Mangrove forests protect coastlines. ‘Synthetic mangroves’ could do the same for cities.
Humans have lots of reasons to thank mangroves. These swampy, stilt-rooted trees store massive amounts of carbon on tropical shorelines, support nurseries for a wide variety of commercially important fish species, and protect coastal areas from storm damage. Besides these benefits for people, mangroves are unique among trees because they thrive in shallow seawater that’s too salty for most living beings to grow in. To better understand exactly how mangroves can grow in the ocean yet pump freshwater up to their leaves, engineers constructed what they’re dubbing “synthetic mangroves”, pressure-driven devices that can draw freshwater out of the saltiest seas — and have the potential to help manage stormwater in cities.
The synthetic mangrove they built resembles a large French press more than a tree, but it has some version of the most important parts of a mangrove: salt-excluding “roots,” a strong “stem”, and thirsty “leaves.” In a real mangrove, the pressure difference between the leaves and the rest of the tree acts like suction on a straw…
How to Raise Climate-Resilient Kids
Climate-related disasters are on the rise, and carbon emissions are soaring. Parents today face the unprecedented challenge of raising children somehow prepared for a planetary emergency that may last their lifetimes. Few guidebooks are on the shelves for this one, yet, but experts do have advice. And in a bit of happy news, it includes strategies already widely recognized as good for kids.
First, consider that a child born today enters a world growing progressively hotter, where recent weather extremes have displaced tens of millions of people. Scientists say displacement may swell into the hundreds of millions in the years ahead, as the rapid melting of glaciers now underway drives sea levels upward. The resulting migrations will likely trigger conflict, hunger, and political instability. As we already see in the children pressed against the U.S.-Mexico border, many of them fleeing drought in Central America, migrations may also lead to hardened borders and xenophobic or racist impulses. All this causes military analysts to call climate change a “threat multiplier” that can exacerbate existing social problems….