February 14, 2014 09:23 AM - Amy Carniol, Triple Pundit
It's Valentine's Day, and in supermarkets, drug stores and specialty shops across the country, shelves are lined with chocolates of every shape, size and variety. As you browse through endless heart-shaped boxes, consider this: The chocolate industry is in jeopardy, and if things don't change, there could be a worldwide cocoa deficit by the year 2020.
More contaminant troubles for West Virginia
February 13, 2014 09:18 AM - Judy Molland, Care2
On February 11, just one month after a chemical spill tainted drinking water for 300,000 people in and around the state's capital of Charleston, West Virginia experienced another environmental disaster: 100,000 gallons of coal slurry pour into stream.
Golden Rice - a complex tangle of unanswered questions
February 12, 2014 03:20 PM - Clare Westwood, Ecologist
Advocates of Golden Rice - a GMO rice that produces Vitamin A - present the debate over its use a clear moral choice with only one possible conclusion. But as Clare Westwood writes, the reality is very different...
Climate migration in the face of climate change
February 11, 2014 09:41 AM - Julie Cohen, University of California, Santa Barbara
As climate change unfolds over the next century, plants and animals will need to adapt or shift locations to follow their ideal climate. A new study provides an innovative global map of where species are likely to succeed or fail in keeping up with a changing climate. The findings appear in the science journal Nature.
Climate Change and Human Health
February 11, 2014 08:19 AM - Geordan Shannon, The Ecologist
Sea—level rises, changes to the severity of monsoon seasons and rainfall, flooding, droughts and heatwaves are all having an increasing impact on human health, writes Geordon Shannon. The loss of healthy life years in low-income African countries is predicted to be 500 times that in Europe. It is beyond doubt that our emissions of greenhouse gases contribute to climate change. And climate change is making us sick. The World Health Organisation estimates that between 1970 and 2004, the environmental effects of climate change caused more than 140,000 deaths each year.
Calculating your water footprint
February 10, 2014 11:01 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Water scarcity affects 2.7 billion people worldwide for at least a month each year and in the same way that each of us has a carbon footprint, Professor Arjen Hoekstra of the University of Twente in the Netherlands posits that every person also has a "water footprint". Our water footprint is calculated by counting the amount of fresh water that we each use daily and the amount of water required to produce the goods and services that we consume. Due in large part to our monthly water bill, we recognize our daily fresh water use more than we do the amount of water that it takes to produce other foods and products that we consume. We more commonly think about water consumption in terms daily showers dishwasher and sprinkler usage or dripping spigots.
A Mexican "bee-rometer"
February 7, 2014 05:17 PM - Beth King, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Mexico is the fourth largest honey producer and fifth largest honey exporter in the world. A Smithsonian researcher and colleagues helped rural farmers in Mexico to quantify the genetically modified organism (GMO) soybean pollen in honey samples rejected for sale in Germany. Their results will appear Feb. 7 in the online journal, Scientific Reports.
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.
Achoo! Native Echinacea angustifolia plant is blown away
February 5, 2014 08:17 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Echinacea, a genus of flower in the daisy family is sold in many over-the-counter cold and flu remedies and sold in pharmacies and health and nutrition stores. Echinacea has nine wild species in eastern and central North America that grow in moist to dry prairies and in open wooded areas. The genus includes the purple coneflower, pale purple coneflower and narrow-leaved purple coneflower. All have large magenta petals that unfurl from early to late summer.
The Effects of Third-hand Smoke
January 31, 2014 02:42 PM - ENN Staff
Many of us are familiar with first-hand smoke and second-hand smoke, but what about third-hand smoke? Well, you better get familiar with it because according to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Riverside, the effects of third-hand smoke may be just as deadly as first-hand smoke. Let's break it down: First-hand smoke refers to the smoke inhaled by a smoker. Second-hand smoke refers to exhaled smoke and other substances emanating from a burning cigarette that can get inhaled by others. Third-hand smoke is the second-hand smoke that gets left on the surfaces of objects. Over time, these left over chemicals can age and becomes progressively more toxic.