Sustainability

The Kathmandu Valley Needs Help!
September 27, 2012 05:56 AM - Joseph Mayton, The Ecologist

The once bustling Bagmati river has become the focal point of Nepal's struggle to bring modernity to this once isolated region. And the environment is struggling to survive, writes Joseph Mayton. It is "clean-up" day on Nepal’s major river, the Bagmati. Uniformed military personnel troll the banks of the river, picking up plastic bags and rubbish that has found its way onto the sides what once was the main thoroughfare for the Kathmandu Valley. Turning, with pieces in his hand, one officer lightly tosses the rubbish into the already polluted water.

Update - High Altitude Wind Energy Potential
September 26, 2012 05:35 AM - Dave Levitan, Yale Environment360

A host of start-up companies are exploring ways to harness the enormous amount of wind energy flowing around the earth, especially at high altitudes. But as these innovators are discovering, the engineering and regulatory challenges of what is known as airborne wind power are daunting. The wind turbines that increasingly dot the landscape peak at around 300 feet above ground, with the massive blades spinning a bit higher. The wind, however, does not peak at 300 feet. Winds are faster and more consistent the higher one climbs, maxing out in the jet streams at five miles and above.

New study analyzes challenges with international water-related projects
September 25, 2012 09:35 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

Large-scale water-related projects are a model global environmental issue. From dams controlling and rerouting water flow to providing access to clean drinking water and monitoring the nutrient quality of water resources, local, national, and international players often have to work together to manage these water resources. As trans-boundary issues are bound to arise, efforts need to be addressed in order to manage concerns. A new study of nearly 200 major international water-related projects over the past 20 years has identified existing and emerging challenges and how science can offer solutions.

World Rhino Day was this weekend
September 24, 2012 05:53 AM - NPR

If you had a sudden urge to put a horn on your head, not use your knees and chew on some leaves, you may be catching the spirit of World Rhino Day. It was celebrated all over the world this weekend with art shows, auctions, walk-a-thons and lectures with the theme of "Five Rhino Species Forever." It's not too late to keep Rhinoceros conservation in your thoughts and to make an effort to help them in your own way. The effort is to raise awareness for the threats posed to the rhinoceroses who are hunted for their horns, which are believed to have medicinal properties. The commemorative day is only in its second year, but it's caught on in zoos and conservation parks around the world.

The Problem with Tree Plantations
September 22, 2012 08:08 AM - Isaac Rojas, MONGABAY.COM

Today, September 21, is the "International Day of Struggle against Monoculture Tree Plantations", an annual event organized by a coalition of social and environmental groups. Here, Isaac Rojas, a Costa Rican who is Friends of the Earth International coordinator of its Forest and Biodiversity Program, expresses his view point on industrial plantations. Public environmental awareness has come a long way since September 1962, when Rachel Carson's 'Silent Spring' was published, stimulating the birth of the environmental movement. This movement may be fifty years old, but nowadays you can feel 'green' by helping destroy forests instead of protecting them, for instance by clicking online a 'plant a tree' button on a seemingly well-meaning website.

Floating plastic, papyrus islands may help restore Lake Naivasha
September 21, 2012 11:20 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

Besides being known as the material for the first paper of ancient Egypt, papyrus is also very valuable in filtering water as it has the ability to recycle nutrients. In fact, plans are being implemented to plant papyrus on floating plastic islands which will help protect the ecosystem of a prominent water source known as Lake Naivasha in Kenya. Lake Naivasha is a large freshwater lake that has been ecologically suffering for the past 30 years. Dr Harper, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Leicester, who is in part responsible for the restoration attributes this decline to the population growth in the surrounding town due to the floriculture industry as cut flowers have become one of Kenya’s top grossers of foreign exchange.

Using Information and Communications Technology Promotes Sustainability in Cities
September 19, 2012 12:30 PM - Cameron Scherer, Worldwatch Institute

More than half of the world's population lives in urban areas, and countries such as India and China are in need of hundreds of additional cities to accommodate growing populations. People in many cities suffer from inadequate transportation, sub-standard buildings, lack of sanitation, and poor public safety, highlighting the need for sustainable and livable urban planning. Information and communication technology (ICT) can be a useful tool in helping cities improve their safety, cleanliness, and sustainability, according to Diana Lind, contributing author to Worldwatch Institute's State of the World 2012: Moving Toward Sustainable Prosperity.

Fusion Power Update - Getting Closer!
September 19, 2012 06:02 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Researchers at Sandia Laboratories are getting closer to nuclear fusion that will produce more energy than it takes to create the fusion reaction! They are very close to the break even point. Magnetically imploded tubes called liners, intended to help produce controlled nuclear fusion at scientific "break-even" energies or better within the next few years, have functioned successfully in preliminary tests, according to a Sandia research paper accepted for publication by Physical Review Letters (PRL). Sandia researcher Ryan McBride pays close attention to the tiny central beryllium liner to be imploded by the powerful magnetic field generated by Sandia’s Z machine. The larger cylinders forming a circle on the exterior of the base plate measure Z’s load current by picking up the generated magnetic field.

West African and Caribbean seas rank among unhealthiest waters
September 18, 2012 01:07 PM - Samuel Hinneh and Daniela Hirschfeld, SciDev Net, SciDevNet

More research and better policies are needed to protect the world's most vulnerable seas, lying off the coast of West Africa and the Caribbean, local experts have told SciDev.Net. The two regions have some of the world's unhealthiest seas, according to a new index that assessed the health of seas and their benefits to livelihoods. Its methodology was published in Nature last month (15 August). The index rates seas in ten categories or 'goals', including water cleanliness, support for coastal livelihoods and economies, and food provision. It also assesses the state of coastal protection and biodiversity, seas' capacity for artisanal fishing, carbon storage and tourism, and the provision of natural products.

Are EV's really better for climate-changing emissions?
September 18, 2012 06:56 AM - EurActive

Electric cars are an axiom of clean transport planning - they produce no tailpipe emissions, little localised air pollution and, potentially, no greenhouse gas output. But as their critics point out, they are only as green as the electricity that they use. A power supply dependent on fossil fuels will produce greenhouse gas emissions from electric vehicles that are less than - but still comparable to - those from automobiles fitted with internal combustion engines (ICE)

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