Environmental Policy

How dangerous ARE fracking chemicals really?
November 28, 2014 09:17 AM - University of Colorado Boulder

The “surfactant” chemicals found in samples of fracking fluid collected in five states were no more toxic than substances commonly found in homes, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Fracking fluid is largely comprised of water and sand, but oil and gas companies also add a variety of other chemicals, including anti-bacterial agents, corrosion inhibitors and surfactants. Surfactants reduce the surface tension between water and oil, allowing for more oil to be extracted from porous rock underground.

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CO2 pulses and the last Ice Age
October 30, 2014 12:34 PM - Oregon State University

A new study shows that the rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide that contributed to the end of the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago did not occur gradually, but was characterized by three “pulses” in which C02 rose abruptly.

Scientists are not sure what caused these abrupt increases, during which C02 levels rose about 10-15 parts per million – or about 5 percent per episode – over a period of 1-2 centuries. It likely was a combination of factors, they say, including ocean circulation, changing wind patterns, and terrestrial processes.

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SPOTLIGHT

Is the world moving backwards on protected areas?

Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

Protected areas are undoubtedly the world's most important conservation success story, and recent research shows that protected areas are effective—housing more biodiversity and greater abundances of species inside rather than out. But, despite this, progress on protected areas is stalling and in some cases even falling behind. According to a sobering new paper today in Nature, only 20-50 percent of the world's land and marine protected areas are meeting their goals, while the rest are hampered by lack of funding, poor management, and government ambivalence. The paper arrives just a few days before the opening of the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014, a global event that happens once a decade. "Protected areas offer us solutions to some of today's most pressing challenges, but by continuing with 'business as usual,' we are setting them up for failure," said lead author James Watson of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Queensland. "A step-change in the way we value, fund, govern and manage those areas is neither impossible nor unrealistic and would only represent a fraction of what the world spends annually on defense." 

What's new on our Community Blog



Another Brick In The Toilet

November 25th, 2014
On the ENN blog we are always talking about simple ways to reduce our impact, whether it is weather proofing our home, increasing what we recycle, or remembering to turn off the lights after we leave the room. While browsing our affiliate Care2’s website I came upon the suggestion of “dropping a brick” into your toilet as a way to save water. “Hold up, “you say. “Dropping a brick in the toilet, is that some kind of poop pun?” Yes it is, but it is also a strategy to reduce the amount of water wasted while flushing the toilet.
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5 Hot Tips to Keep You Warm this Winter

November 21st, 2014
Keeping your home warm has a big energy impact—taking up the biggest portion of your annual utility bill. As a part of ENERGY STAR’s annual heating season outreach, here are 5 Hottest Tips to Keep You Warm...
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Organic Dry Cleaning?

November 15th, 2014
I dread my semi-annual trip to the dry cleaners. Unfortunately, it is inevitable, unless of course I unfashionably decide to live the rest of my life draped in garbage bags in order to deter ever fleck of dirt and every ounce of tomato sauce.  Lately, while going on the dreaded task, I have noticed a […]
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