Sustainability

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.

Persistent Energy Ghana Brings Solar to Those Who Need Light
December 30, 2013 08:07 AM - Justine Porter, Triple Pundit

Persistent Energy Ghana (PEG) is leading the movement to bring green energy, installing solar-powered micro-grids for the one million Ghanaian households that earn between $1 and $6 a day. PEG, a Ghanaian energy services company that launched last year, hopes to help under-electrified regions leap-frog directly from kerosene to solar in the same way that Ghana skipped over the installation of telephone lines thanks to the adoption of cell phones.

Amazon forest loss and water supply are linked
December 30, 2013 07:05 AM - Paul Brown, Ecologist

Water, food supplies and energy production are all in jeopardy as the Amazon forest is felled for profit. And as Paul Brown writes, the damage is spreading well beyond Amazonia itself. The combination of industrial and agricultural pollution and droughts is creating a once unthinkable vulnerability for the five countries of Amazonia. The continued destruction of the Amazon to exploit its resources for mining, agriculture and hydro-power is threatening the future of the South American continent, according to a report by campaigning groups using the latest scientific data. Five countries - Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru - share the Amazon, and for all of them the forest area occupies more than 40% of their territory. All face threats to their water supply, energy production, food and health.

Ways to recycle a Christmas tree
December 29, 2013 08:39 AM - Beth Buczynski, Care2

For nearly a month (maybe longer if you're one of those day-after-Thanksgiving types), your Christmas tree has formed the centerpiece of holiday celebrations. But now, as the New Year draws near, it's time to think about what to do with it. If, like millions of people, you chose a fresh cut tree, it's important to think long and hard about recycling. After all, a carbon-sucking plant gave its life so that you could honor the pagan tradition of decorating a tree. Just tossing it in the garbage is a depressing waste, especially when there are so many other creative options. Below is a list of the most creative ideas we've ever seen for repurposing Christmas trees. Although most of us will undoubtedly choose number one (the easiest option), the others will warm your heart as well.

Wisconsin Combats Icy Streets with ... Cheese?
December 27, 2013 01:47 PM - Allison Winter, ENN

We all know that Wisconsin is known for it's cheese, producing more cheese than any other state — in fact, 2.7 billion pounds were produced last year! But besides consumption, what are mid-westerners doing with all that cheese? Well, for one, Wisconsin is taking cheese to a whole new level by using it to melt their icy roads!

Intelligent disaster relief
December 27, 2013 11:46 AM - Kieran Dodds/Panos, SciDevNet

The "fragmented" coordination between relief actors in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan last month underscores the need for artificial intelligence to streamline disaster response, says a team behind such an effort. The ORCHID project, a consortium of UK universities and private firms, aims to make this possible by combining human and artificial intelligence into an efficient complementary unit known as a Human Agent Collective (HAC).

Smart is at a whole new level for homes
December 27, 2013 10:13 AM - Editor, ENN, Sierra Club Green Home

Smart homes have gone to a whole new level with Panasonic's showcase center in Tokyo, Japan. Panasonic's new technologies feature hydroponics, air ventilation, color customization, and energy consumption. The energy consumption specifically is integrated into a grid of other smart homes that share excess energy; respond to energy needs, and track community usage trends. The resultant home is a zero-emission smart house combining with nature’s elements.

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