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Billionaire-Backed Company Unveils Asteroid Mining Plans

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Planetary Resources looks to expand our resource base to include the solar system

In a press release that reads like sci-fi writing, a startup called Planetary Resources announced plans to identify, explore, tag, and finally mine asteroids for materials ranging from precious metals to water. The audacious venture is an attempt to locate and exploit a sustainable resource supply for  Earth's ever-growing population. "Many of the scarce metals and minerals on Earth are in......read more

The Circular Economy

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Can a closed-loop economy eliminate waste and save resources? The Ellen MacArthur Foundation thinks so, and it has a new animation to show how

You may or may not remember Ellen MacArthur as the solo yachtswoman who in 2005 broke the world speed record for circumnavigation of the globe. Today, she stays busy as the figurehead behind the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, an independent UK-based charity promoting the vision of a "circular economy." Don't know what that is? Don't worry, neither did we until we watched this fun, well-made......read more

Solar Sinter

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Markus Kayser converts the raw resources of sunlight and sand into glass products

German designer Markus Kayser's Solar Sinter is a solar-powered 3D printer that is a revolutionary take on the manufacturing process. The Solar Sinter uses a "sintering" technique, whereby sand is heated to its melting point, then cooled and solidified into three-dimensional glass objects. Kayser explains: In this experiment sunlight and sand are used as raw energy and material to produce......read more

The Conservation Economy

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Conserving the nation's fish, wildlife and natural resources is a $40-billion industry, according to a new study

It's said that you can't put a price on protecting the environment, and on the face of it, we agree. But when we're always hearing about the economic benefits of industrial activity, it would be nice to know what conservation is actually worth, in dollar terms. Now, thanks to a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation study, we do. The analysis considered the jobs, tax revenue and other economic......read more

The Sustainability Paradox

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As environmental awareness increases, so too does the depletion of ecosystems and natural resources

While the term "sustainability" and the values it implies have gone mainstream, global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide yet continue to rise, as do per-capita consumptions rates in developed and developing counties. "Consumer cultures" in places like the U.S. apparently die hard. Meanwhile, a warming planet dissolves ecosystems and life-sustaining natural cycles and resources like......read more

Books Not Oil

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No natural resources? No problem. Education ensures economic success

A look at the diverse array foreign countries with the most companies listed on the Nasdaq -- Israel, China/Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, South Korea and Singapore -- reveals one common link: none of them have much in the form of natural resources. For these countries, economic success depends on the intelligence and creativity of the people that live there. In a recent New York Times......read more

U.N. Warns of Consequences of Climate Change Inaction

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Conflict over resources could cause global instability, says U.N. official

The world is in for some serious turmoil and conflict if climate change is not addressed, according to Achim Steiner, the executive director of the U.N. Environment Program. On Wednesday, Steiner told the U.N. Security Council that climate change could have far-reaching implications for global security and stability. "There can be little doubt today that climate change has potentially......read more

A Force for Nature

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A new book from John Adams, founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

In 1969, raw sewage floated through the waterways of New York City and soot from smokestacks choked the air. The situation was much the same in other American cities. John Adams and his wife Patricia decided to do something about it, creating the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York City. Today, the group has 1.3 million members along with a staff of over 300 scientists, lawyers, and......read more

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