Now Playing | An experimental short film from Iran.
Critics said the $800-million green hydrogen plan could end up making the climate crisis worse, not better.
Now Playing | The Fabricated Wild explores the intersections between the natural and artificial within the Florida wilderness using personal film-making technology. Images strictly of the natural landscape are sequenced to break from traditional cinematic viewing techniques. Images foreground the natural Florida landscape in the frame and communicate how cinema fabricates the expansive wilderness. The Fabricated Wild frames the complex interaction between a frustrated filmmaker and the collective unconsciousness of the natural environment, a theory outlined by Carl Jung, considering the implications and discoveries along the way. The film frames the experience of interacting with and revealing the forest’s collective unconsciousness that is frequently hidden in cinema to call for an experimental way to engage with the natural landscape. 16mm, Super 8.
Now Playing | The experimental short film ANSAGE ENDE is an artistic reflection on being engaged with the world. Combining fiction and documentary, music and text, this hybrid film calls for a collective and activist approach to the climate crisis. The visually stunning ANSAGE ENDE opens with an imaginative journey through an empty landscape where water meets land. Two characters walk through the mud, away from the viewer, into an open yet unknown future. They fantasize about what our rapidly developing world might bring and question their personal participation in this possible future. Slowly the film moves away from the imaginary into the real. Climate destruction becomes ghastly visible: huge machines in a brown coal mine eat up the soil, searching for energy and profit. Policemen and women enable sawers to cut down the neighboring forest for the expansion of the mine. Young activists occupy the trees, trying to stop the destruction of this primeval forest.
Now Playing | The Carbon Chronicles: Who owns the air? The Carbon Chronicles is an experimental animated visualisation of the build-up of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses has radically altered the Earth’s atmosphere. It is a collaboration between artists from the Manifest Data Lab and scientists from the British Antarctic Survey. The animation maps from the industrial revolution to the present day the regions contributing most to the climate crisis, which can be traced through the stalagmite growths representing CO2 emissions growing out from the different countries. Beginning with the UK in the 1750s, emissions from coal start enveloping the planet, other regions soon follow. By the late 1800s through to the current period, growing industrial and extraction activity in the Global North is responsible for 92% of CO2 with 8% coming from the Global South. The spread of CO2 described in the animation mirrors the wider historic processes of power distribution visited on poorer countries and shows that the atmosphere is as contested a space as the territories beneath it. The work describes a living breathing planet, under the pressure of human produced exhalations of CO2. It attributes responsibility in ways that can inform the need for equitable solutions to the climate crisis that are mindful of the historic consequences of carbon exploitation and its impacts. The Carbon Chronicles informs the need for equitable solutions to the climate crisis that are mindful of the historic consequences of carbon exploitation to ask: Who Owns the Air?
Now Playing | A narrative video poem that frames the destruction of the Rio Grande Valley through the Mexican ghost story of La Llorona.
This ultrafast infrared spectroscopy method would fulfill many unmet needs in experimental molecular science, revealing various high-speed phenomena in detail. Infrared spectroscopy is a non-invasive...
Past Presentation | They want to build a road here! Music and images over a beautiful part of the world where the City People want to build a road, to expand the City into the Country.
Now Playing | We follow a day in the life of Yosarian Bisbee, aka Yo, as he gathers “junk” from the local dump and unwanted food from the grocery store, all in an effort to minimize waste.
Now Playing | "Tellus" is a love letter for Mother Earth which celebrates our connection with her - from pure joy and love towards nature’s elements, to our collective fears and worries about the damage that humankind has done to our planet, to an inspiring call for action and a hope for a greener, more united future. "Tellus" is a sustainable, female-led community project that captures love, concern and hope for our planet from voices across the world.
Now Playing | This film was made as a tribute to the wonders of our earth and the importance of protecting them. Follow a young woman, armed with her banjo and her spirit, as she enters a portal from a post-apocalyptic world into a realm of rhinoceroses, gorillas and ancient trees to recover magical seeds and make the world wild again!
Now Playing | A personal dive into the world’s most impersonal substance: plastics. Amid the lockdown, a bereaved mother unfolds a surprising journey within and across oceans to understand the contemporary landscape of single-use synthetics. From the noble intentions behind its invention to scales of havoc it has wrought, this experimental documentary brings together art, history, science, and the everyday. Playfully crafted with hand-drawn illustrations and poetic interludes, this evocative “pause between deep time and no time” will change how you think about this ordinary “thing without thingness."
