COLLEGIATE CORNER: Humanity of factory farming
March 25, 2014 02:01 PM - Jake Bucks, Class of 2015, Wakefield High School
Most omnivores like bacon, but I say omnivores because not every human is an omnivore. Have you ever thought to yourself what was the process this bacon went through? Well if you have, it was not a fun process for that pig. Farming has helped humans advance in size, without the farming innovations created through the industrial revolution, humans would have never had the resources to make such a huge population.
EPA and Army Corps bring clarity to Clean Water Act Expansion proposal
March 25, 2014 01:38 PM - ENN Staff
In a joint document the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers released a proposed rule to clarify protections provided by the Clean Water Act. Following Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006, there has been much confusion about definitions within the Act and applicability. The proposed clarifications will enhance understanding for industry, agriculture, local government officials and the public as it relates to protection of streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation's water resources.
Future cost of water is no small change
March 25, 2014 12:22 PM - Dr. Lynn A. Wilson, Kaplan University
Water scarcity was, until recently, considered by most of the developed world to be like James Hilton's Lost Horizon: "far away, at the very limit of distance." However, the convergence of aquifer depletion from increasing agricultural, industrial and municipal water use with more frequent and intense extreme weather events creates an urgency to develop new, reliable sources of fresh water to "drought-proof" communities through a combination of desalinization technologies, water recovery and reuse programs and PPP (public private partnerships). The race is on to provide fresh water to satisfy ever-increasing human demands. In order to make responsible decisions, changing conditions require rethinking water policy and distribution.
World’s river systems: Stressed OUT
March 24, 2014 02:16 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
According to the World Resources Institute (WRI) many, if not most of the world’s rivers are stressed. Determining a systems water stress is based upon measuring the ratio of total water withdrawals to the available renewable supplies within the catchment area. Rivers are an indispensible resource for our communities and ecosystems and we are hugely dependent upon them for agriculture, industry and our natural systems. A stressed river system can severely threaten regional water security and economic growth, and potentially contribute to political instability—especially in the absence of an adequate water-management plan.
Chernobyl: thirty years hence...
March 24, 2014 09:26 AM - Rachel Nuwer/Smithsonian, Ecologist
It's not just people, animals and trees that suffer from radiation at Chernobyl, writes Rachel Nuwer, but also decomposer fungi and microbes. And with the buildup of dead wood comes the risk of catastrophic fire - which could spread radiation far and wide. Nearly 30 years have passed since the Chernobyl plant exploded and caused an unprecedented nuclear disaster. The effects of that catastrophe, however, are still felt today.
March 20, 2014 10:59 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
According to WaterSense, an Environmental Protection Agency Partnership Program, household leaks waste more than a trillion gallons of water annually. Our urgency to conserve often depends upon what part of the country we live. But officials predict that at least 36 states that will experience some sort of water shortage.
Scientists develop system to filter water using plant sticks
March 18, 2014 01:21 PM - Yao-Hua Law, SciDevNet
Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States are working with their counterparts in developing countries to produce an "economical and efficient" means of filtering out bacteria from water using plant xylem that normally transports water and nutrients from the soil. The novel technology could provide a solution to the burden of water-borne diseases in East Asia and the Pacific where about 180 million people lack access to safe water supply, according to the UNICEF (UN Children's Fund).
COLLEGIATE CORNER: Offshore oil drilling: is it really necessary?
March 18, 2014 10:32 AM - Christian Ramirez, Class of 2015, Wakefield High School, Arlington, VA
As we all know, oil is a very important energy resource the world needs for its everyday life. It is known that not only do most of the countries on the planet use it, but also it is a scarce resource, which means that in the near future, there will no longer be enough available oil that could be drilled and processed for future endeavors. The demand for oil has increased significantly throughout the past few years and other ways of obtaining this resource must be used more often. A form of oil drilling has emerged which is dangerous and is known as offshore drilling. Sounds like a good plan at first, going to the ocean where more oil can be found and at a faster rate, but is it really worth it? There should be an alternate to offshore drilling because of the many horrific and unfair problems that it brings to Americans, animals, and the overall environment.
An insulation trifecta
March 18, 2014 07:31 AM - Chris Miller , Sierra Club Green Home
A savvy do-it-yourselfer can come up with a dozen unconventional uses for insulation (spray foam as packing material, anyone?), which makes it tricky to find basic information online when you're just dipping your toes in to the DIY pool. Here is an introduction to the three basic types of insulation and their most common uses: blown-in, spray foam and batt/blanket insulation.
Building muscle DOES help you live longer!
March 15, 2014 08:50 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
It has long been said by fitness trainers that building and maintaining muscle mass is important to vitality, stamina, and weight control as we age. But does it also contribute to longevity? Apparently it does! New UCLA research suggests that the more muscle mass older Americans have, the less likely they are to die prematurely. The findings add to the growing evidence that overall body composition — and not the widely used body mass index, or BMI — is a better predictor of all-cause mortality. The study, published in the American Journal of Medicine, is the culmination of previous UCLA research led by Dr. Preethi Srikanthan, an assistant clinical professor in the endocrinology division at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, that found that building muscle mass is important in decreasing metabolic risk.