26 results for “Human Planet”

How Pokemon are affected by climate change

Ruben Baart
November 20th 2019

You know climate change is real when dead coral Pokemon start to wash up on (virtual) beaches. Behold, Cursola, world’s first dead coral Pokemon.

On the origins of Cursola

While Pokemon has become a cultural phenomenon since its release in 1996, the media franchise maintains its relevance today.

Let's take a brief look at Cursola’s backstory—it more or less aligns with what climate change is doing to coral on Earth.

"Found in the warm shallow waters of southern seas, Corsola …

Green roofs improve the urban environment – so why don’t all buildings have them?

Michael Hardman and Nick Davies
October 29th 2019

Rooftops covered with grass, vegetable gardens and lush foliage are now a common sight in many cities around the world. More and more private companies and city authorities are investing in green roofs, drawn to their wide-ranging benefits which include savings on energy costs, mitigating the risk from floods, creating habitats for urban wildlife, tackling air pollution and urban heat and even producing food.

A recent report in the UK suggested that the green roof market there is expanding at …

Endangered animal species, in pixels

Ruben Baart
October 4th 2019

Today is World Animal Day, a day to put the spotlight on man's best friends in order to improve their welfare standards around the globe.

At Next Nature HQ, we honor this day by having dug up a brilliant 2008 campaign by WWF that featured photos of endangered animals, where the number of pixels in the photo matched the remaining population of the animal pictured.

It reminds us of the opportunity (for people of all ages - it's never too …

These are the ‘meltwater lakes’ of Antartica

Jennifer Arthur
October 2nd 2019

During the Antarctic summer, thousands of mesmerising blue lakes form around the edges of the continent’s ice sheet, as warmer temperatures cause snow and ice to melt and collect into depressions on the surface. Colleagues of mine at Durham University have recently used satellites to record more than 65,000 of these lakes.

Though seasonal meltwater lakes have formed on the continent for decades, lakes had not been recorded before in such great numbers across coastal areas of East Antarctica. This …

Why you should attend ADE Green

Ruben Baart
October 1st 2019

ADE Green returns for the seventh consecutive year to the DeLaMar Theater in Amsterdam. Once more, Amsterdam Dance Event organizes this leading event to ignite sustainable action, innovation and social change through the (electronic) music industry. The result is a tasty mix of local heroes and global game changers that unite to answer pressing questions from within the music industry — and beyond.

To give you an idea, the conference asks whether it's possible (and how) to keep your ecological …

Three exhibitions that explore the relationship between humans and the environment

Freya Hutchings
September 20th 2019

As we go about our daily activities, we may lose sight of our connections with nonhuman life. Here are three exhibitions to encourage you to step outside of your everyday and recognize your interconnected existence within a more-than-human planet.

Discover the hidden natural forces that surround us

Meet the wonders of Marshmallow Laser Feast, an experimental genre bending arts collective. Their immersive works highlight the often overlooked natural forces that surround us in order to create landscapes that go beyond …

299 trees grow in a football stadium

NextNature.net
September 19th 2019

Some centuries ago landscape painters taught us to appreciate the quality of an untouched landscape. Ever since we have been doing everything to recreate it. We camouflage cell phone antenna mast to look like trees, we fly thousands of miles to experience a pristine landscape — and, as of this month, we can visit a native European forest inside an Austrian football stadium.

The installation, titled For Forest: The Unending Attraction of Nature, houses 299 native Central European tree species …

Iceland is mourning a dead glacier

Rupert Read
August 22nd 2019

Death certificates and commemorative plaques aren’t something you’d normally associate with a glacier. But that is exactly how Iceland recently mourned the loss of 700-year-old Okjökull, the first of its major glaciers to die.

