Let's open with some music!
An international research team has now, for the first time, compiled and standardised data from numerous camera trap studies from different regions of the Amazon. This has resulted in the most comprehensive database to date on mammal, bird and reptile species in this region. A total of 120,849 records on 289 species from 2001 to 2020 were collected and standardised. The data provides information from 143 study sites across the Amazon Basin – an area of nearly 8.5 million square kilometres covering states in Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.
“Our database significantly improves the information situation on vertebrates in the Amazon region,” says Ana Carolina Antunes, doctoral researcher at the University of Jena and member of the iDiv research group Theory in Biodiversity Science. Until now, knowledge about the number, diversity, distribution patterns and behaviour of species in this territory has been patchy and therefore scarce. The information was scattered among many individual publications, grey literature and unpublished raw data. This database now allows larger scale analyses of temporal and spatial changes in population densities and the residence patterns of the animals. “It's not just that the cameras allow you to take beautiful photos of the animals. They also provide further important data from which it is possible to deduce how climate change and human-induced landscape changes affect animals and their habitats on a large scale. This knowledge can help to develop protective measures for animal species that are particularly threatened by these changes,” says Antunes.
If the world has you down, remember that there's a real frog out there in Costa Rica that looks exactly like Kermit the Frog.
Photos: Left: a long-limbed bright green tree frog with bulbous white-ringed eyes; Right: Kermit the frog]
A 330-foot (100-meter) prototype wooden wind turbine is being made in the land of wooden innovation, Sweden, to reduce the substantial carbon footprint of manufacturing a wind turbine from steel.
But how can a structure so battered with wind and gravity be made of a material that can be broken by a human with a machete? The answer is laminated veneer lumber (LVL), a wood construction product that is made by bonding three millimeter sheets of peeled spruce under intense heat and pressure to create flexible timber material stronger than steel, but lighter and less carbon-intensive.
Made by Stora Enso, one of the world’s oldest timber companies, LVL was used in 2020 to build a 130-foot (30-meter) prototype wind turbine tower. Hefty curved slabs of LVL are made and shipped to the build site where they are then glued together to form the tall cylinder onto which the spinning blades will be mounted.
Wood can reduce the CO2 emissions in creating a tower by 90% while also storing carbon dioxide that has been taken up by trees during their growth. Wood selected for transformation into LVL is taken from mature trees that have already absorbed the largest reasonably achievable amount of CO2 they’re able to.
“Wood has a higher specific strength which enables a lighter construction. High steel towers need extra enforcement to carry their own weight—which wooden towers don’t need. And finally, modular steel towers demand a vast number of bolts that need regular inspections while our modular wooden towers are joined together with glue,” Modivon write.
During the last stretch of this cycling race in Slovenia, two teammates couldn't decide who should cross the finish line first.
So they played Rock, Scissors, Paper for it.
We love sports.
Video of end of race: Two cyclists side by side playing rock-paper-scissors to decide who should cross the finish line first]
Did you know that reptiles have belly buttons? Even dinosaurs? Neither did I!
Now all of us do:
Palaeontologists have set a new record for the oldest belly button ever found in reptiles and mammals, after scientists from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and from around the world used a high-tech laser imaging technology to finally reveal the finest details of a 125-million-year old dinosaur fossil found in China 20 years ago.
Dr. Michael Pittman, Assistant Professor of CUHK’s School of Life Sciences and joint-corresponding author of the study, applied the Laser-Stimulated Fluorescence (LSF) technique to a fossilised skin specimen of Psittacosaurus, a two-metre-long and two-legged plant eater lived in China during the Cretaceous period. Dr. Pittman said, “Using LSF imaging, we identified distinctive scales that surrounded a long umbilical scar in the Psittacosaurus specimen, similar to certain living lizards and crocodiles. We call this kind of scar a belly button, and it is smaller in humans. This specimen is the first dinosaur fossil to preserve a belly button, which is due to its exceptional state of preservation”.
If you've been following the adventures of Leon, or even if you haven't, have an update:
There have been a number of articles in GNR - one only a few days ago - about the growing movement to remove highways. Here's a good example as to possible results:
In 2003, the city of Seoul, South Korea, bulldozed a major expressway and replaced it with a stream and a 1,000 acre park.
Not only did it boost the city's public life, but it also improved traffic.
Photos: Left: split-level highway, no green to be found; Right: a number of people crossing a vegetation-lined stream on a line of stepping stones, next to a street and buildings set off to the side behind a line of trees and shrubs]
From the "The Kids are All Right" files:
18-year-old Mia Samolinski stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake when she was pulling her Subaru Outback out of a parking spot along the docks of Long Island’s Patchogue Bay.
Anthony Zhongor, who turned out to be a 17-year-old classmate of Samolinski—though neither one of them were aware of that at the time—got out of his car and immediately dove in after her as a crowed coalesced behind him.
“She went pretty deep in there,” Zhongor recounted. “She was banging on the door, banging on the window, trying to break the window, of course, and that kind of got me nervous, scared for her, so I just took my clothes off and went into the water.”
The door wouldn’t open from the outside either, but Zhongor noticed that the weight of his body tilted the nose of the car down, bringing the back of the car above water level, allowing Samolinski to escape through the back.
Zhongor, set to graduate this year, will be heading off to South Carolina for Marines boot camp with the good graces of the Samolinskis, who spoke to ABC-7 news about their gratitude for Zhongor’s bravery.
Not enough heroism? Have some more!
This is Myles Copeland.
When he finished his 24-hour shift as a firefighter, he went to play in a playoff game with his basketball team.
When a referee collapsed during the game, he rushed over, performed CPR, and saved his life.
Then he helped his team win the game.
Photo of a smiling Myles Copeland in uniform, Toledo Fire & Rescue in lower right corner]
We've had trash-eating barges and various other vehicles designed to clean trash in the oceans. Here's another:
...I can not adequately put into words the layers of “The Kids are All Right” in this story, so feel free to do it yourself:
At four years old, Oscar Oglina was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer.
He survived thanks to the help of doctors.
Today, he's a medical school graduate who wants to help kids just like him.
Photos: Left: 4-year-old Oscar Oglina w/sibling? at Disney; Right: young adult Oscar Oglina in scrubs, taken at University of Bristol]
If you have more appetite for good environmental news (and who doesn’t!)…
There's a lot to be worried about when it comes to the climate and nature crises, but when a sense of hopelessness becomes the overarching emotion, apathy begins to creep in too. Last year three environmental educators, all part of EcoTok, penned this excellent piece for us about dealing with eco-anxiety and the need to remain hopeful - or "stubbornly optimistic", as Christiana Figueres puts it.
The media has a huge part to play in combatting climate doom. It's our job to be truthful and accurate in our reporting, not trying to downplay the severity of the situation or greenwash reality. But it's also our job to show that there is hope!
So, for 2022, as part of our ongoing effort to tackle eco-anxiety (both that of our readers and our own), we are going to be keeping track of all the positive environmental stories from this year.
I’m guessing that’s all the positive environmental stories from 2022 that that Euronews has put out this year. It’s still a bonanza. Have some of my favorite links, in no particular order:
Back from the brink of extinction: The Spix's Macaws are returning to the wild
This billionaire wants to buy up Australia's coal plants - just to shut them down
Solar energy can now be stored for up to 18 years
Europe's greenest city has free public transport and highways for bees
There are more. So many more.
That's it for me, fellow Gnusies!
Have some Matt and Savana Shaw to close us out!