Viewing: Environment - View all posts

392 Year-Old Shark Found in the Arctic May Be The Oldest Living Vertebrate 

Image by Julius Nielsen Instagram/juniel85

The Greenland shark has the longest known lifespan of all vertebrate species. Scientists have recently discovered a Greenland shark that is at least 392 years old!  According to reports, the Greenland shark was found living in the arctic and could very well be the oldest living vertebrate creature in the world. 

The researchers measured the creature and estimated that it could have been born as early as 1505. It is known to live in temperatures of -1° Celsius and 10° Celsius. A report by, said that the shark can swim as deep as 7,200 feet and weighs more than a ton. 

According to the report, the found shark measured at 18 feet in length. It is this length which reportedly can mean the shark can be anywhere between 272 to 512 years old, as this species grows at a rate of 1 cm in a year. 

A report by The Sun said it was the oldest of 28 Greenland sharks to be analyzed. These sharks have an estimated lifespan of 400 years and they spend their time swimming around looking for mates, report claimed.

Image by Henrik Schurmann

What implications does this astounding creature have on us humans? Scientists are now studying the longevity of Greenland sharks to see if the science behind their longevity can be applied towards humans one day. One possible explanation for the sharks’ longevity is that they spend their lives 2,000 meters down, where the water temperature is around 29 degrees Fahrenheit. Extreme cold is associated with slow metabolism and maturation — Greenland sharks don’t reach adulthood until age 150 — as well as long life spans. 

Of course, humans aren’t about to start living underwater. But scientists think in the future we might be able to incorporate into our own bodies some of the shark’s life-extending biological adaptations. 

What do you think? Would you splice shark DNA into you so you could live longer? Let us know in the comments!

Can You Believe These Incandescent Flowers Are Real? 

                    BEE BALM - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS

WHEN YOU INITIALLY look at the plants that Craig Burrows’ photographs, you might think that they are from an alien planet because of their wild, incandescent quality and the astounding colors they give off. They definitely don't look real. You might be surprised to learn though that both the plants and the colors are real. 

When we generally look at flowers and plants, we see them with sunlight or another form of white/yellow light. The colors that we generally perceive are based off of the light that the plants and flowers reflect back - green, yellow, red, purple, etc. What Burrows discovered and takes advantage of with his photography is plants ability to fluoresce, which means that  when plants absorb ultraviolet light, they emit longer wavelengths visible to the human eye. To put it in terms you might understand - this is the same thing that happens with a black-light poster. “The flower literally glows,” Burrows says. 

In order to capture the glowing light of the flowers requires Burrows to use ultraviolet-induced visible fluorescence photography. Burrows discovered this technique online three years ago. The concept fascinated him, so he read a tutorial and immediately set to work. Burrows has shot more than five dozen plants since then, including: Mexican sunflowers, calla lilies, and silk floss tree flowers. 

Burrows finds the process of capturing the fluorescent glow of the flowers and plants so engrossing that he often loses track of time. “I usually tell myself it will only be an hour, but by the time I finally quit it’s usually been three or four,” he says. 

After taking the photos - Burrows does put in several hours on Photoshop, adjusting white balance, contrast, noise and sharpness, and removing dust. It’s tedious, but it yields big dividends. The plants truly glow, each leaf, petal and stem blooming in otherworldly colors. 

What do you think?










All You Need to Know about Tesla's New Solar Roof 

Ahead of the curve as usual, Tesla announced some very exciting news in the arena of solar energy. In its fourth-quarter investor letter, Tesla announced that it will begin selling and installing its solar roof later this year. 

In October 2016, Tesla unveiled its solar roof product, which was about a month before the company acquired SolarCity in a deal worth $2.1 billion. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said it looks "quite promising" that the solar roof could be cheaper than a normal roof, factoring in the price of labor. 

Here's everything we know about the new solar roof product: 

Tesla will offer four types of shingles to match different housing aesthetics in an effort to get homeowners to ditch clunky solar panel add-ons in favor of a beautiful roof.

