News & Events to Inspire STEAM Education

Imagine Sustainable Socially Responsible Fashion | SIMA Cinema 2016

Imagine Sustainable Socially Responsible Fashion | SIMA Cinema 2016

Jun 6, 2016

The Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA) of 2016 showcased a film winners series at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles that exemplified social change and storytelling from the front lines of today’s global issues. Beyond the Label by EcoDivas hosted a reception, a recycling t-shirt exchange and a film screening of ‘The True Cost‘ following with a panel discussion with sustainability fashion industry leaders about ‘who really pays the price for our clothing we wear as well as the people who make them.’ Beyond the Label provides a series of social experiment events partnered with TEDxLA with it’s theme this year ‘Imagine.’ That in mind Beyond the Label imagines a world where consumers knew the true environment, social and health costs of their fashion purchases and felt empowered to write a different story. Essentially giving people the power to #MakeShiftHappen by making educated fashion purchases.

During the reception I had the chance to meet the awesome women of Beyond the Label who are making a difference in the sustainable fashion industry: Taryn Hipwell Creator Educator Producer & CEO of EcoDivas & EP of The Beyond the Label; Jeanie You, CEO of AFU Productions and Nicole Landers, Marketing Maverick & Climate Reality Leader & Sustainability Expert.

IMG_3421 a
EcoFashionistas (left): Jeanie You; Taryn Hipwell; and Nicole Landers

Chatting with Taryn, Jeanie and Nicole of EcoDivas at the Skirball event in Los Angeles before the film screening. Hear from them what Beyond the Label is all about, their vision, goals and how they are making a difference in the fashion industry. In the audio Taryn also talks about, “I am a fan of sustainable eco-fiber Tencel by Lenzing that is made by recycling eucalyptus trees. Additionally I am also a big fan of Recover Textile Fabric which uses Pre and Post consumer waste to make new fiber…including cutting room scraps. And we are so happy to work with Marci Zaroff and Metawear Organic to create Beyond the Label T-shirts which are GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), Made in the USA, and Cradle to Cradle certified.”

A panel discussion and Q&A after the film screening of ‘The True Cost’ moderated by Taryn Hipwell of EcoDivas TV featuring Ann Wang CEO & Cofounder of online marketplace Enrou; Travis Heard VP of Finance & Strategy at Outerknown; and Katie Bond of Fair Trade LA & founder of The Peace Exchange.

Makeshifthappen
Fashion Expert Sustainable Panel (left): Taryn Hipwell; Ann Wang; Katie Bond; Travis Heard

“It’s amazing to have this conversation..where an online market place that really is a curator of incredible brands that are all about providing dignified work to the makers. It’s finding incredible pieces that you can still love, express who you are, your values, your ideals but also finding a way of providing empowerment to the actual makers in people. Everything in our store has a story.”- Ann Wang, CEO & Cofounder of online marketplace Enrou

“In the documentary it says that more than 85% of garment workers are female..Have more of a compassionate connection to the clothes that you wear and that you would kind of step back and actually relate to what you wearing. Think about the person that made it and the female garment worker that made it and think about the artisan. Just connect with your clothes because we are so disconnected with our clothing, form a relationship with your clothes in a way where you are thoughtful of the earth.” – Katie Bond of Fair Trade LA & founder of The Peace Exchange

“Your iphone may cost you $700 yet you want your t-shirt to cost $5..it’s the dispose ability of it. I think there is a disconnect between within people’s minds of what they value and what they put a greater emphasis on. When you look at the margins across technology versus the impacts of input created into a t-shirt..it’s staggering.” – Travis Heard VP of Finance & Strategy at Outerknown

true-cost-social-imageGLOBAL-IMPACT-CINEMA-BANNER

 

 

BTL

outerknown (1)Enroupeace exchange
Fair Trade LAMetawear

#MakeShiftHappen

Learn more:
labeyondthelabel.com
skirball.org
enrou.co
outerknown.com
fairtradela.org
thepeaceexchange.com
metawearorganic.com

Anne-Sophie Novel founder of Place to ‘B’ in Paris | COP21

Anne-Sophie Novel founder of Place to ‘B’ in Paris | COP21

Oct 29, 2015

Place to ‘B’ a headquarters for the media that aims at changing the way we talk about climate change and solutions. Just around the corner is the COP21 conference in Paris Nov 30th – Dec 11th which is one of the biggest international summits on climate change that will take place at the Paris-Le Bourget site. The conference should lead to an adoption of a universal agreement that will provide a framework for transition towards low carbon societies and economies able to withstand climate change. At the summit in Paris, Place to ‘B’ will be a available for storytellers from around the world eager to follow COP21’s negotiations on climate, with the desire to speak on these issues in many various ways, in order to make a difference. During the Climate Reality Leadership training in Miami held in September, I had the chance to meet and talk with Eco-journalist & blogger Anne-Sophie Novel founder of Place to ‘B.’ Anne is also a Doctor of Economics specializing in ecology and sustainable alternatives, social innovation and collaborative economy. A great place to ‘B’ if planning to attend COP21 in Paris, hear more from Anne about Place to ‘B’ and what it’s all about on the podcast.