Past Presentation | Journey to the seemingly idyllic Hawaii, where communities are surrounded by experimental test sites for genetically engineered seed corn and pesticides sprayed upwind of homes, schools, hospitals, and shorelines. Discover what’s at stake for Hawaii from local activists, scientific experts, and healthcare professionals who explain the effects of environmental injustice. Join the international debate about pesticides and the movement to hold corporations and governments accountable for poisoning planet Earth. Jane Goodall: “I hope that this film is shown around the world, that it wins every prize out there, that it wakes people up and generates anger.”
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.
Now Playing | Join us on an quiet trip into the woods and see all the sites, big and small, that you may not have noticed before. There are critters, birds, deer, trees, and great bodies of water that will capture your eye for you to gaze upon. But be forewarned, some day these great sites may disappear in place for something more modern. So enjoy what time you have to gaze on such sites, it may be your last.
Past Presentation | A story of Daniel Dembele’s journey growing the budding idea of solar panels into a viable company, and of the business’ impact on Daniel’s first customers in the tiny village of Banko. Taking controversial stances on climate change, poverty, and African self-sufficiency, the film explores what it means to grow up as a man, and what it takes to prosper as a nation. An Official Selection of IFP’s Documentary Rough Cut Lab and Independent Film Week/Spotlight on Docs, and supported by LEF Foundation, Brooklyn Arts Council, and Experimental Television Center.
Past Presentation | After a sting operation in Bangkok for two trafficked orangutans leave those accountable with no consequence, Daniel Stiles, a detective in the illegal wildlife trade, thinks of new ways to combat illegal trafficking of great apes. For the last 8 years the focus of Sytsma’s work has been giving a platform to ordinary people who express a specific sociopolitical concern to strengthen community and inform us of actions and consequences at the ground level. Originally trained as an experimental storyteller and cinematographer at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts, his work has been shown on national media like PBS and at film festivals around the world.
Now Playing | "Alles hat Grenzen, NUR DER MONDFISCH NICHT" is an environmental film musical, in which nature acts and speaks in a diversity of voices. Surfacing evocatively from micro- and macrocosmic layers, she resonates with water as the source of life and resounds as exploited resource. She echoes from the trenches of an inverted world and speaks out as a human being. Reverberating through ecological-cultural depths, images, sounds and associations push to light, giving shape to a vision of humanity being in tune with nature.
Now Playing | Insects were here before humanity, but often we eliminate them as a nuisance. They are a fundamental element of this world. Without them, most of the plants would not be pollinated and birds would lose their food and become extinct. Despite their vital role, they are silently disappearing at a rapid rate.... without us noticing. ‘In Praise of Insects’ is a project to help us rethink the tiny subtle lives that are so entwined with our own. The common Bluebottle is one of the few butterflies that can be seen in central Tokyo. Even if you occasionally see the butterfly flying between buildings, you can see the miracle of life by closely observing its appearance and growth.
Cinema Verde presents an interview with Nick Twardus, the director of "The Fabricated Wild" . "The Fabricated Wild" explores the intersections between the natural and artificial within the Florida wilderness using personal filmmaking technology. Images strictly of the natural landscape are sequenced to break from traditional cinematic viewing techniques. Images foreground the natural Florida landscape in the frame and communicate how cinema fabricates the expansive wilderness. The Fabricated Wild frames the complex interaction between a frustrated filmmaker and the collective unconsciousness of the natural environment, a theory outlined by Carl Jung, considering the implications and discoveries along the way. The film frames the experience of interacting with and revealing the forest’s collective unconsciousness that is frequently hidden in cinema to call for an experimental way to engage with the natural landscape. 16mm, Super 8. Our full catalog of video interviews and streaming films is available to members at cinemaverde.org.
Past Presentation | What if the greatest chemical disaster of our time did not involve oil spills or nuclear meltdowns? Instead, imagine much lower levels of exposure, inflicted over several generations and affecting every person on the planet. The result: rising rates of everything from cancer to autism to infertility. This is the shocking reality explored in The Human Experiment. The film follows a band of unlikely activists who are fighting back. Ranging from Howard, a conservative businessman, to Jessica, a teenage radical, they are stalking their reputation, career and future in this battle to protect our health. And their opposition is Goliath, the powerful chemical industry is heavily invested in maintaining the status quo, pulling unseen strings to create an aura of skepticism and confusion.
