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Sustainability

Antarctic ice loss is accelerating
March 27, 2015 07:08 AM - British Antarctic Survey

New research published this week in the journal Science Express describes how the ice shelves around Antarctica are thinning and therefore allowing more of the ice sheet behind them to flow into the sea. 

Using nearly two decades of satellite data, the team of international researchers observed an acceleration of ice loss from the continent’s ice shelves, with an increase in loss of 70% in West Antarctica over the last decade. In the Amundsen and Bellingshausen regions, some ice shelves have lost up to 18% of their thickness in less than two decades. 

Which diet has the smallest carbon footprint?
March 26, 2015 01:20 PM - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology, via EurekAlert!

The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are well-known. As well as being healthier, a recent article concludes that the menu traditionally eaten in Spain leaves less of a carbon footprint than that of the US or the United Kingdom. The consequences of climate change range from species extinction to sea-level increases and the spread of diseases. For this reason, researchers have been struggling for years to alleviate its effects, even limiting the pollution caused by food consumption.

France passes law to promote green roofs
March 26, 2015 09:05 AM - Kevin Mathews, Care2

Environmentalism is fast becoming a top concern in France – a rooftop concern, to be precise. Excitingly, the nation has just passed new legislation that will require all upcoming commercial construction projects to feature either green roofs or solar panels above their top floors.

How to reduce your car's impact
March 25, 2015 09:02 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

As we all know, cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles aren’t the best friends of the environment. However, for many of us it’s simply not practical to depend strictly on mass transportation or make the switch to an all-electric vehicle. As a green-thinking member of society, where does that leave you? What should your stance be on driving with relation to sustainability?

United Nations warns on pesticides
March 23, 2015 09:55 AM - EurActiv

The UN's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said Friday (20 March) that three pesticides, including the popular weed killer Roundup, were "probably" carcinogenic and two others, which have already been outlawed or restricted, were "possibly" so.

IARC classified the herbicide glyphosate – the active ingredient in Roundup – and the insecticides malathion and diazinon as "probably carcinogenic" on the basis of "limited evidence" of cancer among humans.

Massive marine sanctuary created in the Pacific
March 22, 2015 09:47 AM - Tex Dworkin, Care2

Mutiny on the Bounty is a tale about the Royal Navy ship Bounty. On April 28, 1789, Fletcher Christian led sailors in a mutiny against their captain, Lieutenant William Bligh. So the story goes, the captain was set afloat in a small boat along with crew members who were loyal to him, while the mutineers settled on Pitcairn Island or Tahiti and burned Bounty off Pitcairn to avoid detection.

Today Pitcairn island’s population is about 50 people, including descendants of Fletcher Christian, and the surrounding waters where the Bounty supposedly went down in flames has just become the world’s largest contiguous ocean reserve.

This is great news for the sanctity of the Pacific ocean and its inhabitants.

Burmese Pythons are killing the rabbits in the Florida Everglades
March 21, 2015 10:34 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

How exactly DID Burmese Pythons get so numerous in the Everglades?  Were they released by owners who didn't want them and they found they liked the ecosystem?

Nearly 80 percent of radio-tracked marsh rabbits that died in Everglades National Park in a recent study were eaten by Burmese pythons, according to a new publication by University of Florida and U.S. Geological Survey researchers.  

A year later, there was no sign of a rabbit population in the study area.  The study demonstrates that Burmese pythons are now the dominant predator of marsh rabbits, and likely other mid-sized animals in the park, potentially upsetting the balance of a valuable ecosystem.

Road kill: Recommendations to protect biodiversity
March 20, 2015 08:43 AM - Michelle Kovacevic, SciDevNet

Governments and donors must pay more attention to the environmental impact of road networks to limit their “devastating” effect on ecosystems, a study on global infrastructure expansion has warned. Road construction opens a “Pandora’s box” of negative impact, according to the authors of the paper, published this month in Current Biology. These include deforestation, animals hunted to extinction, land grabs by speculators betting on development, and wildfires. 

NASA using space radar to track groundwater pollution risks
March 20, 2015 05:25 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Water is our most precious natural resource.  Without clean water to drink human populations cannot exist.  But our water supplies are under constant assault from anthropogenic pollution.

When pollutants get into groundwater, they can stay there for decades. Cleanup efforts are difficult, expensive and not always successful. It would be better to protect groundwater from contamination in the first place, but risks to groundwater are moving targets. Although unchanging factors such as porous soil or shallow aquifer depth play a role, the greatest risk comes from the source of the pollutants: people. And people are always moving. A growing city, in particular, usually means a growing threat to groundwater quality. To lock on to the moving target of groundwater risk, planners worldwide need up-to-date information on how people are changing the land surface.

Electric Vehicles are Cool, Literally.
March 19, 2015 02:02 PM - Michigan State University

A study in this week’s Scientific Report by researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) and in China add more fuel to the already hot debate about whether electric vehicles are more environmentally friendly than conventional vehicles by uncovering two hidden benefits.

They show that the cool factor is real – in that electric vehicles emit significantly less heat.  That difference could mitigate the urban heat island effect, the phenomenon that helps turn big cities like Beijing into pressure cookers in warm months.

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