EcoPreservation : Mesmeric’ Mushrooms

Mushrooms (15)

If there weren’t any mushrooms, our world would be one medium garbage dump. Mushrooms play an important role in the world by breaking down plant and animal material.

Mushrooms are fungi. Fungi are as uniquely different from plants as plants are from animals. In fact, fungi and animals are now in the same super-kingdom, Opisthokonta.

After degradation, the remains are reused by other plants and animals. Mushrooms are unable to produce their own energy to grow so they always live in relationship with other organisms.

In exchange for energy from plants, many mushroom species provide various nutrients that the plants themselves are unable to produce sufficiently.

Mushrooms can have three kinds of relationships with plants: those that clean up (saprophytes), those that kill (parasites) and those that work together (mycorrhizasymbionts).

Studies (2011) showed that mushrooms also use meat in the form of eelworms and other such creatures, to meet their nitrogen requirements!

Fungi recycle plants after they die and transform them into rich soil. If not for mushrooms and fungi, the Earth would be buried in several feet of debris and life on the planet would soon disappear.

The oldest mushroom found in amber is from 90 million years ago—a Cordyceps. Scientists recently discovered a fossil first uncovered in 1859 and named Prototaxites, dating back more than 420 million years, a time when the tallest plants were around 2 feet tall. Prototaxites was 3 feet tall laying down, but if standing was nearly 30 feet high. In either case it would be the tallest organism on landand it was a giant fungus!

You can make beautiful colors by boiling wild mushrooms and dipping cloth in the resulting broth.

Many mushrooms grow towards light, following the sun just like plant. Unlike with plants, scientists do not yet know how mushrooms use sunlight; only that they do.

The spores of mushrooms are made of chitin, the hardest naturally-made substance on Earth. Some scientists suspect that mushroom spores are capable of space travel; a few even believe that some fungi found on Earth originally came from outer space! (Others believe that people who think this must be from outer space themselves.)

Under the right conditions, some mushrooms’ spores can sit dormant for decades or even a century, and still grow!

Mushrooms are useful not only as food and medicine; some are also being used in bioremediation, to absorb and digest dangerous substances like oil, pesticides and industrial waste, in places where they threaten the environment.

 Images Credit : Unknown / collected from the internet. Credits goes to whosoever concerned.

Powerful Quote #119 : Leave the Pity Earth

Sun and earth

Earth itself is not a renewable source of energy, it has limits. We humans are morons to plunder it and accelerating a one way trip. Leave the pity Earth, we have the Sun to offer all the energy we crave for.

-Words by Din

Eco Preservation : Dead Sea may not go Dead, Red Sea-to-Dead Sea water deal

The Dead Sea also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east andIsrael to the west. Its surface and shores are 427 metres (1,401 ft) below sea level, Earth’s lowest elevation on land. The Dead Sea is 306 m (1,004 ft) deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. With 34.2% salinity (in 2011), it is also one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water, though Lake Vanda Antarctica (35%), Lake Assal (Djibouti) (34.8%), Lagoon Garabogazköl in the Caspian Sea (up to 35%) and some hypersaline ponds and lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica (such as Don Juan Pond (44%)) have reported higher salinities. It is 9.6 times as salty as the ocean. This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea is 50 kilometres (31 mi) long and 15 kilometres (9 mi) wide at its widest point. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River.

The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. Biblically, it was a place of refuge for King David. It was one of the world’s first health resorts (for Herod the Great), and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from balms for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizers. People also use the salt and the minerals from the Dead Sea to create cosmetics and herbal sachets

The Dead Sea seawater has a density of 1.240 kg/L, which makes swimming similar to floating.

Recession and environmental concerns

220px-Dead_sea_ecological_disaster_1960_-_2007In recent decades, the Dead Sea has been rapidly shrinking because of diversion of incoming water from the Jordan River to the north. The southern end is fed by a canal maintained by the Dead Sea Works, a company that converts the sea’s raw materials. From a depression of 395 m (1,296 ft) below sea level in 1970 it fell 22 m (72 ft) to 418 m (1,371 ft) below sea level in 2006, reaching a drop rate of 1 m (3 ft) per year. As the water level decreases, the characteristics of the Sea and surrounding region may substantially change.