With a grant from the Office of Naval Research, MIT researchers aim to design novel high-performance steels, with potential applications including printed aircraft components and ship hulls.
A new study links very dry and very humid indoor environments with worse Covid-19 outcomes.
It’s not at every university that laser pulses powerful enough to burn paper and skin are sent blazing down a hallway. But that’s what happened...
Physical-collapse theories have long offered a natural solution to the central mystery of the quantum world. But a series of increasingly precise experiments are making them untenable. The post Experiments Spell Doom for Decades-Old Explanation of Quantum Weirdness first appeared on Quanta Magazine
The state plans to take a hands-off approach to wolf reintroduction — and critics fear the worst.
Geoengineering our atmosphere to cool the planet has long been a taboo subject. But as the earth keeps heating up, that may now be changing.
This story was originally published by Wired and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Animal testing has long been necessary for a drug to gain approval by the US Food and Drug Administration—but it may be on its way out. A new law seeks to replace some lab animal use with […]
“We are mindful that we’re going to have to be more proactive as a state in terms of our efforts in Washington, D.C.” That was Gov. Gavin Newsom’s delicately worded assessment of how California might fare differently under Kevin McCarthy — the Bakersfield Republican positioned to take over as speaker of the U.S. House of […]
Two 600-gallon fuel tanks, awash in groovy retro-modern swirls of purple, pink, and orange breach a sea of gray machinery. Nearby, a powertrain testbed spreads across a workstation in a tangle of wires entwining a blue metal frame. At a glance, the industrial gallery gracing this small Los Angeles area airport hangar doesn’t register as visionary. But if Paul Eremenko has his way, this unassuming engineering test kitchen will serve up a revolution in aviation and a strike against global warming. While it involves hydrogen-powered flight, that’s not the novelty here. The first experimental hydrogen-powered aircraft flew in 1988, with startups to multinationals now addressing the challenge for commercial fleets. What is novel is rethinking hydrogen delivery for aviation. Eremenko and Universal Hydrogen (UH)—the three-year-old startup that the clean aviation pioneer and CEO cofounded with general counsel Jon Gordon—are tackling the missing logistics to make carbon-free flight economically viable. The real hurdle will be convincing the industry to get on board: getting the system FAA-certified for commercial service by 2025; then converting enough smaller fleets in time to prove this approach to Boeing and Airbus before they lock down designs for their next-generation jetliners. “Everything we do is with that goal in mind,” he says. There’s just one catch: UH has to do this in five years. [Photo: courtesy of Universal Hydrogen] But first comes the maiden test flight on March 2, when a retrofitted Dash-8 airplane draped in the same vibrant colors plus the company’s polar bear mascot takes a 20-minute spin from Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington. Dash 8 and ATR-72 models, 40-60-seaters that fly routes up to 600 miles, comprise the lion’s share of the regional turboprop market with just over 2,400 combined planes. UH has airline orders to retrofit around 10% of that market and expects to tackle half of it. Decarbonizing most regional air travel, which accounts for seven percent of aviation emissions, could influence narrow-body aircraft—the single-aisle carriers that typically seat 150-200 passengers and fly transcontinental and occasionally transatlantic routes. Boeing and Airbus are rethinking these models for better efficiency, improved passenger experience, and cleaner emissions for a mid-2030s rollout. Eremenko (himself a former Airbus CTO) expects them to finalize those designs around 2028 and wants UH to be ready when they do. The sheer number of narrow-bodies and their flights produce 51% of all aviation emissions. “If we do the single-aisles in the 2030s and the big wide-bodies in the 2040s, by 2050, this industry could get to zero emissions,” he says. Aviation is one of the hardest industries to decarbonize, because of weight, regulatory, and safety hurdles. But it’s not trying hard enough, Eremenko insists. Airlines are slowly adopting sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), pricier bio and synthetic fuels with lower carbon footprints than conventional propellants. But that falls far short of hydrogen engines, which take 3.5 times less energy to produce and emit only water as “exhaust.” “The default reaction in the aviation sector is, `’It’s too hard to change the airplane engine. So we’re stuck with kerosene, but let’s try to make it slightly cleaner kerosene,'” he says. “Hydrogen is always the best fuel, but there’s