Champion NASCAR drivers recently had a chance to test a new Ford vehicle.
It has seven motors in it. It has 1,400 horsepower. And it's electric.
Mark Rushbrook is global director of Ford Performance Motorsports. The company developed a racing version of its all-electric Mustang Mach-E crossover.
"It pushes everything to the extreme to really show what the potential is of this platform and for electric power trains," he says.
The prototype is not street-legal, and it's not competing in races. But the company is using it to showcase what an EV can do.
"You feel that almost instantaneous torque going from a standing start, and it is just a very sustained high rate of acceleration," Rushbrook says. "Even our NASCAR drivers that drive very high-power internal combustion engine race cars … they just come out smiling and excited about what the future is."
The car may be a one-off, but Ford says its commitment to EVs is not. The company recently announced that it's increasing its investment in EVs to $22 billion.
So, Rushbrook says Ford wants to get people thinking about EVs not only as good for the climate, but as fun, fast, and powerful cars.
NASA's Mars Ingenuity helicopter will make the first attempt at powered, controlled test flight on another planet in early April, the U.S. space agency said on Tuesday.
If all goes to plan, the flights will be considered a proof of concept that could revolutionize space exploration.
Such future aircraft would shorten expedition times and enable rugged terrain research.
What Is Ingenuity and How It Got to Mars
Ingenuity is a tiny helicopter that weighs 1.8 kilograms (approximately 4 pounds). Despite its small size, it came with a hefty price tag, costing NASA around $85 million (€71.7 million) to develop.
The small detachable aircraft hitched a ride to Mars on the underside of NASA's Perseverance rover, which landed on Mars in February.
When Will We Know About the Flight?
The helicopter is currently making its way across the planet to the test flight "airfield" strapped to the rover.
NASA did not provide a specific date for the first flight, but the mission's chief engineer Bob Balaram said it could take place around April 8.
The helicopter has been developed to fly in an atmosphere that is 1% the density of Earth's, which makes achieving lift harder. It will be assisted by a gravity that is one-third of planet Earth's. Its rotor blades would need to spin about five times faster to achieve the same amount of lift as back on our home planet.
Its first flight will involve climbing at a rate of about one meter (three feet) per second to a height of three meters, hovering there for 30 seconds, then descending back to the surface.
The Mars helicopter will also take high-resolution photography as it flies.
Up to five increasingly higher and longer flights are planned over the course of a month.
A 'Wright Brothers' Moment for Space Travel
If all goes to plan, the test flight will mark a "Wright brothers' moment," noted Bobby Braun, director for planetary science at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, referencing the pioneers of aviation.
To show the significance of the upcoming flights, Balaram revealed for the first time on Tuesday that Ingenuity is carrying a small piece of cloth that covered one of the wings of the Wright brothers' first aircraft that achieved the first powered flight on Earth in 1903.
Ingenuity's Brother to Head to Titan
The first helicopter has yet to leave the ground but a second such experiment is already in the works: Dragonfly, a rotorcraft-lander, will launch in 2026 and arrive at Saturn's icy moon Titan in 2034.
Reposted with permission from DW.
- NASA Releases First Video and Audio of Mars Landing - EcoWatch ›
- Three Mars Missions Arriving in February 2021 - EcoWatch ›
- NASA Releases First Video and Audio of Mars Landing - EcoWatch ›
- Looking for Evidence of Past Life on Mars - EcoWatch ›
Krill oil has gained a lot of popularity recently as a superior alternative to fish oil. Basically, the claim goes, anything fish oil can do, krill oil does better. Read on to learn what makes krill oil supplements better than fish oil supplements, why you should consider these vitamin supplements, and which brands we recommend.
What is Krill Oil?
Krill oil is made from a tiny, shrimp-like crustaceans that live in the ocean and usually serve as whale food. In fact, krill means "whale food" in Norwegian. These tiny organisms actually play an extremely important role in the food chains of marine ecosystems. The krill used to make krill oil are usually found in the waters around Antarctica.
Just like the fish oils found in supplements, krill oil is rich in omega 3 fatty acids that contain EPA and DHA, two compounds that are proven to have a number of health benefits.
But what makes krill oil better than fish oil?
It's believed that krill oil is better absorbed in the body than fish oil. Both derive most of their benefits through the EPA and DHA that are contained in their fatty acid stores. However, for the same dose, krill oil will result in more fatty acids in the blood than fish oil. A potential explanation for this is that while fish oil's fatty acids come as triglycerides, krill oil's come as phospholipids which are more easily processed by the body.
Additionally, krill oil contains astaxanthin which is an antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties that might have an enhanced positive effect on heart health. Studies have shown that krill oil is more effective than fish oil at lowering blood pressure and lowering bad cholesterol.
Our Picks for the Best Krill Oil Supplements
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- Best Overall - Vital Plan Krill Oil Plus
- Best for Cognitive Health - Onnit Krill Oil
- Best for Heart Health - NOW Neptune Krill Oil
- Best for Joint Health - Viva Naturals Antarctic Krill Oil
- Strongest - Sports Research Antarctic Krill Oil
How We Chose the Best Krill Oil Supplements
Here are the factors that we considered when comparing the best krill oil brands to create our list of recommended supplements.
Omega-3 Content - We looked to see the amount of omega-3 fatty acids contained in each krill oil softgel or capsule.
Astaxanthin Content - The best krill oil pills contain this naturally-occurring antioxidant.
Third-Party Lab Testing - For any nutritional supplement, we choose brands that guarantee the quality of their product through independent lab testing.
Krill Source - We also compared these supplements for the source of their krill oil, and only recommend brands that use sustainably-harvested krill.
