In Onward: Searching for Life in Iceland’s Frigid Fissures, National Geographic grantee and biology researcher Jónína Ólafsdóttir goes diving in search of tiny arthropods in the underwater volcanic fissures of Iceland’s Thingvellir National Park. She is joined by NatGeo multimedia journalists Spencer Millsap and Dan Stone.
“When I started doing this research, I was amazed that no one had ever done it before,” she said one morning earlier this week as we drove to her favorite dive site. Iceland has a lot of research questions related to biology and geology that have never been answered, let alone even asked. “Iceland is a really great place for a scientist with an explorer’s heart,” she says…
Ecologists are often asked why they might study one particular animal, especially a small one that has little impact on humans. Jónína’s answer goes like this: humanity might never be dependent on microscopic arthropods but understanding how animals work together, how they depend on each other holds lots more clues about an area’s environmental history—and its future. At the top of the world, seeing how species change and adapt may indicate what happens as the climate changes around the world.
Read more about Ólafsdóttir's research at National Geographic, and check out more scuba diving videos in the archives.
In 2002, Brazilian engineer Alfredo Moser invented a simple way to bring the sun’s light indoors: fill a clear plastic 2 liter bottle with water and two capfuls of bleach, then make a hole in the roof and secure it with a waterproof sealant.
The result: 40 to 60 watts of free, natural light.
How does it work? The bleach keeps the water from turning green, and the water refracts sunlight. To see this innovative but simple invention in action, watch the the ecoideasnet video above (with captions on). Chilean Miguel Marchand helps to install the bottle lights, or Moser Lamps, in the home of a family that lives in the Andes.
Around 1.6 billion people — 25% of the Earth’s population — live without electricity, but with this simple idea, they can enjoy sustainable light in their home for free. Moser Lamps are becoming popular solutions in the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Argentina, Fiji, and other countries, and give an incredibly useful second life to plastic bottles.
If you make a Moser Lamp, please contact us by twitter, facebook, or email to let us know!
h/t BBC News.
Related watching: La casa ecológica de botellas, and more videos about sustainability.
Nature often devises surprising solutions for hunting food, warning predators away, and attracting mates, but one of the most magical-looking of these solutions might be bioluminescence, or biochemical light created by a living creature.
In this TED Ed video by Leslie Kenna, watch how creatures like angler fish, deep sea shrimp, railroad worms, and fireflies make and use this glow. And then learn more about how humans might put this biochemical solution to good use in innovative new ways.
How would you use bioluminescence?
Shaggy Lawn Mowers - Paris Tries an Eco-Friendly Way of Maintaining Park Lawns… the New York Times reports on a sustainable idea:
Mayor Bertrand Delanoë has made the environment a priority since his election in 2001, with popular bike- and car-sharing programs, an expanded network of designated lanes for bicycles and buses, and an enormous project to pedestrianize the banks along much of the Seine.
The sheep, which are to mow (and, not inconsequentially, fertilize) an airy half-acre patch in the 19th Arrondissement are intended in the same spirit. City Hall refers to the project as “eco-grazing,” and it notes that the four ewes will prevent the use of noisy, gas-guzzling mowers and cut down on the use of herbicides.