South Florida

Resilience System


The Diversity of Life Across Much of Earth Has Plunged Below ‘Safe’ Levels

An aerial view shows a tract of Amazon rain forest that has been cleared by loggers and farmers for agriculture near the city of Santarem, Para State, April 20, 2013. (Nacho Doce/Reuters)

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Science - Has land use pushed terrestrial biodiversity beyond the planetary boundary? A global assessment

washingtonpost.com - by Chris Mooney - July 14, 2016

In an ambitious study that represents the latest merger between big data approaches and the quest to conserve the planet, scientists have found that across a majority of the Earth’s land surface — including some of its most important types of terrain and its most populous regions — the abundance or overall number of animals and plants of different species has fallen below a “safe” level identified by biologists.

The reason is not exactly a surprise — from grasslands to tropical forests, humans are using more and more land for agriculture, to live on, to build roads and infrastructure upon. When we take over, we clear the land or otherwise convert it for our purposes.

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Penn Engineers Develop $2 Portable Zika Test

CLICK HERE - Analytical Chemistry - Instrument-Free Point-of-Care Molecular Detection of Zika Virus

news.upenn.edu - June 29, 2016

University of Pennsylvania engineers have developed a rapid, low-cost genetic test for the Zika virus. The $2 testing device, about the size of a soda can, does not require electricity or technical expertise to use. A patient would simply provide a saliva sample. Color-changing dye turns blue when the genetic assay detects the presence of the virus.

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FACT SHEET: Obama Administration Announces Federal and Private Sector Actions on Scaling Renewable Energy and Storage with Smart Markets

submitted by Gordian Raacke

CLICK HERE - White House Council of Economic Advisors - Incorporating Renewables into the Grid: Expanding Opportunities for Smart Markets and Energy Storage (40 page .PDF report)

whitehouse.gov - June 16, 2016

. . The Administration is announcing new executive actions and 33 state and private sector commitments that will accelerate the grid integration of renewable energy and storage.  Together, these announcements are expected to result in at least 1.3 gigawatts of additional storage procurement or deployment in the next five years. .

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Clean Water Crisis Threatens US

           

Aerial view overlooking landscaping on April 4, 2015 in San Diego, California.  Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

by Sarah Ferris and Peter Sullivan - April 25, 2016

The United States is on the verge of a national crisis that could mean the end of clean, cheap water.

Hundreds of cities and towns are at risk of sudden and severe shortages, either because available water is not safe to drink or because there simply isn’t enough of it.

The situation has grown so dire the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence now ranks water scarcity as a major threat to national security alongside terrorism.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

 

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From Coast to Coast, Middle-Class Communities are Shrinking

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Pew Research Center - America’s Shrinking Middle Class: A Close Look at Changes Within Metropolitan Areas

latimes.com - by Don Lee - May 11, 2016

America's shrinking middle class, a growing concern for the economy and a central issue in the presidential race, cuts across virtually all communities from coast to coast, according to a study released Wednesday.

The report by Pew Research Center found that the share of the middle class fell in 203 of the 229 U.S. metropolitan areas examined from 2000 to 2014, including major cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, which saw a relatively sharp drop in its middle class.

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New Survey Shows Zika-Prone States Underprepared for Health Emergency

CLICK HERE - 2016 National Health Security Preparedness Index

The 2016 National Health Security Preparedness Index shows gaps in health readiness among states.

hhnmag.com - by Matt O'Connor - April 25, 2016

Summer is rapidly approaching, and so is ideal mosquito weather and the opportunity for the spread of Zika — something hospitals need to be ready for.

The 2016 National Health Security Preparedness Index, released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, shows that the United States scores 6.7 out of 10 for preparedness against public health emergencies, a 3.6 percent increase since the survey began three years ago. But, some of the regions most susceptible to the spread of Zika scored below the national level, including the Deep South.

Having many states improve their scores is a positive sign that the nation is improving, but there is concern that the South isn’t as prepared for the approaching mosquito season, says Glen Mays, professor of health policy at the University of Kentucky's College of Public Health, who leads the team overseeing the Index.

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Dengue Antibodies Enhance Zika Infection?

Dengue-infected tissue - CDC; Frederick Murphy, Cynthia Goldsmith

 

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Dengue Virus Antibodies Enhance Zika Virus Infection

Previous flavivirus infection could help explain the severity of symptoms in some people infected during the ongoing Zika outbreak, researchers report.

The Scientist - by Tanya Lewis - April 28, 2016

Scientists at Florida Gulf Coast University and their colleagues have found that human cells were more likely to be infected with Zika virus in vitro if they contained antibodies to dengue virus. Their findings, detailed Monday (April 25) in a bioRxiv preprint, could help explain why Zika infection appears to be more severe in areas where dengue is endemic, and points to a potential unintended effect of dengue vaccination.

Antibodies to dengue can increase the virus’s infectivity for certain types of immune cells through a process called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), resulting in the production of more virus and more severe illness.