The Dead Sea level drop has been followed by a groundwater level drop, causing brines that used to occupy underground layers near the shoreline to be flushed out by freshwater. This is believed to be the cause of the recent appearance of large sinkholes along the western shore—incoming freshwater dissolves salt layers, rapidly creating subsurface cavities that subsequently collapse to form these sinkholes

In May 2009 at the World Economic Forum, Jordan announced its plans to construct the “Jordan National Red Sea Development Project” (JRSP). This is a plan to convey seawater from the Red Sea near Aqaba to the Dead Sea. Water would be desalinated along the route to provide fresh water to Jordan, with the brine discharge sent to the Dead Sea for replenishment. As of 2009, the project is in its early phases of planning, with developer and financier selection to be completed by year’s end. The project is anticipated to begin detailed design in early 2010, with water delivery by 2017. Israel has expressed its support and will likely benefit from some of the water delivery to its Negev region. Some hydro-power will be collected near the Dead Sea from the dramatic change in elevation on the downhill side of the project.

 In October 2009, the Jordanians announced accelerated plans to extract around 300 million m3 of water per year from the Red Sea, desalinate it for use as fresh water and send the waste water to the Dead Sea by tunnel, despite concerns about inadequate time to assess the potential environmental impact.

At a regional conference in July 2009, officials expressed increased concerns that water levels are dropping. Some suggested various industrial activities around the Dead Sea might need to be reduced. Others advised a range of possible environmental measures to restore conditions. This might include increasing the volume of flow from the Jordan River to replenish the Dead Sea. Currently, only sewage and effluent from fish ponds run in the river’s channel. Experts also asserted a need for strict conservation efforts. They also said agriculture should not be expanded, sustainable support capabilities should be incorporated into the area and pollution sources should be reduced.

Updates :

Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have signed a water sharing pact aimed at one day replenishing the rapidly drying Dead Sea.

The agreement will build a pipeline to carry brine from a desalination plant at the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, while providing drinking water to the region.

The Dead Sea is dropping by as much as 1m (3.3ft) a year as the River Jordan is depleted for use in irrigation.

But critics fear the plan’s impact on the Dead Sea’s fragile ecosystem.

Such a project has been under discussion for years.

With peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians apparently stagnating, it offers the prospect of successful co-operation at a time of political difficulty, says the BBC’s Kevin Connolly in Jerusalem.

The agreement was signed on Monday at the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington DC. The project is expected to cost $250m-$400m (£152m-£244m).

Call for study

The Dead Sea is so rich in salt and other minerals that humans float naturally on the surface. The area around the sea has an established tourism and health industry because of the water’s unique properties.

But the Dead Sea is losing water rapidly, with some fearing the Dead Sea could dry up entirely by 2050.

The scheme will pipe water from the Gulf of Aqaba off the Red Sea through a desalination plant in Jordan, sending brine to the southern-most edge of the Dead Sea.

The brine will be used to test the impact of Red Sea water being transported to the Dead Sea, according to World Bank officials.

It will involve the construction of a desalination plant in Jordan, projected to yield 80 million-100 million cu m of water annually. A water transfer deal will also see Israel supply water to Jordan and the Palestinian territories.

The project will also yield hydroelectric power for use in the desalination process.

Environmental advocacy group Friends of the Earth Middle East has called for an environmental study of how the brine from the desalination plant should be treated before the project begins in earnest, arguing it is unclear how brine from the Red Sea water will affect the Dead Sea’s ecosystem.

Courtesy and Source : Wikipedia and BBC

Know : Volocopter – the world’s first green helicopter

E-volo’s Volocopter is a revolution in aviation Made in Germany. Safer, simpler, and cleaner than normal helicopters, it has a unique way of moving – a groundbreaking innovation.The Volocopter is an environmentally friendly and emission- free private helicopter. Instead of one combustion engine, eighteen electrically driven rotors propel it.

Volocopter (2)

What is a Volocopter?

The Volocopter by e-volo is a completely novel, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) manned aircraft, which cannot be classified in any known category. The fact that it was conceived of as a purely electrically powered aircraft sets it apart from conventional aircraft.

Through the use of its many propellers, the Volocopter can take off and land vertically like a helicopter. A considerable advantage, apart from the simple construction without complex mechanics, is the redundancy of drives. This enables the safe landing of the volocopter even if some drives fail.

Advantages of the Volocopter

– Potential to become the world’s safest piece of air sport equipment

– No emissions

– Very easy to fly by joystick

– Easy and cost-efficient pilot training

– Extremely low operating costs and low-maintenance

– Quiet, pleasant sound

– No vibrations

How Does the Volocopter Work? 

Volocopter (7)

Volocopter (8)

The Inventors

The propellers generate the entire ascending force, and by means of a selective change in rotary speed they simultaneously take care of the steering. Furthermore, as opposed to helicopters, no mechanical pitch control of the propellers is necessary whatsoever.

