By Brian Bethune - Monday, May 30, 2011 - 6 Comments
Scientists now link rats to the destruction of more than 100 island species, from birds to shrubs
To kill the rats or not to kill the rats? That is a burning question in contemporary conservation efforts to preserve indigenous island life. Although oceanic islands form only five per cent of the planet’s land mass, they are home to a full 20 per cent of its animal species; and, because of island creatures’ vulnerability to new predators or habitat destroyers, they are home also to a bleak two-thirds of the extinctions racked up during human history. Rats, of course, aren’t the world’s only invasive species—in that regard, as in all other ecological massacres, the apex predator is us. There are also feral cats, pigs and goats, zebra mussels and Asian long-horned beetles.
But humanity aside, none match rats—prodigious breeders and capable of turning almost anything into food—as agents of destruction. As detailed in Rat Island, William Stolzenburg’s gripping account of the war conservationists have been waging for the last two decades—some 800 island eradications of invasive mammals—scientists now link the “big three” rat species (brown, black, Pacific) to the extinction of more than 100 island species, from birds to worms to shrubs. Two archaeologists have even challenged the prevailing wisdom that greedy humans decimated the forests of Easter Island, leading to the environmental and social destruction described in Jared Diamond’s 2005 bestseller, Collapse. They persuasively pin the forest over-exploitation on an exploding population of rats brought by Polynesian settlers.
In the South Pacific, scientists have watched rats swarm nesting albatrosses, eating and killing them—in that order. At the other end of the globe, on Alaska’s Kiska Island, rats have met a million-strong super-flock of least auklets, the smallest of all seabirds. The auklets have evolved in the absence of ground predators and sit quietly on their nests as a rat approaches. The rodent bites the bird in the back of the head, eats its brains and eyeballs and stashes the rest. The rats, too, have no experience of this prey—one that refuses to defend itself or run away—and thus just keep attacking. A single rat has been known to have stashes of up to 150 auklet corpses, most of which will simply rot.
By Kate Lunau and Stephanie Findlay - Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 4:00 PM - 1 Comment
Top companies, like those on Aon Hewitt’s 2011 Green 30 list, lead the way when it comes to making the environment a big part of business
Having an environmental edge goes a long way with employees. Surveys show that people expect their organizations to take the environment into account when making business decisions—and most don’t feel enough is being done. Top companies, however, are responding by going green in every way, from making their manufacturing processes more efficient to backing local and global sustainability projects. The following pages feature some of the ways the companies on Aon Hewitt’s 2011 Green 30 list have made the environment a big part of business. But first, here’s a look at some environmentally friendly ideas that could revolutionize the workplace in the not-so-distant future.
Skyscrapers made of wood?
The construction and management of buildings around the world accounts for more than 30 per cent of climate change, according to Michael Green, founding principal at McFarlane Green Biggar Architecture + Design Inc. While some predict everyone will be working from home in the future, others say greater levels of urbanization will bring us closer to the workplace than ever. So it’s no wonder billions of dollars are being poured into making sustainable offices—and the greener, the better. Some of the concepts are outlandish: the winner of eVolo’s recent Skyscraper Competition, for example, looks like a giant Ferris wheel made from recycled cars, and filters air through a series of greenhouses as it spins. Green, who’s based in Vancouver, has a more practical idea. Instead of building skyscrapers from steel and concrete, he says, its time to start making them out of wood.
By Kate Lunau and Stephanie Findlay - Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 10:05 AM - 8 Comments
The Green 30 is based on how employees perceive their employer’s environmental efforts
The Green 30 is based on how employees perceive their employer’s environmental efforts. We asked each organization that made the 2011 list, compiled by Aon Hewitt, to highlight some of the key programs and practices that they think earned them high marks. Here are some of the highlights:
Medical products and services, Mississauga, Ont.
• Has published an annual Global Sustainability Report, measuring the company’s progress on nine sustainability priorities, including reductions in its carbon footprint and a green supply chain, since 1999.
• Less reliant on natural resources by reclaiming cooling water from its manufacturing process; decreases energy use through gas and electricity reduction efforts.
• Since 2002, the facility in Alliston, Ont., has diverted more than 1.7 million lb. of packaging from landfills, and recycles more than 90 per cent of non-hazardous waste.
