Sustainability

New hopes for getting the lead out of solar
May 5, 2014 10:16 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Solar energy is arguably our most viable low cost energy source. It is forever sustainable and easily captured and converted. But now the technology may have taken yet another leap forward. To date the foundational technology behind photovoltaics was a structure called perovskite, which has been made with lead. Using tin instead of lead perovskite as the harvester of light, a team of Northwestern University researchers has created a new solar cell with "good efficiency". This good efficiency solar cell is low-cost, environmentally friendly and can be easily made using "bench" chemistry -- no fancy equipment or hazardous materials.

Spanish Island Powered by 100 Percent Renewable Energy
May 5, 2014 08:06 AM - Bill DiBenedetto, Triple Pundit

The possibilities of renewable energy are on display as El Hierro, the smallest of Spain’s Canary Islands, is set to become the world’s first land mass to be fully energy self-sufficient, when an 11.5 megawatt wind farm goes online late next month.

Bicycles Can Change the World
May 4, 2014 09:22 AM - Anna Brones, Care2

Saying that bicycles can change the world might sound like an oversimplification of things, but when you start to break it down, it’s easy to see that the bicycle has an effect on a lot more than just how we get from point A to point B. Need proof for why bicycles are a good way to change the world? Here are some good ones. 1. They provide alternative transportation It doesn’t take a scientist to work out that switching from four wheels to two wheels is a good thing. First there’s the environmental reason. For example, if 5 percent of people in New York commuting by car (either private or taxi) were to bike to work, they could save 150 million pounds of CO2 emissions per year. That’s the equivalent to the amount of CO2 reduced by planting a forest 1.3 times the size of Manhattan. And that’s only with a 5 percent change.

Is an Electric Car Right for You?
May 3, 2014 09:52 AM - CLEANTECHIES GUEST AUTHOR, Clean Techies

Operating a car without needing to visit a gas station is intriguing idea to many American drivers. After all, the pumps can be a painful place—gas prices have been on a roller coaster ride the past few years. But in the minds of many American, electric cars are nothing more than glorified golf cars incapable of providing adequate daily driving range or sufficient highway speed. In this new era of electrified transportation, those misconceptions need to be tossed aside. Todays' electric vehicles, like the Nissan Leaf, provide all the creature comforts and capabilities of gasoline internal combustion cars. These EVs comfortably seat four or five passengers, offer quasi-luxury features, and serve up smooth, silent and sporty levels of acceleration. But there are a couple of important issues to consider—such as driving range and refueling times.

Local residents chronicle lake water quality
May 2, 2014 10:29 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Long-term water quality trends in Midwestern lakes yield good news in the form of little change in water clarity in the regions 3,000 lakes. But what makes this news unique is that the data to make this determination was collected by non-scientists and local residents from the area’s towns and villages.

First Standardized Global Land Cover Map Released
May 2, 2014 08:10 AM - Giovanni Sabato, SciDevNet

The first map of detailed information on worldwide land cover collected using uniform international standards, the Global Land Cover-SHARE database, was released in March by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Experts say it will help to improve research into natural resources and monitor global environmental changes.

Thoughtfully green Mother's Day gifts for your mother and Mother Nature
May 1, 2014 03:11 PM - Editor, ENN

No one is more special that your own mother - especially on Mother's Day. Celebrate your own mother and "Mother Nature" with one of these five great green gift ideas. These options offer a sustainable alternative to the chemical-laden flowers and mass-produced chocolates that dominate the market on Mother's Day. 1. Buy eco-friendly flowers- Although they are a beautiful part of nature, flowers aren't always eco-friendly. Most flowers are grown with a slew of chemicals and pesticides. They also typically come from warmer climates, such as South America, and have to make a long temperature-controlled journey before they reach your door. Opt for a greener option instead. There are several companies that sell eco-friendly flowers that are organically and locally grown. You could also purchase a potted plant from your local nursery. Not only are potted plants greener, they typically last a lot longer than a fresh-cut bouquet.

Oil underpinnings in Virunga National Park
May 1, 2014 11:06 AM - Editor, ENN

Virunga National Park, classified as a World Heritage site sits amongst the Rwenzori Mountains on the eastern portion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It spectacular features include its most well known residents, hippos and mountain gorillas. It is believed to have more biological diversity than any other protected area in Africa, no doubt in large part due to its mountain forests, wetlands, savanna grassland, volcanoes and lakes.

Dissolving shells on the West Coast
April 30, 2014 01:10 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Evidence now indicates that acidity of West Coast continental shelf waters is dissolving the shells of tiny free-swimming marine snails, called pteropods, the major food source for pink salmon, mackerel and herring. Funded by NOAA, the study estimates the percentage of pteropods in this region with dissolving shells due to ocean acidification has doubled in the nearshore habitat since the pre-industrial era and is on track to triple by 2050 when coastal waters become 70 percent more corrosive than in the pre-industrial era due to human-caused ocean acidification.

Eating endangered species in China could yield jail time
April 30, 2014 08:02 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

It's well known that much of the world's massive illegal wildlife trade ends up in China, including poached tigers, pangolins, and bears. But now those who order pangolin fetuses, tiger blood, or bear bile at a restaurant or market may see significant jail time. According to a reinterpretation of Chinese law by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), consumers of some 420 rare or endangered species in China could be sentenced to over ten years depending on the offense.

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