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About: <p>A community is you and me. A network of social, economic, ecological and many other relationships. We all work together and live in urban, suburban and rural areas. Social sustainability is becoming increasingly important on our small planet. We define: support, quality of life, development, adaptation, rights and labour.</p> <p>We belong to a group of individuals - <a href="https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/society">our society</a> - in which we belong geographically. Certain environmental issues play an important role in our society. Here, sustainable solutions are sought, developed and implemented. This may differ from societies in other countries, but because of our global environmental issues and&nbsp;<span lang="en" tabindex="0">dependence</span>, we must learn to work more together so that we can all benefit from sharing sustainable knowledge to tackle, for example, climate change.</p> <p><a href="https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/green-architecture">Green architecture</a> is important. Building with local materials that can be recycled and reused brings us a big step forward to have less impact on the environment. With green architecture we can build <a href="https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/smart-cities">smart cities</a> where resources can be used more efficiently and information can be shared, thus improving our society, your community.</p> <p><a href="https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/lifestyle">Lifestyle</a> is the way we live, the dynamics of personality. Fashion defines our self and together with food it is getting - at present - an even more important role in our society. It's not just about taste, but especially about the burden that the fashion industry, agriculture and the meat industry have on our resources, especially water.</p> <p>If there was an urge to come up with a sustainable way of living solutions and share these topics globally it&rsquo;s now! WhatsOrb Global Sustainability X-change Platform is for you, storytellers and influencers to write about tiny houses, your experiences and expectations for the future at home and globally.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Global Sustainability X-change, that&rsquo;s what you can do together with WhatsOrb.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.whatsorb.com/blog/your-shared-sustainable-ideas-make-our-earth-a-better-place">What's in for me?</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
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Asteroid Mining: The World In Transition Towards The Future
Asteroid mining. It sounds like a concept taken straight out of new Netflix sci-fi show, involving all kinds of space explorers and lunar bases. However, it is not just something that is mainly discussed at Comic Con gatherings around the world and in Hollywood film studios. Instead, it has become a hot topic of discussion in other, more scientific, circles as well. In recent years, more and more people have given serious thought to its feasibility and potential. Companies have been formed that have made it their core mission to perform so-called asteroid prospecting, exploration, and mining. Or, for now at least, perform all kind of preliminary activities meant to investigate the possibilities.   This first article (part 1 of 4) in the series on asteroid mining will start to explore the concept. Is it an opportunistic bet by some space-crazed lunatics, or is it actually something that could be profitable and a very real part of our economy?   Asteroids? What Are They? Before really diving into the topic, let’s start with a short astronomy lesson. Asteroids are funny little – or actually, often not so little – things that were an unfortunate by-product of the formation of our solar system. The most commonly accepted theory is that some 4.5 to 5 billion years ago, our sun was formed by a gravitational collapse in the heart of a nebula of gas and dust. After the young sun absorbed most of the materials in this nebula, it used the remainder of gas and dust to create some kind of flat disk around its equator. The fancy term for this is the circumsolar accretion disk. Over time, this disk became more condensed – and started forming planets and asteroids. Our own Earth was one of those planets, using the pull of gravity to introduce the heavier elements (like iron and nickel) into her core. This process, that left the Earth’s outer core depleted of such heavy metals, took place some 4 billion years ago.   It is the asteroids that we have to thank for putting back some of those heavy materials in our Earth’s crust. As the story goes, during the aptly named Heavy Bombardment Period, quite a few asteroids collided with the planets in our solar system. As these asteroids were made out of the same heavy materials, these would then be ‘re-entered’ into the Earth’s surface. And that is how we got our rich sources of iron, nickel, gold, cobalt, platinum – to name a few. Asteroid Mining, Why Doing It? So much for the purely scientific backstory. It should suffice if we are to quickly realise what this could mean: some kind of second Gold Rush, although this time, we will have to be heading for other planets instead of Klondike. A new era, where pioneers enter rough, unexplored areas in order to find unparalleled riches.   Considering that there are countless bodies in our solar system, each enriched with a variety of minerals, ores, and volatile elements – the answer as to why we should be looking at asteroid mining seems obvious. Even in extremely modest models, there are estimated to be some 150 million asteroids in our inner solar system – when only counting those larger than 100 meters in diameter. They are designated a letter – C-type (75% of the total), S-type (17%) and M-type (+/- 5%), corresponding with their most prevalent elements: Clay and silicates, Silicates and nickel-iron, and Metals. {youtube}                                            Asteroid Mining: The World In Transition Towards The Future                                                           How Close Are We to Mining in Space? Especially the latter, the M-type, is considered to be a potentially rich source of minerals and metals, including gold, platinum, cobalt, zinc, tin, lead, indium, silver, copper and iron - extremely valuable commodities in our Earth’s economy, that might even prove to be needed for our very survival. The small percentage left is made up of asteroids and comets that contain water ice and other volatiles (including ammonia and methane). The former could potentially be used to deliver high quantities of freshwater, while the latter will prove very useful in furthering mining activities as a chemical propellant. Recommended:  Waste In Space Will Be Fetched By The CubeSail Garbage Truck Resources! We Are Running Out Of It! So far, so good – we can make a lot of money by moving mining operations to the interstellar stage, as we will create more of a high-demand, high-priced commodity. At the same time, the huge amounts of water ice in space could just be a much needed means of survival when freshwater sources on Earth run dry. Yet on the other end of the ledger are the immense costs associated with space mining, outweighing the costs of continuing mining on Earth – for now, anyway. A definite headache, although we will soon find that we will not have much of a choice. We are running out of our reserves, as a result of our increased consumption patterns.   As of July 29 2019, humanity has depleted the planet's resources for the year Simultaneously, some reports are cautioning that we could be running out of key elements that we heavily rely on for our industries and food production, already within the next 50 or so years. Instead of having to find other ways of living, why not turn our faces to the sky and tap into the virtually inexhaustible supply that we can find up there? Environmental Damage On Our ‘Own’ Little Planet Another argument in favour of moving our heavy metal and mineral mining offshore – that is, to outer space – is the burden that these mining operations place on our precious little planet as a whole. Erosion, sinkholes, pollution, habitat destruction, water contamination: the ways in which it quite literally undermines our own quality of life are endless. It is not just the mining that hurts our Earth, the smelting, machining and manufacturing has a similar environmental impact. The industry as a whole is a large contributor to pollution and, effectively, global warming. If only we would be able to move all of those damaging activities away from the surface of the Earth, relocating them off-world. Then the strain that we, as humans, are putting on our environment could be reduced drastically.   In part 2 of this series, we will be looking at the feasibility of doing so. Before you go! Recommended:  Solar Farms In Space: Next Step In Renewable Energy Did you like the article? Leave below a comment. We will reply the same day!
Asteroid mining. It sounds like a concept taken straight out of new Netflix sci-fi show, involving all kinds of space explorers and lunar bases. However, it is not just something that is mainly discussed at Comic Con gatherings around the world and in Hollywood film studios. Instead, it has become a hot topic of discussion in other, more scientific, circles as well. In recent years, more and more people have given serious thought to its feasibility and potential. Companies have been formed that have made it their core mission to perform so-called asteroid prospecting, exploration, and mining. Or, for now at least, perform all kind of preliminary activities meant to investigate the possibilities.   This first article (part 1 of 4) in the series on asteroid mining will start to explore the concept. Is it an opportunistic bet by some space-crazed lunatics, or is it actually something that could be profitable and a very real part of our economy?   Asteroids? What Are They? Before really diving into the topic, let’s start with a short astronomy lesson. Asteroids are funny little – or actually, often not so little – things that were an unfortunate by-product of the formation of our solar system. The most commonly accepted theory is that some 4.5 to 5 billion years ago, our sun was formed by a gravitational collapse in the heart of a nebula of gas and dust. After the young sun absorbed most of the materials in this nebula, it used the remainder of gas and dust to create some kind of flat disk around its equator. The fancy term for this is the circumsolar accretion disk. Over time, this disk became more condensed – and started forming planets and asteroids. Our own Earth was one of those planets, using the pull of gravity to introduce the heavier elements (like iron and nickel) into her core. This process, that left the Earth’s outer core depleted of such heavy metals, took place some 4 billion years ago.   It is the asteroids that we have to thank for putting back some of those heavy materials in our Earth’s crust. As the story goes, during the aptly named Heavy Bombardment Period, quite a few asteroids collided with the planets in our solar system. As these asteroids were made out of the same heavy materials, these would then be ‘re-entered’ into the Earth’s surface. And that is how we got our rich sources of iron, nickel, gold, cobalt, platinum – to name a few. Asteroid Mining, Why Doing It? So much for the purely scientific backstory. It should suffice if we are to quickly realise what this could mean: some kind of second Gold Rush, although this time, we will have to be heading for other planets instead of Klondike. A new era, where pioneers enter rough, unexplored areas in order to find unparalleled riches.   Considering that there are countless bodies in our solar system, each enriched with a variety of minerals, ores, and volatile elements – the answer as to why we should be looking at asteroid mining seems obvious. Even in extremely modest models, there are estimated to be some 150 million asteroids in our inner solar system – when only counting those larger than 100 meters in diameter. They are designated a letter – C-type (75% of the total), S-type (17%) and M-type (+/- 5%), corresponding with their most prevalent elements: Clay and silicates, Silicates and nickel-iron, and Metals. {youtube}                                            Asteroid Mining: The World In Transition Towards The Future                                                           How Close Are We to Mining in Space? Especially the latter, the M-type, is considered to be a potentially rich source of minerals and metals, including gold, platinum, cobalt, zinc, tin, lead, indium, silver, copper and iron - extremely valuable commodities in our Earth’s economy, that might even prove to be needed for our very survival. The small percentage left is made up of asteroids and comets that contain water ice and other volatiles (including ammonia and methane). The former could potentially be used to deliver high quantities of freshwater, while the latter will prove very useful in furthering mining activities as a chemical propellant. Recommended:  Waste In Space Will Be Fetched By The CubeSail Garbage Truck Resources! We Are Running Out Of It! So far, so good – we can make a lot of money by moving mining operations to the interstellar stage, as we will create more of a high-demand, high-priced commodity. At the same time, the huge amounts of water ice in space could just be a much needed means of survival when freshwater sources on Earth run dry. Yet on the other end of the ledger are the immense costs associated with space mining, outweighing the costs of continuing mining on Earth – for now, anyway. A definite headache, although we will soon find that we will not have much of a choice. We are running out of our reserves, as a result of our increased consumption patterns.   As of July 29 2019, humanity has depleted the planet's resources for the year Simultaneously, some reports are cautioning that we could be running out of key elements that we heavily rely on for our industries and food production, already within the next 50 or so years. Instead of having to find other ways of living, why not turn our faces to the sky and tap into the virtually inexhaustible supply that we can find up there? Environmental Damage On Our ‘Own’ Little Planet Another argument in favour of moving our heavy metal and mineral mining offshore – that is, to outer space – is the burden that these mining operations place on our precious little planet as a whole. Erosion, sinkholes, pollution, habitat destruction, water contamination: the ways in which it quite literally undermines our own quality of life are endless. It is not just the mining that hurts our Earth, the smelting, machining and manufacturing has a similar environmental impact. The industry as a whole is a large contributor to pollution and, effectively, global warming. If only we would be able to move all of those damaging activities away from the surface of the Earth, relocating them off-world. Then the strain that we, as humans, are putting on our environment could be reduced drastically.   In part 2 of this series, we will be looking at the feasibility of doing so. Before you go! Recommended:  Solar Farms In Space: Next Step In Renewable Energy Did you like the article? Leave below a comment. We will reply the same day!
