Adele Peters
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What we know about McDonald’s new ‘McPlant’ plant-based burger

What we know about McDonald’s new ‘McPlant’ plant-based burger

advertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementAs one of the world’s largest buyers of beef—the most climate-damaging food on the planet—McDonald’s is working to reduce emissions by supporting . But it’s also launching a new “McPlant” plant-based burger, something that could also make a difference if it can scale up.advertisementThe company announced today that it was launching the McPlant after successful tests of a plant-based burger made with Beyond Meat in Canadian restaurants last year. Some global markets will begin to test the new burger next year.  At an investor...

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Adele Peters
Nov 9
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This sweater was grown in a bioreactor

This sweater was grown in a bioreactor

advertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementA new sweater from the Japan-based companies Goldwin and Spiber looks like it’s made from wool. But the yarn partially came from a bioreactor, not a sheep.advertisementadvertisementThe new material—named “Brewed Protein”—is designed to mimic common fabrics while shrinking their environmental footprint. Spiber first began developing a more than a decade ago. The process starts by designing the genes to make a specific protein, such as silk, and then inserting the genes into microorganisms that start pumping out the protein in...

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Adele Peters
Nov 10
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At the first lab-grown meat restaurant, you can eat a ‘cultured chicken’ sandwich

At the first lab-grown meat restaurant, you can eat a ‘cultured chicken’ sandwich

advertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementAt a new restaurant in Tel Aviv called , the chicken on the menu is grown from cells in a bioreactor in an adjacent pilot plant visible through a glass window. Diners don’t pay for their meals; instead, SuperMeat, the startup making the “cultured chicken” meat, is asking for feedback on its products, as it prepares for large-scale production of food that it thinks can transform the industry.advertisementadvertisementThe main item on the menu, the Chicken Burger—a crispy cultured chicken fillet served on a brioche bun with...

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Adele Peters
Nov 5
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These biological batteries generate renewable energy from the ground

These biological batteries generate renewable energy from the ground

advertisementadvertisementIn a park on the Spanish island of Ibiza, a prototype for new renewable energy isn’t a huge spinning turbine or a field of solar panels. Instead, it’s partially hidden underground: a biological battery that is generating energy from the soil itself.advertisementadvertisementPablo Vidarte, the 24-year-old founder of , the biotech startup developing the panel, started thinking about the concept in a dream. “In the dream, I asked, is it possible to treat the leaves of a plant as a solar panel?” he says. “The short answer is no. But there are ways in which you can...

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Adele Peters
Oct 26
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These drones will plant 40,000 trees in a month. By 2028, they’ll have planted 1 billion

These drones will plant 40,000 trees in a month. By 2028, they’ll have planted 1 billion

advertisementadvertisementThis week, on land north of Toronto that previously burned in a wildfire, drones are hovering over fields and firing seed pods into the ground, planting native pine and spruce trees to help restore habitat for birds. , the Canadian startup behind the project, plans to use its technology to plant 40,000 trees in the area this month. By the end of the year, as it expands to other regions, it will plant hundreds of thousands of trees. By 2028, the startup aims to have planted a full 1 billion trees.advertisementadvertisementThe company, like a handful of , believes...

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Adele Peters
May 15
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Trump says he wants to plant a trillion trees, but mostly is focused on cutting them down

Trump says he wants to plant a trillion trees, but mostly is focused on cutting them down

advertisementadvertisementIn late September, the Trump administration finalized a plan to in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest—the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest. A little more than two weeks later, on October 13, he issued an calling for a new council to “implement a strategy” for the Trillion Trees Initiative, a global effort to grow and conserve a trillion trees within the next decade.advertisementBut while the plans to open up the Tongass are moving forward quickly, with timber sales possible later in the year, the new executive order lacks any concrete detail. “It looks an...

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Adele Peters
Oct 14
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This game-changing solar company recycles old panels into new ones

This game-changing solar company recycles old panels into new ones

advertisementadvertisementThe global surge in solar power is helping quickly lower the cost of solar panels and shrink energy’s carbon footprint, with around 70,000 solar panels being installed by 2018, and an estimated in place by that year in the U.S. alone. But it also means that we’ll face an enormous pile of e-waste when those panels eventually wear out.advertisementadvertisementBy the early 2030s, as one large wave of solar panels is reaching the end of life, the International Renewable Energy Agency that there could be as much as 8 million metric tons of total solar panel waste. By...