www.placetob.org/

ouisharefest-020513-51 (1) Photo by La Vie Cheap: Anne-Sophie Novel

Here is also the transcription of the audio podcast:

My name is Anne-Sophie I am the founder of Place to B, the ‘B’ is for blogger but it’s dynamic. It’s also for there is no planet ‘B’ what I saw in the march in Copenhagen in 2009 for the COP15, it’s also for area ‘B’ the name of the train that is getting to Le Bouget which is a place where the negotiation of UN will take place in Paris. It’s also the ‘B’ for the Belushi’s at the Le St. Christopher’s Inn which is the place where we will stay during the two weeks of the COP21. It’s based in Gare du Nord, so its really only 20 mins from Le Bouget. We got 600 beds so people can come and sleep there and then we will organize a morning briefing to tell the participants where they can go in Paris during the day and in the evening we have a briefing as well with experts, journalist, blogger or anyone that wants to come to speak about what happened during the negotiation. We will have some special focus also with artist and other people to try to expand our week and push the message differently. We will have like a maker space for information so its more like doing cross media connection and trying to innovate a bit and then we will have some concerts, some chatter places, people are free to do what they want and if you can’t sleep there you can also come to the co-workers space. To register is www.placetob.org and if you cannot be in Paris we got all of our events that will be livestream and you can participate online as well.

Rooms are still available for a place to stay in Paris for the negotiations at COP21.
Click here to book your place at Place to B.

Senator Bill Nelson at Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in Florida

Senator Bill Nelson at Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in Florida

Oct 5, 2015

Senator Bill Nelson of Florida was one of the key speakers at Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in Miami to discuss the climate crisis and for all of us to be better stewards of our planet. Bill was inspired to become an environmentalist after spending six days orbiting the Earth aboard the space shuttle Columbia. He was struck at the fragility of the earth. He told us that he looked back from the perspective of the window of a spacecraft saying, “The earth is so beautiful, it’s so colorful, it’s so alive, it’s this magnificent creation suspended in the middle of nothing and space is nothing. It goes on and on for billions of light years..I didn’t see the divisions that bedevils us here on the face of the earth, I didn’t see the political divisions, partisan divisions, racial divisions, ethnic divisions but I saw is we are all in this together as citizens of planet earth. Now that is a responsibility of us collectively as citizens of planet earth to do something about it and save this extraordinary planet called earth.” I had the opportunity to attend and hear Senator Bill Nelson speak further on this and here are some more highlights from part of his talk that he gave at Climate Reality in Miami.

Senator Bill Nelson
Photo: Senator Bill Nelson

“In 1998 Vice President Gore challenged NASA to create a satellite that would allow anyone to view Earth and its changing face through a continuous real-time image via the Internet. By sending a spacecraft to a point, it’s called the Lagrange point, its where the earth’s gravity stops and the suns gravity starts, that’s a million miles from earth. This spacecraft called Triana it would serve as a deep space observatory and it would give all of us a comets eye view of our planet. In 2000 when Triana was complete and it was ready to be launched but then in 2001 VP Chaney he took office and the administration put the 150 million dollar satellite on a shelf. Thankfully to the credit of NASA they took the long view and they stored the satellite so well that after revising it’s mission and adding instruments to measure space weather the newly named DSCOVR satellite launched in February this year. If you go to NASA’s website you can see almost real time refreshed every hour and a half. You can see a detailed view of the daylight side of the earth as it revolves about it axes and it goes through the seasons, you can even see the dark side of the moon. DSCOVR also provides scientist even more detailed information about the composition of the atmosphere and how it impacts us. DSCOVR has an instrument that will precisely measure the heat that is staying trapped in the atmosphere of the earth.

More about DSCOVR:

www.algore.com/project/the-deep-space-climate-observatory

www.nesdis.noaa.gov/DSCOVR/

Of course those who are willfully blind to what is happening, it’s going to be harder for them to deny.
There are those who ban terms like ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’ and by the way that has been done here in the government in the state of Florida. In fact, some state and local government employees are told to say ‘nuisance’ flooding instead of sea level rise. Ladies and gentlemen climate change isn’t a nuisance it’s a threat.

We have a battle in the Senate. We have taken 11 different votes on climate change in this year alone. Votes are undermining the clean air act, denying the science, approving dirty fuels and each of these votes comes down to politics. So my friends elections matter and so does your voice, your passion, your action. Remember awhile ago I told you about King Coal and big oil deliberately mislead decision makers, well I got some good news, just this year some of the companies are beginning to sing a different tune. Six major oil companies including BP wrote a letter to the Secretary of the UN Convention on Climate Change urging a price on carbon at the Paris negotiations. Thirteen of the largest Fortune 500 companies Coca Cola, Walmart, Google..they signed the President’s climate pledge.

Pope Francis was trained as a scientist, he was trained as a chemist, he has a scientific understanding of how human activity is impacting our environment and he is galvanizing support for action on climate change. Pope Francis issued a note to all Catholics saying we have a moral imperative to ensure a healthy environment for future generations and he has made that appeal not just to Catholics but to all of us to take care of our sacred home.

