Bike sharing took off in China, so much so that the quantity of bikes vastly outpaced demand. Millions of brightly colored rental bikes were flooding the streets, many abandoned and broken. As the cities began to impound them, they formed enormous piles of them in storage yards, creating the perfect visualization of speculation gone wild. Go find these pictures in The Atlantic, they are gorgeous in a very dystopian way.
The U.S. Naval station in Virginia Beach had spilled an estimated 94,000 gallons of jet fuel into a nearby waterway, less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean. While the incident was by no means as catastrophic as some other pipeline spills, it underscores an important yet little-known fact—that the U.S. Department of Defense is both the nation's and the world's, largest polluter. Producing more hazardous waste than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined. (Ecowatch)
A new analysis, published Thursday in Scientific Reports, reveals the makeup of the massive collection of floating trash in the North Pacific in a way that’s never been done before. The patch is twice the size of Texas, weighs 87,000 tons — which is 16 times more than previous estimates — and contains more than 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic.
This week, Smithsonian Magazine profiled Dale Ross, the republican mayor of Georgetown, Texas. He has become famous recently for a unexpected fact that largely due to his advocacy, his city of 67,000 became the largest in the United States to be powered entirely by renewable energy, which is a switch they made in less than two years. (Smithsonian)
Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino, died Monday in Kenya. He was 45 years old and is survived by just two females, 27-year-old Najin and 17-year-old Fatu, neither of which are capable of breeding due to their own various health problems. (The Revelator)
Landscape architect Kongjian Yu is turning cities into sponges and using ancient chinese wisdom to mitigate urban flooding. Yu says, it’s important to “make friends with water”. “We don’t use concrete or hard engineering, we use terraces, learned from ancient peasantry wisdom. We irrigate. Then the city will be floodable and will survive during the flood. We can remove concrete and make a water protection system a living system.” (The Guardian)
Prosecutors in Munich searched BMW’s headquarters on Tuesday as part of their continuing investigation into an emissions-cheating scandal that has badly damaged other German carmakers. Unil now, BMW has remained unscathed by the investigations brought on by the Volkswagen debacle. (NYT)
The mayor of Paris wants to make all public transport free in an effort to reduce air pollution, but faces staunch opposition from the head of the regional transport authority who said the move would hit taxpayers. It is also worth mentioning that several smaller French cities, already provide free busses in addition to the capital of Estonia, Tallin (news.trust.org)
The ongoing saga of San Francisco and Oakland suing oil companies in an effort to get some help paying for sea level rise has another update. In court, Big Oil rejected climate denial showing that even oil companies accept human-caused global warming: “From Chevron’s perspective, there is no debate about the science of climate change”. Their angle is the same as big tobacco’s has been for decades: that consequences are the fault of smokers or, in this case, energy consumers, not the companies producing the dangerous products. (The Guardian)
Another longform plug from me this week. Rolling Stone has published a story outlining an investigation into how lax regulation made it cheaper for China to outsource pork production – and all of its environmental and human costs – to the U.S., specifically North Carolina. It’s a really interesting read, and one that flips America’s image of itself on its head. (rollingstone.com)