no hydrogen logistics network to get it to the airport and into the airplane, and nobody’s job to build one. So, we made it ours.” Eremenko likens the UH solution to a Nespresso coffee maker and pods. “They buy coffee and ship it to their customers in pods designed to fit their coffee maker. We buy hydrogen and put it in this convenient capsule that can be transported to the customer by truck and slotted into their retrofitted engines,” he says. Eventually UH plans to outsource its engine manufacturing and focus solely on delivering hydrogen for aviation and, other mobility industries. “We don’t want to be in the coffee machine business. We want to be in the capsule as a service business. But we have to build the first coffee maker; that’s our conversion kit for regional airplanes, and what’s going to fly [March 2].” Universal Hydrogen co-founder and CEO Paul Eremenko with his dog and Chief Canine Officer, Li [Photo: Universal Hydrogen] It’s a bold vision for the 100-person company, albeit one backed with nearly $100 million from such powerhouses as Airbus, General Electric, American Airlines, JetBlue, and Toyota. (UH needs another $200 million or so to get hydrogen regional airplanes into commercial passenger service.) But Eremenko brings a formidable background: The Ukrainian-born 43-year-old boasts degrees from MIT, CalTech, and Georgetown University Law School, executive positions at DARPA, Google, Airbus, and United Technologies, and a pilot’s license before he could drive. Not to mention, there is a sense of urgency with worsening climate change. Eremenko has grown increasingly frustrated with aviation’s lax response to Paris Agreement goals. They involve reducing carbon dioxide emissions to net-zero by 2050 in an effort to keep average global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 °C (2.7 °F)—a target some scientists already doubt is possible. Aviation contributes roughly 2.5% of total global emissions, exceeding the output of some countries, and only threatens to grow. Air transport is expected to increase by an average of 4.3% per year over the next 20 years, with 10,000 more commercial airliners by 2032 and 200,000 daily flights by the mid-2030s, to triple industry emissions by 2050. “[Aviation] companies make incremental improvements just enough to stay apace with the competition. Nobody wants to stick their neck out and be like, `‘I’m gonna do something fundamentally different,’” because it demands too much money, risk, and rejiggering factories, design tools, and workflow, says Eremenko. “When I was at Airbus, one of my big frustrations was that we as an industry would set fake targets. `We can’t meet Paris Agreement goals, so we’ll set new goals that are less stringent that we can actually meet.’ And I was like, “‘Eh, this doesn’t really work for me.’” Net-zero vs true zero The problem is that current carbon reduction and offsetting methods—like using SAFs or funding tree planting—won’t counter aviation’s anticipated growth, a view Eremenko laid out in an opinion piece in Fast Company last year. SAFs capture some CO2 in production, which offset some of the environmental impacts of burning a hydrocarbon (kerosene) at 35,000 feet. However, their capture processes are inefficient, more expensive, and don’t always remove the amount they put in. The algae used for many jet biofuels offsets a small portion of CO2 but consumes huge areas of biomass, creating another negative environmental impact. Synthetic fuels attach carbon atoms from CO2 sucked from the air to hydrogen to fabricate hydrocarbon molecules (synthetic kerosene), only to reintroduce that carbon into the atmosphere when they’re burned. “If the amount of carbon in the air is producing these climate change effects already, we need to remove it,” says Eremenko. “If you want to truly decarbonize the sector and do `true zero’ instead of `net zero,’ you have to use green hydrogen.” Hydrogen vendors make green hydrogen by running electricity generated by wind, solar, or hydropower through water to split it into hydrogen and oxygen. (Compared to extracting it from carbon-containing molecules, like methane.) On regional plane engines, hydrogen feeds through a fuel cell where it reacts with oxygen from outside air to produce electricity, propelling the aircraft and releasing water. On narrow-bodies and larger aircraft, hydrogen burns in the jet engine with the same efficiency as a conventional one, while still emitting only water. But hydrogen presents unique logistical hurdles. While it packs significantly more energy per unit of weight than kerosene, hydrogen requires four times more volume for the same energy content. That means fueling takes four times longer, which would greatly lengthen the typical 30-minute turnaround time between commercial flights. There’s also a high leakage rate. A combination of hydrogen’s tiny size and cooling requirements results in losses that can range from five to fifteen percent with each transfer from one