Asteroid Mining: The World In Transition Towards The Future
Asteroid Mining: The World In Transition Towards The Future
Climate Crisis Will Kill Billions Or Will Optimism Save Us?
Creator of the ‘ecological footprint’ on life and death in a world 4 C hotter. UBC professor emeritus William Rees provides the grim calculations for humanity if climate change and growth in population and consumption fuelled by cheap energy goes unchecked.  Carbon emissions may continue to rise, the polar ice caps may continue to melt, crop yields may continue to decline, the world’s forests may continue to burn, coastal cities may continue to sink under rising seas and droughts may continue to wipe out fertile farmlands, but the messiahs of hope assure us that all will be right in the end. Only it won’t; Chris Hedges Last April (2019) marked also the 49th Earth Day, a celebration of the natural wonders of the planet. Started in the United States in 1970, Earth Day is now a global environmental movement with 192 countries participating. This year, Earth Day comes on the heels of announcements from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) that Americans used more energy in 2018 than ever before. While some see this as “troubling,” there’s a lot to be excited about. So here we go…. Climate Crisis May Wipe out Six Billion People One thing the climate crisis underscores is that Homo sapiens are not primarily a rational species. When forced to make important decisions, particularly decisions affecting our economic security or socio-political status, primitive instinct and raw emotion tend to take the upper hand. This is not a good thing if the fate of society is at stake. Take 'hope' for example. For good evolutionary reasons, humans naturally tend to be hopeful in times of stress. So gently comforting is this word, that some even endow their daughters with its name. But hope can be enervating, flat out debilitating, when it merges with mere wishful thinking — when we hope, for example, that technology alone can save us from climate change. As novelist Jonathan Franzen asks: "If your hope for the future depends on a wildly optimistic scenario, what will you do 10 years from now, when the scenario becomes unworkable even in theory?" We needn’t bother Roger Hallam with this question. He can scarcely be held up as a 'messiah of hope'. Quite the contrary. Hallam, a co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, has been desperately warning of societal collapse for years. Environmental activist Roger Hallam: co-founder of Extinction Rebellion But in a memorable session of the BBC’s HardTalk, Hallam irritated multiple cultural nerves by claiming, on the basis of 'hard science', that six billion people will die as a result of climate change in coming decades. More specifically, our ruling elites’ inaction and lies on climate change will lead to climate turmoil, mass starvation and general societal collapse in this century. Normally unflappable HardTalk host, Stephen Sackur, just couldn’t wrap his mind around Hallam’s unyielding assertions. Recommended:  Climate Change: Water Scarcity, Hunger, Agriculture And Food Sackur is no solitary sceptic. UC Davis research scientist Amber Kerr dismisses Hallam outright. The idea that six billion people are doomed to die by 2100 is simply not correct. No mainstream prediction indicates anywhere near this level of climate-change-induced human mortality, for any reason. Similarly, Ken Caldeira, senior scientist, Carnegie Institution, points out, "There is no analysis of likely climate damage that has been published in the quality peer-reviewed literature that would indicate that there is any substantial likelihood that climate change could cause the starvation of six billion people by the end of this century." One key to understanding these scientists’ rejections is their language. They assert that there is 'no mainstream prediction' nor analysis in the “peer reviewed literature” that climate change will precipitate such catastrophic human mortality. But keep in mind that scientists are reluctant, for professional reasons, to go far beyond the immediate data in formal publication. Moreover, organizations like the United Nations, including even its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, are so dominated by economists’ concerns and bent by political considerations that extraneous noise obscures the scientific signal. Prominent climate scientist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director emeritus of Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, argues that, in these circumstances "a trend towards ‘erring on the side of least drama’ has emerged" and "when the issue is the survival of civilization is at stake, conventional means of analysis may become useless." Exploring this argument, policy analysts David Spratt and Ian Dunlop conclude, "Climate policymaking for years has been cognitively dissonant, ‘a flagrant violation of reality.’ So it is unsurprising that there is a lack of understanding amongst the public and elites of the full measure of the climate challenge." It seems that in mainstream scientific publications and official reports, the truth about climate change and the fate of civilization may be buried deeply between the lines. Fortunately, there are other contexts in which experts are not quite so reticent and whose assertions echo Roger Hallam’s. As much as a decade ago a climate symposium organized to discuss the implications of a 4 C warmer world concluded, 'Less than a billion people will survive'. Here Schellnhuber is quoted as saying: "At 4 C Earth’s... carrying capacity estimates are below 1 billion people." His words were echoed by professor Kevin Anderson of the U.K.’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change: "Only about 10 per cent of the planet’s population would survive at 4 C." Similarly, in May of this year, Johan Rockström, current director of the Potsdam Institute opined that in a 4 C warmer world: "It’s difficult to see how we could accommodate a billion people or even half of that.... There will be a rich minority of people who survive with modern lifestyles, no doubt, but it will be a turbulent, conflict-ridden world." Meanwhile, greenhouse gas concentrations are still increasing. Keep in mind that a global temperature increase averaging 4 C means land temperatures would be 5.5 to 6 C warmer away from the coasts. Much of the tropics would be too hot for humans and many densely populated parts of the temperate zone would be decertified. A 4 C warmer world map suggests that as much as half the planet would become uninhabitable. (A ‘4 C world’ assumes business-as-usual or no new climate policies in coming decades. Note, however, that known and unknown ‘feedback’ mechanisms could make 4 C possible, even with new politically acceptable policies in place.) In a recent review of this debate and related evidence, David Spratt asks (and answers): "So did Roger Hallam ‘go too far’? Not at all, there is serious research and eminent voices in support of his statements. The gross error in all of this are all those who cannot countenance this conversation."                                                                      Consequence of Overpopulation Forbidden Calculations Which begs the question of whether 'all those' would countenance any uncomfortable conversation. Population has long been a forbidden topic despite being at the root of the ecological crisis. Where might a discussion of population ecology lead and would its conclusions be any more politically acceptable? We can begin by gaining some insight into the startling implications of exponential growth.When something is growing exponentially, it has a constant doubling time. For example, a population growing at two per cent a year will double every 35 years. Interestingly, the increase that occurs during any doubling period will be greater than the sum of the increases experienced in all previous doublings. As the figure below shows, it took 200,000 years for the human population to reach its first billion in the early 1800s. In other words, population growth was essentially negligible for 99.95 of human history. But when sustained exponential growth kicked in, it took just 200 years — 1/1000th as much time — for the population to top 7.5 billion early in this century! The recent two centuries of population growth generates this classic hockey stick curve. At most, just 10 of 10,000 generations of modern humans have experienced this unprecedented human explosion. Chart by Jonathan von Ofenheim. This population explosion could not have occurred without abundant cheap energy, particularly fossil fuels.Obviously other factors are involved,  but energy is essentialfor humans to produce the food and acquire all the other resources needed to grow both populations and the economy. While human numbers were increasing by a factor of seven, energy consumption grew by a factor of 25 and real gross world product ballooned 100-fold. Because of sometimes super-exponential growth, half of all the fossil energy and many other essential resources ever used have been consumed in just the past 30-35 years.Look no further to explain why human-induced climate change has suddenly become so urgent. The pace of change is unprecedented— the recent spurt of population, economic and consumption growth that people today consider to be the normactually represents the single most anomalous period in human history. Meantime, Earth hasn’t grown at all — on the contrary, natural life-support has arguably contracted.Global ecological deterioration indicates that the human enterprise has ‘overshot’ long-term carrying capacity. We are currently growing the human population and economy by liquidating once-abundant stocks of so-called ‘natural capital’ and by over-filling natural waste sinks. Humanity is literally converting the ecosphere into human bodies, prodigious quantities of cultural artefacts, and vastly larger volumes of entropic waste. (That’s what tropical deforestation, fisheries collapses, plummeting biodiversity, ocean pollution, climate change, etc. are all about.) Corollaries: We will not long be able to maintain even the present population at current average material standards. And, population growth toward 10 billion will accelerate the depletion of essential bioresources and the destruction of life-support functions upon which civilization depends. The recent history of human population dynamics resembles the ‘boom-bust’ cycle of any other speciesintroduced to a new habitat with abundant resources and no predators, therefore little negative feedback. (The real-life example of reindeer herds can be found here.) The population expands rapidly (exponentially), until it depletes essential resources and pollutes its habitat. Negative feedback (overcrowding, disease, starvation, resource scarcity/competition/conflict) then reasserts itself and the population crashes to a level at or below theoretical carrying capacity (it may go locally extinct). The 'boom-bust' population cycle. Note the resemblance of the human population growth curve in Fig. 1 to the exponential ‘boom’ phase of the cycle. The world community can still choose to influence the speed and depth of the coming bust phase.  The 'boom-bust' population cycle. Note the resemblance of the human population growth curve to the exponential 'boom' phase of the cycle.  Source: Biology: Life on Earth, 8th ed Some species populations, in simple habitats, cycle repeatedly through boom and bust phases.The height of the boom is called the ‘plague phase’ of such cycles. Hypothesis: Homo sapiens are currently approaching the peak of the plague phase of a one-off global population cycle and will crashbecause of depleted resources, habitat deterioration and psycho-social feedback, including possible war over remaining ‘assets,’ sometime in this century. ('But wait', I hear you protest. “Humans are not just any other species. We’re smarter; we can plan ahead; we just won’t let this happen!” Perhaps, but what is the evidence so far that our leaders even recognize the problem?) The crash may be triggered or exacerbated by the depletion or abandonment of economic stocks of fossil fuels. As noted above, modern civilization is a product of, and dependent on, accessible abundant energy. (At present there are no viable alternatives to fossil fuels. Even if we do develop equivalent substitutes for fossil fuel they will, at best, merely delay the crash). The long-term human carrying capacity of Earth — after ecosystems have recovered from the current plague — is probably one to three billion people,depending on technology and material standards of living. (Estimates varyfrom fewer than a billion to a truly ludicrous trillion.) Getting there would mean five to nine billion fewer people on the planet.This is where we end up after a recovery following either controlled descentor chaotic crash. Recommended:  The Future Of Farming: Finding A Better Way To Feed The World Making The Looming Disaster An Election Issue The first thing to take from this analysis is that we are once again playing in Roger Hallam’s death-toll ballpark. But a more important point is that climate change is not the only existential threat confronting modern society. Indeed, we could initiate any number of conversations that end with the self-induced implosion of civilization and the loss of 50 per cent or even 90 per cent of humanity. And that places the global community in a particularly embarrassing predicament. Homo sapiens, that self-proclaimed most-intelligent-of-species, is facing a genuine, unprecedented, hydra-like ecological crisis, yet its political leaders, economic elites and sundry other messiahs of hope will not countenance a serious conversation about of any of its ghoulish heads Climate change is perhaps the most aggressively visible head, yet despite decades of high-level talks - 33 in al - and several international agreements to turn things around, atmospheric CO2 and other GHG concentrations have more than doubled to over 37 billion tonnes and, with other GHG concentrations, are still rising at record rates. In these circumstances, the only certainty is that the longer we deny reality and delay concerted action, the steeper and deeper the crash is likely to be. So, where does this leave us? Jonathan Franzen has a suggestion: "You can keep on hoping that catastrophe is preventable.... Or you can accept that disaster is coming, and begin to rethink what it means to have hope." Certainly hope is sterile if unaccompanied by vigorous action that reflects looming reality. Recommended:  Climate Change, A Sideshow In Trump's State Of The Union Optimism Save Us. The Earth Deserves More Than Doom And Gloom For one, renewable energy use in the US hit an all-time high in 2018. In addition, coal use fell even more as low-cost natural gas pushed out more coal from energy markets. These two trends are why in January the EIA also reported that energy-related carbon emissions grew in 2018, but predicted a decrease in both 2019 and 2020. In addition, the US energy supply is likely to be even lower carbon each year going forward as renewable energy technologies become cheaper and better. These changes reflect the distinction between what journalist Charles C. Mann calls wizards and prophets. As Mann described them in an interview with Nathanael Johnson: Well, I coined them as a sort of shorthand. A philosopher friend of mine said that there was a very clear way to describe these groups, one of them is a Schumpeterian–technophiliac–meliorist (laughs). But that didn’t seem all that clear to me, so I call them wizards, as in techno-wizards. Wizards basically believe that science and technology, properly applied, can let us produce our way out of our dilemmas. Prophets believe that there are natural limits, and we transgress these limits at our peril. Be Smart, Make More Or Hunker Down, Conserve Their recommendations are kind of the opposite of each other. One is saying, "Be smart, make more, and that way everyone can win.” The other is saying, "Hunker down, conserve, obey the rules, otherwise everyone is going to lose." This model of prophets and wizards is a useful tool to understand much of the debate around our environment. Many spoke out about Earth Day this year some clearly on the side of prophets, others will be wizards. Only time will tell, but the case for thinking like a wizard gets stronger every year. Technological wizardry repeatedly wins out over doom and gloom prophecies. Recommended:  Earth Day: Colonialisme, Overexploiting Of Natural Resources Optimism There’s a historical case in favour of wizardry. It’s borne out in a variety of ways in which education, economic prosperity, and child mortality are improving. From Our World in Data to the late Hans Rosling to Matt Ridley’s brand of rational optimism all tell stories about how these measures have improved along with technology. It’s the same story for each metric; We are living in a wealthier, healthier, and more prosperous world.                                         