New analysis explores trends in global plastic consumption and recycling
January 28, 2015 03:35 PM - Gaelle Gourmelon, Worldwatch Institute
For more than 50 years, global production of plastic has continued to rise. Some 299 million tons of plastics were produced in 2013, representing a 4 percent increase over 2012. Recovery and recycling, however, remain insufficient, and millions of tons of plastics end up in landfills and oceans each year, writes Gaelle Gourmelon, Communications and Marketing Manager at the Worldwatch Institute, in the Institute’s latest Vital Signs Online article.
Pollution Blamed as Leading Cause of Death in Developing World
January 28, 2015 08:51 AM - Alexis Petru, Triple Pundit
In 2012, pollution – in the form of contaminated soil, water, and both indoor and outdoor air – was responsible for 8.4 million deaths in developing countries, finds Pollution: The Silent Killer of Millions in Poor Countries. That’s almost three times more deaths than those caused by malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis combined: Malaria claimed 600,000 lives in 2012, HIV/AIDS caused 1.5 million deaths and tuberculosis killed 900,000 individuals.
ENN Announces Release of New Mobile App!
January 26, 2015 08:39 AM - ENN Editor
This week ENN launches a new mobile app making it easier for you to connect with us and stay up to date with groundbreaking environmental news. The Environmental News Network (ENN) is recognized as the most comprehensive and dependable online environmental news source. With almost twenty years of experience aggregating and producing original content for environmental experts and novices alike, ENN's mission is to inform, educate and inspire environmental discussion and action among its readers and contributors.
Because ENN recognizes that there is no lack of environmental news content but rather an overabundance of it, ENN gathers, filters and streamlines environmental news from affiliate networks and other news streams so as to consolidate and support better environmental decisions for an ever changing world. ENN’s core sources include major wire services, research institutions, and freelance and citizen journalists from around the world.
Click to the rest of the story for downlad links, or visit the App store on your iPhone.
How the environment shapes our immune system
January 15, 2015 04:32 PM - Emily Conover, Science/AAAS
Why did you get the flu this winter, but your co-workers didn’t? The answer, according to a new study of twins, may have less to do with your genes and more to do with your environment—including your past exposure to pathogens and vaccines. Our immune system is incredibly complex, with diverse armies of white blood cells and signal-sending proteins coursing through our veins, ready to mount an attack on would-be invaders. Everyone’s immune system is slightly different—a unique mixture of hundreds of these cells and proteins. But the main driver of this variation is unclear. Although scientists know that our immune system can adapt to our environment—that’s why vaccines work, for instance—it is also built by our genes.
Bolt EV concept car from GM could help mainstream electric cars
January 15, 2015 06:57 AM - Leon Kaye , Triple Pundit
Concept cars at automobile shows generally offer the following: great opps for selfies, dreams over driving a vehicle that will never exist and, of course, the occasional eye roll. But this week at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, one concept car dazzled because of its design and its potential to transform the automobile industry: General Motors’ (GM) Chevrolet Bolt EV, which could hit the market as soon as 2017.
The Bolt is a huge step closer toward the holy grail of electric vehicles (EVs): affordability and sustainability — the latter of which in this case is defined by range, the current bugaboo of most EVs. Sure, we love Tesla for its phenomenal design and range of 265 miles between charges. Unfortunately, the sticker price, which ranges between $70,000 and $90,000, is out of range of most of our budgets. GM’s Chevy Spark EV could be a car for the rest of us, with a price of about $20,000 after federal rebates. But with a range of about 82 miles, it fails to snag interest from most consumers due to that massive hurdle: “range anxiety.”
Salting Roads takes a Toll on the Environment
January 14, 2015 10:49 AM - Kevin Mathews, Care2
The United States has a salt problem, and it extends well beyond the excessive sodium we consume in our diets. In the winter months, municipalities rely on dumping salt on the roads to minimize the effects of ice. Altogether, the U.S. uses ten times the amount of salt on roadways than it does in the processed foods we consume. While the salt may help to keep drivers safe, it does come at a cost:
1. It Increases Our Own Salt Consumption
You can throw salt down on roads, but you can’t force it to stay there. In due time, salt makes its ways into nearby waterways where it lingers. As a result, a lot of the water we wind up drinking has higher levels of salt than it would otherwise. Vox cites a study that finds 84% of city-adjacent streams have higher levels of chloride thanks specifically to these road-salting techniques. Apparently, during the months following salted roads, 29% of these streams have more salt than the federal “safety limits” for drinking water allow.
Is meaningful action to address climate change possible given our economic systems?
January 12, 2015 06:19 AM - , Triple Pundit
It’s increasingly obvious that the global economic system, and particularly the current brand of U.S. capitalism, are not really compatible with the actions needed to combat climate change.
Naomi Klein makes this point clear in “This Changes Everything,” which is both a passionate and controversial polemic and a reasoned discussion of the issues and forces stalling, and indeed preventing, a comprehensive response to climate change.
The problem is not the political and ideological divisions or scientific “debate,” which are hard enough to deal with — it’s mainly about money, according to Klein. The book’s subtitle is compelling: Capitalism vs. The Climate. Simply put: “Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war.”
The pleasures of a tiny house
January 10, 2015 08:35 AM - Samuel Alexander, The Ecologist
There is a simple solution to the problems of rampant consumerism, debt and a lifetime of servitude, writes Samuel Alexander - radical down-sizing to a truly tiny house. For a start, it's only big enough for the things you really need. And it's so cheap to build, that it's paid for from a month or two's salary. Just one question - what will you do with your freedom?
With one's housing requirements so easily met, and having escaped the iron grip of indebtedness, one would then be faced with the exhilarating but terrifying question of what to do with a life of freedom.
January Marks National Radon Action Month
January 8, 2015 03:56 PM - US EPA Newsroom
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has designated January as national Radon Action Month, a perfect time for you to protect your family by testing your home for radon. Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas, so testing is the only way to know if radon is present in your home or school. Test kits are available in home improvement centers, hardware stores and online. They cost approximately $20. The kits are simple to use with easy testing and mailing instructions.
Study reveals new method to estimate the global impacts of dams
January 7, 2015 04:08 PM - McGill University
When dams are built they have an impact not only on the flow of water in the river, but also on the people who live downstream and on the surrounding ecosystems. By placing data from close to 6,500 existing large dams on a highly precise map of the world’s rivers, an international team led by McGill University researchers has created a new method to estimate the global impacts of dams on river flow and fragmentation.