Past Presentation | GSLV Mark3 is a two point of view narration told from a girl and also the ISRO team who wants to launch their GSLV mark 3 satellite into space. There is a beautiful connection between the girl and the rocket which is about to launch.
Now Playing | An individual who is suffering from the obsessive-compulsive disorder and forced to migrate to outer space, he misses his mother and homeland. However, the only response to his calling his mother is an endless busy tone.
Coming Soon | A Mirror of the Cosmos is a sci-fi experimental documentary which explores the first ecosystem in Europe to gain legal rights: the Mar Menor lagoon. Opening with a conversation between the moon and the sea about environmental violence, the film explores how the unlikely relationships between paradise, invasive blue crabs, nitrates, and mining deposits in Mar Menor deeply intertwine to tell the larger story of capitalism’s extractive, cumulative effects on the environment over time, combined with record-setting temperatures and monsoon-like storms. The lagoon is a microcosm of the so-called Anthropocene, or ‘the Age of Man’. Ultimately, it asks what kinds of futures are possible, and can we adapt? A film by Isabelle Carbonell www.amirrorofthecosmos.com
Coming Soon | In the field, we accompany a biologist responsible for the implementation of renaturation solutions, the most coherent with the activities already present. A series of hedgerows planted to ensure bocage continuity is a typical means of providing food and shelter for small mammals involved in an ecosystem that includes cultivated fields and wild lands. Compromises are made to allow continued passage with farm machinery. The viewer discovers that it is possible to observe significant changes in biodiversity if one is attentive to the smallest phenomena, such as the return of butterflies that had disappeared. Through the testimonies of involved farmers, we learn that synergies between animals, plants and farms increasingly make it possible to do without chemical substitutes, those that have long accompanied the productivist approach on which agriculture is still largely dependent. From the scouting in the middle of winter, to the informal meetings between participants discussing in the middle of the heat wave, the film shows from the inside an experience of active awareness but not without its paradoxes. How to reconcile issues as remote as profitability and biodiversity.
A fresh analysis of tree-ring data suggests barrages of cosmic radiation that washed over Earth centuries ago may have come from sources besides our sun
Journeying into the future will require embracing disability—and recognizing its power in our changing world.
Mizuna plants growing from a seed (A) to a seedling (B, on ISS) in a ground environmental chamber (C) or within an ISS Veggie unit (D). After 908 days in low Earth orbit, a small package on board the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle-6 has come home to the delight of some biological scientists. Soon they will open an aluminum alloy container that holds samples of plant seeds that they hope can be used to sustain astronauts on long duration missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Officially, it is known as a SEER experiment, short for Space Environment Exposure Research, a pathfinder mission supported by NASA’s Biological and Physical Sciences Division (BPS) in collaboration with the US Air Force. Unofficially, they’re referred to as the “Thrive in Space” experiments – a way to underscore the stepping-stone research that scientists are undertaking to help advance their fundamental understanding of what it takes to grow and protect plants beyond our planet. Space Biology Scientists Dr. Ye Zhang and Dr. Howard Levine, with NASA’s BPS Division, will advise a team of researchers who will begin to study these seeds shortly after their arrival. Q: What kinds of plant seeds did you send into orbit? Zhang: “We chose seeds from 12 plant species or subspecies, including thale cress and purple false brome, which will serve as model organisms. For crops, there were seeds from mizuna mustard, pak choi, lettuce, tomato, radish, chili pepper, Swiss chard, onions, dwarf rice, dwarf wheat, and cucumber.” Q: Many of those plant seeds have already been germinated, grown, and studied on board the International Space Station. What new information are you trying to get from this mission? Zhang: “We want to see what happens to these seeds after they’re exposed to a variety of space radiation over a long period of time. As a basis of comparison, we’ve examined how seeds react to high levels of radiation; we’ve conducted a number of seed experiments at Brookhaven National Laboratory where we’ve observed how they change behaviors as a result of being subjected to controlled radiation exposure. And, we’ve seen how they react to a lower radiation dose for a limited time on board the space station. But we’ve never subjected them to the multiple types of space radiation bombardment that you’ll find in space over a long period of time. Remember, when we have a round trip to Mars, we’ll be traveling for two or maybe three years, so we want to determine how long these seeds can be stored and still be viable.” Q: What are the challenges to growing Is crops in space? Levine: “The biggest challenge is the room you need to grow these edibles. Just to give you a general number, it would take about 50 square meters of soil to provide enough food for one person. So, as we transport our crew members to Mars, the plants we grow will provide them with a token amount of their nutritional needs. That said, there’s an often overlooked or minimized aspect to growing plants in space and that’s the psychological benefit to our crew members; they’ve often told us when they’re able to take care of the plants on board the space station, they really appreciate it as gives them a remembrance of what it’s like on Earth. Also remember, you don’t just grow plants for food: They also suck up carbon dioxide which we normally have to do by chemical means. Plants purify the water that’s passed through them. Oh, and by the way, they also produce oxygen.” Q: Are there any potential benefits from your experiments that could benefit current horticultural methods on Earth? Levine: “We’re now in what we call the ‘omics’ era, where we look at how genes are differentially expressed under microgravity conditions and eventually under partial gravity. We’re learning about which genes are turned on more, or less, or the same amount as they are on Earth. And all that has great implications for the metabolism and physiology of the plants. That can be very enlightening for horticultural applications on Earth.” Q: To sum up, what are the top things you’d like researchers to know about your seed radiation experiments? Zhang: “First, we’re working on deep-space crop production capabilities, and that includes testing space exposure impact. Second, we may be able to share some of these seeds with the science community. Certainly, the data we collect from our experiments will be transparent for anyone to see. But, in certain circumstances, I’m hoping we’ll be able to share the actual seeds with other researchers to further our knowledge about growing seeds in inhospitable or extreme conditions.” Levine: “Once the seeds return, there are three primary areas we’ll want to explore. First is germination; the beginning of growth. We want to know if there’s a reduced germination percentage of the seeds that have spent many long months being bombarded with higher levels of radiation compared to our ground control experiments. Next is the morphology – the seed’s form and structure. Once we get seedlings, we want to see how they differ from the ground control group. We’ve already radiated seeds at our Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island and have seen a number that developed mutations, so we’ll be looking for that from our seeds exposed to spaceflight conditions for a prolonged interval. Third, we’ll be conducting ‘omics’ analyses of the seedling tissues obtained from the germinated seeds, to see which plant genes may have been under expressed or overexpressed.” Planning for Future Missions When this small container of seeds returns, the first SEER experiment will increase our knowledge about the impact of space radiation, one of the major risks associated with crop production. By developing ways to mitigate this risk, scientists will enable plants to “Thrive in Space”, a critical undertaking for the success of future interplanetary missions and establishing permanently inhabited bases. Stay informed on other exciting BPS research initiatives at: https://science.nasa.gov/biological-physical News Article Type: Homepage ArticlesPublished: Wednesday, December 7, 2022 - 12:33
Now Playing | Plans to build the Thirty Meter Telescope on the summit of the sacred Mauna Kea sparks another battle in a decades-long struggle between Indigenous Hawaiians and astronomers.
New Zealand’s urban green space has dwindled over the past six decades. The Commissioner for the Environment has issued a warning and a challenge – get greener before climate change gets meaner.
Now Playing | Follow Dark Sky Defender Sriram Murali on a journey into the Western Ghats of India, in quest of the stars. From the Fireflies to the Great Hornbills, a naturally dark place is also a naturally wild place. In Search of the Stars explores the profound relationship between the night skies, wildlife and humans.
This story was first published by Energy News Network . Utopia Hill grew up in suburban Chicago, dreaming of being a “planeteer,” understanding and exploring the cosmos. It was perhaps only natural then that Hill began her career in engineering aircraft engines for General Electric, and then was recruited by…
Now Playing | Humans have exploited Earth to the point where it is no longer possible to live on it. Their only option is to relocate to Mars. When the last group of people has boarded the spaceship for the red planet, the Earth can finally breathe easy. Like an expressionist painting, Reboot depicts a world in which the absence of our species is the only chance nature has to recover its lushness and flourish once more.
Past Presentation | How many times do you wonder if what you do makes a difference in the world? Inspiring stories illustrating the ripple effects of our actions in an interconnected world. Like “What the Bleep Do We Know” meets “Cosmos” with Carl Sagan, the film unpacks what the Butterfly Effect really means. Even though a metaphor, it actually depicts how small actions can indeed have large effects. Would we act differently if we understood the interconnectedness at play all around us?
NASA’s AWE project has successfully completed vital space environment tests, aiming to study atmospheric gravity waves and their impact on satellite communications, ahead of its...
First complete ‘scientific health check’ shows most global systems beyond stable range in which modern civilisation emergedEarth’s life support systems have been so damaged that the planet is “well outside of the safe operating space for humanity”, scientists have warned.Their assessment found that six out of nine “planetary boundaries” had been broken because of human-caused pollution and destruction of the natural world. The planetary boundaries are the limits at which key global systems, such as climate, water and wildlife diversity, beyond which these systems’ ability to maintain a healthy planet is in serious peril. Continue reading...
Now Playing | Water drops turning to the starry night. I found two words 'spontaneously' and 'simultaneously' alongside one another in a vocabulary notebook and thought it seemed to be wonderful that the meanings of the two words conjoined. I embody the idea by using a turntable with a running mirror under the photo panel, and it could imply how I and others relate across the media symbolically. Consequently water turns into the starry night, like howling dreams come true.
Past Presentation | In the summer of 1988 dry lightning sparked a fire in the parched and drought ridden landscape of Yellowstone Park, igniting a blaze that would scorch over 1.5 million perimeter acres of the park. Song of Fire, a narrative poem, guides the animation of YELLOWSTONE 88 telling the story of this conflagration that raged unabated for months until a snow of such intense severity extinguished the flames. That winter surviving Fauna, exhausted from fire and weakened by hunger, die in greater numbers than those claimed by the fire. The cosmos turns from one season to another and another and life in the park begins anew.
