Cost of Air Pollution in Europe

This map from the European Environmental Agency shows the estimated economical cost of air pollution across Europe.

Note that this includes industry only, so not transportation.

The full report shows that most of the pollution comes from energy production. In fact 50 % of pollution comes from just 1 % of the facilities listed, mostly coal fired power plants.

The environmental impact of oysters, in one photo

The water in both tanks came from the same source. The one on the right has bivalves. Not only do oysters naturally filter the waters in which they live, they can even protect humans from destructive hurricanes. For more, read about New York’s efforts to bring back oyster populations in the once-toxic Hudson River.

Delicious AND helpful. Who knew?

(photo via Steve Vilnit on Twitter)

Ozone Layer is Recovering

Earth’s protective ozone layer is beginning to recover, largely because of the phase-out since the 1980s of certain chemicals used in refrigerants and aerosol cans, a U.N. scientific panel reported in a rare piece of good news about the health of the planet.

Scientists said the development demonstrates that when the world comes together, it can counteract a brewing ecological crisis. For the first time in 35 years, scientists were able to confirm a statistically significant and sustained increase in stratospheric ozone, which shields the planet from solar radiation that causes skin cancer, crop damage and other problems.

Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/ozone-layer-recovering

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"Catch of the Day" Campaign Presents Trash Fresh from the Sea

To bring attention to the issue of ocean pollution, the Surfrider Foundation teamed up with advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi LA to create the “Catch of the Day” campaign. Actual trash collected from beaches around the U.S. was re-packaged as food and left on display at farmer’s markets to create a impactful, site-specific message. By addressing consumers at the point of purchase, the “Catch of the Day” reminds seafood buyers that ocean pollution isn’t someone else’s problem; rather, it impacts individuals on a daily basis. Some of the repackaged items include cigarette butts from Venice Beach, California; aerosol cans from South Padre Beach, Texas; and condoms from Newport Beach, California. While environmental campaigns often emphasize shock value above all else, the Surfrider project tempers startling subjects with a restrained presentation and refined target audience. 

*According to scientists at the World Bank, animal agriculture produces 51% of all man-made greenhouses gases, which is more than all forms of transportation combined and tripled.
*Animal agriculture uses 1/3 of all raw materials and 1/3 of all fossil fuels worldwide.
*Animal agriculture is the world’s leading driver of deforestation, the number one cause of water scarcity, and is directly linked 70% of all human illnesses.
*Animal agriculture uses 70% of all agricultural land on the planet, but produces only 6-11% of the world’s food.

For sources and more information, please visithttp://www.veganfuturenow.com/why-vegan/

DANG. That’ll get the message across. The movement is gaining momentum!

The Earth is 4.6 billion years old. Scaling to 46 years, humans have been here 4 hours, the industrial revolution began 1 minute ago, and in that time we’ve destroyed more than half the world’s forests.
—  Greenpeace

Pollution linked to lethal sea turtle tumors

Pollution in urban and farm runoff in Hawaii is causing tumors in endangered sea turtles, a new study finds.

The study, published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed open-access journal PeerJ, shows that nitrogen in the runoff ends up in algae that the turtles eat, promoting the formation of tumors on the animals’ eyes, flippers and internal organs.

Scientists at Duke University, the University of Hawaii and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) conducted the study to better understand the causes behind the tumor-forming disease Fibropapillomatosis, which is the leading known cause of death in green turtles, said Kyle Van Houtan, adjunct associate professor at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

"We’re drawing direct lines from human nutrient inputs to the reef ecosystem, and how it affects wildlife," said Van Houtan, who is also a scientist in NOAA’s Turtle Research Program.

Caption: This image shows a sea turtle with tumors caused by fibropapillomatosis.Credit: Chris Stankis

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Photos Highlight Massive Island of Plastic Trash in the Maldives

Alison Teal walking through “Trash Island,” a giant landfill in the Maldives that gets up to 400 tons of trash per day. (All photos: Sarah Lee) 

Filmmaker Alison Teal was in the process of literally exposing herself to a national TV audience when she found new inspiration: exposing the serious and complex trash-pollution issues affecting the Maldives, and turning plastic garbage into something useful.

Teal’s photo shoot of the landfill called “Trash Island” and other islands in the Maldives are head-turning in their contrast to the usual postcard-perfect photos associated with the archipelago. Seeing her walk amid mountains of empty water bottles and other trash with her surfboard, it’s almost apocalyptic.  

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How Genetically Engineered Gardens Could Replace Airport Security Checkpoints

Fascinating article by Jason Koebler on motherboard about genetically engineered plants that could replace security checkpoints. Dr. June Medford, a pioneering synthetic biologist, already engineered a plant that changes color when it detects TNT or certain pollutants. Her vision:

"The way we screen airports to get on a plane is, everyone goes through detector systems and it’s slow. What would make much more sense, my vision is that you would walk through a garden-like setting, with a webcam looking down on plants, seeing if they detected anything."

The plants could also be hooked up to internet-connected systems. Medford is certain, that a mass production is feasible within 5 years.

[read more] [picture by kvd via wikimedia]

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Vogmask

The next great fashion accessory of the near future? How about a stylish face mask that protects you against air pollution. Yes … this is real …

Here is the infomercial:

Vogmask is a superior product for now and the future, rendered modern to awaken public hope, to express the public self, and to emerge from the trance of accepting an inherited future.

Our vision is simple: make the most beautiful, highest efficiency, most comfortable and best manufactured reusable consumer masks on the market.

You are always breathing.  Masks are the most convenient and effective way to protect your lungs from airborne comtaminants. 

Conceived on the Black Rock Desert where blowing playa dust poses a threat to respiratory health, Vogmask has become the stylie, high filtering, mask of choice for every time you think, “I shouldn’t be breathing this.” 

Vogmask Styles: How to choose what mask is best for you.

You can find out more (and buy one) here