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The Beginning of A New Industry to Suck CO2 From The Atmosphere

A Canadian company in west Texas, near what is considered the most productive oilfields of the continent, is building a new and exciting plant. The main objective of the plant is to suck out those extra tonnes of carbon dioxide from the air, which is one of the ruling components catalyzing air pollution.

If things go according to the outlined plans, Carbon Engineering’s solitary plant will stand tall as a revolutionary strategy to combat climate change. In a recent interview, CEO Steve Oldham stated that “We’re pulling the CO2 back down” and we cannot hold our excitement to witness how things eventually turn out to be.

Considering the ever-surging levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, educated humans from all around the world in labs and boardrooms are always outlining schemes that would reduce CO2 emissions to restore the vitality of the planet. However, the good news is, a generous amount of carbon dioxide has already been removed from the air, and this provides the common human with a ray of hope for better days.

A paper published in the scientific journal “Nature Climate Change” stated that for climate change to remain static at 2 degrees Celsius, about 120-160 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide must be pulled out from the circumscribing air and stored underground.

Nevertheless, conducting something like this will need to be backed by enormous resources, and this is why the participation of large-scale companies like Carbon Engineering to bring about an alteration has gained attention. To balance things out, making use of CO2 to fabricate commercial products can ensure the payments for the sizable scale-up technology to suck CO2 from the air and insert it into the ground.

A large fan pulls CO2 from the air, in Squamish, B.C.

Carbon Engineering has already lent momentum to its plan of pulling CO2 from the air and transforming them into fuel in its pilot plant located in Squamish, B.C.; while CarbonCure Technologies has taken up the role of injecting the CO2 into the concrete. There is already a string of companies in the industry that are pumping CO2 underground to push up more oil on the surface of the soil to facilitate its easy availability.

Other companies that have signed up with a similar agenda are making use of the gas to fashion chemicals that are useful in everyday life and plastics. To encourage more and more companies to take part in the movement that is striving to make the world more habitable, the group is running the Carbon XPrize that comprises of a $20 million award for the idea that can convert CO2 into the most appropriate saleable product.

As per predictions, this market is expected to grow steadily at $1 trillion per year but, the question is whether or not is the prize money capable of accelerating innovation and construction to curb atmospheric CO2 to prevent global temperatures from moving past 1.5 degrees. If things aren’t taken under control at the earliest, this configuration is only a decade away.

Hemp is Here to Negate the Age-Old Rule of Cotton Through Levi’s Jeans

Hemp is making a comeback through Levi’s jeans to negate the age-old rule of cotton. For the first time in centuries, hemp is legal across the United States. It is owing to the innumerable benefits that the plant introduces both to the users and the environment. Considering its increasing popularity, the fact that hemp produces twice as much fiber as cotton can no longer be hidden under the veil.

Furthermore, the amount of pesticides and water that goes into growing hemp is less significant when weighed against the other fabrics. This is primarily the reason why the derivatives of hemp are now being used to fashion clothes. Levi’s stands as one of the first brands to capitalize on its profits as a source of clothing by amalgamating it into their trademarks.

Hemp used as a sustainable cotton.

A common misconception that surrounded hemp was that the plant is synonymous with marijuana, and this notion encouraged the illegal cultivation of the former in the United States for over 80 years. However, after Congress passed the Hemp farming Act, it was included in the farm bill in December 2018 thereby, rendered clothing manufacturers from every nook and corner of America with the opportunity to utilize the affordable recourse of hemp.

The law fundamentally aims at legalizing the production, cultivation, processing, and distribution of hemp for industrial use. Let us point out that industrial hemp doesn’t contain even the slightest trace of THC, the compound responsible for stimulating the psychoactive effect in humans and, therefore, will not make you high.

Levi Strauss has taken up this project of mixing hemp fiber with their cult denim to tag itself as a more sustainable alternative. For starters, they rolled out the ball by blending 30% of hemp with 70% cotton but, if all things work well and fulfill the market anticipations, they hope to have 100% hemp jeans soon.

The prime heads controlling this drive believes that their customers are familiar with the texture of cotton, and for them to successfully accustom themselves to the stiffness of hemp, the mechanism should be advanced steadily.

A hemp field

As per the predictions of cannabis analytics, the hemp industry is expecting to reach a configuration of around $5.7 billion by 2020. With the environmental concerns only rising by the day, these jeans come as a relief. Apart from being a sustainable choice, since hemp is 100% biodegradable.