We can’t let Miami be the new Atlantis. We certainly can’t do it without a fight. Then a confluence of events also on Friday, the Chinese President Xi made a landmark commitment to cap and price greenhouse gas emissions starting in 2017. Just the year before last, Chinese emissions topped 10 trillion tons of carbon dioxide. So for China to take this action is critical to our global efforts.

We should vigorously be pursuing low carbon renewable energy sources like solar as the boat solar campaign has reminded us, a huge solar energy spill is called a nice day.” – Senator Bill Nelson of Florida

Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in Florida 2015

Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in Florida 2015

Sep 20, 2015

Sept 28-30, the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in Florida has a unique place in time: it comes just two months before the UN climate negotiations in Paris. Citizens from around the world have been selected to join the ranks of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps, a committed network of thousands of leaders representing six continents and over 125 countries. Climate Reality aim’s to mobilize and equip citizen activists to join efforts to move both the state and the US towards meaningful action on climate change leading up to the 21st Conference of the Parties meeting in Paris later this year and beyond. QGITS along with many other selected individuals will attend the 3 day training to address the impacts of climate change and the opportunity to network with global leaders, learn from influential experts in climate science and sustainability, and hear from groundbreaking grassroots organizers and social activists.

climate reality

Climate Reality Leadership Corps will bring together business leaders, innovators, community leaders, academics, and many others to lend their valuable expertise to help train new Climate Reality Leaders. This training will truly be a unique event, with an agenda full of inspirational speakers and engaging sessions. The following speakers will be joining the training program to help make it a life-changing event:

bio-agore
Former Vice President Al Gore is co-founder and chairman of Generation Investment
 Management. He is a senior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and a member of Apple,
 Inc.’s board of directors. Gore spends the majority of his time as chairman of The Climate Reality
 Project, a nonprofit devoted to solving the climate crisis. Gore was elected to the U.S. House of
 Representatives in 1976, 1978, 1980, and 1982 and the U.S. Senate in 1984 and 1990. He
 was inaugurated as the forty-fifth Vice President of the United States on January 20, 1993, and
 served eight years. He is the author of the bestsellers Earth in the Balance, An Inconvenient Truth, The Assault on Reason, Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, and most recently, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change. He is the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary and is the co-recipient, with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for “informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change.”

bio-kberlin
Ken Berlin is the President and CEO of The Climate Reality Project. Ken has devoted his career to leadership on environment, energy and climate change issues. A trusted advisor to businesses, non-profits and federal and state governments, Ken has been recognized as one of the top climate change attorneys in the world and has extensive expertise on international environmental issues ranging from clean energy to biodiversity. Most recently, Ken chaired the Skadden Arps Environmental and Climate Change practices and served as the Executive Vice-President and General Counsel for the Coalition for Green Capital. He was also a leader in establishing the Climate Speakers Network. In 2012, Ken served as Chair of the Obama Energy and Environment Team.

bio_mmolina

Mario is responsible for the design, strategic goals, and engagement programs for The Climate Reality Leadership Corps in the U.S. and abroad. Mario joined the Climate Reality Project in April of 2013 and has spearheaded trainings for over 4,000 leaders in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, South Africa, Turkey, and the U.S. His expertise in international climate policy and strategy combined with a strong background in metrics, analytics, and data drives the Leadership Corps with a data-driven engagement strategy across multiple sectors and demographics. Prior to joining The Climate Reality Project, Mario was responsible for creating a climate education program that reached more than 1.5 million students across the United States, and several sustainability and conservation programs in Australia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Peru.

albertslap
Albert J. Slap is a nationally recognized environmental attorney and law professor. He is president of Coastal Risk Consulting, LLC in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, which helps communities, businesses, and governments get climate-ready and storm-safe. Over the years, Mr. Slap has used America’s environmental laws to protect public health and the environment by stopping water and air pollution, and by forcing local governments to replace aging and polluting sewer infrastructure. His citizen suits against the City of Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Miami-Dade County brought billions of dollars of investment in wastewater treatment plants to those cities. Mr. Slap served as a board member of The Nature Conservancy’s Pennsylvania chapter, director of The Nature Conservancy’s Colorado River Program from 2004–2009, and currently serves on the organization’s Caribbean Advisory Board. Mr. Slap was the 2014 recipient of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas “Defender of the Everglades” award. Mr. Slap resides in Snowmass Village, Colorado and Aventura, FL.

amy_burvall_pic
Amy Burvall, VP of Academic Affairs of Edgemakers is a humanities teacher for over 20 years in several of Oahu Hawaii’s private schools, Amy is a leader in educational technology professional development programs. Amy is well known for her “History for Music Lovers” YouTube Channel, which she runs with Herb Mahelona. The channel, which has over 11 million views, features history-based parody music videos and has appeared in Wired magazine, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, and on CBC, NPR, and international blogs. Amy has presented and spoken at numerous events across the country, including TEDxHonolulu. She was named Webmaker Fellow by the Mozilla Foundation and was a featured artist in the “Art and Culture of the Web” track at Mozfest 2014 in London. Amy is a Google certified teacher and was chosen for the Google Teacher Academy in Atlanta in 2014. Amy is a firm believer in radical openness, remix, and maker culture. Her favorite themes to explore are creativity, media theory, transparency in education, and new literacies.

