Sustainability

An insulation trifecta
March 18, 2014 07:31 AM - Chris Miller , Sierra Club Green Home

A savvy do-it-yourselfer can come up with a dozen unconventional uses for insulation (spray foam as packing material, anyone?), which makes it tricky to find basic information online when you're just dipping your toes in to the DIY pool. Here is an introduction to the three basic types of insulation and their most common uses: blown-in, spray foam and batt/blanket insulation.

A dust induced monsoon in India
March 17, 2014 10:23 AM - ENN Editor

Another sign of our global connectedness has manifested itself in a new satellite analysis linking dust in North Africa and West Asia with stronger monsoons in India. The study shows that as airborne dust from North Africa and West Asia absorbs sunlight it warms the air and strengthens the eastern winds carrying moisture. The heavy laden air generates a monsoon rainfall about a week later in India thereby explaining one way that dust can affect the climate, filling in previously unknown details about the Earth system.

Costa Rica May Keep Carbon Neutrality Goal
March 17, 2014 09:49 AM - Andrew Burger, Triple Pundit

"Costa Rica opposition group says to scrap 2021 carbon neutrality target," reads the headline of a recent Reuters news article. Standing on its own, the headline is accurate. However, lacking context, it could be misleading, causing readers who don’t venture beyond the headline to conclude that Costa Rica will be dropping its goal of achieving carbon neutrality completely.

Yellowstone Bison win court case!
March 16, 2014 07:25 AM - Editor, ENN, The Ecologist

The Montana Supreme Court has ruled that bison can roam outside the park boundaries for winter and early spring forage without being shot. In 2008, more than 1,400 bison - about one-third of the current size of Yellowstone's bison population - were captured and slaughtered by government agencies while leaving Yellowstone in search of food. The Montana Supreme Court affirmed the decision of a lower court this week, allowing wild bison room to roam outside the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park.

A global climate change directive?
March 14, 2014 04:11 PM - Editor, ENN

Could another climate change deal be in the works? World leaders are meeting in Brussels this month to discuss climate change. While environmentalists are calling for urgent action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, diplomatic language presented in the introductory document is most likely not ambitious enough.

Making the United States "anti-car"
March 14, 2014 02:33 PM - S.E. Smith, Care2

Visit Amsterdam, which feels like the bicycle capital of the world, and you'll see everyone on bikes, from chic ladies on their way to coffeehouses (a longstanding tradition in this European city) to office workers. The city offers dedicated bicycle paths, ample bike parking and lots more options to encourage people to cycle and it create active disincentives for driving. It's a decision born of practical and environmental concerns: Amsterdam is a small, easily crowded city, where cars could become a serious hazard and frustration if they multiplied on the streets, and its residents are very eco-conscious.

Antarctic ecosystem due to change radically with climate change
March 13, 2014 02:07 PM - Staff, ENN

According to researchers the Ross Sea will "be extensively modified by future climate change" in the coming decades creating longer periods of ice-free open water and affecting life cycles of all components of the ecosystem in a paper published and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The researchers have drawn their information from the Regional Ocean Modeling System, a computer model that evaluates sea-ice, ocean, atmosphere and sea-shelf.

Rooftop considerations amidst climate change
March 13, 2014 11:54 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

As the realities of climate change set in, so too are realizations that building technologies impact both internal and external environments. The percentage increase of asphalt and blacktopped roofs create urban heat islands. Resultantly cities have become earth's newest desserts exhibiting high temperatures and arid conditions with little vegetation. Urban expansion as a stand-alone factor (omitting greenhouse gas-induced climate change considerations) is expected to raise temperatures by roughly six degrees. Because of this, scientists are now exploring new technologies to cope with the new reality.

Sustainable urban lawns
March 12, 2014 01:16 PM - robin Blackstone, ENN

Concern for the homogenization of America's urban landscape prompted a recent research study into the care and maintenance of residential landscapes. The study demonstrated fewer similarities than expected but the concern, according to researchers is that "Lawns not only cover a larger extent [of land] than any other irrigated 'crop' in the U.S., but are expected to expand in coming decades. The researchers go on to point out that the potential homogenization of residential lawn care has emerged as a major concern for carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and water flows."

Is There a Sustainable Big Mac in Your Future?
March 12, 2014 07:58 AM - RP Siegel, Triple Pundit

Giant corporations like McDonald's and Walmart cast a long shadow across the planet with the enormous amount of resources that they use, process, consume and sell. McDonald's flips and bags 70 million hamburgers every day and is responsible for a full 2 percent of the world's beef consumption. So when you consider the impact that beef production has on the environment, particularly with regard to climate change, a move by them to sustainable beef could be a really big deal.

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