(TMU) – World Bee Day, on May 20, is a day to celebrate the bees of the world and scientists and conservationists aim to raise the awareness of the vital role bees. These tiny creatures and other pollinators form an essential part of our ecosystem and are responsible for about a third of the world’s food supply. Humans have been destroying their natural habitat and as a consequence, bees are on the edge of extinction.
IKEA’s external innovation hub, SPACE10, to celebrate World Bee Day, launched Bee Home in partnership with Bakken & Bæck (recently named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in 2020 by Fast Company) and designer Tanita Klein. The projects goal is to assist people worldwide to design and download a Bee Home, for free, to take action and help in the preservation of bees.
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Today, on World Bee Day, we launch Bee Home: a project together with @space10_journal and designer @tanita_klein. Bee Home is a digital platform that makes it easy for anyone to create a sophisticated sanctuary in their own backyards for the most vital living species on our planet: solitary bees. Link in bio! #BeeHome
Climate change, human impact and invasive species have put bees under threat of extinction which is why SPACE10, with their new Bee Home project, aims to make it easy for people to take action to preserve bees locally. In collaboration with Bakken & Bæck and designer Tanita Klein, they launched an open-source Bee Home.
IKEA marks a new era of democratic design with Bee Home’s free, open source design. Marking a new era of democratic design Bee Home is a free, open-source design. “With a design that is flexible and accessible through open-source design principles, everyone, everywhere is empowered to design and fabricate their own Bee Home locally,” the creatives behind the project explained.
Solitary bees make up 90% of all bees and live alone and not in colonies.They great pollinators and one can provide as much pollination as 120 honey bees. Since they live alone, they only need small holes where they can store their pollen and lay their eggs, protected from moisture and the weather.
In an effort to encourage people to take action locally by preserving solitary bees, the Bee Home project’s three step process makes it easy for anyone to design a lovely and unique home for this essential threatened species. To create their your own bee home all you need to do is select the size, visual style, and preferred placement, such as a balcony, rooftop, or garden.
Once the design is done you simply download your personalized design files, with building instructions, for free. The files can then be forwarded to your local CNC machine owner where it can be built using digital production and finally, you can place your bee home in your chosen location and draw the bees to the area by planting some flowers in close proximity for the bees to pollinate.
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Solitary bees have maintained biodiversity and kept our planet healthy for millions of years.⠀ ⠀ But, as we humans have built cities and expanded industrial farming across the planet, we have jeopardised their natural habitat. ⠀ ⠀ Solitary bees do not live in complex hives like honey bees. In fact, all they need is small holes to store pollen and lay eggs — and protection from weather and moisture.⠀ ⠀ Soon you can design your own Bee Home for free. Our open-source design ensures that most local makerspaces are able to help you build it — so that together we can help bees, and planet Earth, thrive again.⠀ ⠀ Launching on World Bee Day, 20 May 2020. Made in collaboration with @bakkenbaeck and @tanita_klein.⠀ ⠀ #BeeHome #SPACE10 #SaveTheBees
“I want people to design a dream home for bees that provides the perfect environment for their offspring, while at the same time being incredibly easy to design, assemble, and place,’’ designer Tanita Klein explained. “It was important for me that Bee Home is aesthetically pleasing and almost feels like you’ve added a sculpture to your garden or your balcony. This project really exemplifies how design can be good for both people and their environment.”
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Today, on World Bee Day, we are excited and proud to release our latest open-source design project: a home for bees.⠀ ⠀ With Bee Home, it’s easy and free for anyone anywhere to design a beautiful home for bees.⠀ ⠀ Let’s help bees, and planet Earth, thrive again. Follow the link in our bio to design your own Bee Home.⠀ ⠀ #BeeHome #SPACE10 #SaveTheBees⠀ ⠀ Made in collaboration with @bakkenbaeck and @tanita_klein.
If you’re afraid of bees and feel apprehensive of having them in close proximity, don’t worry. Solitary bees are friendly, and, unlike honey bees, they don’t produce honey and therefore don’t have anything to protect from prey. Male bees don’t have a sting and make up a large portion of the solitary bee population.
The bee house requires little to no maintenance other than perhaps a quick cleaning every third year, after the babies have left the house. According to the Bee Home creatives, “once you put it up, you should just leave it be.”
More info: Bee Home
More than 5,000 baby seals wash up on Namibia beach in unprecedented die-off
Thousands of dead seal pups have washed ashore on the coast of Namibia, raising grave concerns from conservationist groups.