Many more inspiring speakers will be at Climate Reality Leadership Corps in Florida, click here for full list of speakers: www.climaterealitytraining.org/florida/speakers

About Climate Reality Project: The Climate Reality Project is a diverse group of passionate individuals who have come together to help solve the greatest challenge of our time. We are cultural leaders, marketers, organizers, scientists, storytellers and more, and we are committed to building a better future together.

For more info, visit:

www.ClimateRealityProject.org

www.knowtomorrow.org

EPA’s clean power plan

COP21

climate reality project

Recent Loss of Ice in Antarctica Disturbs Earth’s Gravity Field

Recent Loss of Ice in Antarctica Disturbs Earth’s Gravity Field

May 26, 2015

Whenever I think of Antarctica melting, I can’t help but picture those awful end-of-the-world “movies” (notice the quotation marks) where one large piece of ice melts, a politician gets blamed, and suddenly a 400-foot tidal wave takes out California.  On May 21st, 2015 a paper was published by a team of scientists at the University of Bristol stating that there was a recent increase of ice loss from a formerly stable region in Antarctica.  While this may not have caused California to go underwater as films like 2012 would suggest, it was shown to disturb earth’s gravitational field, as recorded by a pair of satellites.

The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) is a join mission of NASA and the German Aerospace Center.  The main purpose of the twin satellite operation is to measure changes in the earth’s gravitational field based on the fact that gravity is determined by mass.  Thus, a large sudden loss of ice in Antarctica would definitely be detectable by GRACE and it certainly was.  While GRACE can detect ice mass loss, it cannot detect ice mass movement.  Starting in 2010, changes in the Southern Antarctic Peninsula, the previous stable region of Antarctica, have been recorded using another satellite system, Cryo-Sat 2.

Cryo-Sat 2 is a mission of the European Space Agency that is dedicated to detecting ice.  The satellite was able to capture the dramatic events happening at Antarctica’s Southern Peninsula.  “There was nothing happening, and then, all of a sudden in the last five years, all of these glaciers started to send ice into the ocean,” says Bert Wouters, a glaciologist at the University of Bristol, UK, and an author of the study.

The scientists analyzed 5 years of data by the Cryo-Sat 2 and found that multiple glaciers along this peninsula have started to shed approximately 55 trillion liters of water into the ocean and an average of 4 meters of ice surface loss each year.  The scientists were able to rule out temperature and weather patterns as the source of the change which lead them to the culprit: warming oceans.

Ice shelves in the region have lost roughly 1/5 of their thickness in the last twenty years which has attributed to reducing the resistance force of the glaciers.  Unfortunately, most of the ice of the Antarctica Peninsula is in bedrock below sea level, which gets deeper inland.  This is a chief concern as even if the glaciers retreat, the warm water will just follow and lead to more ice melting.

To date, the glaciers have added approximately 300 cubic km of water to the ocean which is roughly 350,000 Empire State Buildings combined.  It may not have taken out California or New York City, but its effect and message is not to be taken lightly.  Dr. Wouters and his team will continue to collect data to see if they can determine just how much longer the thinning will continue.

Livingstone Island in the Southern Peninsula of Antarctica.

Livingstone Island in the Southern Peninsula of Antarctica.

 

For more information on this story, check out:

The European Space Agency 

Science Magazine

Andrea Kuipers - I am a well versed, interdisciplinary scientist with a background in marketing, media, & journalism. I am currently finishing up degree number five at Cal State University Fullerton & working in a biochemical/biotechnology lab engineering proteins. Linkedin

New Study: Earthquakes Contributing to Global Climate Change

New Study: Earthquakes Contributing to Global Climate Change

Apr 11, 2015

Yes, it’s true.  Humans are destroying the planet and contributing to global climate change with our cars, aerosol cans, and our massive industries.  While we are the main reason for the latest change in our global climate, a new study suggests that the earth is also contributing to ozone loss via earthquakes.

A study done by the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Tsukuba, Japan examined the 9.0 magnitude 2011 Tohoku earthquake which not only took 18,000 lives and caused miles of total demolition, not to mention the worldwide effects the large quake created, but it also released 6, 600 metric tons (that’s 7, 275 US tons) of carbon gases into the atmosphere.  These gases are called halocarbons and are stored in insulation, appliances, and other various equipment.  This is the first study done to look at emissions caused by a natural disaster and as this study revealed critical information, there will be many more to follow.  

Some of the gases that were released during the 2011 Tohoku earthquake include gases that are no longer used due to their harmful effects on the atmosphere.  Some of these gases include CFC-11 which is a powerful ozone-depleting foam used until 1996 when it was banned.  Another halocarbon HCFC-22, a refrigerant that is another strong greenhouse gas and is being phased out although it is used in many refrigerators and air conditioners.  About 50 percent of the emissions caused by the earthquake were due to this common refrigerant.  Emissions of the gas were found to be 38 percent higher than the years before and after the earthquake, the study shows.  Emissions of CFC-11 were 72 percent higher following the massive earthquake.

