Cars Made Out Of & Powered By Hemp Are The Future

The transportation sector is one of the largest greenhouse gas contributors today, accounting for nearly 30% of all emissions in the United States alone. For decades, oil and automobile companies dominated the global market, with little remorse for the ecological consequences of petroleum-based industries, as well as little to no thought into the limitations of non-renewable energy sources.

Thankfully today, we have seen a global shift towards sustainability and innovation in the automobile manufacturing and transportation sectors. Companies such as Tesla Motors are laying the groundwork for a sustainable future in the automobile industry.

Another company making their way into the mainstream spotlight is Renew, an automobile design and manufacturing company aiming to erase the carbon footprint of vehicles all together. Renew’s mission is simple yet monumental: to ” create cars which are 100% carbon neutral and non-polluting.”

But how are they tackling this massive obstacle? Well, it involves the use of a widely known and versatile green plant, hemp.

Hemp has been used for centuries in a number of varying industries, including paper, fabric, food, construction, and more. The fibers of the hemp plant are some of the strongest and most durable plant-based fibers known today, making it a fantastic adversary in the manufacturing of various materials.

But one of the most incredible things about hemp, beyond its light weight, durability and biodegradability, is the fact that it is carbon negative. Hemp removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at a rate more efficient than most plants. Trees for instance, take 20 years to grow, while hemp by contrast, matures in 3 to 4 months, and can be replanted several times a year.

The reason why hemp is so strong is due to the amount of carbon it absorbs from the atmosphere into its fibers. When hemp is used to manufacture something like a car, it removes a substantial amount of CO2 from the atmosphere in a process called carbon sequestering. By utilizing this process, we have the ability to significantly counteract the automobile-induced carbon emission crisis.

Ethanol Engines

Renew vehicles run on ethanol. When compared to gasoline, the use of high-level ethanol blends, such as E85, generally result in lower emissions levels.

Even more fantastic is Renew’s new flex ethanol option, in which the car can sense any type or mixture of ethanol/gas, from 0-100%, and adapt automatically.

The CANNA 100 & 130 models have a Lifetime Carbon Footprint that’s 10% lower than the average new electric vehicle, while the CANNA EV model drives 22% greener than the average electric vehicle, ranging from 80 to 400+ horsepower.

But more importantly, the Renew car models are equipped to run on hemp ethanol, should it ever come to market.

Is The 2015 Hemp Sports Car The Future Of Automobiles?

Inspired by numerous European race cars from the 50’s and 60’s, the Renew Sports Car is both a blast from the past (aesthetically speaking) and a breath of fresh air in technological terms, reports Cannabis Now Magazine.

The body of the Renew Sports Car is made from carbon negative hemp fibers, rather than highly carbon positive materials, such as carbon fiber, steel, aluminum, fiberglass, or the petroleum-based plastics with which automobiles are typically produced today.

In keeping with Renew’s green mindset, their hemp body is mounted on a carbon debt free, re-certified 1990-97 Miata chassis, typically retaining its re-certified 27 MPG drive train.

Renew begins a nationwide tour this month, bringing the Hemp Sports Car to car shows, 420 festivals, hemp festivals, and green festivals across the country. At these shows, company President Bruce Dietzen encourages attendees to sit behind the wheel and take a selfie, so they can share the news with their friends on the internet and help spread the word. Renew’s ultimate mission is to make carbon neutral cars by 2025.

The key to saving our environment lies in making everything we need from what grows above the soil, not what’s buried beneath. The Hemp Sports Car is, perhaps, the most iconic example of this maxim that exists today,” he says.

Dietzen is confident that in the next decade, 75 percent of car components – even the batteries – could be manufactured using carbon negative hemp, reducing footprints even more than electric vehicles have done so far.

Renew Sports Cars is currently seeking funds for their nationwide tour through their IndieGoGo page, where the first online video of the car under power can be viewed. Be sure to visit their Facebook page and website to learn more about this revolutionary new vehicle.

What are your thoughts on Renew’s vision of hemp made/powered vehicles? Share with us in the comment section below!

Watch “The Truth About Cancer” Docu-Series Free

While we all throw around the term “Cancer” loosely, do we really know what it is and what it means?

Have you ever wondered why, despite the billions of dollars spent on cancer research over many decades and the promise of a cure which is forever “just around the corner,” cancer continues to increase?

The Truth About Cancer is a powerful docu-series that goes through powerful research behind cancer, treatment and new information that we all should know.

Watch the free series here.

Global Warming Is Slowing Ocean Currents Causing Dire Consequences, Warns Climate Expert Michael Mann ” EcoWatch

Climate scientists Michael Mann and Stefan Rahmstorf announced the findings of their new study yesterday, which shows that the rapid melting of the polar ice has slowed down currents in the Atlantic Ocean, particularly since 1970. The scientists say “the slowdown in ocean currents will result in sea level rise in cities like New York and Boston, and temperature changes on both sides of the Atlantic,” reports NPR’s Jeremy Hobson. Mann, who is a professor and the director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, joined Hobson yesterday on Here and Now to discuss the study and the implications of its findings.

