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Climate Change and the Decline of Bumblebees

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You have certainly heard a great deal recently about and how people are fighting to have their voices heard and demanding a better future for all. But do you know how climate change is impacting ? Rainfall changes and temperature shifts are pushing bumblebees beyond their limit (ecologically-speaking). According to authors of a climate change focused piece in Science, there are declines being seen across 66 species of bumblebees.

In places such as Spain and Mexico, and other warm parts of the northern hemisphere, climate change is having a major impact on bumblebees. The decline due to climate change will have unknown consequences, according to authors of this alarming piece on climate change and bumblebees.

Unfortunately, bumblebees are threatened by habitat loss and pesticide exposure, and quick global warming resulting from climate change could be the end of certain species.

Did you know there are over 250 species of bumblebees found primarily in the northern hemisphere’s higher altitudes? Across the globe, on the other hand, there are 20,000 bee species. Bumblebees are vulnerable to temperature extremes, as per bee biologist Prof Dave Goulson.

Climate Change is Hurting Bumblebees

Researchers studying how climate change affects bumblebees put together data from across Europe and North America. More than half a million observations of 66 species of bumblebees is contained in this dataset, which goes back over a century. University of Ottawa’s Peter Soroye, study author and PhD student, as well as biologist Prof Jeremy Kerr, explained that the data can be used to determine where bumblebees used to be and where they can be found in the present day. They tracked places where the bumblebees have been over 100 years of climate change, for example. They were able to distinguish a difference between effects of habitat changes versus climate change.

From 1901 to 1974 to the period of 2000-2014, the chance of a bumblebee inhabiting a specified area in North America has decreased by 47 percent. To put it in a nutshell, bumblebees are being pushed beyond their temperature limits, and this can be linked to climate change. Major declines in terms of bumblebee populations are occurring at warming southern ecological margins and there are less compensating population developments in northern margins – therefore, both continents are experiencing declines.

In accordance with environmental change biologist from University College London, there is expected to be a rapid decline of UK bumblebees as climate change accelerates over the next decades.

A Decline in Bumblebees Due to Climate Change Will Have Huge Consequences

As per the research paper mentioned, a decline in bumblebees could have indefinite consequences for the provision of certain ecosystem services, for instance, pollination. If climate change pushes bumblebees to extinction, imagine what would happen to fruits and vegetables such as berries, tomatoes and squash. Climate change has apparently played a role already in terms of causing bumblebee population declines, specifically at the southern areas of their ranges. Exposure to pesticides and habitat loss are other issues faced by bumblebees – combine this with climate change causing warmer temperatures, and it could be the final straw.

Can Persist Despite Climate Change?

There is some good news. We still have time to make a difference when it comes to climate change. The future of the bumblebee does not have to be dire or nonexistent – we can intervene to save them. According to Kerr and Soroye, there has been success in determining spots where people must intervene and help bumblebees and we can see where they are persisting regardless of climate change.

Can We Combat the Impacts of Climate Change?

This particular study did not explore how bumblebees could be kept safe, however, there has been research indicating that adding flowers which are otherwise fed on by bumblebees into urban and rural areas could help with regard to conservation. It might not be the key to saving them, but it could make a difference.

Climate change does, in fact, pose a risk to bumblebees and of course to other insects. It is not something that we should or can afford to ignore. Think about how the decline of bumblebees would impact your life, and consider what you can do to make a difference when it comes to climate change.

Sources:

https://truthout.org/articles/climate-change-driving-rapid-and-widespread-decline-of-bumblebees/

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/climate-change-has-driven-serious-declines-worlds-bumblebees-180974178/

CSU Pueblo is Making Solar Strides

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People and businesses everywhere are making strides. has now opted to make solar changes. How so? A purchase agreement was recently signed to bring a solar panel power project worth upwards of $17 million to the university. This solar panel project is going to function as the primary generating source for the campus. This is a solar change worth talking about!

Timothy Mottet, President of CSU-Pueblo, recently held a celebration along with other administrators to announce partnerships with CSU-Pueblo’s campus and Black Hills , Capital Dynamics and Johnson Controls for this solar project.

The innovative solar project makes CSU-Pueblo the first university in Colorado to reach “net zero electric” efficiency.

discussed recognizing the solar work as adding to the university’s goals and Governor Jared Polis’ renewable energy goals. Mottet communicated that this is a noteworthy step toward using renewable energy (such as solar) on the campus and lessening the environmental impact. He also discussed the university’s dedication to Vision 2028 and its guiding principles.