Overall, the effects of the halocarbon releasing due to the earthquake increased ozone depletion by 38 percent.  It also increased the amount of heat trapped in Japan’s atmosphere by 36 percent.  However the overall impact of one such disaster is relatively small as Takuya Saito, senior researcher on the project, calculated with his team. The total impact the earthquake had on the overall greenhouse emissions for the year was just under 4%.  That may seem small, but it definitely was enough for the calculations to remain important and will be important for others to conduct similar studies of greenhouse gases released by earthquakes and other natural disasters, Saito feels.

What is also important to take away from this study is that we humans need to stop using atmosphere-damaging chemicals in our industries and home products.  I may have jokingly blamed the earth, but if it wasn’t for us storing these harmful chemicals, they would have never been released in the tremor and poisoned our already bruised atmosphere.  This study will help policymakers regulate the use and storage of these chemicals in the future.  For as we know bloody well in California, nothing on earth is safe during an earthquake.

For more reading, check out:

Science Daily

Andrea Kuipers - I am a well versed, interdisciplinary scientist with a background in marketing, media, & journalism. I am currently finishing up degree number five at Cal State University Fullerton & working in a biochemical/biotechnology lab engineering proteins. Linkedin

Breaking the Electrode Barrier: New Low-Cost Organic Solar Cells

Breaking the Electrode Barrier: New Low-Cost Organic Solar Cells

Sep 29, 2014

Now that global climate changed has been scientifically proven to be a present and future problem, researchers and companies alike are working all over all the world to come up with more efficient solutions to this inevitable fate. One of the main focuses has been to create more affordable solar cells so that solar power technology can become more accessible to the commercial public.  This has been an issue that synthetic chemists and polymer scientists have been working on for decades.

This month, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst released an exciting report stating that they have come up with a more efficient and lightweight, low-cost organic solar cell that is “breaking the electrode barrier” since virtually any metal can be used with it.  One of the main problems with solar power technology is that the power conversion efficiency, that is how much energy from the sun that can actually be harnessed and utilized, has been hindered by the instability and susceptibility to oxidation that normal metal electrodes commonly face.

“The sun produces 7,000 times more energy per day than we can use, but we can’t harness it well. One reason is the trade-off between oxidative stability and the work function of the metal cathode,” explains UMass Amherst’s Thomas Russell, professor of polymer science and engineering.  When choosing a metal for use as an electrode, scientists always have to compensate with the trade-off.  More stable metals that don’t degrade in the presence of water and oxygen have high work function but do not allow for good electron-transport.  The metals that have high electron-transport eventually degrade over time and will therefore slowly become less conductive.

“People have thought you’d need to use tricks to help electrons, the water in the lock, over an obstacle, the electrode, like a dam. Tricks like sawing the dam apart to allow the flow. But tricks are always messy, introducing a lot of stuff you don’t need,” says Russell. “The beauty of the solution reached by these synthetic chemists is to just move the dam out of the way, electronically move it so there is no longer a difference in energy level.”

This has been a challenge that was unmet and was therefore the goal that was accomplished by the research team at UMass Amherst.

To read the specifics about just how this research team was able to create these new low-cost organic solar cells, check out the following links:

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Science Daily

 

 

Andrea Kuipers - I am a well versed, interdisciplinary scientist with a background in marketing, media, & journalism. I am currently finishing up degree number five at Cal State University Fullerton & working in a biochemical/biotechnology lab engineering proteins. Linkedin

A Brief History of Climate Change and the First Giant Step in History to Fight It

A Brief History of Climate Change and the First Giant Step in History to Fight It

Jun 7, 2014

For centuries people have known about the dangers of global climate change.

Yes, centuries.

Ancient Greeks and 19th century Americans debated about how cutting down our forests could impact our fragile ecosystem and climate.  The first to officially propose the idea of the greenhouse effect was in 1896 by famous Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius.  This was long before cars or cell phones or any industry that we know today.

In the 1930s scientists realized that the US and North Atlantic region had warmed significantly during the previous half century but this was soon dismissed as a mild natural cycle.

As the decades progressed, people, civilians and scientists alike, began to take notice of our shifting climate and by the 1970s, curiosity about climate change turned into an anxious concern with the rise of environmentalism.  It was during this time that an analysis of Northern Hemisphere weather statistics showed a cooling pattern that had begun in the 1940s.

In 2001 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) cautiously established a consensus that stated “…although the climate system was so complex…it was much more likely than not that our civilization faces severe global warming” (aip.org).

Rising Sea Levels

What our beaches will be like.

Now, thirteen years later, there is little debate that we are on the brink of a global catastrophe, with sea levels rising by the centimeter each year and sound predictions that say in fifty years, sea levels will start to rise by the meter, putting many of our beloved coastal cities at great risk.  This is just some of the horrific problems are world is destined to face without immediate action.