Past Presentation | They weave a tapestry that draws together scientific discoveries in astronomy, geology, biology, ecology, and biodiversity with humanistic insights concerning the nature of the universe. Using his skills as a masterful storyteller, Swimme connects such big picture issues as the birth of the cosmos 14 billion years ago – to the invisible frontiers of the human genome – as well as to our current impact on Earth’s evolutionary dynamics. From the Big Bang–to the epic impact humans have on the planet today–this film is designed to inspire a new and closer relationship with Earth in a period of growing environmental and social crisis.
When Marjorie Taylor Greene talks of a "safe space" of civil war she is making an existential threat to the nation
Introduced species and diseases can drive native species into smaller environmental niches – and that could mean change to how we work to conserve them.
Even tiny pieces of junk can pose serious risks to astronauts. Scientists call for a global treaty to eliminate increasing orbiting debris.
Now Playing | Planet Earth - a brief history - depicting the evolution of the planet from the Hadean period to the Anthropocene period. An evolutionary history of life on Earth. The Earth has undergone constant change in its 4.54 Billion year history with life evolving in response to those changes - in particular to the changing atmospheric compositions of carbon dioxide and oxygen. Species extinction has been a natural part of the evolutionary process of the planet however there are now thought to have been at least 8 mass extinction events in the history of the Earth - each of major consequence to life on the planet and of import to our modern understandings of climate change. This 6 minute animation has been created by paleoartist Bruce Currie and has been commissioned by the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum – Bathurst.
Being awe-inspired is good for you—and easy, if you know where to look.
A collaboration led by the University of Plymouth has urged leaders to learn lessons from the management of the High Seas and act to protect...
J-WAFS researchers are using remote sensing observations to build high-resolution systems to monitor drought.
Around the world, researchers are betting that beamed power from space could be the next big thing for clean energy on Earth
There’s a lot of trash on the Moon right now—including nearly 100 bags of human waste—and with countries around the globe traveling to the Moon, there’s going to be a lot more, both on the lunar surface and in Earth’s orbit. In August 2023, Russia’s Luna-25 probe crashed into the Moon’s surface, while India’s Chandrayann-3 mission successfully landed in the southern polar region, making India the fourth country to land on the Moon. With more countries landing on the Moon, people back on Earth will have to think about what happens to all the landers, waste and miscellaneous debris left on the lunar surface and in orbit. I’m a professor of astronomy who has written a book about the future of space travel, articles about our future off-Earth, conflict in space, space congestion and the ethics of space exploration. Like many other space experts, I’m concerned about the lack of governance around space debris. Space is getting crowded People think of space as vast and empty, but the near-Earth environment is starting to get crowded. As many as 100 lunar missions are planned over the next decade by governments and private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin. Near-Earth orbit is even more congested than the space between Earth and the Moon. It’s from 100 to 500 miles straight up, compared with 240,000 miles to the Moon. Currently there are nearly 7,700 satellites within a few hundred miles of the Earth. That number could grow to several hundred thousand by 2027. Many of these satellites will be used to deliver internet to developing countries or to monitor agriculture and climate on Earth. Companies like SpaceX have dramatically lowered launch costs, driving this wave of activity. “It’s going to be like an interstate highway, at rush hour in a snowstorm, with everyone driving much too fast,” space launch expert Johnathan McDowell told Space.com. The problem of space junk All this activity creates hazards and debris. Humans have left a lot of junk on the Moon, including spacecraft remains like rocket boosters from over 50 crashed landings, nearly 100 bags of human waste and miscellaneous objects like a feather, golf balls and boots. It adds up to around 200 tons of our trash. Since no one owns the Moon, no one is responsible for keeping it clean and tidy. The clutter in Earth’s orbit includes defunct spacecraft, spent rocket boosters and items discarded by astronauts such as a glove, a wrench and a toothbrush. It also includes tiny pieces of debris like paint flecks. There are around 23,000 objects larger than 10 cm (4 inches) and about 100 million pieces of debris larger than 1 mm (0.04 inches). Tiny pieces of junk might not seem like a big issue, but that debris is moving at 15,000 mph (24,140 kph), 10 times faster than a bullet. At that speed, even a fleck of paint can puncture a spacesuit or destroy a sensitive piece of electronics. In 1978, NASA scientist Donald Kessler described a scenario where collisions between orbiting pieces of debris create more debris, and the amount of debris grows exponentially, potentially rendering near-Earth orbit unusable. Experts call this the “Kessler syndrome.” Nobody is in charge up there The United Nations Outer Space Treaty of 1967 says that no country can “own” the Moon or any part of it, and that celestial bodies should only be used for peaceful purposes. But the treaty is mute about companies and individuals, and it says nothing about how space resources can and can’t be used. The United Nations Moon Agreement of 1979 held that the Moon and its natural resources are the common heritage of humanity. However, the United States, Russia and China never signed it, and in 2016 the U.S. Congress created a law that unleashed the American commercial space industry with very few restrictions. Because of its lack of regulation, space junk is an example of a “tragedy of the commons,” where many interests have access to a common resource, and it may become depleted and unusable to everyone, because no interest can stop another from overexploiting the resource. Scientists argue that to avoid a tragedy of the commons, the orbital space environment should be seen as a global commons worthy of protection by the United Nations. The lead author of a Nature article arguing for a global commons filed an amicus brief—a type of outside comment offering support or expertise—on a case that went to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in late 2021. The author and his research collaborators argued that U.S. environmental regulations should apply to the licensing of space launches. However, the court declined to rule on the environmental issue because it said the group lacked standing. National geopolitical and commercial interests will likely take precedence over interplanetary conservation efforts unless the United Nations acts. A new treaty may emerge from the work of the U.N. Office for Outer Space Affairs, which in May 2023 generated a policy document to address the sustainable development of activities in space. The U.N. can regulate the activities of only its member states, but it has a project to help member states craft national-level policies that advance the goals of sustainable development. NASA has created and signed the Artemis Accords, broad but nonbinding principles for cooperating peacefully in space. They have been signed by 28 countries, but the list does not include China or Russia. Private companies are not party to the accords either, and some space entrepreneurs have deep pockets and big ambitions. The lack of regulation and the current gold rush approach to space exploration mean that space junk and waste will continue to accumulate, as will the related problems and dangers. Chris Impey is a university distinguished professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
Space junk is an increasing problem. With more countries and private companies entering space, more junk is accumulating and no one is in charge of cleaning up. The post Space junk is increasing, and no one’s in charge of clean up first appeared on EarthSky.
