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Environment News

The latest environmental news from our global warming and climate news sources.

Apr 28, 2015

Environment & Sustainability

Is Nanotechnology Toxic?

Apr 28, 2015: Nanotechnology has found its way into many products. Indeed, companies have claimed that more than 300 products are nanobased, according to a database maintained by the Woodrow Wilson International Center, in Washington, D.C. In some of these products, such as skin creams and toothpastes, nanoparticles are in contact with a person’s body, so many experts […]…

“DNA Time Machine” May Help Unlock the Secrets of Our Past

Apr 28, 2015: Scientists have long argued about the relationship of Homo sapiens to neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis).  When our lineage diverged from theirs, and whether was interbreeding between the two species, are subjects of controversy among researchers.  New DNA evidence, extracted from a 38,000-year-old piece of neanderthal bone, may help shed light on this debate and help unlock […]…

eBikes From the Future

Apr 28, 2015: When I lived in downtown Toronto, I used my bike everyday to get to work everyday in the summer, anyway. I did it for the exercise, I did it because I enjoyed being outside, because I enjoyed the sun, and I did it for the fresh air; although I really can’t refer to the exhaust […]…

Nailing down the effects of Hurricanes

Apr 28, 2015: Hurricane winds rip apart nailed-together walls, and earthquakes shake houses so violently that a nailhead can pull straight through a piece of plywood. Since we can’t stop natural disasters, Bostitch engineer Ed Sutt has dedicated his career to designing a better nail. The result is the HurriQuake, and it has the perfect combination of features […]…

The Book 2.0 Is here

Apr 28, 2015: Back when internet was beginning to explode, people were predicting that email and online information would cut down our use of paper, perhaps entirely. It hasn’t; in fact, we’re using more paper if you can believe it. One example is by printing things off the internet. The most often-cited reason is that people do not […]…

The UN’s Fight Against Global Warmingin Africa

Apr 28, 2015: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan launched a plan on Wednesday to help Africa fight global warming, and criticised a “frightening lack of leadership” in confronting what he called one of the world’s biggest threats. “Global climate change must take its place alongside those threats — conflict, poverty, the proliferation of deadly weapons — that have traditionally […]…

Massive 8.1 quake has just Struck Japan

Apr 28, 2015: Tsunami warnings have been issued for Japan and West Coast of North & South America, the quake has struck approximately one hour ago, the earthquake that hit Indonesia was a 9.1 and has killed 213,000 people.

A New Way of Measuring Forests Brings Hope to Some

Apr 28, 2015: A new way of measuring forests has some researchers hopeful that deforestation is not an inevitable effect of industrialization, but others urge skepticism. Pekka E. Kauppi of the University of Helsinki and his five co-authors developed a new model for measuring forest resources that they call “Forest Identity,” using attributes such as area, biomass and […]…

Who Killed the Electric Car – A must See!!!

Apr 28, 2015: BA : Who Killed The Electric Car ?Uploaded by yom_…

Power Your Ipod With Your Feet?

Apr 27, 2015: If you’re anything like me then you’ll have any number of gadgets on you when you are out and about. Be it mobile phones, mp3 players or digital cameras most people nowadays carry something on them with a battery. And anyone who carries such a device will be more than aware of how annoying it […]…

Can Pope Francis halt climate change with new papal document?

Apr 27, 2015: Pope Francis is causing quite a stir with news that he will soon publish a historic document that details the Catholic imperative to curb global warming. While some pundits believe the encyclical, which will be published in early summer, has more power…

Why One Man Left Wall Street To Start A Food Rescue In New York City [Video]

Apr 27, 2015: Robert Lee's Rescuing Leftover Cuisine is a new food rescue organization in New York City that aims to feed the homeless with edible leftovers The post Why One Man Left Wall Street To Start A Food Rescue In New York City [Video] appeared first on Sustainablog.

And the OSPAR goes to… the Arctic!