"First of all, I’ve never seen a solar roof that I would actually want… they're weird," Musk said on a conference call Nov. 1. "Every one of them that I’ve seen is worse than a normal roof, without exception. So unless you’re going to beat a roof on aesthetics, why bother?"

Here you see Tesla's textured glass option.

Tesla tucked the solar cells behind the glass...

... And in doing so, you can't really tell the roof has solar cells. That's the crux of Tesla's solar roof vision: to create something that's both aesthetically appealing and efficient. 

Musk has been emphasizing the importance of competing on an aesthetic level when it comes to the new solar product offering.

Musk seemed most excited about Tesla's French slate tile offering, saying the style is "one of the hardest things to do." This photo gives you a nice look at the solar cell hidden in the tile.

"My roof is a French slate roof, that’s one of the tile styles I wanted to do," Musk said on the conference call. "And we were able to get that. Super hard.”

Musk said at the event that each French slate tile was made using a process known as hydrographic coloring, a process that uses water to apply printed designs.

"The production process itself makes each tile specially unique, it’s sort of a special snowflake tile," Musk said at the solar roof unveiling.


Tesla's hydrographic process is being overseen by a brand new Tesla glass tech division, Musk said on the Nov. 1 call. He said the process is "using a lot of techniques from the automotive glass business." 
Musk said the solar roof could cost less than an actual roof, but still hasn't given specific pricing information. However, Lyndon Rive, SolarCity's former CEO, said on the Nov. 1 call that "we think we can get to that price point of 40 cents a Watt over time in large scale" for the solar cells, which would put it in line with the competition.
"We’ll have the best cell at the lowest price. Just as we have the best battery cell at the lowest price," Musk said on the Nov. 1 call. "We have the highest energy density cell at the lowest price."

Rive said on the call that the solar roof would most likely not fall under a lease or power purchase agreement, but instead as a straightforward loan. "In that case, there is no asset ownership challenge. We would just transfer the ownership to the new homeowner," he said.

Tesla's smooth glass tile is meant to offer "more of a modern look," Musk said at the event.
Unlike the textured glass tile and French slate offering, the smooth glass tile seen here was purposefully designed so you could see the solar cells from certain angles.

"From the vantage point of the street or anywhere near the house it looks completely opaque, but to the sun it’s transparent," Musk said. Although, it's hard to imagine why a feature you can only see from an aerial vantage point would be a huge selling point.
Lastly, Tesla's Tuscan glass tile offering. The roof shown at the event wasn't exclusively made up of Tesla's Tuscan tile. Instead, only the darker tiles seen here come with the solar cells.
Like the smooth glass tile, Musk made a point of showing how looking at the Tuscan tile from different angles will determine whether you can see the solar cell.

Here's a better shot of how the Tuscan glass tiles look once they're installed.

Musk also made a point of showing the durability of Tesla's glass tiles with a weight taste. He also wrote in an Oct. 28 tweet that you can walk on the tiles like you would with regular asphalt shingles.

Musk also tweeted that the solar glass tiles can incorporate heating elements to clear snow while generating energy. He said it wouldn't be energy intensive to melt the snow, but "strongly net positive" in an Oct. 28 tweet. 

The solar cells will be produced at a plant in Buffalo, New York. Tesla and Panasonic will produce the solar cells at the Buffalo manufacturing facility in mid-2017. Tesla is referring to the Buffalo plant as Gigafactory 2. 

Musk's solar roof product is one of several energy products Tesla is offering now that it's merged with SolarCity.


Ever Dream of Living off the Grid? Check this Cool Video Out. (video) 

Have you ever fantasized about living off the grid? This incredible New Zealander, Warrick Mitchell gets to live deep in one of the world's most remote locations: Fiordland, New Zealand. He lives in the New Zealand's oldest national park is nestled in a vast wilderness that is accessible only by boat or airplane, a four day's walk from the nearest road. Life in isolation can be hard, but surrounded by breathtaking, pristine natural beauty, plentiful wildlife and a small but tight-knit community that is always willing to lend a hand, Mitchell would have it no other way. What do you think? Would you be able to live in such a remote location?


