China: Asia’s First Vertical Forest Set to Produce 60 Kg of Oxygen Every Single Day

The Nanjing Green Towers will include 600 tall trees, 500 medium-sized trees (for a total amount of 1100 trees from 23 local species) and 2500 cascading plants and shrubs that will help regenerate biodiversity, absorb 25 tons of carbon dioxide annually, and produce 60 kg of oxygen every single day.

Vertical Forest

Air pollution in China has reached hazardous levels. Scientific studies attribute 1.4 million premature deaths per year — or almost 4,000 per day — in China to air pollution. Greenpeace estimates that around 460 million residents in China were affected by hazardous air pollution in 2016.

Despite declaring a “war on pollution” in 2014, Beijing issued the first ever Red Alert in December 2015, after a cloud of pollution bigger than Spain settled over northern China. In December 2016, Beijing issued the second Red Alert after northeastern China (the industrial heartland of the country) was engulfed by a thick blanket of choking and toxic smog.

Residents of Beijing, in 2017, from deep inside a cloud of poisonous smog, averaged concentrations of small breathable particles, known as PM2.5; were higher than 500 micrograms per cubic meter in the Chinese capital – 50 times more than World Health Organization recommendations.

Even as air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, wreaking havoc on human health and aiding a variety of companies to profit from the near-absurd business of selling bottles of fresh air; China is investing more money than any other nation in wind farms, solar plants and other renewable energy projects to curb the nation’s crippling smog crisis.

One such project aimed at tackling the alarming carbon dioxide levels is called the Nanjing Green Towers. China, which features among the world’s most polluted countries, is basically building Asia’s first vertical forest to help its citizens get a breath of fresh air without having to pay for it.

Vertical ForestDesigned by Italian architect Stefano Boeri, who has already built two vertical forests known as the Bosco Verticale in Milan; the Nanjing Green Towers will include 600 tall trees, 500 medium-sized trees (for a total amount of 1100 trees from 23 local species) and 2500 cascading plants and shrubs that will cover a 6,000 square meters’ area.

Boeri says the trees and cascading plants will help regenerate biodiversity, absorb 25 tons of carbon dioxide annually, and produce 60 kg of oxygen every single day. Set to open in 2018 in Nanjing city, the quality of oxygen the vertical forest is expected to produce will be 3000 times purer than the city air.

“Vertical Forest is a model for a sustainable residential building, a project for metropolitan reforestation contributing to the regeneration of the environment and urban biodiversity without the implication of expanding the city upon the territory. It is a model of vertical densification of nature within the city that operates in relation to policies for reforestation and naturalization of large urban and metropolitan borders. The vegetal system of the Vertical Forest contributes to the construction of a microclimate, produces humidity, absorbs CO2 and dust particles and produces oxygen.”

The two towers, promoted by Nanjing Yang Zi State-owned National Investment Group, will stand at heights of 656 feet and 354 feet.  The taller of the two towers will house offices, a museum, a terrace club, a green architecture school, and a private rooftop club.

The smaller tower will have a Hyatt hotel with a rooftop swimming pool and 247 rooms of different sizes. Both towers will rest on a 66-feet-high podium that will host a food market, restaurants, a shopping center and a conference hall.

Cai Long, president of Yang Zi Group, says that the towers’ design has been adjusted to allow the balconies to support the weight of trees that can grow to 9 meters high, and that each tree planted on the balconies will be tested in a wind tunnel to prove it can remain vertical in storms.

“The vertical forest has many advantages, including regulating microclimate environment, isolating noise and reducing the heat flows between buildings and the outside environment. The vertical forest is a method to cope with the massive environmental crisis. Instead of horizontal expansion, it allows the cities to grow vertically and reduce pollution as well as energy consumption with multiple trees and other kinds of plants.”


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First-ever Long-Term Study Reveals Monsanto’s Roundup Causes Severe Liver Damage

A dose of glyphosate from the Roundup administered to the rats was thousands of times below what is permitted by regulators worldwide. But this still caused severe damage to the rats’ livers; thus, is scientifically guaranteed will do the same to humans.

RoundUp

Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide and crop drying agent used to kill weeds. Glyphosate was discovered by Monsanto chemist John E. Franz in 1970. By 1974, Monsanto had introduced it into the market under the trade name Roundup.

Since Roundup became available, there have been a series of controversies.  There are numerous studies suggesting that the amount of glyphosate detected in people’s bodies has gone up exponentially. It has been found in human blood, urine, body tissue, and almost everywhere else in the body.

RoundUp

In 2014, a study sponsored by Moms Across America (MAA) found the presence of glyphosate in breast milk of American mothers. High levels of the deadly compound were found in 3 out of 10 samples.

Then in 2016, another study carried out by MAA showed that five childhood vaccines contain the deadly herbicide, glyphosate. The following five vaccines were said to contain the deadly glyphosate compound:

MMR II (Merk) vaccine had 2.671 parts per billion (ppb) of glyphosate.

DTap Adacel (Sanofi Pasteur) vaccine had 0.123 ppb of glyphosate.

Influenza Fluvirin (Novaris) 0.331 ppb of glyphosate.