Additionally, when hemp is disposed of in the soil, it is capable of eliminating the harmful toxins from it, therefore, creating enough for a cleaner and safer environment to thrive. The material’s durability allows them to last longer than cotton and hence, wouldn’t require to be replaced frequently.

We are looking forward to the vent of change, something that is capable of substituting the principal utilities with an equally efficient option, and presently, hemp appears to be the ultimate solution for all our ordeals.

China Has Assigned 60,000 Soldiers to Plant Trees

Considering the raging effects of Global Warming that has taken every corner of this planet under its grip, China has reciprocated by assigning a total of 60,000 troops to plant trees and make way for new forests. According to reports, an active regiment of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the country’s armed police have been removed from their posts, to guard the borders of the North. They have been tasked with planting trees that would resultantly create a stable platform to combat the evils of swelling pollution.

Considering the objective of the project, it is bound to be characterized by large-scale schemes and support from the authorities involved. As per plans, the major part of this number will be deployed to Hebei province, the one which encapsulates Beijing from all sides and where three new projects have been planned, and the rest will be evenly dispersed across the rest of the country. The primary reason supporting this distribution is that Hebei province is the principal perpetrator producing the thick and polluted smog that hovers like a blanket above the capital city. The regiments have pledged to escalate the total forest coverage of Hebei by 35% in 2020 so that the reputation of the capital as the ultimate culprit for instigating pollution, is waived off.

With this project, China is looking forward to transforming around 6.66 million hectares of land into new forests in this year itself. Additionally, in the last five years, near about 33.8 million hectares of land have already been used up to sow the seeds of trees that will grow and develop into nothing less than the literal getaways for a healthier and enriched life in such time of crises. As per reports, the country is also keen to increase the portion covered by woodlands by 1.3%; meaning, the configuration that rested at 21.7% in 2016 will go up to 23% by the end of 2020.

The armed police force has been served with a specially assigned forestry branch for surveillance to analyze the forested chunks of including the northeastern Greater Khingan mountain range, which is also known as China’s “green lungs” in Inner Mongolia provinces and Heilongjiang. If we are to state facts from the current forest reports, then it is worth mentioning that the total forested area of the nation now stands at 208 million hectares, which includes the introduction of 33.8 million acres of wooded land in the last five years.

China’s plan to remove soldiers from their posts and endow them with the responsibilities towards the environment is not new. When we go back a little, we are reminded of 2015 when Beijing announced its plan to release 30,000 soldiers and PLA-personnel who were allotted similar tasks of planting trees and improving the state-level infrastructure projects. Keeping aside the positive impacts that the project is about to ring in, the redeployed troops have shown enthusiasm towards this mission as well. According to the soldiers, planting trees inland would allow them to give up on the harsh living conditions that are predominant around the Northern borders of China, where they had been initially placed.

The Irwin Family Comes to The Rescue of Animals Injured in Australian Wildfires

The Irwin family is taking forward the legacy of Steve Irwin to save the animals that have been injured as a repercussion of the wildfires in Australia. Terri Irwin and Robert Irwin, Steve’s widow and son respectively, related out their thoughts in an interview about the devastation brought upon by the raging wildfires that have taken the entire flora and fauna of the nation into its ugly clutches.

They stated that witnessing the vulnerability of the animals in the face of this catastrophe was nothing but heartbreaking and upsetting. Innumerable helpless creatures from koalas to kangaroos from all across the country lost their habitats to this devastating disaster. Several videos and pictures surfaced on the internet that showed that these animals had no place to go and desperately looked for assistance after developing severe burns in the fire.

The Irwin family protecting and saving animals.

The Irwin family operates the Australian zoo, which was rendered safe from the fires, and according to reports, the wildlife hospital of the zoo has encountered a steep rise in the number of injured animals in the last few days. During the interview, Terri Irwin said: “The problem with the koalas, is that whenever they find themselves in the face of a crisis, they climb up to the top of the trees.” Eucalyptus trees, in particular, contain high portions of oil in their leaves, and whenever the fire hits a tree, it explodes in a moment.

The latest statistics suggest that the bushfires killed around one-third of koalas residing in New South Wales, and there was nothing anybody could have done about it. Even though the zoo’s hospital specializes in koalas, it takes all other injured animals into its care, including birds and bats as well. Terri further explained that if nothing is done about this wildfire soon, the number of animals admitted in the hospital will only increase, and hundreds will turn into thousands without us even knowing.

When animals die or are injured in such uncontrolled numbers, the entire balance of the ecosystem is disrupted; bats, for instance, are the farthest-flying pollinators, without them, the animals categorized below and above them will fail to survive and this chain will only continue to plague. Terri added that around 15 million acres of land have already been destroyed, and judging by the looks of it, the number will keep on multiplying if nothing is done about the galloping wildfire.