This is just one early example of events we will encounter more and more often as the hot new world we are creating slowly destroys ecosystems and livelihoods. But acknowledging the growing emotional trauma and grief felt at present and future environmental tragedies may yet be …

This cool artificial reef was just deployed in Sydney Harbor

Vanessa Bates Ramirez
July 16th 2019

Earth’s oceans have seen better days. They’re inundated with plastic waste, both whole single-use plastics and tons of plastic microparticles that find their way back into our food and drinking water. Their water temperatures are rising due to climate change, causing coral bleaching and other harmful phenomena. Overfishing has depleted multiple marine species.

Organizations and individuals around the world have leaped to action to try to reverse some of the damage human activity has caused the oceans. The Ocean Cleanup …

The new Next Nature book is here!

NextNature.net
May 28th 2019

? For pictures of the book launch, head to this page.

We live in a world in which we control the biology of a tomato at such precision, you could think of it as a product of technology, instead of a product of nature. Think about it, from genetics to breeding; a simple tomato isn’t remotely as simple as you might think. Technological advances allow our daily ingredients to be grown bigger, faster and better than ever before.

Conversely, in …

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You know climate change is real when dead coral Pokemon start to wash up on (virtual) beaches. Behold, Cursola, world’s first dead coral Pokemon.

On the origins of Cursola

While Pokemon has become a cultural phenomenon since its release in 1996, the media franchise maintains its relevance today.

Let's take a brief look at Cursola’s backstory—it more or less aligns with what climate change is doing to coral on Earth.

"Found in the warm shallow waters of southern seas, Corsola requires clean water to live. If its habitat is dirty, the growths on its back become discolored and degenerate. However, when it is healthy, its growths regularly shed and grow back."

According to the Pokedex, Cursola came about after “sudden climate change wiped out this ancient kind of Corsola”.

The original version of the Pokemon Corsola

Corsola *was* originally a pink-and-blue coral-like creature that was first included in the ‘Gold' and ‘Silver’ versions of the popular video game from 1999.

Just last week the Pokemon Company introduced Pokemon ‘Sword’ and ‘Shield’, and just two days after its official release an avid player uploaded a battling guide video indicating “DON’T Evolve Galarian Corsola In Pokemon Sword and Shield!”

It appeared that Corsola had turned into a ghost.

The new version of the Pokemon Corsola and its final form: Cursola

New media, new habits

In the latest stage of Pokemon evolution, Corsola took on a new skin. Once a water/rock dual type (properties for Pokemon and their moves), Corsola is now a ghost type Pokemon, reminding us of the massive bleaching event that threatens the world’s coral reefs.

Apparently, Pokemon nowadays is the perfect medium to introduce kids to the environmental crisis. As Pokemon Go already had thaught us how virtual computer worlds are becoming increasingly ‘real’ and blended with our physical world; Pokemon Sword and Shield will teach us about rising ocean temperatures and the importance of living with coral and algae in a lively symbiotic bond.

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Rooftops covered with grass, vegetable gardens and lush foliage are now a common sight in many cities around the world. More and more private companies and city authorities are investing in green roofs, drawn to their wide-ranging benefits which include savings on energy costs, mitigating the risk from floods, creating habitats for urban wildlife, tackling air pollution and urban heat and even producing food.

A recent report in the UK suggested that the green roof market there is expanding at a rate of 17% each year. The world’s largest rooftop farm will open in Paris in 2020, superseding similar schemes in New York City and Chicago. Stuttgart, in Germany, is thought of as “the green roof capital of Europe”, while Singapore is even installing green roofs on buses.

These increasingly radical urban designs can help cities adapt to the monumental challenges they face, such as access to resources and a lack of green space due to development. But buy-in from city authorities, businesses and other institutions is crucial to ensuring their success – as is research investigating different options to suit the variety of rooftop spaces found in cities.

A growing trend

The UK is relatively new to developing green roofs, and governments and institutions are playing a major role in spreading the practice. London is home to much of the UK’s green roof market, mainly due to forward-thinking policies such as the 2008 London Plan, which paved the way to more than double the area of green roofs in the capital.

