environment

China bans ‘weird’ buildings, seeks green alternatives

China bans ‘weird’ buildings, seeks green alternatives

In addition to working on decreasing its pollution levels, China has announced a ban on ‘weird’ architecture, and is instead seeking buildings that are, among other things, environmentally friendly. The announcement was made by China’s State Council this past weekend, and it likewise bans architecture the government considers “oversized” and “xenocentric.” Buildings that are “suitable” and “economic” as well as green are acceptable, however.

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January 2016 holds new ‘warmest month’ record

January 2016 holds new ‘warmest month’ record

To absolutely no one's surprise, this past January is now the hottest of its kind on record, smashing the last hottest month record in what is a longstanding and unfortunate environmental trend. The record, which has been confirmed by NASA, hints that 2016 may end up smashing 2015’s own record (it is the warmest year ever recorded). For its part, January 2016 was more than 2F degrees hotter than average.

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Porter Ranch gas leak patched, perma-fix underway

Porter Ranch gas leak patched, perma-fix underway

For more than three months, a well near Porter Ranch in California has been leaking massive volumes of gas into the environment, forcing residents to be evacuated to leased houses and hotels. The incident has been called an environmental disaster, but now, finally, a fix has been put in place. According to Southern California Gas Co., the first step in a solution to the problem has been implemented and was successful. It is being described as a temporary fix, but the process of permanently blocking it is now underway.

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NOAA: US droughts are shrinking thanks to crazy weather

NOAA: US droughts are shrinking thanks to crazy weather

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released its newest State of the Climate report, and in it we see weather that was all over the place in January 2016, at some points being drastically different on one side of the country versus the other. Several anomalies were observed, but there’s good news among it all: this crazy weather, largely due to El Nino, has caused droughts across the country to continue shrinking, particularly good news for states like California.

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NY’s Perch apartment complex sheds 90% of energy burden

NY’s Perch apartment complex sheds 90% of energy burden

In New York, in Harlem’s Hamilton Heights neighborhood, there’s an apartment complex in the works called Perch that is the first of its kind. Built to “Passive House” standards, the complex is being designed to use between 80% and 90% less energy than the same sort of structure built to common standards. It will do this while providing the same sort of urban living structure city dwellers have come to expect, however.

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Researchers: ‘lost’ lions aren’t lost, just hiding

Researchers: ‘lost’ lions aren’t lost, just hiding

African lions are, unfortunately, a ‘vulnerable’ species, with the number of members decreasing over the past few decades due in part to poaching. Since the 1980s, the population has been, at minimum, cut in half; furthermore, it was believed the lions were extinct in Sudan. Researchers have reported good news, though, having successfully found these 'lost' lions near the Ethiopia-Sudan border.

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GE will stop making CFL bulbs, focus on LEDs instead

GE will stop making CFL bulbs, focus on LEDs instead

GE has decided it is time to part ways with compact fluorescent lamp production, the company announced in a statement today. This year, GE plans to cease production of CFL light bulbs and switch its focus over to LED bulb production instead; CFL bulbs have been on the downswing, and says GE, they “were never really beloved.” Now that LED prices are coming down, consumers are increasingly turning their attention to the more efficient bulb technology.

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FarmedHere to launch massive indoor farm in Kentucky

FarmedHere to launch massive indoor farm in Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky will soon be home to a large indoor vertical garden installed in part of a 24 acre campus, FarmedHere has announced. This indoor vertical garden, like others, will maximum how every inch of space is used and will offer several benefits over traditional gardens, including being able to grow food all year rather than just during summer months. This vertical garden will be at the West Louisville FoodPort.

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White giraffe in Tanzania is one of a kind

White giraffe in Tanzania is one of a kind

The Tarangire National Park in Tanzania is home to a white giraffe with a red mane, something described as being “extremely rare.” The calf was born last year and was recently spotted with some other (regular) giraffes — her name is Omo, something derived from the name of a detergent brand. Omo is a Masai giraffe, and she has leucism, a condition where small amounts of pigment exist in some parts of the body.

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Report: many U.S. cities could have lead-contaminated water

Report: many U.S. cities could have lead-contaminated water

The scandal surrounding Flint, Michigan's contaminated drinking water has fully caught the public's attention, but it might turn out to be merely the worst of many cities when it comes to contamination. According to a source who has cropped up, “every major US city east of the Mississippi” is distorting the levels of lead and copper in their drinking water, meaning more places than just Flint could be putting their residents at risk.

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NASA: we’re probably at peak El Niño

NASA: we’re probably at peak El Niño

According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, we’ve “probably reached the peak” of El Niño, though how the coming months will play out isn’t certain. The space agency says it is possible that tropical Pacific waters will be back to neutral by this upcoming summer, or it could play out that we get a La Nina instead, which has happened in the past.

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First Zika virus brain damage case in U.S. identified

First Zika virus brain damage case in U.S. identified

In a first for the U.S., a case brain damage caused by the Zika virus has been identified, according to the Hawaii State Department of Health. A baby in Oahu was born with microcephaly, confirmed to be caused by the Zika virus, which has unfortunately afflicted thousands of babies in Brazil with the same condition. In this latest case, the baby’s mother had been in Brazil in May 2015.

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