Scientists warn that six of the nine key signs of planetary health are out of whack. The other three are also headed in the wrong direction.
Data hints at exoplanet possessing possible liquid ocean surface. Carbon-bearing molecules have been discovered in the atmosphere of the habitable zone exoplanet K2-18 b by...
Used diapers can replace up to 40 percent of the sand that is typically used in making concrete, lowering costs and keeping more trash out of landfills
A single passenger aboard a rocket is responsible for 100 times more pollution than an airline passenger.
Here's how scientists are planning on getting underground fungi data from space, using satellites.
In the summer of 2021, I was given an opportunity that opened my eyes to a whole new perspective about the Florida I have grown up in. I was one of three teenage girls invited to participate in the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation’s Spring2Shore expedition, a four-day, 50-mile trek from the Rainbow River to the Gulf of Mexico.
Major environmental plan includes tackling sewage spills and restoring wildlife habitats but critics question lack of fundingFarmers will be key to plan to restore England’s green spaces and wildlifeEvery household will be within a 15-minute walk of a green space or water, under a major environmental improvement plan for England set out by the government on Tuesday.The long-awaited measures will include commitments to restore at least 500,000 hectares (1.2m acres) of wildlife habitat, and 400 miles of river. This will include 25 new or expanded national nature reserves and 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) of new woodland along England’s rivers. A new species survival fund will target some of the most threatened wildlife, including hedgehogs and red squirrels. Continue reading...
People are choosing eco-friendly and creative options for their final resting places, including the bottom of the ocean and miles and miles into outer space.
Coming Soon | 75 minutes , 4K , 2023 Language versions available: English, German, French, Spanish, Bahasa Indonesia The last indigenous people of Mentawai, a small archipelago south-west of Sumatra, are fighting with creative resistance to preserve their ancient culture and rainforest. A culture on the verge of extinction - with the latest geopolitical developments, the destruction of their habitat reaches the point of no return. Smashing the hopes of thirty years of democratization in Indonesia, Jakarta in relapse to authoritarian rule is enforcing deforestation in Mentawai. In collaboration with investigative journalist Febrianti and indigenous foundations, our film portrays indigenous culture, history and resistance up to the most recent developments in geopolitical of Indonesia's growing environmental degradation. Connect with all your heart and senses: see, feel, touch, smell life in the jungle. The cinematic and compassionate camera conveys an intimate and sensual experience of the indigenous life on Mentawai with its beauty and vulnerability. Three shamans are the main characters in the film, hunter-gatherers in a culture predating even traditions of weaving or pottery, archaic traditions with their own complexity. The film portrays daily life of the indigenous tribe, their spiritual cosmos and their commitment to preserving their own culture and natural habitat. Logging companies threaten the fragile eco-system of the islands. Rare historic footage and archive materials tell the story of decades of oppression of the indigenous culture – but also of the resilience of our main characters and the last tribes living in the jungle. The main character, Father Laulau had been a leader in this struggle for decades, meeting the governor on Sumatra in a key point of history. The latter part of the film explores the geopolitical context and shows a new generation joining our main characters in the fight for the preservation of both their environment and culture – as part of a larger movement in Indonesia. The project started by indigenous initiative: Martison Siritoitet from Indigenous foundation Suku Mentawai (http:/sukumentawai.org) invited director Joo Peter to Mentawai and a long-term collaboration started including also Mentawai Indigenous Education Program (http://IEFprograms.org) The film is one of a planned series of films celebrating the diversity and richness of the Indonesian indigenous culture.
Urban green spaces have recently been getting more research attention because of the benefits they offer. Gardens, parks, reserves and trees have been linked to cultural, spiritual and alternative medical solutions. Natural or semi-natural land areas can also deliver ecosystem services like food, stormwater management and climate control. Cities can plan and manage these for […] The post Parks versus people? Challenges facing the South African capital’s greening efforts appeared first on SAPeople - Worldwide South African News.