Mann explains the consequences of the Gulf Stream shutting down and how it would drastically alter the climate in Europe and North America. The last time this happened, about 12,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age, North America and Europe went back into a mini-ice age, Mann says. Not only would North America and Europe experience colder temperatures, but “If those current systems shut down, then suddenly the North Atlantic [fisheries] would no longer be productive,” says Mann.

Mann says a shutdown of the Gulf Stream might happen a lot sooner than the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report predicts. “Our studies suggest we are much closer to that than the current model suggests. A full shutdown … could be decades from now.”

Listen to the full interview here:

The Senate Had A Hearing On Oil Exports And Didn’t Mention The Environment Once

On Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee convened a hearing to discuss the U.S. ban on crude oil exports, which has been in place since 1973. With the United States in the midst of an oil boom – and with Americans using less gas than ever before – lifting the ban would have profound implications both at home and abroad, issues that dominated the panelists’ testimony and committee’s questions.

“The national security side will be an extremely important part of this going forward,” Chairwoman Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), said during the hearing. “We all recognize that the world is a very, very volatile place right now.”

Lifting the export ban, several panelists argued, would allow the United States to leverage more power over potential oil sanctions by assuring that the international market would remain stable. It would also, panelists said, move the center of the international oil market away from unstable countries – both Russia and Iran merited a mention – stabilizing the overall supply.

Domestically, Carlos Pascual, fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, argued that lifting the export ban would lower gas prices and boost the U.S. economy. “The critical focus on the part of Americans is price,” Pascual said. “Every single study that has been done by a major institution has come to the same conclusion: lifting the export ban will reduce the price of gasoline in the United States,” while adding $38.1 billion to the U.S. GDP by 2020.

In all these calculations, however, there was one glaring omission: no panelist – or senator – talked about how lifting the export ban would impact the environment.

“It feels ridiculous to have a discussion about lifting the ban on oil exports and not talk about climate change,” Karthik Ganapathy, U.S. communications director at 350.org, told ThinkProgress. “What it boils down to is lifting the ban encourages and incentivizes oil production in the U.S. and that’s the wrong direction.”

Lifting the crude oil export ban would increase demand for oil in the international market, which would incentivize U.S. oil companies to expand their businesses and explore new options for drilling. Most likely, that would mean the extraction of tight oil reserves – the kind of petroleum extracted from shale or sandstone through hydraulic fracking.

“Our concern is that we need to be moving away from oil,” said David Turnbull, campaigns director at Oil Change International. “We need to be not relaxing U.S. oil regulations in the context of the climate crisis.”

Here are three issues surrounding crude oil exports that weren’t mentioned in Thursday’s Senate hearing.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

“The industry wants to lift the ban so they can increase production and have a bigger market to send their oil around,” Turnbull said. “The logical conclusion to that is that they would be ramping up production, and that has a clear climate impact.”

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), one-third of the world’s fossil fuel reserves – including coal, oil, and natural gas – need to remain in the ground to have a 50-50 shot at staying beneath the 2° Celsius warming limit internationally agreed upon by 141 countries in the Copenhagen Accord (a limit that, by some estimates, doesn’t go far enough in protecting us from the negative effects of climate change). To raise that chance to 80 percent, only one-tenth of current fossil fuel reserves can be extracted and burned by 2050. Working under those incredibly tight parameters, a huge amount of America’s natural gas needs to remain in the Earth for the 2°C goal to be feasible.

Lifting the crude oil export ban would encourage producers to flood the market with even more crude oil, stimulating the burning of a fuel that needs to stay in the ground if the 2°C goal has any chance of being a reality. As Oil Change International warned in a 2013 report, “Without an effective international regime to keep global greenhouse gas emissions below recognized thresholds, deregulating U.S. crude oil exports can only exacerbate the impending climate crisis.”

CREDIT: Josh Burstein / NextGen Climate Action

In addition to encouraging the extraction of tight oil, lifting the export ban could increase the amount of heavy crudes – like tar sands – brought into the U.S. for refining.

“Before we had this new boom of the lighter, desirable crude, [the U.S. oil industries] built a number of refineries that are specialized in getting usable product out of heavier crude,” Janet Larsen, director of research at Earth Policy Institute, told ThinkProgress. “If we can export the lighter stuff, we may end up … sending it to places that can refine it better, and using the refineries we have to process the heavier stuff.”

That, Larsen explains, would be tantamount to an double-whammy, increasing the production of both light crude and heavier, more greenhouse gas-intensive heavy crude.

Water Concerns

If deregulating crude oil exports encourages U.S. producers to ramp up extraction of tight oil, leading to an increase in fracking, the country’s already dwindling water supply could also be on the line.

Fracking is a water-intensive process, requiring millions of gallons of water to drill a single well. In places like California, which is in the midst of a historic drought, fracking would require the diversion of precious water resources to drill for a fuel that will simply exacerbate climate change, which some say caused the drought in the first place.

CREDIT: AuntSpray

But it doesn’t take a drought to raise concerns about the impact an increase in fracking would have on water supplies. Last week, the Environmental Working Group released a report on the chemicals found in California’s fracking wastewater, listing things like “petroleum chemicals, heavy metals, and radioactive elements.”

