Future cost of water is no small change
March 25, 2014 12:22 PM - Dr. Lynn A. Wilson, Kaplan University
Water scarcity was, until recently, considered by most of the developed world to be like James Hilton's Lost Horizon: "far away, at the very limit of distance." However, the convergence of aquifer depletion from increasing agricultural, industrial and municipal water use with more frequent and intense extreme weather events creates an urgency to develop new, reliable sources of fresh water to "drought-proof" communities through a combination of desalinization technologies, water recovery and reuse programs and PPP (public private partnerships). The race is on to provide fresh water to satisfy ever-increasing human demands. In order to make responsible decisions, changing conditions require rethinking water policy and distribution.
World’s river systems: Stressed OUT
March 24, 2014 02:16 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
According to the World Resources Institute (WRI) many, if not most of the world’s rivers are stressed. Determining a systems water stress is based upon measuring the ratio of total water withdrawals to the available renewable supplies within the catchment area. Rivers are an indispensible resource for our communities and ecosystems and we are hugely dependent upon them for agriculture, industry and our natural systems. A stressed river system can severely threaten regional water security and economic growth, and potentially contribute to political instability—especially in the absence of an adequate water-management plan.
Chernobyl: thirty years hence...
March 24, 2014 09:26 AM - Rachel Nuwer/Smithsonian, Ecologist
It's not just people, animals and trees that suffer from radiation at Chernobyl, writes Rachel Nuwer, but also decomposer fungi and microbes. And with the buildup of dead wood comes the risk of catastrophic fire - which could spread radiation far and wide. Nearly 30 years have passed since the Chernobyl plant exploded and caused an unprecedented nuclear disaster. The effects of that catastrophe, however, are still felt today.
Wetlands and methane emissions
March 23, 2014 09:59 AM - Tim Radford, The Ecologist
Scientists think the amount of methane emitted to the atmosphere from freshwater ecosystems will increase as the climate warms, reports Tim Radford. And that will trigger further warming. This highlights another mechanism by which the global carbon cycle may serve to accelerate rather than mitigate future climate change. British scientists have identified yet another twist to the threat of global warming. Any further rises in temperature are likely to accelerate the release of methane from rivers, lakes, deltas, bogs, swamps, marshlands and rice paddy fields.
Nissan LEAF drivers save big!
March 22, 2014 07:19 AM - Staff ClickGreen, ClickGreen
Drivers of the world’s best-selling electric car, the Nissan LEAF, are edging towards the milestone of clocking up 1 billion kilometres of low-cost, low-carbon motoring. Owners of more than 100,000 Nissan LEAFs worldwide have now collectively saved over £50 million through cheaper fuelling costs and are responsible for removing 204,000 tonnes of potential CO2 emissions from the environment.
Road to environmental destruction
March 21, 2014 11:40 AM - ENN Editor
Roads are considered connectors of human development providing opportunities for economic success and communication but the flip side of this network is that it has also brought enormous destruction to our fields and forests. With forest destruction comes increased human development and ecological degradation. Recent mapping and modeling has been done to document and measure forest destruction in an initiative by the Ames Research Center of NASA and ENN affiliate, Mongabay.
The omni-benefits of regenerative pasture
March 21, 2014 11:04 AM - Natasha Giddings, Ecologist
Managing grasslands in a way that mimics natural grazing by wild animals improves water infiltration, reduces erosion, conserves nutrients, reduces costs, raises production and increases profits, writes Natasha Giddings. Why isn't everyone doing it?
Floods in Britain: a sign of things to come?
March 20, 2014 11:52 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
A new investigation of long-term weather records suggests that the recent flooding in the south of England could signal the onset of climate change. The research, from UWE Bristol, Loughborough University and the University of East Anglia has produced a new index of flooding trends called the Fluvial Flood Indices. This enables widespread flooding and weather patterns to be viewed in the context of the last 150 years, revealing that four of the six most severe flood episodes since 1871 have occurred in the last 30 years.
March 20, 2014 10:59 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
According to WaterSense, an Environmental Protection Agency Partnership Program, household leaks waste more than a trillion gallons of water annually. Our urgency to conserve often depends upon what part of the country we live. But officials predict that at least 36 states that will experience some sort of water shortage.
Leftover trees enhance the biodiversity of new forests
March 20, 2014 08:34 AM - Nicholas Barrett, MONGABAY.COM
Trees left standing after deforestation have a discernible impact on the composition of local biodiversity in secondary growth forests, according to a new study published in PLOS ONE. Researchers working on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica discovered that remnant trees could affect species composition of regenerated forests up to 20 years after being logged.