DON'T PANIC — Hans Rosling showing the facts about population World In Data According to others, taking up the role of Mann’s 'prophets', none of this was supposed to happen. As Paul R. Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies at Stanford predicted in the first lines of his 1968 book The Population Bomb, The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate, although many lives could be saved through dramatic programs to ‘stretch’ the carrying capacity of the earth by increasing food production. But these programs will only provide a stay of execution unless they are accompanied by determined and successful efforts at population control. There’s a lot to unpack in just these four sentences. Luckily, the main takeaway is that the wizards won this round, all because of the Green Revolution. The Green Revolution, led by the agronomist Norman Borlaug, dramatically boosted the yields of wheat through selective breeding. The hundreds of millions of people Ehrlich predicted would die were saved and Borlaug is routinely credited with saving around a billion lives with the improvements in the wheat he developed. Yet, if you read Ehrlich’s opening words carefully — and charitably — you may think that Borlaug’s innovations were just the kind of programs that stretch the planet’s carrying capacity. They merely stay humanity’s execution, not prevent it. Overcoming one cause of famine doesn’t mean that humanity will survive the next. Fair points, but they miss the underlying flaws in the mental model of prophets. People create more and more wealth over time, they’re not just resource-drains. More people means more innovators like Norman Borlaug. Efforts to control population growth misunderstand many of the problems that population growth poses for the environment. AI, homo sapiens sapiens’ path to singularity Tragedy? Is There Any? Ehrlich is far from the only person to make this pessimistic prediction. Historically, Thomas Malthus, a 19th-century economist, argued famines would destroy much of the world’s population because humanity’s ability to produce food would be outpaced by population growth. Malthus, like all the population naysayers so far, was wrong because he couldn’t have predicted the invention of fertilizers and the industrial revolution that allowed us to feed so many more people. Garrett Hardin, a University of California professor of biology, was one of the most widely-known advocates of population control for the environment’s sake. Hardin’s concerns about population are stated clearly in his famous paper, 'The Tragedy of the Commons'. If you’ve heard of it before, it was probably illustrated with a thought experiment of grazing on publicly owned lands. Hardin argued that if a pasture is open to all, then it will be overused and its productive capabilities destroyed.                                               What is the tragedy of the commons? - Nicholas Amendolare Source There were two solutions, according to Hardin, for preventing the tragedy of the commons from playing out in pastures and other common resources. One was privatizing the commons so that owners had better incentives to care for the pasture. The second was centralized control over common resources to determine who could use them and when. Fundamentally, Hardin saw the imposition of centralized control as necessary to prevent the tragedy of the commons. Hardin wanted to apply the tragedy of the commons to more than pastures, he wanted it applied primarily to people. And not all groups of people equally. Hardin’s theory had a darker side as well that led to him advocating for eugenics. In fact, one of his subheadings in the short paper puts it clearly, 'Freedom to Breed is Intolerable'. Hardin worked against sending aid to developing countries because their existence threatened Earth’s 'carrying capacity'. Luckily for humanity, Hardin had a variety of notable critics. For one, Susan Jane Buck Cox, a political science professor at Northern Arizona University, wrote a paper titled, 'No Tragedy on the Commons', which documents the ahistorical nature of Hardin’s thought experiment. Seeing the potential for overgrazing, local communities developed means to prevent that overgrazing. Hardin’s greatest critic won a Nobel prize in economics for her work. In contrast to the necessity of centralized control in Hardin’s view, Elinor Ostrom made a career documenting bottom-up responses to commons problems like Hardin’s pasture. As Ostrom put her central thesis, 'People self-organize common property institutions of a wide diversity of kind and sometimes solve problems very well'. Ostrom’s research showed that the idea that rules must be imposed on users by an external authority failed to grapple with the ways individuals design their own rules for common access resources. People aren’t trapped in the sort of prisoner’s dilemma that the pasture thought experiment presumes because they invent their own forms of governance. {youtube}                                                 Numbers are boring, people are interesting | Hans Rosling  In the case of population growth and whether or not there’s a tragedy of the commons worth worrying about, there’s a lot to learn from people like Ostrom. For example, much like the ahistorical accounts of overgrazed pastures, Hans Rosling argued that the world population will never reach 11 billion. That’s because wealthier people tend to have fewer children. The growth in developed countries will fall even as developing countries become more wealthy and have more children and then join rich countries in decreasing their family size. All of this happens without force, without government policies like family-size limits. Ingenuity And Wizardry Win Out Over Fear And Prophecy The past is littered with failed prophecies which all boil down to the failure of the prophets of doom to properly reckon with the power of human ingenuity. Concerns about resource depletion deserve consideration, but it’s more likely that they’ll be proven wrong than that humanity is truly in danger. Henry George, an American economist, made the fundamental point brilliantly in his 1879 book Progress and Poverty: Here is a difference between the animal and the man. Both the jay-hawk and the man eat chickens, but the more jay-hawks the fewer chickens, while the more men the more chickens. Both the seal and the man eat salmon, but when a seal takes a salmon there is a salmon the less, and were seals to increase past a certain point salmon must diminish; while by placing the spawn of the salmon under favourable conditions man can so increase the number of salmon as more than to make up for all he may take, and thus, no matter how much men may increase, their increase need never outrun the supply of salmon. George’s arguments remain true today. Even the new problems of climate change have solutions that will come from human ingenuity and the development of new technology. In the energy space, fracking enabled the growth of natural gas which contains about half as much carbon as coal. Now coal is being beaten in the energy marketplace, which is a boon to the environment. But natural gas is also an effective partner for renewables. Renewables like wind and solar cycle up and down outside of the control of those powering the electrical grid, but natural gas is better at varying its production to meet those fluctuations. That makes natural gas a bridge fuel to a cleaner future as it can back up intermittent energy sources better than coal. Researchers have found an almost one-to-one ratio of expanded natural gas generating facilities and expanded renewables. Climate Crisis Will Kill Billions Or Will Optimism Save Us? What Will It Be? More rational optimism about population growth and potential solutions to climate change are needed now more than ever. The threats of climate change are real, but so were the threats put off by the Green Revolution and the famines that Malthus warned about. As the economist and optimist Julian Simon wrote, 'The ultimate resource is people, skilled, spirited, and hopeful people who will exert their wills and imaginations for their own benefit, and so, inevitably, for the benefit of us all'. Before you go!  Recommended: Artificial intelligence Makes The World More Sustainable s
Creator of the ‘ecological footprint’ on life and death in a world 4 C hotter. UBC professor emeritus William Rees provides the grim calculations for humanity if climate change and growth in population and consumption fuelled by cheap energy goes unchecked.  Carbon emissions may continue to rise, the polar ice caps may continue to melt, crop yields may continue to decline, the world’s forests may continue to burn, coastal cities may continue to sink under rising seas and droughts may continue to wipe out fertile farmlands, but the messiahs of hope assure us that all will be right in the end. Only it won’t; Chris Hedges Last April (2019) marked also the 49th Earth Day, a celebration of the natural wonders of the planet. Started in the United States in 1970, Earth Day is now a global environmental movement with 192 countries participating. This year, Earth Day comes on the heels of announcements from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) that Americans used more energy in 2018 than ever before. While some see this as “troubling,” there’s a lot to be excited about. So here we go…. Climate Crisis May Wipe out Six Billion People One thing the climate crisis underscores is that Homo sapiens are not primarily a rational species. When forced to make important decisions, particularly decisions affecting our economic security or socio-political status, primitive instinct and raw emotion tend to take the upper hand. This is not a good thing if the fate of society is at stake. Take 'hope' for example. For good evolutionary reasons, humans naturally tend to be hopeful in times of stress. So gently comforting is this word, that some even endow their daughters with its name. But hope can be enervating, flat out debilitating, when it merges with mere wishful thinking — when we hope, for example, that technology alone can save us from climate change. As novelist Jonathan Franzen asks: "If your hope for the future depends on a wildly optimistic scenario, what will you do 10 years from now, when the scenario becomes unworkable even in theory?" We needn’t bother Roger Hallam with this question. He can scarcely be held up as a 'messiah of hope'. Quite the contrary. Hallam, a co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, has been desperately warning of societal collapse for years. Environmental activist Roger Hallam: co-founder of Extinction Rebellion But in a memorable session of the BBC’s HardTalk, Hallam irritated multiple cultural nerves by claiming, on the basis of 'hard science', that six billion people will die as a result of climate change in coming decades. More specifically, our ruling elites’ inaction and lies on climate change will lead to climate turmoil, mass starvation and general societal collapse in this century. Normally unflappable HardTalk host, Stephen Sackur, just couldn’t wrap his mind around Hallam’s unyielding assertions. Recommended:  Climate Change: Water Scarcity, Hunger, Agriculture And Food Sackur is no solitary sceptic. UC Davis research scientist Amber Kerr dismisses Hallam outright. The idea that six billion people are doomed to die by 2100 is simply not correct. No mainstream prediction indicates anywhere near this level of climate-change-induced human mortality, for any reason. Similarly, Ken Caldeira, senior scientist, Carnegie Institution, points out, "There is no analysis of likely climate damage that has been published in the quality peer-reviewed literature that would indicate that there is any substantial likelihood that climate change could cause the starvation of six billion people by the end of this century." One key to understanding these scientists’ rejections is their language. They assert that there is 'no mainstream prediction' nor analysis in the “peer reviewed literature” that climate change will precipitate such catastrophic human mortality. But keep in mind that scientists are reluctant, for professional reasons, to go far beyond the immediate data in formal publication. Moreover, organizations like the United Nations, including even its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, are so dominated by economists’ concerns and bent by political considerations that extraneous noise obscures the scientific signal. Prominent climate scientist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director emeritus of Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, argues that, in these circumstances "a trend towards ‘erring on the side of least drama’ has emerged" and "when the issue is the survival of civilization is at stake, conventional means of analysis may become useless." Exploring this argument, policy analysts David Spratt and Ian Dunlop conclude, "Climate policymaking for years has been cognitively dissonant, ‘a flagrant violation of reality.’ So it is unsurprising that there is a lack of understanding amongst the public and elites of the full measure of the climate challenge." It seems that in mainstream scientific publications and official reports, the truth about climate change and the fate of civilization may be buried deeply between the lines. Fortunately, there are other contexts in which experts are not quite so reticent and whose assertions echo Roger Hallam’s. As much as a decade ago a climate symposium organized to discuss the implications of a 4 C warmer world concluded, 'Less than a billion people will survive'. Here Schellnhuber is quoted as saying: "At 4 C Earth’s... carrying capacity estimates are below 1 billion people." His words were echoed by professor Kevin Anderson of the U.K.’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change: "Only about 10 per cent of the planet’s population would survive at 4 C." Similarly, in May of this year, Johan Rockström, current director of the Potsdam Institute opined that in a 4 C warmer world: "It’s difficult to see how we could accommodate a billion people or even half of that.... There will be a rich minority of people who survive with modern lifestyles, no doubt, but it will be a turbulent, conflict-ridden world." Meanwhile, greenhouse gas concentrations are still increasing. Keep in mind that a global temperature increase averaging 4 C means land temperatures would be 5.5 to 6 C warmer away from the coasts. Much of the tropics would be too hot for humans and many densely populated parts of the temperate zone would be decertified. A 4 C warmer world map suggests that as much as half the planet would become uninhabitable. (A ‘4 C world’ assumes business-as-usual or no new climate policies in coming decades. Note, however, that known and unknown ‘feedback’ mechanisms could make 4 C possible, even with new politically acceptable policies in place.) In a recent review of this debate and related evidence, David Spratt asks (and answers): "So did Roger Hallam ‘go too far’? Not at all, there is serious research and eminent voices in support of his statements. The gross error in all of this are all those who cannot countenance this conversation."                                                                      Consequence of Overpopulation Forbidden Calculations Which begs the question of whether 'all those' would countenance any uncomfortable conversation. Population has long been a forbidden topic despite being at the root of the ecological crisis. Where might a discussion of population ecology lead and would its conclusions be any more politically acceptable? We can begin by gaining some insight into the startling implications of exponential growth.When something is growing exponentially, it has a constant doubling time. For example, a population growing at two per cent a year will double every 35 years. Interestingly, the increase that occurs during any doubling period will be greater than the sum of the increases experienced in all previous doublings. As the figure below shows, it took 200,000 years for the human population to reach its first billion in the early 1800s. In other words, population growth was essentially negligible for 99.95 of human history. But when sustained exponential growth kicked in, it took just 200 years — 1/1000th as much time — for the population to top 7.5 billion early in this century! The recent two centuries of population growth generates this classic hockey stick curve. At most, just 10 of 10,000 generations of modern humans have experienced this unprecedented human explosion. Chart by Jonathan von Ofenheim. This population explosion could not have occurred without abundant cheap energy, particularly fossil fuels.Obviously other factors are involved,  but energy is essentialfor humans to produce the food and acquire all the other resources needed to grow both populations and the economy. While human numbers were increasing by a factor of seven, energy consumption grew by a factor of 25 and real gross world product ballooned 100-fold. Because of sometimes super-exponential growth, half of all the fossil energy and many other essential resources ever used have been consumed in just the past 30-35 years.Look no further to explain why human-induced climate change has suddenly become so urgent. The pace of change is unprecedented— the recent spurt of population, economic and consumption growth that people today consider to be the normactually represents the single most anomalous period in human history. Meantime, Earth hasn’t grown at all — on the contrary, natural life-support has arguably contracted.Global ecological deterioration indicates that the human enterprise has ‘overshot’ long-term carrying capacity. We are currently growing the human population and economy by liquidating once-abundant stocks of so-called ‘natural capital’ and by over-filling natural waste sinks. Humanity is literally converting the ecosphere into human bodies, prodigious quantities of cultural artefacts, and vastly larger volumes of entropic waste. (That’s what tropical deforestation, fisheries collapses, plummeting biodiversity, ocean pollution, climate change, etc. are all about.) Corollaries: We will not long be able to maintain even the present population at current average material standards. And, population growth toward 10 billion will accelerate the depletion of essential bioresources and the destruction of life-support functions upon which civilization depends. The recent history of human population dynamics resembles the ‘boom-bust’ cycle of any other speciesintroduced to a new habitat with abundant resources and no predators, therefore little negative feedback. (The real-life example of reindeer herds can be found here.) The population expands rapidly (exponentially), until it depletes essential resources and pollutes its habitat. Negative feedback (overcrowding, disease, starvation, resource scarcity/competition/conflict) then reasserts itself and the population crashes to a level at or below theoretical carrying capacity (it may go locally extinct). The 'boom-bust' population cycle. Note the resemblance of the human population growth curve in Fig. 1 to the exponential ‘boom’ phase of the cycle. The world community can still choose to influence the speed and depth of the coming bust phase.  The 'boom-bust' population cycle. Note the resemblance of the human population growth curve to the exponential 'boom' phase of the cycle.  Source: Biology: Life on Earth, 8th ed Some species populations, in simple habitats, cycle repeatedly through boom and bust phases.The height of the boom is called the ‘plague phase’ of such cycles. Hypothesis: Homo sapiens are currently approaching the peak of the plague phase of a one-off global population cycle and will crashbecause of depleted resources, habitat deterioration and psycho-social feedback, including possible war over remaining ‘assets,’ sometime in this century. ('But wait', I hear you protest. “Humans are not just any other species. We’re smarter; we can plan ahead; we just won’t let this happen!” Perhaps, but what is the evidence so far that our leaders even recognize the problem?) The crash may be triggered or exacerbated by the depletion or abandonment of economic stocks of fossil fuels. As noted above, modern civilization is a product of, and dependent on, accessible abundant energy. (At present there are no viable alternatives to fossil fuels. Even if we do develop equivalent substitutes for fossil fuel they will, at best, merely delay the crash). The long-term human carrying capacity of Earth — after ecosystems have recovered from the current plague — is probably one to three billion people,depending on technology and material standards of living. (Estimates varyfrom fewer than a billion to a truly ludicrous trillion.) Getting there would mean five to nine billion fewer people on the planet.This is where we end up after a recovery following either controlled descentor chaotic crash. Recommended:  The Future Of Farming: Finding A Better Way To Feed The World Making The Looming Disaster An Election Issue The first thing to take from this analysis is that we are once again playing in Roger Hallam’s death-toll ballpark. But a more important point is that climate change is not the only existential threat confronting modern society. Indeed, we could initiate any number of conversations that end with the self-induced implosion of civilization and the loss of 50 per cent or even 90 per cent of humanity. And that places the global community in a particularly embarrassing predicament. Homo sapiens, that self-proclaimed most-intelligent-of-species, is facing a genuine, unprecedented, hydra-like ecological crisis, yet its political leaders, economic elites and sundry other messiahs of hope will not countenance a serious conversation about of any of its ghoulish heads Climate change is perhaps the most aggressively visible head, yet despite decades of high-level talks - 33 in al - and several international agreements to turn things around, atmospheric CO2 and other GHG concentrations have more than doubled to over 37 billion tonnes and, with other GHG concentrations, are still rising at record rates. In these circumstances, the only certainty is that the longer we deny reality and delay concerted action, the steeper and deeper the crash is likely to be. So, where does this leave us? Jonathan Franzen has a suggestion: "You can keep on hoping that catastrophe is preventable.... Or you can accept that disaster is coming, and begin to rethink what it means to have hope." Certainly hope is sterile if unaccompanied by vigorous action that reflects looming reality. Recommended:  Climate Change, A Sideshow In Trump's State Of The Union Optimism Save Us. The Earth Deserves More Than Doom And Gloom For one, renewable energy use in the US hit an all-time high in 2018. In addition, coal use fell even more as low-cost natural gas pushed out more coal from energy markets. These two trends are why in January the EIA also reported that energy-related carbon emissions grew in 2018, but predicted a decrease in both 2019 and 2020. In addition, the US energy supply is likely to be even lower carbon each year going forward as renewable energy technologies become cheaper and better. These changes reflect the distinction between what journalist Charles C. Mann calls wizards and prophets. As Mann described them in an interview with Nathanael Johnson: Well, I coined them as a sort of shorthand. A philosopher friend of mine said that there was a very clear way to describe these groups, one of them is a Schumpeterian–technophiliac–meliorist (laughs). But that didn’t seem all that clear to me, so I call them wizards, as in techno-wizards. Wizards basically believe that science and technology, properly applied, can let us produce our way out of our dilemmas. Prophets believe that there are natural limits, and we transgress these limits at our peril. Be Smart, Make More Or Hunker Down, Conserve Their recommendations are kind of the opposite of each other. One is saying, "Be smart, make more, and that way everyone can win.” The other is saying, "Hunker down, conserve, obey the rules, otherwise everyone is going to lose." This model of prophets and wizards is a useful tool to understand much of the debate around our environment. Many spoke out about Earth Day this year some clearly on the side of prophets, others will be wizards. Only time will tell, but the case for thinking like a wizard gets stronger every year. Technological wizardry repeatedly wins out over doom and gloom prophecies. Recommended:  Earth Day: Colonialisme, Overexploiting Of Natural Resources Optimism There’s a historical case in favour of wizardry. It’s borne out in a variety of ways in which education, economic prosperity, and child mortality are improving. From Our World in Data to the late Hans Rosling to Matt Ridley’s brand of rational optimism all tell stories about how these measures have improved along with technology. It’s the same story for each metric; We are living in a wealthier, healthier, and more prosperous world.                                         DON'T PANIC — Hans Rosling showing the facts about population World In Data According to others, taking up the role of Mann’s 'prophets', none of this was supposed to happen. As Paul R. Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies at Stanford predicted in the first lines of his 1968 book The Population Bomb, The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate, although many lives could be saved through dramatic programs to ‘stretch’ the carrying capacity of the earth by increasing food production. But these programs will only provide a stay of execution unless they are accompanied by determined and successful efforts at population control. There’s a lot to unpack in just these four sentences. Luckily, the main takeaway is that the wizards won this round, all because of the Green Revolution. The Green Revolution, led by the agronomist Norman Borlaug, dramatically boosted the yields of wheat through selective breeding. The hundreds of millions of people Ehrlich predicted would die were saved and Borlaug is routinely credited with saving around a billion lives with the improvements in the wheat he developed. Yet, if you read Ehrlich’s opening words carefully — and charitably — you may think that Borlaug’s innovations were just the kind of programs that stretch the planet’s carrying capacity. They merely stay humanity’s execution, not prevent it. Overcoming one cause of famine doesn’t mean that humanity will survive the next. Fair points, but they miss the underlying flaws in the mental model of prophets. People create more and more wealth over time, they’re not just resource-drains. More people means more innovators like Norman Borlaug. Efforts to control population growth misunderstand many of the problems that population growth poses for the environment. AI, homo sapiens sapiens’ path to singularity Tragedy? Is There Any? Ehrlich is far from the only person to make this pessimistic prediction. Historically, Thomas Malthus, a 19th-century economist, argued famines would destroy much of the world’s population because humanity’s ability to produce food would be outpaced by population growth. Malthus, like all the population naysayers so far, was wrong because he couldn’t have predicted the invention of fertilizers and the industrial revolution that allowed us to feed so many more people. Garrett Hardin, a University of California professor of biology, was one of the most widely-known advocates of population control for the environment’s sake. Hardin’s concerns about population are stated clearly in his famous paper, 'The Tragedy of the Commons'. If you’ve heard of it before, it was probably illustrated with a thought experiment of grazing on publicly owned lands. Hardin argued that if a pasture is open to all, then it will be overused and its productive capabilities destroyed.                                               