Posts Tagged ‘Environment’

Could a caterpillar help solve the world’s plastic bag problem?

April 26, 2017

The global plastic bag crisis could be solved by a waxworm (Galleria mellonella) capable of eating through the material at “uniquely high speeds”.

Researchers have described the tiny caterpillar’s ability to break down even the toughest plastics as “extremely exciting” and said the discovery could offer an environmentally friendly solution on an industrial scale.

Around a trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year, of which a huge number find their way into the oceans or are discarded into landfill.

Galleria mellonella eats plastic bag.jpg

The waxworm, commonly found living in bee hives or harvested as fishing bait, proved it could eat its way through polyethylene, which is notoriously hard to break down, more than 1400 times faster than other organisms.

Scientists believe the worm has enzymes in its saliva or gut that attack plastic’s chemical bonds, in the same way they digest the wax found in hives.

Learn more here, here or here.

Earth Just Experienced The Hottest June Ever Recorded

July 21, 2016

Two key climate change indicators have broken numerous records through the first half of 2016, according to NASA analyses of ground-based observations and satellite data. Each of the first six months of 2016 set a record as the warmest respective month globally in the modern temperature record, which dates to 1880. Meanwhile, five of the first six months set records for the smallest monthly Arctic sea ice extent since consistent satellite records began in 1979.

Learn more here.

Fix up the real reality

March 4, 2016

Another great Joy of Tech comic ….

Fix up the real reality.png

The case for optimism on climate change

February 28, 2016

Check out yet another great talk by Al Gore. There is hope on climate change …

Why do they call it “Earth”?

April 22, 2015

Another great Joy of Tech comic ….

Why is it 'Earth'?

More here.

Of course living in Australia I can relate – the shame!

Earth’s Dashboard Is Flashing Red—Are Enough People Listening?

February 4, 2015

We are burning record levels of coal, oil, and natural gas to fuel modern society. As a result, we are producing record levels of greenhouse gases that warm the atmosphere, melt the planet’s ice, and cause the oceans to become more acidic-threatening marine life.

In mid-January, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA reported that 2014 was the warmest year in the past 135 years of record-keeping. Globally, land and ocean temperatures were 0.69°C higher than the average for the 20th century-passing previous highs set in 2005 and 2010.

One striking, visible effect of rising temperatures is the shrinking Arctic ice cap. Satellites have been observing the ice cap since 1979, and since then the summer ice there has been shrinking about 12 percent per decade. By the end of summer 2012, about half of the Arctic ice area present in 1979 had melted.

Arctic ice cap 2012

We can change, our species just needs to find the motivation! Learn more here.

Biggest Walrus Gathering Recorded as Sea Ice Shrinks

October 5, 2014

Scientists have photographed the largest gathering of Pacific walruses ever recorded, on a beach in northern Alaska.

mass-walrus-gathering

It’s hardly the first big walrus gathering to be documented. But scientists say the size of the gatherings are growing as climate change melts Arctic sea ice, depriving walruses of their sunning platforms of choice.

As the ocean heats up due to global warming, Arctic sea ice has been locked in a downward spiral. Since the late 1970s, the ice has retreated by 12 percent per decade. Learn more here.

Climate changing more rapidly than at any point on record

July 19, 2014

A new look at the “vital signs” of Earth’s climate reveals a stark picture of declining health. As global temperatures rise, so do sea level and the amount of heat trapped in the ocean’s upper layers. Meanwhile, mountain glaciers and Arctic sea ice are melting away beneath an atmosphere where concentrations of three key planet-warming greenhouse gases continue to rise.

Data shows that the climate is changing more rapidly now than it has at any time in the historical record!!! Learn more here.

As a whole, the world’s glaciers—such as Italy’s Careser Glacier, seen here in August 1933 (top) and August 2012 (bottom)—have lost ice for the last 23 years in a row.

As a whole, the world’s glaciers—such as Italy’s Careser Glacier, seen here in August 1933 (top) and August 2012 (bottom)—have lost ice for the last 23 years in a row.

Strange that Australia’s carbon tax, one of the world’s landmark attempts to stop climate change, is officially no more. More here.

Earth’s giant game of Tetris

April 24, 2014

There’s a game of Tetris happening on a global scale: The playing space is planet Earth, and all those pesky, stacking blocks represent carbon dioxide — a greenhouse gas that is piling up ever more rapidly as we burn the fossil fuels that run our cars, factories and power plants.

Power the world with solar power alone

March 22, 2014

Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, is harnessed using a range of ever-evolving technologies.

You hear a lot about solar power, but right now, solar covers only about 0.3%, or 1/300th or the world’s energy consumption.

It’s also amazing how little of the Earth’s surface you’d need to cover with solar panels to power the entire world.

Solar area required