(TMU) — The Dutch city of Utrecht has taken a unique approach to managing its air quality by installing green roofs filled with flowers and plants on top of its bus stops.
The move will not only help Utrecht achieve its ambition of becoming a truly sustainable green city prepared for the challenges of climate change, but it will also provide small sanctuaries for bees across roadways in the bustling urban space.
According to EcoWatch, bees have already found their home atop the municipal city bus shelters and are attracted more to the flora than to commuters. While some residents mistake the pollinators for the far more aggressive yellow-jackets or wasps, the bees have posed no danger to bus riders.
The “bee stop” concept is a novel approach to the ecological challenges faced by city planners who have found an effective tool in helping to capture the fine dust and particulate matter that plagues city streets where dirt, soot, and smoke accompany traffic.
The bee stops will also help to store rainwater and cool city blocks during the hotter summer months.
This Dutch city has transformed its bus 🚌 stops into bee 🐝 stops 🌼👉🏽ecowatch.com/dutch-city-bus-stops-into-bee-stopsBrightVibes
Posted by EcoWatch on Monday, July 8, 2019
The municipality of Utrecht is offering subsidies to those who are able to turn their old roofs, including those filled with asbestos, into environmentally-friendly green roofs and ones combining greenery with solar panels. The campaign is one of many meant to ensure “a healthy and livable city,” according to the Utrecht city website.
Utrecht has also recently replaced 10 of its polluting diesel buses with a far cleaner fleet of electric buses, cutting the city’s CO2 emissions by about 900 tons per year. The buses are able to feed their stored electricity back into the grid during peak hours. The city hopes to exclusively operate CO2 neutral buses by 2028.
Meanwhile, the Dutch capital Amsterdam has taken similar steps to extend green spaces across public land, with chemical pesticides facing bans and beds for native plants proliferating across the city. The move is in line with the “nature-inclusive” ideology that is key to city planners’ design approach.
— NGA (@NGA_Golf) December 31, 2018
According to an NBC report, while bee populations have precipitously dropped across Europe and the U.S., Amsterdam has become a thriving center for wild bee and honeybee species, which have increased by 45 percent from 2000 to 2018. The number includes 21 different varieties of bee that were previously not documented in the city.
The city has also invested $38.5 million into a sustainability fund aiming to improve the environment for bees and other insects, with “insect hotels” catering to bees being installed across the city.
Geert Timmermans, one of eight ecologists working for the city, told NBC News:
“Insects are very important because they’re the start of the food chain.
“When it goes well with the insects, it also goes well with the birds and mammals.
“Our strategy is to when we design a park, we use native species but also the species that give a lot of flowering and fruit for (bees).
“(Citizens) acknowledge the importance of the natural environment. It’s part of the culture.”
As Marine Life Flees the Equator, Global Mass Extinction is Imminent: Scientists
The waters surrounding the equator are one of the most biodiverse areas in the globe, with the tropical area rich in marine life including rare sea turtles, whale sharks, manta rays, and other creatures.
However, rampant rises in temperate have led to a mass exodus of marine species from the sensitive region – with grave implications for life on earth.
While ecologists have long seen the thriving biodiversity of equatorial species holding constant in the past few centuries, a new study by Australian researchers published in The Conversation has found that warming global temperatures are now hitting the equator hard, potentially leading to an unprecedented mass extinction event.
The researchers from the Universities of Auckland, Queensland, and the Sunshine Coast found that as waters surrounding the equator continue to heat up, the ecosystem is being disrupted and forcing species to flee toward the cooler water of the South and North Pole.
The massive changes in marine ecosystems that this entails will have a grave impact not only on ocean life – essentially becoming invasive species in their new homes – but also on the human livelihoods that depend on it.
“When the same thing happened 252 million years ago, 90 percent of all marine species died,” the researchers wrote.
To see where marine life is headed, the researchers tracked the distribution of about 49,000 different species to see what their trajectory was. The global distribution of ocean life typically resembles a bell curve, with far fewer species near the poles and more near the equator.
However, the vast alteration of the curve is already in motion as creatures flee to the poles, according to a study they published in the journal PNAS.
These changes augur major disruptions to global ecosystem as marine life scrambles in a chaotic fight for food, space, and resources – with a mass die-off and extinction of creatures likely resulting.
The research underscores the dire need for human societies to control rampant climate change before the biodiversity and ecological health of the planet is pushed past the point of no return.
Rare Creature Photographed Alive In The Wild For The First Time Ever
Advances in the methods used by researchers to watch wildlife have allowed for the photographing of a rare creature whose image had never been captured in the wild before.
Researchers in the West African nation of Togo were able to spot the rare Walter’s duiker, a rare species of petite African antelope, for the first time in the wild thanks to camera traps equipped with motion sensors.
In addition to the Walter’s duiker, the camera traps were also able to discover rare species of aardvarks and a mongoose, reports Gizmodo.
At a time when the extinction of entire species is becoming more common worldwide, such devices should help conservationists not only preserve creatures sought by bushmeat hunters but also spot rare animals whose presence is elusive for human observers. In the past, biologists were forced to rely on the same hunters for information.
“Camera traps are a game changer when it comes to biodiversity survey fieldwork,” said University of Oxford wildlife biologist Neil D’Cruze.
“I’ve spent weeks roughing it in tropical forests seemingly devoid of any large mammal species,” D’Cruze continued. “Yet when you fire up the laptop and stick in the memory card from camera traps that have been sitting there patiently during the entire trip—and see species that were there with you the entire time —it’s like being given a glimpse into a parallel world.”
The Walter’s duiker was discovered in 2010 when specimens of bushmeat were compared to other duiker specimens. The new images of the creature are the first to have been seen.
Rare species like Walter’s duiker are often not listed as “endangered” by groups like the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to a lack of data.
‘Horrific’ Swarms of Spiders, Snakes Invade Australian Homes Amid Devastating Floods
In recent years, Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales (NSW) has faced everything from drought to brushfires, a pandemic, a recent all-consuming plague of mice and now, devastating floods and massive hordes of spiders.
In videos shared across social media, hundreds if not thousands of spiders can be seen scrambling through people’s homes and garages prior to an evacuation order being issued on early Saturday in expectation of the floods.
In one video posted to Facebook by Melanie Williams, the arachnids of all sizes can be seen scrambling about in search of shelter from the coming deluge.
“Check these spiders out, oh my god, oh my god! Look at them all,” Williams said in the video. “No! No! Oh my god.”
The Guardian reports that Kinchela resident Matt Lovenfosse was pulling up to his home on Monday morning when he witnessed what appeared to be a sea of “millions” of spiders climbing about to escape the floodwaters.
“So I went out to have a look and it was millions of spiders,” Lovenfosse said.
“It’s amazing. It’s crazy,” he continued. “The spiders all crawled up on to the house, on to fences and whatever they can get on to.”
The flooding has resulted in some 18,000 residents fleeing their homes since last week, with authorities warning that the cleanup could last until April.
The floods have also seen thousands of snakes and insects of every kind scrambling to flee from the floods, with some snakes even leaping into rescue boats to avoid being drowned.
“There were also skinks, ants, basically every insect, crickets – all just trying to get away from the flood waters,” vistor Shenae Varley told Guardian Australia.
It’s just the latest reminder that Australia isn’t just another country – it may be its own entirely different world.
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