Drought and Desertification - Global Response
May 19, 2013 09:11 AM - ANDREW BURGER, Global Warming is Real
Land degradation — more specifically drought and desertification — have become increasingly pressing problems for a growing number of countries around the world, threatening efforts to alleviate poverty, improve basic health and sanitation and address socioeconomic inequality, as well as spur agricultural and sustainable economic development. The only multilateral, international agreement linking development and environment to sustainable land management (SLM), high-level representatives from 195 nations will be gathering in Windhoek, Namibia from September 16-27 for the 11th bi-annual Conference of Parties (COP) to review implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Meeting for the first time in southern Africa, UNCCD delegates will review implementation of the convention to date and plan for the ensuing two years of programs and actions.
Keeping Produce Fresh Longer
May 15, 2013 01:49 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
Billions of dollars of fruits, vegetables, and flowers are thrown away each year as produce ripens too quickly and starts to rot in different markets before public buyers even buy them. Even though you might expect these products to start rotting to their death after they are first harvested, researchers explain that fruits, vegetables and flowers are still alive after they are picked. In fact, once these products are picked, they produce and release into the air ethylene gas, a crucial component for the ripening and blooming process.
Industrialized fishing has forced seabirds to change what they eat
May 15, 2013 08:47 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
The bleached bones of seabirds are telling us a new story about the far-reaching impacts of industrial fisheries on today's oceans. Looking at the isotopes of 250 bones from Hawaiian petrels (Pterodroma sandwichensis), scientists have been able to reconstruct the birds' diets over the last 3,000 years. They found an unmistakable shift from big prey to small prey around 100 years ago, just when large, modern fisheries started scooping up fish at never before seen rates. The dietary shift shows that modern fisheries upended predator and prey relationships even in the ocean ocean and have possibly played a role in the decline of some seabirds.
Eating More Protein is Associated with Weight Loss
May 14, 2013 08:44 AM - Editor, Justmeans
At some point in our lives, we have been on some kind of diet or other. There is the 'cabbage soup diet'; '5:2 diet'; and then high protein diets such as Atkins, Zone and South Beach, etc. Some people turn to higher-protein diets to lose weight, because some studies suggest that higher-protein diets help people better control their appetites and calorie intake. Diets with 30 per cent protein are now considered "reasonable" and the term "high protein diet" is now reserved for diets with over 50 per cent protein.
Nature is Good for your Health!
May 14, 2013 06:31 AM - Richard J Dolesh, The Ecologist
A walk in the park can calm and restore you. This is something we take for granted in parks and recreation, because we have known it to be true ever since we started spending time in nature. But new research reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine now provides scientific proof that walking in nature and spending time under leafy shade trees causes electrochemical changes in the brain that can lead people to enter a highly beneficial state of "effortless attention." The UK researchers state with some justifiable academic stuffiness that "..happiness, or the presence of positive emotional mindsets, broadens an individual's thought-action repertoire with positive benefits to physical and intellectual activities, and to social and psychological resources."
Web tool tracks insecticide-resistant malaria mosquitoes
May 13, 2013 05:06 PM - Calvin Otieno, SciDevNet
An online mapping system to track insecticide resistance in malaria-causing mosquitoes around the world has been launched. The free interactive website identifies places in more than 50 malaria-endemic countries where mosquitoes have become resistant to the insecticides used in bed nets and indoor sprays. IR Mapper was launched last month (25 April) by Vestergaard Frandsen, a Swiss firm that makes disease-control products, and the KEMRI/CDC research and public health collaboration based in Kenya.
Let's Celebrate the 5th Annual National Public Gardens Day!
May 10, 2013 08:28 AM - Editor, ENN
The annual tradition of celebrating public gardens on the Friday preceding Mother's Day weekend will continue this year on May 10, 2013 as communities throughout the United States celebrate National Public Gardens Day. Presented in partnership between the American Public Gardens Association (APGA) and irrigation product and service provider, Rain Bird, the annual day of awareness invites communities nationwide to explore the diverse beauty of their local green spaces and to take advantage of the conservation, education and environmental preservation resources public gardens provide.
Chili Pepper is Good for You
May 9, 2013 09:34 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
The chili pepper is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. Chili peppers originated in the Americas. Chili pepper has spread across the world and is used in both food and medicine. New research has revealed that Solanaceae—a flowering plant family with some species producing foods that are edible sources of nicotine—may provide a protective effect against Parkinson's disease. The study appears in the Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society. It suggests that eating foods that contain even a small amount of nicotine, such as peppers and tomatoes, may reduce risk of developing Parkinson's.
Black Widow Myth Reversed
May 9, 2013 09:15 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
We've all heard of the dreaded Black Widow — no not the Marvel comic super hero, but the infamous spider with a deadly bite that is mainly known for it's sexual cannibalism. Not only do black widow spiders have a venomous bite (with females being up to three times more venomous than males), but the female really lives up to her "black widow" namesake as she will often eat her male partner after mating. However, a new study has shown that the tendency to consume a potential mate is also true of some types of male spider. The study by Lenka Sentenska and Stano Pekar from Masaryk University in the Czech Republic finds that male spiders of the Micaria sociabilis species are more likely to eat the females than be eaten.
Illegal Fishing Linked to Seafood Fraud in New Report
May 8, 2013 06:07 AM - Editor, Oceana
Today, as the nation's top leaders in fishery management come together at the 2013 Managing Our Nation's Fisheries Conference in Washington, D.C. to discuss science and sustainability, Oceana released a new report finding that illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing leads to seafood fraud and threatens fishing economies, seafood consumers and vulnerable marine species on a global scale. According to recent estimates, IUU fishing accounts for 20 percent of the global catch and contributes to economic losses of $10-23 billion, while also threatening 260 million jobs that depend on marine fisheries around the world. "Similar to the illegal ivory trade, pirate fishing is decimating the ocean's most vulnerable and valuable wildlife - we are losing the elephants of the sea to poachers," said Oceana campaign director and senior scientist Margot Stiles. "By fishing illegally, including in national parks, and targeting endangered species with destructive gear, poachers provoke economic losses in the billions of dollars every year, undermining decades of conservation by more responsible fishermen."