Apr 27, 2015: Yes, that is not a typo. The OSPAR Award. A long awaited Award that the Arctic well deserves.But, what is an OSPAR? The OSPAR Convention is an international agreement of 15 European countries (Arctic and non Arctic states) plus the European Union with the power and mandate to protect international waters from environmental harm done by human activities.The icy waters around the North Pole are international waters. There is an important extension of those international waters that the OSPAR Commision have now the chance to protect: 232.000 square kilometres, as a matter of fact. A well-deserved Award of protection for the Arctic and a big and much needed reward for the planet.The heroes from the movies are the ones capable to make us dream b…

Pepsi Is Ditching One Fake Sweetener, But What About The Rest?

Apr 27, 2015: Alexei Vella Junk-food giant PepsiCo is preparing to make the biggest change to its Diet Pepsi brand in three decades, Bloomberg News reports: it's nixing the controversial low-calorie sweetener aspartame. In its place, Diet Pepsi will get its sweet jolt from a mix of sucralose and acesulfame potassium. The apparent reason for the shake-up: Diet Pepsi sales plunged 5.2 percent last year, Bloomberg noted. Rival Diet Coke fared even worse, enduring 6.6 percent drop in sales (though Coke is clinging fast to aspartame). What gives? Even with the recent consumer turn away from these once-formidable products, the lure of sweet-but-virtuous soda is still going strong—and goes back decades. Recently, I came across one from a 1966 glossy…

The giants who had no hearts in their bodies

Apr 27, 2015: How some of palm oil's biggest players are actively working against reform.Fairy tales, like the Norwegian story The Giant Who Had No Heart in His Body are meant to teach us that no good comes of greed, and that redemption is always possible for bullies who choose to change. The Indonesian palm oil industry's history reads like a scorched-earth rampage by an uncaring fairytale giant, but thanks to global village outrage, some companies have faced a moral (and market) reckoning. They have begun to halt forest destruction and address their conflicts with local communities. Will the rest follow their lead, or stab them in the back?Peat forests, such as this one cleared and burned this April in Riau despite a moratorium, will remain at risk as…

This Video of the Moment the Avalanche Hit Everest Base Camp Is Terrifying

Apr 26, 2015: "The ground is shaking," a man's voice says, sounding incredulous. "Shit," he says, amid giggles of disbelief from others. Then, seconds later, the camera swings around to see something truly horrifying: a wall of snow and debris descending from all directions, about to engulf a collection of tents. The video was uploaded to a YouTube channel operated by Jost Kobusch, a German mountaineer attempting to climb Mount Everest, on Sunday. The title suggests that the footage captures one of the avalanches that struck Everest during the massive quake that hit Nepal on Saturday, killing more than 2,400 people and injuring about 5,900. Kobusch also posted the video to his Twitter account—though it's still unclear if he took the footage himsel…

Chernobyl, 29 years on: a race against time

Apr 26, 2015: Today, 26 April 2015, marks the 29th anniversary of the worst nuclear disaster in world history – the Chernobyl catastrophe. And unfortunately, preventing further major releases of radioactivity into the environment seems to be a race against time. As a new Greenpeace report detailing the efforts at the sight shows, there are no real solutions in sight.Nearly three decades after the start of the Chernobyl disaster, its atomic legacy is a stark and ominous reminder that nuclear power can never be a safe energy source.In 1986, two explosions destroyed Chernobyl reactor unit 4, located in the Ukraine. Its graphite core burned for ten days. The radioactive releases heavily contaminated what became a 2600 km2 exclusion zone – wh…

Renewable energy for all: How an Indian village was electrified

Apr 25, 2015: Let's accept it. Climate change is a reality and current and future generations are up against the greatest challenge that humanity has ever faced. Yet some people believe that there is a trade-off between combating climate change and delivering development for the people. Around this year's Earth Day, it is time to explode this harmful myth. It's time to accept that the key to dealing with both poverty and climate change is energy security. And that energy security can be achieved without fossil fuels.On a global level renewable energy is winning the race against fossil fuels as more clean-power capacity is being installed than coal, oil and gas together. Solar power is growing faster than even we at Greenpeace predicted, and renewables ar…

The Waste Biz: Has Recycling Glass Gotten Too Expensive?

