential future housing. The farm will host a farmer’s market building, a three-acre Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, a one-acre fruit orchard, a three-acre farmer incubation program, a one-acre youth farm with an environmental education building, a community garden, an on-site compost processing facility, as well as an events facility.

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Renewable Energy Isn’t Just Cutting Costs, It’s Saving Lives

Renewable Energy Isn't Just Cutting Costs, It's Saving Lives

Renewable energy is very much in the limelight these days, as country after country experience how these sources can keep at par with fossil fuels. Various places have shown how renewables are capable of supplying a huge chunk of their electricity demand. Renewables do so much more, though, as a recent study published in the journal Nature Energy now shows. Analyzing the impact of solar and wind energy in the U.S, the paper’s authors focused on how these renewables have saved both lives and money during a nine-year period (from 2007 to 2015). By reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increased dependence in solar and wind energy sources have improved air quality in the U.S., at a rate that varies between region to region.

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Should We Invest in Green Bridges to Save Wildlife From Highways?

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Highways quite literally carve up the ecosystems around us and have major effects on wildlife — including animal road deaths, separating colonies of animals, reducing breeding potential, cutting off food supply and even affecting biodiversity as a whole. So comes the idea of Green Bridges. Green bridges are protective over- or underpasses built for wildlife to cross highways safely, without running the risk of being hurt on the roads as they make their way about their daily lives. These special bridges provide small and large mammals, amphibians, insects and reptiles with a safe alternative to follow regional or trans-regional routes, while mitigating the fragmentation of their habitat and feeding/mating patterns.

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Timberland’s New Line Is Made From Trash Collected From The Streets In Haiti

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The recycling organization, Thread, is teaming up with the shoe and apparel company, Timberland, to bring customers new products made from 50% recycled plastic, collected as part of an economic revitalization project in Haiti. In Haiti, for the fabric made for Timberland, more than 1,300 people collected plastic bottles, and sold them to 50 Haitian-owned and operated collection centers that Thread partners with. The process to turn a bottle into fabric is fairly simple: the plastic is mechanically broken down into flakes, put through something that looks like a Play-Doh extruder, and then rolled and manipulated into bales that can be spun into fabric. Plastic bottles are made from oil; so is polyester. When a bottle is recycled into fabric, the end result looks the same as if it had come from fossil fuels (it can also be recycled into other products, such as printer cartridges).

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