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The ice cold war: fight for sealife in remote wilds of Antarctica

The Ross Sea is the last intact marine ecosystem on Earth

Over the next few weeks, a discreet but vital diplomatic campaign will be launched to try to save one of the most remote regions of the world: the Ross Sea in Antarctica.

Marine conservationists, who have been pressing to set up a no-fishing zone for several years, say it is now paramount that their plan to create a 1.25 million square kilometre “no take” area in the Ross Sea is successful. They believe failure would seriously jeopardise future plans to protect the polar regions, which are now bearing the brunt of global warming.

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Source: Guardian Environment

The Observer view on marine protection zones

Russia cannot be allowed to block this vital plan to protect the oceans

The science fiction writer Arthur C Clarke once observed that our planet has been given a singularly inappropriate name. We should not call it Earth, he observed. We should call it Ocean.

It is a well made point. The one truly remarkable feature of our world is not its solid interior but the presence of a great layer of liquid water that stretches across much of its surface: our oceans. Thanks to them, Earth resembles a large, blue marble when viewed from space. By contrast, the solar system’s other planets consist of globes of rock or giant balls of gas. We live in a blue world of water that provided homes for the evolution of early livings beings and that continues to nurture us today. We owe our existence and our survival to our oceans and we should take care to protect them. They may cover 360 million square kilometres of Earth’s surface, but that represents only the thinnest of coats on our planet, one roughly equivalent to the skin that protects an apple.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Building on a flood plain: how to go with the flow

Rather than hold back the river, this Oxfordshire home allows water to flow under the house and drain back out again

Joanna and Martin O’Callaghan, 58-year-old chartered surveyors, married for 30 years and parents of two, are showing strong signs of being middle-aged hipsters. The living room wall of their newly built larch-clad house in the south Oxfordshire village of Sutton Courtenay is lined with original 1980s singles by Prince, the Jam, the Smiths, the Specials and Grace Jones. A woodburner roars away in the centre of a vogueishly “zoned” rather than fully open-plan living space. Taking pride of place in the garden are neat stacks of copper beech logs – the result of a new wood-chopping hobby.

The biggest problem was that it was a zone-three flood plain – but that is also what makes the site so alluring

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Source: Guardian Environment

Philippines investigates Shell and Exxon over climate change

A legal case will consider if the emissions of 50 fossil fuel companies violate the human rights of those hit by extreme weather

Can Chevron, ExxonMobil and BP be held accountable for the vulnerable communities most affected by climate change? It’s a question a legal case in the Philippines could answer.

Last month, lawyers for the petitioners met with the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHR), a constitutional body tasked with investigating human rights violations. Their goal was to identify expert witnesses for a hearing into the liability of 50 of the biggest fossil fuel companies for violating the human rights of Filipinos as a result of catastrophic climate change.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Is the Tesla 3 the electric car that will change everything?

At £25,000 it’s being hailed as an ‘affordable’ option, and an astonishing 400,000 have been ordered. But is it worth the asking price?

It’s being marketed as the model that will finally make electric cars mainstream. To get one you will need a £1,000 deposit, and then have to wait for at least two years before it is delivered. But that hasn’t deterred enthusiastic motorists. So far 400,000 people worldwide have pre-ordered the hi-tech, super-stylish and (for some countries) “affordable” Tesla Model 3, a figure unheard of in the auto industry. So what’s such a big deal?

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Source: Guardian Environment

Breathtaking air-mastery of the raven

Llangranog, Ceredigion For joyful dancing delight, for the palpable sense of fun and mischief, the raven is my choice

Wind and wave hurl against the cliff, roar through the inlet, spinning white rosettes of spume in a vortex, a wavering pale column that snakes and twists into the air and bends landwards. A raven quartering the pasture above accepts the opportunity for play. He soars high, slipping the buffets of the gale, then folds his wings, drops like a dark stone into the white heart of the spray before rebounding and diving once more.