Terri confessed that the present situations in Australia are nothing less than a battle for the ecosystem. When coupled with the impacts of the melting glaciers, Amazon fires, and the rise of sea levels, the scale of the adversity becomes manifold. Given the current circumstances, we are now left in a position where we will either be more active and serious when it comes to safeguarding our environment or lose it forever.

The Unlimited Support for Australia from the Irwin Family to the Americans

Steve Irwin; Australian wildlife conservationist, environmentalist, and television personality. Having been passionate about wildlife since childhood, he grew up with the opportunity to study and care for the animals at his parents’ wildlife park, known today as the Australia Zoo. Irwin truly rose to fame as the host of the long-running television series, The Crocodile Hunter, which premiered in 1996. The show was a wildlife documentary, focusing on the real-life adventures of Irwin and his friends as they dealt with crocodiles and other dangerous animals. Following on from there, he branched out to other film and television projects, such as The Ten Deadliest Snakes in the World, as well as another documentary series, Croc Files. With his wife, he also took over in managing the Australia Zoo. 

Although Steve Irwin is no longer with us, his legacy lives on. His wife, Terri, and their two children, Bindi and Robert, are wildlife activists as well. Terri has continued to own and operate the Australia Zoo, while her children have helped out with the zoo’s Wildlife Hospital. For well over a decade, the hospital has provided 24/7 support for animals in need of health care. 

More recently, the Irwin family and the rest of the hospital staff have helped rescue numerous animals who have been affected by the devastating wildfires currently plaguing Australia. The grey-headed flying foxes are one amongst many examples. Being a species listed as vulnerable, many of the foxes were flown over to the hospital to give them sanctuary from the ever-raging fires. Just a week ago, the staff also treated their 90,000th animal patient, a platypus named Ollie, who will remain at the hospital until he is ready to be released back into the wild. 

While the people at the zoo and the hospital have been doing everything they can, others have been lending their support in different ways. 3,000 people from Australia’s army, navy, and air force have been deployed to help combat the inferno. Even now, there are still over 140 fires ongoing throughout the country. The wildfires have proved to be devasting for humans as well, and have forced thousands to flee from their homes. The fires started up in September of 2019, and sadly, they are predicted to last for another several months still. They have been filling the skies with dense smoke, burning millions of acres of land, and destroying hundreds upon hundreds of homes. 

American and Canadian firefighters landing in Sydney to help with Victorian bush-fire

But Australia is not alone in its struggle. The U.S. and Canada has been continuing to send over support to help combat the fires. Canada has sent over roughly 100 firefighters, and, just a couple weeks ago, the U.S. sent nearly two dozen personnel from the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service. And this is along with the over 74 personnel that the U.S. already sent previously. However, the U.S. and Canada are dedicated to lending their support for as long as needed to help get the fires under control. 

Meanwhile, Terri Irwin has reported that the Australia Zoo and the animal hospital, situated along Sunshine Coast, are currently safe from all the fires. The hospital’s staff will remain hard at work tending to animals in need. 

Sources: 

Micah Lovegrove and His Family Saving Koalas

As Australia’s fires continue to burn and the military, firefighters, animal rescues, and first responders work tirelessly to control the flames, save the people and their wildlife; locals are also stepping up to assist when possible. One of the many honorable mentions is Micah Lovegrove and his family.

Lovegrove and his family have property on Kangaroo Island, where the wildfires have ravaged and destroyed the area where his uncle’s house once stood, in South Australia. As Lovegrove was observing the damaged property, he spotted a koala huddled beside a nearby tree.

He brought the koala into his car and couldn’t help but look for more distressed marsupials in the burned-out area. Lovegrove saved seven koalas that day and packed them all in his vehicle, which can be viewed on a YouTube video. In the video, Lovegrove is heard saying, “Just trying to collect as many live ones as we can,” as the camera depicts koalas sitting throughout his car.

Carload of koalas rescued from Australian wildfires.
Micah Lovegrove and his family rescued multiple koalas from wildfires on Kangaroo Island in Australia by , they loaded the animals into their car and brought them to safety.

“We’d move the car, go running again, and pick up some. Rinse and repeat. We grabbed one last guy who was super feisty, so we didn’t position him in the car. Well, he’s the one on the seat,” he said.

The koalas had been taken to Lovegrove’s neighbor, who has a permit to care for Australia’s wildlife. Unfortunately, during the drive to the neighbors, one marsupial passed away due to the injuries. The rest are currently under the neighbors care.