Apr 24, 2015: Recycling glass has gotten so expensive that haulers have to pay recyclers to take the material. Is single-stream recycling to blame? This week's Waste Biz The post The Waste Biz: Has Recycling Glass Gotten Too Expensive? appeared first on Sustainablog.

From Bangladesh to the world: Who made my clothes?

Apr 24, 2015: Two years ago today, one of the worst industrial incidents took place in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Over 1,000 people died and over 2,500 injured when Rana Plaza, a clothing factory supplying global fashion brands, collapsed.The tragedy is the result of an industry in a constant race to get products on the racks – and to hell with regulations… to hell with the cost to workers and the environment.But two years on today, we say enough is enough. We need a Fashion Revolution.Last year, thousands of people around the world joined Fashion Revolution and turned their clothes inside out as call for transparency to the industry. This year we ask again: who made my clothes?Image courtesy of Fashion Revolution 2015.The need for ch…

How do systems get unstuck?

Apr 23, 2015: Human enterprise appears stuck, like an addict, in habitual behaviour. We have plenty of data alerting us to global heating, declining species, disappearing forests, and rising toxins in our ecosystems. Yet, after decades of efforts to reverse these trends and some notable achievements — whaling moratorium, ocean dumping ban, renewable energy projects — the key trends appear evermore troubling. [1]In December, 2014, I attended a gathering hosted by the International Bateson Institute (IBI) and Centro Studi Riabilitzione Neurocognitiva Villa Miari, a clinic for paralysis patients in Schio, Italy. We observed therapeutic methods employed at Centro Studi to help us consider links between these methods and a efforts to address the e…

Update On Vietnam Biogas Production Project

Apr 23, 2015: Last month, we took a look at a biogas production program for rural Vietnam. We've now got updated information on this innovative use of animal waste The post Update On Vietnam Biogas Production Project appeared first on Sustainablog.

There's a Fight Brewing Over Who Profits From Solar Power

Apr 23, 2015: In the ongoing wars over solar energy, one power company is consistently painted as the archetypal, mustache-twirling nemesis of clean electricity: Arizona Public Service. So you might be surprised to learn that this same company is about to become a big new producer of rooftop solar power. APS is an unlikely solar patron: In the summer of 2013, the Phoenix-area utility launched a campaign to weaken Arizona's net metering rule, which requires utilities to buy the extra solar power their customers generate and provides a major incentive for homeowners to install rooftop panels. A few months later, APS admitted giving cash to two nonprofits that ran an anti-solar ad blitz in the state. Early this year, the Arizona Center for Investigative Re…

This Is Why You Crave Sugar When You're Stressed Out

Apr 23, 2015: Here's something that won't come as a surprise to anyone who has ever devoured a pint of Rocky Road after a miserable day at work: Researchers at the University of California-Davis recently found that 80 percent of people report eating more sweets when they are stressed. Their new study, published in the the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, offers a possible explanation. Sugar, the researchers found, can diminish physiological responses normally produced in the brain and body during stressful situations. With stress levels on the rise, this could explain why more people are reaching for sweets. The three-phase study involved 19 women, ages 18 to 40, who spent three days on a low-sugar diet at the research facility. Sali…

Just Because Your Chicken Is Organic Doesn't Mean It Was Raised Humanely

Apr 23, 2015: This piece was originally published by Civil Eats.  Do you ever wonder why so much organic food also carries animal welfare labels? The short answer is that while the US Department of Agriculture's organic standards are very precise about pesticides and other growing practices for the crops that people and animals eat, it doesn't include very many specific instructions about the way the animals themselves are raised. "When people pick up organic milk, they're expecting that the cows are out on pasture most of the time," says Luke Meerman, one of the farmers behind Michigan-based Grassfields Cheese. And he's right. In a phone survey conducted for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 68 percent of t…