vessel to another. The UH modular approach addresses these challenges. The fuel capsule swap can occur in a few minutes and keep losses down by eliminating the numerous transfer operations. Harnessing public opinion For a company under such severe deadlines with its first test flight looming, the atmosphere at its headquarters is focused but remarkably chill. Wild doves flit around the rafters of its airy converted hangar at the Hawthorne Municipal Airport, down the runway from SpaceX. Dogs are so encouraged at work that they even merit a profile section on the UH website. The prototyping shops occupy another two hangars here and one at the Toulouse–Blagnac Airport in France, with a manufacturing center earmarked for Albuquerque International Sunport in 2025. The colorful graphics on the UH capsules and test planes are a reflection of this vibe, a hip eco-friendly image that UH wants to present directly to consumers, despite being a B-to-B company. The idea is to build brand loyalty and environmental cred with travelers through social media and possibly a UH hydrogen frequent flyer program to help pressure the airlines. “The kids on TikTok today are going to be the teenagers in 2028 telling mom and dad they won’t go with them on vacation if it’s not a hydrogen airplane because we’re destroying the world. And the world is literally on fire,” he says. But can such a grassroots campaign sway consumer behavior enough to counter the Big Oil lobbies for synthetic kerosene? Eremenko sighs. “We’re getting a run for our money.” Lessons from DARPA Climate change warrior wasn’t initially on Eremenko’s career radar. When he moved to the U.S. at 11, he was more into space and briefly considered following in the footsteps of his father, a mathematician at Purdue University. That shifted when he sought flying lessons to escape the boredom of his Indiana suburb, earning his pilot’s license at 17. That experience prompted him to study aeronautics at MIT and CalTech, where he earned a master’s in 2002. After a circuitous route from an unmanned aircraft startup to management consultancy to law school, he found his calling overseeing innovation initiatives at the DARPA, Google, Airbus, and United Technologies. Eremenko met Jon Gordon at Airbus and they continued working together at United Technologies, where Gordon was deputy general counsel. By 2019, climate change had taken center stage in transportation, and Eremenko’s career journey had given him the skills and knowledge to piece together the roadmap to more sustainable aviation. [Photo: courtesy of Universal Hydrogen] “I wasn’t born dreaming of hydrogen,” he says with a laugh. “It was a means to an end.” He and Gordon left United Technologies that year to chart a course for UH, which they founded in March 2020—just days before the pandemic shut down in New York, where they’d been living at the time—and publicly announced the company the following September. Of all Eremenko’s positions, helming the Tactical Technology Office at DARPA, where his work included modular satellites (groups of satellites that work together), would have the most profound impact on his current leadership style and technical strategy. “DARPA was a truly magical place and the watershed career event for me,” he says. “It was my first real deep dive into modular architectures and showed the value of time constraints as a way to catalyze innovation.” Modularity enables engineers to build complex systems through isolated parts, so one change doesn’t create a cascade of them throughout the system. He would carry that thinking with him to Google, where he worked on a modular smartphone, and Airbus, where he developed concept airplane cabins that could be reconfigured per flight needs and length—like a gambling module for Las Vegas hauls. Modular design informed UH’s hydrogen delivery system, while the short window to prove the technology before Airbus and Boeing launch their next new airliner program has imposed the constraints leading to its innovative solution. “Time pressure typically focuses engineers, so you get the best out of them,” he adds. “This idea of setting a big ambitious goal but then having a very pragmatic sequence of near-term milestones that contribute to that goal is a very DARPA way of thinking.” If Eremenko is successful and UH facilitates a greater adoption of hydrogen-fueled planes, it will be a significant step for aviation, but not solely keep temperatures from rising. That still demands a concerted global effort to mitigate greenhouse gases across manufacturing and countries. But one step at a time. Eremenko is heartened by small recent attitudinal shifts in his industry. “People are saying, `Yeah, we will commit to net zero in 2050.’ I’d like to think that we are part of driving that change.”
At the border between land and sea, an extraordinary set of experiments is helping us prepare for an uncertain future
The story of America’s “lost crops” shows the reign of corn was not inevitable.
