Sustainability

Europe importing more palm oil for biofuels, raising risks for rain forests
September 10, 2013 09:52 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM

Palm oil imports into Europe for use as car fuel increased by more than three-fold since 2006, raising concerns than renewable fuels targets may be contributing to deforestation, displacing marginalized communities, and driving greenhouse gas emissions in Southeast Asia, finds a new study published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

Verizon Foundation Launches Second Innovative App Challenge for Students to Bolster Engagement in STEM Subjects
September 10, 2013 06:02 AM - Verizon, Justmeans

The Verizon Foundation, in partnership with the Technology Student Association, has opened the 2013-2014 Innovative App Challenge, giving middle and high school students across the country a chance to develop a concept for a mobile app and bring it to market. The mobile app design competition aims to engage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects and empower them to create STEM-related app concepts that solve real-world problems in their community or school. Students have a chance to win Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablets courtesy of Samsung Telecommunications America, cash grants of up to $20,000 for their school, and the opportunity to team up with app development experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab to build and bring their apps to life. Verizon will help winning teams bring their app to the Google Play store, available for download. The fastest-growing careers in the United States are STEM-related, yet the country is not graduating enough young professionals in these fields to meet this need. As a result, as many as 3 million STEM jobs have gone unfilled, according to STEMconnector's "2013 EdTech — Revolution in Education"

Food and beverage dye going all-natural
September 9, 2013 02:15 PM - Debra Goldberg, ENN

As consumers are becoming more health-conscious and aware of chemical additives and dyes in their food, many are starting to stray away from anything that contains "unnatural" ingredients, including food and drink dyes. At the 246th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), this concern was one of the many topics discussed at the convention.

Are UK drivers more switched on to electric vehicles?
September 9, 2013 10:30 AM - MOVEFORWARD, via, Electric Forum

It may come as a surprise to those who drive in the UK but a recent survey by Censuswide and Rexel has revealed that 41% of British drivers surveyed would consider the purchase of an electric vehicle or hybrid over the next five years. The survey also revealed a number of anomalies with regards to the public’s perception of the electric vehicle industry which should give food for thought as we move forward with this new mode of transport.

The Eugen Maersk and the Future of Clean Shipping
September 9, 2013 10:04 AM - ShipServ via, Clean Techies

Unless you're a particularly dedicated shipping enthusiast, it's safe to say that you have probably not come across the name "Eugen Maersk" before. However, it's time that you commit it to memory, as she may well be the future of clean shipping. At full capacity, she weighs in at well over 150,000 tonnes (a weight equivalent to almost a thousand adult blue whales). This bulk is matched by her size — she stretches for more than four football pitches in length, coming in at 397 metres. She takes more than four miles to come to a complete stop from full speed, and burns through significantly more than two hundred tonnes of bunker fuel in one single day. This fuel gives off a large amount of pollution; the total sum of all global shipping activity is responsible for more than three per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions.

Happiness found to be a good target of policy
September 9, 2013 06:10 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Everyone yearns to be happy. Some think obtaining the next hot gadget or cell phone will do it. Others the new hot sports car. For others, a warm bed and food for their family will bring happiness. But what does our yearning for happiness have to do with government policy? How can governments increase our happiness? As heads of state get ready for the United Nations General Assembly in two weeks, the second World Happiness Report further strengthens the case that well-being should be a critical component of how the world measures its economic and social development. The report is published by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), under the auspices of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Leading experts in several fields — economics, psychology, survey analysis, national statistics, and more — describe how measurements of well-being can be used effectively to assess the progress of nations. The Report is edited by Professor John F. Helliwell, of the University of British Columbia and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research; Lord Richard Layard, Director of the Well-Being Programme at LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance; and Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Director of the SDSN, and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General. "There is now a rising worldwide demand that policy be more closely aligned with what really matters to people as they themselves characterize their well-being," said Professor Jeffery Sachs. "More and more world leaders are talking about the importance of well-being as a guide for their nations and the world. The World Happiness Report 2013 offers rich evidence that the systematic measurement and analysis of happiness can teach us a lot about ways to improve the world’s well-being and sustainable development."

Fracking fight heats up in Ohio
September 8, 2013 07:21 AM - Nick Cunningham, Duncan Gromko, DC Beureau

What could make a former Marine, retired cop, and self-described "ultra-conservative" oppose fracking in his home state of Ohio? At a diner off of Route 22 near Steubenville, OH, Ed Hashberger had the answer. Dressed in a red polo shirt emblazoned with the U.S. Marine Corps logo and carrying a Marine Corps notebook, Hashberger first described his bona fides. He served three years in Panama. He recited half a dozen close relatives who served in World War II, the Vietnam War, Afghanistan, and Iraq. His son was badly injured from an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan and remains confined to a wheel chair as a result.

NASA study supports soot as cause of glacier retreat in late 1880's
September 7, 2013 06:02 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Several other studies have pointe to the role that soot plays in altering the earth's albedo, its ability to absorb or reflect sunlight, and its role in causing glaciers to retreat. Now a new study by NASA provides crucial evidence supporting these theories. A NASA-led team of scientists has uncovered strong evidence that soot from a rapidly industrializing Europe caused the abrupt retreat of mountain glaciers in the European Alps that began in the 1860s, a period often thought of as the end of the Little Ice Age. The research, published Sept. 3 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may help resolve a longstanding scientific debate.

Small birds save big money for Costa Rica's farmers
September 6, 2013 11:13 AM - Nature News, SciDevNet

The yellow warbler may not pull a perfect latte, but it turns out it's a friend to coffee drinkers all the same. Research in Costa Rica shows that hungry warblers and other birds significantly reduce damage by a devastating coffee pest, the coffee berry borer beetle.

Is War becoming less frequent?
September 6, 2013 06:27 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Nations have been going to war against other nations since before recorded history. There have been periods of peace, and then periods of war. As our societies become more advanced, do they become more civilized, does war decrease as less destructive ways are found to settle differences? Interesting research by Ohio State University sheds light on this. While some researchers have claimed that war between nations is in decline, a new analysis by Bear Braumoeller, associate professor of political science at The Ohio State University suggests we shouldn't be too quick to celebrate a more peaceful world. The study finds that there is no clear trend indicating that nations are less eager to wage war. Conflict does appear to be less common than it had been in the past, he said. But that's due more to an inability to fight than to an unwillingness to do so.

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