Be a part of the solution and tune into The Climate Reality Project’s 24 Hours of Reality: 24 Reasons for Hope broadcasted live from Brooklyn, New York on Sept. 16 - 17, starting at Noon. This year’s event celebrates innovation and progress in fighting climate change around the world.
24 Hours of Reality: 24 Reasons for Hope airs one week prior to the U.N. Climate Summit and People's Climate March in New York City, and will provide the solutions to climate change that are available today. Each hour will focus on a specific milestone in the fight against climate change with former U.S. Vice President and Climate Reality Project Chairman and Founder Al Gore sharing a new reason to be hopeful and invite viewers worldwide to join in the effort to help end the climate crisis.
“Carbon pollution is already having a profound impact on our climate, but the good news is that we have all the tools we need to overcome this challenge,” said Gore.
“It’s time our leaders stop asking ‘What do we do?’ and instead ask ‘How can we accelerate the shift to a sustainable future powered by cheap, clean renewable energy, with sustainable agriculture and forestry.’ This year’s 24 Hours of Reality will signal a transition in the global conversation on climate change where we highlight the solutions at hand and empower individuals to take simple actions to aid this global fight.”
In addition to Al Gore and Climate Reality Project President and CEO Ken Berlin, a variety of international celebrities, musicians, advocates and other special guests will join the broadcast, including: filmmaker Vanessa Black, singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat, activist Rodne Galicha, environmentalist Wanjira Mathai, singer-songwriter Jason Mraz, entreprenuer Patrick Ngowi, founder of the Barefoot College Bunker Roy, actor and activist Mark Ruffalo, actor and model Ian Somerhalder, Johan van der Berg and Daniela Velasco.
“24 Reasons for Hope will ask each of us to dedicate a day to make a difference,” said Berlin. “Climate change is big and complex, but that means there are hundreds of ways to contribute. Whether it’s a parent organizing a renewable energy fair at school, or a young professional pledging to become a Climate Reality Leader, or a student working to elect a clean energy candidate, we all have different ways and different days to contribute.”
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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