Sustainability

Popularity of plug-in vehicles on the rise
January 13, 2014 09:30 AM - Eric Justian, Triple Pundit

Good news for those living at the intersection of manufacturing and environmentalism. Here in the U.S., sales of plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles almost doubled between 2012 and 2013 with an 84 percent jump to 96,600 of the vehicles sold. That’s 49,000 plug-in hybrids (like the Volt) and 47,600 pure battery powered plug-in vehicles sold.

How plants respond to climate change
January 12, 2014 08:24 AM - ScienceDaily

Swiss plants, butterflies and birds have moved 8 to 42 meters uphill between 2003 and 2010, as scientists from the University of Basel write in the online journal PLoS One. Climate warming is changing the distribution of plants and animals worldwide. Recently it was shown that in the past two decades, European bird and butterfly communities have moved on average 37 and 114 kilometers to the north, respectively.

Tree Island restoration
January 10, 2014 09:06 AM - Liz Kimbrough, MONGABAY.COM

Worldwide, large swaths of land lay barren in the wake of agricultural expansion, and as global forest cover continues to decline, carbon and water cycles, biodiversity, and human health are impacted. But efforts to restore abandoned pastures and agricultural plots back into functioning forest ecosystems are often hindered by high costs and time requirements. Fortunately, scientists have developed a new method for a more cost effective solution to forest restoration, the establishment of "tree islands."

Spitting Sulfates!
January 9, 2014 10:41 AM - Nicole Jones, Yale 360

In 1991, Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted in one of the largest volcanic blasts of the 20th century. It spat up to 20 million tons of sulfur into the upper atmosphere, shielding the earth from the sun's rays and causing global temperatures to drop by nearly half a degree Celsius in a single year. That's more than half of the amount the planet has warmed due to climate change in 130 years.

Increase in Tourism Impacts Seashell Loss
January 9, 2014 09:32 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

Walking down the beach you see the perfect shell. You pick it up, put it in your pocket and decide to keep it to remind you of your trip to paradise. While different agencies, states, and countries have specific regulations on taking shells, vials of sand, or any other object from its natural environment, you are generally not allowed to bring these souvenirs home with you, especially to another country. Why? Mainly because if everyone did it, there would be none left. But despite airports seizing tons of shells each week, seashells are still disappearing at various tourist locations and according to a new study, as global tourism increases, human-induced seashell loss may harm natural habitats worldwide.

Giant wave of understanding in South China Sea
January 8, 2014 03:43 PM - David L. Chandler, MIT

Their effect on the surface of the ocean is negligible, producing a rise of just inches that is virtually imperceptible on a turbulent sea. But internal waves, which are hidden entirely within the ocean, can tower hundreds of feet, with profound effects on the Earth's climate and on ocean ecosystems. Now new research, both in the ocean and in the largest-ever laboratory experiments to investigate internal waves, has solved a longstanding mystery about exactly how the largest known internal waves, in the South China Sea, are produced. The new findings come from a team effort involving MIT and several other institutions, and coordinated by the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

Annual home checkup should include a radon test
January 8, 2014 12:49 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Because 21,000 Americans die each year from radon related lung cancer the EPA recommends an annual testing of radon in the home. By making January “Radon Action Month” homeowners can protect their family from this leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and DIY test kits are as low as $10.

Suburbs Stomp On City's Eco-Savings with their own Carbon Footprint
January 8, 2014 09:31 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

According to a new study by UC Berkeley researchers, population-dense cities contribute less greenhouse-gas emissions per person than other areas of the country. This reasoning seems to makes sense because of resources like public transportation that cut down carbon emissions and shared heating and electricity costs that save on energy. But with every city comes its suburbs and these areas essentially stomp out all environmental benefits that dense cities provide with their own carbon footprint.

Renewables Now Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels in Australia
January 8, 2014 07:35 AM - Celsias, Clean Techies

A study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) in Australia has discovered that renewable energy is cheaper to produce than the old conventional fossil fuel sources, and that is without the subsidies. The study shows that electricity can be supplied from a new wind farm at a cost of AUD 80/MWh (USD 83), compared to AUD 143/MWh from a new coal plant or AUD 116/MWh from a new baseload gas plant, including the cost of emissions under the Gillard government’s carbon pricing scheme. However even without a carbon price (the most efficient way to reduce economy-wide emissions) wind energy is 14% cheaper than new coal and 18% cheaper than new gas.

Wild deep-freeze warming techniques
January 7, 2014 11:57 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

With much of the northern hemisphere embedded in a deep freeze, one wonders how cold weather animals remain alive through frigid temperatures. Energy supplies are drained in the cold making it necessary to have a good solid cache of warming survival skills. Some animals have adaptive features and other animals have found adaptive techniques. Some of their creative adaptations are listed:

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