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Sustainability

Agricultural practices to reduce runoff
May 23, 2015 07:27 AM - South Dakota State University via ScienceDaily.

The same spring rains that lessen producers' concerns about drought can also lead to soil erosion and nutrient runoff. Keeping soil and fertilizers where they belong -- in the field -- benefits producers and the environment.

No-till farming, cover crops and rotational grazing will help producers reduce surface runoff to improve soil and water quality, according to South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station researcher Sandeep Kumar, an assistant professor in the SDSU plant science department.

Celebrate Today - International Day for Biological Diversity!
May 22, 2015 09:08 AM - Editor, Population Matters

International Day for Biological Diversity 2015 is 22 May. The theme for the Day this year is “Biodiversity for Sustainable Development”. More than 4,500 mammal, bird and amphibian species are currently deemed at risk of extinction. Not all species have been catalogued, so we do not know exactly how many we are losing each year, but a report recently published in the journal Natuesuggests that approximately 41 per cent of amphibian species, 26 per cent of mammal species and 13 per cent of bird species are likely to be lost in the near future. 

National-scale effort addresses pollinator declines
May 20, 2015 03:51 PM - Puneet Kollipara, Science/AAAS

A new White House plan to promote the health of bees and other pollinators calls for boosting research into ongoing population declines—and potential solutions. The plan, released yesterday, also recommends numerous measures to address growing concerns about the threat that bees, birds, butterflies, and other pollinators face from multiple factors, including pathogens, pesticides, climate change, and habitat loss. By addressing scientific knowledge gaps, the research should make the plan’s suggested measures much more effective, the report says.

What to do with old medications
May 20, 2015 09:06 AM - Alexis Petru, Triple Pundit

Between 10 and 30 percent of all prescription and over-the-counter drugs sold are left unconsumed, according to a State of Washington report, and all those leftover medications pose significant risks to public health and the environment. Drugs that are flushed down the toilet or tossed in the trash can – rather than properly disposed of – can end up in oceans and waterways, threatening both marine life and human health. Meanwhile, many individuals don’t get rid of their unused medications at all; they simply store the drugs in their medicine cabinets – a practice that can lead to drug misuse and abuse.

Coal power in Turkey to double if Turkey's plans go forward
May 20, 2015 08:26 AM - EurActiv

Turkey is planning to double its coal power capacity in four years, the third largest investment in the polluting fossil fuel in the world, health campaigners have warned.

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) today called on the European Union to promote sustainable development in Turkey and end lending for new coal projects.

Recycling electronics is getting more difficult as devices get smaller and smaller
May 19, 2015 06:53 AM - RP Siegel, Triple Pundit

The last several decades have brought a global explosion of electronics with a huge impact on quality of life and communications, as well as the world economy.

But, like most big human-induced changes, there were unintended consequences, primarily in the form of the mountains of waste that resulted as products quickly became obsolete and tossed out only to be replaced by others with an equally short lifespan. (One study showed that 25 percent of electronic devices were used less than 500 hours before being discarded.) This is exacerbated by the fact that electronic waste can contain dangerous materials including lead, mercury and cadmium.

Future climate of the Midwest hard to predict
May 18, 2015 03:02 PM - Dartmouth College via ScienceDaily.

Will climate change make the U.S. Midwest drier or wetter during the summer growing season? A new Dartmouth-led study finds that the answer remains uncertain.

The findings are important given the Midwest's agricultural output is critical to the U.S. economy and global food security.

The study appears in the journal Water Resources Research. The study included researchers from Dartmouth College, Columbia University, National University of Singapore and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Happy Endangered Species Day!
May 15, 2015 08:43 AM - Editor, Population Matters

Started in 2006, Endangered Species Day is “a celebration of wildlife and wild places” intended to promote the “importance of protecting endangered species and everyday actions people can take to help protect them”. Every year on the third Friday in May — and throughout the month — zoos, aquariums, parks, botanical gardens, wildlife refuges, museums, schools, community centers, conservation groups and other organizations hold tours, speaker presentations, exhibits, children’s activities and more to commemorate the Day.

World's largest herbivores in danger of extinction due to hunting and habitat loss
May 15, 2015 08:25 AM - UCLA Newsroom

Many of the world’s largest herbivores — including several species of elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses and gorillas — are in danger of becoming extinct. And if current trends continue, the loss of these animals would have drastic implications not only for the species themselves, but also for other animals and the environments and ecosystems in which they live, according to a new report by an international team of scientists.

The study, which was co-authored by Blaire Van Valkenburgh, a UCLA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, was recently published in the open-access online journal Science Advances.

Urban development causes damage and loss of valuable ecosystems
May 14, 2015 06:29 AM - Harvard University

All land is not created equal. Some ecosystems do triple duty in the benefits they provide to society. Massachusetts forests, for example, filter public drinking water while also providing habitat for threatened species and storing carbon to combat climate change. 

Ecologists and conservation groups single out the hardest-working ecosystems – called “hotspots” – for their exceptional conservation value. A new study published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology reports that the number of ecosystem hotspots has increased in Massachusetts over the past decade, with more and more hotspots popping up in metro Boston. 

But, the study authors say, more hotspots may not be a good thing.

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