Even in places not currently experiencing drought, fracking – which, according to the EWG, produces more wastewater than it does oil or gas – gives environmentalists pause. “Pennsylvania is not necessarily in a drought,” Turnbull said, “but that doesn’t mean that people’s drinking water should be impacted.”

Dangerous Transportation

Since mid-February, four trains carrying crude oil have derailed in the U.S. and Canada, sparking massive fires and spilling their contents into waterways and communities.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that trains are not a particularly safe method of transporting crude oil. And yet, if the export ban is lifted, oil companies looking to ship their crude overseas will have to get their oil to market somehow – either by train or pipeline.

“Transporting oil, no matter which way you do it, is not safe,” Turnbull said. “It’s a combustible fuel. It causes problems when it gets mixed with water. When a pipeline leaks in a neighborhood, it can decimate it.”

To Turnbull, the debate over relaxing crude oil export regulations highlights a dangerous chasm between energy policy and climate policy. “It’s really incoherent,” he said, “to talk about the crude export ban and relaxing oil regulations without talking about climate change.”

PHOTO CREDIT: Anan Kaewkhammul
Written By: Natasha Geiling

Scientists successfully add woolly mammoth DNA into elephant

The woolly mammoth has been extinct for some 4,000 years ago, but now, researchers are attempting to bring it back to life.

A team at Harvard University has successfully inserted woolly mammoth DNA into the genetic code of an elephant.

The project was led by Harvard genetics professor George Church. He told The Sunday Times, “We prioritized genes associated with cold resistance including hairiness, ear size, subcutaneous fat and, especially, hemoglobin.”

Church has spoken about this type of genetic splicing in elephants before.

“We would propose to make a hybrid elephant that has the best features of modern elephants and the best features of mammoths.”

The Asian elephant is the closest relative to mammoths, although the size of mammoths was similar to that of the larger African elephant.

Church’s project isn’t without its critics, though.

Some scientists are against using elephants to potentially bring back the woolly mammoths. Professor Alex Greenwood told The Telegraph: “Why bring back another elephantid from extinction when we cannot even keep the ones that are not extinct around? What is the message? We can be as irresponsible with the environment as we want. Then we’ll just clone things back?”

The Harvard-led project has not yet been submitted to a journal because the research is ongoing.

World Faces Severe Water Shortage If Changes Are Not Made, UN Warns | VICE News

With the world’s population expected to grow to 9.1 billion by mid-century, already depleted groundwater supplies will continue to be gobbled up by agriculture, industry, power generation and personal use, according to the UN’s annual World Water Development Report.

The report, released Friday, says that around 20 percent of groundwater sources are already “overexploited” – a problem that will only grow more dire by 2050, when demand for water is expected to have risen by more than half.

Most alarmingly, the report warns that as early as 2030, the planet could have only 60 percent of the water required to sustain itself if substantial changes are not made to improve management of the resource.

“Unless the balance between demand and finite supplies is restored, the world will face an increasingly severe global water deficit,” says the report.

“Unless the balance between demand and finite supplies is restored, the world will face an increasingly severe global water deficit.”

Richard Connor, lead author of the UN report and an independent water expert, told VICE News that the crisis could possibly be averted if countries mandate efficient water use and attach a greater price to water itself. He said climate change, which is already beginning to exacerbate variations in weather patterns – some parched climates may become even drier in the future, wetter ones rainier – makes that task even more pressing.

“With respect to climate change, the two major problems have to do with salt water intrusion in aquifers due to sea level rise, as well as the impact in the variability of distribution of rain,” Connor said.

Coastal cities like Kolkata, Shanghai, Dhaka and Jakarta already face a rise in salinization of their fresh water supplies in part due to uncontrolled groundwater extraction. As salt water mixes with longstanding aquifers, both licit and illegal wells are dug deeper, furthering the problem.

In Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh and one of the most vulnerable cities to sea rise, the World Bank predicts salt content in soil could decrease the yields of some rice crops by more than 15 percent. By 2050 researchers say climate change will cause the salinity of rivers in Bangladesh to vary significantly during dry seasons and lead to the disruption of important aquatic habitats for animals like freshwater fish and prawns. Even road construction will cost more, as higher salt levels in soil cause cracking in paved surfaces.

Related: Despite the Deep Freeze on the US East Coast, This Winter Was the Hottest on Record

Connor said that inefficient water consumption is irreplaceably draining water supplies in places like the Western US, Middle East and in parts of North Africa, China, and small island states in the Pacific.

“In all of these places people rely on ground water for irrigation and other uses.” he said. “And in a lot of cases the ground water isn’t used sustainably, they are basically just taking money out of the bank,” added Connor.

The report highlighted several localized cases where governments were able to better manage supplies. In Cyprus, subsidies and low-interest loans for farmers helped many switch to more efficient irrigation systems. That efficiency, however, may only “lead to the expansion of irrigated areas instead of increased flows in rivers,” it warned.

“In a lot of cases the ground water isn’t used sustainably, they are basically just taking money out of the bank.”

The report arrives as UN officials are coming to grips with the devastation Cyclone Pam last week inflicted on the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu. Scientists say climate change will only worsen the intensity of storms like Pam and Typhoon Haiyan, which made landfall in the Philippines in 2013 with record strength, leaving more than 6,000 people dead. Such storms already are disrupting delicate water supplies in vulnerable areas.