Some wavelengths of light in a range called far-UVC kill microbes in experiments and appear to be harmless to people
Stitching videos from dozens of cameras together provides unique 3D view of macroscopic experiments with microscopic detail. When a couple of plucky graduate students took...
According to a recent study, a diet high in salt can contribute to stress. In experiments with mice, researchers discovered that a high-salt diet led...
After waking to the sound of explosions on February 24, 2022, the morning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Anastasiya Volkova knew that she and her family had to leave Kyiv. They were visiting the city from their home, an ecovillage, in the Ukrainian countryside two hours south of the capital, far from where the sound […]
This story was originally published by Hakai Magazine and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Clear blue sky above a forested island surrounded by glittering sea. Wild. Uninhabited. Protected. It appears as if we’re approaching paradise. We cut the boat’s engine and nose into a rocky beach. Crowned with Douglas fir, Garry oak, and […]
Dead birds and bats could help scientists make green energy safer.
The MIT Office of Sustainability gathers students, staff, faculty, and researchers for annual Sustainability Connect.
Neighbors and organizers in Cully are banking on a grand -- and potentially risky -- experiment to maintain Cully’s affordability and diversity. They plan to use urban renewal -- a tool known for decimating Black neighborhoods in Portland -- to stabilize residents in their homes and businesses in their storefronts.
Kenneth R. Rosen is an independent journalist based in Italy and the author, most recently, of Troubled: The Failed Promise of America’s Behavioral Treatment Programs.
Now Playing | In part one, filmed near Qingdao in 2015, Tang Guanhua and Xingzhen experiment with a self-sustainable lifestyle. They describe their rationale for pursuing such a life and introduce their dream of building an intentional community. Is this an important new direction for Chinese society, or a self-indulgent escape for a privileged few?
Past Presentation | A meditation on urban green spaces and the post-industrial cityscape that explores a 1-acre rooftop organic farm in New York City. Connecting the built and natural environments, this film documents an imaginative experiment in green urban redevelopment attempting to transform the roof of a century-old former factory into a sustainable, pastoral haven.
Past Presentation | Vegucated is a feature-length documentary that follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks. Part sociological experiment, part science class, and part adventure story, Vegucated showcases the rapid and at times comedic evolution of three people who share one journey and ultimately discover their own paths in creating a kinder, cleaner, greener world, one bite at a time.
Now Playing | A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity is a feature-length documentary that follows a community in Australia who came together to explore and demonstrate a simpler way to live in response to global crises. Throughout the year the group built tiny houses, planted veggie gardens, practised simple living, and learned how to live in community. This film is the product of hours and hours of footage that I shot during that year-long experiment in simple living.
Railroad unions haven’t been known for putting up a fight since the 19th century, but newly radicalized workers forced their way into the national conversation. The post The Railroad Fight Was the Product of Eight Years of Militant Rank and File Organizing appeared first on The Intercept.
A new law tasks the agency with creating resources for farmers, but it may not address their biggest concerns.
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 email@example.comJoey 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.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 email@example.com.The authors acknowledge the insights shared by Ayesha Nagaria (Texas A&M), Caden Vitti (Penn State), Octavia Szkutnik (Penn State) that inspired this work.
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
Chestnut forests could provide food security for communities, be a boon for farmers and benefit the environmentMichael Judd strides among the chestnut trees on the four-hectare (10-acre) swath of land that he manages in Frederick, Maryland. The trees spread above him, the last few nuts dangling from the branches like Christmas ornaments. Covering the ground is a soup of dead leaves, hiding spiky chestnut shells. Judd, 49, a lanky man who wears a different-colored woolen beanie every day, picks one up and demonstrates how easy it is to pop it open and reveal the nutritious morsel inside.Judd bought this six-decade-old orchard to conduct experiments in service of his grander mission: to help plant 1m nut trees across the US’s mid-Atlantic region, chief among them the chestnut. Continue reading...
After the ranch manager, Chris Bechtold, killed and bled out one of the estimated 700 bison in the herd, the students approached the carcass to participate in the traditional process of breaking down the animal. It was bitter cold out, but the organizer stoked a big bonfire to keep everyone warm. Dugan Coburn, the director […] The post Indigenous Foodways Are the Focus in a Growing Number of Classrooms appeared first on Civil Eats.