Although London has led the way, there are now “living labs” at the Universities of Sheffield and Salford which are helping to establish the precedent elsewhere. The IGNITION project – led by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority – involves the development of a living lab at the University of Salford, with the aim of uncovering ways to convince developers and investors to adopt green roofs.

Ongoing research is showcasing how green roofs can integrate with living walls and sustainable drainage systems on the ground, such as street trees, to better manage water and make the built environment more sustainable.

Research is also demonstrating the social value of green roofs. Doctors are increasingly prescribing time spent gardening outdoors for patients dealiong with anxiety and depression. And research has found that access to even the most basic green spaces can provide a better quality of life for dementia sufferers and help prevent obesity.

An edible roof at Fenway Park, stadium of the Boston Red Sox. Via Michael Hardman, Author provided.

In North America, green roofs have become mainstream, with a wide array of expansive, accessible and food-producing roofs installed in buildings. Again, city leaders and authorities have helped push the movement forward – only recently, San Francisco created a policy requiring new buildings to have green roofs. Toronto has policies dating from the 1990s, encouraging the development of urban farms on rooftops.

These countries also benefit from having newer buildings, which make it easier to install green roofs. Being able to store and distribute water right across the rooftop is crucial to maintaining the plants on any green roof – especially on “edible roofs” which farm fruit and vegetables. And it’s much easier to create this capacity in newer buildings, which can typically hold greater weight, than retro-fit old ones. Having a stronger roof also makes it easier to grow a greater variety of plants, since the soil can be deeper.

The new normal?

For green roofs to become the norm for new developments, there needs to be buy-in from public authorities and private actors. Those responsible for maintaining buildings may have to acquire new skills, such as landscaping, and in some cases volunteers may be needed to help out. Other considerations include installing drainage paths, meeting health and safety requirements and perhaps allowing access for the public, as well as planning restrictions and disruption from regular ativities in and around the buildings during installation.

To convince investors and developers that installing green roofs is worthwhile, economic arguments are still the most important. The term “natural capital” has been developed to explain the economic value of nature; for example, measuring the money saved by installing natural solutions to protect against flood damage, adapt to climate change or help people lead healthier and happier lives.

As the expertise about green roofs grows, official standards have been developed to ensure that they are designed, built and maintained properly, and function well. Improvements in the science and technology underpinning green roof development have also led to new variations on the concept.

For example, “blue roofs” increase the capacity of buildings to hold water over longer periods of time, rather than drain away quickly – crucial in times of heavier rainfall. There are also combinations of green roofs with solar panels, and “brown roofs” which are wilder in nature and maximise biodiversity.

If the trend continues, it could create new jobs and a more vibrant and sustainable local food economy – alongside many other benefits. There are still barriers to overcome, but the evidence so far indicates that green roofs have the potential to transform cities and help them function sustainably long into the future. The success stories need to be studied and replicated elsewhere, to make green, blue, brown and food-producing roofs the norm in cities around the world.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Today is World Animal Day, a day to put the spotlight on man's best friends in order to improve their welfare standards around the globe.

At Next Nature HQ, we honor this day by having dug up a brilliant 2008 campaign by WWF that featured photos of endangered animals, where the number of pixels in the photo matched the remaining population of the animal pictured.

It reminds us of the opportunity (for people of all ages - it's never too late) to learn about the importance of protecting endangered species and everyday actions we can take to help protect them. Peculiar image.