The 5 Best Krill Oil Supplements
Best Overall: Vital Plan Krill Oil Plus
- Omega-3s - 330 mg per 3 softgels
- Astaxanthin - 150 mcg per 3 softgels
- Krill Source - Antarctica
Why buy: We love Vital Plan Krill Oil Plus because it contains omega-3 fatty acids, astaxanthin, and choline to help promote brain, cardiovascular, and joint health, and because it is made with sustainably-harvested Antarctic krill. In fact, Vital Plan uses Superba krill oil, which is certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and is 100% traceable.
Best for Cognitive Health: Onnit Krill Oil
- Omega-3s - 240 mg per 2 softgels
- Astaxanthin - 200 mcg per 2 softgels
- Krill Source - Antarctica
Why buy: Onnit Krill Oil makes it easy to supplement your diet with the essential nutrients found in krill with just two softgels per day. The DHA and EPA fatty acids, plus astaxanthin, contained in these supplements can help support better cognitive, heart, and joint health. Plus, they source their krill from a Friend of the Sea certified supplier.
Best for Heart Health: NOW Neptune Krill Oil
- Omega-3s - 250 mg per 2 softgels
- Astaxanthin - 360 mcg per 2 softgels
- Source - Antarctica
Why buy: NOW Neptune Krill Oil supplements use 100% Neptune krill oil, a patented oil derived from Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba). Two softgels contain 250 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 360 mcg of astaxanthin that can promote better cardiovascular and joint health. We like NOW Neptune Krill Oil because they also get their krill oil from a Friend of the Sea certified source.
Best for Joint Health: Viva Naturals Antarctic Krill Oil
- Omega-3s - 330 mg per 2 capsules
- Astaxanthin - 1.6 mg per 2 capsules
- Source - Antarctica
Why buy: Viva Naturals uses a trademarked Caplique capsulation to avoid any krill oil odor or potential fishy burps. WIth 90 mg of DHA and 165 mg of EPA per 2 capsule serving, this supplement will definitely give you your money's worth, as they pack more DHA and EPA than your average supplement. We like that these capsules contain a higher concentration of the antioxidant astaxanthin, and are designed to eliminate any fishy aftertaste.
Strongest: Sports Research Antarctic Krill Oil
- Omega-3s - 240 mg per softgel
- Astaxanthin - 500 mcg per softgel
- Source - Antarctica
Why buy: IKOS certified and made with their proprietary Superba krill oil formula, Sports Research Antarctic Krill Oil is an excellent choice if you're looking to enjoy the benefits that quality omega-3 fatty acids can provide. Every softgel capsule contains 1000 mg of krill oil, making it the strongest krill oil supplement on our list. We like that their krill oil is also certified as sustainably sourced by the MSC.
The Research on Krill Oil Supplements
Research has long demonstrated the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids commonly found in foods like fish, nuts, and certain grains like flax seed. Since krill oil naturally contains higher levels of these beneficial nutrients, it has also been found to provide a number of health benefits.
Numerous studies have linked the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and krill oil to cardiovascular health, finding that those who ingest higher levels of these nutrients are at lower risk for coronary heart disease, potentially lower risk of stroke, and have lower cholesterol levels. Another study found that krill oil supplements offer a safe alternative to fish oil for those seeking cardiovascular benefits in a smaller and more convenient form.
Krill oil supplementation has also been found to help reduce the symptoms of knee and joint pain.
Additionally, researches found that rats given krill oil supplements showed improved cognitive function and benefited from anti-depressant-like effects. However, more research on its effect for human brain development and function is needed.
How to Choose the Right Krill Oil Supplement
When shopping for a krill oil supplement, there are important pieces of information that you should always look for. Here are some tips on how to compare brands and how to read labels.
What to Look For
For any supplement, always check to see if it has undergone third-party lab testing for quality and safety. This is especially important for any fish or krill oil to make sure that it does not contain any harmful compounds like mercury.
Look for the amount of krill oil contained in each capsule and each serving (as these will sometimes differ). You should choose supplements that offer between 200 mg and 350 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per serving for the best results.
Make it a priority to learn where the brand sources its supply of krill oil. We recommend brands that use sustainably-harvested Antarctic krill oil because the process of harvesting is more tightly regulated by various groups.
This is good advice for all nutritional supplements, but be sure the krill oil you choose does not contain any unwanted or unnecessary ingredients. All of our recommendations contain just the krill oil and the capsule it comes in.
How to Read Labels
When you are comparing krill oil supplements, here are some key things to look for on any label:
- Supplement Facts - This is where you can find information on the amount of krill oil in each capsule, how many capsules make up one serving, and a breakdown of how many omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients are contained in the supplement.
- Other Ingredients - Listed at the bottom of the supplement facts table, this list will tell you what the capsule itself is made of and if there are any additional ingredients present.
- Certifications - Check the label for important certifications and seals of approvals that can tell you if a krill oil is IKOS-certified, third-party lab tested, or sustainably harvest.
How to Use Krill Oil Supplements
Krill oil supplements typically come in capsules that you swallow with water. For most brands, 2 to 3 capsules make up a single serving, and you can take a serving either once or twice per day. Some brands recommend their supplements be taken with food to aid in their digestion and absorption.
Safety & Side Effects
While krill oil supplements are generally considered safe for most adults, it is extremely important to note that you should not take krill oil if you are allergic to shellfish. The potential side effects for krill oil are considered mild and similar to fish oils, including:
- Upset stomach
- Fishy taste
By Katharine Lusk
Through a year of pandemic shutdowns and protests, Americans have rediscovered their public spaces. Homebound city dwellers sought havens in parks, plazas and reclaimed streets. Many of these places also became stages for protests against police violence and systemic racism in the U.S.
Mayors around the world have used this time to reimagine the use of public space. Will cities revert to familiar car-centric patterns, or build on the past year to create more outdoor spaces that are accessible and welcoming for all of their residents?
Beginning in June 2020 and continuing throughout the summer, our team at Boston University interviewed mayors in cities across the country as part of our annual Menino Survey of Mayors. We wanted to understand how they were grappling with the unprecedented challenges and stark inequities laid bare in 2020, and how they were thinking about repurposing the public realm.