How Beijing tries to make a democracy submit without putting up a fight
Plastic-munching robots, floating drones and other "smart" contraptions are starting to ply beaches and waterways, systematically removing dangerous debris left by summertime revelers.Why it matters: Not only are these futuristic technologies highly effective in scouring the areas they patrol, they're also eye-catching novelties that focus public attention on the growing problem of plastic waste, particularly in oceans.They're likely to become more common sights — but for now, they tend to be very expensive, limiting their deployment.Driving the news: In early experiments, a new generation of high-tech cleaning devices has been deployed to cull plastic, cigarette butts, cotton swabs and other trash from the Great Lakes, Lake Tahoe and select Florida beaches.Running on solar or electric power, the emissions-free devices offer a newfangled alternative to the old-fashioned community trash cleanup.Some target larger bits of debris, while others are able to remove dangerous microplastics from the water."The number of technologies coming into market has really expanded considerably," said Melissa De Young, director of policy and programs at Pollution Probe, an environmental nonprofit. "And that's thanks to the attention that plastic pollution has had in the media and from government initiatives."The Great Lakes are at the vanguard of experimentation. Thanks to private donations, government grants and gifts like $1 million from Meijer supermarkets, a flotilla of cutting-edge contraptions has been deployed:The latest are the BeBot, a $55,000 beach-sifting robot that collects the waste buried in a defined area, and the PixieDrone, a $33,000 floating Roomba that works autonomously or by remote control.Also in use are the Seabin (a floating trash bin for marinas), the LittaTrap (a catch basin that sits inside a storm drain) and the Gutter Bin stormwater filtration system — devices that cost between $700 and $10,000 each, said Mark Fisher, president and CEO of the Council of the Great Lakes Region.Beach cleanup data shows that nearly 80% of the material washing up on the Great Lakes is plastic, Fisher said."We certainly want to try and test out other technologies that might be out there," Fisher tells Axios."Each in their own right are very effective, but we also know that these technologies are not going to solve the larger problem, which is how do we forge a future without waste?" Where it stands: The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup, launched in 2020 by Pollution Probe and the Council of the Great Lakes Region, is focused both on cleanup technology and raising awareness of the plastic waste problem.Highly visible cleaning gadgets "are important for having those critical conversations with coastal communities and policymakers," Fisher said.When people see devices like the BeBot in action, it sparks their curiosity and gets them concerned about the issue — children in particular, De Young said.What they're saying: "When our partners use our technologies, straightaway they have people coming to them asking about how it works," said Gautier Peers of Searial Cleaners, a French company that makes the BeBot and the PixieDrone."It's a great way for them to educate and inform families, especially kids, about the plastic pollution crisis," he said. "It convinces them to change their consumption habits as far as plastic is concerned."The BeBot has been used to clean beaches in South Lake Tahoe and all around Florida, raising awareness in those areas.Searial Cleaners also makes the Collec'Thor, a trash-trapping waste bin that sits at the water's edge, and InvisiBubble, a bubble curtain that captures small waste particles.What's next: Peers acknowledges that the high cost of Searial's devices is a limiting factor, but says growing attention to beach and ocean pollution is helping galvanize governments, nonprofits, corporations and individuals.The International Trash Trap Network is encouraging people to use an app called Clean Swell, which lets them track litter they pick up from the beach.Next spring, expect devices like the BeBot (and Mr. Trash Wheel and the Bubble Barrier) to be a growing presence.