This story was originally published by Wired and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Lawns began as a flex by the uber-wealthy in 17th-century England. (Look how many resources I can waste to replicate nature, when actual nature is right next to my palatial home!) Today, turfgrass has spread like a green […]
The benefits of experiencing nature for physical, psychological and spiritual well-being are widely documented. But much of the research on these benefits has been done in relatively affluent countries in the global North. There’s little research that has been done in developing countries on the benefits of being in nature. Development and urban planning approaches […] The post Green spaces are good for people – but in South Africa many cannot access them appeared first on SAPeople - Worldwide South African News.
Tony Juniper believes new homes and protection for green spaces and wildlife should not be seen as oppositesBuilding on the green belt should be part of the UK’s answer to the housing crisis, provided more effort is also put into improving the quality of urban green space, England’s nature chief says.New housing and better protection for green spaces, wildlife and nature should not be seen as opposites, according to Tony Juniper, the chair of Natural England. The “oppositional mindset” that sees the two as “binary choices” does not reflect reality, and is hindering local communities from finding ways to provide enough homes for people, while restoring the UK’s dwindling species. Continue reading...
Over 25 years, the red wolf went from being declared extinct in the wild to becoming hailed as an Endangered Species Act success story
Space exploration is often propelled by competition, driven by national pride and with little thought about consequence. It is time to consider space as a commons, not just a resource to exploit.
A version of this article originally appeared in The Deep Dish, our award-winning members newsletter. To get the next issue in your inbox—and support our work—become a member today. She came across an opening for pruning and weeding school gardens and other green spaces across New York City’s five boroughs. She got the job. “I just […] The post Re-envisioning New York City’s Green Spaces With Qiana Mickie appeared first on Civil Eats.
These plants that grow back year after year show promise, but they are not a silver bullet
It’s almost become a cliche, the many signs that waste is slowly killing us. The footprints are everywhere: from the leaky pipelines and cargo trains that unleash toxic plumes above Ohio one month to explosive chemicals mysteriously disappearing across Western plains the next. Countless communities’ groundwater has been poisoned by “forever chemicals” in firefighting foam and corroding gas station storage tanks. Microplastics have been found in everything from kale, to human breastmilk, to sea creatures at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Perhaps our most damning waste legacy is the carbon emissions that have unleashed extreme weather patterns and species loss. And yet, at this rate, it’s hard to tell if we’ve seen the worst of our garbage crisis.A half-century after the birth of modern environmentalism, cleaning up all of our trash remains an elusive proposition. Despite the seemingly everyday disasters on the news, we’re rarely aware of the mass totality of all of our waste—of the colossal amounts of damaging stuff we’ve created and foisted on the planet. A steady flow of evidence points to the second-order impacts and long-term consequences of pollution, from increased cancer rates and organ damage to endocrine disruption and low fertility. But rather than face hard truths about reorganizing our system to stop waste, policymakers and citizens are falling victim to another pernicious threat: empty and inefficient promises from the tech industry. Over the past decade, the sector has taken off in trying to provide cleanup solutions while doing little to actually stem the tide of garbage. Last year alone, venture capitalists invested over $6 billion into waste management startups.These new ventures can take a myriad of forms. Companies like Loop and Again, for example, are trying to jumpstart consumer demand for reusable packaging by recreating an archaic technology: the glass or aluminum container once provided by the milkman. Advanced recycling startups, meanwhile, are forging new markets for lithium-ion batteries and food waste; one product claims to convert general household waste into “sustainable plastic” feedstock. Even more companies are looking to biology, identifying bacteria or plants and fungi that can absorb petrochemicals and harmful metals. Founders pledge not only a solution to a waste problem, but also hefty returns for investors.“There’s been a huge boom in research on ways to clean up all sorts of materials, from single-use plastics to wind turbines,” professor Julie Rorrer said in a recent MIT Technology Review article. “There’s valuable things in trash.”While these companies may make money in the short term, few cleanup ventures offer good-faith or coherent solutions for our planet. Successful prototypes capture a mere fraction of the growing volume of pollution unleashed each year. It’s a constant game of catchup—with enormous expenses.Take ocean plastic, which is arguably one of the most visible forms of waste over the past decade. Growing public awareness of plastic’s hidden costs—illustrated by heartbreaking images of remote coastlines littered with mountains of trash, or the stomachs of dead seabirds protruding with bottle caps and toothbrushes—have inspired a wave of bans on specific items like straws and takeaway bags in recent years. But today, we produce more single-use plastic than ever, and shed roughly 11 million tons of plastic waste into the ocean each year. The global economy is on track to triple this annual output by 2060, buoyed in part by Big Oil’s turn to fossil-fuelled plastics production as a hedge against electrification.One self-styled “solution” for plastic waste has won outsized influence. In 2012, Dutch teenager Boyan Slat presented a TED Talk on his concept for cleaning up the ocean with simple mechanisms to sweep up all the trash. While scientists and plastics experts cautioned that his ideas were ineffective, Slat’s non-profit the Ocean Cleanup, founded the year after his talk went viral, has gained millions of followers and big-name backers, including Salesforce, Maersk, KIA, and PayPal’s Peter Thiel. But the venture had one major problem: its first two designs didn’t work, despite the group burning through tens of millions of dollars over the course of a decade. The Ocean Cleanup has since pivoted to work with upstream river “interceptors” that are much more efficient at capturing garbage, but its website still prominently features its latest ocean debris “solution”—essentially a trawl fishing net dragged between two boats that has, to date, collected a comparatively miniscule amount of trash.Tech projects like these are more of a curse than a blessing. Even if the Ocean Cleanup one day somehow beats the insurmountable odds and removes all surface-level traces of plastic marine