These Dogs' Days Are Over: Check Out These 12 Extinct Dog Breeds! 

Believe it or not, there are at least 40 dog breeds known to be extinct. These breeds were either deliberately mated out, wiped out by predators, or ignored by breeders. We're posting 12 of these dog breeds who, sadly, we can no longer play with, cuddle with, or post funny videos of.

1. English Water Spaniel

The last English Water Spaniel was seen in the 1930s. Somewhat similar to a Collie, this cutie was used to hunt waterfowl and was known for its ability to dive and duck. It had curly fur, typically in a white and tan pattern. It is described as similar to a Collie, or a cross between a Poodle and a Springer Spaniel with curly fur, typically in a white and tan pattern.

2. Chien-Gris

Originating in medieval times, the Chien-Gris was a scent hound and formed part of the royal packs of France, which were composed exclusively of hounds of this type.

3. Molossus

Known for being especially vicious, Molossus dogs haven't been around since the ancient Romans... We lucked out!

4. Alpine Mastiff

The Alpine Mastiff was of the Molosser breed (see #3). It contributed to the breeding of the modern day St. Bernard and Mastiff.

5. Kuri

Introduced to New Zealand by the Maori people of Polynesia, Kuri dogs were food to the Maori, as well as a source of clothing, belts, and weapon decoration- all made from their skin and fur. The poor things became extinct in New Zealand after the arrival of European settlers.

6. Cordoba Fighting Dog

This Mastiff, Bull Terrier, and Bulldog mix was bred to be ruthless and powerful. Used for pit fighting in Argentina, their vicious temperament eventually got the better of them: When it was time to mate, males and females would try to kill each other which, needless to say, made mating difficult and extinction imminent.

7. Hare Indian Dog​

Known for its speed, the Hare Indian Dog was originally bred in northern Canada by the Hare Indians for game hunting. While it had many characteristics of the coyote, its domesticated temperament was reminiscent of house breeds. As Indian hunting methods declined, the Indian Hare went extinct through interbreeding.

8. Moscow Water Dog​

A little-known breed derived from the Newfoundland shepherd, the Moscow Water Dog was produced only by the Red Star Kennels in Russia, the state-operated organizations chartered to provide working dogs for the armed services. After World War II, there were very few working dogs in the Soviet Union as many had been killed during the war. Some were imported but there were not enough to establish a dedicated breeding program for a specific breed.

9. Talbot

A tracking dog, the Talbot was so loved in the Middle Ages that many families had its image on their crests. The hound was slow but loyal, and had a great sense of smell. It was often used in battle and for law enforcement purposes. The Talbot went extinct around the 16th century, but its posterity thrives in the form of the beagle.

10. Bullenbeisser​

The Bullenbeisser was a no-nonsense German bulldog. It was eventually bred into nonexistence in order to create the Boxer.

11. Braque Du Puy

The Braque Du Puy was a French domestic hunting dog, first bred in the 19th century. It was white with orange or liver coloured marks, and was medium to large in size. Although many similar breeds can be found today, this pooch can no longer be found in its original form.

12. Russian Tracker

Weighing 100 lbs on average, these big boys were bred in Russia and used by farmers in the Caucasus Mountains to guard livestock. In the 1800s, a man named Sir Dudley Marjoribanks watched these pooches perform in an English circus. He was so delighted by them that he bought the entire pack. He eventually created the Golden Retriever out of the Russian Tracker.


Hazardous Chemicals Found in 1/3 of Fast Food Packaging! Is Your Food Affected? 