By Jason Kirby - Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 2:54 PM - 4 Comments
From the Maritimes to Australia, wild weather is wreaking havoc
Being a billionaire mayor in a city like New York means never having to say you’re sorry. That is, until your snow plows leave millions of residents stranded and they have to strap on skis to navigate the streets of Manhattan. And so it was that three days after a raging, thundering snowstorm dumped half a metre on the Big Apple over Christmas—the heaviest snowfall in decades—Mayor Michael Bloomberg fessed up that the city had botched the cleanup job.
It didn’t help that this was the second December in a row the city, along with the U.S. Northeast, has been hammered by wild weather. But the region was far from alone. The same massive storm system plunged 50,000 homes in Atlantic Canada into darkness as snow, wind and floods devastated beaches, parks and tourist sites. The deluge followed a series of brutal storms and Atlantic hurricanes over the past few months that have already heaped misery on residents in the region.
Mother Nature’s fury was felt everywhere. The United Kingdom is suffering the coldest winter since 1683, which along with snowstorms in New York and Moscow forced the cancellation of 6,000 flights. In California a barrage of winter storms caused flash floods and mudslides, while Los Angeles has been buffeted by hurricane-strength winds. Queensland, Australia, is drowning beneath the worst floods in half a century. Continue…
By Tom Henheffer - Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 11:20 AM - 0 Comments
Well, something must be terribly wrong, because butterfly populations are plummeting around the globe.
“A lot of people view butterflies in a way analogous to the canary in the coal mine,” says Arthur Shapiro, an entomologist at the University of California at Davis. “If butterflies are going downhill, something is wrong.” Well, something must be terribly wrong, because butterfly populations are plummeting around the globe. The graceful fluttering of the marsh fritillary and delicate beauty of the Grecian copper could soon be squashed out, and the large tortoiseshell, a spotted orange butterfly once ubiquitous in England, is now classified as regionally extinct.
In Europe, where there’s a wealth of data thanks to a decades-long culture of professional and hobbyist butterfly monitoring, scientists are reporting a 70 per cent reduction in populations across the board. Four of Britain’s 62 species of butterflies have gone extinct in recent years, while a further 19 are threatened and 11 near threatened. North American scientists report similar numbers.
Intensive farming is believed to be the primary culprit in England and Western Europe, where subsidies from governments and the EU support mega-farms that strip grasslands, the habitat for many species of butterﬂy. “Europe has been inhabited for thousands of years and the natural environment adapted to that,” says Chris Van Swaay, a spokesperson for Butterfly Conservation Europe.
Climate change is also taking its toll, pushing many species of European butterflies north to cooler weather and forcing the mountain butterflies of North America into higher elevations. But, says Shapiro, they can’t keep running forever, and many species require too specialized a climate to run at all.
By Tom Henheffer - Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 10:40 AM - 8 Comments
New research suggests a possible cause of dolphin and whale strandings: severe to profound hearing loss
When weakened by disease, starvation or injury, dolphins succumb to an instinctual fear of drowning. Seized with panic, they swim to shallower and shallower water to keep breathing, and often wind up stranded on a beach, where the sun, sand and wind quickly end their lives.
Now, thanks to new research from the University of Southern Florida (USF), scientists have discovered one of the elusive root contributors to whale and dolphin strandings—deafness.
“Whales and dolphins are acoustic animals. They use sound to feed, they use sound to breed, they use sound to fulfill every biologically important goal of their existence,” says Michael Jasney, an ocean-noise expert with the National Resources Defense Council, an international environmental group. “If you take away their ability to hear, you take away their link to the world.”
By Tom Henheffer - Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 1:00 PM - 11 Comments
When you need massive reforestation, aerial planting is the answer
Massive planes, once used to blanket the earth in land mines, could soon be dropping a very different kind of bomb—pointed containers with saplings inside. “There is renewed interest in massive reforestation and shrub planting,” says Moshe Alamaro, an MIT researcher. “Aerial reforestation is the way to go.”
Alamaro collaborated with U.S. aerospace company Lockheed Martin in the late ’90s to replace the tedious and back-breaking work of manually planting trees by dropping saplings from the sky. The idea, which could see nearly one million trees planted per day, was based on research done at the University of British Columbia in the 1970s. The concept involved using a small fertilizing plane to drop saplings in plastic pods one at a time from a hopper. But it wasn’t very fruitful—most pods hit debris during pilot tests and failed to actually take root.
