Recharge Wrap-up: Ridesharing behavior shift, climate change allows Arctic cruises

Genetically modified sugarcane yields more biodiesel.

Changing our behavior and filling up seats in cars is something we can do right now to help ease traffic congestion and pollution. In the US, the fact that 85 percent of cars on the road carry only one occupant means that we have a major surplus in our transportation capacity. By filling empty seats instead of driving solo we can take advantage of this capacity. As ridesharing technology, data and availability improve, the major remaining hurdle is our behavior. That appears to be changing, too, and the future could see fewer cars on the road compared to the number of travelers. After all, nobody wants to ride with Hitler. See the video above, and read more from Treehugger.

Genetically modified sugarcane could yield more biodiesel. Using soy, one barrel of biodiesel requires an acre's worth of crops. "Oilcane," as the new, genetically modified sugar plant is called, could potentially yield 17 to 20 barrels of oil per acre, which would also help make the price of the resulting biodiesel more competitive. Additionally, the leftover cane can be processed to produce cellulosic ethanol. "We need to start building for a future when gas is no longer as low as $1.50 per gallon," says the University of Illinois' Stephen Long, "and we need to avoid any future dependency on other countries for our oil. We are lucky to have the land resources to do this." Read more from Fast Company.

Climate change has opened up the Arctic for luxury cruising. As sea ice cover decreases, the Northwest Passage and Bering Strait are becoming more popular shipping routes. Luxury cruise ship Crystal Serenity will embark upon a voyage next August via this route, from Seward, Alaska to New York City over the course of 32 days. As the Arctic sees more and more shipping - including high-occupancy vessels like the Crystal Serenity - officials and rescue organizations are scrambling to ready themselves for a future with less ice and more traffic. Read more from Wired.

More Information