Our newly released report, Urban Parks and the Public Realm: Equity & Access in Post-COVID Cities, supported by Citi, The Rockefeller Foundation and The Trust for Public Land, offers new insights into how the disruptions of this unprecedented year have shaped mayoral perspective on parks and streets.
Partial street closures early in the pandemic gave people in cities like Oakland, California, a taste of urban life less dominated by cars.
COVID-19 and racial protests have highlighted pervasive inequities in the U.S. One issue we examined was how mayors think about investing for equity in parks and green spaces.
Among the 130 mayors we interviewed, 70% believed all their residents, regardless of race, ethnicity or income, live within easy walking distance of a park or green space. This view may be somewhat optimistic.
Data developed by The Trust for Public Land shows that, on average, 64% of residents in the cities we surveyed live within a 10-minute walk of a park or green space. Our analysis of The Trust's ParkServe data for all U.S. cities with more than 75,000 residents showed that on average, 59% of white residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park or green space, compared with 61% of Black or Hispanic residents and 57% of Asian residents. Mayors, particularly those in Northeast cities, acknowledged that not all neighborhoods had equal access to high-quality parks.
Another important question is how welcome residents feel in local public spaces. In our interviews, 77% of mayors believed their cities' parks were safe for all users. A similar proportion believed Black residents could use parks without fear of police.
But physical safety is not the only measure of accessibility. Racial and ethnic minorities may be discriminated against or feel socially and culturally excluded in some parks and public spaces. Widely publicized false assault charges by a white woman against a Black birder in New York's Central Park in October 2020 presented one prominent example.
"So long as people of color, and black men in particular, are seen as a potential danger, the issue of racial equit… https://t.co/O4CynYv9wk— Bloomberg CityLab (@Bloomberg CityLab)1590590548.0
Most Likely to Gain: Diners, Walkers and Bikers
Some local leaders capitalized on empty streets to accelerate long-planned projects or initiate new ones. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo made headlines with her decision to remove half of all street parking in Paris, add 50 kilometers (31 miles) of bike lanes and convert a major central roadway, Rue di Rivoli, to a cycling thoroughfare. These steps mark a fundamental shift toward a public realm that centers on people, not vehicles.
Similarly, one East Coast mayor told us that the need to maintain physical distance between people had prompted a call for more outdoor space:
"Fewer cars means more opportunities for public space. We're learning a lot about how to share public space and not just use it for cars – we worked to close roadways and people want to keep them."
Nearly half of the mayors we surveyed closed some roads to through traffic during the pandemic, and just under a third closed select streets to nearly all traffic. One prominent example is Washington, D.C.'s Black Lives Matter Plaza, commissioned by Mayor Muriel Bowser along two blocks of 16th Street NW. This new pedestrian promenade has quickly become a landmark that embodies a convergence of protest and pride.
New York City undertook an expansive "open streets" initiative, temporarily closing more than 100 miles of roadway to cars to provide more space for outdoor recreation in all five boroughs. Like most cities we surveyed, New York did not have a plan or process for retaining these changes after the pandemic. But the city's Department of Transportation, responding to public pressure, has signaled its commitment to making some changes permanent.
Typical setup for temporary limited local access under New York City's Open Streets initiative. NYC DOT
The most popular new use of public space, and the one most likely to endure after the pandemic, was outdoor dining. Among the mayors we surveyed, 92% created new space for outdoor dining, with 34% noting they planned to make these changes permanent. Locations varied across cities and neighborhoods: Some communities claimed sidewalk space, while others reallocated on-street parking or repurposed empty parking lots. Other cities closed entire streets for dining.
Other new uses of public space included widening sidewalks and creating new bike lanes. About 40% of the mayors in our survey pursued each of these changes. In Boston, permitting for new outdoor dining was part of a multifaceted "Healthy Streets" initiative that also accelerated creation of dedicated bus lanes and new bike lanes – including expansive new protected lanes around the city's historic central green space, Boston Common.
Ambitious projects require resources, and financial pressures still loom. Almost 40% of mayors we surveyed anticipated "dramatic" financial cuts to their parks and recreation budgets. That threat could be offset by the recently enacted American Rescue Plan, which provides direct funds for cities of all sizes.
People-Centered Public Spaces
Our survey indicates that Americans' newfound enthusiasm for public spaces isn't likely to fade. Among the mayors we surveyed, 76% believe their residents will visit parks and green space more frequently in the future than they did before the pandemic, 70% anticipate that residents will be walking more, and 62% believe they will be cycling more frequently.
Speaking recently about the future of cities, renowned Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye asserted that high-quality public space "has now become the treasure that people are completely addicted to. If you took for granted a park, now you realize that it's a very important part of the quality of life [in] cities."
As the U.S. emerges from a long and challenging year, perhaps more American mayors – spurred on by residents – will find the will to forever transform urban spaces into the treasures they can be.
Reposted with permission from The Conversation.
- COVID-19 Reveals a Crisis of Public Spaces - EcoWatch ›
- Public Parks Matter More Than Ever During a Pandemic - EcoWatch ›
By Brett Wilkins
As world leaders prepare for this November's United Nations Climate Conference in Scotland, a new report from the Cambridge Sustainability Commission reveals that the world's wealthiest 5% were responsible for well over a third of all global emissions growth between 1990 and 2015.
The report, Changing Our Ways: Behavior Change and the Climate Crisis, found that nearly half the growth in absolute global emissions was caused by the world's richest 10%, with the most affluent 5% alone contributing 37%.
"In the year when the UK hosts COP26, and while the government continues to reward some of Britain's biggest polluters through tax credits, the commission report shows why this is precisely the wrong way to meet the UK's climate targets," the report's introduction states.