A Solar Panel Project for Sustainability

What are the guiding principles referred to regarding Vision 2028? There are eight of them, and one is for sustainability in terms of living. Resources should be dedicated and programs and policies developed to support sustainable living, according to Mottet. Moreover, Vision 2028 was created to fortify economic sustainability for the university. The solar panel project is certainly a positive step in the right direction. Solar for sustainable living is the way to go.

Mottet discussed how CSU-Pueblo has seen success with the government goals in Executive Order D 2019 016 from Polis, as the university has exceeded three of the four goals. Those goals include energy management, greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energy – talk about taking things to solar heights!

A Solar Move for Greenhouse Gas Reduction

The state of Colorado wants to see a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to the tune of a minimum of 10 percent lower than levels seen in fiscal year 2014 to 2015. This should be accomplished by 2022-2023. Moreover, energy consumption should be reduced per square foot by a minimum of 15 percent by this same time. How does this solar friendly reduction impact departments and agencies? The amount of renewable electricity bought or consumed by state facilities will go up to 5 percent by 2022-2023.

Cabinet members at CSU-Pueblo and the campus System Board of Governors fully support this solar project. Things were able to move forward thanks in part to the support of program engineer at the Colorado Energy Office, Taylor Lewis.

In accordance with , System Chancellor, the pioneering spirit and initiative demonstrated at CSU are allowing CSU-Pueblo to be a leader for higher education and to become the first campus in CO to turn the solar goal into reality.

CSU-Pueblo had concerns regarding unpredictable energy costs in the Pueblo area. But the campus also demonstrated the want to become a leader in CO2 reduction and clean energy (such as solar power) usage. Consequently, the campus will benefit with a totally self-funded solution.

Solar Savings to Come

How does this solar initiative financially benefit the campus? There should be $2 million in savings over the course of the deal, with maximized 30 percent clean energy investment federal tax credits. And the amount of CO2 being saved by this solar focused project is worth talking about –it would equate to isolating a forest the size of the campus.

Chair of the CSU System, Nancy Tuor, was in agreement that CSU-Pueblo has become a higher education front-runner in terms of energy consumption. Tuor mentioned that all Colorado State University campuses share this commitment.

As per Mottet, this multi-year solar project will enable Colorado State University’s Pueblo campus to encompass energy costs where more resources will be dedicated toward their mission to develop students in such a way that they can navigate work and life in a quickly changing world.

Great things are sure to come from this solar panel project functioning as the primary generating source for the campus. Continue following solar news to stay informed!

Sources:

https://www.chieftain.com/news/20200207/csu-pueblo-will-be-first-solar-powered-university

https://www.lajuntatribunedemocrat.com/news/20200210/csu-pueblo-commits-to-solar-power

 

Climate Change, Warm Water and “Doomsday Glacier”

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It’s a recipe for disaster. A significantly large glacier. . Warm water temperatures. But the effects of climate change in one place, as remote as it might seem, could hurt the rest of the world.

A Dangerous Trio: Climate Change, Warm Water and

Under one of the fastest melting glaciers in , “Doomsday Glacier”, scientists have learned of the presence of warm water. The decline of this moving mass of ice, also known as , has been observed by researchers for at least 10 years; however, this stands out because it is the first time scientists have found that warm water is at a critical point under the glacier. This shocking finding can be linked to climate change.

Climate Change Implications

The warm water under this glacier could signal an unrelenting retreat taking place as a result of climate change, and there are major implications when it comes to global sea rise.

New York University Abu Dhabi’s Center for Global Sea Level Change director, David Holland, conducted the research demonstrating this possibly unstoppable process.

A Warning About Climate Change

Holland discussed how warm waters in that part of the world, although seemingly remote, should be a warning about the damage climate change could bring to our planet.

“Doomsday Glacier” spans 74,000-square-miles, so in terms of sea level rise, it is considered to be a significant and vulnerable glacier. Why? Because with climate change and rising sea levels, a mass of water could be released the size of the state of Florida. And melting as a result of climate change wouldn’t just impact Antarctica – it would disturb the entire world. How? It would raise global sea levels enough to devastate defenseless populations – or to be specific, the sea levels could rise by more than three feet.

