Are Environmentalists basing positions on science, or not?
October 23, 2012 06:17 AM - Fred Pearce, Yale Environment360
On issues ranging from genetically modified crops to nuclear power, environmentalists are increasingly refusing to listen to scientific arguments that challenge standard green positions. This approach risks weakening the environmental movement and empowering climate contrarians. From Rachel Carson's Silent Spring to James Hansen's modern-day tales of climate apocalypse, environmentalists have long looked to good science and good scientists and embraced their findings. Often we have had to run hard to keep up with the crescendo of warnings coming out of academia about the perils facing the world. A generation ago, biologist Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb and systems analysts Dennis and Donella Meadows' The Limits to Growth shocked us with their stark visions of where the world was headed. No wide-eyed greenie had predicted the opening of an ozone hole before the pipe-smoking boffins of the British Antarctic Survey spotted it when looking skyward back in 1985. On issues ranging from ocean acidification and tipping points in the Arctic to the dangers of nanotechnology, the scientists have always gotten there first — and the environmentalists have followed.
Solar Power Adoption is Contagious
October 22, 2012 03:26 PM - Dani Thé, ENN
Apparently doing something good can be contagious. Or at least this seems to be the case with solar power adoption. According to a study by Yale and New York University published though Marketing Science, individuals are most likely to install solar panels on their home if one of their neighbors has also done so. The study, "Peer Effects in Diffusion of Photovoltaic Panels", took a close look at solar installation clusters between January 2001 and December 2011 throughout the state of California. They found that a resident was most likely to install solar panels if solar panels had already been installed within that resident’s same zip code.
Mississippi river diversions play an important role in wetlands
October 22, 2012 08:32 AM - University of Pennsylvania through EurekAlert
The extensive system of levees along the Mississippi River has done much to prevent devastating floods in riverside communities. But the levees have also contributed to the loss of Louisiana's wetlands. By holding in floodwaters, they prevent sediment from flowing into the watershed and rebuilding marshes, which are compacting under their own weight and losing ground to sea-level rise. Reporting in Nature Geoscience, a team of University of Pennsylvania geologists and others used the Mississippi River flood of the spring of 2011 to observe how floodwaters deposited sediment in the Mississippi Delta. Their findings offer insight into how new diversions in the Mississippi River's levees may help restore Louisiana's wetlands. While scientists and engineers have previously proposed ways of altering the levee system to restore some of the natural wetland-building ability of the Mississippi, this is among the only large-scale experiments to demonstrate how these modifications might function.
Top 5 Green Jobs on the Rise in the United States
October 22, 2012 08:18 AM - Frank Conley, Triple Pundit
Nowadays, you see the newest and latest products marketed by components that relate to the benefit of the environment. The green economy is rising by the second. Businesses and people are placing more of a value on "going green." The attention on the global environment is growing. For this purpose, more jobs have been created or altered to go green.
How can Conservation Efforts help species adapt to climate change?
October 19, 2012 06:33 AM - Science Daily
As the climate changes, conservationists are divided over the most effective way to preserve animal and plant diversity because they cannot simply preserve the status quo. Ensuring species can shift to track the climate to which they are suited is a complex problem, especially when there are competing demands on land use. A simple prediction is that more habitat would help species to shift, but it is not obvious what the best spatial locations for habitat would be. A new study led by scientists at the University of York says that well placed habitat "stepping stones" would lead to faster range expansion than the equivalent amount and quality of habitat tacked onto existing sites. The result applies to situations where a species will have to cross gaps of several times the distance one individual can normally traverse, i.e. to species whose habitat is fairly rare.
Will we need to pull carbon out of the atmosphere to save ourselves?
October 18, 2012 09:24 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
This year saw the Arctic sea ice extent fall to a new and shocking low, while the U.S. experienced it warmest month ever on record (July), beating even Dust Bowl temperatures. Meanwhile, a flood of new research has convincingly connected a rise in extreme weather events, especially droughts and heatwaves, to global climate change, and a recent report by the DARA Group and Climate Vulnerability Forum finds that climate change contributes to around 400,000 deaths a year and costs the world 1.6 percent of its GDP, or $1.2 trillion. All this and global temperatures have only risen about 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.44 degrees Fahrenheit) since the early Twentieth Century. Scientists predict that temperatures could rise between 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) to a staggering 6.4 degrees Celsius (11.5 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century.
10 Ways Abu Dhabi Leads The Arab Gulf's Green Revolution
October 18, 2012 09:04 AM - Laurie Balbo, Green Prophet
Abu Dhabi's stellar efforts to raise green performance across industry sectors position that Gulf state as regional leader in both conceiving sustainable solutions, and more critically, setting them in action. There are some more famous projects like the multi-million dollar zero-energy city Masdar. But this is just the tip of the bucket.
Limiting Overconsumption with "Economic Degrowth"
October 17, 2012 12:10 PM - Cameron Scherer, Worldwatch Institute
If everyone lived like the average American, according to the Global Footprint Network, the Earth could sustain only 1.7 billion people—a quarter of today's population—without undermining the planet's physical and biological systems. Overconsumption in industrialized societies and among developing world elites causes lasting environmental and human impacts. In his chapter, "The Path to Degrowth in Overdeveloped Countries," Worldwatch Senior Fellow and State of the World 2012 Project Co-director Erik Assadourian describes the benefits and opportunities of proactive "economic degrowth"—defined as the intentional contraction of overdeveloped economies and more broadly, the redirection of economies away from the perpetual pursuit of growth.
Sustainability Priorities For Global Companies
October 17, 2012 05:46 AM - Editor, Justmeans
Results from the fourth annual "BSR/GlobeScan State of Sustainable Business Poll 2012," released today, outline the progress global business has made on 14 key sustainability challenges over the past 20 years, the areas where business is likely to make the most progress over the next 20 years, and key priorities for the year ahead—including human rights and climate. BSR and GlobeScan surveyed more than 500 business leaders drawn from BSR's global network of nearly 300 member companies. To examine the progress made in sustainability over the 20 years since BSR was founded, the survey asked executives to evaluate the past and likely future progress on 14 key sustainability challenges. Considering the next 20 years, respondents rated sustainability reporting, water, and responsible supply chains as the areas in which business will likely make the most progress. In contrast, respondents were least optimistic about future progress being made in public policy, governance, and employee treatment.
The City of Long Beach and Bike Nation unite to make Transportation, Travel More Environmentally Friendly
October 16, 2012 10:47 AM - Guest contributor, Andrea Oki
When many people think of Southern California they think of beautiful people, beautiful weather and ugly pollution-making traffic jams. National bike share provider Bike Nation and the City of Long Beach are looking to change that perception by providing visitors and residents alike with a healthy, cost-efficient transportation alternative and revolutionary ecologically sound improvements to its more traveler-friendly Airport. Representatives from the City of Long Beach and Bike Nation held a media reception in New York yesterday to lay out the plans for the West Coast's first major bike share program, a $14 million privately-funded commitment by Southern California-based Bike Nation, and detail the city’s expected completion of its $145 million Airport upgrades. Plans call for the installation of the first of 250 stations and 2,500 technologically advanced 'Made in the USA' bikes in downtown Long Beach by February of 2013. With 40% of car trips within two miles from home and 90% of emissions in a seven-mile trip generated in the first mile while the engine warms up, Bike Nation is providing an more ecological-friendly alternative mode of transportation to many of Long Beach's well-known attractions including its beaches, the Aquarium of the Pacific and the historic Queen Mary. Usage fees range from a single 24-hour membership ($6), to 3-day ($12), weekly ($25), monthly ($35), yearly ($75) and yearly student/senior rentals ($50).