Sustainability

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.

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.

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