By Josh Dehaas - Thursday, November 4, 2010 at 3:40 PM - 0 Comments
A study on hearing in squids has surprising results that may be useful in treating human hearing loss some day
In the basement of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Woods Hole, Md., researcher Aran Mooney spent much of the last year lowering squid into metre-long tanks, attaching electrodes to them and blasting noise through the water. “Squids are fun little animals to work with because they’re so basic and primitive,” he says. “They’re almost like little wind-up toys. If you put one in a tank, it will just keep swimming and hitting its head on the wall of the tank over and over again.”
Primitive they may be, but Mooney’s research has settled the debate over whether Loligo pealii (think calamari) are sophisticated enough to hear. For decades, marine biologists wondered about that, but no one knew of a sedation method that could keep the animals alive long enough for in vivo tests to prove it. Squid don’t respond to dolphin clicks, so it was assumed they could not hear at all. It turns out dolpin clicks are just at the wrong frequency.
Squid may not be as good at hearing as humans (who can hear up to 20,000 hertz), but Mooney has shown they can detect low frequencies (up to 500 hertz) like the wave of a hungry whale swimming at them. And although the squid “ear” doesn’t likely share a common ancestor with our own, it works similarly enough that Mooney believes the research can have human applications. (Squid are already used to research human neurology, simply because they have large, primitive structures.) Mooney says hair cell loss is a key reason we as humans lose hearing. “We could look in squid and maybe find a way to maintain or regenerate them,” he says.
By Julia Belluz - Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 10:40 AM - 0 Comments
Are genetically modified animals the solution to the environmental problem of a growing market for meat?
“When I look at the Enviropig,” says professor Richard Moccia, associate vice-president of research at the University of Guelph, “I’m in awe and amazement at the ability of humans to create this technology.” Though the pink mammals look, oink and act like regular Yorkshire pigs, they were created in a lab. In 1999, scientists at Guelph added an E. coli gene and mouse DNA to a normal pig embryo. The result: the “greener” Enviropig pig. Though no one has ever tasted an Enviropig, testing on its internal organs and meat cuts revealed it’s identical to a regular oinker. Except that this transgenic animal may solve an environmental problem, namely pollution caused by pig farming.
We know all about eating local foods, recycling and carpooling to reduce our environmental footprints. But how about opting for animal products genetically modified to be greener? A number of researchers in Canada and around the world are working at the frontiers of genetic modification to create animals—from pigs to trout—that they claim are less injurious to the environment.
By Colby Cosh - Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 12:20 PM - 0 Comments
Dorms face a ‘major problem’ and when kids come home, you could too
Imagine you’re a bedbug—a creepy nocturnal creature, maybe no bigger than an apple seed, that craves human blood. Times are good for you right now in North America. DDT once rendered your species a distant memory, a revolting relic found only in children’s rhymes. But you’ve evolved immunity to the short-lived, environmentally friendly insecticides of today, and you’re on the march. So where would you prefer to nest and spread your progeny? You’d look for a communal setting, one where people are frequently moving and swapping furniture. Tidiness is a minus; substance-induced inertia a plus. The ideal host population would include sheltered young people who have never seen a bedbug or learned to recognize its excreta.
“Universities are in the line of fire,” declares Don McCarthy, president of Braemar Pest Control in Bedford, N.S., and board member of the Canadian Pest Management Association. “You’ve got transient populations. You’ve got a lot of the social aspects that come with being at university—your buddies come over and sleep over; everybody’s going back and forth to parties and study sessions. There is not a major university anywhere in North America that does not know this is a major problem, whether or not they have it.”
There is no evidence bedbugs can transmit disease, and their whole modus operandi is to be noticed as little as possible. But news of their presence can ward off visitors and clients as effectively as any plague—as retailers are discovering in New York City, where flagship stores for franchises such as Niketown and Victoria’s Secret have had to close temporarily to address infestations, and as Toronto learned in August when a mere Internet whisper had Toronto International Film Festival organizers double-checking venues.
