Sustainability

GMO-free Cheerios and the impact of Social Media
January 4, 2014 08:55 AM - Oliver Tickell, The Ecologist

After 40,000 Facebook posts on General Mills Facebook page demanding GM-free Cheerios, the company announces - 'original' Cheerios contain no GM ingredients. The corn starch for original Cheerios comes only from non-GMO corn, and our sugar is only non-GMO pure cane sugar. The GMO Inside campaign is claiming victory with the announcement by General Mills that its leading Cheerios cereal product will from now on be GM-free in North America. News of the company's commitment came on the cereal's dedicated website: "We don't use genetically modified ingredients in original Cheerios. Our principal ingredient has always been whole grain oats - and there are no GMO oats. We use a small amount of corn starch in cooking, and just one gram of sugar per serving for taste. But our corn starch comes from non-GMO corn, and we use only non-GMO pure cane sugar."

Thinning out on Antarctica
January 3, 2014 09:57 AM - ENN Editor

Pine Island Glacier, located in West Antarctica, is showing signs of thinning making it more susceptible to climatic and ocean variability than at first thought. Scientists led by the British Antarctic Survey have discovered large fluctuations in the ocean heat manifesting itself in the melting of the ice shelf into which the glacier flows. Between 2010 and 2012 the ice shelf into which the ice stream flows has decreased by 50%, most likely due to La NinĂ£, suggesting a complex interplay between geological, oceanographic and climatic processes.

Forecasting storms using lightning!
January 3, 2014 09:43 AM - NASA via, SciDevNet

An alternative to costly radar-based weather services could soon be operational in developing nations, to help them detect severe storms more cheaply and quickly. The technology, which uses lightning detection to forecast when and where storms will strike, has already proven successful in demonstration projects in Brazil, Guinea and India. Next year, Earth Networks — one of the companies at the forefront of the technology — will conduct further trials in Haiti. As more developing nations increase their numbers of mobile phone masts, which are ideal locations for mounting the lightning sensors on, the proportion of countries using the technology looks set to increase, according to the US company.

2014 National Defense Authorization Act is huge win for LEED green building system
January 3, 2014 09:15 AM - Stuart Kaplow, courtesy Green Building Law Update, Clean Techies

President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2014 in Honolulu last Thursday and while most observers noted that the bill cracks down on sexual assaults in the military and eases restrictions on transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay, the bill also is a huge win for the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green building rating system. By way of background, the Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy and other instruments of the Department of Defense own and operate 299,000 buildings and 211,000 additional structures, making it the largest owner of buildings in North America, but it is also the owner of more green buildings and more LEED certified buildings than anyone else.

Catching Weevils with Different Colored Traps
January 3, 2014 08:15 AM - ENN Staff

The weevil is a type of beetle that is known for damaging crops. Whether they damage stored grain or dried food products, or attack cotton crops, the many types of weevils can cause problems for farmers and consumers alike. In an effort to develop more eco-friendly control methods for the weevil, researches have discovered that different colored traps attract more sweet potato weevils than other colors.

COLLEGIATE CORNER: Saving Earth from Space
January 2, 2014 12:41 PM - Destiny Allen; Environment, Economics, Development, Sustainability (EEDS), Class of 2015, The Ohio State University

When we think of the environment, we do not immediately jump to thinking of outer space. The environment usually conjures up images on Earth of breathless beauty, but this does not mean a solution to renewable energy is bound to the limits of our planet.

Save your holiday greens to help the birds!
January 1, 2014 09:50 AM - Alicia Graef, Care2

As bitter winter winds blow through the leafless trees and forest birds search for the shelter of an evergreen, we can offer them some help by repurposing our leftover holiday greenery. With the loss of woodlands, backyard habitats have become increasingly important for birds that stay with us through the winter months. Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology just published a friendly reminder that we can extend the usefulness of our holiday trees, wreaths and other greenery by putting them near feeders and in yards, among other things, to offer birds thermal refuge, instead of just tossing them to the curb.

Coping in a harsh desert environment
December 31, 2013 01:15 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Far from being devoid of life, deserts are home to numerous plants and animals. In the desert, plants and animals often compete for limited resources: especially water. To cope, plants will adopt different strategies to compete with their neighbors for this precious resource.

Impacts of climate change in the deep sea
December 31, 2013 12:30 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Even the most remote deep-sea ecosystems are affected by climate change according to a study conducted by the National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton, UK. According to the study, seafloor dwellers will decline by up to 38% in the North Atlantic and over 5% globally over the next century because of a reduction in the ocean's surface plants and animals.

Water year round in the land of ice
December 30, 2013 10:00 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

In Greenland where three quarters of the land mass is covered by the earth's only inhabited ice sheet, water is not so easy to obtain. University of Utah researchers however, have discovered a new reservoir/aquifer in Greenland's ice sheet. The reservoir is known as a "perennial firn aquifer" and covers 27,000 square miles an area larger than the state of West Virginia. Called a firn because water persists within layers of snow and ice that doesn't melt for at least one season, researchers believe the discovery will aid in the understanding of snowmelt and ice melt as it relates to rising sea levels.

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