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Business to the Rescue: How Insuring Beaches and Reefs is Good for Industry and the Environment

Business to the Rescue: How Insuring Beaches and Reefs is Good for Industry and the Environment
by Mark Tercek , president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy On the heels of the World Ocean Summit in Cancún, Mexico, the Nature Conservancy is publishing new content related to the International Year of the Reef. This article re: new insurance policies for coral reefs originally appeared at Forbes.com credit: milos prelevic The idea of investing in green infrastructure — nature itself — is gaining momentum. Environmentalists have long argued that preserving reefs, wetlands, forests, and other natural ecosystems will provide important services to people, from improving air and water quality to reducing the onshore impact of storms. But now people like me have a powerful new ally on our side — business leaders and deal-makers. Partnerships between business and environmental organizations are developing new and exciting ways to use green infrastructure as a cost-effective, high-return alternative to traditional gray infrastructure. But still one big question usually remains: how will we pay for this? credit: jean wimmerlin...
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© MEDIUM.COM "new insurance policies for coral reefs" originally appeared at Forbes.com

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Plastic eating microbes to the rescue: evolution may be finding a solution to the problem of plastic waste

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Last week Sami covered news that microplastics are found in 93% of bottled water and the highest microplastic contamination levels ever were found in an English river. The preferred solution to pollution requires acting at the source to prevent the contaminants from entering the environment in the first place. But as it is clear there is already a big mess to clean up , and as we probably won't stop using plastics today, it seems worth looking at progress in managing the problem. So we circled back around on Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6 (i. sakaiensis for short), a microbe that Japanese scientists found merrily munching away on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) . It has long been known that if you give a population of microbes a reduced level of food source and a lot of contaminants that they could chew on if they get hungry enough, evolution will do the rest. As soon...
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© Flipboard and it's respective article authors

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Sea level fears as more of giant Antarctic glacier floating than thought

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The Totten Glacier is one of the fastest-flowing and largest glaciers in Antarctica with scientists keen to keep a close eye on how it melts given the enormous amount of water it could potentially unleash. Using artificially created seismic waves that help scientists see through the ice, researchers have discovered that more of the Totten Glacier floats on the ocean than initially thought. “In some locations we thought were grounded, we detected the ocean below indicating that the glacier is in fact floating,” said Paul Winberry from Central Washington University, who spent the summer in Antarctica studying the Totten. The findings are important because recent studies have shown the Totten Glacier’s underbelly is already being eroded by warm, salty sea water flowing hundreds of kilometres inland after passing through underwater “gateways”. As it does, the portion of the glacier resting on water rather than rock increases, accelerating the pace of disintegration....
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© Flipboard and it's respective article authors

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The decades-long quest to end drought (and feed millions) by taking the salt out of seawater

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I n October 2017, Charlie Paton was driving across the parched plains of northwestern Somaliland when he passed a seemingly endless queue of rumbling trucks. Each was piled high with containers of grain – 47,000 tonnes in all – to be distributed as food aid across Somalia and Ethiopia. Paton was struck by the irony: it was the region’s harvest season, and yet here were trucks delivering industrial quantities of grain that would surely strip whatever meagre business there was away from local producers. “Suddenly, the place is awash with food,” he recalls thinking. “Who’s going to buy food from a farmer when it’s free?” Huge drops of food aid are common in the drought- and famine-plagued Horn of Africa. This year alone, the United Nations is appealing for $1.6 billion in aid just for Somalia – a fact that unsettles Paton. “That $1.6 billion could probably make the place self-sufficient,...
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© WIRED.COM

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