Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

A Swiss scientist prints 3D coral reefs

Ulrike Pfreundt, a researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, has used a 3D printer to create structures that can be used to build artificial coral reefs with more resilient corals.

Increasing water temperature disturbs the coexistence of corals and their symbiont algae. The corals expel the algae and in time in effect they starve to death. The process is known as coral bleaching.

“If the world’s oceans continue to warm up at this pace, more than 90 pecent of all coral reefs are in danger of dying by 2050,” said Ulrike Pfreundt.

And it is not only the corals that are at risk: the reefs are the breeding grounds for at least a quarter of oceanic fish species. Losing the coral reefs could have a devastating effect on the stability of marine ecosystems. In addition, coral reefs also provide natural protection for coastal regions, thereby also providing a direct service to humanity.

The scientist and her colleagues have used a 3D printer to produce artificial structures that coral larvae can settle on. Despite the higher temperature, not all corals die immediately. Pfreundt started with the assumption that some areas will continue to be suitable for coral reefs, for instance if there is a cooling current nearby.

34-year-old Ulrike Pfreundt is a researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich Photo: ETH Zurich/Peter Rüegg
Further information: ETH Zurich

A floating solar farm was built in Germany

The first utility-scale floating solar power plant was launched recently in Rechen, Germany. The 2300 solar panels afloat on the surface of a quarry pond are expected to produce 736 MWh of electricity per year.

Freiburg sets an example

In the fourth largest city of the state of Baden-Württemberg, urban development took a green direction a number of decades ago, which may serve as an example for other municipalities.

Gigantic dust cloud proposed to protect Earth

470 million years ago, Earth entered an ice age after an asteroid or minor planet broke up and created a gigantic dust cloud that obstructed sunlight. Scientist are now studying how humanity could create something similar to cool the planet’s climate.

130 banks commit to sustainability

The financial institutions that have officially committed to introducing the UN-backed principles of “responsible banking” to fight climate change control assets totalling $47 trillion.

Plastic Cup’s international effort to protect the River Tisza

Participants of the environmental initiative Plastic Cup have removed approximately 70 tonnes of waste from the River Tisza. To avoid further pollution of the river, an international cooperation will be necessary.

66 countries pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050

At the UN Climate Action Summit, the governments of sixty-six countries pledged to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

Legal personhood proposed for a river in England

Residents of the town of Frome in the county of Somerset, UK would like to grant legal personhood to the eponymous river.

The Budapest Water Summit will be open to all visitors

On 15 October, the Budapest Water Summit 2019 will begin with the opening speech of President János Áder, the Chief Patron of the event. Invitation to three-day conference has been accepted by heads of state, ministers and high-ranking representatives of international organisations, financing and scientific institutes.

Americans also think that climate change is a problem

A new survey by CBS News shows that two-thirds of the Americans believe climate change is a crisis or a severe problem. 56 percent believe that immediate action is required to resolve the situation.

Message from Greta Thunberg: We need action more than hope

Here’s an inspiring and thought-provoking talk from a young climate activist who, at only 15, has become the iconic face of the fight against climate change.