Technology can help Us save the Environment and Achieve Global Sustainability by Preventing further Degradation via Scientific Inquirer

The use of big data can help scientists’ chart not only the degradation of the environment but can be part of the solution to achieve sustainability, according to a new commentary paper.

The paper, ‘Opportunities for big data in conservation and sustainability’, published today in Nature Communications, said increased computing speeds and data storage had grown the volume of big data in the last 40 years, but the planet was still facing serious decline.

Lead author Dr Rebecca Runting from the University of Melbourne’s School of Geography says that while we currently have an unprecedented ability to generate, store, access and analyse data about the environment, these technological advances will not help the world unless they lead to action.

“Big data analyses must be closely linked to environmental policy and management,” Dr Runting said. “For example, many large companies already possess the methodological, technical, and computational capacity to develop solutions, so it is paramount that new developments and resources are shared timely with government, and in the spirit of ‘open data’.”

Commentators noted that 2.3 million km2 of forest was lost over the years 2000 to 2012 and that dynamic marine and coastal ecosystems have revealed similar declines. An analysis of over 700,000 satellite images shows that Earth has lost more than 20,000 km2 of tidal flats since 1984.

“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are currently seeing governments making rapid (health) decisions based on fairly sophisticated data analysis,” Dr Runting said. “There may be opportunities to learn from this and achieve a similarly tight coupling of analysis and decision-making in the environmental sector.”

Co-author Professor James Watson from the University of Queensland said with platforms like Google Earth Engine and the capacity of satellites to track and send information quickly to computers, big data was capable of identifying eco-health risks globally.

“What the big data revolution has helped us understand is the environment is often doing worse than what we thought it was. The more we map and analyse, the more we find the state of the environment, albeit Antarctic ice sheets, wetlands, or forests, is dire. Big data tells us we are running out of time,” Professor Watson said.

“The good news is the big data revolution can help us better understand risk. For example, we can use data to better understand where future ecosystem degradation will take place and where these interact with wildlife trade, so as to map pandemic risk.”

Dr Runting said big data has been pivotal in quantifying alarming spatial and temporal trends across Earth. For example, an automated vessel tracking and monitoring system is being used to predict illegal fishing activity in real-time.

“This has allowed governments quickly investigate particular vessels that may be undertaking illegal fishing activity within their jurisdiction, including within Australian waters,” she said. Similarly, Queensland’s Statewide Landcover and Trees Study uses satellite imagery to monitor woody vegetation clearing, including the detection of illegal clearing.

Professor Watson cited a similar example. “Global forest watch has been a game change for monitoring the state of the world forests in near real time. This can help identify illegal activities and informed active enforcement of forest conservation around the world,” Professor Watson said.

The paper also noted positive environmental changes due to human intervention such as greening seen in large expanses in China, which was driven by large scale national policies, including forest conservation and payments for restoration.

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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New Coronavirus Cases in California, Oregon, and Washington Suggest the Virus is now Widespread within our Community

The CDC is recommending that people who show symptoms should isolate themselves at home and call health authorities or their healthcare provider. Family and household members should try to stay at least 6 feet away from sick people.

New Coronavirus Cases in California, Oregon, and Washington Suggest Community Spread

BY ZACHARY STIEBER

(Courtesy The Epoch Times)

New coronavirus cases confirmed in the Pacific Northwest late Friday indicate the new virus is spreading in the community in the United States.

Washington state, Oregon, and California officials confirmed in total four new cases. Officials do not know where or how three of the patients became infected.

Community spread means that people acquire COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus, through an unknown exposure in the community.

The first case of unknown origin was confirmed on Feb. 26 in northern California. Still, officials held out the possibility that the female patient had come into contact with someone who traveled out of the country.

The new cases make it far more likely that the United States is experiencing community spread.

Epoch Times Photo
A support operations tent is seen at a earmarked quarantine site for healthy people potentially exposed to novel coronavirus, behind Washington State Public Health Laboratories in Shoreline, north of Seattle, Washington, on Feb. 28, 2020. (David Ryder/Reuters)

Health officials in Santa Clara County, California, reported that an older woman with chronic health conditions was tested after going to the hospital with a respiratory illness. The patient “does not have a travel history nor any known contact with a traveler or infected person,” according to county officials.

“This new case indicates that there is evidence of community transmission but the extent is still not clear,” Dr. Sara Cody, health officer for the county, said in a statement. “I understand this may be concerning to hear, but this is what we have been preparing for. Now we need to start taking additional actions to slow down the spread of the disease.”