By now you've probably heard the recommendation to trade out your non-stick cooking pans for cast iron, ceramic or glass ones. Some products that are "stain resistant," "non-stick," or "water proof," might be easier to spot and stay away from than others. What you might not have realized, was just how dangerous some fast food packagings can be. Granted, you might be aware when you're purchasing a fast food burger or burrito that it's bad for your health because of the fat, sugar and salt content, but you might not be thinking of how harmful it can be for your health because of how it's packaged. In a recent report published on Wednesday, February 1, 2017 in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, the authors shared their findings that about one-third of the packaging that researchers tested was found to contain fluorinated chemicals.  These chemicals are favored in food packaging because of their "grease resistant" properties.

A study by the Silent Spring Institute found fluorinated chemicals in one-third of the fast food packaging tested. Previous studies have shown PFASs can migrate from food packaging into the food you eat. 38% of sandwich/burger contact paper contained fluorine.

You might be wondering "what are fluorinated chemicals and why are they dangerous?" Highly fluorinated chemicals contain carbon-fluorine (C-F) bonds, which are some of the strongest bonds in nature. That makes them both incredibly resistant to breakdown and very useful in many industrial capacities, including fast food packaging. That said, there are several scientific studies that have shown a link between these chemicals and the onset of: 

  • testicular and kidney cancer 
  • liver malfunction 
  • hormonal changes 
  • thyroid disruption 
  • high cholesterol 
  • obesity 
  • ulcerative colitis 
  • low birth weight and size 

Because the chemical bond between fluorine and carbon is so strong, it can take years to break down once it's in the human body, and it will stay in the body for years.

                                56% of dessert and bread contact paper contained fluorine

Laurel Schaider, a research scientist at the Silent Spring Institute and one of the authors of the paper published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters stated that: "Previous studies have shown that PFASs can migrate from food packaging into the food you eat... These studies have found that the extent of migration depends on the temperature of the food, the type of food and how long the food is in contact with the paper. And it depends on which specific chemical is in the packaging."

                                57% of Tex-Mex contact paper tested contained fluorine


The study was conducted by scientists from five institutions. For the study, they collected more than 400 samples of fast food packaging from 27 leading US chains. 

They then split the types of packaging into six categories: food contact paper (sandwich wrappers and pastry bags), food contact paperboard (boxes for fries or pizza), non-contact paper (outer bags), paper cups, other beverage containers (milk and juice containers) and miscellaneous (lids). 

Food contact papers were divided into three subcategories: sandwiches, burgers and fried foods; Tex-Mex; and desserts and breads.

                                20% of the food contact paperboard tested contained fluorine

Out of the food packaging tested, food contact paper was the one that fared the worst, with 46% of all samples testing positive for fluorine. Food contact paperboard was next, at 20%, followed by other beverage containers at 16%. Non-contact paper, paper cups and miscellaneous all tested negative for fluorine. 

"For foodservice packaging that requires a barrier coating, 'short chain' fluorochemicals are used today, so it's no surprise that the study would find these chemicals," said Lynn M. Dyer, President of the Foodservice Packaging Institute in the US. "These, like all packaging products, go through rigorous testing to ensure that they meet stringent US Food and Drug Administration regulations, providing the safe delivery of foods and beverages to consumers." 

Dryer added, however, that "some fluorochemical-free products have been introduced since this study was conducted in 2014 and 2015," meaning there are now a greater number of options available for fast food chains to provide oil, grease and/or water resistance.

Based on the information presented in the study, you might be wondering - what can I do to avoid these harmful chemicals getting into my food? Besides the route of cutting out all fast food from your diet, there is not too much a consumer can do. There is no easy way for customers to tell what packagings are fluorinated and which are not. From the findings of the report, you could ask that your fries get served to you in a paper cup instead of the typical packaging, or that certain items not be wrapped in contact paper.

Ultimately, the best way to protect yourself is by pressuring fast food companies to switch their packaging to non-fluorinated products. This information might also encourage you to try to eat more home-cooked meals that you can carry around in your own, chemical free containers.

