Environment

Environment

Nanotechnology to aid the commercial viability of Algal Bio-fuel Production

The algae! Yes – the same slimy brown-green ‘plant’ that makes a pond or a lake look yucky – is the creating a great buzz as the most promising source of alternative energy. And now nanotechnology is being leveraged to add some more zing to the promise! Algae are some of the simplest of the living organisms and can’t even be classified as plants as they lack any differentiation into various structures such as leaves, roots or other organs that characterize a…

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Afghanistan Establishes First National Park

Good news from Afghanistan this week: the country declared its first internationally recognized national park today, called Band-e-Amir, which includes a striking series of six deep blue lakes in one of the country’s best-known natural areas. The area of Band-e-Amir is near the Bamyan Valley, where 1,500-year-old giant Buddha statues once stood before being destroyed by the Taliban.

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Brazil Set to Flood Rainforest, Displace Thousands

The Xingu River — home to some 600 species of fish — is one of the largest tributaries running through the Amazon. But not if the Brazilian state power company has their way. What would be the world’s third largest dam, called the Belo Monte, would flood over 200 square miles of tropical rainforest; about the size of Tucson, AZ. It would also flood the homes of 19,000 people.

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10 Animals on the Brink of Extinction

1. Iberian Lynx The Iberian (Spanish), Lynx lives in very small areas of central and southern Spain (Andalucia). It  used to live throughout Spain and Portugal but its numbers have been drastically reduced to the point where it is now one of the most endangered wild cats in the world. In the early 1950s a virus named Myxomatosis was illegally introduced by a French scientist to wild rabbits on his estate to protect his vegetable patch. Tragically the virus spread rapidly, and killed about…

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How Cigarette Butts Harm the Environment

In Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the most prestigious avenue in Paris, France, famous for its cinemas, cafés, and luxury specialty shops, cigarette butts sit at the streets. When the authorities here banned smoking inside cafes, little did they know they were creating another hazard: the wanton disposal of cigarette butts, propelled mainly by the absence of public ashtrays. When smokers toss away cigarette butts onto street pavements or out into the open landscape, little do they know how much damage that…

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Biofuel from Canal Algae to Power Venice by 2011

It’s plentiful, it’s homegrown, and it could help clean up the environment while powering our cities. The idea of transforming algae into a fuel is a reality. Nowadays there are numerous implementations of algae into the renewable energy market.

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Who Owns the Rain?

A rain barrel or two may seem like the perfect solution for watering the garden without waste and without adding to your water bill. Before you build your rainwater harvesting system, though, you might want to make sure that it’s legal to do so. There are three states that say the water that falls from the sky belongs to them, not to just anyone. Utah   Homeowners who want to use rainwater in Utah have to purchase a water right…

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14,000 Barrel Oil Spill in Ecuador’s Amazon Rainforest

In the Napo region of northeast Ecuador, the nation’s second largest oil pipeline leaked tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil. The pipepline company’s website described the leak as being due to ‘natural causes’. American environmental scientist Douglas Beltman witnessed the amount of oil in the Santa Rosa river in the area and was quoted in a Reuters update, “The river was completely covered with oil from bank to bank.” (Mr. Beltman was generous enough to provide some photos…

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Worst Heatwave in 100 Years Scorches Australia, Haults Australian Open

Australian climate officials are blaming global warming for another summer of record heatwaves, as baked Southern Australians ready for six days in a row of 100-120 degree Fahrenheit temperatures. In Melbourne, rail lines buckled in the heat as trains were canceled citywide, while in Adelaide free water bottles were being handed out to help keep parched travelers hydrated while they waited out major transportation delays. Over 140,000 homes were left without electricity as the electric grid strained to keep air…

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First Solar Energy Plant Completed in Iran

Iran inaugurated its first solar energy power plant this week, adding 250 KW of solar energy to the country’s grid. The Shiraz solar power plant boasts a modest 250 KW energy production capacity. It’s a solar thermal plant that uses parabolic mirrored troughs to gather sunlight. The mirrors focus the sunlight in an intense ray on a tube that runs the length of the array of mirrors. Inside the tube, a liquid insulated by a vacuum transfers the heat of…

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Planting with Paper Pots

My neighbor Alyssa and I spent this afternoon making paper pots to propagate wildflower seeds for our neighborhood community garden. Anyone can create these simple recycled pots using an empty can or jar and paper; we used cut up grocery bags and old newspapers for our organic planting project.

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