At the opposite extreme, record droughts are hitting places like the Western United States and Brazil, and imperiling agriculture in those areas.

Although industry, power generation and personal use of water loom large in many parts of the world, agricultural activities account for around 70 percent of water use globally, and as much as 90 percent in poorer countries. The UN predicts the sector will need to produce 60 percent more food to feed the world’s population by 2050, and it is not clear where the requisite water for such a surge in food production will come from.

“California is in particular in trouble, which means the US is in trouble, because California is where a lot of the US’s food is produced,” said Connor, who predicted American food prices will rise in the coming years.

Related: Watch A Weeks’ Worth of Senator Ted Cruz Denying Climate Change

The report, which was unveiled in Delhi, called on countries to raise their water tariffs, claiming they were currently “far too low to actually limit excessive water use by wealthy households or industries.”

Governments in developing countries face the daunting goal of decreasing or altering use while at the same time extending proper sanitation systems and clean supplies of fresh water to impoverished communities. In India, where more than half a million people still defecate in the open, some 748 million people also remain without permanent access to an improved drinking water source.

Related: Follow Samuel Oakford on Twitter: @samueloakford
It Might Be Possible To Reduce Carbon Emissions And Grow The Economy At The Same Time

Connor points to UN estimates that put the return on every dollar spent on sanitation at more than five times the initial investment – a payoff seen in decreased healthcare costs due to lessened disease transmission and a subsequent rise in worker productivity. But upfront costs for sanitation systems can be expensive, and in many cases more wells are simply dug.

“If we continue business as usual we are on an unsustainable path,” said Connor.

Free Paris transport to reduce smog

Authorities in Paris have taken the rare step of making public transport free for three days to reduce severe smog caused by unusually warm weather.

The French capital region and 30 other departments have been on maximum pollution alert for several days.

Landmark buildings like the Eiffel Tower were barely visible after a white fog settled over Paris.

The capital’s air quality has been one of the worst on record, French environmental agencies say.

A lack of wind, combined with cold nights followed by unseasonably warm days, has contributed to the worsening conditions.

The smog has also affected neighbouring Belgium, where officials have reduced the maximum speed limit allowed on main roads. The southern Wallonia region said it had also decided to make buses, trains and underground trains free until the pollution emergency was over.

‘Significant risks’

Experts say levels of smog recorded in Paris this week have been similar to those of Beijing in China, one of the world’s most polluted cities.

As part of the emergency measures, commuters in Paris and neighbouring areas will not have to pay for public transport between Friday and Sunday.

Bike sharing services are also free, as are one-hour sessions for electric car shares, the Associated Press news agency reports.

French authorities appealed to drivers to leave their cars at home.

“I am asking all residents in Paris and neighbouring areas to favour the use of public transport,” said Jean-Paul Huchon, the head of the the capital’s transport authority.

He also warned that current pollution levels represented “significant risks” to people’s health.

The elderly, children, asthmatics and people with heart problems have been advised to stay indoors to avoid potential breathing problems.

Environment minister Philippe Martin said air quality had now become “an emergency and priority for the government”.

The country’s northern and eastern regions have been particularly hit by toxic pollutants.

Several other French cities, including Reims, Rouen and Caen, announced they would follow Paris’s example and make their public transport free over the weekend.

Earth is halfway to being inhospitable to life, scientist says

A Swedish scientist claims in a new theory that humanity has exceeded four of the nine limits for keeping the planet hospitable to modern life, while another professor told RT Earth may be seeing an impending human-made extinction of various species.

Environmental science professor Johan Rockstrom, the executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre in Sweden, argues that there are nine ” planetary boundaries ” in a new paper published in Science – and human beings have already crossed four of them.

Those nine include carbon dioxide concentrations, maintaining biodiversity at 90 percent, the use of nitrogen and phosphorous, maintaining 75 percent of original forests, aerosol emissions, stratospheric ozone depletion, ocean acidification, fresh water use and the dumping of pollutants.

The planet has been our best friend by buffering our actions and showing its resilience,” said Rockstrom. ” But for the first time ever, we might shift the planet from friend to foe.”

Rockstrom’s planetary boundary theory was first conceived in 2007. His new paper reveals that because of climate stability, which began when the Ice Age ended 11,000 years ago, a planetary calm helped our ancestors to cultivate wheat, domesticate animals, and launch industrial and communications revolutions. But those advances have strained the stability of the planet, and Rockstrom says we have broken four boundaries: too much nitrogen has been added to ecosystems, too many forests have been cut down, the climate is changing too quickly and species are going extinct at too great a rate.

Speaking to RT’s Ben Swann, Professor of Ethics Bron Taylor from the University of Florida said that we have accelerated the extinction crisis through deforestation and ocean acidification, a development which is driving species to extinction.

“[Human] beings have increased, even from 1925, from 2 billion – which is considered to be a sustainable population for human beings, according to northern European consumption standards – to 7.2 billion at this point, ” he said.

What we have also done is increased the number of domestic animals, the ones we eat and the ones that are companion animals. We have 4.3 domestic animals one for every two human beings on the planet. Cultivating the land they need creates species extinction because where they are, other organism are not. Where we cut down forests for cattle, other species are not there.”