pollution, it’d still be missing the vast majority of waste that sinks to the bottom of the ocean floor, or breaks up into tiny microplastics. While companies like these bring increased attention to the plastics crisis, they’re ultimately flashy gimmicks that lull our public consciousness into thinking a clever gadget can solve a collective-action problem. These projects also allow consumer brands—like Coca-Cola, an official “Global Implementation Partner” of Slat’s group—to greenwash their continued massive plastic production, while lobbying behind-the-scenes against regulations that would actually help the world break its plastic addiction. “We now know that we can’t start to reduce plastic pollution without a reduction of production,” environmental scientists Imari Walker-Franklin and Jenna Jambeck write in the introduction to their forthcoming study, Plastics. To meaningfully address this crisis and others like it, we need to look upstream, invest in reuse infrastructure, and mandate biodegradable packaging and high material recyclability. At a minimum, we need to start making producers bear the cost for the collection and disposal of their poorly designed goods.Unfortunately, there’s now a plethora of cleanup ventures clouding our better judgement. Miles above our plastic-filled oceans, a crowded wasteland of man-made debris now orbits the Earth. For decades, aerospace companies have shed defunct rocket launchers, abandoned satellites, and millions of stray pieces of machinery that can circulate almost indefinitely in orbit around our planet. Today’s private space ventures are set to increase the number of active satellites tenfold by 2030, even as experts warn about the persistence of space junk and increasing collision risk. Some believe we could soon see a catastrophic chain reaction that renders low-earth orbit unusable, jeopardizing the cosmic infrastructure that undergirds modern life, from GPS and weather monitoring to digital payments. But rather than curtail deployment, or embrace even modest end-of-life guidelines for spacecraft, the industry’s leaders are addressing the trash problem in the silliest ways possible: VCs have invested tens of millions into cleanup ventures that use lasers, spider webs, and harpoons to capture space debris. Our cleanup delusion extends to the grandest environmental stage possible. One of greentech’s hottest sectors is carbon removal, a kind of cleanup for fossil fuel emissions. While the UN’s climate science body asserts that carbon removal is “essential” to curbing catastrophic warming, the question is just how much we’re going to need. If the world immediately begins cutting back its fossil fuel use, we may only need to employ expensive carbon removal technologies sparingly. But instead of focusing on regulations to curb emissions at a fraction of the cost, governments and giant corporations alike have begun funneling billions into various “solutions” to suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Accordingly, tech ventures developing massively expensive carbon capture technologies—technologies which may never turn a profit or be truly scalable—have begun pitching themselves as climate saviors, relying on the high end of those UN estimates to make their case. The cycle becomes never-ending: the longer we wait to crack down on pollution, the more trillions in capital, and megatonnes of net-new emissions, we must spend to build an unproven infrastructure—one that may never even deliver the promised returns for its investors.For polluters, cleanup technology not only offers a way to preserve the status quo, but also unlock new revenue streams. Some of the buzziest space cleanup ventures were founded by former SpaceX and Boeing executives. Nearly every oil company has embraced carbon sequestration, thanks in part to expanded tax credits and subsidies folded into the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. “Emitters are recognizing the former trash they were emitting into the air is now a treasure,” carbon-capture CEO Charles Fridge told Politico. “It was previously something they were ashamed of, a byproduct. Now it’s a currency.” Today’s industrial tycoons get to rack up untold profits while making an obscene mess, then turn yet another buck feigning to clean it all up. Call it the Cleanup Industrial Complex. Worryingly, our societal obsession over waste’s obvious consumer forms helps corporations to get away with massive industrial breaches. In the U.S., plants regularly break E.P.A. emissions rules in favor of paying fines as a cost of doing business. For years, BP’s Whiting refinery in Indiana violated pollution thresholds of chemicals and gasses known to cause nausea, cancer, and long-term anemia. In the largest-ever civil penalty under the Clean Air Act, announced by the EPA and the Justice Department in May, BP will be required to pay $40 million in fines—a rounding error in the company’s $5 billion quarterly profits.The scale of our planet’s waste can seem insurmountable—but infrastructure exists to start tackling the problem. We could force modern logistics giants like UPS and Amazon to take the lead on reusability. We could standardize bottle types for household goods and toiletries to make recycling easier, and improve municipal systems to better handle recyclable materials. We could hire a corp of environmental surveyors and litigators to hold industrial polluters accountable in the courts, rather than relying on the slow procedure of legacy programs and government agencies. But mainstream political leaders in the U.S. lack the power or the will to explore even common-sense measures. If it’s any consolation for Americans, few countries have proven able to handle their waste. The vast majority of developed economies are abysmal at recycling, and even the high performers see just over 50% of their household garbage get recycled. Only a handful of countries and U.S. states have piloted extended producer responsibility laws, which make industries share the cost of municipal waste management. France broke new ground this year with a fund to incentivize consumer textile repair, the latest in a series of aggressive measures that also curb food waste and mandate electronics repair. But these are all still marginal cases amid a deregulated patchwork of dumping and scrap recycling schemes, with little scrutiny or liability. An honest appraisal of our situation would require a wholesale rethinking of our relationship to goods and production. We’d have to dispose of our disposable mindset and keep high-quality products in circulation for as long as possible. We’d have to accept more friction, and perhaps some pain, in the flow of our daily chores and habits. But this is antithesis to any system predicated on perpetual growth. Rather than sign legislation that can mandate a more sustainable world overnight, we appear doomed to wait for profitable niche markets to drive some larger behavioral change—if that inflection point ever comes. Rather than stopping pollution upstream, the global economy chugs along, and we pretend that clean-up solutions can feasibly address our many crises—even as the scale of our waste grows exponentially, and incurs irreversible damage.