Later on Friday, authorities in Oregon reported the state’s first case of COVID-19. The adult patient has no travel history to a country where the virus was circulating nor did they come into close contact with another confirmed case.

The patient spent time in the Lake Oswego school district and patients and staff members there may have been exposed to the virus, according to the Oregon Health Authority. Officials will try to locate the people the patient came into contact with.

After that, Washington state health authorities said two people—a woman in her 50s and a teenage boy—tested positive for the new disease. The woman traveled recently to Daegu, South Korea, which saw an explosion of cases in recent days, but the teen has no travel history and officials don’t know the source of his infection.

Epoch Times Photo
A woman wears a mask on Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange in New York on Feb. 28, 2020. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

The teen visited Seattle Children’s North Clinic on Feb. 24 and attends Jackson High School in Mill Creek. The Everett Public Schools superintendent decided to close the school on Monday for three days of “deep cleaning,” the Washington State Department of Health said.

All four cases were confirmed by the states using tests developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). States received the testing kits early this month but most couldn’t use them until Friday.

The positive cases are considered presumptive pending confirmatory testing by the CDC, which is required through an Emergency Use Authorization. But the CDC and state and local public health officials are treating the cases as if they were confirmed.

Local officials attributed the detection of the cases to the new tests, which cut days off the testing process. States and local labs that couldn’t test locally previously had to spend hours packaging samples before shipping them to the CDC’s Atlanta headquarters. The Oregon State Public Health Laboratory used the new testing kit just hours after validating it, Oregon officials said.

Authorities also said they expect additional cases, a message that has been repeated by both state and federal officials.

CDC kits
The CDC’s laboratory test kit for the new coronavirus. (CDC via AP)

“Given the extent of global spread, we expect to identify more individuals with COVID-19 in Washington,” Washington Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy said at a press conference.

Federal officials warned earlier in the week that community spread of the new virus was likely, citing the spike in cases in South Korea, Italy, and Iran.

“It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters in a phone call on Wednesday.

Federal officials are using an in-depth report produced by its researchers in 2017 as a roadmap for how to deal with the virus. Without a vaccine or proven treatment, officials are focusing on nonpharmaceutical interventions, which fall into three categories: personal, community, and environmental.

Personal interventions include routine recommendations such as washing hands and staying home when sick, and measures specific to pandemics such as people voluntarily isolating themselves at home even if they’re not sick if a member of their household has become ill.

Community interventions can include closing schools and transitioning to internet-based teleschooling and changing business meetings from in-person to online as well. Some locales could postpone or cancel large gatherings.

Environmental interventions primarily revolve around cleaning surfaces. The school closing for cleaning is an example of an environmental intervention.

california department of health
Narimon Mirza stands next a to a whiteboard showing the number of COVID-19 cases around the world at the Medical Health and Coordination Center at the California Department of Public Health in Sacramento on Feb. 27, 2020. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Americans, Messonnier said, should start preparing for “significant disruption” to their lives.

The new virus emerged in China late last year and has spread to dozens of countries, infecting patients in over a dozen countries for the first time this week alone. The virus spreads primarily through close contact. Patients who test positive are typically isolated in hospitals or at home. The origin of the virus isn’t known. Coronaviruses often circulate in animals and only in rare cases jump to humans before being transmitted between people.

Symptoms of the virus are similar to the flu and include fever, headache, and a dry cough. The incubation period is believed to be one day to 14 days.

Experts recommend people frequently wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing. Other prevention techniques include avoiding close contact with sick people, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces, and not touching one’s eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands

via New Coronavirus Cases in California, Oregon, and Washington Suggest Community Spread

Tips For Making Your Transition To Healthy Dining Easier via lifesfinewhine

Here are some tips to make your transition to veganism easier whether you’re doing Veganuary or thinking of a permanent lifestyle/diet change. Hope they help! Wait a while before trying substitutes- Your taste buds get really used to the taste of non-vegan food if you have, like most people, been eating them your whole life. However, […]

via Tips For Making Your Transition To Veganism Easier — lifesfinewhine

The Future of Water

Where will water come from?

Earlier this month the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their landmark report on Global Warming of 1.5°C which warned the world has just 12 years to limit global warming in order to avoid extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty. So now feels like as good a time as ever to talk about the future.