The authors of the report urge United Kingdom policymakers to focus on this so-called "polluter elite" in an effort to persuade wealthy people to adopt more sustainable behavior, while providing "affordable, available low-carbon alternatives to poorer households."
The report found that the "polluter elite" must make "dramatic" lifestyle changes in order to meet the UK's goal — based on the Paris climate agreement's preferential objective — of limiting global heating to 1.5°C, compared with pre-industrial levels.
In addition to highlighting previous recommendations — including reducing meat consumption, reducing food waste, and switching to electric vehicles and solar power — the report recommends that policymakers take the following steps:
- Implement frequent flyer levies;
- Enact bans on selling and promoting SUVs and other high polluting vehicles;
- Reverse the UK's recent move to cut green grants for homes and electric cars; and
- Build just transitions by supporting electric public transport and community energy schemes.
"We have got to cut over-consumption and the best place to start is over-consumption among the polluting elites who contribute by far more than their share of carbon emissions," Peter Newell, a Sussex University professor and lead author of the report, told the BBC.
"These are people who fly most, drive the biggest cars most, and live in the biggest homes which they can easily afford to heat, so they tend not to worry if they're well insulated or not," said Newell. "They're also the sort of people who could really afford good insulation and solar panels if they wanted to."
Newell said that wealthy people "simply must fly less and drive less. Even if they own an electric SUV, that's still a drain on the energy system and all the emissions created making the vehicle in the first place."
"Rich people who fly a lot may think they can offset their emissions by tree-planting schemes or projects to capture carbon from the air," Newell added. "But these schemes are highly contentious and they're not proven over time."
The report concludes that "we are all on a journey and the final destination is as yet unclear. There are many contradictory road maps about where we might want to get to and how, based on different theories of value and premised on diverse values."
"Promisingly, we have brought about positive change before, and there are at least some positive signs that there is an appetite to do what is necessary to live differently but well on the planet we call home," it states.
The new report follows a September 2020 Oxfam International study that revealed the wealthiest 1% of the world's population is responsible for emitting more than twice as much carbon dioxide as the poorest 50% of humanity combined.
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
- Small Percentage of Frequent Flyers Are Driving Global Emissions ... ›
- World's Richest People Gained $1.8 Trillion in 2020 - EcoWatch ›
- Tourism Responsible for 8% of Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions ... ›
By Douglas Broom
COVID-19 has presented us with a unique opportunity for a green and inclusive recovery that will make the world a better place for everyone, says the head of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
"The pandemic has shown us the importance of being prepared when crises hit. It has also shown us that postponing bold decisions can have huge costs," says José Ángel Gurría, OECD Secretary General.
"We were not prepared for the COVID-19 crisis, and we are even less prepared for the looming consequences of ongoing and worsening challenges such as climate change, biodiversity collapse, life-shortening air pollution, and ocean acidification."
Global emissions broken down by economic sector. OECD
Here are the 25 things the OECD says we must do to accelerate a fair, low-carbon recovery, focusing on five key emitting sectors of the world economy – agriculture, buildings, electricity, industry and transport – and using five policy levers: investment, regulation, tax & subsidies, leadership by example, and information & education.
4.0 Gigatonnes of Methane emissions come from land-use change. OECD
1. Improve agricultural productivity in sustainable ways that lower emissions and allow us to feed a growing global population.
2. Reform food and farming regulations that lead to overproduction, waste food and distort prices and increase agricultural emissions.
3. Use the tax system and support payments to reduce emissions, taking care to avoid inflating food prices or driving farmers out of business.
4. Include agriculture in national climate change strategies to ensure its effects are not overlooked.
5. Help consumers and producers make informed food choices and reduce food waste.
We need to ensure wider, societal benefits to create a greener future. OECD
6. Ensure that public money is not spent on projects that harm the climate and invest instead in sustainable buildings.
7. Put in place stringent climate-friendly building regulations and construction standards.
8. Use tax and financial incentives to renovate and reuse existing buildings rather than always building new ones.
9. Encourage sustainable building within urban and rural planning.
10. Teach planners and builders how to construct and maintain green buildings.
Over 60% of investment is given to fossil fuels. OECD
11. Focus investments on green energy generation and sustainable power distribution networks.
12. Phase out the use of coal and switch to the green energy sources that are available locally.
13. Use carbon pricing to drive the transition to clean power and remove barriers that stop people switching to renewable energy.
14. Channel central and local government money into green energy projects.
15. Provide investors and consumers with information to ensure they choose sustainable energy.
Evidence shows that rapid increases in emissions are linked to short term infrastructure growth. OECD
16. Increase research and development into new low-carbon industrial processes.
17. Introduce energy efficiency regulations to reduce emissions from industry.
18. Use carbon pricing to encourage innovation without harming competitiveness.
19. Take the lead in your sector in switching to a circular economy in which resources are conserved and reused.
20. Educate business leaders and workers in energy and resource-efficient sustainable practices.
The non-urban passenger is expected to increasingly contribute to CO2 emissions. OECD
21. Increase research into the development, production and use of zero-emission fuels.
22. Make the best use of existing transport capacity through measures like car sharing and smart logistics to improve freight efficiency.
23. Use measures like increased taxes on polluting vehicles to encourage the use of sustainable passenger and freight transport.
24. Ensure low-carbon solutions are the default choice when setting transport policies.
25. Share knowledge about proven methods of reducing transport emissions, such as teaching truckers eco-driving techniques.
Reposted with permission from World Economic Forum.
Bavarian carmaker BMW, owner of the iconic Mini range since 1994, plans solely electric versions from 2030, reported Der Spiegel magazine on Friday.
No more combustion models and not even hybrids would emerge next decade, added BMW sources cited by the German news agency dpa.
Currently, BMW's only full electric version is the Mini Cooper SE, built at its subsidiary in Oxford, alongside the SUV Mini Countryman as a plug-in hybrid.