African Wild Dog. Estimated between 3000 and 5500 remain
Amur Leopard. Estimated about 60 remain
Amur Tiger. Estimated about 450 remain
Asian Elephant. Estimated between 40000 and 50000 remain
Bengal Tiger. Estimated about 2500 remain
Black Footed Ferret. Estimated about 300 remain
Black Rhino. Estimated about 5000 remain
Blue Whale. Estimated between 10000 and 25000 remain
Bonobo. Estimated between 10000 and 50000 remain
Bornean Orangutan. Estimated between 45000 and 69000 remain
Borneo Pygmy Elephant. Estimated about 1500 remain
Chimpanzee. Estimated between 172700 and 299700 remain
Eastern Lowland Gorilla. Estimated about 17000 remain
Fin Whale. Estimated between 50000 and 90000 remain
Galapagos Penguin. Estimated about 2000 remain
Giant Panda. Estimated about 1864 remain
Green Sea Turtle. Estimated between 3000 and 5500 remain
Hectors Dolphin. Estimated about 7000 remain
Indian Elephant, Estimated between 20000 and 25000 remain
Indochinese Tiger. Estimated between 600 and 650 remain
Indus River Dolphin. Estimated about 1100 remain
Javan Rhino. Estimated about 60 remain
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During the Antarctic summer, thousands of mesmerising blue lakes form around the edges of the continent’s ice sheet, as warmer temperatures cause snow and ice to melt and collect into depressions on the surface. Colleagues of mine at Durham University have recently used satellites to record more than 65,000 of these lakes.

Though seasonal meltwater lakes have formed on the continent for decades, lakes had not been recorded before in such great numbers across coastal areas of East Antarctica. This means parts of the world’s largest ice sheet may be more vulnerable to a warming climate than previously thought.

Lakes affect ice shelves

Much of Antarctica is surrounded by floating platforms of ice, often as tall as a skyscraper. These are “ice shelves”. And when some of these ice shelves have collapsed in the past, satellites have recorded networks of lakes growing and then abruptly disappearing shortly beforehand. For instance, several hundred lakes disappeared in the weeks before the the catastrophic disintegration of the Larsen B Ice Shelf – when 3,250 km² of ice broke up in just two months in 2002.

Blue meltwater ponds cover the surface of Larsen B Ice Shelf in January 2002 (left) before its abrupt collapse two months later (right). Open ocean appears as black in both images. Via NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

The collapse may have depended on water from these lakes filling crevasses and then acting like a wedge as the weight of the water expanded the crevasses, triggering a network of fractures. The weight of lakes can also cause the ice shelf surface to flex, leading to further fracturing, which is thought to have helped the shelf become unstable and collapse.

Ice shelves act as door stops, supporting the huge mass of ice further inland. Their removal means the glaciers feeding the ice shelf are no longer held back and flow faster into the ocean, contributing to sea-level rise.

Melting the ice sheet surface

Scientists already knew that lakes form on the Antarctic ice sheet. But the latest study, published in Scientific Reports, shows that many more lakes are forming than previously thought, including in new parts of the ice sheet and much further inland and at higher elevations.

Since the cold and remoteness makes it logistically challenging to measure and monitor Antarctica’s lakes in the field, we largely know all this thanks to satellite imagery. In this case, one of the satellites used was the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 which provides global coverage of the Earth’s surface every five days and can detect features as small as ten metres.

Meltwater lakes on Sørsdal Glacier, Antarctica (red dot on larger map). Via Google Maps

My colleagues analysed satellite images of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet taken in January 2017. In total, the images covered 5,000,000 km² (that’s more than 20 times the area of the United Kingdom).

Because water reflects certain wavelengths very strongly compared to ice, lakes can be detected in these images by classifying pixels in the image as “water” or “non-water”. From these images we can pinpoint when lakes form, their growth and drainage, and how their extent and depth change over time. The largest lake detected so far was nearly 30 km long and estimated to hold enough water to fill 40,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Cause for concern?

In a warming world, scientists are particularly interested in these lakes because they may contribute to destabilising the ice shelves and ice sheet in future.

Like a sponge, the more that ice shelves become saturated with meltwater, the less they are able to absorb, meaning more water pools on their surfaces as lakes. More surface lakes mean a greater likelihood that water will drain out, fill crevasses and potentially trigger flexing and fracturing. If this were to occur, other ice shelves around Antarctica may start to disintegrate like Larsen B. Glaciers with floating ice tongues protruding into the ocean may also be vulnerable.