After decades of evidence and debate, one man has decided to rise above and make the first big move to combat this inevitable crisis.  On Monday, June 2nd, President Obama announced to reduce the nation’s biggest source of pollution blamed for global warming-carbon emission from power plants.  It proposes a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that would reduce such emissions by 30% by 2030.  According to the EPA, the proposed new rules would reduce carbon pollution by the same amount as removing two-thirds of all the automobiles from American streets.

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy stated, “For the sake of our families’ health and our kids future, we have a moral obligation to act on our climate.  When we do, we’ll turn risks on climate into business opportunity.  We’ll spur innovation and investment, and we’ll build a world-leading clean energy economy”.

President Barack Obama

Obama addresses the nation.

Thank you, Obama.  It is about time.

For more information, check out:

The History of Global Climate Change

President Obama’s Climate Action Plan

The Future of Rising Sea Levels

NSF On Rising Sea Levels

 

 

Andrea Kuipers - I am a well versed, interdisciplinary scientist with a background in marketing, media, & journalism. I am currently finishing up degree number five at Cal State University Fullerton & working in a biochemical/biotechnology lab engineering proteins. Linkedin

Jellyfish Diapers: Two Problems With One Solution

Jellyfish Diapers: Two Problems With One Solution

Apr 20, 2014

No this is not a joke.  Scientists are currently developing diapers and other absorbent products such as tampons and medical sponges that are made of jellyfish.  The reason behind this initially insane sounding idea?

Products made of synthetic super-absorbing polymers take hundreds of years to decompose and are a huge problem in landfills all across the world.  In 1998 a study was done by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and it was estimated 3.4 million tons of diapers enter the landfills each year in the United States alone.

The other thing reeking havoc on the environment is the populations of jellyfish that have exploded in recent years due to climate change.  This problem has gotten so out of hand that it caused a nuclear reactor in Sweden to be shut down after hundreds of them were sucked into a cooling pipe.  Scientists predict they’ll be one of the more prominent species in the ocean as climate change continues.

With a brilliant and gutsy stroke of  ingenuity, a nanotechnology company in Israel called Cine’al Ltd, has developed a material called “Hydromash” which is made by breaking down jellyfish flesh (which has been found to be able to absorb high volumes of water without deteriorating)  and adding nanoparticles for antibacterial properties.  They are in the works of opening up plants in Korea and South Carolina, where jellyfish populations are thriving and multiplying rapidly.

“There are too many jellyfish in the sea, and too many Pampers in the landfills,” said Ofer Du-Nour, Cine’al Ltd’s president.

Hydromash certainly seems to be a unique answer to these two very serious problems.

To learn why synthetic polymers are such a problem in our environment check out:
Environmental Problems Caused by Synthetic Polymers

To read about the jellyfish crisis click on this link:

CNN-Jellyfish are Taking Over

To read about Cine’al Ltd’s Hydromash, go here:

Israeli Times Turns Jellyfish into Papertowels

The jellyfish are coming!  No wait...they're here!

The jellyfish are coming! No wait…they’re here!

 

 

 

Andrea Kuipers - I am a well versed, interdisciplinary scientist with a background in marketing, media, & journalism. I am currently finishing up degree number five at Cal State University Fullerton & working in a biochemical/biotechnology lab engineering proteins. Linkedin

Recent Study: Breathing Los Angeles Air Linked to Cancer

Recent Study: Breathing Los Angeles Air Linked to Cancer

Feb 11, 2014

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Southern California, but that yellow-grey hue that hangs above our beloved City of Angels is not a halo. In fact, it was just recently discovered that living in cities such as Los Angeles and Long Beach could give you cancer just by breathing the air.

A new report from the cancer agency of the World Health Organization affirms that air pollution is a leading cause of lung cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has an official list of carcinogens, substances known to cause cancer, and added air pollution to the list alongside other well known problem causers such as tobacco, asbestos, and ultraviolet radiation.

The report was released after scientists analyzed over 1,000 cases worldwide and was able to provide sufficient evidence to state that air pollution causes lung cancer.

The top five most polluted cities were Bakersfield, CA, Merced, CA, Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Riverside in the U.S.

Bet that new electric car is looking pretty sweet right now, my fellow Southern California commuter.

Could breathing the air here give you lung cancer?

Could breathing the air here give you lung cancer?

For more details visit:
CBS News
Cancer.org
CNN

 

 

Andrea Kuipers - I am a well versed, interdisciplinary scientist with a background in marketing, media, & journalism. I am currently finishing up degree number five at Cal State University Fullerton & working in a biochemical/biotechnology lab engineering proteins. Linkedin

Elio Motors 3 Wheeled Vehicle | CES 2014

Elio Motors 3 Wheeled Vehicle | CES 2014

Jan 13, 2014

Elio fuel efficient practical 3 wheeled vehicle was displayed at CES International 2014. The Elio gets 84 miles per gallon on the highway, seats two in tandem, at $6,800 also includes AC, power lock windows, 3 year 36,00 mile warranty and the Elio will be built in Louisiana using over 90% North American-manufactured components creating over 15,000-plus direct and indirect jobs around the country and will repurpose the old GM plant that has long been shuttered. Watch video of Joel Sheltrown VP of Government Relations at Elio Motors talk about the Elio eco-friendly vehicle at CES 2014.