From 2023, the sport utility Countryman would emerge as a full-electric version from BMW's works in Leipzig, according to Friday's media coverage.
EU Urged to Boost Charging Stations
BMW chief Oliver Zipse, who on Thursday called on the EU to ensure 1 million public charging points by 2024, would detail his company's plans next week while presenting its financial results, Spiegel reported.
Three million charging points for electric vehicles were needed by 2029 to boost EU consumer confidence in the motorization switch, said Zipse, who is also president of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA).
Originally, the Mini was a series of British low-slung small cars manufactured from 1969 by the British Motor Corporation (BMC), later part of British Leyland and then the Rover Group.
BMW split up Rover in 2000 but retained ownership of the Mini brand, purchased six years previously, giving the Mini series a new phase of life.
Last year, 292,000 Mini vehicles were sold, mainly combustion fuel models, alongside 6% electric and 11% hybrid versions.
Aside from an electric Mini due in Leipzig in 2023, a further full-electric version is to be manufactured for China by BMW's joint venture partner Great Wall.
On Wednesday, the German government agreed on a draft law to establish 1,000 fast-charging stations alongside motorways by the end of 2023 at an estimated cost of €2 billion ($2.4 billion).
Reposted with permission from Deutsche Welle.
Tearing through the crowded streets of Philadelphia, an electric car and a gas-powered car sought to win a heated race. One that mimicked how cars are actually used. The cars had to stop at stoplights, wait for pedestrians to cross the street, and swerve in and out of the hundreds of horse-drawn buggies. That's right, horse-drawn buggies. Because this race took place in 1908. It wanted to settle once and for all which car was the superior urban vehicle. Although the gas-powered car was more powerful, the electric car was more versatile. As the cars passed over the finish line, the defeat was stunning. The 1908 Studebaker electric car won by 10 minutes. If in 1908, the electric car was clearly the better form of transportation, why don't we drive them now? Today, I'm going to answer that question by diving into the history of electric cars and what I discovered may surprise you.
In 1881, at a blistering pace of 9 mph, inventor Gustave Trouvé introduced the streets of Paris, and ultimately, the world to the quiet hum of the electric carriage. For the wealthy socialites of Paris, and their counterparts in New York, the horseless carriage was a must have, and electric motors were the superior choice. "By 1900, there were 4,192 vehicles on the streets in the U.S. Steam cars accounted for 1,681 of these; 1,575 were electric, and 936 had internal-combustion engines."* If you just wanted to get around town, the electric carriage was a better option — that is, if you were rich enough to afford one. Unlike internal combustion engines, electric vehicles were easy to turn on, accelerate, brake, there was no exhaust, and didn't have something exploding under your seat. Oh, and you also didn't have to crank the engine every time you stopped, which is part of the reason why that electric Studebaker won the Philadelphia race so handily. As a result of this ease of use, electric cars were looking like big business in the early 1900s, especially for the industry giant Electric Vehicle Company. At the time, the Electric Vehicle Company was the biggest car manufacturer in the country, and they used a model that seems revolutionary now, but makes sense back then. Instead of selling their cars, they rented them to people for the day or for multiple days. Each night the renter could return the car to a central garage and the Electric Vehicle Company would charge and service the vehicle, a model very similar to how stables worked at the time. But despite the electric car's success, its golden age was about to end.
To find out what happened, watch the video above!
Our Changing Climate is an environmental YouTube channel that explores the intersections of social, political, climatic, and food-based issues. The channel dives into topics like zero waste and nuclear energy in order to understand how to effectively tackle climate change and environmental destruction.
To receive all the latest videos produced by Charlie subscribe to his YouTube channel here.
*Rudi Volti Cars and Culture: The Life Story of a Technology (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006
FedEx's entire parcel pickup and delivery fleet will become 100 percent electric by 2040, according to a statement released Wednesday. The ambitious plan includes checkpoints, such as aiming for 50 percent electric vehicles by 2025.
To reach this goal, the delivery company will commit more than $2 billion to vehicle electrification, sustainable energy and carbon sequestration, according to the statement.
"We have a responsibility to take bold action in addressing climate challenges," Frederick W. Smith, chairman and CEO of FedEx Corp. said in the release. "This goal builds on our longstanding commitment to sustainability throughout our operations, while at the same time investing in long-term, transformational solutions for FedEx and our entire industry."
FedEx will also continue to invest in sustainable fuels to power its planes -- the biggest contributor to its carbon footprint, Fast Company reported. But switching to sustainable fuel won't be easy, Mitch Jackson, chief sustainability officer for FedEx Corp, told Fast Company. "The question is, will sustainable aviation fuels be here in sufficient quantities for the aviation industry in the near term?"
The news comes just a week after the United States Postal Service announced a 10-year, $485-million contract for new mail trucks, planning to transform only 10 percent of its fleet into electric vehicles, Sierra Club reported. This plan falls short of President Biden's vow to covert all "Federal, State, local, and Tribal government fleets" to "clean and zero-emission vehicles."
"From undermining our democracy to delaying climate action, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy continues to fail the United States Postal Service and the American public," Gina Coplon-Newfield, director of Sierra Club's Clean Transportation for All campaign said in a statement. "The lack of commitment from the USPS to electrify its fleet directly contradicts the Biden administration's goals and executive order to clean up pollution from the US government's vehicles."
The United States Postal Service has increasingly struggled to outcompete large corporations like FedEx that use the same networks and markets, the Economic Policy Institute wrote in a report. This is partly because the USPS is limited in entering new markets and pays its workers with middle-class wages and provides benefits, unlike private competitors like FedEx that cut costs by relying on independent, contract workers, The Washington Post reported. Yet the drastically different de-carbonization goals between USPS and FedEx highlight the necessary role private companies can play in pioneering efforts towards a clean energy future.
"While we've made great strides in reducing our environmental impact, we have to do more," Jackson said, according to Business Insider. "The long-term health of our industry is directly linked to the health of the planet, but this effort is about more than the bottom line – it's the right thing to do."