The fires are still raging, and approximately 400,000 acres of land on Kangaroo Island alone have been scorched, according to local news outlets. Wildfires have been burning since September 2019 and have been fueled by drought along with the country’s hottest and driest year on record. At least 25 people and an estimated billion animals have died. 

It is the kindness of strangers and those humans willing to put themselves in the heart of the danger to fight and protect their lands, people and animals are the unsung heroes, and we at Operation Earth salute them, and thank every one of them.

The Australia Bush Fires are Massive, but The Koala is Not Going Extinct

As humans, we should realize that the call for emergencies from our fellow animals must not be alarming only when they hit or about to hit the verge of extinction; by then, it would be too late. We must implement our strategies for their revival and wait for their schemes to fall into the arrangement.

The latest tweet that took the internet by storm claimed that, according to the Australian Koala Foundation, the koalas are functionally extinct. However, this report has been discarded due to sheer falsity because they koalas have indeed become less in numbers but, surely not extinct. Before we move on any further, let us clarify the term “functionally extinct” to realize and identify its niches.

“Functionally extinct” implies the species whose reduced population is no longer feasible and thus isn’t capable of contributing to the ecosystem whatsoever. Once a particular breed is associated with this term, it would directly mean that the conservation policies no longer hold any value. Nevertheless, Mathew Crowther, a wildlife ecologist, asserted that using the term “functionally extinct” for Koalas is misleading and can result in the shift of focus from research-based conservation techniques for the worse.

Populations of koalas are indeed plunging towards the lowest numbers in some parts of Australia. However, in the areas where there is no bush fire, the marsupial is still roaming, yet, considered steps above endangered. The koala population is indeed experiencing threats from human activities and climate change.

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A koala hanging out in a tree.

The bush fires of Australia are qualified as a pressing concern that needs more attention immediately; if the reports of the experts are to be believed, the bush fires alone were responsible for killing about 30,000 koalas in the last three months. Apart from rendering the koalas with life-threatening burns and bruises and their consequential death, the bush fires, along with massive deforestation and unforeseen climate change is removing most of their natural habitats and source of food.

When it comes to protecting the Koalas, one should address the human-driven factors with enhanced seriousness. Actions such as deforestation, forest fires, bush fires, and poaching should be terminated at the earliest due to the damage that we have created to the animal kingdom. It is too severe to retrieve from anytime soon. Conversely, working towards their revival when there’s still time will inevitably have a positive impact on the journey that is lying ahead of us and turn things around.

Scientist Discover Sounds that Influence Coral to Grow

For years, scientists have been probing the ocean deeps with researches and technologies that would help them allocate ways to save the endangered coral reefs, and now, a solution has come to culmination. As per a recent study, it is proven that when the sound of healthy reefs is played around the dying ones, they can be successfully brought back to life. 

The process involved 

This process is known as “Acoustic Enrichment” meaning, the dying coral reefs will be restored with their former health when the patches of dead coral are attached with speakers that incessantly emit sounds similar to the living ones. The chief objective here is to attract young fishes to the reefs and refurbish them. The experiment was conducted by positioning the speakers on the vast dead stretches of the Great Barrier Reef, and it was discovered that the reefs started growing in volume.

The number of fishes arriving at the reefs doubled their strength and stayed for long. Fishes are the primary catalyzers when it comes to maintaining a seamless harmony between the coral reefs and their contribution to the ecosystems. Therefore, by encouraging their multiplication, the natural recovery process of the coral reefs can be accelerated, and the damage that we have already caused to the sea’s life can be controlled to an extent.

Healthy coral and fishing thriving around it.

The changes that it can instill 

Researchers have further asserted that the true identity of a healthy coral reef is the distinct cacophony of sounds accompanying it. These trickles stem from the constant snapping of shrimps and the whoops and clanks of the fishes, thereby, making way for a solitary sound profile that helps the coral reefs to thrive even amidst extreme conditions. The young fishes are largely drawn towards these sounds whenever they are looking for a safe shelter.

Environmental studies have confirmed that the entire food chain which thrives around the sea bed, such as the detritivores, planktivores, herbivores, and predatory piscivores, are inevitably linked with the coral reefs. Hence, their wellbeing is essential to open doors for a productive marine life. 

As per the statements of the fish biologist, Mark Meekan, based in the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the fishes won’t bring back the life of the coral reefs automatically. However, it would positively speed up their recovery, therefore, implying it with enough space and cleanliness for the corals to regrow.