Meltwater drains away. Via Sanne Bosteels

Meanwhile in Greenland, scientists have observed entire lakes draining away within a matter of days, as meltwater plunges through vertical shafts in the ice sheet known as “moulins”. A warm, wet base lubricated by meltwater allows the ice to slide quicker and flow faster into the ocean.

Could something similar be happening in Antarctica? Lakes disappearing in satellite imagery suggests they could be draining in this way, but scientists have yet to observe this directly. If we are to understand how much ice the continent could lose, and how much it could contribute to global sea-level rise, we must understand how these surface meltwater lakes behave. Though captivating, they are potentially a warning sign of future instability in Antarctica.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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ADE Green returns for the seventh consecutive year to the DeLaMar Theater in Amsterdam. Once more, Amsterdam Dance Event organizes this leading event to ignite sustainable action, innovation and social change through the (electronic) music industry. The result is a tasty mix of local heroes and global game changers that unite to answer pressing questions from within the music industry — and beyond.

To give you an idea, the conference asks whether it's possible (and how) to keep your ecological footprint in restrain when you pursue an international career, or book artists from abroad and organize events in different part of the world.

Sure, the rise of electronic dance music has helped to reduce the amount of equipment and band members being flown around the globe, but the biggest contributors to the industry’s carbon emissions remains touring and festivals — and not to mention audiences flying in. So what’s being done about that?

Elon Musk for one, thinks we should be using lithium-ion batteries for electric flights?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx3auTD85Fw

And what about the use of plastic during events? For years now, festivals, cup-suppliers and drinks brands are collaborating to create a circular cup system and create awareness among visitors. What are the lessons learned and how could the system be improved and expanded? ECO Coin anyone?

What it comes down to is this. There is an urgent need for a more sustainable music and event industry, but in order to establish such a thing, we need new ideas. These ideas then need a platform, an audience, and a network opportunity to be dealt with. It's exactly this that ADE Green is providing this year.

And if you’re already organizing a conference that flies in a lot of people — at least dedicate some time to sustainability.

What? ADE Green Conference
When? 18 October 2019
Where? DeLaMar Theater, Amsterdam

? Get a closer look at the full program here.
?️ Tickets for ADE Green can be purchased here.

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As we go about our daily activities, we may lose sight of our connections with nonhuman life. Here are three exhibitions to encourage you to step outside of your everyday and recognize your interconnected existence within a more-than-human planet.

Discover the hidden natural forces that surround us

Meet the wonders of Marshmallow Laser Feast, an experimental genre bending arts collective. Their immersive works highlight the often overlooked natural forces that surround us in order to create landscapes that go beyond our daily experience. From an altered perspective, you are invited to explore your surroundings with a heightened sensory perception.

? Marshmallow Laser Feast at Odunpazari Modern Museum (TR), until 7 December 2019.

Explore the future of nature

NATURE is a trans-atlantic exhibition that includes over 60 projects where nature and design collide. The diverse range of projects in the expo is categorized within seven themes, all seeking to demonstrate how design may offer solutions for the environmental and social challenges that humanity faces today. From highly practical to highly speculative works, from physical to digital, all projects are united by a desire to show how —through design— we can become active agents in transforming the relationship we have with our world.

? NATURE at both Smithsonian (US) and Cube (NL), until 19 January 2020.

Hug & play with your surroundings

For Presence, the first largescale museal exhibition by Daan Roosegaarde, the artists has created an 800 m2 playful living lab in which multiple changes in perspective take place. You can roll around in luminous ‘stardust’, draw lines with light, and cast shadows that remain. In each room, human action leaves a lasting imprint, highlighting the traces we leave with the aim of empowering visitors to act differently, to connect with their surroundings in creative, playful and constructive ways. The immersive project is about questioning the world, who we are and what we want to leave behind.

? Daan Roosegaarde - Presence at Groninger Museum (NL), until 12 January 2020.

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Some centuries ago landscape painters taught us to appreciate the quality of an untouched landscape. Ever since we have been doing everything to recreate it. We camouflage cell phone antenna mast to look like trees, we fly thousands of miles to experience a pristine landscape — and, as of this month, we can visit a native European forest inside an Austrian football stadium.