HepB Energix-B (Glaxo Smith Kline) 0.325 ppb of glyphosate.

Pneumonoccal Vax Polyvalent Pneumovax 23 (Merk) had 0.107 ppb of glyphosate.

RoundUp

Apart from the vaccines, cow milk, canola oil, Ensure Drinks and soda were all found to contain the deadly compound. In early 2016, the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was forced by public pressure to agree to the testing for the presence of glyphosate in food.

In fact, many foods are now made with Roundup-ready soy, corn, and canola. And it is not only humans who consume these foods; some are fed to factory farmed animals for meat and dairy products, for further consumption by people.

In the United States, for example, statistics show that farmland in the country has been drenched with more than 2.6 billion pounds of glyphosate, since 1992. Many grain and seed crops receive a dose of Roundup just before harvest, in a process known as desiccation. This process forces the grains and crops to dry quickly, rather than waiting for their natural period to dry.

RoundUp

With studies providing overwhelming evidence that Roundup has found its way into the human body, independent researchers have devoted their time into trying to fully understand the effects of the deadly compound on the human body. The World Health Organization has already labeled glyphosate among the “probable carcinogen” compounds.

In the latest on the compound, researchers from King’s College London have announced they have conducted an unprecedented, long-term study showing a link between Roundup and severe liver damage in test rats. Since the compound causes severe liver damage in rats, it also causes similar severe damage in humans. This is because health researchers worldwide accept toxicity studies in rats as indicators of human health risks. The study has been accepted in the peer-reviewed journal Nature.

According to the researchers, they used a cutting-edge technology to demonstrate that “extremely low doses” of the Roundup administered to rats through their drinking water had caused “non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)” over a two-year period. Health experts say NAFLD can lead to more serious liver disease such as cirrhosis, and increases the risk of other illnesses including diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.

RoundUp

“The study is unique in that it is the first to show a causative link between consumption of Roundup at a real-world environmental dose and a serious disease condition,” the authors wrote in the study.

In the study, the researchers highlighted that glyphosate was administered in “ultra-low doses” – well below the exposure level permitted for humans. In fact, the dose of glyphosate from the Roundup administered to the rats was thousands of times below what is permitted by regulators worldwide. But this still caused damage to the rats’ livers.

RoundUp

The authors said: “Regulators worldwide accept toxicity studies in rats as indicators of human health risks. Therefore, the results of this latest study may have serious consequences for human health, and thus warrant careful consideration by regulatory agencies and further investigation by toxicologists.”

The authors urged regulators worldwide to reconsider the current safety limits for glyphosate because evidence from their study is glaring.

RoundUp

Robin Mesnage, a research associate at King’s College London, Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics, who took part in the study, told Al Jazeera in an interview how highly advanced methods helped analyze the effects of the herbicide on rats’ health.

“Metabolomics and proteomics allows detection of hundreds or even thousands of molecules at the same time, which is much greater than other techniques. So we could clearly see what is happening in the organs,” Mesnage said.

Immediately after the study was made public, Monsanto, as usual, issued a statement denouncing the study, accusing the researchers of using flawed data. Of course, Monsanto would never admit to its producing dangerous products to the public, especially on a global scale.

RoundUp

Meanwhile, a press officer for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),Cathy Milbourn told Al Jazeera that the study by the King’s College London team is currently “under review” by the government agency to okay scientific research – now a normal process under the new Trump administration. Cathy also said the agency is still investigating whether glyphosate-based herbicides are safe for human exposure.

Many observers have criticized regulators in the United States for having a soft-spot for Monsanto. There is much evidence proving that genetically engineered crops and other products of Monsanto cause harm to the public, but regulators have blatantly refused to act, putting the health of people around the world in danger in the name of profits.


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Why You Should Never Use a Plastic Straw Again

Over 800 marine species are believed to be endangered due to the excess of plastic waste in the world’s oceans, according to a recent United Nations study. With disturbing figures such as these, it is important to note the amount of time it will take for some single use plastic items to decompose in the environment.

A total of 10.5 million tons of plastic waste is generated by Americans every year, of which only 13 percent of this waste is recycled. Plastic waste comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes – bags, excess packaging, containers – meaning many of the disposable items we use on a day to day basis can easily be overlooked.

Plastic straws are one such item.  Every day, Americans produce and utilize 500 million straws. Combine this surprising figure with the fact that the majority of straws are thrown away after a single use, and the dangers of such a consumption habit become clear.

Around 8 million tons of plastic waste make its way into the world’s oceans every year. This waste destroys ecosystems and endangers the lives of marine species across the globe, with an estimated 100,000 marine animals dying each year from entanglement in waste.

In 2015, footage of rescuers painstakingly extract a plastic straw from the nostril of a turtle. In the video, which went viral shortly after it had been posted to social media, the turtle is clearly distressed due to the obstruction in its airway. After a few minutes of working to extract the plastic straw, the foreign object is removed from the turtle’s nostril and it is released back into the ocean.

Over 800 marine species are believed to be endangered due to the excess of plastic waste in the world’s oceans, according to a recent United Nations study. With disturbing figures such as these, it is important to note the amount of time it will take for some single-use plastic items to decompose in the environment.