Locals were in shock after an estimated 5,000 premature cape fur seal pups washed up along the coast of Pelican Point peninsula, turning the popular tourist destination known for its thriving schools of dolphins and seal colonies into a pup graveyard.
Cape fur seals are often referred to as the “dogs of the ocean,” owing to their playful nature and abundant energy. However, the seals are known to desert their young or suffer miscarriages when food supplies are scarce.
The unprecedented die-off of the 5,000 Cape fur seals is now being probed by the country’s fisheries ministry, reports Bloomberg.
Nearly all were born prematurely before quickly dying, according to marine biologist Naude Dreyer of Ocean Conservation Namibia.
“When the pregnant female feels she does not have enough reserves, she can abort,” he explained. “A few premature deaths is a natural event, but thousands of premature dead pups is extremely rare.”
Dreyer noticed the masses of dead seal pups while flying his drone over the Pelican Point seal colony on Oct. 5.
“This is the situation at Pelican Point, Namibia,” his non-profit group wrote in a Facebook post. “All the little red circles mark dead seal pups. A rough estimate brings the numbers to more than 5,000 at our seal colony alone. This is tragic, as it makes up a large portion of the new pup arrivals expected in late November.”
The seals are commonly found across the southern Atlantic coastlines of the African continent, spanning Namibia and South Africa to the southern tip of Angola.
“Normally cape fur seals would give birth from mid-November until early December,” Dr. Tess Gridley told Africa News. “That’s the height of pupping that we would normally expect but what has been happening this year is there has been an increase in abortions that was first seen starting in August and really sort of peaked just last week in October.”
However, female cape fur seals are increasingly appearing emaciated and starving, raising alarm among conservationists about the long-term health of the typically thriving seal population.
“There are about 1.7 million cape fur seals in total and about a million of those are actually in Namibia so in terms of the overall number of animals, they are quite resilient to these effects,” Gridley explained.
“But one issue that we do think might happen in the future is you will see a dip in reproduction potentially going forward particularly now for those animals that have unfortunately died,” she continued. “They are not going to be recruited into the population, so you might see a localized effect at the Pelican Point colony and also we are trying to monitor to see whether there is a wider scale impact that might affect other colonies as well.”
An absence of fish in the region and the spread of disease and toxins in the water are among the possible reasons behind the die-off.
“The seals look a bit thin and it could likely be caused by a lack of food,” Dreyer said. “Other seal colonies at other beaches look much better and they do not record the same amount of premature pups.”
The Amazon rainforest is coming dangerously close to permanently converting into dry savannah
(TMU) – A vast swathe of the Amazon is teetering on the brink of disaster and risks crossing the tipping point of transforming from a closed canopy rainforest teeming with life to an open savannah with few trees as climate conditions deprive the region of rainfall and effectively kill its unique ecosystem, scientists have warned.
Rainforests are extremely sensitive to even the slightest changes in rainfall and moisture levels, and extended periods of drought and fire can be devastating in areas that rely on rain for sustenance. In the Amazon, such conditions would transform the lush rainforest into a semi-arid savannah-like mixture of woodland and grassland while also boosting the risk of fire.
While such dramatic changes to the Amazon were believed to be worst-case scenarios that could happen decades away, a team of Europe-based scientists warned on Monday that the tipping point is now dangerously close.
A new study published in the journal Nature Communications found that as much as 40 percent of the existing Amazon rainforest is already seeing so little rainfall that it could exist as a savannah-like environment, deprived of its canopy-like tree coverage and with far less biodiversity.
Researchers at the Stockholm Resilience Center used computer models and data analysis to stimulate the effect of continued climate change resulting from emissions from burning fossil fuels from now until the end of the century to find the results.
Rainforests typically create their own rainfall through water vapor, which then sustains and even extends the reach of tree levels.
However, when rain levels plummet, forest land also begins to fade away and degrade – resulting in a drier landscape that becomes more susceptible to the ravages of fire, drought, and ultimately, total deforestation.
The situation in the Amazon has only grown worse as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has stubbornly pushed forward the opening of the rainforest to economic development, unleashing a wave of human-caused fires meant to illegally clear one of the region so that it can be exploited by miners, cattle ranchers, loggers, and big agricultural interests.
This year’s fires in the Brazilian Amazon are the worst in a decade, marking a dizzying 60 percent rise in fire hotspots compared to last year’s infamous blazes.
