by Tom Bosschaert

April 13, 2015

Tom Bosschaert

Nature doesn’t need people, but people need nature. Costa Rica sets renewable energy record and the first head transplant is planned to take place in 2017. Read all about it in this Wormfood.

Global News: Nature doesn’t need us

  • These beautiful videos narrated by Hollywood actors give a voice to natural systems, such as rainforests, water, soil, and coral reefs. Their message? Nature doesn’t need people. People need nature.

  • None of the world’s top industries would be profitable if they paid for the natural capital they use according to a report by Trucost. “The majority of unpriced natural capital costs are from greenhouse gas emissions (38%), followed by water use (25%), land use (24%), air pollution (7%), land and water pollution (5%), and waste (1%).

  • Global warming is now slowing down the circulation of the oceans - with potentially dire consequences - according to a study just out in Nature Climate Change. “Disturbing the circulation will likely have a negative effect on the ocean ecosystem, and thereby fisheries and the associated livelihoods of many people in coastal areas. A slowdown also adds to the regional sea-level rise affecting cities like New York and Boston.

Energy & Environment: Costa Rica sets renewable record

  • Costa Rica has achieved a major clean energy milestone, meeting 100 percent of its power demand with renewable energy for 75 straight days.

  • How extensive is California's drought? Compare the before-and-after photos and see for yourself. Agriculture uses 80% of California's water supply, and producing what you eat can require a surprising amount of water.

  • The extra carbon dioxide realised into the atmosphere by human activity is stimulating photosynthesis which causes a beneficial greening of the Earth's surface. However, it remains unclear whether the effect can counter any negative consequences of global warming, such as the spread of deserts.

Business & Economy: £800m divestment by the Guardian

  • The Guardian Media Group (GMG) is to sell all the fossil fuel assets in its investment fund of over £800m, making it the largest yet known to pull out of coal, oil and gas companies. The decision was justified on both financial and ethical grounds, said Neil Berkett, GMG chair: “It is a hard-nosed business decision, but it is influenced by the values of our organisation.

  • Barclays has ended its financing of a controversial coal mining method known as mountaintop removal (MTR) and said time is running out for the practice. MTR involves blasting and shifting the tops of hills and mountains to expose the coal beneath.

  • Can the world economy survive without fossil fuels? Enjoy this longread by the Guardian.

Science, Technology & Design: Human head transplant

  • A 30-year-old Russian man has volunteered to have his head transplanted onto another human body. The operation is planned for 2017.

  • Short term climate changes can require 1000 years for recovery in oceanic ecosystems, a new study found.

  • Neonicotinoids, the group of pesticides known to kill honeybees, is probably more damaging to ecosystems than previously thought. Research demonstrates for the first time the knock-on effects to other species. Neonicotinoids are absorbed by a plant so that the neurotoxic poison spreads throughout its tissues, including the sap, nectar and pollen.

Urban Environment: Saving space in cities

  • These pictures show how much space you can save by changing your mode of transport.It's staggering really, how much of a city is set aside for cars.

  • This video explores how to make an attractive city by applying six key principles:

    • Not too chaotic, not too ordered.

    • Visible life.

    • Compact.

    • Orientation and mystery.

    • Scale.

    • Make it local.

Unexpected and Intriguing: Poop-powered bus

  • The city of Bristol is prepared to roll out a vehicle on March 25 that’s powered entirely by locals’ poop as part of an ambitious environmental campaign.

  • A shape-shifting frog is discovered in Ecuador.

If you come across news items suited for the Wormfood, or a theme you would like to see a newsletter being dedicated to, please let me know and we'll do our best to make some magic happen.

April 13, 2015