What is the tragedy of the commons? - Nicholas Amendolare Source There were two solutions, according to Hardin, for preventing the tragedy of the commons from playing out in pastures and other common resources. One was privatizing the commons so that owners had better incentives to care for the pasture. The second was centralized control over common resources to determine who could use them and when. Fundamentally, Hardin saw the imposition of centralized control as necessary to prevent the tragedy of the commons. Hardin wanted to apply the tragedy of the commons to more than pastures, he wanted it applied primarily to people. And not all groups of people equally. Hardin’s theory had a darker side as well that led to him advocating for eugenics. In fact, one of his subheadings in the short paper puts it clearly, 'Freedom to Breed is Intolerable'. Hardin worked against sending aid to developing countries because their existence threatened Earth’s 'carrying capacity'. Luckily for humanity, Hardin had a variety of notable critics. For one, Susan Jane Buck Cox, a political science professor at Northern Arizona University, wrote a paper titled, 'No Tragedy on the Commons', which documents the ahistorical nature of Hardin’s thought experiment. Seeing the potential for overgrazing, local communities developed means to prevent that overgrazing. Hardin’s greatest critic won a Nobel prize in economics for her work. In contrast to the necessity of centralized control in Hardin’s view, Elinor Ostrom made a career documenting bottom-up responses to commons problems like Hardin’s pasture. As Ostrom put her central thesis, 'People self-organize common property institutions of a wide diversity of kind and sometimes solve problems very well'. Ostrom’s research showed that the idea that rules must be imposed on users by an external authority failed to grapple with the ways individuals design their own rules for common access resources. People aren’t trapped in the sort of prisoner’s dilemma that the pasture thought experiment presumes because they invent their own forms of governance. {youtube}                                                 Numbers are boring, people are interesting | Hans Rosling  In the case of population growth and whether or not there’s a tragedy of the commons worth worrying about, there’s a lot to learn from people like Ostrom. For example, much like the ahistorical accounts of overgrazed pastures, Hans Rosling argued that the world population will never reach 11 billion. That’s because wealthier people tend to have fewer children. The growth in developed countries will fall even as developing countries become more wealthy and have more children and then join rich countries in decreasing their family size. All of this happens without force, without government policies like family-size limits. Ingenuity And Wizardry Win Out Over Fear And Prophecy The past is littered with failed prophecies which all boil down to the failure of the prophets of doom to properly reckon with the power of human ingenuity. Concerns about resource depletion deserve consideration, but it’s more likely that they’ll be proven wrong than that humanity is truly in danger. Henry George, an American economist, made the fundamental point brilliantly in his 1879 book Progress and Poverty: Here is a difference between the animal and the man. Both the jay-hawk and the man eat chickens, but the more jay-hawks the fewer chickens, while the more men the more chickens. Both the seal and the man eat salmon, but when a seal takes a salmon there is a salmon the less, and were seals to increase past a certain point salmon must diminish; while by placing the spawn of the salmon under favourable conditions man can so increase the number of salmon as more than to make up for all he may take, and thus, no matter how much men may increase, their increase need never outrun the supply of salmon. George’s arguments remain true today. Even the new problems of climate change have solutions that will come from human ingenuity and the development of new technology. In the energy space, fracking enabled the growth of natural gas which contains about half as much carbon as coal. Now coal is being beaten in the energy marketplace, which is a boon to the environment. But natural gas is also an effective partner for renewables. Renewables like wind and solar cycle up and down outside of the control of those powering the electrical grid, but natural gas is better at varying its production to meet those fluctuations. That makes natural gas a bridge fuel to a cleaner future as it can back up intermittent energy sources better than coal. Researchers have found an almost one-to-one ratio of expanded natural gas generating facilities and expanded renewables. Climate Crisis Will Kill Billions Or Will Optimism Save Us? What Will It Be? More rational optimism about population growth and potential solutions to climate change are needed now more than ever. The threats of climate change are real, but so were the threats put off by the Green Revolution and the famines that Malthus warned about. As the economist and optimist Julian Simon wrote, 'The ultimate resource is people, skilled, spirited, and hopeful people who will exert their wills and imaginations for their own benefit, and so, inevitably, for the benefit of us all'. Before you go!  Recommended: Artificial intelligence Makes The World More Sustainable s
Climate Crisis Will Kill Billions Or Will Optimism Save Us?
Climate Crisis Will Kill Billions Or Will Optimism Save Us?
Greenest Buildings In The World: Sustainable Highlights
The battle against global warming must be fought on all fronts. Not only should we be looking at industry action and a radical shift in means of transportation, we also ought to take a good hard look at the way we go about our daily business. At the way our cities are currently organised to not only become ‘smarter’, but also more sustainable.   Under the growing pressure of urbanisation and sharply rising property prices, cities have to find ways of allowing more people to comfortably live in the same area - while decreasing their carbon footprint. A challenge that some are struggling with, while others are tackling it heads-on. One new trend is that of urban gardens and vertical farms, more and more of which are sprouting up in cities worldwide. Architects are quick to jump on this trend as well, and are coming up with increasingly ingenious solutions to make their buildings greener. At times, it looks as if they are locked in a fierce competition to come up with the most striking, the most sustainable, and the most eye-catching design that really makes a green statement.   Ready to get inspired? Then take a look at some of the most publicised or remarkable examples. The Crystal, London, United Kingdom Often hailed as ‘one of the greenest buildings ever built by mankind’, The Crystal is a stunning landmark that cleverly uses natural daylight to significantly cut back on lighting costs. The smart lighting system in place, powered by solar panels, further eliminates unnecessary lighting; integrating LED and fluorescent lights when needed. Serving as the headquarters of telecom-giant Siemens, The Crystal also recycles both rainwater and sewage to generate fresh drinking water.   Pixel Building, Melbourne, Australia The Pixel Building was the first building ever to obtain a perfect Green Star score, setting the benchmark for sustainable architecture in Australia. Not only is it completely carbon-free, in that the carbon generated by the building’s operations are offset by its generation of renewable energy. It is also proud of its carbon-neutral status, having offset the carbon in materials that were used to construct the building. The Change Initiative, Shaikh Zayed Road, Dubai As one of the world’s leading nations in mind-bending architecture and design, Dubai could not stay behind. After having built some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, The Change Initiative was the next prestige project - a commercial building that took over the Pixel Building’s status as most sustainable building in the world. Not only does it house various shops and restaurants promoting green living, it also frequently hosts exhibitions and events highlighting new sustainable innovations. Bullitt Center, Seattle, USA Upon its presentation, the Bullitt Center was introduced as a building with an ideal lifespan of 250 years. This really set the mark for making buildings part of a more ‘natural’ ecosystem, having an expiration date, so to speak. This brainchild of Bullitt Foundation president Denis Hayes is carbon and energy neutral, hosts a self-sufficient water and sewage processing system, and generates its energy using photovoltaic solar panels.   {youtube}                                                    Greenest Buildings In The World: Fighting Global Warming                                                  Coolest Most Environmentally Friendly Buildings in The World ACROS Fukuoka Foundation Building, Fukuoka, Japan Japan’s seventh largest city Fukuoka has spared little expense in promoting the ACROS Fukuoka Foundation Building as one of its main attractions. It is a poster child of the architectural concept of eco-architecture, blending in local greenery with sharp building designs. The heart of this building is made up of a massive atrium, flooding the insides with natural light. The water drainage system on the roof is also remarkable: it flows down like a mountain, watering the vegetation on its way down in a perfectly mimicked natural process. Phipps’ Center For Sustainable Landscapes, Pittsburgh, USA For a building carrying this name, you would already expect something quite spectacular. Thankfully, the Phipps’ Center For Sustainable Landscapes does not disappoint. From its beautiful rooftop garden, where visitors can take a stroll over the green roof, to its plant-filled hallways and staircases. Extra pluses include its water recycling system and use of renewable energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal for its operations. Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew, Sisaket, Thailand This modern Buddhist temple, located in the beautiful town of Khun Han, Sisaket, also goes by the name of The Million Bottle Temple. Refreshingly, this states exactly what it is made out of: a million empty beer bottles. Befittingly green Heineken bottles are mixed with the brown bottles of local beer brand Chang to create a stunning whole. Construction already started back in 1984, as in initiative of Buddhist monks, with the temple and its surrounding comfort rooms and crematorium now acting as a literal beacon of green innovation. Bahrain World Trade Center, Manama, Bahrain Standing tall at 50 floors, this twin tower complex celebrated its tenth birthday last year. As of now, the Bahrain World Trade Center, or BWTC, is still the only skyscraper in the world to have incorporated wind turbines as part of its blueprint. In an exceptional design feat, the two towers are interconnected using imposing sky bridges, which also act as the beams to which 225 kW wind turbines are attached. It looks good - and does well. Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Yishun Central, Singapore You will not be surprised to find out that one of the greenest hospitals in the world can be found in the tiny Asian island nation of Singapore, a hotspot for modern architecture. In the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, an overwhelmingly green environment has been created to provide a healing environment for its patients - but also to take care of our planet’s health, through the use of a solar water heating system and renewable energy sources. Taipei Public Library, Beitou branch, Taiwan Lingering on the topic of public buildings in tiny Asian nations, the Taipei Public Library was largely designed around its huge windows that can be opened wide - allowing both light and fresh air to come in, reducing the need for artificial light and fans or airconditioning systems. Its roof catches rainwater, which is used to flush the toilets, and renewable energy sources are the norm. Toronto Tree Tower, Toronto, Canada A must-mention on any self-respecting list of green buildings, the Toronto Tree Tower is an ambitious project that proposes to build a residential block out of timber, complete with staggering walls overgrown with plants and trees rooting on large balconies. Watch this space. Yin & Yang House, Kassel, Germany One would not quickly associate Yin & Yang retreats with the German town on Kassel, although one only has to look at it to be convinced of its benefits. The house boasts gorgeous, relaxing gardens on its interlocking roof, while being fully self-sufficient. Architect Chris Precht has described his vision as “ ecological materials we want to touch. Integrated gardens we can smell and eat. And buildings we can hear because bees and birds nest in them .” Park Royal Hotel Pickering, Singapore High rise gardens, reflecting pools, waterfalls and green walls. Need we say more? Recommended:  Sustainable Green Buildings, Innovative Architects: Globally ‘Off The Grid Office’, location undecided Another ambitious idea that has not yet been constructed but certainly deserves a mention. The ‘Off The Grid Office’ tries to mimic nature in its design and construction, in an attempt to bring us closer to nature: “ any kind of human environment should be integrated in the existing natural environment, because it already offers perks that we normally try to reproduce through artificial materials ,” according to architect Stefan Mantu. Shilda Winery, Kakheti, Georgia In the remote location of Kakheti, Georgia, one will have to look hard to find the Shilda Winery. The building is quite literally embedded in the surrounding vineyards and immerses itself in its natural environment. It effectively uses the thermal mass of the soil to optimise cooling inside the building - a must-have for any good winery - and has been designed to face north and therefore avoid direct solar gain. Now we really want to go out and visit all of those impressive buildings in person. Recommended:  Sustainable Circular Architecture, The Svart Hotel: Norway Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day.