By Tom Henheffer - Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 2:00 PM - 0 Comments
A 79-year-old Englishman whose bees resist Varroa mites is part of a wave of hope for global food security
Every morning at about nine, Ron Hoskins slips into his white beekeepers outfit, pulls trays out from beneath 17 of his 50 buzzing apiaries in a conservation park in Swindon, England, and painstakingly sorts through the contents with a magnifying glass. He goes home at five, and he’s often up until 2 a.m. examining his finds under a microscope. “It keeps me going,” says the 79-year-old retired heating engineer. Hoskins, who has a “beekeepers do it better” sign in his office, took up apiculture during the Second World War when he was evacuated to a country school. He’s done it ever since. His current research started when worldwide bee populations began to collapse in the mid-’90s; since then numbers have fallen by up to 60 per cent in some countries. With a full third of our diet derived from insect-pollinated plants, the decline in bee populations could be devastating to global food security. But, after more than a decade of careful breeding, Hoskins thinks he’s got the answer.
He’s hopeful because of what’s lying in the bottom of his trays: dead varroa mites, tiny parasites that latch onto the necks of bees, feeding on their blood and transmitting diseases in the process. The mites usually destroy any hive they infect and, since they started to spread from Asia in the 1960s, have arguably become the biggest threat to bee populations around the globe. “It’s quite scary,” says Chris Deaves, an executive with the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA). But Hoskins has managed to naturally make 17 of his 50 colonies mite-resistant, an achievement scientists such as Leonard Foster, a biologist at the University of British Columbia, are calling a major breakthrough. “If the bees are able to deal with varroa mites to a level where they need no human intervention,” Foster says, “they have the potential to reverse the decline in numbers.”
By Kathleen Winter - Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 12:00 PM - 0 Comments
Even before we were grounded, I had my life-changing moment, when a man in Gjoa Haven said he had an item that might interest me: the lost logbook of Lord Franklin
To distract my fears when the Clipper Adventurer ran aground on Aug. 27 on an uncharted rock in Nunavut’s Coronation Gulf, I asked on-board geologist Marc St-Onge if he knew what kind of rock it was. As an instructor with the Canadian tour company Adventure Canada, St-Onge had told passengers the history of every rock we had encountered in our expedition through the fabled Northwest Passage. This was a gabbro sill, a submerged version of formations that rose around us onshore. “I think,” he said, “this one will be well charted after this little incident.”
As it turned out, the Coast Guard icebreaker Amundsen, deployed to rescue us from 500 miles west on the Beaufort Sea, was full of geologists mapping the ocean floor to assess the environmental impact of proposed deepwater drilling. They had barely begun when they got our distress call and found themselves drafted to rescue duty. While they shared their couches and chowder with us, they conducted soundings and began mapping the rock that had until now evaded every Arctic chart leading back to Lord Franklin and beyond. Research team member Steve Blasco told Clipper Adventurer passengers, “You’re part of the charting.”
By Jane Swittzer - Thursday, September 9, 2010 at 2:47 PM - 11 Comments
What to do with all the man-made junk in Earth’s orbit
When clutter consumes your basement, a well-executed cleaning does the trick. When human-generated junk clogs the Earth’s orbit, things get a little more complicated.
Low Earth orbit space debris has increased since the dawn of the space age. But the wake-up call came last year, when the U.S. Iridium 33 and Russian Kosmos 2251 collided. It was the first accidental collision between an operational and defunct satellite, and it produced large amounts of debris. The NASA orbital debris program office at the Johnson Space Center now predicts eight or nine such collisions will occur in the next 40 years.
By Patricia Treble - Thursday, September 9, 2010 at 12:00 PM - 6 Comments
Air conditioning that’s environmentally friendly? And cheap?
After a long hot summer, homeowners are opening electricity bills that are sky-high thanks to months of air conditioning—and higher electricity rates in several provinces. Add to that the guilt, felt more deeply by some, of heating the globe while cooling your home. But relief, both financial and moral, is on the horizon. Scientists at the U.S. government’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have created a new method of air conditioning that could use up to 90 per cent less energy than today’s high-tech units. The new units rely on an environmentally friendly saline solution without using conventional refrigerants that can contribute significantly to global warming.
The idea for the desiccant-enhanced evaporative air conditioner, or DEVap—clearly the science is further along than the marketing—came to co-inventor Eric Kozubal about three years ago. In a nutshell, it uses thin membranes, a liquid desiccant salt solution and water to produce cold-dry air that works in both humid and dry climates.