We are losing literally tens of thousands of endemic or native species to these trends.”

READ MORE: Only 1 year of water left in California, NASA scientist suggests rationing

Professor Taylor told RT that scientists say we entering the Sixth extinction, but that this an anthropogenic extinction caused by human beings.

If you don’t have control over something, there is no moral obligation,” said Taylor. ” In this case, we are doing it. So we have to ask the question: If we are doing something that is driving species off the planet, are we in some sense morally culpable?”

“What right do we have to drive [out] other species, who got here in precisely in the same way that we have, who have participated in the long struggle for existence just as we have?”

READ MORE: Fracking wastewater in California full of harmful, cancerous chemicals – report

Meanwhile, Professor Rockstrom is using his planetary boundary theory not as a doomsday message but as analysis to keep the planet “safe” for humanity. He said nations can cut their carbon emissions to almost nothing and pull the Earth back across the climate boundary.

“For the first time,” he said, ” we have a framework for growth, for eradicating poverty and hunger, and for improving health.”

Monsanto Weedkiller Is  ’ Probably Carcinogenic,’ WHO Says

(Bloomberg) — Monsanto Co.’s best-selling weedkiller Roundup probably causes cancer, the World Health Organization said in a report that’s at odds with prior findings.

Roundup is the market name for the chemical glyphosate. A report published by the WHO in the journal Lancet Oncology said Friday there is “limited evidence” that the weedkiller can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and lung cancer and “convincing evidence” it can cause cancer in lab animals. The report was posted on the website of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC, the Lyon, France-based arm of the WHO.

Monsanto, which invented glyphosate in 1974, made its herbicide the world’s most popular with the mid-1990s introduction of crops such as corn and soybeans that are genetically engineered to survive it. The WHO didn’t examine any new data and its findings are inconsistent with assessments from the U.S., European Union and elsewhere, Monsanto said.

“We don’t know how IARC could reach a conclusion that is such a dramatic departure from the conclusion reached by all regulatory agencies around the globe,” Philip Miller, Monsanto vice president for global regulatory affairs, said in a statement.

“The evidence in humans is from studies of exposures, mostly agricultural, in the USA, Canada, and Sweden published since 2001,” the WHO said in the report. “In addition, there is convincing evidence that glyphosate also can cause cancer in laboratory animals.”

The WHO said exposure by the general population is “generally low.”

German Study

There is no link between glyphosate and an increase in cancer when relevant studies are included in scientific reviews, Miller said. Last year, a German government evaluation conducted for the European Union found “the available data do not show carcinogenic or mutagenic properties of glyphosate nor that glyphosate is toxic to fertility, reproduction or embryonal/fetal development in laboratory animals.”

Monsanto’s $15.9 billion of annual sales are closely tied to glyphosate. Most of the company’s crops are designed to be used in tandem with it.

The stock rose 0.3 percent to $115.75 at the close in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jack Kaskey in Houston at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Casey at [email protected] Robin Saponar, Carlos Caminada

Here’s Why Forests Should Matter to All of Us

Today is International Day of Forests, a global celebration of the importance of trees in our everyday lives. You’re a techie who spends all day in front of your computer and you haven’t cracked a window recently? Forests still matter, a lot.

This year’s theme, “Forests and Climate Change,” is intended to raise awareness of the key role forests play in tempering Earth’s climate, and how forests can be a part of the solution to anthropogenic climate change in the future. Forests soak up carbon dioxide and release oxygen, keeping our atmosphere cool and breathable. They produce many of the raw materials we depend on, and harbor the lion’s share of Earth’s biodiversity. Also, they’re just generally awesome.

A few fun facts about Earth’s forests:

  • One in four people depend on a forest for their livelihood
  • Rainforests cover 2% of the Earth’s surface but are home to 50% of all plants and animals
  • Forests supply 75 % of our planet’s fresh water
  • Deforestation accounts for up to 20 % of human greenhouse gas emissions
  • A soccer field’s worth of forest is lost every second, or a region the size of Panama each year

He lives in a forest. Lip Kee / Flickr

Go on, crack a window, hug a tree today, or take a walk in the woods if you can. [ National Geographic via Inhabitat]

Top image: Moyan Brenn /Flickr

France decrees new rooftops must be covered in plants or solar panels

Rooftops on new buildings built in commercial zones in France must either be partially covered in plants or solar panels, under a law approved on Thursday.

Green roofs have an isolating effect, helping reduce the amount of energy needed to heat a building in winter and cool it in summer.

They also retain rainwater, thus helping reduce problems with runoff, while favouring biodiversity and giving birds a place to nest in the urban jungle, ecologists say.

The law approved by parliament was more limited in scope than initial calls by French environmental activists to make green roofs that cover the entire surface mandatory on all new buildings.

The Socialist government convinced activists to limit the scope of the law to commercial buildings.

The law was also made less onerous for businesses by requiring only part of the roof to be covered with plants, and giving them the choice of installing solar panels to generate electricity instead.

Green roofs are popular in Germany and Australia, and Canada’s city of Toronto adopted a by-law in 2009 mandating them in industrial and residential buildings.

NOAA: Hottest Winter On Record Globally, 19th-Warmest Winter In U.S.