The installation, titled For Forest: The Unending Attraction of Nature, houses 299 native Central European tree species and has turned into a lush forest of birches, willows, maples and oaks and many other varieties. With the ephemeral forest, the stadium hopes to attract wildlife (including humans, although humans are not allowed to walk around inside the forest) during the seven weeks the installation is open.

The project is designed by Swiss curator Klaus Littmann as a commemorative to the environment: “[It] aims to challenge our perception of nature and question its future,” it reads on the official press release. “It seeks to become a memorial, reminding us that nature, which we so often take for granted, may someday only be found in specially designated spaces".

It’s certainly an unusual sight, but as you enjoy the following images why not ask yourself: Is a forest in a football stadium the best way to speak about climate change?

Photography: Gerard Maurer and UNIMO.

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Death certificates and commemorative plaques aren’t something you’d normally associate with a glacier. But that is exactly how Iceland recently mourned the loss of 700-year-old Okjökull, the first of its major glaciers to die.

This is just one early example of events we will encounter more and more often as the hot new world we are creating slowly destroys ecosystems and livelihoods. But acknowledging the growing emotional trauma and grief felt at present and future environmental tragedies may yet be the kick we need to limit their reach.

Grief radically differs in its logic from ordinary sadness over a loss. If sadness is the response to the removal of an object from the tablecloth that represents a person’s lived world, grief results from loss that tears the very fabric of that cloth. In order to repair this hole and emerge from the resulting pain and outrage, the lived world has to be reconfigured.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omFZQseKK6I

To grieve though, one must acknowledge the tear in that world. This can take time, and denial is a common part of the process of accepting deep loss. This may at first take the form of a temptation toward out-and-out disbelief, and linger as sporadic thoughts and hopes that what was lost, wasn’t.

It may seem an irrational reaction, but it’s a completely understandable defence mechanism against life-shattering loss. The world without what’s been lost is so radically and qualitatively different that the psyche resists accepting reality.

While much climate denial owes itself to corruption and vested interests, the avoidance of grief may explain why many decent and intelligent people are also tempted to deny the climatic breakdown humans are causing.

It is, in a certain sense, unimaginable, even absurd, to think of us destabilising our very climate, or the scale and speed of change required to stop the slide. It isn’t surprising that so many people have been desperately hoping that the science must somehow be wrong, or that so many more act as if we can still hope for the continuation of our same old world, rather than the fundamental shift in the way we operate and organise that’s required.

From grief to action

It requires sustained strength and attention to gradually turn denial into acceptance and to build a new life. Actions like Iceland’s glacier funeral are a vital part of that process. As symbols of eternity, glaciers have great cultural significance on the Nordic island. They’re also crucial for tourism and energy. And at current rates of warming, all of the country’s glaciers will suffer Okjökull’s fate in the next 200 years, one by one. For Icelanders, emotionally acknowledging this can galvanise the associated grief into action.

Left: Okjökull glacier in September 1986. Right: the now dead glacier in August 2019. Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory

It’s not an easy process, of course. As marks of our recklessness, the grief in cases such as this is particularly potent and often laden with anger, akin to that of someone close to a murder victim. This glacier ecosystem wasn’t “lost” - to speak of loss here is euphemistic. It was killed on our watch.

Grief over climate breakdown and the degradation of our natural world is also notably different from grief at the death of a loved one, because it never lessens, let alone goes away. The anthropogenic climate emergency will define our entire lifetime, and deeply impact on all of us soon enough. Because of time-lags in the climate system, things will get worse for a long time to come, whatever we do.

Thus, while a healthy reaction to the death of a loved one is to grieve deeply and then gradually to recover, the only recovery from ecological grief that is possible at all is for us to change the world such that our actions no longer deteriorate it.

