Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Death of the Amazon and New Innovations

Deforestation, forest degradation and climate change could be weakening the resilience of the Amazon rainforest ecosystem. What does that mean? Well, it could potentially lead to loss of carbon storage and changes in the rainfall patterns and river discharge. All of this was a comprehensive review published in the journal Nature.

An international team of researchers looked at the effects of disturbance and climate change on how the Amazon Basin functions, based on 100 previous studies. The results showed though the Amazon was resilient to individual disturbances, multiple interacting disturbances (such as fire, logging, deforestation, fragmentation and global and regional climate change) undermines the forests' resilience.

On the other hand, there are some really cool new technologies, such as a new aquatic 'bicycle pump' called the Searaser. The Searaser takes to the seas and turn wave power into clean electricity and pumps the saltwater to an onshore generator. The green energy company Ecotricity has recently acquired this device. The prototype has been tested and praised.

"Searaser uses the rise and fall of a large float to pressurise the water" ( but unlike other wave power devices, it doesn't generate the electricity in the hostile environment of the sea--devices that do this need to completely sealed. The fact that the water and the electricity generating equipemtn never meet is amazing and is done in Japan.

Hopes are high for this new device and could significantly contribute to replacing coal and gas powers that help drive global warming so much.

Eco-tip: Try switching to re-usable cloth bags when grocery shopping. Plastic bags are rarely recycled and are extremely harmful to the environment since they do not degrade and are well known to kill, strangle and choke wildlife. Paper bags lead to massive deforestation every year.