Pollution

COLLEGIATE CORNER: The faults of fracking
March 3, 2014 11:41 AM - Reid Short, Class of 2015, Wakefield High School, Arlington, VA

Hydraulic Fracturing is a process that sends pressurized liquid down to a target depth to fracture rock and draws out liquids, such as natural gas. This process is used to retrieve the gas from rock formations beneath the earth that were previously thought to be unsuitable for gas production (Helman) (Rao). Fracking is now being implemented all over the world. Many countries have turned to this method of extracting gas to lower fuel costs and balance their trade deficits, but these countries, including the United States, are allowing fracking to cause major damage to the environment. The water pollution, and air pollution that are caused by fracking, and the law exemptions it has, are inexcusable because of the damage and danger they cause to the environment.

Noise Levels Can Affect Fish Behaviors
March 3, 2014 10:02 AM - University of Bristol

Fish exposed to increased noise levels consume less food and show more stress-related behavior, according to new research from the University of Bristol and the University of Exeter. However, the way fish decreased their food intake differed between the two British species tested. When exposed to noise, three-spined sticklebacks made more foraging errors whereas European minnows tended to socially interact more often with their companion fish or to reduce activity.

Scientists advocate protective deep-sea treaty
February 28, 2014 10:00 AM - Nick Kennedy, SciDevNet

A new international agreement is needed to police the exploitation of the deep ocean because of the rising threats of deep-sea mining and bottom trawling for fish, say scientists. Speakers at a symposium this month (16 February) urged the UN to negotiate a new treaty for the deep ocean to supplement the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Electric cars and the grid
February 28, 2014 07:31 AM - Click Green Staff, ClickGreen

Car owners in the United States last year bought more than 96,000 plug-in electric cars, a year-on-year increase of 84 percent from 2012. However, this growing fleet will put a lot of new strain on the nation’s aging electrical distribution systems, like transformers and underground cables, especially at times of peak demand — in the evening when people come home from work.

Plastic Waste Ingested by Worms Threatens Marine Food Chains
February 27, 2014 04:58 PM - Nicholas Barret, MONGABAY.COM

Small fragments of plastic waste are damaging the health of lugworms, putting a key cog in marine ecosystems at risk. Published in Current Biology, a new study by scientists at the University of Exeter and the University of Plymouth shows the impact of microplastics on the marine worms' health and behavior. By exposing specimens to contaminated sediment in a laboratory, the researchers were able to observe a 50 percent reduction in energy reserves and other signs of physical harm.

Potential new source of renewable energy found in humidity
February 27, 2014 12:15 PM - Kristin Kusek, Harvard University

A new type of electrical generator uses bacterial spores to harness the untapped power of evaporating water, according to research conducted at the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Its developers foresee electrical generators driven by changes in humidity from sun-warmed ponds and harbors.

Greener chemical cleanups
February 26, 2014 12:14 PM - Marianne English Spoon, University of Wisconsin

Cleaning up oil spills and metal contaminants in a low-impact, sustainable and inexpensive manner remains a challenge for companies and governments globally. But a group of researchers at UW—Madison is examining alternative materials that can be modified to absorb oil and chemicals. If further developed, the technology may offer a cheaper and "greener" method to absorb oil and heavy metals from water and other surfaces.

Passing the baton in oil spill research on the Gulf Coast
February 26, 2014 09:30 AM - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Media Relations Office

As part of on-going research nearly four years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will team up with a group of high school students in Florida to collect remnants of oil from Gulf Coast beaches this week. Marine chemist Chris Reddy studies how the many compounds that compose petroleum hydrocarbon, or oil, behave and change over time after an oil spill. He and his researchers have collected and analyzed about 1,000 oil samples from the Gulf Coast since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Limitations of climate engineering
February 25, 2014 12:59 PM - Jan Steffen, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

Despite international agreements on climate protection and political declarations of intent, global greenhouse gas emissions have not decreased. On the contrary, they continue to increase. With a growing world population and significant industrialization in emerging markets such as India and China the emission trend reversal necessary to limit global warming seems to be unlikely. Therefore, large-scale methods to artificially slow down global warming are increasingly being discussed. They include proposals to fertilize the oceans, so that stimulated plankton can remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, or to reduce the Sun's incoming radiation with atmospheric aerosols or mirrors in space, so as to reduce climate warming. All of these approaches can be classified as "climate engineering". "However, the long-term consequences and side effects of these methods have not been adequately studied," says Dr. David Keller from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel. Together with colleagues the expert in earth system modeling has compared several Climate Engineering methods using a computer model. The results of the study have now been published in the internationally renowned online journal Nature Communications.

Free mobile green apps
February 25, 2014 10:25 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Incorporating sound environmental decisions in our daily lives has been made easier with the availability of several green apps for the mobile device. Below is a list of five useful environmental apps that are free and feature discussions and motivators for carbon footprint identification and reduction, climate change, global forest cover, product scoring based upon environmental impact, and environmental actions all aimed at making better choices for sustainable living.

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