By Ainslie Cruickshank A new 'rainway' in Vancouver aims to combat climate change and prevent flooding in the city, while also supporting biodiversity
Some wavelengths of light in a range called far-UVC kill microbes in experiments and appear to be harmless to people
Exposure to spaces such as beaches and rivers leads to greater value being placed in natural settings, study findsChildhood days on the beach or messing around in rivers can have significant lasting benefits for our wellbeing in adulthood, according to a study.It found that exposure to blue spaces – such as coasts, rivers and lakes – as a child made revisiting blue spaces in adulthood more likely, as these adults showed greater familiarity with and placed greater value in natural settings. Continue reading...
The Environmental Protection Agency has a new proposed air pollution standard. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has new guidelines for federal agencies on emissions in environmental reviews, and the Interior Department proposes additional new lease sales. This is Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. For The...
Recovering urban wildlife isn’t just about protecting a city’s parks and rivers, but also making its streets, homes and skyscrapers greener. The post Urban ‘Microrewilding’ Projects Provide a Lifeline for Nature appeared first on The Revelator.
A public survey found 86% of people want more space for nature in the city. The city council is already taking steps to add green space and increase biodiversity, which should boost public wellbeing.
TEMPO, a $90 million pollution monitor that orbits the Earth, was launched into space in April and is expected to be fully operational by October.
Bollards and cameras are being deliberately damaged in protest at measures designed to improve air quality and road safetyLondon councils are having to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money repairing vandalised bollards and cameras designed to help improve air pollution and make roads safer.Data obtained by the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act shows more than £850,000 worth of damage has been caused to low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) infrastructure in the capital since 2020. Continue reading...
A new study suggests long-term exposure to more greenery can slow down aging.
Next week the first constitutional climate lawsuit goes to trial amid signs fossil fuel companies are facing accountability testsClimate litigation in the US could be entering a “game changing” new phase, experts believe, with a spate of lawsuits around the country set to advance after a recent supreme court decision, and with legal teams preparing for a trailblazing trial in a youth-led court case beginning next week.The number of cases focused on the climate crisis around the world has doubled since 2015, bringing the total number to over 2,000, according to a report last year led by European researchers.The first constitutional climate lawsuit in the US goes to trial on Monday next week (12 June) in Helena, Montana, based on a legal challenge by 16 young plaintiffs, ranging in age from five to 22, against the state’s pro-fossil fuel policies.A federal judge ruled last week that a federal constitutional climate lawsuit, also brought by youth, can go to trial.More than two dozen US cities and states are suing big oil alleging the fossil fuel industry knew for decades about the dangers of burning coal, oil, and gas, and actively hid that information from consumers and investors.The supreme court cleared the way for these cases to advance with rulings in April and May that denied oil companies’ bids to move the venue of such lawsuits from state courts to federal courts.Hoboken, New Jersey, last month added racketeering charges against oil majors to its 2020 climate lawsuit, becoming the first case to employ the approach in a state court and following a federal lawsuit filed by Puerto Rico last November. Continue reading...