His mate arrives, scolding tersely at the lateness of her dinner. Four choughs come squealing along the cliff edge. Her impatience set aside, she joins him in harrying them away. The air-mastery of these birds is breathtaking. Peregrine, goshawk, merlin, eagle – each is impressive in its way. But for joyful dancing delight, for the palpable sense of fun and mischief, the raven is my choice. From the path round Pendinaslochtyn I watch through a glass as they bully the choughs off their territory, then careen swiftly back along the wind.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Australia quietly adds 49 species to threatened and endangered lists

Brush-tailed bettong, three-toed snake-tooth skink, swift parrot and types of orchid and albatross listed

Nearly 50 new species of flora and fauna have been added without fanfare to the federal government’s list of threatened species, including nine that are critically endangered.

Among the species to be added to the list under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act were the brush-tailed bettong (endangered), the three-toed snake-tooth skink (vulnerable), the swift parrot (upgraded from endangered to critically endangered), and several types of orchid and albatross.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Australian patriotism: it's not about war, it's in our love of the land | Paul Daley

As another federal election looms, we need to keep in mind that violence and violent imagery do not prove passion for a nation

Let’s redefine Australian patriotism.

It’s time, because on the eve of a two-month long federal election campaign, we’re about to be subject to all manner of evocations from public figures about their advancement of the national interest and their love of their country.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Shed of the Year triumph for gin saloon marred by planning permission row

Walter Micklethwait’s award-winning hut-turned-distillery in Scotland did not have change-of-use consent, it has emerged

Is a shed still a shed if it is also a piano bar, a distillery and a small farm shop? Highland council will have to decide after it emerged that the recent winner of Shed of the Year did not have planning permission to change from a disused hen coop to a small enterprise of gin-making and egg-selling.

Walter Micklethwait won the award in 2015 for transforming his dilapidated old wooden hut into a wild west-style saloon, farm shop and fully functioning Crossbill gin distillery.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Circulate on Fridays: 3D-print plastic waste, Industry 4.0 and more…

Every Friday, Circulate rounds up a collection of interesting circular economy related stories and articles. Today, we’re recommending a piece on whether E-waste could represent the next gold rush, a Tanzanian startup using plastic waste as 3D-printing feedstock and more…

Intelligent Assets and the circular economy

Internet of Things (IoT) enabled intelligent assets could play a critical role in enabling a circular economy. The ability of new technologies to sense, store and communicate information to a distributed or central network could play a critical role in enabling an economy that uses and cycles materials and energy more effectively. In a recent article for the Guardian, Jake Peat looks at this issue in detail, in particular outlining the forward thinking work currently happening in cities like Barcelona and Amsterdam. A number of fascinating examples are outlined, including Barcelona’s water management system that utilises citywide sensors to capture information about water supply saving an estimated £40 million annually.

Will there be an E-Waste gold rush?

The challenges related to obsolete electronics and e-waste are well-known. Soldered together, the highly valuable components and materials within mobile phones and computers are difficult to separate out and reuse or recycle. Ultimately, new types of design that more easily allow for repair, refurbishment and disassembly will be needed to develop a more effective electronics sector, but in the meantime, there are a number of innovative technology companies tackling the challenges posed by existing waste. A Mega-Online article has tackled this subject in detail going as far to claim that e-waste could be the next gold rush. The article points out that there is potential to yield more gold from one tonne of e-waste than 17 tonnes of ore.

Tanzanian 3D-printing startup using plastic waste

Staying on the topic of existing waste streams and innovative ways of tackling them in a high value way. A Tanzanian startup expected to launch soon, called Reflow aims to enhance the current waste picker market, where a full-time worker might make less than $1.50 per day, by encouraging plastic collectors to turn their collection efforts into a more valuable product, specifically a filament for 3D-printers. As well as potentially enabling the creation of higher value products, rather than downcycling the fibres, the startup claims that it could increase the average waste picker’s income by as much as 20 times. Read the full article on Fast Company.

Working in the post-industrial world

“The good news is that robots will soon do routine work for us…” Tomas de Lara’s opening line is a little audacious, to say the least, his piece for OuiShare Magazine covers a range of intriguing themes looking at the impact of technology on the future of work, social inequalities and a sense of humanity.

The post Circulate on Fridays: 3D-print plastic waste, Industry 4.0 and more… appeared first on Circulate.

Source: Circulate News RSS