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Pollution

What's worse for polar bears- Global Warming or Pollution?
April 24, 2015 02:44 PM - Tim Radford, The Ecologist

As if melting ice in Polar bears' Arctic habitat was not enough, Norwegian scientists have found that organic pollutants such as pesticide residues are disrupting their thyroid and endocrine systems, adding a further threat to the species' survival.

Cleaner buses could result in fewer school absences
April 23, 2015 12:32 PM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

The use of clean fuels and updated pollution control measures in the school buses 25 million children ride every day in the United States could result in 14 million fewer absences from school a year, based on a study by the University of Michigan and the University of Washington. In research believed to be the first to measure the individual impact on children of the federal mandate to reduce diesel emissions, researchers found improved health and less absenteeism, especially among asthmatic children.

Putting a value on our Oceans
April 23, 2015 06:56 AM - World Wildlife Fund, Justmeans

The ocean’s wealth rivals those of the world’s leading economies, but its resources are rapidly eroding, according to a new World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report. The analysis, Reviving the Ocean Economy: The Case for Action, conservatively estimates the value of key ocean assets to be at least $24 trillion. If compared to the world’s top 10 economies, the ocean would rank as the seventh largest, with an annual value of goods and services of $2.5 trillion.

The report, produced in association with The Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), combines scientific evidence of environmental degradation with an economic case for urgent conservation action. Using an innovative economic analysis, the ocean’s value is quantified based on assessments of goods and services ranging from fisheries to coastal storm protection, resulting in an overall asset value and an annual dividend output (comparable to a GDP).

US energy-related CO2 emissions increase for second year in a row
April 20, 2015 10:23 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

For the second year in a row, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States have increased, according to the latest official figures. However, unlike 2013, when emissions and gross domestic product (GDP) grew at similar rates (2.5% and 2.2%, respectively), 2014's CO2 emissions growth rate of 0.7% was much smaller than the 2014 GDP growth rate of 2.4%.

Five Years and Counting: Gulf Wildlife in the Aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster
April 17, 2015 09:37 AM - National Wildlife Federation

Five years after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, sending oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days, wildlife are still struggling. The Gulf, with its deep waters, sandy beaches, lush wetlands and coral reefs, is a vast system that supports more than 15,000 species of wildlife – fish, birds, marine mammals and many, many others.

A new report from the National Wildlife Federation looks at how 20 types of wildlife that depend on a healthy Gulf are faring in the wake of the BP oil spill. The full extent of the spill’s impacts may take years or even decades to unfold, but Five Years & Counting: Gulf Wildlife in the Aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster examines what the science tells us so far.

New oil repellant materials could help clean up oil spills
April 15, 2015 03:34 PM - Scott Gordon, University of Wisconsin-Madison

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have announced a significant step forward in the development of materials that can ward off oil — a discovery that could lead to new protective coatings and better approaches to cleaning up oil spills. In a new paper in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, professor of chemical and biological engineering David Lynn and assistant scientist Uttam Manna describe new coatings that are extremely oil-repellant (or "superoleophobic") in underwater environments.

What lead is doing to our students
April 14, 2015 04:15 PM - Jasmine Garsd, NPR

Every child's ability to succeed in school is influenced by lots of external factors: teacher quality, parenting, poverty, geography, to name a few. But far less attention has been paid to the power of a child's bedroom walls. Or, rather, the paint that's on them and the lead that may be in that paint. A new study published in the Harvard Educational Review suggests that efforts to reduce kids' lead exposure have led to tangible academic gains in Massachusetts.

Report finds rise in ER visits following heavy rainfall
April 14, 2015 09:02 AM - University of Illinois at Chicago

Consumers whose drinking water can be contaminated by the release of untreated wastewater after heavy rains face increased risk for gastrointestinal illness, according to a report in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. “Combined” sewer systems collect both sewage and stormwater runoff on the way to treatment facilities. When heavy rainfall fills these systems beyond their capacity, untreated wastewater can back up into homes. To reduce the risk of home flooding during heavy precipitation, municipalities often discharge some of the untreated flow into nearby bodies of water. The release of untreated waste is known as a combined sewer overflow.

Mercury levels in Arctic birds found increasing over the past 130 years
April 10, 2015 09:08 AM - Population Matters

Alarm bells are ringing for Arctic wildlife with the discovery that mercury levels in the feathers of ivory gulls have increased almost 50-fold. 

University of Saskatchewan biologists studied the feathers of museum specimens spanning a 130-year period. Lead researcher Dr Alex Bond told BBC News, “We’re concerned because the mercury’s going up but their diet hasn’t changed over the 130 years we’ve studied. It’s gone up 45 times, which is twice the average for an animal species in the Arctic.”

Neonicotinoids Responsible for Pollinator Declines Worldwide
April 9, 2015 02:46 PM - Jonathan Latham, The Ecologist

Monarch caterpillars are vulnerable to neonicotinoid toxicity at concentrations as low as 1 part per billion, writes Jonathan Latham, and that makes them vulnerable to residues from commercial crops - and even more so from horticultural use in plant nurseries!

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