During Okjökull’s funeral residents reminisced, public figures such as Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir spoke and presented a death certificate, and this plaque was laid. Grétar Thorvaldsson & Málmsteypan Hella/Rice University

This is how ecological grief – at the tearing from us of the natural systems we are neither willing nor able to do without – leads to the radical action necessary to bring about a new world.

Given how late the hour is, that means not accepting inaction any longer – and that’s up to us. In the words of Iceland’s commemorative plaque, laid at the base of the dead glacier as a message to the future: “We know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.”

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Cover image: People gather to commemorate the loss of 700 year old glacier Okjokull. (via STR/EPA)

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Earth’s oceans have seen better days. They’re inundated with plastic waste, both whole single-use plastics and tons of plastic microparticles that find their way back into our food and drinking water. Their water temperatures are rising due to climate change, causing coral bleaching and other harmful phenomena. Overfishing has depleted multiple marine species.

Organizations and individuals around the world have leaped to action to try to reverse some of the damage human activity has caused the oceans. The Ocean Cleanup is using a two-kilometer-long screen to collect plastic waste. Origin Materials aims to make a new type of plastic that’s sustainable and renewable. The 5 Gyres Institute’s mission is to end plastic pollution, which it calls a global health crisis.

Last week another effort joined the ranks: a purpose-built artificial reef in Sydney Harbor. The result of a three-year partnership between the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the Sydney Opera House, and the government of New South Wales, the reef was made by Reef Design Lab and consists of eight one-meter-tall pods, each containing three steel and concrete hexagonal structures. Half the units also have triangular tiles extending from the hexagons’ cores.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pj6oo8_VR-A

The reef was installed along the sea wall of Sydney’s world-famous Opera House. Over a thousand miles north sits the Great Barrier Reef; larger than Italy and half the size of Texas, it’s the world’s largest coral reef system, and it’s struggling. After mass bleachings caused by unusually warm water in 2016-2017, scientists found an 89 percent reduction in new coral growth.

Bleached coral doesn’t mean dead coral. Warm temperatures cause coral to eject the algae that live in their tissue, hence the change from colored to white. It’s possible for coral to recover, but it usually takes up to ten years—and that’s if no further bleaching occurs. Reefs in the Caribbean have also been affected in recent years. As in any ecosystem, cutting out one link reverberates up the food chain and impacts other species; in this case, the diversity of the fish populations near affected reefs drops, as does the reef’s overall ability to carry out the functions necessary for it to survive and thrive.

The hope for the artificial reef in Sydney is for sea life to take up residence within its structures, thus encouraging and hopefully restoring some of the area’s biodiversity.

“It’s amazing, after only a few weeks the pods are already attracting the interest of the types of species we hope will be drawn to this new habitat such as leatherjackets, bream and octopus,” said UTS Professor of Marine Ecology David Booth, who led the project. “We will continue to monitor the reefs and adjacent sites to document change and how effective adding small fish habitat structures is in enhancing fish life on seawalls. We hope it is a model for other cities on harbors.”

Artificial reefs aren’t a new concept by any means, and in fact, many of them around the world are far larger than Sydney Harbor’s—picture a decommissioned oil rig, aircraft carrier, or ship sunk to the bottom of the ocean becoming a teeming hub of marine life.

Where does the teeming marine life originate from, though? There’s been some debate about the effectiveness of artificial reefs at actually growing fish populations, rather than simply attracting them to a new location from the surrounding area. One study by marine scientists found a modest increase of 6.5 kilograms of fish per 10 square meters of artificial reef.

Artificial reefs also aren’t doing much to solve the larger global problems of ocean contamination and rising water temperatures (and they’re not meant to). While any effort to help the environment should be applauded, it’s crucial that we focus as much (or preferably more) on preventive solutions—such as cutting carbon emissions or reducing plastic waste—as we do on reactive ones.

In the meantime, we’ll see how the marine life in Sydney Harbor fares with its newly-provided living option.

This article is republished from SingularityHub under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Image Credit: Alex Goad.

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? For pictures of the book launch, head to this page.

