Sustainability

The truth about cats' and dogs' environmental impact
August 3, 2017 02:56 PM - University of California - Los Angeles

With many Americans choosing to eat less meat in recent years, often to help reduce the environmental effect of meat production, UCLA geography professor Gregory Okin began to wonder how much feeding pets contributes to issues like climate change.

A Dolphin Diet
August 2, 2017 04:33 PM - University of California - Santa Barbara

The health of dolphin populations worldwide depends on sustained access to robust food sources.

A new report by UC Santa Barbara researchers and colleagues at UC San Diego and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration looks at three different dolphin species, studying what they eat and how they divide ocean resources and space -- important information for conservation and management. The team's findings appear in the journal PLOS ONE.

"We used the principle of 'you are what you eat' to unlock some of the secrets of dolphin diet," said lead author Hillary Young, an assistant professor in UCSB's Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology (EEMB). "All of the foods that we or any animal eat are incorporated after digestion into body tissues. Most Americans, for example, chemically look like walking corn cobs because the foods we eat contain so much corn syrup."

New membranes help reduce carbon dioxide emission
July 26, 2017 12:34 PM - University of Twente

The University of Twente and the German Research Centre Jülich are collaborating on developing membranes for an efficient separation of gasses, to use for the production of oxygen or hydrogen, for example.

Climate change poses threat to European electricity production
July 25, 2017 01:28 PM - Universiteit Leiden

The vulnerability of the European electricity sector to changes in water resources is set to worsen by 2030 as a consequence of climate change. This conclusion is reached by researchers at Leiden University in an article published in Nature Energy this month.

Sustainable food startup looks north through non-profit partnership
July 24, 2017 08:23 AM - University of Toronto

A University of Toronto startup that sells vertical hydroponic growing systems has joined forces with a Ryerson University-linked non-profit to bring down the stratospheric cost of fresh fruits and vegetables in Canada’s northernmost communities.

The unique partnership was forged at this year’s OCE innovation conference after Conner Tidd, a co-founder of U of T’s Just Vertical, ran into the founders of Ryerson’s Growing North. Tidd knew Growing North had built a geodesic greenhouse filled with hydroponic towers in Naujaat, NV.

New robotic lab tracking toxicity of Lake Erie algal bloom
July 22, 2017 12:41 PM - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

A new research tool to safeguard drinking water is now keeping a watchful eye on Lake Erie. This week, a robotic lake-bottom laboratory began tracking the levels of dangerous toxins produced by cyanobacteria that bloom each summer in the lake's western basin.

The goal is to provide advance warning to municipal drinking water managers and thereby prevent a recurrence of the water crisis that left more than 400,000 Toledo-area residents without safe drinking water for about two days in early August 2014 due to high levels of microcystin toxins.

Shading and Lighting Retrofits Slash Energy Use in New York ''Living Lab'' Office Demonstration
July 20, 2017 02:30 PM - DOE / Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

By using advanced lighting and automated shades, scientists from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) found that occupants on one floor of a high-rise office building in New York City were able to reduce lighting energy usage by nearly 80 percent in some areas.

The dramatic results emerged at a “living laboratory” set up to test four sets of technologies on one 40,000 square-foot floor of a building.

Berkeley Lab to Lead Multimillion-Dollar Geothermal Energy Project
July 20, 2017 02:23 PM - DOE / Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) will lead a new $9 million project aimed at removing technical barriers to commercialization of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), a clean energy technology with the potential to power 100 million American homes.

Berkeley Lab will partner with seven other DOE national labs and six universities to develop field experiments focused on understanding and modeling rock fractures, an essential element of geothermal systems. Scientists will use the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in South Dakota to create small-scale fracture networks in crystalline rock 1,500 meters below ground.

Looking back to move agriculture forward
July 20, 2017 08:05 AM - University of Ottawa

Small farmers and indigenous communities have practised sustainable agriculture for centuries. Chidi Oguamanam is working to ensure that traditional knowledge is recognized and shared equitably.

The kind of clean technology Chidi Oguamanam advocates looks a lot different from what many of us might imagine. No high-tech solar panels. No futuristic gizmos. No scientists in a lab.

Fresh Water Below the Seafloor?
July 19, 2017 05:49 PM - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

In some places, water is dangerously scarce. In the African Sahel, generations of severe droughts have claimed millions of lives and have turned fertile pastures into swaths of desert. In Brazil, residents of the water-starved city of São Paulo have been frenetically digging homemade wells to mine fresh water, while schoolkids skip brushing their teeth as a conservation measure. And in California, devastating drought conditions in recent years idled nearly a half-million acres of crops and triggered the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.

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