What’s IS the world going to look like in 2050? or in 2100? And what role will water resources play in it all?

static1.squarespace.com

Here in Australia it’s already clear that growing city populations and the drying climate have impacted the water storage levels. And in Perth, meeting our water supply demand by storing rainwater in dams is a distant memory. Clean drinking water in Perth is now sourced almost entirely from groundwater (~ 46%) and desalination (~45%) with less than 7% attributed to rainfall. Worryingly, almost half of people in WA don’t know where their drinking water comes from! If recent events in Cape Town teach us anything it’s that public awareness of clean water supplies is a crucial element of resource sustainability.

As water-related problems get more complicated we need to get smarter – the water industry needs digital disruption; machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) are combining to disrupt the way water businesses operate

As time goes by water is likely to play a larger role in political tension as well; both on a national and international scale. Researchers from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) analysed past “hydro-political interactions” (instances of conflict and cooperation over water resources) in international river basins to identify where conflict is likely to emerge around the world.

1-s2.0-S095937801830253X-gr2

So in the spirit of National Water Week, we here at Urbaqua encourage you to take a moment to think about the role that water currently plays in your life, how important clean water resources are to the way we live, and what you can do at an individual level to help relieve the enormous pressures that we’re collectively facing on sustainable clean water.

 

It’s National Water Week and the theme is ‘Water for Me, Water for All‘. Earlier this month the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their landmark report on Global Warming of 1.5°C which warned the world has just 12 years to limit global warming in order to avoid extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty. […]

via The Future of Water — The Essential Current

Urban Farming

What is urban farming?

Urban farming is when traditional farming such as growing food, bee keeping and raising animals or fish is practiced in urban areas. This can be within or around cities and in villages. In recent years urban farming as become more popular due to environmental awareness and a demand for organic food.

Benefits of Urban Farming

Urban Farming in sustainable – Whether on a small scale like a personal garden or a larger scale with green spaces if managed and looked after it can provide food for many years. Jobs can be created too if it is a larger space.

Urban farming helps the environment – The fruits and vegetables planted benefits the local air by using carbon up in our air due to pollution. Because the food is grown and distributed locally it also reduces the carbon footprint left by the usual transportation of food from farms to supermarket.

Better quality nutrition – Growing and nurturing locally gives you control of how you feed and grow your plants. Pesticides can be avoided, it is well known organic food is better for us. It can also be a family or communal project, in particular it teaches children about food and encourages them to eat their veggies.

Food brings people together – For centuries food has brought communities together whether due to a religious holiday or traditional festival. Urban Farming in communal areas can bring the sense of pride in community back.

Makes the concrete jungle green again – Having a urban farming space brings green back to a typically grey space. Here is a great example of how Chicago brought some green back to its city:

Urban Farming Chicago

Urban Farming is a worldwide movement and cities all over the world are taking a step to improve their cities:

Prinzessinnengarten, Berlin, Germany:

Urban Farming Berlin

Lufa Farms, Montreal, Canada:

Urban Farming Canada

Sky Greens, Lim Chu Kang area, Singapore:

Urban Farming Singapore

How can I start Urban Farming?

We can all contribute to making our planet a green place. You don’t need access to a huge garden, it can be a small herb pot, chilli or tomato plant. Here are some easy options to get you started for any budget in a variety of styles. Links added for you already:

Grow Me – Hot stuff chillies – £6.99

grow me chilli

Grow It Chilli Plant – £12.99

Grow it Chilli Plant

Indoor Allotment (Grow your own herbs) – £24.99

Indoor Allotment Herbs

Personalised Wooden Planter – £29.99

Personalised wooden planter

*Prices correct at time of posting.*

Whether it is for yourself or a gift, Urban Farming is accessible to anyone and we can all reduce our carbon footprint. These small and affordable ideas are how to can begin to dip your toes into growing your own food. What One Change Now will you make to start your own green space?

Urban farming is when traditional farming such as growing food, bee keeping and raising animals or fish is practiced in urban areas. This can be within or around cities and in villages. In recent years urban farming as become more popular due to environmental awareness and a demand for organic food. Benefits of Urban Farming […]

via What is urban farming? — One Change Now

Contaminated Property Investors

http://www.winefieldinc.com/brownfield.html

Transaction costs matter — Ecology

Will Harris, a free-range chicken farmer in Georgia, recently learned first hand the importance of transaction costs. In the last few years, bald eagles have been treating his farm as an all-you-can-eat buffet. He was “excited” to see the first pair show up, because he viewed them as an environmental amenity. But now 77 eagles […]

via Transaction costs matter — FREEcology

Environmentally Friendly Choices Contribute to Global Sustainability

Making more environmentally friendly choices are simple to make and will help you start moving in a more environmentally friendly direction:

  1. Dental Floss – Honestly, I didn’t even think about the waste dental floss causes until I can across Dental Lace on the Package Free Shop’s website. The entire package is designed with the planet in mind AND you can get refills so you don’t need to get new containers every time you need more floss.
  2. Wet It Swedish Dish Cloths – I’ve shared these before, but they are still a huge favorite of mine. These can take the place of paper towels and sponges, both of which end up in the trash ultimately. These are 100% biodegradable too!
  3. Home Cleaning Supplies – When I was in college, my mom got me the Shaklee Clean Starter Kit, which comes with supplies to make your own home cleaning supplies. Guys, I STILL have this same set with plenty of supplies left and I got it approximately eight years ago. Now, you may be wondering if I ever clean my home. As my husband can confirm, ALL THE TIME. How much do you spend on cleaning sprays/supplies in a year? You could make your own and not create additional bottles waste for a fraction of the cost. Seriously, check it out.
  4. Cloth Diapers and Wipes – This one is specific to parents of young children obviously, but I would highly recommend looking into cloth diapering if you are able to. The amount of waste produced by disposable diapers is insane. (Look it up sometime.) We ended up using Charlie Banana diapers and wipes. I’ll be sharing more about our thoughts after a year of using them in a separate post, but even though it hasn’t always been easy, it has been so worth it. (If you are wanting to learn more about cloth diapering, I highly recommend Fluff Love University.
  5. Loose Leaf Tea – Did you know there is plastic in tea bags? Sure, it is only trace amounts, but it has been found there! In an effort to limit my exposure to plastic and create less waste, I transitioned to loose leaf tea. There are various shops that offer this kind of tea, so I’d recommend checking out what local vendors you have! You’ll need to get a tea pot with an infuser (this one looks super cute), but that’s all you need. Better yet, the loose leaf tea can easily go into a compost pile or worm bin.

How long does it take for plastic to decompose? — One Change Now

Different materials naturally take different amounts of time to decompose and the decomposition process does vary. Some materials we can use to our on benefit such as composting as featured in my blog, 5 ways to live greener. Other materials take years to decompose and have a hugely negative impact on our environment if they make it […]

via How long does it take for plastic to decompose? — One Change Now

5 Emerging Renewable Energy Sources to Watch Out For — The Green Living Guy ®

In recent years, renewable energy has become more affordable. For this reason, most researchers have started looking for alternative sources to reduce the escalating costs of energy. The emergence of new sources of renewable energy is expected to result in a less polluted environment. Below are 5 renewable energy sources poised to make a difference. […]

via 5 Emerging Renewable Energy Sources to Watch Out For — The Green Living Guy ®

This solar powered floating farm can produce 20 tons of vegetables every day

From design practice, Forward Thinking Architecture, come a set of modular floating farms that harvest sunlight and rainwater, as well as desalinate saltwater and grow thousands of tons of vegetables ever year.

Inspired by Chinese floating fish farms, these rectangular units measure 200×350 meters and can connect with other modules via walkways.  The usage of waterways is a great compliment to the farming industry because it makes farming available in so many more locations.  It reduces the need to import food by localizing growth and incorporates rivers and lakes as viable “farmland.”

Each unit is comprised of three levels.  The bottom floor focuses on aquaculture and water desalination, the first floor on hydroponic crop cultivation, and the roof is adorned with solar panels, skylights and rainwater collectors.

Each module is anticipated to make 8,152 tons of vegetables every year and bring in 1,703 tons of fish.  The modules, then, connect into a grid and can scale up into huge farms, producing local food for entire cities.

http://www.inhabitat.com/could-solar-powered-modular-floating-farms-be-an-answer-to-global-food-self-sufficiency/

http://www.forwardthinkingarchitecture.com/SFF-FLOATING-FARMS-INITIATIVE

This blog is free & open source, however embeds may not be.

 
Minds

Planes, Fog, and How the Irish Saved Civilization

After checking out the Crested Butte Library’s entire selection of Irish authors and histories of Ireland, I proceeded to read approximately none of the six books I so eagerly grabbed from the library. Life (and a mild concussion) kept me occupied the past two weeks.

Fortunately, crossing most of the continental USA and Atlantic takes time—time I spent reading (and thinking about future blog posts). I figured I’d start with Thomas Cahill’s book:How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe because it was the first book my librarian recommended when I asked her what to read to learn about Ireland.

Cahill tells a beautiful story about St. Patrick and the conversion of the Irish ‘barbarians’ into a diverse society of generous, hopeful saints and scholars who preserved the scaffolding of western civilization during the dark ages. Cahill is a masterful storyteller and I encourage everyone to read his book (a breeze at only 218 pages). It provides a fascinating picture of Irish society from the rise of the Roman Empire to that of Medieval Europe.