The battle against global warming must be fought on all fronts. Not only should we be looking at industry action and a radical shift in means of transportation, we also ought to take a good hard look at the way we go about our daily business. At the way our cities are currently organised to not only become ‘smarter’, but also more sustainable.   Under the growing pressure of urbanisation and sharply rising property prices, cities have to find ways of allowing more people to comfortably live in the same area - while decreasing their carbon footprint. A challenge that some are struggling with, while others are tackling it heads-on. One new trend is that of urban gardens and vertical farms, more and more of which are sprouting up in cities worldwide. Architects are quick to jump on this trend as well, and are coming up with increasingly ingenious solutions to make their buildings greener. At times, it looks as if they are locked in a fierce competition to come up with the most striking, the most sustainable, and the most eye-catching design that really makes a green statement.   Ready to get inspired? Then take a look at some of the most publicised or remarkable examples. The Crystal, London, United Kingdom Often hailed as ‘one of the greenest buildings ever built by mankind’, The Crystal is a stunning landmark that cleverly uses natural daylight to significantly cut back on lighting costs. The smart lighting system in place, powered by solar panels, further eliminates unnecessary lighting; integrating LED and fluorescent lights when needed. Serving as the headquarters of telecom-giant Siemens, The Crystal also recycles both rainwater and sewage to generate fresh drinking water.   Pixel Building, Melbourne, Australia The Pixel Building was the first building ever to obtain a perfect Green Star score, setting the benchmark for sustainable architecture in Australia. Not only is it completely carbon-free, in that the carbon generated by the building’s operations are offset by its generation of renewable energy. It is also proud of its carbon-neutral status, having offset the carbon in materials that were used to construct the building. The Change Initiative, Shaikh Zayed Road, Dubai As one of the world’s leading nations in mind-bending architecture and design, Dubai could not stay behind. After having built some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, The Change Initiative was the next prestige project - a commercial building that took over the Pixel Building’s status as most sustainable building in the world. Not only does it house various shops and restaurants promoting green living, it also frequently hosts exhibitions and events highlighting new sustainable innovations. Bullitt Center, Seattle, USA Upon its presentation, the Bullitt Center was introduced as a building with an ideal lifespan of 250 years. This really set the mark for making buildings part of a more ‘natural’ ecosystem, having an expiration date, so to speak. This brainchild of Bullitt Foundation president Denis Hayes is carbon and energy neutral, hosts a self-sufficient water and sewage processing system, and generates its energy using photovoltaic solar panels.   {youtube}                                                    Greenest Buildings In The World: Fighting Global Warming                                                  Coolest Most Environmentally Friendly Buildings in The World ACROS Fukuoka Foundation Building, Fukuoka, Japan Japan’s seventh largest city Fukuoka has spared little expense in promoting the ACROS Fukuoka Foundation Building as one of its main attractions. It is a poster child of the architectural concept of eco-architecture, blending in local greenery with sharp building designs. The heart of this building is made up of a massive atrium, flooding the insides with natural light. The water drainage system on the roof is also remarkable: it flows down like a mountain, watering the vegetation on its way down in a perfectly mimicked natural process. Phipps’ Center For Sustainable Landscapes, Pittsburgh, USA For a building carrying this name, you would already expect something quite spectacular. Thankfully, the Phipps’ Center For Sustainable Landscapes does not disappoint. From its beautiful rooftop garden, where visitors can take a stroll over the green roof, to its plant-filled hallways and staircases. Extra pluses include its water recycling system and use of renewable energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal for its operations. Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew, Sisaket, Thailand This modern Buddhist temple, located in the beautiful town of Khun Han, Sisaket, also goes by the name of The Million Bottle Temple. Refreshingly, this states exactly what it is made out of: a million empty beer bottles. Befittingly green Heineken bottles are mixed with the brown bottles of local beer brand Chang to create a stunning whole. Construction already started back in 1984, as in initiative of Buddhist monks, with the temple and its surrounding comfort rooms and crematorium now acting as a literal beacon of green innovation. Bahrain World Trade Center, Manama, Bahrain Standing tall at 50 floors, this twin tower complex celebrated its tenth birthday last year. As of now, the Bahrain World Trade Center, or BWTC, is still the only skyscraper in the world to have incorporated wind turbines as part of its blueprint. In an exceptional design feat, the two towers are interconnected using imposing sky bridges, which also act as the beams to which 225 kW wind turbines are attached. It looks good - and does well. Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Yishun Central, Singapore You will not be surprised to find out that one of the greenest hospitals in the world can be found in the tiny Asian island nation of Singapore, a hotspot for modern architecture. In the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, an overwhelmingly green environment has been created to provide a healing environment for its patients - but also to take care of our planet’s health, through the use of a solar water heating system and renewable energy sources. Taipei Public Library, Beitou branch, Taiwan Lingering on the topic of public buildings in tiny Asian nations, the Taipei Public Library was largely designed around its huge windows that can be opened wide - allowing both light and fresh air to come in, reducing the need for artificial light and fans or airconditioning systems. Its roof catches rainwater, which is used to flush the toilets, and renewable energy sources are the norm. Toronto Tree Tower, Toronto, Canada A must-mention on any self-respecting list of green buildings, the Toronto Tree Tower is an ambitious project that proposes to build a residential block out of timber, complete with staggering walls overgrown with plants and trees rooting on large balconies. Watch this space. Yin & Yang House, Kassel, Germany One would not quickly associate Yin & Yang retreats with the German town on Kassel, although one only has to look at it to be convinced of its benefits. The house boasts gorgeous, relaxing gardens on its interlocking roof, while being fully self-sufficient. Architect Chris Precht has described his vision as “ ecological materials we want to touch. Integrated gardens we can smell and eat. And buildings we can hear because bees and birds nest in them .” Park Royal Hotel Pickering, Singapore High rise gardens, reflecting pools, waterfalls and green walls. Need we say more? Recommended:  Sustainable Green Buildings, Innovative Architects: Globally ‘Off The Grid Office’, location undecided Another ambitious idea that has not yet been constructed but certainly deserves a mention. The ‘Off The Grid Office’ tries to mimic nature in its design and construction, in an attempt to bring us closer to nature: “ any kind of human environment should be integrated in the existing natural environment, because it already offers perks that we normally try to reproduce through artificial materials ,” according to architect Stefan Mantu. Shilda Winery, Kakheti, Georgia In the remote location of Kakheti, Georgia, one will have to look hard to find the Shilda Winery. The building is quite literally embedded in the surrounding vineyards and immerses itself in its natural environment. It effectively uses the thermal mass of the soil to optimise cooling inside the building - a must-have for any good winery - and has been designed to face north and therefore avoid direct solar gain. Now we really want to go out and visit all of those impressive buildings in person. Recommended:  Sustainable Circular Architecture, The Svart Hotel: Norway Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day.
Greenest Buildings In The World: Sustainable Highlights
Greenest Buildings In The World: Sustainable Highlights
Hydrogen Powered Gin: Sustainable Gin Could Become Reality
Sustainable gin could become a reality after project receives funding to investigate potential conversion of distillery. In the global bid to reduce carbon emissions, The Orkney Distillery is looking to create sustainable gin, using hydrogen as a fuel in its distilling process. The project has been given funding by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to carry out this ‘feasibility study’. This is part of the government’s £390 million project to reduce emissions from industry. Investigations will focus on the development of a thermal fluid heater system to use hydrogen as a combustion fuel within the distilling process instead of fuels such as kerosene and liquid petroleum gas (LPG). In doing this, the use of fossil fuels would be completely replaced. "Developing hydrogen technology has the potential to not only reduce emissions from industry, but could also help seize the opportunities of the global shift to cleaner economies – with the prize of up to two million jobs and £170 billion of annual exports by 2030," commented Lord Duncan, Climate Change Minister. If successful, this should reduce emissions from the plant by around 86 tonnes of CO2 per year. This is the equivalent to the annual emissions from 10 homes or 18 cars. The technology is being designed with existing infrastructure in mind. It is hoped, therefore, that it can be easily implemented into other areas across the sector in the future. Hydrogen Powered Gin from HySpirits The HySpirits project has been awarded £148,600 of funding from the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to conduct a feasibility study into the development of technology to enable The Orkney Distillery to use hydrogen as a fuel to decarbonise the distilling process. Recommended:  Hydrogen Powered Car That Emits Water No CO2: The Rasa   Hydrogen Powered Gin from HySpirits. The Orkney Distillery The project aims to investigate the development of a thermal fluid heater system to operate with hydrogen as the combustion fuel within the distilling process. This system will remove the need to use fossil fuels such as kerosene and liquid petroleum gas (LPG), for the process. HySpirits. Sustainable Gin Could Become Reality The HySpirits study brings together three different organisations with a common drive to decarbonise energy. Led by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), the other partners are Orkney Distilling Ltd, the site selected for hydrogen fuel integration, and Edinburgh Napier University who will assess the distillery site and develop the hydrogen system design and specification.   Recommended:  Hydrogen Energy Storage Revolution In The Netherlands Funding for the HySpirits project was awarded after successfully competing in the Industrial Fuels Switching Competition run by BEIS earlier this year, which aims to stimulate early investment in fuel switching processes and technologies. Now in its second phase, the competition offers funding for feasibility studies looking into developing technologies to enable the use of a low-carbon fuel across industrial processes. Industrial Fuel Switching Competition The winners of the Industrial Fuel Switching competition were announced on Thursday 29 August 2019 by Lord Duncan, in advance of a ministerial visit to Orkney. Lord Duncan, Climate Change Minister, said: Using the power of hydrogen could help cut emissions, create jobs and make industrial processes cleaner and greener, benefitting the whole economy as we work towards net zero by 2050. This innovative project from HySprits/EMEC will help our efforts to roll out hydrogen at scale by the 2030s – a crucial step towards the end of the UK’s contribution to global warming.  Hydrogen has been identified as an alternative fuel for energy intensive industrial processes, such as distilleries. If the technology and business case detailed in the feasibility study proves viable, this offers a substantial decarbonisation opportunity for the wider industry and The Orkney Distillery could become the world’s first hydrogen fuelled distillery. Additionally, it is hoped that the findings of this study can be replicated across the sector with the added benefit that the technology will be designed to be retrofitted into existing infrastructure. Lord Duncan (front), Jon Clipsham from Emec (back) and Stephen Kemp from Orkney Distilling (right) were at the project launch Orkney Distilling Ltd: Hydrogen Stephen Kemp, Director of Orkney Distilling Ltd, said:  "As we look to the future development of The Orkney Distillery and our product offering, it is essential that we innovate in order to drive a low carbon, energy efficient spirit production process. This collaboration with EMEC and Edinburgh Napier University is incredibly exciting, and a world first for the industry." Jon Clipsham, Hydrogen Manager at EMEC, said:  "Working with a world class craft distillery, the HySpirits project blends tradition with innovation. Decarbonising the distilling process with green hydrogen derived from local renewables is a great example of the creative ways Orkney is addressing the challenges of the energy transition. We’re proud to be partnering with Orkney Distilling Ltd and Edinburgh Napier University on this transformational project."    Professor John Currie, Director of the Scottish Energy Centre at Edinburgh Napier University, said:  "Industrial fuel switching, in order to lower carbon emissions, provides a significant challenge, particularly in the food and drink sector. This project has brought together a partnership which has enabled the development and exploitation of a readily-deployable hydrogen technology which can make a significant impact across the process industries in order to help achieve our global objectives."   Recommended:  Solar And Hydrogen Boats Win The Future: France, Monaco Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day.