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Adele Peters
Oct 9
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Florida is going to release 750 million mosquitoes genetically engineered to decimate the mosquito population

Florida is going to release 750 million mosquitoes genetically engineered to decimate the mosquito population

UPDATES: advertisementadvertisementIn the Florida Keys, the local mosquito control agency has just approved the release of 750 million genetically engineered mosquitoes. The test, which is likely to begin in 2021, will be the first time that mosquitoes—designed to be “self-limiting,” meaning that they’ll breed offspring that can’t survive—will be used in the United States.advertisementadvertisementOxitec, the U.K.-based company that engineered the mosquitoes, plans to place boxes filled with mosquito eggs in the area, releasing male mosquitoes bred with the self-limiting gene. When they...

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Adele Peters
Aug 20
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This new ultrahard material inspired by nature could make uncuttable bike locks

This new ultrahard material inspired by nature could make uncuttable bike locks

UPDATES: advertisementadvertisementBike locks don’t work well: More than two million bikes are stolen each year in North America alone. Even when a lock might slow down a thief, it’s fairly easy to finish the job in a crowded city, even with lots of people paying attention, as these old viral videos . But a new material—the first artificial material that can’t be cut—may change that.advertisement“The inspiration came from nature, from biological structures,” says Stefan Szyniszewski, an engineering professor at the U.K.’s Durham University who worked with a team of researchers to develop...

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Adele Peters
Jul 20
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Alternative meat and dairy companies are raking in investment dollars

Alternative meat and dairy companies are raking in investment dollars

UPDATES: advertisementadvertisementLast week, the Swedish oat milk brand Oatly announced that it had raised from investors like Blackstone Group and Oprah Winfrey. The prior week, Perfect Day, a company that makes lab-grown ingredients for dairy-free products, including a , raised . Earlier in the year, Impossible Foods raised half a billion dollars. A long list of other companies have also raised money during the pandemic, from MycoTechnology, a company that uses a mushroom platform to ferment protein, to Blue Nalu, which is making seafood in bioreactors.advertisementIn the first half of...

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Adele Peters
Jul 22
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This ‘pro-vax’ campaign encourages vaccine-supporting Americans to do more to fight anti-vaxxers

This ‘pro-vax’ campaign encourages vaccine-supporting Americans to do more to fight anti-vaxxers

UPDATES: advertisementadvertisementThe vast majority of Americans think that vaccines are a good idea—but the small (but growing) anti-vax movement is far more vocal. A new advocacy campaign is designed to mobilize the majority to speak out to help fight misinformation, at a time when the end of the current pandemic will hinge in part on the public’s willingness to be vaccinated.advertisementadvertisementPublic health officials haven’t always understood how much damage anti-vax groups could do, says Joe Smyser, CEO of , the nonprofit leading the new campaign. “It was easy to dismiss it—if...

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Adele Peters
Jul 14
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The case for optimism: By 2030, everything will be so cheap that we’ll be able to end poverty

The case for optimism: By 2030, everything will be so cheap that we’ll be able to end poverty

UPDATES: advertisementadvertisementA decade ago, mainstream experts weren’t predicting that the cost of solar power would fall as steeply as it has by 2020—it’s now down more than 80% so far. Tony Seba, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor, was one of the few to get the forecast right. Seba and investor James Arbib, who run a think tank called , now say that similar changes could happen in other parts of the economy, transforming the cost of everyday life so significantly that it could pull people out of poverty.advertisementadvertisement“We are on the cusp of the fastest, deepest,...

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Adele Peters
Jul 1
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Countries where everyone wore masks saw COVID death rates 100 times lower than projected

Countries where everyone wore masks saw COVID death rates 100 times lower than projected

UPDATES: advertisementadvertisementWhen COVID-19 started to spread from China to other countries in late January, it seemed like Thailand—a popular destination for Chinese tourists, including thousands who had traveled from Wuhan that month—might be hit hard. But as of early June, the country has had only a little more than 3,000 confirmed cases and 58 deaths. In the U.S., the death rate per capita is more than 450 times greater.advertisementadvertisementSeveral factors likely slowed the spread of the virus in Thailand, including partial lockdowns, contact tracing, and community health...

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Adele Peters
Jun 23
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The U.S. can get to 90% clean electricity in just 15 years

The U.S. can get to 90% clean electricity in just 15 years

UPDATES: advertisementadvertisementUntil recently, climate experts projected that it wouldn’t be possible to decarbonize the electric grid until 2050—and that moving to fully renewable energy could raise the price of electricity for consumers. But the cost of wind, solar, and battery storage has fallen so quickly that in just 15 years, the U.S. could feasibly run on 90% clean electricity, with no increase in electric bills. And adding new renewable infrastructure could create more than half a million new jobs each year. By 2045, the entire electric grid could run on...