The 6 Most Pressing Environmental Issues—And What You Can Do to Help Solve Them

Apr 22, 2015: Image via Shutterstock CLIMATE CHANGE While 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is occurring and greenhouse gas emissions are the main cause, political will has not been strong enough so far to initiate a massive policy shift away…

Obama Just Called Out Florida's Climate Deniers in Their Own Backyard

Apr 22, 2015: President Barack Obama just marked Earth Day with a speech on climate change, given from a podium in Florida's Everglades National Park. The choice of venue was appropriate from an environmental perspective—the Everglades is already acutely feeling the impacts of sea level rise—but it was also telling from a political standpoint. Although our swampiest national park has a long history of bipartisan support, it's located in a state that has recently produced some of the most absurdist climate denial in recent memory—and Obama didn't forget to mention it. Florida is home not just to Sen. Marco Rubio, a GOP presidential contender who maintains that humans can't affect the climate, but also to Gov. Rick Scott, who landed in h…

Scott Walker Celebrates Earth Day by Proposing To Fire 57 Environmental Agency Employees

Apr 22, 2015: Happy Earth Day! Today is a day we can all band together and share our love for this beautiful planet—or at least drown our sorrows about climate change with nerdy themed cocktails. Later today, President Barack Obama will mark the occasion with a climate-focused speech in the Florida Everglades. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination, had a different idea: Fire a big chunk of the state's environmental staff. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Fifty-seven employees of the state Department of Natural Resources began receiving formal notices this week that they might face layoff as part of Gov. Scott Walker's budget for the next two fiscal years… The DNR's scientific staff conducts…

How Californians Screwed Drought-Plagued California

Apr 22, 2015: Solving California's water crisis got a lot harder on Monday when a state appeals court struck down steeply tiered water rates in the city of San Juan Capistrano. Like many other California cities, this affluent Orange County town encourages conservation by charging customers who use small amounts of water a lower rate per gallon than customers who use larger amounts. The court ruled that the practice conflicts with Proposition 218, a ballot measure that, among other things, bars governments from charging more for a service than it costs to provide it. The drought isn't the only way Prop. 218 is hamstringing California cities. Early last year, San Francisco's Municipal Transportation Agency announced a controversial pilot program that wo…

Easy Upcycling: Homemade Planters From Rain Boots

Apr 22, 2015: Got a pair of used rain boots too beat up to pass on? Jennifer Tuohy of the Home Depot shows you how to upcycle them into homemade planters The post Easy Upcycling: Homemade Planters From Rain Boots appeared first on Sustainablog.

Celebrating ecologically farmed food in Nairobi

Apr 22, 2015: On 25 April we will celebrate ecologically farmed food in all its splendour by hosting a fun food fair in the heart of Nairobi at Central Park.We will have an authentic Kenyan Cook-off contest, where the budding chefs will be challenged to only prepare dishes which have local East African varieties of crops in them. We’re talking about Cassava, Millet, Sorghum, and many others. And if you’re one of the lucky ones to join us on the day, you will be able to taste and judge some of these dishes! There will also be live music, and we are teaming up with Bridges Organic Health Restaurant to bring you the tastiest organic lunch in the city.At the fair, local farmers will also host an ecologically farmed food m…

Washington State Is So Screwed

Apr 22, 2015: California's been getting all the attention, but it isn't the only agriculture-centric western state dealing with brutal drought. Washington, a major producer of wheat and wine grapes and the source of nearly 70 percent of US apples grown for fresh consumption, also endured an usually warm and snow-bereft winter. The state's Department of Ecology has declared "drought emergencies" in 24 of the state's 62 watersheds, an area comprising 44 percent of the state. Here's more from the agency's advisory: Snowpack statewide has declined to 24 percent of normal, worse than when the last statewide drought was declared in 2005. Snowpack is like a frozen reservoir for river basins, in a typical year accumulating over the winter and slowly melting…

