Enn Original News

New research compares environmental costs of livestock-based foods
July 22, 2014 08:00 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

Trust me, no one loves a nice, big, juicy steak more than me and while I have no immediate plans of becoming a vegetarian, I am a little concerned about the resources and costs it takes to produce the proteins of our favorite meals. From the land that is used by livestock to the supplies and energy it takes to raise these animals for our consumption, it is evident that environmental resources take a toll. But what is the real cost? New research at the Weizmann Institute of Science, conducted in collaboration with scientists in the US, calculates these environmental costs and compares various animal proteins to give a multi-perspective picture of what resources are really being used.

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Record Radiation in South America
July 11, 2014 09:00 AM - Winfield Winter, ENN

Astrobiologists from the United States and Germany recorded the highest known level of solar UV radiation to reach Earth's surface. This was around 10 years ago. On December 29, 2003, the UV Index (UVI) peaked, reaching the blistering number of 43.3 over the Andes Mountains in Bolivia. To put this in context, a beachgoer in the United States would expect a UVI of 8 or 9 on a summer day. Even with an 8 or a 9, one may not escape the day without sunburn. Nonetheless, it has taken scientists 10 years to detail a report of this data while taking into account all of the variables and anomalies monitored from an international network of dosimeters — or Eldonets (European Light Dosimeter Network) — that measure UV radiation worldwide. This system is comprised of more than 100 stations across 5 continents to account for variation in the atmosphere above each station.

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SPOTLIGHT

How forest debris affects freshwater food chains

Allison Winter, ENN
While one may think that forest and lake ecosystems are two separate networks, new research shows how forest debris is an important contributor to freshwater food chains. How? Debris in the form of organic carbon from trees washes into freshwater lakes, which consequently supplements the diets of microscopic zooplankton and the fish that feed on them. Researchers at the University of Cambridge conducted a study at Daisy Lake in Ontario, Canadian by observing Yellow Perch fish from different parts of the water body with varying degrees of surrounding forest cover. Carbon from forest debris has a different elemental mass than carbon produced by algae in the aquatic food chain. By analyzing the young Perch that had been born that year, scientists were able to determine that at least 34% of the fish biomass comes from vegetation, increasing to 66% in areas surrounded by rich forest. Essentially, the more forest around the edge of the lake, the fatter the fish in that part of the lake were. Similarly, the sparser the forest leaves, the smaller the fish.

What's new on our Community Blog



Dandelion Salad, Anyone?

July 22nd, 2014
Yes, dandelion salad is a real thing, not just a made up salad that kids make while playing pretend in the back yard. In fact, many commonly found plants are actually edible, including dandelions. I thought it would be fun to include some easily found leafy appetizers for ENN users to experiment with. Of course, not all plants are edible, so it is important to correctly identify a plant before trying to eat it.
To read the full post and comment, visit the ENN Community Blog

6 Green Living Principles Every Household Should Learn

July 18th, 2014
Sometimes, you are presented with too many ideas on how to maintain sustainability in your living space and are unsure which ones are the most effective...
To read the full post and comment, visit the ENN Community Blog

Are You Smarter Than A Trash Can?

July 12th, 2014
Walking through Boston earlier this week I came across an unusually large trash receptacle. When I went closer to inspect it (throw out my trash) I noticed that it was compactor designed for sustainability.  Besides having a function to compact the trash which would require less pickups, the cans also had solar panels to be [...]
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