From the 1940s through the 1970s there was no major warming trend in the average surface temperature of Earth. At the same time, the tropical Pacific Ocean, which is responsible for the weather patterns known as El Niño and La Niña that can swing global average temperatures by as much as 0.3 degree Celsius, was anomalously cold. For the past decade or so the tropical Pacific has again gone cold -- more Niña than Niño -- and a new study suggests that the phenomenon may explain the recent "pause" … Read more
Imagine yourself as a little fish swimming far below the surface of the sea, just trying to make it in a big blue world. Suddenly, a horizon-encompassing net grabs you and takes you away from everything you once knew. Things go from bad to worse as the commercial fishing net rises and the pressure change kills you.
This fate, which often befalls millions of smaller non-target fish around the world every year, could change with the invention of the sustainable SafetyNet, which today was named winner of the prestigious 2012 James Dyson Award for design. … Read more
Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde thinks we drive on dumb roads. So he teamed with mega European construction company Heijmans Infrastructure to create a vision of a "smart highway" for the Netherlands -- and possibly the rest of the world.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of these future roads is the fact that two concepts of the bunch -- glow-in-the-dark roads and dynamic paint -- should arrive by mid-2013. The group plans to introduce the rest of the concepts before 2015, giving the world a glimpse at how technology could revolutionize the way we drive by making it a safer and more sustainable experience. … Read more
Every innovator is thinking about what's next. But it's the ones who are thinking about what's after what's next that are the true visionaries and disrupters.
Bill Ford is one those.
In the 1980s and '90s, when most of the auto companies were building bigger and bigger vehicles and the public was gobbling up huge SUVs, Bill Ford was trying to convince Ford Motor Company to build more fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly cars and trucks. He was almost completely stonewalled by the executives at Ford.
However, he's now the executive chairman of the company that his … Read more
Most people don't ever get the chance to float down the Amazon River or walk through the surrounding forest and visit local communities. And for those who do, many parts of the area can't be visited because they are under the Brazilian government's protection with restricted public access.
Now, Google is making it possible for armchair explorers to experience the Amazon through its Google Maps' Street View feature. The Web giant announced today, on World Forest Day, that all of the images it has collected over the past several months of the Amazon's Rio Negro Reserve … Read more
If you're a city dweller who dreams of moving beyond growing mint on your kitchen windowsill, you can impress your friends with something more: oyster mushrooms.
As UC Berkeley students, the co-founders of "Back to the Roots" discovered they could grow mushrooms using recycled coffee grounds. Now their DIY mushroom kit sells at grocery stores across the country.
The pair developed a "grow it at home" kit where the soil is made from used coffee grounds and mushroom spawn, or seed, gets mixed in. Co-founder Nikhil Arora tells SmartPlanet how the idea grew and about … Read more
To home builder Kevin Casey's way of thinking, you shouldn't have to venture over the river and through the woods to get to grandmother's house. You should only have to walk across the back yard.
New Avenue Homes founder Kevin Casey is rethinking how we live by focusing on multi-generational living, where grandparents, parents, and kids share one piece of land with two homes on it. His company builds eco-friendly backyard cottages that are meant for the grandparents. SmartPlanet visits Casey on one of his construction projects in Orinda, Calif.
This video originally appeared on SmartPlanet with … Read more
Technology projects that range from delivering clean drinking water to implementing a cheaper bank infrastructure in developing countries were honored last night at the Tech Awards in San Jose, Calif.
Five of the 15 projects honored also received $50,000 each for developing technology that benefits humanity and supports sustainability.
The Tech Awards, sponsored by The Tech Museum in San Jose, were established in 2001, to recognize 15 projects annually in five categories: environment, education, equality, health, and economic development.
"The tens of thousands of people who didn't have clean water to cook or bathe in Honduras now … Read more
AUSTIN, Texas--Imagine a community--urban, suburban, or rural, your pick--that has more choices for housing.
More options to get where you need to go. Closer to jobs. Closer to stores. Closer to schools.
Insulated from the whims of oil prices in the Middle East. Clean water to drink. Crisp air to breathe.
Seventy-nine percent of Americans say they're on board with this vision. (Just 5 percent oppose.)
But call it "sustainability," "livability," or "smart growth"? Wave goodbye to your support.
A panel of experts gathered here today at the inaugural SXSW Eco conference to debate the methods of achieving concepts most Americans support without allowing them to be mired in politics.
Their conclusion? Get the messaging right from day one.
"Part of our problem is too much focus on cities at the expense of our friends in suburban and rural areas," said Robin Rather, chief executive of market research firm Collective Strength.
"We are right now facing a hellacious attack organized by [conservatives] on the notion of sustainability. Part of it is because we focus on cities, celebrate cities, and are not reaching out to suburban folks." … Read more
New York City plans to restrict the use of dirty heating fuels, use its capped landfills for solar farms, and issue loans for green and energy efficiency upgrades to home owners.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the latest initiatives for PlaNYC, the city's sustainability plan, on Thursday at a press conference in Harlem.
It's part of the lead up to Earth Day, which is Friday, April 22, and also happens to be the anniversary of when PlaNYC was first announced, in 2007.
Over 132 initiatives grew out of "48 public meetings with 220 groups, yielding almost … Read more