PETITION: Call for the world’s two biggest charities to divest from fossil fuels

Apr 22, 2015: The Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust charities are a force for good in so many ways, sp why are they still funding companies that invest in fossil fuel extraction? Now you can show them we desperately need their leadership on climate change. The…

Obama Is Poised to Give GMO and Meat Companies Something They've Always Wanted

Apr 22, 2015: President Obama and his Senate GOP critics are locked in a long-simmering feud, but there's one topic that has them clasping hands and singing kumbaya: global free-trade deals. The erstwhile foes are joining forces to push two massive ones: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would knock down trade barriers for a group of nations including the United States, Canada, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam; and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which would do the same between the US and the European Union. Last week, a bipartisan group of senators rolled out legislation, vigorously promoted by the White House, that would give the president broad authority to nego…

The grass is always greener on the other side (as long your neighbor doesn’t use Roundup)

Apr 22, 2015: Today is Earth Day, and approximately one month since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed-killer, probably causes cancer.In the Netherlands, where I live, spring is approaching and gardeners are getting their little corners of paradise ready for the growing season. Just the other day, clearing up my balcony, I noticed my neighbour, a lady in her seventies, handling, without protection, a green bottle of Roundup while working in the garden below. I couldn’t stop myself. I went downstairs and started telling her it was best to stop using the product immediately.Roundup is the world's most heavily used weed-killer. And while concerns that Roundup is tox…

NRDC Statement on Mayor de Blasio’s First Sustainability Plan

Apr 22, 2015: NEW YORK (April 22, 2015) – Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration today released its first-ever sustainability plan for New York City, One New York: The Plan for A Strong and Just City (OneNYC). The plan builds and expands on former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC. …

How To Make Biodiesel (And A Few Other Things) From Food Waste

Apr 21, 2015: Environmental engineers at the University of Cincinnati have figured out how to make biodiesel, plus other fuels & products, from inedible food waste The post How To Make Biodiesel (And A Few Other Things) From Food Waste appeared first on Sustainablog.

14 Awe-inspiring aerial photographs capture the beauty of the Earth

Apr 21, 2015: ©Yann Arthus-Bertrand/Altitude Heart in Voh in New Caledonia "Heart in Voh" is a heart-shaped mangrove swamp in New Caledonia. Located in tropical coastal regions, these mangrove swamps contain rich habitat and help protect the land from storm surges and…

17 Everyday Items That Use a Whole Lot of Water

Apr 21, 2015: If you live in the West, particularly in California, where Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered a 25 percent mandatory reduction in household water use, you may have started taking shorter showers. Perhaps a spiky array of cacti now dwells where your lawn used to be. Maybe you've even stopped drinking almond milk. But even those of us who don't live in California are thinking more about how much water our lifestyles require—after all, much of the country is now in drought, and climate models project that dry spells will become more and more common all over the world in the years to come. A few years back, we crunched the numbers on the water footprints of a few common items:   Icon credits (via Noun Project): Micr…

NRDC: NERC’s Premature Analysis Overlooks Efficiency and Renewable Power Gains

Apr 21, 2015: WASHINGTON (April 21, 2015) –The North American Electric Reliability Corp. today claimed anew that the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to limit carbon pollution from power plants may cause our energy grid to become unreliable. Such fears are unfounded, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

White House Moves to Modernize Energy Grid

Apr 21, 2015: WASHINGTON (April 21, 2015) -- The White House today released the first installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review, an unprecedented initiative launched by President Obama to modernize America’s energy infrastructure.