If you live on the East Coast of the United States, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just released some statistics that may surprise you:

    • Globally, this has been the hottest winter on record, topping the previous record (2007) by 0.05°F.
    • This was “the 19th warmest winter for the contiguous US.”
    • Globally it’s easily been the hottest start to any year (January-February), beating the previous records (2002, 2007) by 0.07°F.
    • This was the second warmest February globally, and “slightly below” the 20th-century average in the contiguous U.S.
        Note: For NOAA, winter is the “meteorological winter” (December 2014 to February 2015).

As the NOAA map above shows, other than the “cooler than average” northeast, this winter has been “warmer than average” and “much warmer than average” and “record warmest” over every other land area in the world.

In particular, many Western states saw their hottest winter on record – which is not a surprise if you live in drought-stricken California or its neighbors:

Now entering its fourth year, the drought in California is so bad that NASA senior water scientist Jay Famiglietti warned that “the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing.” Global warming-driven record heat has made this the worst California drought in 1200 years, as scientists explained in December.

The Earth keeps setting the record for the hottest 12 months in the surface temperature record, as we reported Saturday. NOAA’s global data show we’ve started this year at a record pace – and early indications are that March will be warm globally – so we are on track for what is likely to be the hottest calendar year on record.

The melting of Antarctica was already really bad. It just got worse.

A hundred years from now, humans may remember 2014 as the year when we first learned that we may have irreversibly destabilized the great ice sheet of West Antarctica, and thus set in motion more than 10 feet of sea level rise.

2015, meanwhile, could be the year of the double whammy – when we learned the same about one gigantic glacier of East Antarctica, which could set in motion roughly the same amount all over again. Northern hemisphere residents and Americans in particular should take note – when the bottom of the world loses vast amounts of ice, those of us living closer to its top get more sea level rise than the rest of the planet, thanks to the law of gravity.

The findings about East Antarctica emerge from a new paper just out in Nature Geoscience by an international team of scientists representing the U.S., Britain, France and Australia. They flew a number of research flights over the Totten Glacier of East Antarctica – the fastest-thinning sector of the world’s largest ice sheet – and took a variety of measurements to try to figure out the reasons behind its retreat. And the news wasn’t good: It appears that Totten, too, is losing ice because warm ocean water is getting underneath it.

[Related: Research casts alarming light on the decline of West Antarctic glaciers]

“The idea of warm ocean water eroding the ice in West Antarctica, what we’re finding is that may well be applicable in East Antarctica as well,” says Martin Siegert, a co-author of the study and who is based at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London.

The Totten Glacier covers an area of 40 miles by 18 miles. It it is losing an amount of ice “equivalent to 100 times the volume of Sydney Harbour every year,” notes the Australian Antarctic Division.

That’s alarming, because the glacier holds back a much more vast catchment of ice that, were its vulnerable parts to flow into the ocean, could produce a sea level rise of 3.5 meters, or more than 11 feet – which is comparable to the impact from a loss of the West Antarctica ice sheet. And that’s “a conservative lower limit,” says lead study author Jamin Greenbaum, a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, Austin.

Antartica Melting Worse Than Expected

In its alignment with the land and the sea, the Totten Glacier is similar to the West Antarctic glaciers, which also feature so-called ice shelves that slope out from the vast sheet of ice on land and extend into the water. These ice shelves are a key source of instability, because if ocean waters beneath them warm, they can lose ice rapidly, allowing the ice sheet behind them to flow more quickly into the sea.

The researchers used three separate types of measurements taken during their flights – gravitational measurements, radar, and laser altimetry – to get a glimpse of what might be happening beneath the massive glacier, whose ice shelves are over 500 meters thick in places. Using radar, they could measure the ice’s thickness. Meanwhile, by measuring the pull of the Earth’s gravity on the airplane in different places, the scientists were able to determine just how far below that ice the seafloor was.

The result was the discovery of two undersea troughs or valleys beneath the ice shelf – regions where the seafloor slopes downward, allowing a greater depth of water beneath the floating ice. These cavities or subsea valleys, the researchers suggest, may explain the glacier’s retreat – they could allow warmer deep waters to get underneath the ice shelf, accelerating its melting.

In this particular area of Antarctica, explains Greenbaum, a warmer layer of ocean water offshore is actually deeper than the colder layers above it, due to the saltwater content of the warm water (which increases its density). And the canyons may allow that warm water access to the glacier base. “What we found here is that there are seafloor valleys deeper than the depth of the maximum temperature measured near the glacier,” says Greenbaum.

One of these canyons is three miles wide, in a region that was previously believed to simply hold ice lying atop solid earth. On the contrary, the new study suggests the ice is instead afloat.

The availiability of warm water, and the observed melting, notes the study, “support the idea that the behaviour of Totten Glacier is an East Antarctic analogue to ocean-driven retreat underway in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). The global sea level potential of 3.5 m flowing through Totten Glacier alone is of similar magnitude to the entire probable contribution of the WAIS.”

One limitation of the study is that the scientists were not able to directly measure the temperature of ocean water that is reaching the glacier itself. While this could be done with robotic underwater vehicles or other methods, that wasn’t part of the study at this time. Thus, the conclusions are more focused on inferring the vulnerability of the glacier based on a number of different pieces of evidence – topped off by the fact that the glacier is, indeed, retreating.

