Sustainability

Mutating height genes in plants
November 12, 2013 03:53 PM - Writers at the Max Planck Institute

The normal height to which plants grow is a critical trait. In the wild Arabidopsis thaliana uses the same genetic changes in the biosynthesis of the growth factor gibberellin to cut its size in half as found in semi-dwarf varieties of rice and barley that have been bred by people. When expressing the same phenotype, various plant species apparently fall back on the same genes in their genotype. There must therefore be so-called "hot spots" whose repeated mutation produces the same traits that are beneficial in some conditions.

Tiny islands with big climate change problems
November 12, 2013 02:25 PM - Jan Piotrowski, SciDevNet

Tiny island states that speck the vast swathe of the Pacific Ocean have a far greater importance in understanding global climate change than their tiny populations would suggest. This was the message given to delegates during a side event of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change's 19th annual meeting in Warsaw today.

Green Father Christmas promotes less consumption
November 12, 2013 09:50 AM - Click Green staff, ClickGreen

A new 'Green Father Christmas' campaign is calling for the festive icon to embrace his green coat, abandoning his allegiance with big global consumer brands. Launched by Abundance Generation, the campaign stands for a Christmas less focused on consumption. 'Green Father Christmas' calls for those holding a greener Christmas to share his image online, allowing his new look to travel across the world.

LEED certification tax credit eligibility deadline fast approaching
November 11, 2013 02:22 PM - Guest contributed , Clean Techies

With construction projects facing deadlines to be eligible for tax credits, drop dead dates to meet contractual obligations and otherwise needing to obtain LEED certification by December 31st, submission deadlines to the Green Building Certification Institute are fast approaching. Appreciate that a couple of weeks ago (i.e., the week that ended November 2nd) 48 projects comprising 8,833,676 square feet achieved LEED certification in the U.S. (not including Homes or the several 'confidential' projects that were certified).

Transforming the Solar Discussion
November 11, 2013 01:08 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

The sun’s energy has been a central component of the renewable energy cache, including several harnessing technologies such as solar heating, photovoltaics, thermal, architecture and artificial photosynthesis. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati are bringing forth a new method of solar capture and storage called SmartLight that includes the use of electrofluidic cells in concert with embedded photovoltaics placed at the top of a building’s windows. These solar capture elements are then used to project light into the building through a continuous grid-strip of electrofluidic cells. Lead researcher, Jason Heikenfeld envisions these cell channels running across the top of a room and through room adjoining transom windows for distribution as needed within any of the office building’s rooms regardless of its position within the building.

Sustainable Fishing
November 11, 2013 06:22 AM - KAT FRIEDRICH/ecoRI News, Oceana

Restoring ocean fisheries in 24 countries could provide a meal for close to a billion people a day. New Englanders can also help ocean ecosystems recover by eating wild fish, choosing small fish, buying fish from the United States and eating mollusks, according to Andrew Sharpless, CEO of Oceana. It's best to avoid eating shrimp because they are caught in nets that bring many species up accidentally, Sharpless said. The unwanted species are known as "by catch" and are tossed back into sea, usually dead. He also said carnivorous fish such as salmon should be caught in the wild rather than farmed.

Bats vs wind turbines - the bats lose
November 9, 2013 07:36 AM - ScienceDaily

A new estimate of bat deaths caused by wind turbines concludes that more than 600,000 of the mammals likely died this way in 2012 in the contiguous United States. The estimate, published in an article in BioScience, used sophisticated statistical techniques to infer the probable number of bat deaths at wind energy facilities from the number of dead bats found at 21 locations, correcting for the installed power capacity of the facilities. Bats, although not widely loved, play an important role in the ecosystem as insect-eaters, and also pollinate some plants. They are killed at wind turbines not only by collisions with moving turbine blades, but also by the trauma resulting from sudden changes in air pressure that occur near a fast-moving blade.

Port development threatens Jamaican Iguana comeback
November 9, 2013 07:00 AM - Adam Andras, MONGABAY.COM

The story of the Jamaican iguana (Cyclura collie) is one of adversity and resurgence. Once believed extinct, the species has made a remarkable comeback over the last two decades. However, according to concerned scientists, a new plan to build a massive port in the iguana's habitat could push the species back to the edge of extinction.

Plan It for the Planet! November 15th America Recycles Day
November 8, 2013 10:16 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

So maybe America Recycles Day isn't as well known as Thanksgiving, New Years or the Fourth of July, but it is potentially becoming equally as significant for our planet's future! While our national recycling rate has increased each year for the past 30 years there is still great opportunity for recycling. America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day and community-driven awareness event dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the U.S.

Relating the trees in the Amazon to west coast droughts
November 7, 2013 02:09 PM - Morgan Kelly, Princeton University

In research meant to highlight how the destruction of the Amazon rainforest could affect climate elsewhere, Princeton University-led researchers report that the total deforestation of the Amazon may significantly reduce rain and snowfall in the western United States, resulting in water and food shortages, and a greater risk of forest fires.

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