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Renewable Energy Use is a Record High in Scotland

Renewable Energy Use is a Record High in Scotland

Dec 21, 2013

Offshore wind is set to become Scotland’s next industrial revolution with the potential to attract billions of pounds of investment and create tens of thousands of highly skilled and sustainable jobs.

An article by Katie Valentine at Climate Progress, “Renewable energy use is at a record high in Scotland, according to new government figures.In 2012, Scotland got 40.3 percent of its electricity from renewable sources — up from 36.3 percent in 2011 and just 24.1 percent in 2010. The Scottish government plans to get half of its electricity from renewable energy by 2015 — a target it said it was on track to meet — and 100 percent of its electricity by 2020. Scotland’s renewable energy numbers are much higher than many other U.K. countries — renewables produced only 8.2 percent of England’s electricity in 2012, and in Wales, 8.7 percent of electricity comes from renewable sources. “Renewable electricity in Scotland is going from strength to strength, confirming that 2012 was a record year for generation in Scotland and that 2013 looks set to be even better,” said Scotland’s energy minister Fergus Ewing.’ Lang Banks, Director of WWF Scotland, told the BBC that if Scotland is to meet its target of renewable energy generating 100 percent of electricity by 2020, the country will need to invest more in offshore wind.” read more

In this video, Engineers at Scottish Power Renewables explain how energy is produced from wind, waves and tides:

To Learn more about Renewable Energy in Scotland also visit:
Scottish Enterprise
Offshore Wind Scotland
Scottish Power Renewables
Offshore Wind & Supply Chain Conference 2014

Britain is Rainier Than Usual-Because of Melting Ice Caps?

Britain is Rainier Than Usual-Because of Melting Ice Caps?

Oct 28, 2013

Melting arctic sea ice is causing rainier summers in Britain and northwest Europe.

I don’t know if Harry Potter believes in global warming but he better cos it’s happening in his hometown.

A new study done by Dr. James Screen from the University of Exeter states that the melting Arctic sea ice could have contributed to the heavy rainfall that occurred in the summers between 2007 and 2012 in northwest Europe and Britain.  Dr. Screen used a computer model to predict how such changes had happened with the retreat of the arctic ice caps and their effect on the positions of the jet streams, which lead to the heavier rainfall.  Jet streams are currents of fast moving air moving rapidly in the upper level of the earth’s atmosphere-roughly around where planes fly.  Jet streams effect our weather and direct it where to go.

In the beginning of the summer the jet streams are between Iceland and Scotland and will pass just to the north of Britain.  The streams shift during the summer and to the south which is what brings the normally very wet season for Britain and northwest Europe.  However when these streams are picking up extra water from the Arctic, that’s when all watery hell breaks loose and those parts receive the heavy rainfall they have been seeing the past five years.

“The study suggests that loss of sea ice not only has an effect on the environment and wildlife of the Arctic region but has far reaching consequences for people living in Europe and beyond,” Dr. Screen expresses, referring to the difference in the jet streams.

If only Harry Potter could Expelliarmus the caps back and make his country not as wet again.  If only the muggles hadn’t gotten to the earth first.

For more information, check out:

Science Daily

The Independent

Al Gore on the Jimmy Kimmel Live Show | The Cost of Carbon

Al Gore on the Jimmy Kimmel Live Show | The Cost of Carbon

Oct 25, 2013

Al Gore was on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show this week talking about his involvement with 24 hours of Reality webcast the Climate Reality Project, it’s the 3rd year in a row they have done a 24 hour long global telecast. On October 22, former Vice President Al Gore and The Climate Reality Project stopped the clock for a full 24 hours to focus the world’s attention on the greatest challenge of our time: climate change driven by carbon pollution. With their global broadcast 24 Hours of Reality: The Cost of Carbon, brought together artists, scientists, celebrities, economists, and other experts to explore the many ways we’re all paying for carbon pollution in our daily lives — wherever we may live — and how we can solve this with a market price on carbon. 449790826_640 Click to read more to watch video interview clip of Al Gore on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show this week…

PortTechEXPO & Clean Tech – Cool Tech Event

PortTechEXPO & Clean Tech – Cool Tech Event

Sep 17, 2013

The 4th annual PortTechEXPO held at the Port of LA hosted a free community event for clean technology companies large and small to connect with business prospects at Southern California’s ports and explore opportunities with ports worldwide working to achieve a more sustainable future.

In following PortTechExpo the Clean Tech – Cool Tech event featured technology demonstrations, interactive displays and the latest advancements in smart technology solutions for port communities.

Evolution At Work: Due to Humans Changing Landscape, Animal Brains Changing Too

Evolution At Work: Due to Humans Changing Landscape, Animal Brains Changing Too

Sep 2, 2013

Adaptation is the evolutionary process whereby a population becomes better suited to its habitat.  With the increase of our globe’s population, many more cities have sprouted to accommodate the larger numbers of bodies and as a result are taking away more natural landscapes.