"Revolutions Start from the Bottom" - Reversing Climate Change Through Agriculture (Video) 

Patagonia has always been on the cutting edge of corporate responsibility and environmentalism. This trend continues with Patagonia's most recent experiment - food. As Patagonia shares on its website: "we also believe there is great opportunity—and an urgent need—for positive change in the food industry. With Patagonia Provisions, our goals are the same as with everything we do: We aim to make the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and perhaps most important, inspire solutions to the environmental crisis." 

Recently, Patagonia released a short film that features the critical role food and agriculture in the future of this planet. The film explores regenerative agriculture, regenerative grazing and restorative fishing. Each of these individual projects serve as examples of what the food and agricultural industry needs to do in order to sustain a beautiful Earth for generations to come. 

Watch this film and spread the word!

Rajmani Sinclair, January 12, 2016

The Dark Truth Behind Fast Fashion (Video) 

In an industry where appearance is everything, pull back the curtain and you'll see that the fashion world is one of the largest polluters on the planet. Much of the current practices of large fashion companies are troubling, to say the least. They are all in service of convincing the consumers that they need to buy more, more, more, more, more! If asked why fashion companies produce so much, they will likely blame it on the consumer for always wanting more. It's time for people throughout the fashion industry to take a look at themselves, and see how their drive to make more and more money has played a large part in creating the current paradigm of fast, disposable fashion that is killing the Earth. 

On April 24, 2013, many members of the fashion community were shaken by the harsh consequences of fast and cheap fashion. What happened on that date? That was the day that the Rana Plaza complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing 1,134 people and injuring over 2,500 others. Such a disaster should be inexcusable. While some large producers scrambled to change some of the practices, the truth is, more needs to be done. That is why the non-profit organization Fashion Revolution was started in the UK; to take a deeper look at the fashion production and supply chain, and to demand better practices for all of those involved in creating and wearing fashion. 

For a more in-depth look at this, watch this short video produced by Patagonia:

Article continues below ...

When looking at all of the shiny TV ads and highly curated advertisements that frequent the pages of magazines and subway cars alike, one might marvel at the beauty of the composition and construction of garments. For many of those garments though, the beauty is only skin deep. For example, consider the classic American staple - the blue jeans.  A pair of jeans can take between 7,000 to 10,000 liters of water to produce. In fact, there was even one case documented in which a pair of jeans took close to 12,000 liters to produce. A lot of the water required to create a pair of jeans stems from the growing of cotton, but a fair bit of it stems from the manufacturing process as well. That is about the same amount of water it takes, on average, to produce 1 pound of beef.


Furthermore, in researching the movie "River Blue," the conservationist Mark Angelo and producer Roger Williams discovered that many of the factories manufacturing denim dumped huge amounts of mercury, cadmium, lead, potassium and other toxins directly into rivers in countries such as Bangladesh and China. If people then extrapolate that further, they will see that a lot of those toxins then find their way into rivers, which in turn flow into oceans, and the toxins then move around the planet via ocean currents.  Mark and Roger found cases of toxins from an Asian textile mill show up in the tissue of a North American polar bear. That's when they realized just how interconnected everything is, and that these are issues that all human beings should care about regardless of where they live. 

To gain more insight into the fashion manufacturing process and how it's affecting the Earth's environment, check out the trailer here:

Rajmani Sinclair 

January 12, 2016

This Patent Could Save the World and Disrupt Monsanto's Business 

Photo: Charles O'Rear via wikipedia; a plane dispensing pesticides.

In the current world, pesticides pervade our homes, schools, parks, and public lands. You name it - pesticides are there. 54 years after Rachel Carson published "Silent Spring", raising public awareness about the danger of pesticides in our environment and on human health, the use of pesticides has only increased. Pesticides have been linked to a wide array of negative health problems ranging from headaches to nausea to reproductive issues to cancer. Pesticides are toxic and harmful to all life, and the continued use of pesticides is not sustainable. 