Included in FedEx's plan is a $100 million gift to Yale University to establish a Center for Natural Carbon Capture to research and develop natural solutions to reduce and sequester atmospheric carbon safely, YaleNews reported.
"My hope is that others will recognize the scale and importance of this problem and the significance of this center's mission by joining in our efforts to address a global challenge," Smith said, according to YaleNews.
Environmental groups urge other delivery services to quickly follow suit, committing to more sustainable and efficient operations in the face of a rapidly damaging climate. "This is a critical moment to shift the status quo of the US delivery truck. We urge all delivery companies — including USPS — to not let it pass them by," Coplon-Newfield added in a statement.
- 11 Facts About Clean Vehicles to Counter Gas Lobbyists - EcoWatch ›
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Six major U.S. electricity utilities will collaborate to build a massive EV charging network across 16 states, they announced Tuesday.
Transportation is the country's largest source of greenhouse gas pollution, and electrifying the sector is a major opportunity to reduce those emissions through increased efficiency and renewable-generated electricity. Utilities stand to benefit from massively-increased electricity demand driven by widespread EV adoption, but range anxiety — the fear of running out of battery power without being able to reach a convenient charging station — is a barrier to many customers who might purchase (or consider purchasing) an EV.
The newly-formed Electric Highway Coalition — made up of American Electric Power, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy, Southern Company, and the Tennessee Valley Authority — is seeking to ameliorate those concerns by creating a network of charging stations from Texas to Indiana to Virginia to Florida. The announcement follows a similar initiative by major midwest utilities last year.
As reported by Earther:
"It's exciting to see utilities engaging more in this space," said Kathy Harris, the Eastern clean vehicles and fuels advocate at Natural Resources Defense Council. Harris pointed out that while utility investment in electric vehicle infrastructure "isn't a new concept," most of the billions of dollars spent around the country on it have been focused in California and the Northeast. Last year, for example, a coalition of West Coast utilities announced they're working on a plan to electrify shipping routes to phase out diesel trucks.
The announcement didn't specify whether or not customers would have to pay for the charging stations, or how much costs could be, which actually isn't surprising given the number of different states covered by the coalition. Harris said that different states have different laws on the books regarding paying for EV charging stations. Some states require customers to pay a set dollar amount to use stations, while others have them pay directly for the electricity used.
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By Richard Wilk and Beatriz Barros
Tesla's Elon Musk and Amazon's Jeff Bezos have been vying for the world's richest person ranking all year after the former's wealth soared a staggering US$160 billion in 2020, putting him briefly in the top spot.
Musk isn't alone in seeing a significant increase in wealth during a year of pandemic, recession and death. Altogether, the world's billionaires saw their wealth surge over $1.9 trillion in 2020, according to Forbes.
Those are astronomical numbers, and it's hard to get one's head around them without some context. As anthropologists who study energy and consumer culture, we wanted to examine how all that wealth translated into consumption and the resulting carbon footprint.
Walking in a Billionaire's Shoes
We found that billionaires have carbon footprints that can be thousands of times higher than those of average Americans.
The wealthy own yachts, planes and multiple mansions, all of which contribute greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. For example, a superyacht with a permanent crew, helicopter pad, submarines and pools emits about 7,020 tons of CO2 a year, according to our calculations, making it by the far worst asset to own from an environmental standpoint. Transportation and real estate make up the lion's share of most people's carbon footprint, so we focused on calculating those categories for each billionaire.
To pick a sample of billionaires, we started with the 2020 Forbes List of 2,095 billionaires. A random or representative sample of billionaire carbon footprints is impossible because most wealthy people shy away from publicity, so we had to focus on those whose consumption is public knowledge. This excluded most of the superrich in Asia and the Middle East.
We combed 82 databases of public records to document billionaires' houses, vehicles, aircraft and yachts. After an exhaustive search, we started with 20 well-known billionaires whose possessions we were able to ascertain, while trying to include some diversity in gender and geography. We have submitted our paper for peer review but plan to continue adding to our list.
We then used a wide range of sources, such as the U.S. Energy Information Administration and Carbon Footprint, to estimate the annual CO2 emissions of each house, aircraft, vehicle and yacht. In some cases we had to estimate the size of houses from satellite images or photos and the use of private aircraft and yachts by searching the popular press and drawing on other studies. Our results are based on analyzing typical use of each asset given its size and everything else we could learn.
We did not try to calculate each asset's "embodied carbon" emissions – that is, how much CO2 is burned throughout the supply chain in making the product – or the emissions produced by their family, household employees or entourage. We also didn't include the emissions of companies of which they own part or all, because that would have added another significant degree of complexity. For example, we didn't calculate the emissions of Tesla or Amazon when calculating Musk's or Bezos' footprints.
In other words, these are all likely conservative estimates of how much they emit.
Your Carbon Footprint
To get a sense of perspective, let's start with the carbon footprint of the average person.
Residents of the U.S., including billionaires, emitted about 15 tons of CO2 per person in 2018. The global average footprint is smaller, at just about 5 tons per person.
In contrast, the 20 people in our sample contributed an average of about 8,190 tons of CO2 in 2018. But some produced far more greenhouse gases than others.
Some of the biggest polluters have relatively little wealth, while the two richest – Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos – have relatively small carbon footprints. Yachts make up most of the emissions of those who have one. Mansions and other dwellings make up a very minor share of their carbon footprints. Values are in terms of tons of CO2 equivalent.
The Jet-Setting Billionaire
Roman Abramovich, who made most of his $19 billion fortune trading oil and gas, was the biggest polluter on our list. Outside of Russia, he is probably best known as the headline-grabbing owner of London's Chelsea Football Club.