Editor’s note: This is part three of a four-part series in which our special correspondent Terry Collins, Ph.D., examines what qualities of leadership are essential for ensuring that the EU’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability inspires trust in Europeans and the world that there can be a body of chemical products and processes we can safely live with.Read Part 1 and Part 2. In part 2 of this series, I began outlining what traits the European Union should avoid in its leadership as it actualizes its Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability. The EU must beware of the lukewarm, ineffectual and exploitative “sustainability dispositions” in people leading the strategy because the stakes are so high. Before we get to the most dangerous dispositions, let’s unravel one of the most intimate of the impacts from toxic chemicals — effects on our reproduction. Falling fertility As Dr. Shanna Swan and Stacey Colino make apparent in their marvelous book, “Count Down,” endocrine-disrupting chemicals are significant causes of widespread sperm count declines. Males of reproductive age in Western societies are on track to being mostly sterile by the 2040s — that’s today’s infants! In a recently published research update by Hagai Levine, Swan and others, the broader international picture of sperm count decline is even more serious. Females are also suffering significant increases in reproductive maladies. This is not surprising. In controlled lab experiments and at low doses, endocrine-disrupting chemicals cause reproductive tract injuries and other effects in numerous animal species and those same chemicals are typically found in our own blood and urine. This emphasizes the importance of such testing to fully understand these chemicals. If animal testing is taken off the regulatory table over the understandable drive to protect animals from harm, EU regulators will be trying to make decisions with much weaker tools. Let’s be honest — endocrine-disrupting chemical testing on the animals would still occur if lab testing stopped, it would just be on species in the wild. Which type of testing do you think is less cruel? "Males of reproductive age in Western societies are on track to being mostly sterile by the 2040s — that’s today’s infants!" Highly chemicalized societies, especially those awash in workplace endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as bisphenols, phthalates, PFAS and dioxin-like substances, show plummeting fertility rates (meaning the number of live births per woman in her lifetime.) This is especially evident in highly chemicalized Asian societies. South Korea — with its sweeping endocrine-disrupting chemical infusions in the manufacturing of electronic, transportation and military goods — continues to hold the lowest national fertility rate, 0.81 in 2021. Countries need a fertility rate of 2.1 to maintain a stable population without emigration or immigration. The reproductive effects from endocrine-disrupting chemicals alone, not even considering all the other health impacts, are so concerning that anybody in charge of actualizing the EU’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability must have unquestionable integrity. This brings me back to the different types of “sustainability dispositions” of leaders in this field. Revisit part two of this series to read about the first four, but here I will focus on the fifth and sixth “sustainability dispositions” — Exploiter and Nonconsciente. Exploiter It is easy to detect the exploiter sustainability disposition. For example, some chemical enterprise insider careers implicitly require the exploiter disposition as an essential job qualification. Individuals with this disposition sense opportunities that come from supporting the attempts of powerful corporations to ignore endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Indeed, considerable conventional benefits can accrue to exploiters from such support in the form of money, tribute and political support. Dying systems in the grip of misdirected leadership need exploiters to prop them up. The more advanced the morbidity, the more useful the exploiter, the higher the likely rewards. At its core, the EU’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability is attempting to reassert the rights of the commons and define the rights of the future in all chemical enterprise matters. The exploiter disposition reflects shaped personalities where the possessors can be counted on to do what is best for themselves and their teams over what is best for the common and future goods. The exploiter disposition is common. And I have come to believe that chemical professionals can feel trapped into adopting it by the cultures in which they work: they live by the “if you can’t beat them, join them” mantra. It is utterly deadly to the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability. The EU Commission needs to be on high alert to recognize and marginalize its pernicious influence. NonconscienteIndividuals who hold this disposition appear to be in the dark as to endocrine-disrupting chemicals’ effects. But they have specialized knowledge so as to be capable of comprehending the perils of the chemicals. Nonconsciente bearers are not deliberately self-serving and have not made Faustian bargains that are markers of bad faith. Instead, they are directionally blind-sighted. They are paralyzed from taking a hard look into endocrine-disrupting chemical realities by concern for the economic good of the people around them and the system they inhabit. They are unlikely to consider solutions anywhere that have disturbing economic implications.The “sustainability light of the world” Can people change sustainability dispositions? Perhaps pointing out the very nature of the bits and pieces of our civilization-level collective failure over sustainability in the chemical enterprise and elsewhere might help make these personal changes. And perhaps it will alert young people entering the chemical enterprise that they have choices in how they embrace the challenges of sustainability.With its Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, the EU has become the sustainability light of the world — so I say to EU parliamentarians and Commission officers: don’t let the incompetence inherent in these sustainability dispositions I’ve laid out cheat you of success as you actualize your magnificent strategy. In part 4, I will introduce the Engager Sustainability Disposition, which is vital to the success of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability.Terrence J. Collins, Ph.D., is a Teresa Heinz professor of green chemistry, and director of the Institute for Green Science at Carnegie Mellon University. His views do not necessarily represent those of Environmental Health News, The Daily Climate, or publisher Environmental Health Sciences.The author thanks the Axios Fund, Korein-Tillery LLC and the Heinz Family Foundation for support of CMU's Institute for Green Science.