Tag: Anthropocene


Anthropocene Exhibition

Next Nature Network will take part in the Munich Deutsches Museum one year special exhibit on the topic of the Anthropocene.

Opening on the 5th of December, the exhibition will visualize the history, present and future of the Anthropocene, as well as the deep inventions of humans into the geo- and biosphere over the last two centuries. Some Next Nature Network projects featured in the expo: Razorius Gilletus, Rayfish Shoes, Space Blanket and recipes from The In Vitro Meat Cookbook, such as Dodo Nuggets, Knitted Meat, Magic Meatballs, Meat Oyster and more.

Welcome to the Anthropocene: The Earth in Our Hands
@ Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany
From December 5, 2014 to January 31, 2016

For information and updates visit: Deutsches Museum


Reinventing Nature with Synthetic Biology

Bioengineer Drew Endy shares his idea of biology as a precision manufacturer that could potentially transform civilization as we know it.

“There is this natural technology out there in the wild that is so capable of manufacturing stuff that it coats the surface of the Earth. It takes atoms from the atmosphere and light from the environment and self-assembles huge structures with atomic precision.”

According to Endy the only option we have is to embrace a synthetic biological future, to change the way we live, manufacture and consume. “We are destroying environments, we are critically ripping away biodiversity; it’s a disaster” he states. “We actually have a chance of reinventing civilization”.

Read more on Discover Magazione
Related post: The Prefuture of Synthetic Biology

Aral Sea

Anthropocene: the Shrinking of Aral Sea

The Aral Sea in Central Asia was formerly one of the four largest lakes in the world, with an area of 68.000 km2. As a consequence of a massive water diversion project to irrigate surrounding areas it is drying up. Today, not much is left.

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The Anthropocene Explosion

Biologically, there is nothing remarkable in the fact that humans are agents of ecological change and environmental upset. All species transform their surroundings. The dizzying complexity of landscapes on Earth is not just a happy accident of geology and climate, but the result of billions of years of organisms grazing, excavating, defecating, and decomposing. Nor is it unusual that certain lucky species are able to outcompete and eventually entirely displace other species. The Great American Interchange, when North American fauna crossed the newly formed isthmus of Panama to conquer South America three million years ago1 is just one among countless examples of swift, large-scale extinctions resulting from competition and predation.

What is remarkable, however, is the stunning speed of human adaptation relative to other species, and that our adaptation is self-directed. From sonar and flight to disease immunity, humans can “evolve” exquisite new traits in a single generation. The Anthropocene represents a catastrophic mismatch between the pace of human technological evolution and the genetic evolution of nearly every other species on Earth. As with many other geological epochs, the Anthropocene has been heralded with a mass extinction, one which is generally accepted to be the sixth great one to occur on Earth.2

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eternal reef

Spend Eternity As An Artificial Coral Reef

Coral reefs are suffering degradation from a number of natural and human-induced causes. American company, Eternal Reefs, had a peculiar idea to help preserve, protect, and enhance the oceans’ health.

They offer to their clients the possibility – after death – to have ashes made into a rock to form the base of an “eternal memorial reef” to provide a habitat for sea-life.

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A Plan to Eliminate Predators

Should humans intervene and phase out Earth’s predator species? Some futurists think we should! British philosopher David Pearce, in particular, believes we have to stop animals from hunting and killing other animals.
He wrote a Blueprint for a Cruelty-Free World to create a biosphere without suffering. How to achieve this goal? Re-engineering the ecosystem and reprogramming predators through genetically-driven behavioral modification.

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Salmon Cannon

Salmon Cannon Shoots Fish Over Dams

Artificial water constructions, such as dams, can pose a threat for wildlife, and for salmon in particular, blocking their migratory path towards rivers. To solve this problem Whooshh Innovations designed a fish-launching device: a sort of cannon that sucks salmon up and “shoots” them out in a different body of water.

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moths flying around a streetlight

Street Lights Permanently Change the Ecology of Local Bugs

The first “modern” streetlight was lit in London’s Pall Mall in 1807. That night may also have marked the first time a moth found itself trapped in an irresistible spiral around public lighting. Ever since then, streetlights have become a fixture of life in cities and suburbs, and a deathtrap for flying insects. Researchers at the University of Exeter have recently discovered that the abundance of insect life around these lights is not just a passing assemblage, but a permanent fixture. The diversity of invertebrate ground predators and scavengers, like beetles and harvestmen, remained elevated around streetlights even during the day. These insects had figured out the benefits of living in an island of artificially high prey concentrations.

These findings indicate that streetlights affect local ecologies for a longer duration, and at a higher level in the food web, than previously thought. Given the decline of pollinators and other invertebrates in the UK and around the world, it may be important to re-examine the impact of seemingly harmless nighttime lighting.

Image via Swburdine. Thanks to Twitter user Namhenderson for the story.


Watch Your City at Night from Space

There is an ambiguous luster in the satellite images of Earth at night. While on a ground level our cities appear as purely cultural artifacts, a traveler from outer space might just as well marvel at them as beautifully glowing organic fungi-like structures that sprouted on our planet. Less than a millennium ago, the Earth at night was all dark. Today it is all glowing and blossoming.

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Cleaning the Air with Roof Tiles

Cleaning air pollution is a task usually assigned to urban green areas. The next solution in improving air quality could be smog-busting roof tiles.
A research has revealed the potential of roofing tiles to turn every house into a spot for clean air.

Students at University of California found that titanium dioxide, a chalky-white compound, breaks down the nitrogen oxides into much less harmful compounds. Ordinary clay roof tiles sprayed with titanium dioxide removed 88% to 97% of nitrogen oxide pollution from the air. It has been calculated that if 1 million roofs were sprayed with the smog-eating compound, the tiles could remove 21 tons of nitrogen oxides from the air each day.

Beijing might like this method to solve its big smog problem, one tile at a time!

Read more at UCR Today