In order for the local animal inhabitants to survive, species must adapt, as they have been doing so for millions of years (check out Evolution 101 to refresh your brain on how this works!).  A recent study done by biologist Emilie C. Snell-Rood at the University of Minnesota suggests that we may be altering the brains of animals by invading their spaces.

XPrize Energy & Environment

XPrize Energy & Environment

Aug 28, 2013

XPRIZE is the global leader in the creation of incentivized prize competitions. Their mission is to bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefits of humanity, thereby inspiring the formation of new industries and the revitalization of markets. There are five categories of competitions: Energy & Environment; Exploration; Global Development; Learning; and Life Sciences.

The goal of the Energy & Environment Prize Group is to generate breakthroughs in clean energy, climate change, energy distribution/storage, energy efficiency/use, and water resource management. Advances in these fields will lead to greater sustainability and efficiency, while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

Read more and watch video of most recent XPRIZE winner of the Energy & Environment Prize Group.

Gasland – HBO documentary

Gasland – HBO documentary

Jul 21, 2013

Oscar-nominated film GASLAND, filmmaker Josh Fox premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. The film shows how the stakes have been raised on all sides in one of the most important environmental issues facing our nation today taking a deeper, broader look at the dangers of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the controversial method of extracting natural gas and oil, now occurring on a global level (in 32 countries worldwide).

Its happening all across America – rural landowners waking up to find a lucrative offer from an energy company wanting to lease their property. The reason? The company hopes to tap into a reservoir dubbed the “Saudi Arabia of natural gas.” Halliburton developed a way to get the gas out of the ground – a hydraulic drilling process called “fracking.”

“Do the Math” Movie | 350.org

“Do the Math” Movie | 350.org

Jun 30, 2013

Bill McKibben is bestselling author, educator, environmentalist, and Co-founder of 350.org he recounts the personal and global story of the fight to build and preserve a sustainable planet.  Bill is not a person you would expect to find handcuffed in the city jail in Washington, D.C. but that’s where he spent three days in the summer of 2011, after leading the largest civil disobedience in thirty years to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. A few months later the protesters would see their efforts rewarded when President Obama agreed to put the project on hold. 350.org mission is building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis.

Author, environmental activist and founder of 350.org Bill McKibben at the Middlebury College solar farm installation in Middlebury, Vermont.

Solar and Thermal Energy

Solar and Thermal Energy

Jun 12, 2013

The reflective blue solar panels usually seen on roof tops is the most common thing most people think of when they hear the term ‘solar energy’ or ‘solar power(PV or Photo-Voltaic panels). PV cells is one aspect of Solar Energy however there is also solar ‘thermal energyalso known as concentrating solar thermal (CST) or concentrating solar power (CSP), where the sun is used to warm fluids up by producing steam to create electricity and is truly cost effective.

Today solar power is significantly less expensive to install than it was just ten years ago with such dramatic price falls in the past few years it will soon be one of the cheapest forms of power in many countries. Additionally, falling prices and innovations in financing are making renewables more affordable for a broader range of consumers in developed and developing countries alike.

CO2 levels pass 400 PPM, the highest in 3 million years!

CO2 levels pass 400 PPM, the highest in 3 million years!

May 13, 2013

For the first time in over 3 million years, carbon dioxide levels have reached over 440 ppm (although we didn’t technically begin taking measurements until 1958), according to a reading done in the atmosphere in Mauna Loa, Hawaii in the oldest measurement taking lab in the world.  Measurements were also made this week by both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography which confirmed this report.

Carbon dioxide is the most contributing greenhouse gas to global climate change.  It is released into the atmosphere mainly by human activities such as fossil fuel burning.  “That increase is not a surprise to scientists,” said NOAA senior scientist Pieter Tans, with the Global Monitoring Division of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo. “The evidence is conclusive that the strong growth of global CO2 emissions from the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas is driving the acceleration.”

Solar Powered Plane Set for Take-Off

Solar Powered Plane Set for Take-Off

May 5, 2013


Swedish physicist Bertrand Piccard’s latest venture, the Solar Impulse, is set to take off on it’s first cross-country expedition. It is the first solar powered plane to be able to sustain flight throughout the night.
For more information, check out:
The New York Times

Air Pollution Fighting Jet Hits the Skies of California

Air Pollution Fighting Jet Hits the Skies of California

Feb 2, 2013

If the 1990′s environmentalism-inspired cartoon superhero Captain Planet could have a vehicle, he would most likely drive this one.  NASA is currently testing out an aircraft that looks like a fighter jet to fight one of Captain Planet’s biggest enemies:  air pollution.  The small jet took to the skies for the first time this Thursday over the Bay Area in Northern California and captured both ozone and greenhouse gases for its premier test.

Since air pollution isn’t just a problem on the local scale, NASA is building many aircraft in hopes of conquering this issue on a global scale.  This is also due to the fact that a jet stream, a current of air in the Earth’s atmosphere, can make pollution from Beijing travel to California, which makes the issue much more pressing internationally.

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