[Related: These subsea drones are figuring out just how badly we are messing up the planet]

For residents of the United States – and indeed, the entire northern hemisphere – the impact could be more dire. If Antarctica loses volumes of ice that would translate into major contributions to sea level rise,that risewould not be distributed evenly around the globe. The reason is the force of gravity. Antarctica is so massive that it pulls the ocean towards it, but if it loses ice that gravitational pull will relax, and the ocean will slosh back towards the northern hemisphere – which will experience additional sea level rise.

For the United States, the amount of sea level rise could be 25 percent or more than the global average.

[Related: The U.S. has caused more global warming than any other country. Here’s how the Earth will get its revenge]

Much as with the ocean-abutting glaciers of West Antarctica, just because a retreat has been observed – and because the entirety of the region implies a sea level rise of 11 or more feet were all ice to end up in the ocean – does not mean that we’ll see anything near that much sea level rise in our own lifetimes. These processes are generally expected to play out over hundreds of years or more. They would reshape the face of the Earth – but we may never see it.

The problem, then, is more the world we’re leaving to our children and grandchildren – because once such a gigantic geophysical process begins, it’s hard to see how it comes to a halt. “With warming oceans, it’s difficult to see how a process that starts now would be reversed, or reversible, in a warming world,” says Siegert.

WATCH HBO’s Award-Winning VICE Exposes Climate Deniers and the Dire Consequences of Sea Level Rise

The first episode covers the pressing issue of sea level rise. VICE Media founder Shane Smith travels to the bottom of the world to investigate the instability of the West Antarctic ice sheet and see how the continent is melting. Then, the VICE crew heads to Bangladesh to capture the impacts of rising sea levels on this South Asian country.

“From the UN Climate conference to the People’s Climate March to the forces that deny the science of global climate change,” says HBO, “this extended report covers all sides of the issue and all corners of the globe, ending in a special interview with Vice President Joe Biden.”

VICE is an innovative media company whose correspondents cover stories that traditional news outlets often overlook. HBO partners with VICE to produce the weekly series. And the season premiere has good timing because next week Robert Swan will take his 2041 team on this year’s International Antarctic Expedition to show the firsthand effects of climate change on the continent.


“If even a small fraction of the ice sheet in Antarctica melts, the resulting sea level rise will completely remap the world as we know it,” says VICE Media founder Shane Smith.

“Antarctica holds 90 percent of the world’s ice and 70 percent of its freshwater,” says VICE Media founder Shane Smith. “So if even a small fraction of the ice sheet in Antarctica melts, the resulting sea level rise will completely remap the world as we know it. And it is already happening: In the last decade, some of the most significant glaciers [in Antarctica] have tripled their melt rate.”

Antarctica is getting all of this attention because if “it starts melting at the same rate as Greenland, we’re in for trouble,” says Smith. And yet, “in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence,” says Smith, there’s a small, but vocal group of climate deniers that have skewed public perception of climate science and stonewalled efforts to take meaningful action in addressing climate change.

VICE gets an inside look at these self-proclaimed “skeptics” at their annual International Conference on Climate Change hosted by the Heartland Institute, who are funded by the likes of Exxon Mobil and the Koch Brothers. As Upton Sinclair famously said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

California has about one year of water left. This is serious!!

Given the historic low temperatures and snowfalls that pummeled the eastern U.S. this winter, it might be easy to overlook how devastating California’s winter was as well.

As our “wet” season draws to a close, it is clear that the paltry rain and snowfall have done almost nothing to alleviate epic drought conditions. January was the driest in California since record-keeping began in 1895. Groundwater and snowpack levels are at all-time lows. We’re not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we’re losing the creek too.


Statewide Drought Takes Toll On California's Lake Oroville Water Level


Data from NASA satellites show that the total amount of water stored in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins – that is, all of the snow, river and reservoir water, water in soils and groundwater combined – was 34 million acre-feet below normal in 2014. That loss is nearly 1.5 times the capacity of Lake Mead, America’s largest reservoir.

Statewide, we’ve been dropping more than 12 million acre-feet of total water yearly since 2011. Roughly two-thirds of these losses are attributable to groundwater pumping for agricultural irrigation in the Central Valley. Farmers have little choice but to pump more groundwater during droughts, especially when their surface water allocations have been slashed 80% to 100%. But these pumping rates are excessive and unsustainable. Wells are running dry. In some areas of the Central Valley, the land is sinking by one foot or more per year.

One drop on wheat corn and dry land

As difficult as it may be to face, the simple fact is that California is running out of water – and the problem started before our current drought. NASA data reveal that total water storage in California has been in steady decline since at least 2002, when satellite-based monitoring began, although groundwater depletion has been going on since the early 20th century.

Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing. California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except, apparently, staying in emergency mode and praying for rain.

In short, we have no paddle to navigate this crisis.

comparison california drought

Several steps need be taken right now. First, immediate mandatory water rationing should be authorized across all of the state’s water sectors, from domestic and municipal through agricultural and industrial. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is already considering water rationing by the summer unless conditions improve. There is no need for the rest of the state to hesitate. The public is ready. A recent Field Poll showed that 94% of Californians surveyed believe that the drought is serious, and that one-third support mandatory rationing.