In order to conduct research on the potential impact of climate change, warm water and this glacier, a team developed a 2,000 foot deep access hold. This was a part of an initiative costing millions between the United Kingdom and the United States. An ocean-sensing device was used by scientists to record waters (in January) beneath the glacier that were more than two degrees above freezing. What does this mean regarding climate change and glaciers? Keep reading…

Climate Change and Melting Glaciers

NYU graduate student, Aurora Basinski, made a turbulence measurement. Basinski discussed how their observations into the ocean cavity enabled them to detect more than just warm water – they were also able to observe its level of “turbulence” and ability to melt the base of the ice shelf.

The amount of ice flowing from the Doomsday Glacier, as per the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, has practically doubled over the course of the last three decades. This same notion holds true for nearby glaciers. Some still discount the potential risks associated with climate change, but they might be alarmed to know that ice melting from the Thwaites into the Amundsen Sea (at present) is responsible for just about 4 percent of existing worldwide sea-level rise. And when the glacier essentially disintegrates, this number would ominously increase. Climate change effects are real, and they are very worrying.

An indication of quick decay was found last January when a huge cavity comparable to two-thirds of Manhattan in size was discovered under the glacier. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet, according to warnings from scientists, could collapse over the course of the next hundred years. This could be the cause of a sea level rise of up to 10 feet. Coastlines across the planet could see flooding. Clearly, climate change is dangerous.

Climate Change and Sea Level Rise

Sea levels are rising as a result of climate change. And by the year 2050, it is anticipated that three times the number of people could be impacted than previously believed by climate change caused rising seas. According to researchers, millions of homes – close to 300 million, could be impacted over the next three decades by climate change and flooding. By the year 2100, this number could double.

The threats of climate change are real and there is rock hard – or ice cold – evidence of this. Keep following climate change news to stay in the know. Consider your own voice and how you could help in the fight on climate change.

Sources:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/climate-change-thwaites-melting-scientists-warm-water-antarctica-doomsday-glacier/

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/warm-water-found-at-vital-point-under-doomsday-glacier/ar-BBZy47i

 

A City in Massachusetts is Expanding Its Solar Market

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, is a city in the Boston metropolitan area with a population of roughly 27,000 people. Recently, Melrose was the recipient of a award – the 2019 Innovation Award.

What is SolSmart? It is a program that is funded by the US Department of Solar Energy Technologies Office. It is given in recognition of cities and regional organizations that simplify the process of going solar while making it more affordable. Communities can receive Bronze, Silver and Gold awards.

Solar Will Be Utilized in More Places

The aforementioned award was given due to an expansion beyond the residential market. Now, solar will be found in places of worship, nonprofits and small businesses. The state of Massachusetts has seen tremendous growth over the years in rooftop solar, but much of it has been centered around small residential solar and large-scale commercial projects. The locations which are part of the expansion for Melrose include First Baptist Church, Melrose Highlands Congregational Church and Green Street Baptist Church.

Serious Solar Savings

Melrose Highlands Congregational Church was able to buy 61.5 kW of solar through an exclusive financing option. The solar panels cover two rooftops and allow the church to claim just over $9,440 incentive revenue (Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target Program) during the first year, to generate their entire electricity usage, and to sell any additional electricity produced to support the organization’s work. How much is expected to be saved by this solar project? More than $15,680 in just the first year, and by year 25, more than $200,000.

Through the solar-friendly program SolSmart, local governments are able to bring new business to their area, to promote economic growth, and nurture new job growth. Across the United States, there are more than 350 designees.

Thanks to local community support and of course clear examples of accomplishment, the solar campaign has seen much success. Melrose partnered with , a Boston-based solar company, which specializes in nonprofit solar finance possibilities, and the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target Program.

For Melrose, mid-sized roofs tend to be a market that is untapped. The approach to target these roofs for solar is one that is efficient. As a matter of fact, as previously touched upon, almost all rooftop solar development has involved residential developments less than 25kW in size, and commercial projects over 300kW in size, as per SolSmart. The markets being targeted in Melrose make up the majority of the nearly 80 percent of addressable rooftop solar market with less than 300kW in capacity.

Melrose: A Solar Innovator

The city of Melrose is certainly deserving of this innovation award. It is great that the potential was recognized and taken advantage of – perhaps the city can serve as a clear model for mid-sized solar roof capabilities for other cities across the country. Perhaps more churches will look into options for clean energy and the benefits they could reap from doing so.

