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Beware the Giant Toxic Algae Bloom
June 26, 2015 07:56 AM - Lizabeth Paulat, Care2
Humans and animals on the west coast should take care when near the water. One of the largest algae blooms of all time is producing dangerous toxins which now stretch from California to Alaska. The neurotoxin being released by the bloom is called domoic acid, and it can cause a series of problems for any mammal that comes into contact with it.
Using Invasive Species to Defeat Another Invasive Species
June 25, 2015 10:35 AM - Kevin Mathews, Care2
The forests of Denver, Colo., are currently under attack by an invasive insect species from Asia. So what is the scientists’ plan to stop this assault on trees? They’re going with the controversial move of introducing a second invasive species to destroy the first one. If it sounds like that children’s song about the old lady who swallowed the spider to catch the fly, that’s because it basically is. Unleashing a second non-native species might help to eradicate the first species, but it can also unleash a series of other consequences. Previous experiments in this invasive species vs. invasive species tactic have worked out with various degrees of success, as these four examples will show.
Why do Americans waste so much food?
June 23, 2015 04:11 PM - Judy Molland, Care2
Americans throw away nearly half of their food every year, waste worth roughly $165 billion annually, according to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The report estimates that the average American family of four ends up throwing away an equivalent of up to $2,275 annually in food. Even worse, there is evidence that there has been a 50 percent jump in U.S. food waste since the 1970s.
What is the value of bees?
June 21, 2015 09:55 AM - Steve Williams, Care2
What are bees worth to our economy? A group of researchers have attempted to do the math, and the result shows exactly why we need to protect our pollinating bees but also why we can’t rely on economic worth alone to make our arguments for saving threatened species.
It may sound slightly abhorrent to put a price on a living creature–and, to an extent, it is. But calculating the monetary worth of wildlife and, in particular, their place in the overall economy has become a useful way for researchers to communicate to governments and even businesses that they need to take a closer look at preventing species die-out. When it comes to bees however, researchers have found an interesting fact that they say shows the worth and the shortcomings of this approach.
The Dangers of Microbeads in Personal Care Products
June 3, 2015 12:26 PM - s.e. smith, Care2
Microbeads, those tiny plastic beads included in personal care products for exfoliating power, have been popular for a number of years, with a growing number of companies sneaking them into toothpaste, body scrubs, soap and more. That’s despite evidence that they cause significant environmental problems, an issue that’s led a number of states to ban them or seriously consider such bans in order to protect the environment. But there’s more: There’s evidence that microbeads are also harmful for human health.
Switzerland Promotes Neighborhood Exchange Boxes
June 1, 2015 08:49 AM - Tex Dworkin, Care2
If someone were to set up a telephone booth sized box on your street filled with unwanted items — such as books, toys and small knick knacks, perhaps — and then topped it off with a “Free” sign, what do you think would happen? If Switzerland is any indication, passersby turned salvagers and recyclers would appear out of nowhere, sifting their way through other people’s unwanted discards, thinking up ways to put their newfound discoveries to good (re)use. Some would even add their own unwanted items to the box. Neighborhood exchange boxes have helped Geneva, Switzerland reuse 32 tons of goods thus far thanks to a program called BOÎTES D’ÉCHANGE ENTRE VOISINS–A box for exchange between neighbors. But can it work in other cities?
EPA Approves New Clean Water Protections
May 29, 2015 03:08 PM - Kevin Mathews, Care2
Drinking unclean water seems like a problem you’d hear about it in the developing world, not the United States. Believe it or not, though, one-third of Americans receive water that is unregulated by the Clean Water Act. That’s a lot of people who are potentially drinking tainted water. Fortunately, all that is about to change with the EPA’s new Waters of the United States rule, which was announced on Wednesday. Altogether, the EPA now has the authority to safeguard 20 million acres of wetlands and two million miles of streams (that accounts for 60 percent of America’s streams) that were previously discounted by the Clean Water Act.
Could wind farm installation deafen marine life?
May 26, 2015 09:05 AM - Steve Williams, Care2
Wind farms may be a vital source of green energy, but new research shows that the construction of off-shore wind farms could potentially be damaging the hearing of harbour seals and other marine life. Researchers at St. Andrews University in Scotland believe that there is cause for concern that human building operations in our coastal waters, for example the pile driving process that hammers the foundation posts for wind turbines into the sea bed, could be damaging the hearing of marine mammals to an extent we hadn’t previously guessed at.
The Ozone hole is shrinking
May 18, 2015 07:14 AM - Steve Williams, Care2
New NASA satellite data confirms what other research has shown, namely that the hole in the ozone layer appears to be getting smaller.
The ozone is crucial for us here on Earth because it shields us from some of the Sun’s most damaging radiation. In the 1980s it was confirmed that a host of chemicals like CFCs that we had been using in manufacturing and, in particular in aerosols, had been breaking down that ozone layer, creating several holes including a worryingly large hole over the Arctic. In the long term our CFC use threatened to destroy this vital shield completely if we did not act.
Meet Chernobyl's Wild Residents
May 11, 2015 12:04 PM - S.E. Smith, Care2
It seems like a strange place to call a wildlife park: Nearly 30 years after the most catastrophic nuclear incident in global history, Chernobyl’s exclusion zone has turned into a paradise for animals of all species and sizes. A variety of raptors, deer, big cats, foxes, bears and birds have moved into the region, taking advantage of a vast habitat with almost no humans. That habitat, though, is contaminated with radioactive materials, and scientists still hotly debate the potential costs of radiation exposure to the animals of Chernobyl, some of whom have become famous.
Researchers have seen an explosion of wildlife at the site in recent years, with camera traps providing an opportunity to look deep into the world of the region’s animals without disturbing them. Stunning photography shows animals like wolves and bears roaming freely in the exclusion zone, unconcerned about the potential for human visitors. Perhaps most astonishingly, a population of Przeswalski’s horses, an endangered species critical to the biological and evolutionary history of modern equids, is booming in the region—which isn’t exactly what one might expect, given the radioactive contamination.