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Study Sees Way to Limit Mosquitoes’ Ability to Spread Zika

          

An Aedes Aegypti mosquito photographed on human skin. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Cell Host & Microbe - Wolbachia Blocks Currently Circulating Zika Virus Isolates in Brazilian Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes

Presence of Wolbachia bacterium in the insects seen limiting their ability to transmit the rapidly spreading virus

wsj.com - by REED JOHNSON, ROGERIO JELMAYER, and BETSY MCKAY - May 4, 2016

Introducing a common bacterium into a species of mosquitoes drastically limits the insects’ ability to transmit the dangerous Zika virus that has been spreading rapidly, according to researchers at Brazil’s leading medical-research institute.

In a new study published on Wednesday in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, researchers at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), in Rio de Janeiro, said their experiments have shown that injecting Aedes aegypti mosquito eggs with the Wolbachia bacterium makes the eventual adult mosquitoes highly resistant to the Zika virus, thereby limiting their ability to spread it.

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First Commercial Zika Virus Test Gets FDA Approval

CLICK HERE - Quest Diagnostics - Zika Virus Infection - Important Testing Information and Helpful Resources

nbcnews.com - by Maggie Fox - April 28, 2016

The first commercial U.S. test to diagnose Zika virus won emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration Thursday.

It's a rare piece of good news as states and the federal government struggle to get out ahead of the Zika virus epidemic as it makes its way north to the U.S.

Quest Diagnostics says it should be able to handle any demand for the test, which uses the same method that government labs use to look for Zika virus in a patient's blood.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

 

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A Renewable Energy Boom

CLICK HERE - REPORT - Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016

nytimes.com - by The Editorial Board - April 4, 2016

Some world leaders, especially in developing countries like India, have long said it’s hard to reduce the emissions that are warming the planet because they need to use relatively inexpensive — but highly carbon-intensive — fuels like coal to keep energy affordable. That argument is losing its salience as the cost of renewable energy sources like wind and solar continues to fall.

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‘Devastating’ year for growers leads to higher produce prices in stores

miamiherald.com - February 19th 2016 - Susan Jacobson

Heads of cabbage cover the ground as far as the eye can see at Long & Scott Farms.

Some are softball-size, while others approach the girth of a soccer ball. The smaller heads are maturing too slowly, and there’s a risk they won’t be ready by the prime selling time of St. Patrick’s Day.

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Coalition of US States Pledge to Accelerate Renewable Energy Efforts

          

Wind turbines near Rancho Mirage, California. The wind farm contains more than 4,000 separate windmills and provides enough electricity to power the entire Coachella Valley. Photograph: Xinhua/Barcroft Media

Bipartisan accord signed by governors of 17 states sets out commitments to expand energy efficiency and use more solar and wind generation for electricity

CLICK HERE - Governors’ Accord for a New Energy Future

CLICK HERE - Governors’ Accord for a New Energy Future (3 page .PDF file)

theguardian.com - by Oliver Milman - February 16, 2016

A bipartisan group of governors from 17 states has pledged to accelerate their efforts to create a green economy in the US by boosting renewables, building better electricity grids and cutting emissions from transport.

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The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics

submitted by Albert Gomez

ellenmacarthurfoundation.org - January 19, 2016

Applying circular economy principles to global plastic packaging flows could transform the plastics economy and drastically reduce negative externalities such as leakage into oceans, according to this new report.

The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics provides, for the first time, a vision of a global economy in which plastics never become waste, and outlines concrete steps towards achieving the systemic shift needed.

The report was produced by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, with analytical support from McKinsey & Company, as part of Project MainStream, a global, multi-industry initiative that aims to accelerate business-driven innovations to help scale the circular economy. It was financially supported by the MAVA Foundation.

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By 2050, There Will Be More Plastic than Fish in the World’s Oceans, Study Says

           

A September 2008 photo released by the Ocean Conservancy on March 10, 2009, shows a trash-covered beach in Manilla, Philippines. (Tamara Thoreson Pierce/Ocean Conservancy/AP)

CLICK HERE - REPORT - World Economic Forum - The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Independent study tallies 'true catch' of global fishing

washingtonpost.com - by Sarah Kaplan - January 20, 2016

There is a lot of plastic in the world’s oceans.

It coagulates into great floating “garbage patches” that cover large swaths of the Pacific. It washes up on urban beaches and remote islands, tossed about in the waves and transported across incredible distances before arriving, unwanted, back on land. It has wound up in the stomachs of more than half the world’s sea turtles and nearly all of its marine birds, studies say . . .

. . . But that quantity pales in comparison with the amount that the World Economic Forum expects will be floating into the oceans by the middle of the century.

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NOAA: Salt Marshes Combat Climate Change

             

Shorebirds feed in the shallows of Estero Bay State Preserve.  In the background are black mangroves, which are part of a salt marsh, which absorbs large amounts of carbon dioxide.  (Photo: File photo by Andrew West)

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - PLOS One - Living Shorelines: Coastal Resilience with a Blue Carbon Benefit

news-press.com - by Chad Gillis - December 24, 2015

Natural, living shorelines in areas like the Gulf of Mexico absorb a lot of carbon dioxide and will help blunt the effects of climate change.

And coastal wetlands store several times the amount that can be absorbed by mature tropical forests, the research shows.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration studied wetlands in North Carolina and reports that plants, sand and rocks are better for the environment than man-made features like concrete sea walls and high-rise condominiums.

The report, published earlier this month in the journal PLOS One, shows that natural features in coastal areas help keep atmospheric carbon dioxide levels lower.

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