Abramovich cruises the Mediterranean in his superyacht, named the Eclipse, which at 162.5 meters bow to stern is the second-biggest in the world, rivaling some cruise ships. And he hops the globe on a custom-designed Boeing 767, which boasts a 30-seat dining room. He takes shorter trips in his Gulfstream G650 jet, one of his two helicopters or the submarine on his yacht.
He maintains homes in many countries, including a mansion in London's Kensington Park Gardens, a chateau in Cap D'Antibes in France and a 28-hectare estate in St. Barts that once belonged to David Rockefeller. In 2018, he left the U.K. and settled in Israel, where he became a dual citizen and bought a home in 2020 for $64.5 million.
We estimate that he was responsible for at least 33,859 metric tons of CO2 emissions in 2018 – more than two-thirds from his yacht, which is always ready to use at a moment's notice year-round.
Massive Mansions and Private Jets
Bill Gates, currently the world's fourth-richest person with $124 billion, is a "modest" polluter – by billionaire standards – and is typical of those who may not own a giant yacht but make up for it with private jets.
Co-founder of Microsoft, he retired in 2020 to manage the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world's largest charity, with an endowment of $50 billion.
In the 1990s, Gates built Xanadu – named after the vast fictional estate in Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane" – at a cost of $127 million in Medina, Washington. The giant home covers 6,131 square meters, with a 23-car garage, a 20-person cinema and 24 bathrooms. He also owns at least five other dwellings in Southern California, the San Juan Islands in Washington state, North Salem, New York, and New York City, as well as a horse farm, four private jets, a seaplane and "a collection" of helicopters.
We estimated his annual footprint at 7,493 metric tons of carbon, mostly from a lot of flying.
The Environmentally Minded Tech CEO
South African-born Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, has a surprisingly low carbon footprint despite being the world's second-richest person, with $177 billion – and he seems intent on setting an example for other billionaires.
He doesn't own a superyacht and says he doesn't even take vacations.
We calculated a relatively modest carbon footprint for him in 2018, thanks to his eight houses and one private jet. This year, his carbon footprint would be even lower because in 2020 he sold all of his houses and promised to divest the rest of his worldly possessions.
While his personal carbon footprint is still hundreds of times higher than that of an average person, he demonstrates that the superrich still have choices to make and can indeed lower their environmental impact if they so choose.
His estimated footprint from the assets we looked at was 2,084 tons in 2018.
The Value of Naming and Shaming
The aim of our ongoing research is to get people to think about the environmental burden of wealth.
While plenty of research has shown that rich countries and wealthy people produce far more than their share of greenhouse gas emissions, these studies can feel abstract and academic, making it harder to change this behavior.
We believe "shaming" – for lack of a better word – superrich people for their energy-intensive spending habits can have an important impact, revealing them as models of overconsumption that people shouldn't emulate.
Newspapers, cities and local residents made an impact during the California droughts of 2014 and 2015 by "drought shaming" celebrities and others who were wasting water, seen in their continually green lawns. And the Swedes came up with a new term – "flygskam" or flying shame – to raise awareness about the climate impact of air travel.
Climate experts say that to have any hope of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, countries must cut their emissions in half by 2030 and eliminate them by 2050.
Asking average Americans to adopt less carbon-intensive lifestyles to achieve this goal can be galling and ineffective when it would take about 550 of their lifetimes to equal the carbon footprint of the average billionaire on our list.
Richard Wilk is a Distinguished Professor and Provost's Professor of Anthropology; Director of the Open Anthropology Institute, Indiana University.
Beatriz Barros is a Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology, Indiana University.
Disclosure statement: The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Reposted with permission from The Conversation.
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That's what cities in Sweden are trying to answer through a new project called Street Moves that works with local communities to transform urban parking spaces into "one-minute cities" for sitting, storing bikes, growing plants or whatever else the neighborhood feels it needs. The end goal? To make every street in Sweden "healthy, sustainable and vibrant by 2030," according to Street Moves material reported by Bloomberg CityLab.
"What we really aspire is to slow down the pace on streets for them to work more as the public spaces they are," Daniel Byström, project manager at ArkDes Think Tank, told Fast Company. "We believe that streets can be more optimized considering the needs of humans and nature. Today, streets are mainly designed for cars, leaving little or no space for other activities. It's not sustainable."
The project is a collaboration between ArkDes and Vinnova, a Swedish government innovation agency, The Guardian explained. Vinnova funded ArkDes, which is the country's architecture and design museum. ArkDes worked with designers to create wooden furniture that can be fitted into parking spaces to transform them, depending on the needs of the community, Fast Company explained.
The design "draws inspiration from things like Lego or IKEA — or Minecraft — where you have a consistent system that can be adapted or hacked, remodeled, added to," Vinnova director of strategic design Dan Hill told CityLab.
The idea is that the furniture can be shaped by communities into "one-minute cities," an expansion of the concept of the 15-minute city that allows residents to meet all their basic needs within a 15-minute radius of their homes.
"It's a lovely idea in terms of having all of your everyday needs within that timeframe, but actually, the 'one-minute city', the space outside your front door, outside your apartment block or house or whatever, that's where you can have a very intimate and engaged relationship. That's your neighbourhood, really," Hill told The Guardian.
The project was piloted in the summer of 2020 in four blocks in Stockholm. Each block was close to an elementary school, so children played a role in designing the spaces to include elements like swings and dance platforms, Fast Company explained.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive. About 70 percent of the 322 people surveyed about the redesigns were in favor of them, and ArkDes says use of the streets around the spaces has increased 400 percent, according to The Guardian.
The project has now moved on to Gothenburg, where a couple of parking spaces outside a sausage shop were transformed in early February into a seating area with a bench, picnic tables and racks for bicycles and e-scooters.
"When the sun was out on Friday and Saturday, it was absolutely full of people, just having a takeaway coffee and a sausage," shop owner Malin Henriksson Talcoth told The Guardian.
