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Renewables poised for rapid growth worldwide
27 October 2016 - More wind, solar, and other renewable electricity generating capacity was built last year than coal -- the first time in history that renewables have overtaken coal in new power plant additions worldwide, the International Energy Agency said in its report, released Tuesday. Global renewable electricity generating capacity is expected to grow 42 percent by 2021, according to the report. The agency previously expected renewables to grow about 36.5 percent during that time. (more)

US: Major California river adding key ingredient -- water
27 October 2016 - A decade ago, environmentalists and the federal government agreed to revive a 150-mile stretch of California's second-longest river, an ambitious effort aimed at allowing salmon again to swim up to the Sierra Nevada foothills to spawn. A major milestone is expected by the end of the month, when the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says the stretch of the San Joaquin River will be flowing year-round for the first time in more than 60 years. (more)

US: Can a booming city feed its people sustainably?
26 October 2016 - Michael Hanan and Lloyd Minick, friends since their days in college just outside Austin, Texas, saw their ideal world as social entrepreneurs. They tossed around grand ideas. One of those was farming. 'Agriculture has perhaps the greatest impact on the environment of any industry or human activity,' says Hanan, 29, a seventh-generation Texan. They plunged into sustainable methods of growing and belong to a varied cast channeling both the city's creative energy and the sustainable movement into efforts to produce more food in and around the city -- and to feed its citizens nutritiously and affordably. (more)

US: Closing in on a solar power breakthrough
26 October 2016 - Frank van Mierlo holds his dream in one hand -- a hair-thin wafer of silicon, the platform for a solar power cell. After nearly 10 years and $100 million of investment, the dream is on the doorstep of happening. Next year, van Mierlo's startup, 1366 Technologies, is set to break ground on a new wafer manufacturing plant between Buffalo and Rochester in rural upstate New York. 'There's no false modesty here. Our technology is truly revolutionary when it comes to reducing costs,' van Mierlo said. (more)

How Haidar el Ali became one of Africa's best-known environmentalists
25 October 2016 - At 25 years old, Haidar el Ali turned his passion for the environment into a vocation for life. To help fight against mangrove degradation, Ali, through Oceanium, organized massive replanting efforts with hundreds of villages in Casamance, where he is now based. This region is the greenest part of Senegal and was once referred to as the country's breadbasket, but it's been far from immune from environmental problems. Between 2006 and 2012, countless villagers helped replant about 35,000 acres in Casamance, and another 2,500 or so acres were replanted elsewhere in Senegal. It's one of the largest mangrove replanting efforts in the world. (more)

Retro-electric: making petrol-guzzling cars eco-friendly
25 October 2016 - Big breakthroughs in battery technology have raised hopes the electric car can transform the auto industry and set us free from fossil fuel dependence. Some small businesses are determined to make sure the electric revolution is as environmentally friendly as possible. And their vision of the future relies on repackaging the past. Since manufacturing new cars is energy-intensive and polluting, these specialists believe transforming old, petrol-guzzling cars into clean, green electric vehicles can play an important part in reducing carbon emissions. (more)

US: How Flint, Michigan is using good food to combat lead poisoning
25 October 2016 - Since the water crisis, Flint's local food community has ramped up efforts to distribute fresh foods that are low in fat and high in vitamin C, iron, and calcium. The hub of Flint's food community is the year-round Flint farmers' market, an indoor bazar conveniently located across the street from the MTA bus terminal. While the market has long purveyed high-quality fruits and vegetables and offered cooking demos, exercise classes, and health programs, it took on a new mission earlier this year: getting foods that combat lead poisoning into the homes of Flint residents. (more)

Food industry goes beyond looks to fight waste
24 October 2016 - Millions of tons of food are thrown out or left to rot in fields every year in wealthy nations, simply because they do not meet cosmetic standards set by distributors or supermarkets. Under pressure from anti-waste advocates, the food industry has begun looking for ways to throw away less. So now, in such cities as Pittsburgh and Paris, some of that imperfect produce has started to find its way into stores. Hannah Husband, a movement and nutrition coach of Oakland, Calif., said that after she signed up for weekly deliveries from the company Imperfect Produce, she began recommending the boxes to her clients. 'A lot of times when you're switching gears and trying to go to a healthier way of eating, it feels like everything costs a lot,' so the discounted prices are appealing, she said. (more)

Soyuz capsule docks with international space station
21 October 2016 - A Soyuz space capsule carrying astronauts from Russia and the United States has docked with the International Space Station after a two-day voyage. The docking took place smoothly Friday and the crew entered the space laboratory after a lengthy procedure to open its hatches. The mission is set to last four months. (more)

US: How millennials are re-shaping the future of food
21 October 2016 - Take a look at what's for dinner over the decades and you will find more veggies and less meat on people's plates. Not only are health concerns associated with the standard American diet being taken more seriously, but studies are also showing that millennials' deep concern for the environment is leading to a boom in vegetarian dining that may completely reshape the future of food. (more)

A new opera star emerges from the 'vocal breadbasket' of South Africa
21 October 2016 - In recent years, South Africa's rich choral tradition has produced a wave of talented opera singers who are making their mark on the world stage. Soprano Pretty Yende wowed opera enthusiasts in 2013, when she debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, while bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana will open next year's Glimmerglass Festival as Porgy in the American classic, 'Porgy and Bess.' Now, South Africa is pinning its hopes on another rising opera star - 25-year-old Noluvuyiso Mpofu. (more)

