Sustainability

New-generation material removes iodine from water
June 9, 2017 05:58 PM - Dartmouth College

Researchers at Dartmouth College have developed a new material that scrubs iodine from water for the first time. The breakthrough could hold the key to cleaning radioactive waste in nuclear reactors and after nuclear accidents like the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The new-generation microporous material designed at Dartmouth is the result of chemically stitching small organic molecules to form a framework that scrubs the isotope from water.

Why Microplastic Debris May Be the Next Big Threat to Our Seas
June 9, 2017 03:53 PM - The California State University

Plastic, metal, rubber and paper are some of the materials that pollute the world's oceans, often in the form of soda cans, cigarette butts, plastic bags and bottles, and fishing gear.

Environmental and marine science specialists call it "marine debris," which, simply put, means anything in the ocean that wasn't put there by nature.

Recently, though, a new type of trash — microplastics — has become a focus for marine researchers, and they fear the impact of this type of debris may be especially dire. 

Where climate change is most likely to induce food violence
June 8, 2017 12:30 PM - Ohio State University

While climate change is expected to lead to more violence related to food scarcity, new research suggests that the strength of a country’s government plays a vital role in preventing uprisings.

“A capable government is even more important to keeping the peace than good weather,” said Bear Braumoeller, co-author of the study and associate professor of political science at The Ohio State University.

Where climate change is most likely to induce food violence
June 8, 2017 12:30 PM - Ohio State University

While climate change is expected to lead to more violence related to food scarcity, new research suggests that the strength of a country’s government plays a vital role in preventing uprisings.

“A capable government is even more important to keeping the peace than good weather,” said Bear Braumoeller, co-author of the study and associate professor of political science at The Ohio State University.

Offshore wind turbines vulnerable to Category 5 hurricane gusts
June 7, 2017 05:30 PM - University of Colorado at Boulder

Offshore wind turbines built according to current standards may not be able to withstand the powerful gusts of a Category 5 hurricane, creating potential risk for any such turbines built in hurricane-prone areas, new University of Colorado Boulder-led research shows.

The study, which was conducted in collaboration with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, highlights the limitations of current turbine design and could provide guidance for manufacturers and engineers looking to build more hurricane-resilient turbines in the future.

Offshore wind turbines vulnerable to Category 5 hurricane gusts
June 7, 2017 05:30 PM - University of Colorado at Boulder

Offshore wind turbines built according to current standards may not be able to withstand the powerful gusts of a Category 5 hurricane, creating potential risk for any such turbines built in hurricane-prone areas, new University of Colorado Boulder-led research shows.

The study, which was conducted in collaboration with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, highlights the limitations of current turbine design and could provide guidance for manufacturers and engineers looking to build more hurricane-resilient turbines in the future.

Subsidies promote overfishing and hurt small-scale fishers worldwide
June 2, 2017 08:11 AM - University of British Columbia

Large-scale fisheries receive about four times more subsidies than their small-scale counterparts, with up to 60 per cent of those subsidies promoting overfishing.

A recent study by the University of British Columbia found that while small-scale fisheries employ over 22 million people globally and directly support food security, of the estimated global fisheries subsidies of $35 billion (U.S.) in 2009, only 16 per cent was allocated to the small-scale fishing sector. Equivalent numbers for Canada are $1.1 billion (U.S.) and 5.8 per cent, respectively.

Cold conversion of food waste into renewable energy and fertilizer has 'enormous potential'
May 31, 2017 11:57 AM - Concordia University

Researchers from Concordia’s Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering (BCEE) in collaboration with Bio-Terre Systems Inc. are taking the fight against global warming to colder climes.

Their weapon of choice? Cold-loving bacteria.

In a study published in Process Safety and Environmental Protection, authors Rajinikanth Rajagopal, David Bellavance and Mohammad Saifur Rahaman demonstrate the viability of using anaerobic digestion in a low-temperature (20°C) environment to convert solid food waste into renewable energy and organic fertilizer.

Are Bidets More Environmentally Friendly Than Toilet Paper?
May 31, 2017 07:23 AM - s.e. smith, Care2

While bidets remain unpopular in America, they’re a familiar fixture in bathrooms all over the world. And they raise an inevitable question: Is it better for the environment if you wipe, or should you wash instead?

The answer may surprise you — and could lead you to rethink your next bathroom remodel.

Handwashing: Cool Water as Effective as Hot for Removing Germs
May 30, 2017 07:13 AM - Robin Lally, Rutgers University

We all know that washing our hands can keep us from spreading germs and getting sick. But a new Rutgers-New Brunswick study found that cool water removes the same amount of harmful bacteria as hot.

“People need to feel comfortable when they are washing their hands but as far as effectiveness, this study shows us that the temperature of the water used didn’t matter,” said Donald Schaffner, distinguished professor and extension specialist in food science.

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