Solar powered water purification
October 8, 2015 06:48 AM - Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office
Deep in the jungles of the Yucatan peninsula, residents of the remote Mexican village of La Mancalona are producing clean drinking water using the power of the sun.
For nearly two years now, members of the community, most of whom are subsistence farmers, have operated and maintained a solar-powered water purification system engineered by researchers at MIT.
The system consists of two solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity; these, in turn, power a set of pumps that push water through semiporous membranes in a filtration process called reverse osmosis. The setup purifies both brackish well water and collected rainwater, producing about 1,000 liters of purified water a day for the 450 residents.
Arctic butterflies adapt to warming climate by getting smaller
October 7, 2015 06:39 AM - AARHUS UNIVERSITY via EurekAlert!
New research shows that butterflies in Greenland have become smaller in response to increasing temperatures due to climate change.
It has often been demonstrated that the ongoing rapid climate change in the Arctic region is causing substantial change to Arctic ecosystems. Now Danish researchers demonstrate that a warmer Greenland could be bad for its butterflies, becoming smaller under warmer summers.
Outsourcing manufacturing to China and the climate
October 6, 2015 07:40 AM - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School
In a study published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, scientists from three universities demonstrate that buying a product made in China causes significantly higher carbon dioxide emissions than purchasing the same product made elsewhere. The study, titled "Targeted opportunities to address the climate–trade dilemma in China," is available here.
"The amazing increase in Chinese manufacturing over the past 15 years has driven the world economy to new heights and supplied consumers in developed countries with tremendous quantities of lower-cost goods," said co-author Steven J. Davis, UCI assistant professor of Earth system science. "But all of this has come at substantial cost to the environment."
EU Health Forum considers crisis the new normal
October 5, 2015 07:00 AM - EurActiv
After nearly a decade of economic crisis, an Ebola epidemic in West Africa, and a refugee crisis, experts say that EU health systems must get used to the fact that "shockwaves" are here to stay.
They hope that the Ebola outbreak will be a wake up call, that, without stronger European leadership, healthcare in the EU will come under many threats.
At the European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) on Thursday (1 October), DEVCO, the European Commission's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, hosted a forum dealing with how to secure health in the EU through development work and international cooperation.
The Gypsies problem in Europe
October 4, 2015 07:34 AM - Dan Allen, University of Salford, The Ecologist
Under new planning rules, Travellers and Gypsies must be able to prove they are actually traveling to qualify for limited planning benefits to create new sites. But for many, it's impossible to do that. Not only to remain in employment, or education - but precisely because there are so few sites, that they are unable to travel.
Living on an unauthorised campsite carries a heavy weight of suffering and disadvantage. Travellers contend daily with the risk of criminalisation and eviction, as well as limited access to basic services such as running water and sanitation.
Any attempt to subsume diverse groups under one label is going to be fraught with tension - and this is certainly true in terms of the word 'Traveller'.
Sierra Nevada snowpack at historic low
October 3, 2015 06:52 AM - Mike Gaworecki , MONGABAY.COM
On April 1, California Governor Jerry Brown stood in a Sierra Nevada meadow atop parched, brown grass — at an elevation of 6,800 feet, where there would normally be five feet of snow at that time of year — and announced the state’s first-ever mandatory water restrictions.
The Golden State is still in the grip of a severe drought that began in 2012, and new research suggests it is one of the worst in centuries.
The day Gov. Brown announced the statewide water restrictions, snowpack in the Sierra Nevadas was reported to be at just 5 percent of its historical average, as calculated from records dating back to the 1930s.
Could Mealworms Help Solve our Styrofoam Waste Problem?
October 2, 2015 03:16 PM - Kevin Mathews, Care2
Plastic waste is out of control in this country, and Styrofoam is one of the worst offenders. Americans toss out 25 billion Styrofoam cups each year. Over two million tons of the stuff ends up in landfills, where it does not biodegrade. Scientists think they may have found a solution for our Styrofoam problem, though: feed it to the worms!
Do you favor hotels that ask you to reuse your towels?
October 2, 2015 06:40 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen
Hotels across the globe are increasingly encouraging guests to embrace green practices. Yet while guests think they are supporting the environment by shutting off lights and reusing towels, they may in fact be victims of "greenwashing," a corporation's deceitful practice of promoting environmentally friendly programmes while banking the extra profits.
Greenwashing practices, such as a sign that reads "save the planet: re-use towels," coupled with claims of corporate social responsibility, have soiled the trust of American consumers who are increasingly recognizing hotels' green claims may be self-serving. This could cause hotels to lose valuable repeat customers.
Making batteries with portabella mushrooms
September 30, 2015 08:21 AM - University of California Riverside via EurekAlert!
Can portabella mushrooms stop cell phone batteries from degrading over time?
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering think so.
The Volkswagen scandal and EU transportation emissions
September 28, 2015 11:12 AM - EurActiv
The revelations that Volkswagen, the world's second largest car manufacturer, had routinely gamed US emissions testing has thrown the spotlight on the environmental and health impact of cars.
While EU member states, such as the UK, open or consider investigations into the beleaguered company, European Commission officials are currently reviewing the executive’s 2011 White Paper for transport, its main policy roadmap for the sector.
Bringing extra impetus to their deliberation is the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, international talks aimed at capping global warming.