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Why Seattle is calling on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to divest

Bill and Melinda Gates could send a message to politicians and the public that it’s possible to imagine a future free of fossil fuels and signal to others to follow

Seattle has found itself at a crossroads of the fight against fossil fuel extraction. Heading right through our waterfront are coal trains from Wyoming, oil trains from North Dakota, and Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet. It is quite the juxtaposition. Progressive Seattle, with its climate hugging politicians, tied to the fossil fuel extraction it claims to oppose.

It’s the same challenge faced worldwide. At the same time as we make extraordinary advances in conservation and alternative energy sources, we lack the political will to stop fossil fuel extraction at the source. Bring on the solar panels, wind turbines, electric transit, bike lanes and LED lights, but if we keep pumping, digging and burning fossil fuel reserves we will still lose the fight. Scientists tell us that approximately 80% of our known reserves must stay in the ground to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

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Source: Guardian Environment

There may be flowing water on Mars. But is there intelligent life on Earth? | George Monbiot

While we marvel at Nasa’s discoveries, we destroy our irreplaceable natural resources – so we can buy pre-peeled bananas and smartphones for dogs

Evidence for flowing water on Mars: this opens up the possibility of life, of wonders we cannot begin to imagine. Its discovery is an astonishing achievement. Meanwhile, Martian scientists continue their search for intelligent life on Earth.

Related: Nasa scientists find evidence of flowing water on Mars

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Source: Guardian Environment

Mashed potato to power food factory

2 Sisters Food Group unveils wide-ranging sustainability plan with targets to cut carbon emissions by 20% by 2018, reports BusinessGreen

The parent company of some of the UK’s biggest food brands including Fox’s Biscuits and Goodfella’s pizzas is this week set to flick the switch on a new electricity generator that will be powered by waste mashed potato.

The new bio-refinery at 2 Sisters Food Group’s Carlisle factory is expected to produce 3,500 megawatt hours (MWh) each year in electricity and the equivalent of 5,000MWh in steam to help power the factory. The anaerobic digestion plants will use potato waste from the factory’s mashed potato and pie manufacturing lines as a feed stock.

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Source: Guardian Environment

World's largest ecological study aims to make palm oil wildlife-friendly

A new palm oil plantation in Borneo, Malaysia, is being used by researchers to study ways of retaining endangered wildlife, including the orangutan

Have you ever thought about what it’s like for the animals and birds living in a forest when it’s cleared to make way for a palm oil plantation? It’s similar to finding your home being demolished brick by brick.

First the loggers come in and take away trees of commercial value. Species such as the orangutan, which rely on tree cover, will retreat to the forest boundaries, perhaps venturing out into the logged forest while there are still remnants of habitat left.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Great migration of animals from Serengeti to be broadcast online

Epic journey of nearly 2 million wildebeest, gazelle and zebras to Kenya’s Maasai Mara reserve will be tracked on internet

Every year a million wildebeest, half a million gazelle and 200,000 zebra make the perilous trek from the Serengeti park in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara reserve in Kenya in their search for water and grazing land. It is one of nature’s most spectacular sights – and one that few people are able to see first hand.

But this year the dramatic display will be broadcast live on the web – complete with expert commentary.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Animals kill seven people in seven weeks, says Malawi wildlife park

New managers of Liwonde national park say elephants and crocodiles have killed three poachers inside, and four people outside, the unfenced park

Elephants and crocodiles have killed seven people in separate incidents over a seven-week period in and around a wildlife park in Malawi, the park’s managers said.

African Parks, a Johannesburg-based group, attributed the deaths in Liwonde national park primarily to the fact the reserve is unfenced and also because poachers are illegally entering the park. The park’s 80-mile (129km) perimeter will be fenced, which will take 18 months, according to the non-profit group.

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Source: Guardian Environment

VW owners can expect recall information this week

Volkswagen says that customers of the 11m vehicles affected will be contacted in the next few days

Volkswagen is poised to tell 11 million motorists in the next few days that it needs to recall their vehicles as the carmaker prepares its response to the emissions scandal that has rocked the company.

Matthias Müller, the new chief executive of VW, told a meeting of the company’s top 1,000 managers on Monday night that a comprehensive plan has been drawn up to ensure vehicles fitted with a defeat device meet emissions standards.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Live Q&A: Can students lead the way to a more sustainable future?

Join us from 1-3pm on Thursday 8 October to discuss how students can be more sustainable

“Young people should care about the environment for one morbid reason – we’re the ones who’ll be affected most by climate change,” says Jack Stapleton, 19, a student at the University of Sussex.

Issues such as man-made climate change and resource depletion are no longer just something for future generations to worry about, they’re happening now and will affect young people the most.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Largest 3D-printing Facility In Southeast Asia Opened in Singapore


Ultra Clean Asia Pacific (UCT), a semiconductor sector company, yesterday announced the launch of the UCT Additive Manufacturing Center, the largest commercial 3D-printing facility in Southeast Asia.

Located in Singapore, the Center aims to capitalise on the growth of 3D-printing targeting some of the early opportunities in sectors like aerospace and medical equipment.

It’s another significant announcement coming from a region that has been the hub of traditional manufacturing. Large-scale facilities, such as UCT, could play a significant role in transitioning 3D-printing from being an experimental, prototyping technology, to being a mainstream manufacturing process.

Source: Largest 3D printing factory in Southeast Asia opens in Singapore

Lead image from Flickr, licensed under creative commons

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Smart Solar Trackers Could Transform Cleantech

Solar energy is a proven renewable energy technology, which is already growing rapidly in terms of the amount it is used. A significant part of that growth can be attributed to the fact that there are lots of technological innovations still frequently shaking up the industry. One example is the continued development of solar panels that track and follow the sun, an innovation that many believe can potentially improve energy production by up to 20%.

Several startups and companies have invested in solar tracking technology, though so far, none have entered the mainstream marketplace. One interesting recent example is the emergence of Sunfolding, who have used robotics to design solar panels that respond to the sun and weather conditions, protecting itself in harsh conditions, while using a simple air compression mechanism to alter position.

Sunfolding’s technology is specifically designed to last decades without needing to be repaired or altered. Large parts of the product are being designed to be made out of plastic, lowering costs significantly, it’s a promising example of a possible step forward in this area of renewable technology.

Source: Inventor looks to shake up cleantech with smart solar trackers

Licensed under CC – credit Flickr user: Oregon Department of Transportation

The post Smart Solar Trackers Could Transform Cleantech appeared first on Circulate.

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