Scientists are positive about the prospects that acoustic enrichment promise to bring along; if all the guidelines of habitat restoration are followed with utmost sincerity. It will enhance the procedures of marine conservation, particularly the coral reefs, and leave a positive impact on the repercussions of climate change, pollution initiated by plastic and over-fishing. 

Two Men in Mexico Created Leather From a Cactus

With the rising environmental concerns, the world is always at the brink of formulating new ways that would keep up with the vital needs of humanity without exploiting or exhausting the bounties of nature. Thus, keeping up with the tendencies of the same, a revolutionary culture is occurring as humans around the globe are finding innovative ways to create products without harming animals.

Recently, two Mexican entrepreneurs, Marte Cazarez and Adrian Lopez Velarde, gifted humanity with probably one of the greatest innovations of the decade; that is, they created the first organic leather derived entirely from the nopal cactus. The chief objective of this leather is to gradually eliminate animal cruelty and open doors for materials that are eco-friendly and unlimited. Furthermore, this leather is partially biodegradable. Also, since this leather is created from a cactus, there is no water waste.

Desserto organic leather produced from the nopal cactus

The most intriguing constituent of the leather derived from the cactus is that the material feels like animal-based leather. It looks the same and encourages people to love animals. The list of ingredients that qualify this leather, in the good books of the environment, is its breathability, light-weight, flexibility, comfortable texture, and guaranteed durability of 10 years, if well maintained. Once this innovation starts receiving the positive light that it deserves, it will invariably replace the synthetic leather.

The two prime figures responsible for bringing about this creative change pursued their passion of giving it back to the environment without turning back; they quit their jobs and carried out extensive study and research for two years before employing the scheme. Marte Cazarez and Adrian Lopez Velarde have named their design as Desserto, which directly translates to nopal or cactus vegan leather. They don’t use toxic chemicals, phthalates, or PVC in their design. Addressing their organic creation, Lopez Velarde stated to the media that their product is ready for the global market.

The principles of Desserto were exhibited before the world at the International Leather Fair Lineapelle in Milan, Italy. The venture has also started welcoming potential customers to capitalize on the constituents for several industrial applications. In other news, several brands have been aiming to create vegan leather from plants such as olives and pineapple, including a leading label like H&M.

Smart forest City of Mexico to be 100% Food and Energy Self-Sufficient

Standing in the 21st century, the modern human’s utopia seems distant and unfathomable; but, a crucial factor that distinguishes them from their preceding generations is their will and determination to turn this fantasy into a reality. The idea of amalgamating nature with technology in harmony has come to fruition in a smart forest city near Cancun, Mexico.

The magnum opus of architecture is currently in progress and will cover around 557 hectares, where 400 units will be green spaces covered with 7,500,000 plants. Apart from that, the city will provide enough space for about 130,000 people to build homes and offices, meaning the smart forest city is bound to have a life of its own.

The primary aim which led to the cities delineation was to generate all human needs within the designated area. All the recurring requirements of food, water, electricity, and other variants of energy will be essentially self-generated. This city will have everything that forms an indispensable portion of sustenance. It will also be furnished with a research center of its own that, from time to time, will host conferences, meetings, university departments and make way for the university scholars to put forward their opinions before the world.

The good news is, plans to improve the infrastructure of the city is not coming to a halt soon. The architecture stalwarts and the chief financiers are planning to develop ways in which the inhabitants of the city would interact with their data. Devices and sensors have been distributed all around the city to accommodate and share information that is relevant to their living; these shreds of information would, in turn, be reviewed and converted into useful discourses with pertinence to everyday lie.

The vision of the city’s self-reliance virtue depends upon the ingenious system to produce and distribute clean energy along with water purification. Furthermore, the energy needs of the town will be surrounded by countless numbers of solar panels circumscribing it. The Caribbean Sea is being aimed as the primary source of water for the city as the volumes derived from it will first undergo the process of desalination and would then be issued out to the residents and the crops, mainly through navigable canals.

For transportation, the city will have a public commute, and all the personal cars of the inhabitants will be secured and left outside the city. With the carbon emissions already reduced, the remainder of the emissions will be captured by the ide acres of plants around the city. The builders have strongly asserted that the inception of new public parks and private gardens will fulfill the world’s much-needed demand of greenery and, thus, strike the right chords with its purpose. The smart city forest, if illustrated according to the plans, will absorb 116.000 tons of carbon dioxide with 5.800 tons of the same stocked every year.

If everything about the smart city in Mexico goes as per plans, it can move on to become an incredible example for the rest of the world to develop strategies of existence associated with the constituents of urbanism and sustainability served on the same plate.