We live in a world in which we control the biology of a tomato at such precision, you could think of it as a product of technology, instead of a product of nature. Think about it, from genetics to breeding; a simple tomato isn’t remotely as simple as you might think. Technological advances allow our daily ingredients to be grown bigger, faster and better than ever before.

Conversely, in our world, technology (such as the internet or the financial markets) has grown so complex and omnipresent, though, that it’s developed a natural dynamism of its own, and we need to understand it better.

How natural is nature, really?

We seem to have entered a magical garden that may either take us by surprise and astonish us, or knock us down.

At Next Nature Network, it is our goal to share a richer understanding of nature, and strengthen the connections between the biosphere and the technosphere. We believe that our image of nature as static, balanced and harmonic is naive and up for reconsideration. Where technology and nature are traditionally seen as opposed, they now appear to merge or even trade places.

Nature, in the sense of trees, plants, animals, atoms, or climate, is getting increasingly controlled and governed by man. It has turned into some sort of cultural category. At the same time, products of culture, which we used to be in control of, tend to outgrow us more and more. These ‘natural powers’ shift to another field.

We must therefore aim to make sense of this world and invent a fitting vocabulary by which we can grasp the meaning of things, in order to ensure a liveable existence for the people who come after us by charting a path for the future that’s desirable for both humanity and for the planet as a whole.

We apply the term 'next nature' for this culturally emerged nature.

Forward to nature!

In Next Nature: How Technology Becomes Nature Koert van Mensvoort takes you on an epic exploration through the wonderful world of culturally emerged nature. It shows how the problematic disbalance between nature and technology not only obscures our current view on society, but simultanously hinders the future. The book offers a detailed read on the Next Nature philosophy, alongside timely examples and scientific insights.

Gradually, you'll find an entirely new worldview unfolding that is not only more realistic, but also infinitely creative, optimistic and humane. From wild software to genetic surprises, autonomous machinery and splendidly beautiful black flowers: Nature changes along with us!

Join us for the Dutch book launch on Tuesday 4 June at De Rode Hoed in Amsterdam. Pre-order your Dutch copy here. Note: We are currently working hard on the English translation of the book. Subscribe to our newsletter and we'll keep you in the know!

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You know climate change is real when dead coral Pokemon start to wash up on (virtual) beaches. Behold, Cursola, world’s first dead coral Pokemon.

On the origins of Cursola

While Pokemon has become a cultural phenomenon since its release in 1996, the media franchise maintains its relevance today.

Let's take a brief look at Cursola’s backstory—it more or less aligns with what climate change is doing to coral on Earth.

"Found in the warm shallow waters of southern seas, Corsola requires clean water to live. If its habitat is dirty, the growths on its back become discolored and degenerate. However, when it is healthy, its growths regularly shed and grow back."

According to the Pokedex, Cursola came about after “sudden climate change wiped out this ancient kind of Corsola”.

The original version of the Pokemon Corsola

Corsola *was* originally a pink-and-blue coral-like creature that was first included in the ‘Gold' and ‘Silver’ versions of the popular video game from 1999.

Just last week the Pokemon Company introduced Pokemon ‘Sword’ and ‘Shield’, and just two days after its official release an avid player uploaded a battling guide video indicating “DON’T Evolve Galarian Corsola In Pokemon Sword and Shield!”

It appeared that Corsola had turned into a ghost.

The new version of the Pokemon Corsola and its final form: Cursola

New media, new habits

In the latest stage of Pokemon evolution, Corsola took on a new skin. Once a water/rock dual type (properties for Pokemon and their moves), Corsola is now a ghost type Pokemon, reminding us of the massive bleaching event that threatens the world’s coral reefs.

Apparently, Pokemon nowadays is the perfect medium to introduce kids to the environmental crisis. As Pokemon Go already had thaught us how virtual computer worlds are becoming increasingly ‘real’ and blended with our physical world; Pokemon Sword and Shield will teach us about rising ocean temperatures and the importance of living with coral and algae in a lively symbiotic bond.

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