700 meters below Iceland, a company may have found a solution to the world's climate woes.

Back in May, Swiss start-up Climeworks unveiled a massive machine that sucks carbon dioxide out of the sky.

Photo by Julia Dunlop/Climeworks.

The idea? To not just slow climate change, but reverse it.


The devise traps carbon dioxide, CO2, on a plastic sheet covered with amines — chemicals that absorb the gas.

Once stripped from the atmosphere, however, the lassoed carbon doesn't just go away. The company was faced with a challenge: where to store the planet-warming emissions so they don't escape and continue to slowly cook us all.

Months later, thousands of miles away, in a town in the southwestern corner of Iceland, Climeworks may have found its solution — one nearly as old as the Earth itself.

Bingo. Photo by Sandra O. Snaebjornsdottir.

Rocks.

Climeworks has begun burying the carbon it traps 700 meters underground, where it naturally combines with the island nation's indigenous volcanic rock.

"Our plan is to offer carbon removal to individuals, corporates and organizations as a means to reverse their non-avoidable carbon emissions," Christoph Gebald, founder and CEO of Climeworks, said in a news release.

The carbon-burying, rock-injecting technology was developed by CarbFix, a research project led by Reykjavik Energy to develop novel, sustainable storage methods for the gas.

The project is backed by the EU and is currently in testing to evaluate how weather impacts the process.

Photo by Climeworks.

The module is attached to a local geothermal power plant to capture ambient CO2 produced by the energy generating facility.

The United States of America, meanwhile, is kicking a somewhat ... different plan into gear.

The plan involves yanking as many rocks as possible out of the ground to put their carbon back into the sky.

On Oct. 9, EPA chief Scott Pruitt announced the Trump administration's decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan, which requires energy generating plants to cut emissions back to 2005 levels in the next 13 years. A recent Energy Department proposal aims to subsidize coal-fired plants at the expense of cleaner alternatives.

It remains to be seen whether Climeworks' technology can be scaled up to a difference-making degree.

Sucking carbon dioxide out of the sky turns out to be pretty expensive. The initial pilot program sold its trapped carbon to a local greenhouse, a model which may or may not be reproducible globally.

But trying to find a solution is better than trying to create more problems.

Photo by Climeworks/Zev Starr-Tambor.

The next step, according to Gebald, is to bring the technology to "numerous other regions which have similar rock formations."

Perhaps these 21st century carbon bounty hunters may be interested in checking out some of our sweet basalt action?

Asking for a friend.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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via Pexels

A landmark new study has found that LGBTQ boys from Gen Z (1998 to 2010) are much more comfortable being open about their sexuality than previous generations.

The study, published in the journal Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, found that 66% of gay or bisexual boys between the ages of 13 to 18 were "out" to their mothers or other female parental figures, and 49% were out to their fathers or male prenatal figure.

The study examined 1,194 boys aged 13-to-18 who identify as gay, bisexual, or as being attracted to people regardless of gender.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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