Beijing's Air: Now Slightly Less Deadly

Apr 21, 2015: Finally, there might be some good news for people inhaling Beijing's famously filthy air: It's getting a bit cleaner, according to a new analysis released by Greenpeace today. Pollution levels in the Chinese capital have shown significant improvements, due in part to strict new pollution controls, says the environmental group, which based its analysis on new government numbers. Beijing's concentration of the fine airborne particles known as PM2.5—the toxic brew of industrial exhaust and chemicals that contribute to smog—declined by more than 13 percent in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same period last year, according to the study. Cities in the neighboring province of Hebei, home to extensive heavy industries like s…

14 Stunning photos of the Earth remind us how important conservation is for all of us

Apr 20, 2015: Great Barrier Reef Comprised of nearly 3,000 reefs and islands and stretching over 1,400 miles, The Great Barrier Reef provides a home to thousands of different species. Tropical fish, sea turtles, dolphins, seahorses, and some of the rarest coral species…

Styrofoam Recycling: How To Dispose Of Expanded Polystyrene Responsibly

Apr 20, 2015: While Styrofoam recycling isn't a convenient option in most places, it can be done. Here are some ideas for responsible disposal of expanded polystyrene The post Styrofoam Recycling: How To Dispose Of Expanded Polystyrene Responsibly appeared first on Sustainablog.

The BP Oil Spill Happened 5 Years Ago Today. We're Still Paying the Price.

Apr 20, 2015: The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico five years ago today, killing 11 men and sending nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the sea. After the well was finally plugged, the national media went home, but the story is still very much unfolding everywhere from federal courtrooms to Louisiana backyards. Let's have a look back at the nation's worst-ever oil spill, by the numbers: Tim McDonnell Icon credits (via Noun Project unless otherwise noted): Oil barrel—Marco Hernandez; leaky pipe—Evan Udelsman; airplane—Luis Prado; boat—Kevin Chu; cash—Natalie Clay; eviction—Luis Prado; money paper—Alex Tai; pelican—Jennifer Gamboa; birds—Joe Looney; dolphins—…

The Government Killed 8 Eagles, 730 Cats, and a Million Starlings Last Year

Apr 20, 2015: President Obama finally released his kill list, and it's 46 pages long. No, not the list of suspected terrorists targeted for extrajudicial killing—the Department of Agriculture's tally of every animal it killed or euthanized over the last fiscal year. All 2,713,570 of them, from 319 different species. The culling, conducted by the agency's Wildlife Services division, is controversial. That's because—much like the actual kill list—the USDA's operations are shrouded in secrecy, prone to collateral damage, and symptomatic of an approach that often uses force as something other than a last resort. (A 2012 Sacramento Bee series explored the problems with the USDA's methods in detail.) One of the problems with culling wildl…

There's a Place That's Nearly Perfect for Growing Food. It's Not California.

Apr 20, 2015: California is by far the dominant US produce-growing state—source of (large PDF) 81 percent of US-grown carrots, 95 percent of broccoli, 86 percent of cauliflower, 74 percent of raspberries, 91 percent of strawberries, etc. But all three of its main veggie growing regions—the Imperial Valley, the Central Valley, and the Salinas Valley—face serious short- and long-term water challenges. As I recently argued in a New York Times debate, it's time to "de-Californify" the nation's supply of fruits and vegetable supply, to make it more diversified, resilient, and ready for a changing climate. Here are maps of US fruit and vegetable production: USDA   USDA Now check out this map depicting average annual precipitation…

President Obama Makes Compelling, Impassioned Case for Combating Climate Change

Apr 18, 2015: WASHINGTON (April 18, 2015) – President Obama today made an impassioned case for combating climate change. Below is a statement from Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council:…

The Waste Biz: Material Efficiency, Circular Economy Key To Fighting Climate Change

Apr 17, 2015: A new study from the Club of Rome shows that material efficiency policies could have significant effects on carbon emissions: this week's Waste Biz The post The Waste Biz: Material Efficiency, Circular Economy Key To Fighting Climate Change appeared first on Sustainablog.