The rainforest is so delicate that even the most subtle changes in climate conditions can have an outsized impact on the ecological balance of the environment, said the study’s lead author, Arie Staal.
“As forests grow and spread across a region, this affects rainfall,” he told The Guardian. “Forests create their own rain because leaves give off water vapor and this falls as rain further downwind. Rainfall means fewer fires leading to even more forests.”
However, the loss of large areas of rainforest mean a precipitous drop in rainfall levels across the region.
“Drier conditions make it harder for the forest to recover and increase the flammability of the ecosystem,” Staal said.
At that point, the rainforest crosses a threshold and converts into a savannah-type environment – a conversion that is difficult, if not impossible, to reverse.
“It is harder to return from the ‘trap’ caused by the feedback mechanism in which the open, grassy ecosystem is more flammable, and the fires, in turn, keep the ecosystem open,” Staal said.
Experts have warned that the Amazon rainforest is a crucial barrier to the catastrophic breakdown of global climate conditions. Without the Amazon rainforest, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions could become out of control and drive global warming to intolerable levels while the change in rainfall patterns could impact the entire Western Hemisphere.
Tragically, the loss of rainforests like the Amazon would also entail the extermination of a huge portion of global species.
“We understand now that rainforests on all continents are very sensitive to global change and can rapidly lose their ability to adapt,” said study co-author Ingo Fetzer of the Stockholm Research Center. “Once gone, their recovery will take many decades to return to their original state. And given that rainforests host the majority of all global species, all this will be forever lost.”
Hurricane Sally brings massive destruction to Gulf Coast in “epic proportion flooding event”
(TMU) – While Hurricane Sally has weakened to a tropical storm, it has also unleashed massive destruction on the Gulf Coast at a steady, drawn-out rate while bringing “catastrophic and life-threatening” flooding to the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama, reports the National Hurricane Center.
A bruising storm surge and torrential rain has already demolished infrastructure, knocking down a section of the Pensacola Bay Bridge – also known as the Three-Mile Bridge – and inundating the city’s downtown in about 3 feet of rain while flooding neighborhoods, homes, and businesses across the region.
— Chris Bruin (@TWCChrisBruin) September 16, 2020
Authorities are urgently warning residents to flee however they can as high water vehicles and boats conduct rescue efforts to help people escape their flooded homes.
“We believe that this is an epic proportion flooding event,” Escambia County Public Safety Director Jason Rogers told WEAR. “There is extremely high water, moving water that is very dangerous. We don’t believe that we have yet seen the worst of the flooding.”
— City of Gulf Breeze (@GulfBreezeCity) September 16, 2020
Sally, which managed to reach the level of a Category 2 hurricane with sustained winds of 105 mph, downgrade to a tropical storm early Wednesday after it made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama.
However, the storm’s impact remains deadly as winds hit 70 mph as of Wednesday afternoon while the eye of the storm was roughly 30 miles west-northwest of Pensacola.
Authorities are warning about the ferocity of the storm, which is creeping north-northeast at an excruciatingly grueling pace of only 5 mph, ensuring thorough destruction across the region as it threatens to potentially produce almost three feet of rain in areas as well as seven-foot-high storm surges, ensuring floods across the region.
“We anticipate the evacuations could literally be in the thousands,” warned Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan.
Upwards of half a million homes and businesses across Southern Alabama and the Florida panhandle had lost power as of Wednesday afternoon, according to poweroutage.us.
The National Weather Service declared a flash flood emergency for “severe threat to human life & catastrophic damage from a flash flood” The warning covers sections of coastal Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, as well as Gulf Shores and Pensacola.
Emergency services have been deluged by 911 calls across Alabama and Florida all Wednesday, according to several local governments, but first-responders have struggled to rescue residents due to the treacherous conditions, according to Santa Rosa County Public Safety Director Brad Baker.
Boats across the area have been crushed or unmoored amid the raging storm, with some boats being slammed into tourist shops and restaurants along marinas. One dramatic photo shared on Instagram showed a loose boat siting in the flooded courtyard of an Orange Beach condominium building, while flooded streets are filling up with debris and downed tree limbs.
Sally’s landfall came 16 years to the day since Category 3 Hurricane Ivan slammed the same area.
Many residents, well aware of the dangers of such storms, have prepared by purchasing essential supplies and preparing their generators for bruising storm surges.
However, the intensity and trajectory of the slow-moving tropical storm is likely to have unpredictable results.
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