Academia has a youth problem. In the past few years, youth claimed more space in the climate change conversation. However, their participation in academic circles is still lacking. The three of us met at a student-intensive workshop designed to foster student engagement in emerging environmental issues and challenges associated with the pandemic, hosted by experts across government, industry and academia. Students from around the country developed recommendations concerning policy, science and technology investment gaps, and communication considerations for enduring change. We reported our recommendations, presenting a foundation for experts to build upon. However, our peers’ ideas were left on the table. Realizing our recommendations would not be followed up on was a great disappointment, especially because it included motivating ideas, like making academic articles freely available and understandable to the public, preventing social media algorithms from pandering toward political beliefs to drive engagement, fostering trust in the government by addressing and making reparations for historical traumas, welcoming international climate refugees and bridging the gap between science and government to solve real-world problems. We pivoted to try and publish our ideas in an academic journal. We were shocked when each journal we contacted indicated that they had no place to publish the unsolicited opinions of youth. We believe excluding our voices represents a major shortcoming of journals in environmental health and science. It obstructs the institutional change we need to achieve climate goals and further disenfranchises a group that is already pessimistic about their future. We’re tired of hearing leaders say we need creative solutions to climate issues, and then ignoring the creative solutions youth present. What place do youth voices have in academic journals?There is bias in academia toward original research over discussion and commentary on new knowledge, which excludes youth because we have yet to acquire the experience and ability to conduct original research. Yet the thoughts, ideas and experiences of people from diverse backgrounds and motivations — who are influenced by the findings of academic scientists — can enhance conversations otherwise dominated by experts, often stuck doing niche research.If we want to effectively address issues of climate change and health, the scientific community needs to make more space for those groups most impacted by their work. While holding an advanced degree can be portrayed as the superior path to knowledge, lived experiences can reveal powerful truths about greater societal patterns. The experiences of today’s youth are unlike any generations that came before us. Throughout history, marginalized groups have been excluded from institutions based on race, gender, sexuality, ability and age. Excluding any group of people from participation hurts the validity of academic research. The good news is space can be made for youth within academic publications. Journals often include shorter pieces that don’t require original research such as editorials, letters, reviews and commentaries. These sections provide a place to spark discussion on controversial topics and share unique perspectives, and have been recommended by experts conducting interdisciplinary work. Youth can and should be engaged in this way; as we can approach these topics with fresh eyes and creative ideas even from early ages. Why is it important to have youth voices in academic journals?Academic journals influence decisions across entities essential to addressing planetary and health crises, like government, industry and academia. As young scientists invested in the future, we want to be engaged and make an impact through well-trafficked academic journals and not solely relegated to separate “youth spaces.”We are not the first to argue that youth deserve a say in planetary health and health equity, as decisions in these domains will impact the majority of modern youth lifetimes. This is not a future problem, but an ongoing burden on our mental and physical health. However, youth do not deserve to be heard solely because we are highly invested in these ongoing crises — rather, we have the skills to address them. Youth’s tech savvy is an asset, having grown up engaging with technology that more experienced generations generally struggle to navigate with fluency. Studies show that youth are exceptional at creating social capital and cohesion by way of social media, an ability that could help build support for, and resilience into, planetary and human health movements. This is exemplified by social capital’s ability to predict recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic and as well as natural disasters. Moreover, the unbridled creativity of youth is generally unmatched, having yet to internalize the many real and falsely perceived constraints that life experience teaches. What can you do to increase youth agency, opportunity and access?The aforementioned skill sets can complement those of more experienced generations. Carving actionable solutions needs both youth’s creativity, and older generations’ wisdom and lessons-learned. Accomplished professionals have also accrued valuable resources (such as equipment, spaces and funds) and participate in networks that hold power, influence and seats at the decision-making table.As youth engagement becomes more fashionable, it is important to discuss what constitutes engagement. The following are eight recommendations targeted toward youth’s inclusion in academic journals, but many are also applicable in other spheres of planetary and human health organizing.Make academia more accessible. Making existing resources more accessible allows us to bring fresh takes into a historically elitist and exclusionary institution. This should be done with all marginalized groups in mind and can look like dedicating resources within your university or organization to make academic publications and their findings more easily digestible, or committing to a simplified writing inclusive of a broader audience.Utilize the spaces that youth find themselves in to get us excited to participate in academia! You can associate science with play and creativity, with camps or other experiential learning that allow kids to get hands-on..With older youth audiences, utilize social media platforms (Hank Green and the work of channels like SciShow are good examples of making science more engaging for a youth audience).Dedicate resources to youth engagement by having a plan to put youth ideas into action, making your needs well-known and be open to new solutions and integrating it into the duties of academia, especially for employees of an institution that work with external communications or outreach.Elevate our voices by creating youth advisory boards or representatives that regularly meet with administrators to make recommendations. Make sure you create a clear, simple path to getting youth voices heard. Once these recommendations are taken into consideration and implemented, include youth in the implementation!Consider diverse thought. Use editorials, letters, reviews, commentaries and other valuable journal articles to spark discussion and share unique perspectives and experiences. Such formats make the voices of youth more accessible to project and listen to.Follow up. Being told that we are heard once is great, but hard to believe. It is consistent efforts of those in power that will yield engaged youth participation.Open the door and also give us the resources to walk through it. Devote resources to helping us navigate the complexities of academia. Give us the time and energy needed to effectively mentor us. Don’t assume we are, or treat us as, experienced professionals who have the same publishing knowledge as experts.Value our time and energy and set clear expectations for us so we can do the same for you. Don’t treat our time and energy as infinite or disposable.Want better for our generation and yours. Making the world better should result in greater equity and transparency for subsequent generations. Removing obstacles will benefit everyone; because feeling like one must struggle immensely to succeed is counterproductive.Emory Hoelscher-Hull (she/her) is an undergraduate student at Montana State University where she studies Environmental Health. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgJoey Benjamin (he/him) is an undergraduate Sustainability and the Built Environment & Geodesign student at the University of Florida, where he has written about student volunteerism in community gardens. View more of his work on his ePortfolio or contact him at email@example.com.Sierra Hicks (they/them) is a Systems Engineering Ph.D. student at Cornell University and an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. Reach out to Sierra at firstname.lastname@example.org.The authors acknowledge the insights shared by Ayesha Nagaria (Texas A&M), Caden Vitti (Penn State), Octavia Szkutnik (Penn State) that inspired this work.