Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot
Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.
Thursday, the doors of Britain’s largest aircraft hangar were opened to reveal Airlander. At 302ft, the Hybrid Air Vehicle (HAV) is the world’s longest airship — a full 60ft longer than the Boeing 747-8, and almost 30ft longer than the former longest aircraft ever built, the Antonov An-225.
An aerodynamic balloon initially developed by the U.S. military for surveillance purposes, British developers adopted the project when our defense budget was cut. BBC News has more:
It costs about $100m (£60m) and the designers are planning an even bigger version that will eventually be able to carry 50 tonnes at a time.
The company developing it has now received £2.5m of government funding to develop the technology and engineering for the project.
“We are jointly funding £2bn of research and development into the next generation of quieter, more energy efficient and environmentally friendly planes,” says Business Secretary Vince Cable.
“That includes backing projects like Hybrid Air Vehicles’ innovative low carbon aircraft which can keep us at the cutting edge of new technology.
Because it can easily land on any patch of water, its developers say, the Airlander could be a huge asset in disaster zones. They also see it being used to freight equipment for mining and drilling operations, a slightly less sustainable plan.
Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of Iron Maiden, calls it a “game changer.” And to garner support for the project, he told BBC News, he’ll be taking the Airlander on a non-stop trip around the world, twice.
“It seizes my imagination. I want to get in this thing and fly it pole to pole,” he said. ”We’ll fly over the Amazon at 20ft, over some of the world’s greatest cities and stream the whole thing on the internet.”
Here’s what the internet’s got so far:
Lindsay Abrams is a staff writer at Salon, reporting on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email firstname.lastname@example.org.More Lindsay Abrams.
Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China
Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti
“Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA
Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.
Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada
Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway
Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.
Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.
Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million
Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.
Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon
Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.
Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico
Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.
Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.