Putting a value on forests
February 23, 2015 07:00 AM - Kaz Janowski, SciDevNet
The day I first set foot in a tropical rainforest, in Malaysia in the early 1980s, I experienced something profound. From the echoes of gibbons calling from the canopy in the early morning mist to the iridescent flash of a bird in a beam of sunlight, rainforests are a sensory delight as well as a marvel to anyone’s scientific curiosity.
As I subsequently watched these forests dwindle and, in some cases, vanish, I have felt an equally profound sense of loss and a nagging guilt that I was somehow part of the story, because I had done little to remedy the situation.
We need to focus on health and well-being, not economic growth
February 22, 2015 08:02 AM - Jules Pretty, Ecologist
The financial cost of the diseases of modern civilization is almost double the budget of the National Health Service, writes Jules Pretty, while the economy has grown past the point of greatest satisfaction. Our over-riding priority should be to move to greener, healthier, more sustainable and satisfying ways of life.
A substantial financial dividend could be released by a greener and healthier economy. Instead of encouraging material growth and consumption, we should consume in a way that is environmentally sustainable.
The best-and worst-places to drive your electric car
February 20, 2015 03:47 PM - Nsikan Akpan, Science/AAAS
For those tired of winter, you’re not alone. Electric cars hate the cold, too. Researchers have conducted the first investigation into how electric vehicles fare in different U.S. climates. The verdict: Electric car buyers in the chilly Midwest and sizzling Southwest get less bang for their buck, where poor energy efficiency and coal power plants unite to turn electric vehicles into bigger polluters. Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, began their research by pulling public data from FleetCarma, a company that tracks vehicle performance among car fleets operated by governments and businesses.
ENERGY STAR now certifies Clothes Dryers
February 20, 2015 09:53 AM - Editor, ENN
For the first time, ENERGY STAR is certifying clothes dryers. Starting this past President’s Day weekend, 45 models of ENERGY STAR certified dryers, from five different manufacturers, were available in stores nationwide. ENERGY STAR certified dryers include gas, electric and compact models, and incorporate innovative energy saving technologies, such as moisture sensors that detect when clothes are dry and automatically shut the dryer off. Dryers use more energy than any other appliance in the home, and since 80 percent of American homes own dryers, the savings potential is huge. With over 5 million dryers being soil last year, the new certified clothes dryers represent a great new opportunity for energy savings in the U.S.
February 19, 2015 09:09 AM - Catherine Gill, Care2
Recently one of the country’s most popular paper goods suppliers, Scott Products, did away with the cardboard inner tube inside of its toilet paper rolls and is now going tubeless. Here’s why that’s good news for the environment. Each year over 17 billion toilet paper tubes are thrown away, and most end up in landfills. To put that in perspective, this amount of waste is enough to fill the Empire State Building…twice! And did you know that in New York City alone, 14,000 toilet paper inner tubes are thrown away every 15 minutes?
How much sleep do you really need?
February 12, 2015 05:26 AM - LOYOLA UNIVERSITY HEALTH SYSTEM via EurekAlert.
Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine researcher Lydia DonCarlos, PhD, is a member of an expert panel that's making new recommendations on how much sleep people need.
The panel, convened by the National Sleep Foundation, is making its recommendations based on age, ranging from newborns (who need 14 to 17 hours of sleep per day) to adults aged 65 and up (7 to 8 hours per day).
Will eating Chili peppers make you thin?
February 9, 2015 08:25 AM - University of Wyoming via BIOPHYSICAL SOCIETY at EurekAlert.
Don't go chomping on a handful of chili peppers just yet, but there may be help for hopeful dieters in those fiery little Native American fruits.
A large percentage of the world's population -- fully one third, by the World Health Organization's estimates -- is currently overweight or obese. This staggering statistics has made finding ways to address obesity a top priority for many scientists around the globe, and now a group of researchers at the University of Wyoming has found promise in the potential of capsaicin -- the chief ingredient in chili peppers -- as a diet-based supplement.
Children benefit from getting outdoors
February 7, 2015 08:42 AM - Click Green staff
The health benefits of active outdoor pursuits over sedentary indoor pastimes are well known and increasingly highlighted in the battle against childhood obesity and its long-term consequences.
People of all ages extol the virtues of getting some fresh air, particularly for a generation of children in which, according to a Mothercare survey last year, more than a quarter play outside for less than half an hour a week.
Study Finds Leaks in Boston's Natural Gas Pipelines
February 2, 2015 04:37 PM - S.E. Smith, Care2
A team of researchers led by Kathryn McKain of Harvard University has recently discovered that approximately three percent of the natural gas delivered to Boston leaks directly into the atmosphere, taking with it a heavy load of methane, a known greenhouse gas. Their study doesn’t just have significant environmental implications: It’s estimated that the city is losing around $90 million to leaks every year. Correcting leaks is a relatively straightforward task, though it would require some investment in natural gas infrastructure and consumer education. However, these costs would be mitigated by the substantial savings offered if Boston was able to cut down on its methane problem.
Millions may be exposed to arsenic in private well water
February 2, 2015 09:29 AM - The Earth Institute - Columbia University
Naturally occurring arsenic in private wells threatens people in many U.S. states and parts of Canada, according to a package of a dozen scientific papers to be published next week. The studies, focused mainly on New England but applicable elsewhere, say private wells present continuing risks due to almost nonexistent regulation in most states, homeowner inaction and inadequate mitigation measures. The reports also shed new light on the geologic mechanisms behind the contamination. The studies come amid new evidence that even low doses of arsenic may reduce IQ in children, in addition to well documented risks of heart disease, cancer and reduced lung function. The reports comprise a special section in the journal Science of the Total Environment.