Australia: Indigenous science graduate reaching for the stars
21 October 2016 - Indigenous science graduate Karlie Noon fought hard to get a double major in pure maths and physics. At 18, she became the first in her family to make it to university when she was accepted into a combined maths and physics degree at the University of Newcastle. Earlier this year, she landed a job with CSIRO's Indigenous STEM Education Project. (more)

UN: Wonder Woman has been appointed Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls
21 October 2016 - The comic book character Wonder Woman has been appointed Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls, in support of Sustainable Development Goal 5 -- to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. The Wonder Woman campaign will highlight what we can collectively achieve if women and girls are empowered -- along with examples of women and girls who have made and are making a difference every day by overcoming barriers and beating the odds to reach their goals. (more)

US: Tribes to partner with federal government to manage public lands
21 October 2016 - U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell was in Alaska on Friday to sign a new commitment to federal-American Indian cooperation in the management of public lands and resources. The order facilitates consultation and collaborative partnerships between federally-recognized tribes and Interior's land, water and resource management agencies in order to give tribes a meaningful and substantive voice in the management of public lands to which they have a special geographical, historical and cultural connection and to ensure that indigenous knowledge and practices are considered in land management decisions. (more)

Serbia: Pianists in the spotlight at Belgrade's classical festival
20 October 2016 - Now in its 48th year, the Belgrade Music Festival, BEMUS, will again showcase some of the best classical musicians, including works by young Serbian talents as well as the great composers. All the great masters will be covered, including performances of pieces by Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Brahms, Stravinsky, Debussy, and many more. (more)

Investing in girls could unlock billions of dollars for national economies - UN agency
20 October 2016 - Developing countries could reap a dividend of $21 billion a year if all 10-year-old girls completed secondary education, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said in a report. 'Education is the world's best investment. Whenever a girl's potential goes unrealized, we all lose,' Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of UNFPA, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview. (more)

One of Australia's rarest plants, the spiny daisy, coming back from the brink at Riverland sites
20 October 2016 - It was once believed to be extinct, but the native spiny daisy is now blooming strongly across parts of South Australia's Riverland. A program to replenish the critically-endangered species started at Banrock Station in the Riverland in 2014. Wetland manager Christophe Tourenq said the program had been designed to bring the small, prickly plant back from the brink of actual extinction, and had so far enjoyed incredible success. 'It's one of the rarest plants in Australia and on Earth. There are only six [genetic] individuals left in the wild,' Mr. Tourenq said. 'We always talk about species disappearing and it's all doom and gloom, [but] I think the future is pretty bright.' (more)

US: Tesla to make all its new cars self-driving
20 October 2016 - Electric carmaker Tesla says all cars it now builds will have hardware needed to drive completely on their own. Tesla founder Elon Musk said its hardware was 'basically a super-computer in a car,' but added it would be up to regulators and the public to decide when self-driving vehicles could actually be used on the roads. (more)

Australia: Wild Tasmanian devils on the mend, scientists say
19 October 2016 - Scientists have discovered wild Tasmanian devils that have recovered from the facial cancer that has decimated the species over the past 20 years. Dr. Rodrigo Hamede from the University of Tasmania said he hoped this was the beginning of a much brighter future for the devils. 'It is rewarding and it also puts the future in a more, sort of encouraging scenario.' (more)

Ecuador: These solar panels pull clean drinking water straight from the air
19 October 2016 - When a family in Guayaquil, Ecuador turns on the tap for a glass of water, it doesn't flow from city pipes -- there are no city pipes. Instead, a new type of solar panel in the backyard turns moisture in the air into clean drinking water and sends it inside the family's simple bamboo home. 'We started this company to provide water to everyone, everywhere,' says Cody Friesen, CEO of Zero Mass, the startup making the new solar panel, called Source. (more)

US: Puget Sound in line for environmental health boost
19 October 2016 - Advocates for a healthier Puget Sound have long contented that it needs to be treated as a nationally significant water body, just like the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay. And the first big step toward that goal was taken Tuesday. Officials from the Obama Administration joined Washington's Governor Jay Inslee, tribal leaders and members of the state's congressional delegation in Seattle for the announcement that they would be coordinating efforts to improve the health of the Northwest's inland sea. That includes putting a combined $800 million into various environmental projects. (more)

Sweden: Art raises awareness about humanity's impact on nature
18 October 2016 - A growing body of artwork addressing climate change includes exhibits at the Artipelag in Stockholm, Sweden where sustainable design is used. At the Artipelag in Stockholm, exhibits such as one showcasing sustainable design are hosted in a building that regulates its temperature with a heat exchange system using seawater. Glass expanses bathe galleries in natural light, cutting down on electricity use. 'You have to start in your everyday life and make small changes,' says Bo Nilsson, director of Artipelag's exhibition hall. (more)

US: A vision for a Chicago unified by rivers
18 October 2016 - As the 15-year Chicago Riverwalk project draws to a close, the city hopes to use its waterways to bridge neighborhoods. Since the first section opened in 2009, the Riverwalk has pulled visitors to its many new restaurants and bars and public sites, like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza. Carol Ross Barney, the founder of Ross Barney Architects, worked with Sasaki Associates on the design for the project. In a press release, Ross Barney said that the goal of the Riverwalk is to 'return the river to Chicago and return Chicagoans to the river.' (more)

US: Conservative desert town on the cusp of emerging solar trend
18 October 2016 - The city of Lancaster, California requires solar on new homes. San Francisco is California's biggest city to approve a solar requirement. It follows others. The city wants to cut greenhouse gases in the city 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. In addition to other efforts on reducing waste and switching buses to clean transportation, San Francisco wants to increase the use of electric vehicles. (more)

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