Talcoth said she was originally nervous that the loss of the parking spaces would mean fewer customers, but also noted that driving in Gothenburg had gotten so hard that fewer people were doing it.
Of course, moving away from cars is partly the point. Sweden has said it wants its cities to be carbon neutral by 2045, according to CityLab.
"As most greenhouse gas emissions occur in cities, by far, we need to demonstrate how — in a show-don't-tell kind of way — we can switch out old systems and cultures for new ones, retrofitting our existing environments," Hill told Fast Company.
The next one-minute city will be installed in Helsingborg, according to The Guardian. It will be outside a secondary school and include planters, seats and LED lighting. Other Swedish cities have also shown interest in the project.
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By Dan Ashby and Lucy Taylor
Beneath London's Euston Station, climate protester Blue Sandford is chained by the ankle in an illegally dug tunnel. The tunnel, 12-feet deep and 100ft long, is wet and muddy. It is propped up by wooden frames: in places wide enough only for them to lie flat on their stomachs.
The 18-year-old is resisting UK authorities as they try remove her and other protesters.
Under the cover of a tent, the "Stop HS2" activists spent two months secretly digging the tunnel with shovels and buckets before going public and locking themselves inside on January 27.
They're protesting Britain's High-Speed 2 railway project (HS2), which involves clearing ancient woodland to make way for tracks and other rail infrastructure. It will also mean redeveloping Euston Square Gardens, a park in front of the station, they say.
"We're in serious debt here, the whole world, in terms of carbon and gas and methane. We need to start planting trees, not cutting them down," said Sandford, speaking on the phone to DW from the tunnel.
Four of the tunnelers, including Sandford's brother Lazer, have been either forcibly removed, or left voluntarily. Lazer had encased his arm in a steel tube that was surrounded by concrete and had to be drilled out. At least three more remain, despite fears the makeshift passage could collapse. For the protesters, the stakes are high, because this represents the larger fight to halt climate change.
"I'm here because we're facing societal collapse, and wars and famine and drought on a scale that we've never seen before and I'm really terrified for my future," said Sandford, who has also taken part in the Extinction Rebellion protests, in a recorded message before the authorities arrived.
Green Revolution or Carbon Nightmare?
HS2 is the UK Government's major new railway project linking the capital, London, to northern cities like Manchester. After years of delays, construction finally began in September 2020.
The railway will allow high-speed trains to travel along their own tracks, freeing up the existing rail network for more local services with the aim of reducing cars on the road. HS2 says its trains will offer cross-country travel with seven times lower emissions than cars and will carry freight to reduce high-polluting truck journeys.
Sustainable transport advocate and independent railway engineer Gareth Dennis says it is a vital part of the UK's plan to cut emissions and is being unfairly tarnished.
"We're hearing nothing about all the motorways and roads that are being built across the country, causing a huge amount more damage. There are bulldozers, diggers, tree felling, right now, with nobody digging a complicated set of tunnels in protest," said Dennis.
One point of contention is how long it will take for emissions from the construction and operation of HS2 to be canceled out by the benefits of greener travel. In 2019, the government's own commission, the Oakervee Review, estimated that it could take 60 years of operation.
Adam Turner from Greens4HS2, a group of Green Party members who support electrified high-speed rail to achieve a net zero-carbon future and are at odds with the party's official position opposing HS2, said that though 60 years is not ideal, the UK must think about the bigger picture. (Net zero means reaching a balance between the greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere and those taken out.)
Greens4HS2 carried out an analysis showing the estimate could be reduced to 28 years "if government is assertive in driving people away from planes and cars, onto trains," added Turner.
But the protesters claim it will take much longer, as they believe estimates involved are skewed in HS2's favor, and do not take sufficient account of the likely increase in electric cars.
The emotive heart of the debate is over the ancient woodlands that have been felled to make way for new tracks.
Farmer Penny McGregor saw a local woods near Birmingham, a city in the English midlands, repossessed by HS2, and partially chopped down in 2020. She said the community treasured the area as a sanctuary full of birdsong and wild anemones, but she watched it get destroyed.
"It was all very traumatic that whole time," said McGregor. "I could hear the chainsaws every morning from the house. It's horrible. People on the footpaths said they could hear trees crashing."
HS2's critics point out that 13% of the UK is woodland, compared to more than 35-40% in the EU, and say the project's destruction of pristine woodlands is unacceptable.
UK conservation NGO Woodland Trust described HS2 as "devastating," saying the project threatens unique habitat as well as rare and endangered species and will exacerbate the UK's biodiversity crisis.
Major parties on the left and right of British politics, including the Green Party and the UK Independence Party (UKIP), have also campaigned against HS2 due its cost and environmental impact. In 2019, the Green Party labeled it an act of "ecocide" that would cut habitats in half.
But advocates of the high-speed project call for more perspective, saying that just 43 out of 52,000 ancient woodlands have been affected, and that HS2 are planting seven million new trees to offset carbon emissions, all of which are native species specially picked by a leading UK tree nursery.
The project will cost a tiny fraction of the UK's tree coverage but is necessary to slash emissions, said Adam Turner from Greens4HS2.
"We're not going to achieve a zero-carbon Britain if we don't build it. And if we don't achieve a zero-carbon Britain, it won't just be a corridor of woodland we're saying goodbye to, it will be ancient woodland across the world. Those are the stakes here," said Turner.
No Slowing Down
For now, neither HS2 nor the protesters are deterred. The first phase of HS2 from London to Birmingham will be completed by 2031, with the second phases to Manchester and Leeds finished in 2040.
But the activists have warned there will be more tunnel protests to come.
Blue Sandford remains in the tunnel and could face criminal prosecution for her part in the protests. But she feels she has little choice.
"I don't want to be so scared that I have to risk my life. But I feel like I don't have a choice," she said. "Voting hasn't worked. Letters to MPs haven't worked. This is the only thing I can do."
Reposted with permission from Deutsche Welle.