Scotland shuts down its last coal-fired electric power plant
April 2, 2016 08:16 AM - s.e. smith, Care2
After nearly 50 years of service, Scotland’s last coal-fired power plant — Longannet Power Station — has finally gone offline, putting an end to over 100 years of burning coal for electricity.
It’s an important moment for Scottish Power, which looks ahead to clean power initiatives with the goal of going all-renewable by 2020,
But it’s also a very symbolic action for the world. Hopefully other nations will follow suit, creating a domino effect as country by country eliminates its coal plants — like the one above — in favor of renewable alternatives.
Lower indoor temperatures in winter correlate with thinner waistlines
April 1, 2016 05:16 PM - THE ENDOCRINE SOCIETY via EurekAlert.
Elderly adults are bigger around the middle when they turn up the heat inside their homes during the cold season and have smaller waistlines when their homes stay cool, new research finds. Investigators from Japan will present their study results Friday at the Endocrine Society's 98th annual meeting in Boston.
"Although cold exposure may be a trigger of cardiovascular disease, our data suggest that safe and appropriate cold exposure may be an effective preventive measure against obesity," said the study's lead investigator, Keigo Saeki, MD, PhD, of Nara Medical University School of Medicine Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Nara, Japan.
Cold exposure activates thermogenesis, to generate body heat, in brown fat. This type of fat is the good calorie-burning fat that prior research found most humans have. However, Saeki said the association between the amount of cold exposure and obesity in real life remains unclear.
Going vegetarian could save emissions and prevent 8 million deaths a year
March 31, 2016 06:51 PM - Marco Springmann, The Ecologist
Oxford researchers have quantified the benefits of the world becoming vegetarian, writes Marco Springmann. Their study shows that simple changes - like moving to diets low in meat and high in fruit and vegetables - could lead to significant reduction in mortality and health care costs, while cutting food sector greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds.
Should we be feeding food waste to livestock?
March 30, 2016 06:39 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman , Triple Pundit
Food waste is a huge global problem. About a third of the food produced globally for human consumption, approximately 1.3 billion tons each year, is wasted or lost, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Food losses in industrialized countries add up to roughly $680 billion, with $310 billion in losses in developing countries. Produce (fruits and vegetables plus roots and tubers) have the highest rates of waste.
Taiwan has a simple solution to reduce food waste: Feed it to livestock. The Guardian reports that Taiwan is “one of a handful of countries that have institutionalized the practice” of feeding food scraps to livestock. About two-third’s of the country’s food waste is fed to its 5.5 million pigs. Pigs are Taiwan’s biggest source of meat.
“We realized there was a lot of kitchen waste and that if we put it in incinerators it would hamper incineration because it’s wet,” Chiang Tsu-nong, deputy inspector general with the government’s Bureau of Environmental Inspection, told the Guardian. “And Taiwan’s land is limited, so if you build a landfill or an incinerator people will protest.”
The past, present and future of African dust
March 28, 2016 07:19 AM - National Center for Scientific Research
So much dust is scattered across the planet by the winds of the Sahara that it alters the climate. However, the emission and transport of this dust, which can reach the poles, fluctuate considerably. Although many hypotheses have been put forward to explain this phenomenon, no unambiguous relationship between this dust and the climate had been established until now. According to research carried out by a French-US team of researchers from LATMOS(CNRS/UVSQ/UPMC), CNRM(CNRS/Météo-France) and SIO3, meteorological events such as El Niño and rainfall in the Sahel have an impact on dust emission, by accelerating a Saharan wind downstream of the main mountain massifs of Northwest Africa. The scientists have also developed a new predictive model showing that emissions of Saharan dust will decline over the next hundred years. Their work is published in the 24 March 2016 issue of the journal Nature.
New research on the Rio Grande and impacts of long drought
March 23, 2016 11:00 AM - USGS Newsroom
New research can help water managers along the Rio Grande make wise decisions about how to best use the flow of a river vital for drinking water, agriculture and aquatic habitat. These studies also show how conditions from the prolonged drought in the West have affected the Rio Grande watershed.
The Rio Grande forms the world’s longest river border between two countries as it flows between Texas and Mexico, where it is known as the Rio Bravo. The river runs through three states in the U.S., beginning in southern Colorado and flowing through New Mexico and Texas before it forms the border with Mexico.
Parts of the Rio Grande are designated as wild and scenic, but most of the river is controlled and passes through several dam and reservoir systems during its 1,896 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. The river is managed through a complex system of compacts, treaties, and agreements that determine when and how much water is released along the river’s length.
Why women get more knee injuries than men
March 19, 2016 08:13 AM - UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS MEDICAL BRANCH AT GALVESTON via EurekAlert
Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have found that women who take the birth control pill, which lessen and stabilize estrogen levels, were less likely to suffer serious knee injuries. The findings are currently available in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.
Female athletes are 1.5 to 2 times more likely than their male counterparts to injure their anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. The ACL is a ligament that connects the top and bottom portions of the knee. Damage to this ligament is a serious athletic injury that can be career altering. Return-to-play rates after ACL injury are as low as 49 percent among soccer players. Also, this injury may lead to lifelong issues with knee instability, altered walking gait and early onset arthritis.
Recycled water may be a solution to the California drought
March 15, 2016 08:37 AM - 3BL Media, Care2
The severity and impact of the drought remains top-of-mind among Californians. They are eager for long-term solutions that can help the state to achieve a water-secure future. California residents are overwhelmingly supportive of using treated wastewater, or recycled water, in their everyday lives, according to a statewide survey released today by Xylem Inc. The survey found that 76 percent of respondents believe recycled water should be used as a long-term solution for managing water resources, regardless of whether or not a water shortage continues.
Nearly half, or 49 percent of respondents, are very supportive of using recycled water as an additional local water supply and another 38 percent are somewhat supportive. The survey defined recycled water as former wastewater that has been treated and purified so that it can be reused for drinking purposes. Of survey respondents, 42 percent are very willing to use recycled water in their everyday lives and an additional 41 percent are somewhat willing. These findings confirm that there is a significant number of Californians who support the use of recycled water.
“We conducted this survey in an effort to better understand public perception about recycled water, and are very encouraged by the findings,” said Joseph Vesey, Xylem Senior Vice President who leads the Company’s North American commercial business. “With overwhelming support from the public, California is well-positioned to lead the U.S. in accelerating the availability and acceptance of recycled water. The state has the opportunity to champion a flexible framework that recognizes the unique needs of local communities as they work to establish water resource strategies that include sustainable solutions, such as recycled water.”
Desert cactus purifies contaminated water for aquaculture, drinking and more
March 14, 2016 07:27 AM - American Chemical Society via EurekAlert!
Farm-grown fish are an important source of food with significant and worldwide societal and economic benefits, but the fish that come from these recirculating systems can have unpleasant tastes and odors. To clean contaminated water for farmed fish, drinking and other uses, scientists are now turning to an unlikely source -- the mucilage or inner "guts" of cacti.
Time to re-think the diesel
March 11, 2016 08:00 AM - Richard Howard / Policy Exchange, The Ecologist
Low Emissions Zones have their place in cleaning up the UK's worst air pollution hotspots, writes Richard Howard. But we also need to adopt fiscal measures to encourage a shift away from diesel vehicles, at once delivering cleaner air, increased tax revenues, and lower carbon emissions.
If we are to clean up air pollution in London and the rest of the UK, then Government needs to recognise that diesel is the primary cause of the problem, and to promote a shift away from diesel to alternatives.
There is an air pollution crisis taking place in London and many of the UK's other major cities.