Sustainability

New Tool Will Help Revolutionize Forest Monitoring
February 21, 2014 08:04 AM - Rhett A. Butler, MONGABAY.COM

World Resources Institute (WRI) yesterday announced the release of a tool that promises to revolutionize forest monitoring. The platform, called Global Forest Watch and developed over several years with more than 40 partners, draws from a rich array of "big data" related to the word's forests and translates it into interactive maps and charts that reveal trends in deforestation, forest recovery, and industrial forestry expansion. Global Forest Watch is the first tool to monitors global forests on a monthly basis, allowing authorities and conservationists to potentially take action against deforestation as it is occurring.

Predicting forest canopy and species displacement
February 20, 2014 03:08 PM - David Orenstein, Brown University

Out of an effort to account for what seemed in airborne images to be unusually large tree growth in a Hawaiian forest, scientists at Brown University and the Carnegie Institution for Science have developed a new mathematical model that predicts how trees compete for space in the canopy.

Just How Clean is Natural Gas?
February 20, 2014 10:23 AM - S.E. Smith, Care2

Just the other day I hopped on a natural gas bus to head to downtown Oakland, enjoying one of the East Bay’s many environmentally-friendly public transit options. But how friendly was that bus to the birds, the bees and the trees?

Trouble for Tea
February 19, 2014 08:58 AM - Ann-Marie Brouder, The Ecologist

Britain's favorite tipple faces big challenges over coming decades, writes Ann-Marie Brouder. A new report sets out the challenges and proposes sustainable solutions to keep the 'cup that cheers' on the nation's tables. Tea is big business: three billion cups of it are consumed every day, 4.8 million tonnes are produced annually, and in Britain two in three people drink it daily. And tea is much more than just a business - many people and cultures have a deep emotional attachment to the 'cup that cheers', and would be horrified at the idea that there was any threat to their beloved beverage.

Fracking residual waters
February 18, 2014 09:40 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

As fracking amongst Marcellus Shale in the northeastern part of the United States increases so does the concern over its process. Fracking is done utilizing a hydraulic fracturing process, which pumps a high-pressure mixture of water, chemicals and sand deep into the sedimentary formations to extract naturally occurring gas. The resultant wastewater is then stored in large impoundment ponds and closed container tanks until it can be piped to wastewater treatment plants. Once cleaned it is discharged into local streams or trucked to Ohio to be pumped deep down into another injection well or into another fracking operation.

One-in-five products not complying with energy saving claims
February 18, 2014 08:08 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

One in five energy-using products across Europe do not match their energy efficiency claims, according to the Energy Saving Trust. This follows findings from European Commission-funded research which revealed that up to 20 per cent are non-compliant with energy efficiency standards, such as energy labeling. According to estimates, this is leading to around ten per cent of the potential energy savings stated being lost by millions of products across Europe, including ovens, fridges, washing machines, dishwashers, televisions and computers.

Protect the deep ocean now!
February 17, 2014 09:09 AM - University of California, San Diego via EurekAlert

The deep ocean, the largest domain for life on earth, is also its least explored environment. Humans are now encroaching more vigorously than ever into the ocean's deep regions, exploiting the deep's resources and placing its wealth of vibrant habitats and natural services for the planet at risk. Lisa Levin, a biological oceanographer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, believes the vital functions provided by the deep sea—from carbon sequestration to nurturing fish stocks—are key to the health of the planet. As humans ramp up exploitation of deep-sea fish, energy, minerals, and genetic resources, a new "stewardship mentality" across countries, economic sectors, and disciplines is required, Levin says, for the future health and integrity of the deep ocean.

How mountain trees help regulate climate
February 16, 2014 08:02 AM - Harriet Jarlett, Planet Earth Online

A new study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, shows that if global temperatures were to rise over geologic timescales, trees at higher elevations could play an important role in encouraging more carbon dioxide to be removed from the atmosphere. The team, from the Universities of Sheffield and Oxford, conducted their research in the Peruvian mountains, where they found that in higher, colder conditions tree root growth slows. This means the roots don't reach far enough into the ground to cause the rocks beneath them to break down and combine with carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere - a process called weathering.

Testing for environmental contaminants in wastewater biosolids
February 14, 2014 10:08 AM - Ken Kingery, Duke University

Every year waste treatment facilities in the United States process more than eight million tons of semi-solid sewage called biosolids -- about half of which is recycled into fertilizer and spread on crop land. The practice helps solve storage issues and produces revenue to support the treatment plants, but what else is being spread in that sludge?

Chocolate alert!
February 14, 2014 09:23 AM - Amy Carniol, Triple Pundit

It's Valentine's Day, and in supermarkets, drug stores and specialty shops across the country, shelves are lined with chocolates of every shape, size and variety. As you browse through endless heart-shaped boxes, consider this: The chocolate industry is in jeopardy, and if things don't change, there could be a worldwide cocoa deficit by the year 2020.

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