In the field of agriculture, there has been a resurgence of people looking for alternative means of pest management. Beyond organic options, a growing number of farmers are looking to biodynamic methods of farming that are not only a chemical-free approach to farming, but also produce healthier food and soil.

Photo: Dusty Yao-Stamets via Wikipedia; Paul Stamets holding an Agarikon Mushroom.

In the field of mycology, the study of fungi, there have been several exciting advancements that offer another, chemical-free method of pest management. Ten years ago, Paul Stamets patented 200,000 entomopathogenic fungi, a type of fungi that destroys insects. In a talk he gave in 2008, Stamets shared that several executives from the pesticide industry told him that that his work with fungi is the "most disruptive technology" the industry had ever witnessed. The fungi that Stamets developed and patented is able to attract different pests to it and, upon eating it, the pests eventually turn into fungi from the inside out. 

Paul's work with fungi presents a very exciting new avenue for pest management - a method that works with nature to fight off unwanted pests. 

To learn more about Paul Stamet's work, check out his website here: 

And be sure to watch his TED talk from 2008 below:

Article by: Rajmani Sinclair, September 27, 2016


The First 100% Organic State... Do You Know Where it is? 

No, it's not a state in the United States, nor is it in the Western Hemisphere for that matter. The first 100% organic certified state is in India. Sikkim, located in Northeastern Indian, between Bhutan and Nepal, received this certification back on January 18, 2016, during the Sikkim Organic Festival.

Out of all the countries in the world, India has the most organic farmers, and now it can claim that it has the first, fully organic state. Sikkim is home to 66,000 farmers, all of whom have sworn off GMOs, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers. This comes as a significant achievement of the Sikkim Organic Mission Plan, which, in 2003, set a goal for the state to become 100% certified organic. 

India has a long standing tradition of growing products with little to no input and saving seeds that date back centuries. Thus, the idea of organic farming is nothing new to India. However, the concept of "certified organic" is new and has yet to gain much consumer support in the country. Thus, Sikkim, and the rest of India, is in the process of learning how to market organic produce domestically to consumers.

Photo: Anja Disseldorp - Flickr: India Sikkim - view of rice fields


Sikkim's organic farming serves as a case study for the Indian government, who is exploring whether statewide organic production is reproducible on a larger scale. In Sikkim, the government worked from 2003 onwards to support farmers in becoming 100% organic by gradually removing subsidies for pesticides and fertilizers, purchasing organic certification for Sikkim farmers, and increasing the integration of organic farming techniques across that state. 

The landscape in Sikkim is not ideal for conventional farming. Most farmers in the state own 4 hectares or less of land, which they cultivate using terraced farming methods due to the hilly features of the land. Thus, the monocultures that dominate nonorganic, conventional farming wouldn't work in the region anyway. 

At the moment, Sikkim, a land-locked state, does not have the infrastructure that would make transportation and export of its organic produce possible. In addition, the mechanisms for marketing and selling organic produce in India are not fully established either. Therefore, this milestone, while significant, marks only the beginning of a long road for organic farming in India.

Photo: Kaushik Das; A view of the winding, switchback roads in Sikkim.

As other agricultural products in India also switch to non-GMO and organic, such as cotton, the Indian government will need to look at how it can best support all of its farmers in making the shift to organic while ensuring that the farmer's livelihood is not overlooked; especially since India has a difficult history of farmer suicides. 

While Sikkim presents unique conditions that have supported it in becoming a 100% certified organic state, it does serve as inspiration for the rest of the world. Might India lead the way in creating a 100% certified organic country? We will have to wait and see. 

Article by: Rajmani Sinclair, September 20, 2016


Phone: (212) 567-7713
©2006-2015, Inner Splendor Media, LLC. All rights reserved. 

Inner Splendor and Music for Deep are all registered trademarks.