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Adele Peters
Jun 9
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Ever been to a green sand beach? The newest geohack to fight climate change

Ever been to a green sand beach? The newest geohack to fight climate change

UPDATES: advertisementadvertisementOn a beach in the Caribbean, a nonprofit called will soon begin testing a radical new way to fight climate change that involves spreading ground-up olivine—a cheap green mineral—over the sand, where ocean waves will break down the mineral, which in turn will pull CO2 from the air. “Our vision is to help reverse climate change by turning a trillion tons of carbon dioxide into rock,” says Tom Green, executive director of Project Vesta.advertisementadvertisementThe idea is to speed up a natural process that normally takes place very slowly, over geological...

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Adele Peters
May 29
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This twist on the four-day workweek could get people back to work without causing new outbreaks

This twist on the four-day workweek could get people back to work without causing new outbreaks

UPDATES: advertisementadvertisementThere’s an obvious risk to reopening the economy during the pandemic, even in places where the number of COVID-19 cases is dropping: As more people come back into contact, cases could surge again, and businesses could be forced to shut down a second time. South Korea is seeing a new spike in cases after the outbreak seemed to be under control. In China, new cases have emerged in Wuhan, the original epicenter of the virus. But an adjustment to work schedules—along with social distancing and other tools like contact tracing—could help businesses that can’t...

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Adele Peters
May 12
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The Netherlands is slashing emissions by as much as 12 megatons this year—because of a lawsuit

The Netherlands is slashing emissions by as much as 12 megatons this year—because of a lawsuit

UPDATES: advertisementadvertisementAs the Trump administration continues to roll back climate policy in the U.S., including changes to clean car rules that will allow cars to emit nearly more carbon dioxide than they otherwise would have, the Netherlands is moving in the other direction, rolling out a set of new policies that will drastically cut emissions this year and put the country well on the path to its goal of becoming climate neutral by 2050.advertisementBut the Dutch government isn’t acting voluntarily: The new policies are the result of a seven-year-long lawsuit from an...

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Adele Peters
May 7
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How cities are reshaping streets to prepare for life after lockdown

How cities are reshaping streets to prepare for life after lockdown

UPDATES: advertisementadvertisementAs the daily coronavirus death toll slowly falls in Italy and cities in the country make plans for reopening, Milan is beginning to transform 22 miles of local streets, adding temporary bike lanes and wider sidewalks, and lowering the speed limit. In Berlin, some parking spots have also become pop-up bike lanes. Paris is fast-tracking long-distance bike lanes that connect suburbs to the city center. And in Brussels, on May 4, the city center will become a priority zone for people on bikes and on foot.advertisementadvertisementThe city of the future is for...

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Adele Peters
Apr 27
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What will it take to massively scale up COVID-19 testing to the level we need?

What will it take to massively scale up COVID-19 testing to the level we need?

UPDATES: advertisementadvertisementIn the U.S., which now has more confirmed COVID-19 cases than any other country in the world, around 150,000 people are being tested for the virus each day. But that’s a fraction of the number of tests needed to be able to quickly contain any resurgence of the virus while we let people return to work and day-to-day life. By some estimates, we need to be doing 20 million to 30 million tests a day to get there. Even the more conservative estimates say we need to do at least half a million per day.advertisementadvertisementAnyone with symptoms should be...

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Adele Peters
Apr 23
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Will coronavirus quarantines lead more companies to consider 4-day workweeks?

Will coronavirus quarantines lead more companies to consider 4-day workweeks?

UPDATES: advertisementadvertisementAs the coronavirus crisis forces more companies to participate in a massive experiment in remote working, it raises questions about how work might change when the health crisis passes, and if companies may be more open to alternative forms of working in the future—including not just letting employees work from home but allowing new variations in schedules, such as the four-day workweek.advertisementadvertisement“Often when companies don’t allow remote work, it has to do with not necessarily a lack of trust in the person, it’s a lack of trust in the...

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Adele Peters
Mar 19
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The East Coast is Sinking Under Water—This Photographer is Documenting it as it Disappears

The East Coast is Sinking Under Water—This Photographer is Documenting it as it Disappears

As climate change pushes sea levels higher around the world, the water is rising especially fast along the East Coast of the U.S. as the land simultaneously sinks. In low-lying Charleston, South Carolina, where the local sea level was first measured in 1921, the water has risen around a foot in the intervening century—and even when the city isn’t facing a hurricane, city streets already regularly flood. In a new photo series, photographer J. Henry Fair is documenting American coastlines before the worst impacts of climate change happen. A new book, On the Edge, focuses on his home state of...

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Adele Peters
Aug 22
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