For my part, rather than continuing to bore you with summaries, I thought I’d give you lovely readers a taste of one of my favorite parts of Cahill’s depiction of the Irish, his descriptions of the remarkable women present in Irish poetry.

Cahill is kind enough to put entire passages of epic poems into his work. One such epic, theTain Bo Cuailnge, The Cattle Raid of Cooley, revolves in large part around the Irish Queen Medb (a synonym of Mead!). Medb is pretty much the 1st century’s Beyoncé except instead of claiming: the shoes on my feet, I bought ‘em; Medb is all:

When we were promised, I brought you the best wedding gift a bride can bring: apparel enough for a dozen men, a chariot worth thrice seven bondmaids, the width of your face of red gold and the weight of your left arm of light gold. So, if anyone causes you shame or upset or trouble, the right to compensation is mine, for you’re a kept man [Cahill, 72]

She continues in this brazen vein—making innuendos, proclaiming her wealth and starting battles, and in doing so appears entirely human. Medb is the opposite of the needy, two-dimensional female characters common in the classical literature written at the same time. Moreover, she is not the only strong female character present in old Irish literature. Cahill provides numerous examples of strong women who, when faced with the death of their loved ones, respond with spectacular laments that display the hard, unbending stock they come from.

The strong Irish women portrayed in these epics delight the feminist in me. Even though women were by no means equal to men, they seem to have had a lot better of a position in Ireland; in fact, some of them even became woman Bishops.

I will get into more of that later. For now, I’d like to report that we’ve successfully arrived and survived the first day in the Emerald Isle (I use the word ‘survive’ earnestly, jet lag is no joke on your first day in a different country). Today was a trip into the fog: figuratively, in the sense that my mind is being bogged down by a thick and cloying exhaustion; and literally, in the sense that driving to the Cliffs of Moher was the equivalent of driving through clam chowder.

I’m a little tired but didn’t want to sink into slumber until I shared a few photos of our first day and welcome dinner in Galway. Courtesy of the Mad Hattler

Burren
Looking out over Galway Bay
Gigi&Erin
The quintessential Irish experience– a pint of Guinness at the pub with Mary Pittman, Mary Timony, JeanAnne Hattler & Me (the Mad Hattler).
Drinks(2)
(L-R) Hugh & Betty Deithorn, Mike Altrudo, Ron Surmacz, Maria Altrudo, Stephen & Susan Munson Bagnato
Drinks (x3)
(L-R) Carol & John Livingston, Marcelle Theis & Jim Altzner, Stephanie & Dave Iauco
(l-r) Tony & Lisa Plastino, Linda & Don Dietz
(l-r) Tony & Lisa Plastino, Linda & Don Dietz
(l-r) Beth Wurzel, Margaret Terbell, Carolyn & Rachel Mariano, Michele Forte
(l-r) Beth Wurzel, Margaret Terbell, Carolyn & Rachel Mariano, Michele Forte
Looking out over the Burren, a geological phenomena unique to western Ireland
Looking out over the Burren, a geological phenomena unique to western Ireland
The obligatory Irish castle picture. It's like the flag knew we were coming.
The obligatory Irish castle picture. It’s like the flag knew we were coming.

Until tomorrow, sweet dreams!

Xx

MAY 22, 2015

The Mad Hattler

on the road with Duquesne University Alumni & Friends

After checking out the Crested Butte Library’s entire selection of Irish authors and histories of Ireland, I proceeded to read approximately none of the six books I so eagerly grabbed from the library. Life (and a mild concussion) kept me occupied the past two weeks.

Fortunately, crossing most of the continental USA and Atlantic takes time—time I spent reading (and thinking about future blog posts). I figured I’d start with Thomas Cahill’s book: How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe because it was the first book my librarian recommended when I asked her what to read to learn about Ireland.

Cahill tells a beautiful story about St. Patrick and the conversion of the Irish ‘barbarians’ into a diverse society of generous, hopeful saints and scholars who preserved the scaffolding of western civilization during the…

View original post 571 more words

Cracks In Davis Pool Leaking 7,000 Gallons Of Water A Day During Drought « CBS Sacramento

Cracks In Davis Pool Leaking 7,000 Gallons Of Water A Day During Drought « CBS Sacramento.

Pool Leaking
Featured Image
City engineers deciding whether to destroy it permanently, or spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a new pool.