Africa Faces Unsustainable Levels of Ivory Poaching
August 20, 2014 06:27 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
When it comes to illegal wildlife trade, one thing has always puzzled me ... Why is the demand for ivory so high? While I may not come across the black-market demands or understand the cultural or historical needs for these rare animal teeth, one thing is easy to see - populations of the African elephant are declining.
Toxic Algae Scare Prompts Backlash Against Farms
August 18, 2014 09:25 AM - S.E. Smith, Care2
What do a no-drink order in Toledo and a backlash against factory farming have in common? A lot, as it turns out. Residents of Ohio's fourth-largest city were advised for multiple days earlier this month to refrain from drinking their tap water because it had been contaminated by toxic algae. As residents struggled to deal with their contaminated water supply, the culprit behind the problem became readily apparent: factory farms. The Ohio Agriculture Advisory Council (OAAC) is proposing a regulatory crackdown that could forever change industrial farming practices in this Midwestern state.
Will California land the Tesla Gigafactory?
August 13, 2014 09:25 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit
Tesla Motors' proposed "Gigafactory," Elon Musk's vision of a massive factory that would revamp the global supply chain for lithium-ion batteries and then sharply reduce their cost, still does not have an official location. California was not even on the radar, as rumor had it the Reno, Nevada area was the frontrunner to land this factory that promises to employ up to 6,500 people - in fact, excavation of a proposed site has already been completed. Arizona, New Mexico and Texas were also frontrunners in the event negotiations.
Bottling Water from Drought Stricken Areas
August 12, 2014 07:55 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit
The bottled water industry has grown exponentially the past few decades despite the fact tap water in the United States is generally safe. Never mind the fact bottled water producers have had more than their fair share of safety issues: bottled water has become accepted by consumers. While companies such as Nestlé insist they are taking responsibility for water stewardship and recycling, they also bottle their water at dubious sources, including those in drought stricken regions.
Chinese Traditional Medicine Threatens Turtle Populations
August 11, 2014 08:53 AM - Erin Crandall, MONGABAY.COM
For thousands of years turtles have been used in Chinese traditional medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments and diseases. Originally published in the journal Radiata and recently republished HerpDigest David S. Lee and Liao Shi Kun write, "[In Chinese culture] turtles are symbolic of long life, personal wealth, fertility, strength, and happy households."
New Zoo Concept Boasts No Cages
August 6, 2014 08:44 AM - Alicia Graef, Care2
Danish architects are taking on the task of creating a zoo environment that will change what the face of captivity looks like in the future with the reveal of plans for what it's calling the "world's most advanced zoo." The Givskud Zoo in Denmark has accepted a design from the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) that has no cages and will allow animals to live in environments that mimic their natural habitats. The first phase is expected to be completed by 2019, just in time for the park’s 50th anniversary.
Spray-on Solar Panels?
August 4, 2014 03:33 PM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
A team of scientists at the University of Sheffield are the first to fabricate perovskite solar cells using a spray-painting process — a discovery that could help cut the cost of solar electricity. Experts from the University's Department of Physics and Astronomy and Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering have previously used the spray-painting method to produce solar cells using organic semiconductors - but using perovskite is a major step forward.
Surf's Up for Clean Technology
August 1, 2014 11:45 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit
Unless your skin is about a foot thick, swimming and surfing in the Pacific Ocean for hours at a time requires a wetsuit to stay warm and comfortable. That comfort, however, comes at a price as the vast majority of wetsuits are made from petroleum-based neoprene. The material is durable and does the job, but its manufacture is a carbon-intensive and toxic process. Now Patagonia is aggressively promoting its plant-based wetsuit technology with the goal to have it become a game-changer in the surf industry.
Underestimating the Impacts of Old-Growth Logging
August 1, 2014 09:28 AM - Rhett A. Butler, MONGABAY.COM
Ecologists may be underestimating the impact of logging in old-growth tropical forests by failing to account for subtleties in how different animal groups respond to the intensity of timber extraction, argues a paper published today in the journal Current Biology. The study, led by Zuzana Burivalova of ETH Zurich, is based on a meta-analysis of 48 studies that evaluated the impact of selective logging on mammals, birds, amphibians, and invertebrates in tropical forests. Burivalova, together with co-authors Cagan Sekercioglu and Lian Pin Koh, found that biodiversity is inversely proportional to logging intensity.
Drilling in the Dark
August 1, 2014 08:54 AM - University of Wisconsin-Madison
As production of shale gas soars, the industry's effects on nature and wildlife remain largely unexplored, according to a study by a group of conservation biologists published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment on August 1. The report emphasizes the need to determine the environmental impact of chemical contamination from spills, well-casing failure, and other accidents. "We know very little about how shale gas production is affecting plants and wildlife," says author Sara Souther, a conservation fellow in the Department of Botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "And in particular, there is a lack of accessible and reliable information on spills, wastewater disposal and the chemistry of fracturing fluids. Of the 24 U.S. states with active shale gas reservoirs, only five maintain public records of spills and accidents." The 800 percent increase in U.S. shale gas production between 2007 and 2012 is largely due to the use of hydraulic fracturing. Also called fracking, the process uses high-pressure injection of water, laden with sand and a variety of chemicals, to open cracks in the gas reservoir so natural gas can flow to the well.