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22-Year-Old Raises $21.7 Million to Rid Pacific Ocean of Plastic
This latest round of funding brings The Ocean Cleanup's total funding since 2013 to $31.5 million and allows the startup to initiate large-scale trials of its cleanup technology in the Pacific Ocean later this year.
"Our mission is to rid the world's oceans of plastic, and this support is a major leap forward towards achieving this goal," Boyan Slat, the 22-year-old founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, said. "Thanks to the generous support of these funders, the day we'll be returning that first batch of plastic to shore is now in sight."
The young inventor and entrepreneur has been widely praised for his plastic-capturing concept that involves a massive static platform and long floating barriers that passively corrals plastics with wind and ocean currents.
The Ocean Cleanup claims to be the "largest cleanup in history." The team boasts that one passive system could theoretically remove about half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 years.
According to the announcement, San Francisco-based philanthropists Marc and Lynne Benioff and an anonymous donor made "significant" contributions to the latest funding round. Other high-profile donors include the Julius Baer Foundation, Royal DSM and Silicon Valley entrepreneur/investor Peter Thiel.
"Lynne and I are thrilled to support The Ocean Cleanup's important goal of eliminating plastic in our oceans," said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce. "With Boyan's innovative leadership, I believe The Ocean Cleanup will have an incredibly positive impact on the future of our oceans. I hope other leaders will join us in supporting these efforts."
The Ocean Cleanup plans to launch its first experimental cleanup system in Pacific waters later this year, a step considered the "most important milestone on the road to the full-scale cleanup of the world's oceans."
More details on the project will be shared on May 11 at 2 p.m. EST at the "Werkspoorkathedraal" in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The event will also be live-streamed.
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Climate change is having a grizzly effect on Mount Everest as melting snow and glaciers reveal some of the bodies of climbers who died trying to scale the world's highest peak.
The Navajo Nation have decided to stop pursuing the acquisition of a beleaguered coal-fired power plant in Arizona, locking in the plant to be taken offline and its associated coal mine to close later this year.
A Navajo Nation Council committee voted 11-9 last week to stop pursuing the purchase of the 2,250-megawatt Navajo Generating Station, which with the Kayenta coal mine provides more than 800 jobs to primarily Navajo and Hopi workers as well as tribal royalties.
A coalition of utilities that own the plant said in 2017 it would cease operations due to increased economic pressure, and the plant's future has proved a flash point for national and regional energy policy and raised larger questions on how Native communities will handle ties to fossil fuel industries as the economy changes.
For a deeper dive:
By Jeff Turrentine
Is it just us?
Other countries don't seem to have a problem getting their high-speed rail systems on track. This superfast, fuel-efficient form of mass transit is wildly popular throughout Asia and the European Union. Japan's sleek Shinkansen line, the busiest high-speed rail system in the world, carries an estimated 420,000 riders every weekday. In China, the new Fuxing Hao bullet train now hurries more than 100 million passengers a year between Beijing and Shanghai at a top speed of 218 miles an hour, allowing its riders to make the trip of 775 miles — roughly the distance from New York City to Chicago — in about four and a half hours. Spain, Germany and France together have more than 4,500 miles of track dedicated to high-speed rail, over which more than 150 million passengers travel annually.
By Coda Christopherson (11) and Lea Eiders (15)
Growing up in a plastic-free home, I was sheltered from the plastic waste crisis. I (Coda) went to a very progressive school that had vegan lunch items, farm animals and ran on solar power. My mom produces zero-waste events and my dad is a sailor, so we're very passionate about the ocean. When I was nine years old, we moved back to Manhattan Beach, California and I started 3rd grade in a public school. This was the first time I really understood that plastic-free living is not the norm; single-use plastics were everywhere, especially in the cafeteria. Once I recognized this problem, I knew I had to make a difference.
Henry Avocado issued the recall Saturday after a routine government inspection at its California packing facility turned up positive test results for the bacteria on "environmental samples," the company said in a statement. No illnesses have been reported.
Oil executives gathered for a conference laughed about their "unprecedented" access to Trump administration officials, according to a recording obtained by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting.
In the recording, taken at a June 2017 meeting of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) at a Ritz-Carlton in Southern California, members expressed excitement about one official in particular: David Bernhardt, who had been nominated that April to be deputy secretary at the Department of Interior (DOI). Bernhardt would be confirmed the following month.
"We know him very well, and we have direct access to him, have conversations with him about issues ranging from federal land access to endangered species, to a lot of issues," IPAA political director Dan Naatz said in the recording.