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Environment


Analysis and insight on the future of our environment. Stay updated as Singularity Hub discusses the most important trends impacting our environment.

Our Singularity Future: Should We Hack the Climate?

Even the most adamant techno-optimists among us must admit that new technologies can introduce hidden dangers: Fire, as the adage goes, can cook the dinner but it can also burn the village down. The most powerful example of an unforeseen problem is climate change. Which makes the debate about whether to use still more novel technology to help fix the problem — to hack the climate — particularly heated.

Scientists Ponder Human Role in Mid-Atlantic Dolphin Die-Off

The number of bottlenose dolphins beaching themselves along the Mid-Atlantic coast skyrocketed in July and early August, leading the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to declare on August 8 an “unusual mortality event” and launch an investigation into what might be causing the deaths.

The Cost of China’s Economic Miracle: Shorter Lives, Due to Air Pollution

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences analyzed the health impacts of coal pollution by taking advantage of a de facto control group created by a Chinese government policy that provided free heating coal to homes and offices in northern China but not to those in southern China. The findings were dramatic.

NASA’s Trial Polar Rover Studies One of the Harshest Places on Earth

NASA recently concluded a successful six-week test of a prototype polar rover near the highest point in Greenland, where the robotic vehicle traversed icy terrain in temperatures of minus 30 Celsius to help scientists learn more about how ice sheets are faring in the changing climate — without having to break for hot cocoa.

Oslo Burns So Much Trash for Energy They’re Importing Rubbish

The US throws out 250 million tons of garbage a year. Roughly a third is recycled, and the rest is landfill. You might think that’s a problem, but one man’s trash is another’s treasure. Oslo, Norway burns rubbish to power and heat homes, and they’ve run out. The city imports trash from Sweden, Ireland, England—and they wouldn’t mind taking on a few tons from the US.

You can now place your order for a burger grown entirely in a lab

It may take some time before in vitro burgers replace old fashioned farmed burgers, but the feat is a delicious victory for environmentalists and scientists alike in search for alternate ways to feed the world’s addition to meat.

Our Singularity Future: Humanity’s Trash Piling Up In Great Lakes

Technology allows us to achieve great things – so many goods are made affordable, for example, by mass production. But when mass production is not responsibly planned out and regulated, trash starts piling up.
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Allan Savory to Reverse Desertification, Solve Global Warming, Feed World’s Poor

As a young biologist in Africa, Alan Savory helped set aside national park lands. His organization removed indigenous “hunting, drum-beating people” to protect animals. However, burgeoning herds of elephants were soon identified as causing desertification by overgrazing. Savory theorized as much in a paper and sent it to his peers for review. Other scientists corroborated the report and the government killed 400,000 elephants. Instead of improving, desertification worsened.

America’s First Offshore Wind Farm Closer To Reality After Receiving $2 Billion From Japanese Bank

Offshore wind farms are finally arriving on US shores – and they’re doing it with foreign help. Plans to install Cape Wind, a 468 MW, 130 turbine wind farm in the waters off the...

World’s Largest Solar Power Plant Online In United Arab Emirates

And now, this country that has risen from poverty to become the world’s thirteenth richest after striking oil, is doing renewable energy in a characteristically big way. They’ve just completed the world’s largest solar power station.

Accelerating Technology Parallels Exponentially Rising Piles of Junk

In the midst of a move and digging through the clutter, I’ve excavated a number of ancient pieces of tech from bygone eras. There’s a 2004 Apple Powerbook that’s thicker than the econ textbook it’s sitting on, a cracked first generation iPhone, and an early “flatscreen” TV (that’s far from flat). What to do with this stuff? The faster we move from one generation of technology to the next, the faster the current iteration is destined for the trash heap. Does accelerating tech therefore doom us to flee an uninhabitable WALL-E world in the future? Maybe, but probably not.

Sea Installer – The Enormous Ocean Wind Turbine Installation Vessel

Technological progress advances our ability to build bigger and badder machines. A recent example is Sea Installer, part of the next generation of powerful wind turbine installation vessels that are capable of moving and installing...

Are Humans Causing Oceanic Jellygeddon? The Jury’s Still Out

Tied tight with advancing technology are concerns human development is irrevocably damaging the planet. Back in 2001, one theory warned warmer oceans and overfishing would spawn jellyfish at an alarming rate. Throughout the next...

Our Polluted Singularity Future? Beijing Smog Hits Record Levels

Industrialization has its price. This past weekend Beijing, the epicenter of one of the world’s fastest growing and largest economies, reached the highest smog levels on record. The World Health Organization standard for air quality...

Towers Of Vegetables Go Up As Singapore Builds First Vertical Farm

Short on arable land? One solution would be to plant…up. Singapore, a small country that imports most of its food, has now begun selling vegetables from its first vertical farm. And even while they’re...

Half Of Great Barrier Reef Lost Over Past 27 Years, More To Come

The news ain’t so good from the Great Barrier Reef. According to a new study, the massive reef has lost half of its coral cover over the last 27 years. Damage from storms, bleaching, and...
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Andrew Hessel and Yasaman Sheri Discuss Design, Singularity University

Biotechnology & Bioinformatics Faculty member Andrew Hessel and Industrial Designer Yasaman Sheri discuss the evolution of design, biological design, and sustainability.  

Lab-Grown Burger To Be Served In Six Months

A number of laboratories around the world are trying to grow meat in a Petri dish. So far we’ve heard about clumps of cells grown from stem cells with the hope that those cells...

Doomsday Clock Brings Us One Minute Closer To The Apocalypse

Did you know there was a Doomsday Clock? Well, it’s not a real clock that ticks down the remaining moments in hours and minutes and seconds, but a figurative clock that’s pushed towards armageddon...
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What Is The Great Garbage Patch In The North Pacific? (video)

In the North Pacific swirls an enormous clockwise vortex generated by four converging currents from the north, south, east, and west. Like a slow and steady whirlpool, the North Pacific Ocean Gyre, as these...
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NASA Launches Next Generation Weather And Climate Satellite (video)

In the early morning hours of Friday, October 28, the NPP satellite blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. To the profound relief of the engineers that have witnessed continual project setbacks...

10,000 Shipping Containers Lost At Sea Each Year…Here’s a Look At One

Right now, as you read this, there are five or six million shipping containers on enormous cargo ships sailing across the world's oceans. And about every hour, on average, one is falling overboard never...

New Age of Exploration: Robots Swarm into Land, Sea, and Space

Has the age of human explorers come to an end? There are several projects underway that are sending robots where humans dare not tread. Scientists are ramping up to deploy hundreds of aquatic drones...

Thirsty Plants Can Now Send Text Messages

In an effort to become more trim and efficient, everything in life has been given a miniature electronic brain.  The car knows when its is not burning at the perfect air to fuel ratio,...

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