By Nancy Macdonald - Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 9:31 AM - 0 Comments
A captive baby beluga’s death in Vancouver sparked soul-searching about the ethics of aquariums
When Qila the 2,000-lb. beluga whale twirls, alone in the water, waving her pearly white flippers for the crowd at the Vancouver Aquarium, no one is left uncharmed. The powerful predator has a gentle smile and a knack, it seems, for tricks. She’s magnetic: belugas are plastered on Vancouver buses, in newspaper ads, in magazines. Just getting past the aquarium’s front door can take well over a half-hour. Inside, Qila and her three beluga mates have a little under two million litres in which to roam. After an $8-million upgrade scheduled for completion in 2013, their pool will double in size.
That upgrade is coming with the help of $25 million in funding, announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell a few weeks ago in front of the blue-green tank. Ottawa’s $15-million share comes from its controversial stimulus spending fund. But there’s heat, and it’s not the Economic Action Plan that’s generating it. Weeks ahead of the announcement, Nala, the aquarium’s youngest beluga, died suddenly. A penny and some rocks were found lodged in her blowhole, igniting a local debate: should the aquarium keep beluga whales at all? Aquarium staff, many of whom rushed to be by Nala’s side the night she died, said the penny may have been tossed in by a visitor—proof, said Lifeforce founder Peter Hamilton, of the flaws inherent in “aquarium prisons.”
By Tom Henheffer - Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 2:40 PM - 0 Comments
The head count is almost complete in the first tally of the world’s marine species
The International Census of Marine Life, which has taken 10 years and the involvement of thousands of scientists across 80 countries to develop, is still a work in progress.
By Tom Henheffer - Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 1:20 PM - 0 Comments
New material may soon become a valuable tool in the fight against pollution
Take crushed limestone, add some gravel, throw in a bit of cement and you’ve got the basic recipe for concrete. Then add a white coating of titanium dioxide and you’ve got a powerful air scrubber that’s now helping to clean air in cities across the globe.
Titanium dioxide is a naturally occurring photocatalytic chemical that reacts with sunlight to remove nitrogen oxides—car exhaust pollutants that cause smog and acid rain—from the atmosphere by turning them into nitrates that can be washed away by rain. Tests show that when added to concrete it removes anywhere from 35 to 60 per cent of those chemicals from surrounding air, and, because titanium dioxide also breaks down dirt, it makes concrete self-cleaning.
By Nicholas Köhler - Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 4:00 PM - 0 Comments
Orgaworld sees big money in compost. But first, there’s the matter of that stench.
Allan Tipping, a 44-year-old auto mechanic who lives on the southern edge of London, Ont., had just arrived home from a feast of barbecued ribs one night last fall when he climbed out of his truck and into a fetid cloud of stink, so shocking to the system, he says, he was immediately sick in his driveway. The stench, says Tipping, emanated from the nearby Orgaworld composting plant, which began processing thousands of tons of green bin refuse from Toronto, York Region and St. Thomas, Ont., in 2007—the same year it also started generating smell complaints from neighbours, at this point close to 1,000 in as many days of operation.
Residents struggle to describe the odour—“it smells like Orgaworld,” says John Pieterson, a 56-year-old mail carrier—but when pressed reach for analogues like “vomit” or a “rotting corpse.” Barbecues on the back porch? Not in this neighbourhood. The locals speak of checking the way the wind is blowing before inviting guests, and the winds of southern Ontario are fickle.
By Tom Henheffer - Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 1:20 PM - 0 Comments
One 75-km stretch of beach in Florida has the largest number of shark attacks in the world
Most people bitten by sharks in the shallow, murky water of Volusia County, on central Florida’s east coast near Daytona Beach, just feel a tug, and maybe some thrashing around their ankles. Then they look down to see one of their legs streaming with blood, pierced by dozens of puncture holes. It happens all the time on the 75-km stretch of coast, because Volusia County has the largest number of shark attacks in the world. Of 639 bites worldwide between 1999 and 2008, Volusia County had 135. That’s more than one-fifth of the entire world’s attacks, and about one-third of all attacks in the U.S.
“When you’re surfing on a wave you can sometimes even see sharks underneath you,” says Jeremy Johnston, a long-time surfer raised on the east coast of Florida, who’s had sharks bump into his legs, but has been lucky enough to avoid any bites. “You see one and you lie down, float on the board and go straight into shore. It’s scary.”
