Illegal logging threatens sustainability in Mozambique
February 28, 2014 10:20 AM - , MONGABAY.COM
Illegal logging has spiked over the past five years in Mozambique, finds a new report by researchers at the University of Eduardo Mondlane. The report, published on the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's web site, assesses timber production, consumption, and exports, finding that nearly two-thirds of logging is currently illegal. The report notes that harvesting is exceeding sustainable levels, threatening the long-term viability of the industry and putting local livelihoods at risk.
Electric cars and the grid
February 28, 2014 07:31 AM - Click Green Staff, ClickGreen
Car owners in the United States last year bought more than 96,000 plug-in electric cars, a year-on-year increase of 84 percent from 2012. However, this growing fleet will put a lot of new strain on the nation’s aging electrical distribution systems, like transformers and underground cables, especially at times of peak demand — in the evening when people come home from work.
Potential new source of renewable energy found in humidity
February 27, 2014 12:15 PM - Kristin Kusek, Harvard University
A new type of electrical generator uses bacterial spores to harness the untapped power of evaporating water, according to research conducted at the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Its developers foresee electrical generators driven by changes in humidity from sun-warmed ponds and harbors.
One state addresses potholes through a new pothole alert system
February 27, 2014 10:43 AM - ENN Staff
As much of the northern hemisphere looks forward to the second half of the winter season, municipalities and regional governments are faced with rudimentary task of repairing potholes. Rutgers University instructor Wansoo Im, no doubt frustrated with the infrastructure meltdown himself, launched an app and website to map the biggest ones in his own home state of New Jersey. Aptly called NJPothole, the website plots potholes on maps to alert motorists (and maybe even municipal departments of public works dispatchers) of impending undercarriage attack.
Forest recovery following natural disaster
February 27, 2014 08:06 AM - Sue Nichols, Michigan State University
Recovering from natural disasters usually means rebuilding infrastructure and reassembling human lives. Yet ecologically sensitive areas need to heal, too, and scientists are pioneering new methods to assess nature's recovery and guide human intervention. The epicenter of China's devastating Wenchuan earthquake in 2008 was in the Wolong Nature Reserve, a globally important valuable biodiversity hotspot and home to the beloved and endangered giant pandas. Not only did the quake devastate villages and roads, but also the earth split open and swallowed sections of the forests and bamboo groves that shelter and feed pandas and other endangered wildlife. Persistent landslides and erosion exacerbated the devastation.
Greener chemical cleanups
February 26, 2014 12:14 PM - Marianne English Spoon, University of Wisconsin
Cleaning up oil spills and metal contaminants in a low-impact, sustainable and inexpensive manner remains a challenge for companies and governments globally. But a group of researchers at UW—Madison is examining alternative materials that can be modified to absorb oil and chemicals. If further developed, the technology may offer a cheaper and "greener" method to absorb oil and heavy metals from water and other surfaces.
Free mobile green apps
February 25, 2014 10:25 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Incorporating sound environmental decisions in our daily lives has been made easier with the availability of several green apps for the mobile device. Below is a list of five useful environmental apps that are free and feature discussions and motivators for carbon footprint identification and reduction, climate change, global forest cover, product scoring based upon environmental impact, and environmental actions all aimed at making better choices for sustainable living.
COLLEGIATE CORNER: Fossil Fuels vs. Renewable Resources
February 24, 2014 01:07 PM - Flavio Avalos, Class of 2015, Wakefield High School, Arlington, VA
Fossil fuels have been the main source of the energy all over the world. They increase the amount of CO2 emissions, and the emission of CO2 is a great cause of global warming in the atmosphere, destroying the atmospheric layers. What can we do to lower the demand of fossil fuels and become more eco friendly with renewable energy resources? The percent of US transportation sector consumption is 95.4% fossil fuels (Article 3), and this shows the reliance of the US on fossil fuels. As the Institute for Energy states, "Fossil Fuels make modern life possible" and that the only reason that our modern society works and the privileges we get are all due to the fact of fossil fuels (Article 3). Need I remind you: fossil fuels are limited and could go out?
One-in-five products not complying with energy saving claims
February 18, 2014 08:08 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
One in five energy-using products across Europe do not match their energy efficiency claims, according to the Energy Saving Trust. This follows findings from European Commission-funded research which revealed that up to 20 per cent are non-compliant with energy efficiency standards, such as energy labeling. According to estimates, this is leading to around ten per cent of the potential energy savings stated being lost by millions of products across Europe, including ovens, fridges, washing machines, dishwashers, televisions and computers.
The first big bite!
February 7, 2014 11:43 AM - Gareth Trickey, University of Toronto
The first top predators to walk on land were not afraid to bite off more than they could chew, a University of Toronto, Mississauga study has found. Graduate student and lead author Kirstin Brink and U of T Biology Professor Robert Reisz suggest that Dimetrodon, a carnivore that walked on land between 298 million and 272 million years ago, was the first terrestrial vertebrate to develop serrated ziphodont teeth. According to the study published in Nature Communications, ziphodont teeth, with their serrated edges, produced a more-efficient bite and would have allowed Dimetrodon to eat prey much larger than itself. While most meat-eating dinosaurs possessed ziphodont teeth, fossil evidence suggests serrated teeth first evolved in Dimetrodon some 40 million years earlier than theropod dinosaurs.