Sustainable gin could become a reality after project receives funding to investigate potential conversion of distillery. In the global bid to reduce carbon emissions, The Orkney Distillery is looking to create sustainable gin, using hydrogen as a fuel in its distilling process. The project has been given funding by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to carry out this ‘feasibility study’. This is part of the government’s £390 million project to reduce emissions from industry. Investigations will focus on the development of a thermal fluid heater system to use hydrogen as a combustion fuel within the distilling process instead of fuels such as kerosene and liquid petroleum gas (LPG). In doing this, the use of fossil fuels would be completely replaced. "Developing hydrogen technology has the potential to not only reduce emissions from industry, but could also help seize the opportunities of the global shift to cleaner economies – with the prize of up to two million jobs and £170 billion of annual exports by 2030," commented Lord Duncan, Climate Change Minister. If successful, this should reduce emissions from the plant by around 86 tonnes of CO2 per year. This is the equivalent to the annual emissions from 10 homes or 18 cars. The technology is being designed with existing infrastructure in mind. It is hoped, therefore, that it can be easily implemented into other areas across the sector in the future. Hydrogen Powered Gin from HySpirits The HySpirits project has been awarded £148,600 of funding from the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to conduct a feasibility study into the development of technology to enable The Orkney Distillery to use hydrogen as a fuel to decarbonise the distilling process. Recommended:  Hydrogen Powered Car That Emits Water No CO2: The Rasa   Hydrogen Powered Gin from HySpirits. The Orkney Distillery The project aims to investigate the development of a thermal fluid heater system to operate with hydrogen as the combustion fuel within the distilling process. This system will remove the need to use fossil fuels such as kerosene and liquid petroleum gas (LPG), for the process. HySpirits. Sustainable Gin Could Become Reality The HySpirits study brings together three different organisations with a common drive to decarbonise energy. Led by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), the other partners are Orkney Distilling Ltd, the site selected for hydrogen fuel integration, and Edinburgh Napier University who will assess the distillery site and develop the hydrogen system design and specification.   Recommended:  Hydrogen Energy Storage Revolution In The Netherlands Funding for the HySpirits project was awarded after successfully competing in the Industrial Fuels Switching Competition run by BEIS earlier this year, which aims to stimulate early investment in fuel switching processes and technologies. Now in its second phase, the competition offers funding for feasibility studies looking into developing technologies to enable the use of a low-carbon fuel across industrial processes. Industrial Fuel Switching Competition The winners of the Industrial Fuel Switching competition were announced on Thursday 29 August 2019 by Lord Duncan, in advance of a ministerial visit to Orkney. Lord Duncan, Climate Change Minister, said: Using the power of hydrogen could help cut emissions, create jobs and make industrial processes cleaner and greener, benefitting the whole economy as we work towards net zero by 2050. This innovative project from HySprits/EMEC will help our efforts to roll out hydrogen at scale by the 2030s – a crucial step towards the end of the UK’s contribution to global warming.  Hydrogen has been identified as an alternative fuel for energy intensive industrial processes, such as distilleries. If the technology and business case detailed in the feasibility study proves viable, this offers a substantial decarbonisation opportunity for the wider industry and The Orkney Distillery could become the world’s first hydrogen fuelled distillery. Additionally, it is hoped that the findings of this study can be replicated across the sector with the added benefit that the technology will be designed to be retrofitted into existing infrastructure. Lord Duncan (front), Jon Clipsham from Emec (back) and Stephen Kemp from Orkney Distilling (right) were at the project launch Orkney Distilling Ltd: Hydrogen Stephen Kemp, Director of Orkney Distilling Ltd, said:  "As we look to the future development of The Orkney Distillery and our product offering, it is essential that we innovate in order to drive a low carbon, energy efficient spirit production process. This collaboration with EMEC and Edinburgh Napier University is incredibly exciting, and a world first for the industry." Jon Clipsham, Hydrogen Manager at EMEC, said:  "Working with a world class craft distillery, the HySpirits project blends tradition with innovation. Decarbonising the distilling process with green hydrogen derived from local renewables is a great example of the creative ways Orkney is addressing the challenges of the energy transition. We’re proud to be partnering with Orkney Distilling Ltd and Edinburgh Napier University on this transformational project."    Professor John Currie, Director of the Scottish Energy Centre at Edinburgh Napier University, said:  "Industrial fuel switching, in order to lower carbon emissions, provides a significant challenge, particularly in the food and drink sector. This project has brought together a partnership which has enabled the development and exploitation of a readily-deployable hydrogen technology which can make a significant impact across the process industries in order to help achieve our global objectives."   Recommended:  Solar And Hydrogen Boats Win The Future: France, Monaco Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day.
Hydrogen Powered Gin: Sustainable Gin Could Become Reality
Hydrogen Powered Gin: Sustainable Gin Could Become Reality
Amazon’s Fires, Madonna And DiCaprio: Questions & Answers
Fires across the Brazilian Amazon have sparked an international outcry for preservation of the world’s largest rainforest. Here’s a look at the role of the Amazon: climate, ‘the lungs', the artists, the politicians, the misperception. The International Outcry! Is The World Wrong? The increase in fires burning in Brazil set off a storm of international outrage last week. Celebrities, environmentalists, and political leaders blame Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, for destroying the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon. Singers and actors including Madonna and Jaden Smith shared photos on social media that were seen by tens of millions of people. “The lungs of the Earth are in flames,” said actor Leonardo DiCaprio. “The Amazon Rainforest produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen,” tweeted soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo. “The Amazon rain forest - the lungs which produce 20% of our planet’s oxygen - is on fire,” tweeted French President Emanuel Macron. And yet the photos weren’t actually of the fires and many weren’t even of the Amazon. The photo Ronaldo shared was taken in southern Brazil, far from the Amazon, in 2013. The photo that DiCaprio and Macron shared is over 20 years old. The photo Madonna and Smith shared is over 30. Some celebrities shared photos from Montana, India, and Sweden. Amazons Fires! Did They Increase In 2019? While the number of fires in 2019 is indeed 80% higher than in 2018, it’s just 7% higher than the average over the last 10 years ago. One of Brazil’s leading environmental journalists agrees that media coverage of the fires has been misleading. It was under (Workers Party President) Lula and (Environment Secretary) Marina Silva (2003-2008) that Brazil had the highest incidence of burning, according  L. Coutinho. Neither Lula nor Marina was accused of putting the Amazon at risk. Coutinho’s perspective was shaped by reporting on the ground in the Amazon for Veja, Brazil’s leading news magazine, for nearly a decade. By contrast, many of the correspondents reporting on the fires have been doing so from the cosmopolitan cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which are 2,500 miles and four hours by jet plane away. What is happening in the Amazon is not exceptional, according Coutinho. Take a look at Google web searches search for ‘Amazon’ and ‘Amazon Forest’ over time. Global public opinion was not as interested in the ‘Amazon tragedy’ when the situation was undeniably worse. The present moment does not justify global hysteria. And while fires in Brazil have increased, there is no evidence that Amazon forest fires have.  World’s Oxygen Supply! Is It At Risk? No. While it’s commonly said that the Amazon produces 20 percent of the world’s oxygen, climate scientists say that figure is wrong and the oxygen supply is not directly at risk in any case. That’s because forests, including the Amazon, absorb roughly the same amount of oxygen they produce. Plants do produce oxygen through photosynthesis, but they also absorb it to grow, as do animals and microbes. That doesn’t mean the fires aren’t a problem for the planet. The Amazon is a critical absorber of carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas produced by burning fossil fuels, like oil and coal. Amazon Forrest: Is it ‘The Lungs Of Our Planet’? The Amazon rainforest is frequently referred to as ‘the lungs of the planet’, but it may not be the most accurate analogy for the forest’s role. Carlos Nobre, a University of São Paulo climate scientist, says a better way to picture the Amazon’s role is as a sink, draining heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Currently, the world is emitting around 40 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. The Amazon absorbs 2 billion tons of CO2 per year (or 5 percent of annual emissions), making it a vital part of preventing climate change. Fires In The Amazon! What Do They Mean For The World’s Climate? Fires in the Amazon not only mean the carbon-absorbing forest is disappearing, but the flames themselves are emitting millions of tons of carbon every day. Nobre says we’re close to a 'tipping point' that would turn the thick jungle into a tropical savannah. The rainforest recycles its own water to produce a portion of the region’s rain, so deforestation makes rains less frequent, extending the dry season. Nobre estimates that if 20 percent to 25 percent of the forest is destroyed, the dry season will expand enough that it will no longer be a forest, but a savannah. 'Unfortunately, we are already seeing signs of the Amazon turning into a savannah," he said, citing the increasingly long dry seasons. "It’s not just theoretical anymore, it’s happening already." Recommended:  Climate Change And Its Effects Like Droughts: The Heat Is On Fires! What Is Causing Them? The current fires in the Amazon are not wildfires. They are manmade and are mostly set illegally by land-grabbers who are clearing the forest for cattle ranching and crops. Deforesting the Amazon is a long, slow process. People clear the land by cutting down the vegetation during the rainy season, letting the trees dry out and burning them during the dry season. Fully clearing the dense forest for agricultural use can take several years of slashing and burning. "When I’m talking about 21st-century deforestation, I don’t mean a family headed into the woods with a chainsaw," said Nasa researcher Doug Morton. "I mean tractors connected by large chains. They’re pulling trees out by their roots." He said researchers could see piles of trees months ago in satellite images. "They’re burning an enormous bonfire of Amazon logs that have been piled, drying in the sun for several months." {youtube}                                              Amazon’s Fires, Madonna And DiCaprio: Questions & Answers                                                   Amazon forest fire: What it tells us about deforestation   Deforestation! What Is The Reality? Few stories in the first wave of media coverage mentioned the dramatic drop in deforestation in Brazil in the 2000s, noted former New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin, who wrote a 1990 book, The Burning Season, about the Amazon, and is now Founding Director, Initiative on Communication & Sustainability at The Earth Institute at Columbia University. Deforestation declined a whopping 70% from 2004 to 2012. It has risen modestly since then but remains at one-quarter its 2004 peak. And just 3% of the Amazon is suitable for soy farming.  Recommended:  Hurting The Environment: The Palm Oil Paradox Amazon forest! What Is The Real Threat? Both Nepstad (leading Amazon forest experts) and Coutinho say the real threat is from accidental forest fires in drought years, which climate change could worsen. "The most serious threat to the Amazon forest is the severe events that make the forests vulnerable to fire. That’s where we can get a downward spiral between fire and drought and more fire." Today, 18 - 20% of the Amazon forest remains at risk of being deforested. "I don’t like the international narrative right now because it’s polarizing and divisive," said Nepstad. "Bolsonaro has said some ridiculous things and none of them are excusable but there’s also a big consensus against accidental fire and we have to tap into that."  Macron! Why Is Brazil Angry To Him? There’s outrage at Macron in Brazil. The Brazilians want to know why California gets all this sympathy for its forest fires and while Brazil gets all this finger-pointing. "I don’t mind the media frenzy as long as it leaves something positive," said Nepstad, but it has instead forced the Brazilian government to over-react. 'Sending in the army is not the way to go because it’s not all illegal actors. People forget that there are legitimate reasons for small farmers to use controlled burns to knock back insects and pests." Amazon Forrest Protection! What Changed? What has changed is the political discourse. President Jair Bolsonaro has decreased the power and autonomy of forest protection agencies, which he says get in the way of licensing for developing land and accuses of being ‘fines industries’. The number of fires increasing is because people think law enforcement won’t punish them. The 'Outcry': What’s More Behind The News? Agribusiness is 25% of Brazil’s GDP and it’s what got the country through the recession, according Nepstad. When soy farming comes into a landscape, the number of fires goes down. Little towns get money for schools, GDP rises, and inequality declines. This is not a sector to beat up on, it’s one to find common ground with. Nepstad argued that it would be a no-brainer for governments around the world to support Aliança da Terra, a fire detection and prevention network he co-founded which is comprised of 600 volunteers, mostly indigenous people, and farmers. Soia beans For $2 million a year we could control the fires and stop the Amazon die-back, according Nepstad. We have 600 people who have received top-notch training by US fire jumpers but now need trucks with the right gear so they can clear fire breaks through the forest and start a backfire to burn up the fuel in the pathway of the fire. For such pragmatism to take hold among divergent interests, the news media will need to improve its future coverage of the issue. One of the grand challenges facing newsrooms covering complicated emergent, enduring issues like tropical deforestation, is finding ways to engage readers without histrionics. The alternative is ever more whiplash journalism, which is the recipe for reader disengagement. Recommended:  Smarter Technology In Agriculture Will Feed The Planet Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day.