Some plastics can take some 1000 years to decompose on land, resulting in devastating consequences on the environment and wildlife. Meanwhile, it is estimated that some plastics can take up to 600 years to decompose in the oceans. During this period, the plastic that does find its way into our oceans will degrade into smaller fragments known as ‘microplastics’. These small fragments – less than five millimeters in length – are often ingested by fish and other marine species. In addition, chemical toxins such as DDT and BPA have also been found to adhere to microplastics, allowing them to enter the food chain when consumed by fish and sea birds.

Until recent years, the lasting effects of microplastics in the ocean was never discussed. This changed when it came to light that the micro beads found in many personal hygiene products – including exfoliating shower gel, toothpaste, and makeup – were not filtered; now making their way to lakes, waterways and oceans shortly after being flushed down the drain.

A recent study in Environmental Research Letters predicts that around 93-236 thousand tons of microplastics have accumulated and are now floating in the oceans today. With these statistics, the devastating impact of plastic waste on our environment becomes clear; scientists are still uncertain of the full extent of the damage caused to our environment by plastic waste.

It is therefore advised that consumers must become more aware about the choices they make when purchasing plastic products. Returning to the theme of plastic straws; there are many reusable alternatives on the market that will significantly reduce your negative impact on the environment.

Image: Flickr, Horia Varlan (CC BY 2.0)


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Bowl-Shaped Roofs Harvest Rainwater To Naturally Cool Homes In Arid Environments

BMDesign Studios

By Amanda Froelich | True Activist

Water scarcity is a conundrum that affects every continent. Approximately 1.2 billion people (or 1/5 of the world’s population) live in areas of physical scarcity, and another 1.6 billion people face economic water shortage, relays UN-Water. To help remedy this conundrum, BMDesign Studios developed an innovative roof that is capable of collecting rainwater and cooling homes in arid environments.

The Concave Roof which looks like a bowl sits on top of a domed roof. When it rains and water is collected, the life-saving resource is funneled through the bowl into cooling reservoirs. Space between the double roofs allows for wind circulation and shade.

The architects explain that the system is designed to “help [make] even the smallest quantities of rain [flow down] the roof and eventually coalesce into bigger drops, just right for harvesting before they evaporate.” Considering hot, dry climates can be almost unbearable for residents during the summer, this intriguing concept has a variety of positive implications.

BMDesign Studios

Not only will inhabitants of the homes benefit from the cooling reservoir which is placed between building walls and helps regulate indoor temperatures, the carbon footprint of the natural air conditioning units is reduced. Inhabitat relays that initial testing of the concave roofs shows a 60% efficiency. 989 cubic feet of water can be harvested out of just 9,935 square feet of concave roof.

This is only the beginning. The studio, which is based in Tehran, Iran, intends to continue research in order to improve the design’s efficiency. Developments that take place now will undoubtedly affect many in the future, as it is predicted that arid areas will drastically increase over the next 30 to 40 years.

Following are some photos of the concept provided by the architects:

BMDesign Studios

BMDesign Studios

BMDesign Studios

BMDesign Studios

BMDesign Studios

BMDesign Studios

BMDesign Studios

BMDesign Studios


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New Wind Turbine Flaps Wings Like Hummingbird To Produce Clean Energy

 

By Amanda Froelich | True Activist

Although traditional wind turbines have relatively little impact on the environment compared to fossil fuels, they still aren’t perfect. Mainly, people complain that the installations produce too much noise, pollute the view of landscapes, and kill birds and bats that fly into them. It’s for this reason and because their design can always be improved that a number of innovators are working on alternative concepts. One that might peak your interest was designed by Tyer Winds, and it’s the first mechanical device in the world that mimics the motion of a hummingbird in flight.

The  Tunisian invention is being heralded as a revolutionary breakthrough in the field of mechanics. Hassine Labaied, partner and co-founder of Tyer Wind, told Inhabitat that only recently have scientists begin to apply new understandings of animal and human motion into wings. The new wind power plant design is far more efficient than standard turbines due to 3D Aouinian kinematics pioneered by Anis Aouini.

Related Article: Trees Outfitted With Tiny, Vertical Wind Turbines Generate Clean Energy [Watch]

The unique model replicates the mechanism that allows hummingbirds to fly in one place with a wind turbine that moves in a figure 8 configuration. With two vertical axis wings made from carbon fiber (each 5.25 feet long), kinetic wind energy is converted into emissions-free electricity.

A pre-industrial rated power output of 1kW results from the two wings sweeping an area of nearly 12 square feet.

The video below shows how a pilot machine is presently being tested in Tunisia. Tyer Winds relays that the initial tests for power efficiency, aerodynamic behavior, and material resistance have been encouraging,  and that recorded data will be shared with the public after a period of time.

This isn’t the first time 3D Aouinian kinematics has been utilized to improve innovations. Reportedly, external combustion engines, external combustion engines, pumps, and a marine propulsion have all benefited from the technology.

Related Article: Silent Rooftop Wind Turbines Could Generate Half of a Household’s Energy Needs

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!


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Read more great articles at True Activist.