As a whole, the state of Massachusetts has accomplished a great deal in terms of tackling the impacts of climate change by doing what it can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions fast. The Legislature has been quite forward-thinking in terms of enacting clean energy bills. Of course, there are many activists who recognize the power of going solar, too. There is more that can be done everywhere, but it is encouraging to see states and cities making changes that could ultimately be modeled to benefit the entire planet.

Continue following solar news to stay in the know regarding the latest developments. Consider how you can make small changes to improve the health of our planet, whether that might entail going solar at home, and even encouraging businesses in your area to consider solar panels. Solar panels make for energy independence. Energy efficiency is very important to homeowners and businesses alike – homes and businesses should be situated on properties for optimal solar benefits. There are small things we can do to make a difference.

We are all in this together!

Sources:

https://electrek.co/2020/01/27/melrose-massachusetts-churches-small-businesses-solar/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/sherikoones/2020/01/26/creating-energy-independence-with-solar-panels–storage-battery-systems-in-the-home/84604695ead0

https://www.solsmart.org/

Microsoft Going Solar with Tablet Cover Patent

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A new patent released by Microsoft suggests that they are working on a product that has panels built into it. The patent illustrates a solar-powered ‘type cover,’ which is a combination of a keyboard and tablet cover. Experts are speculating that the prototype sketch might be a mockup cover for the company’s future Surface Pro 8.  

The stand of the cover, which helps prop up the tablet device, features four mini solar panels built right in. The idea is that the solar panels can be used to charge the device while it is in use. It is even theorized that the solar panels may work with artificial light, as well as indoors and on cloudy days. 

With the solar panels placed on the stand of the tablet cover, they are in an optimal position to capture as much sunlight as possible. If the cover works as it is intended to, users could be freed from having to charge their devices day in and day out. Relying on the sun’s would make a charging cord a thing of the past. That is, if the device actually works. 

Solar Technology & Everyday Devices 

A solar-powered tablet accessory is not a new concept. In fact, a lot of electronic, solar-powered devices and prototypes have been created in the last several years. Most devices we have seen, however, are intended for use outdoors, such as with camping equipment and sports gear. 

Solar-powered headlamps, flashlights, charging ports, and even solar camping tents are all available for purchase today. In terms of the tech side of the industry, solar keyboards and laptop chargers are also currently available on the market. Although we have yet to see a solar-powered laptop, there are current models being tested, such as Andrea Ponti’s concept for the Luce Solar Panel Powered PC 

The motivating factor behind the creation of all of these devices and gadgets is to ‘go green.’ By taking advantage of the endless energy supply that our sun provides, we can diminish our reliance on electricity now and in the future. 

Will a Solar Type Cover Actually Work? 

Industry experts and skeptics of Microsoft’s solar-powered type cover are hesitating to get on board with the concept. When the Microsoft Surface tablet first became available for commercial sale, it was coined as an aspiring ‘iPad killer,’ aiming to compete with Apple’s line of tablets. Microsoft created a sleek and lightweight product that can easily go toe-to-toe with Apple’s level of quality.  

Now, with the prospect of a thick, solar-powered cover being attached to their tablets, critics are stating that it is highly unlikely that Microsoft will ever release the solar-powered type cover. A bulky tablet cover is likely to hinder the original selling points that made the Microsoft tablets popular in the first place – regardless of whether or not the covers help save the environment. 

Proponents of the solar-powered covers are more optimistic, however. Some are stating that if the cover is an optional accessory and not built into the device itself, this kind of innovation may be exactly what Microsoft needs to boost its notoriety in the tech device industry.  

For now, regardless of what critics or supporters have to say, the patent is only a prototype. There is a chance that we may never hear word of Microsoft’s plans for solar devices for years to come. Not to mention, there is no verifiable data that a device of this kind will actually work – at least not yet. 

Making the Switch to Solar 

We have seen solar panels placed on roofs, carports, and in solar gardens around-the-world. With so many wide-scale projects of large solar panel projects, it is interesting to see our everyday devices touched by solar innovation. In the coming decade, it is possible that we may see our cellphones, televisions, and other technological devices migrate to using solar power as their primary source of energy.  

In the fight to keep our planet stable in the midst of climate change and global warming, every effort to utilize renewable energy sources is welcome. Only time will tell, however, whether or not these devices will ultimately work efficiently and reliably. 

Resources: 

https://www.igs.com/energy-resource-center/energy-101/7-popular-solar-gadgets-to-improve-your-life 

https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/a30563745/microsoft-surface-solar-power/