Fires across the Brazilian Amazon have sparked an international outcry for preservation of the world’s largest rainforest. Here’s a look at the role of the Amazon: climate, ‘the lungs', the artists, the politicians, the misperception. The International Outcry! Is The World Wrong? The increase in fires burning in Brazil set off a storm of international outrage last week. Celebrities, environmentalists, and political leaders blame Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, for destroying the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon. Singers and actors including Madonna and Jaden Smith shared photos on social media that were seen by tens of millions of people. “The lungs of the Earth are in flames,” said actor Leonardo DiCaprio. “The Amazon Rainforest produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen,” tweeted soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo. “The Amazon rain forest - the lungs which produce 20% of our planet’s oxygen - is on fire,” tweeted French President Emanuel Macron. And yet the photos weren’t actually of the fires and many weren’t even of the Amazon. The photo Ronaldo shared was taken in southern Brazil, far from the Amazon, in 2013. The photo that DiCaprio and Macron shared is over 20 years old. The photo Madonna and Smith shared is over 30. Some celebrities shared photos from Montana, India, and Sweden. Amazons Fires! Did They Increase In 2019? While the number of fires in 2019 is indeed 80% higher than in 2018, it’s just 7% higher than the average over the last 10 years ago. One of Brazil’s leading environmental journalists agrees that media coverage of the fires has been misleading. It was under (Workers Party President) Lula and (Environment Secretary) Marina Silva (2003-2008) that Brazil had the highest incidence of burning, according  L. Coutinho. Neither Lula nor Marina was accused of putting the Amazon at risk. Coutinho’s perspective was shaped by reporting on the ground in the Amazon for Veja, Brazil’s leading news magazine, for nearly a decade. By contrast, many of the correspondents reporting on the fires have been doing so from the cosmopolitan cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which are 2,500 miles and four hours by jet plane away. What is happening in the Amazon is not exceptional, according Coutinho. Take a look at Google web searches search for ‘Amazon’ and ‘Amazon Forest’ over time. Global public opinion was not as interested in the ‘Amazon tragedy’ when the situation was undeniably worse. The present moment does not justify global hysteria. And while fires in Brazil have increased, there is no evidence that Amazon forest fires have.  World’s Oxygen Supply! Is It At Risk? No. While it’s commonly said that the Amazon produces 20 percent of the world’s oxygen, climate scientists say that figure is wrong and the oxygen supply is not directly at risk in any case. That’s because forests, including the Amazon, absorb roughly the same amount of oxygen they produce. Plants do produce oxygen through photosynthesis, but they also absorb it to grow, as do animals and microbes. That doesn’t mean the fires aren’t a problem for the planet. The Amazon is a critical absorber of carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas produced by burning fossil fuels, like oil and coal. Amazon Forrest: Is it ‘The Lungs Of Our Planet’? The Amazon rainforest is frequently referred to as ‘the lungs of the planet’, but it may not be the most accurate analogy for the forest’s role. Carlos Nobre, a University of São Paulo climate scientist, says a better way to picture the Amazon’s role is as a sink, draining heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Currently, the world is emitting around 40 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. The Amazon absorbs 2 billion tons of CO2 per year (or 5 percent of annual emissions), making it a vital part of preventing climate change. Fires In The Amazon! What Do They Mean For The World’s Climate? Fires in the Amazon not only mean the carbon-absorbing forest is disappearing, but the flames themselves are emitting millions of tons of carbon every day. Nobre says we’re close to a 'tipping point' that would turn the thick jungle into a tropical savannah. The rainforest recycles its own water to produce a portion of the region’s rain, so deforestation makes rains less frequent, extending the dry season. Nobre estimates that if 20 percent to 25 percent of the forest is destroyed, the dry season will expand enough that it will no longer be a forest, but a savannah. 'Unfortunately, we are already seeing signs of the Amazon turning into a savannah," he said, citing the increasingly long dry seasons. "It’s not just theoretical anymore, it’s happening already." Recommended:  Climate Change And Its Effects Like Droughts: The Heat Is On Fires! What Is Causing Them? The current fires in the Amazon are not wildfires. They are manmade and are mostly set illegally by land-grabbers who are clearing the forest for cattle ranching and crops. Deforesting the Amazon is a long, slow process. People clear the land by cutting down the vegetation during the rainy season, letting the trees dry out and burning them during the dry season. Fully clearing the dense forest for agricultural use can take several years of slashing and burning. "When I’m talking about 21st-century deforestation, I don’t mean a family headed into the woods with a chainsaw," said Nasa researcher Doug Morton. "I mean tractors connected by large chains. They’re pulling trees out by their roots." He said researchers could see piles of trees months ago in satellite images. "They’re burning an enormous bonfire of Amazon logs that have been piled, drying in the sun for several months." {youtube}                                              Amazon’s Fires, Madonna And DiCaprio: Questions & Answers                                                   Amazon forest fire: What it tells us about deforestation   Deforestation! What Is The Reality? Few stories in the first wave of media coverage mentioned the dramatic drop in deforestation in Brazil in the 2000s, noted former New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin, who wrote a 1990 book, The Burning Season, about the Amazon, and is now Founding Director, Initiative on Communication & Sustainability at The Earth Institute at Columbia University. Deforestation declined a whopping 70% from 2004 to 2012. It has risen modestly since then but remains at one-quarter its 2004 peak. And just 3% of the Amazon is suitable for soy farming.  Recommended:  Hurting The Environment: The Palm Oil Paradox Amazon forest! What Is The Real Threat? Both Nepstad (leading Amazon forest experts) and Coutinho say the real threat is from accidental forest fires in drought years, which climate change could worsen. "The most serious threat to the Amazon forest is the severe events that make the forests vulnerable to fire. That’s where we can get a downward spiral between fire and drought and more fire." Today, 18 - 20% of the Amazon forest remains at risk of being deforested. "I don’t like the international narrative right now because it’s polarizing and divisive," said Nepstad. "Bolsonaro has said some ridiculous things and none of them are excusable but there’s also a big consensus against accidental fire and we have to tap into that."  Macron! Why Is Brazil Angry To Him? There’s outrage at Macron in Brazil. The Brazilians want to know why California gets all this sympathy for its forest fires and while Brazil gets all this finger-pointing. "I don’t mind the media frenzy as long as it leaves something positive," said Nepstad, but it has instead forced the Brazilian government to over-react. 'Sending in the army is not the way to go because it’s not all illegal actors. People forget that there are legitimate reasons for small farmers to use controlled burns to knock back insects and pests." Amazon Forrest Protection! What Changed? What has changed is the political discourse. President Jair Bolsonaro has decreased the power and autonomy of forest protection agencies, which he says get in the way of licensing for developing land and accuses of being ‘fines industries’. The number of fires increasing is because people think law enforcement won’t punish them. The 'Outcry': What’s More Behind The News? Agribusiness is 25% of Brazil’s GDP and it’s what got the country through the recession, according Nepstad. When soy farming comes into a landscape, the number of fires goes down. Little towns get money for schools, GDP rises, and inequality declines. This is not a sector to beat up on, it’s one to find common ground with. Nepstad argued that it would be a no-brainer for governments around the world to support Aliança da Terra, a fire detection and prevention network he co-founded which is comprised of 600 volunteers, mostly indigenous people, and farmers. Soia beans For $2 million a year we could control the fires and stop the Amazon die-back, according Nepstad. We have 600 people who have received top-notch training by US fire jumpers but now need trucks with the right gear so they can clear fire breaks through the forest and start a backfire to burn up the fuel in the pathway of the fire. For such pragmatism to take hold among divergent interests, the news media will need to improve its future coverage of the issue. One of the grand challenges facing newsrooms covering complicated emergent, enduring issues like tropical deforestation, is finding ways to engage readers without histrionics. The alternative is ever more whiplash journalism, which is the recipe for reader disengagement. Recommended:  Smarter Technology In Agriculture Will Feed The Planet Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day.
Amazon’s Fires, Madonna And DiCaprio: Questions & Answers
Amazon’s Fires, Madonna And DiCaprio: Questions & Answers
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