The automatic position control and the directional control take place by means of several independent and mutually monitoring airborne computers which control the rotation speed of each drive separately.

An optional, additional pusher propeller enables an even faster flight.

How Long Can The Volocopter Fly? 

Volocopter (5)

Volocopter (6)

Currently, the limiting factor is the energy capacity of available batteries. However, a considerable advancement in battery technology is conceivable during the next few years, so that a multiplication of the energy capacity will occur within a short period of time. At present a battery flight time of 20 minutes is possible, but in the near future this will be extended to one hour or more.

To enable a flight time of several hours right from the start, our two-seater Volocopter is being developed as a serial hybrid electrical aircraft with a range extender.

A range extender is an additional aggregate in an electrical vehicle which extends the range of the vehicle considerably. The most commonly used range extenders are combustion motors which power a generator that supplies the batteries and electrical engines with electricity. Range extenders run at a constant rotation speed with optimal efficiency.

Safety Concept 

Volocopter (1)

Volocopter (3)

The integral part of the safety of the volocopter is the redundancy of its components. All safety relevant systems are present in multiple number.

Thereby the volocopter is safe to fly even if several drive units fail. Even if the range extender fails, a safe landing is ensured by additional batteries.

Our volocopters are fitted with a rescue system in the form of a parachute which safely lets the entire aircraft sink to the ground in the case of an emergency. At helicopters in contrast, is the main rotor in the way.

Volocopter (4)

_____

Courtesy and Source : www.e-volo.com

Know : Basel Convention ( Treaty to prevent transfer of Hazardous Waste between Nations)

Basel_ConventionWhat is the Basel Convention?

The Basel Convention is an international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations, and specifically to prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries (LDCs). It does not, however, address the movement of radioactive waste. The Convention is also intended to minimize the amount and toxicity of wastes generated, to ensure their environmentally sound management as closely as possible to the source of generation, and to assist LDCs in environmentally sound management of the hazardous and other wastes they generate.

The overarching objective of the Basel Convention is to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes. Its scope of application covers a wide range of wastes defined as “hazardous wastes” based on their origin and/or composition and their characteristics, as well as two types of wastes defined as “other wastes” – household waste and incinerator ash.

The Convention was opened for signature on 22 March 1989, and entered into force on 5 May 1992. As of May 2013, 179 states and the European Union are parties to the Convention. Haiti and the United States have signed the Convention but not ratified (Making something valid by formally ratifying or confirming it) it.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Nations that have signed and ratified the Basel Convention, along with nations that have signed but have not ratified the agreement. Rest not signed

When and Why it was formed?

With the tightening of environmental laws (for example, RCRA) in developing nations in the 1970s, disposal costs for hazardous waste rose dramatically. At the same time, globalization of shipping made a transboundary movement of waste more accessible, and many LDCs were desperate for foreign currency. Consequently, the trade in hazardous waste, particularly LDCs, grew rapidly.

One of the incidents which led to the creation of the Basel Convention was the Khian Sea waste disposal incident, in which a ship carrying incinerator ash from the city of Philadelphia in the United States dumped half of its load on a beach in Haiti before being forced away. It sailed for many months, changing its name several times. Unable to unload the cargo in any port, the crew was believed to have dumped much of it at sea.

Another is the 1988 Koko case in which 5 ships transported 8,000 barrels of hazardous waste from Italy to the small town of Koko in Nigeria in exchange for $100 monthly rent which was paid to a Nigerian for the use of his farmland.

These practices have been deemed “Toxic Colonialism” by many developing countries.

Export of E-Waste

Export of E-Waste

Only around 4% of hazardous wastes that come from OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development] countries are actually shipped across international borders. These wastes include, among others, chemical waste, radioactive waste, municipal solid waste, asbestos, incinerator ash, and old tires. Of internationally shipped waste that comes from developed countries, more than half is shipped for recovery and the remainder for final disposal.

Increased trade in recyclable materials has led to an increase in a market for used products such as computers. This market is valued in billions of dollars. At issue is the distinction when used computers stop being a “commodity” and become a “waste”.

As of 2013, there are 180 parties(countries) to the treaty. The UN member states that are not party to the treaty are Angola, Burma, East Timor, Fiji, Grenada, Haiti, São Tomé and Príncipe,San Marino, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Tajikistan, Tuvalu, United States, and Vanuatu.

Country wise details on Status of RatificationsCountry ContactsAgreementsImports / Export RestrictionsNationalDefinitionsNationalLegislationNationalReporting and Country Fact Sheets can be downloaded from the respective links from their site. (Click on the respective link)

Courtesy and Source : Wikipedia and http://www.basel.int/