The Race is On: Which State Will Be the First to Ban Microplastics in Cosmetics?
February 19, 2014 01:47 PM - Margaret Badore via Treehugger.com, Care2
Here’s a race to cheer for: New York and California are neck-in-neck to become the first state to ban microbeads in body wash and other cosmetics. The tiny plastic bits that serve as exfoliants in personal care products are so small that they slip through municipal wastewater treatment, and end up in lakes, rivers and oceans. Once introduced to the aquatic environment, they are ingested by fish and other wildlife.
Trouble for Tea
February 19, 2014 08:58 AM - Ann-Marie Brouder, The Ecologist
Britain's favorite tipple faces big challenges over coming decades, writes Ann-Marie Brouder. A new report sets out the challenges and proposes sustainable solutions to keep the 'cup that cheers' on the nation's tables. Tea is big business: three billion cups of it are consumed every day, 4.8 million tonnes are produced annually, and in Britain two in three people drink it daily. And tea is much more than just a business - many people and cultures have a deep emotional attachment to the 'cup that cheers', and would be horrified at the idea that there was any threat to their beloved beverage.
Air travel gone batty!
February 18, 2014 01:37 PM - Jason Socrates Bardi, American Institute of Physics
By exploring how creatures in nature are able to fly by flapping their wings, Virginia Tech researchers hope to apply that knowledge toward designing small flying vehicles known as "micro air vehicles" with flapping wings. More than 1,000 species of bats have hand membrane wings, meaning that their fingers are essentially "webbed" and connected by a flexible membrane. But understanding how bats use their wings to manipulate the air around them is extremely challenging -- primarily because both experimental measurements on live creatures and the related computer analysis are quite complex.
Testing for environmental contaminants in wastewater biosolids
February 14, 2014 10:08 AM - Ken Kingery, Duke University
Every year waste treatment facilities in the United States process more than eight million tons of semi-solid sewage called biosolids -- about half of which is recycled into fertilizer and spread on crop land. The practice helps solve storage issues and produces revenue to support the treatment plants, but what else is being spread in that sludge?
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.
Marine Protected Areas deemed largely ineffective
February 12, 2014 09:25 AM - Loren Bell, MONGABAY.COM
Protecting large, isolated areas of no-take zones for over 10 years with strong enforcement is the key to effective Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), according to a letter published this week in Nature. However, 59% of all MPAs meet less than three of the five criteria, making them protected in name only.
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.