Second, the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 should be accelerated. The law requires the formation of numerous, regional groundwater sustainability agencies by 2017. Then each agency must adopt a plan by 2022 and “achieve sustainability” 20 years after that. At that pace, it will be nearly 30 years before we even know what is working. By then, there may be no groundwater left to sustain.

Third, the state needs a task force of thought leaders that starts, right now, brainstorming to lay the groundwork for long-term water management strategies. Although several state task forces have been formed in response to the drought, none is focused on solving the long-term needs of a drought-prone, perennially water-stressed California.

california snowpack

Our state’s water management is complex, but the technology and expertise exist to handle this harrowing future. It will require major changes in policy and infrastructure that could take decades to identify and act upon. Today, not tomorrow, is the time to begin.

Finally, the public must take ownership of this issue. This crisis belongs to all of us – not just to a handful of decision-makers. Water is our most important, commonly owned resource, but the public remains detached from discussions and decisions.

This process works just fine when water is in abundance. In times of crisis, however, we must demand that planning for California’s water security be an honest, transparent and forward-looking process. Most important, we must make sure that there is in fact a plan.

Call me old-fashioned, but I’d like to live in a state that has a paddle so that it might also still have a creek.

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Jay Famiglietti is the senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech and a professor of Earth system science at UC Irvine.

Source: Los Angeles Times

How One Man Revolutionized the Farming World

Masanobu Fukuoka may be one of the most farsighted and downright radical farmers to have ever lived! Why? Because over the past 30 years, he gradually abandoned most conventional agricultural practices in order to return control of his land to the most skilled grower of all … Nature herself! In return – he claimed – he has reaped both bumper crops and a peace that surpasses understanding.

On August 16, 2008 Masanobu died, but not without leaving behind some of the most important farming lessons known.

Look at this grain! I believe that a revolution can begin from this one strand of straw. Then take a look at these fields of rye and barley. This ripening grain will yield about 22 bushels (1,300 pounds) per quarter acre. I believe this matches the top yields in Ehime Prefecture (where I live), and therefore, it could easily equal the top harvest in the whole country since this is one of the prime agricultural areas in Japan. And yet . . . these fields have not been plowed for 25 years!

One Man Holds a PATENT That Could Crush MONSANTO and Change The World

This may be some of the most important information we ever share here at LoveClicks.org. What you are about to read holds tremendous potential to radically change the entire world in many positive ways.

Monsanto does not want this article to go viral, for if it does, it could very well bring about their demise.

In 2006 a patent was granted to a man named Paul Stamets. Even though Paul is the world’s leading mycologist, his patent has received very little attention and exposure. Why? As stated by executives in the pesticide industry, this patent represents “the most disruptive technology we have ever witnessed.” And when they say disruptive, they are referring to it being disruptive to their chemical pesticides industry.

We can no longer deny that the pesticide industry is causing incredibly detrimental effects to the earth, people, animals, plants & insects too. The rapid decline of the world’s bee populations is being attributed to Monsanto’s chemical concoctions that are being sprayed over farmers fields around the world. ( Though the number of countries who have kicked out & banned Monsanto is growing) The use of chemical pesticides is a practice that absolutely must stop and new methods must be employed before it’s too late.

Yet with Monsanto generating nearly $16 BILLION dollars in 2014, they certainly do not want anything getting in the way of that money flow. That kind of revenue gives them a lot of resources and abilities to suppress information that may be damaging to them.

Like this patent of Paul Stamet’s. Paul has figured out how to use mother nature’s own creations to keep insects from destroying crops. It is what’s being called SMART pesticides. These biopesticides provide a safe & nearly permanent solution for controlling over 200,000 species of insects, and it is all thanks to the ‘magic’ of mushrooms.

I won’t go into the specifics of how it all works, for most of us won’t really understand it anyway, but to summarize, he does this by taking entomopathogenic Fungi (fungi that destroys insects) and morphs it into not producing spores. This in turn actually attracts the insects who then eat and turn into fungi from the inside out!

For those who do want to do their own further reseach on the topic, I have provided a list of links below to help you along.

As more people wake up to the damaging effects of Monsanto’s chemicals & GMO foods, the demand for truly nutritious, pesticide free, non-gmo, organic foods is on the rise. We are seeing more community gardens & urban forests being created. More people are starting to grow food, not lawns. Permaculture is becoming more widely talked about and understood. There is a major paradigm shift happening right now as our collective consciousness expands and awakens.

These truly are exciting, monumental times we live in. We are seeing old world ways crumble and power structures fall as we wake up and step up to collectively create a more healthy and sustainable way of working, living & playing together on this planet. The time has come. We can do this!

Here is a link to the patent we are speaking of: 7,122,176A list of all the patents Paul has applied for:Plenty of information about Paul Stamets:Wikipedia page about Paul Stamets:

And finally, here is a TedTalks video by Paul in 2008 called:
6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save The World

Please spend a few moments to share this article as far and wide as you possibly can. The information and links on this page are important and hold the potential to bring about profound changes on this earth, but only if enough people see and become aware of this. Thank you.