Connecting Productivity of Office Workers and Climate Change
September 29, 2014 09:57 AM - John Alker, The Ecologist
Energy efficiency in office buildings struggles to gain the attention of top management, writes John Alker - because energy is too cheap to really matter. But with 90% of operating costs spent on staff, a new report shows that green building design makes employees happier and more productive. There would seem to be no connection between the productivity of office workers and the great challenge of climate change. But a report published by the World Green Building Council suggests otherwise.
Reducing global trade would cut carbon emissions
September 27, 2014 11:12 AM - John Weeks, The Ecologist
If the world's leaders really cared about climate change, there's one easy way to reduce emissions, writes John Weeks - drop the obsession with increasing trade, and all the pollution that goes with it. A world based on local production, consumption and finance will be a better one for people and the environment. Let us join Keynes to imagine if we can a world in which goods are 'homespun' and finance is 'primarily national'. If we cannot imagine such a world, there is little hope for the planet. The Obama administration has proposed several ad hoc multi-country economic agreements, and in doing so has abandoned de facto the World Trade Organization (WTO) as insufficiently malleable to its interests.
Chinese Now Emit More Carbon Per Capita Than Europeans
September 24, 2014 09:39 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Last year, the people of China emitted more carbon per person than those in the EU, according this year's Global Carbon Budget. The report, updated annually, also found that global emissions jumped 2.5 percent last year and are set to hit a record high of 40 billion tonnes this year. The findings highlight how little global society has done to stem emissions, despite numerous pledges and past global agreements.
The Future of Vertical Farming
September 19, 2014 06:15 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
From big company agricultural farming, to communal farming or even personal agronomy, the business of growing crops for an expanding global population will be crucial in the near future. The two most important resources needed to run these farms are one, water, and two, land. But these resources often come at a premium, especially with growing populations and increased food demand. Farmers and researchers have already started leaning towards genetic engineering and industrial processing to help with their crop yields, but a new solution in agribusiness is emerging. Vertical farming.
Japan: 'solar islands' replace nuclear power
September 15, 2014 08:41 AM - Jon Major, The Ecologist
As Japan seeks to end reliance on nuclear power, one of the answers is floating 'solar islands', writes Jon Major. A 70MW solar island opened last year, and two additional plants have just been announced. Two companies in Japan recently announced they are to begin building two large solar power islands that will float on reservoirs.
Why It's Important to Rinse Recyclables
September 11, 2014 12:38 PM - S.E. Smith, Care2
We all know it's important to recycle and not toss things into the trash or the environment, but how carefully do we need to rinse containers before sending them on their way to the recycling center? Some argue that recycling is a total waste of water when you factor in the amount people are using to get their cans, bottles, and jars squeaky-clean, while others claim containers don't need to be rinsed at all, and some say that the reality lies in the middle ground.
Disc or Download: A Virtual Energy-Savings Debate
September 11, 2014 11:20 AM - Winfield Winter, ENN
One of the best ways to spark an energy revolution is through the younger generation — and nothing quite speaks their language like video games. But this issue has less to do with the content of these addictive games and more with how the younger generation consumes them. Fantasy and adventure, sci-fi and first-person shooters, strategy and racing — video games today comes in all types of genres with thousands of add-ons and customizable features to make each story a virtual reality. And with all of these choices comes two more: buy a copy of the video game on a disc or download the video game straight from the console?
Illegal land clearing for commercial agriculture responsible for half of tropical deforestation
September 11, 2014 09:07 AM - Forest Trends
A comprehensive new analysis released today says that nearly half (49%) of all recent tropical deforestation is the result of illegal clearing for commercial agriculture. The study also finds that the majority of this illegal destruction was driven by overseas demand for agricultural commodities including palm oil, beef, soy, and wood products. In addition to devastating impacts on forest-dependent people and biodiversity, the illegal conversion of tropical forests for commercial agriculture is estimated to produce 1.47 gigatonnes of carbon each year—equivalent to 25% of the EU's annual fossil fuel-based emissions.
Hot and Cold Freezers
September 10, 2014 09:25 AM - Bill DiBenedetto, Triple Pundit
The freezers being tested in Central Park operate free of electricity — vendors can even charge their own mobile devices by plugging them into outlets attached to the freezer units. It seems fitting that Unilever, the world's largest producer of ice cream, is rolling out the world's first solar freezers in Central Park to keep those Popsicles, Good Humor or Magnum-brand bars cold while at the same time putting no strain on the environment.
Norway has biggest whaling season in over 20 years
September 9, 2014 07:48 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
As of late August, Norway has killed 729 northern minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) during its annual whaling season, the highest number taken since 1993. Norway continues whaling by having filed an "objection" under the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which has banned whaling worldwide aside from a few exceptions for indigenous peoples. Only three countries continue to practice whaling: Iceland, Norway, and Japan. In contrast to Norway, both Iceland and Japan conduct whaling under a research banner.