Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

Seagrass: a solution to many problems

A new study has measured the importance of the role that seagrass plays in reducing the coastal erosion that is becoming an increasingly severe problem with sea level rise. What’s more, that’s only one of the benefits of the plant – claims the article published on the MIT website.

Environmental engineer Heidi Nepf and doctoral student Jiarui Lei performed experiments using artificial models of the plants and used mathematical models to determine magnitude of the role that meadows of underwater seagrass play in various environmental conditions as dampers of waves and thereby protectors of sandy beaches or the integrity of seawalls and other protective structures.

Through a more accurate estimate of the potential benefits and costs, their research has lent new impetus to efforts to create and restore seagrass meadows.

That would be a happy consequence because it would prevent the organic deposits accommodating along the shoreline to be washed back out to sea and cause the algal blooms that result in deteriorating living conditions for other creatures.

Coastline protection is only one of the ecosystem services that humanity receives from the areas covered in seagrass. A previous study estimated the total value of those services at 4 billion dollars. The plants improve water quality, serve as a habitat for many species, and their ability to sequester carbon is astonishing: area for area, seagrass can store three times the carbon as rainforest.

The leaves of common seagrass are 20-50 centimetres long and 3-12 millimetres wide Photo: Shutterstock
Further information: MIT News

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.