By Tom Henheffer - Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 12:40 PM - 0 Comments
Eduardo Gold is attempting to reform a glacier on the Chalon Sombrero mountain in western Peru
Splashing white paint on mountains to lower temperatures and regrow glaciers: it sounds like mad science. But one Peruvian inventor is fighting climate change by toiling against Mother Nature’s evolving colour palette. Eduardo Gold is attempting to reform a glacier on the Chalon Sombrero mountain in western Peru, which melted away because of rising temperatures.
He and four men from Licapa, a nearby village that relies on glacial runoff for farming, mix lime, egg whites and water to make an environmentally friendly paint that they dump from buckets onto rocks, turning them from brown and grey to a white reminiscent of the peak’s snow-covered days. The idea is that the paint reflects the sun’s radiation, cooling temperatures in a geological equivalent of changing from a black T-shirt into a white one on a hot summer day.
By Kate Lunau - Monday, July 19, 2010 at 11:07 AM - 0 Comments
In 2013, our sun will hit its solar maximum, creating disturbances that could take out the power grid
In March 1989, six million Quebecers lost power for nine hours after a massive solar flare—an explosion of magnetic energy from the sun—created electric ground currents here on Earth, collapsing the power grid. Another geomagnetic storm, in 1921, brought ground currents 10 times as strong. But the fiercest one ever recorded, called the Carrington Event of 1859, electrified telegraph lines—even setting telegraph papers on fire—and created northern lights visible as far south as Cuba and Hawaii. If such a storm were to strike today, the consequences would be devastating. But NASA researchers say severe space weather could be on the way.
By Rachel Mendleson - Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 2:40 PM - 9 Comments
A remarkable robot fish guides fish schools away from danger to safety
Growing up in Rome, Maurizio Porfiri often frequented zoos and aquariums, where he observed the collective behaviour of everything from ants to birds. “To me,” he says, “the fascinating part was animal personality.”
And as a science-fiction fan—he enjoyed the work of Philip K. Dick, who wrote Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?—Porfiri, who went on to study mechanical engineering, imagined a world where robots interact with nature. If the robot fish he’s built is any indication, his childhood fantasy may be edging closer to fruition: beyond merely swimming alongside its live counterparts, Porfiri’s cyberfish becomes their leader.
By Kate Lunau - Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at 11:39 AM - 2 Comments
Unusual creatures keep appearing. Are they new species or mere baldies?
A few weeks ago, two nurses were strolling along the shore of Big Trout Lake, in northern Ontario, when their dog hauled something from the water. It was the corpse of a creature, about 30 cm long, unlike anything they’d ever seen: bald-faced, with a glossy pelt and cloudy white eyes. The nurses snapped some photos, but when others returned to find the body, it was gone. Ever since, the First Nation community there (population 1,450) has been abuzz. Based on the photos, “it’s not a muskrat; it’s not an otter; it’s not a rat,” says Chief Donny Morris, adding that some are nervous the animal—dubbed “the ugly one”—could be a bad omen.
By Colby Cosh - Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 1:00 PM - 10 Comments
The biggest dam ever redefines the limits of beaver architecture
Here’s a complete list of the equipment Jean Thie used to discover the world’s longest beaver dam: 1. Google Earth. 2. His brain. One of these he was born with; the other’s a free download. His record, which came to international attention this month by means of one of those curious Internet epidemics, stands waiting to be broken. If you have a computer and a knowledge of beaver habitat, you could break it yourself. He seems a sporting fellow, and would probably rather like it if you did.
Thie is an expert in forests and wetlands, and in the use of computers and aerial imaging in environmental management; his Ecoinformatics International consultancy is based in Ottawa. In 2007, he was studying the effect of climate change on permafrost when he found himself becoming increasingly curious about the large beaver dams he was spotting on Google Earth in Canada’s boreal zone.
By Kate Lunau - Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 1:20 PM - 8 Comments
A U.S. company has designed an unusual source of diesel
Henry Ford, the father of the modern assembly line, predicted a future where fuel would be mass-produced from natural materials like fruit, weeds, or even sawdust—renewable alternatives to finite fossil fuels. Still, one energy technology being developed by Joule Unlimited, a company in Cambridge, Mass., might have surprised even him: a plant that sweats diesel.