Cry for global STEM funding
April 24, 2014 10:50 AM - Oliver Girard, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) , SciDevNet
In today's global economy, a workforce trained in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is recognized as a primary driver of growth. Around the world, STEM education initiatives vary in scope, size, type, target populations and funding sources. What’s missing is a unified global mechanism for STEM education. Creating a Global STEM Fund would help support and implement effective and innovative STEM programs in developing countries. The NGO Cosmos Education, the STEM Innovation Camp in South Africa, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences and the Bunengi STEM Africa are but a few examples of organizations and programs that could benefit.
Are Large Dams Economical?
April 23, 2014 08:51 AM - Editor, The Ecologist
A study of 245 large dams carried out at Oxford University shows that big hydropower is uneconomic. Actual costs are typically double pre-construction estimates - and have not improved over 70 years. Researchers at Oxford University have found that planners and policymakers systematically underestimate the costs and time required to implement large dam projects.
Colgate-Palmolive Commits to Recyclable Packaging
April 23, 2014 08:04 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit
Colgate-Palmolive recently committed to making 100 percent of its packaging fully recyclable for three out of four product categories by 2020. The three categories set to go recyclable are home, pet and personal care. Colgate has also committed to developing a completely recyclable toothpaste tube or package.
The Evolution of Earth Day
April 22, 2014 10:29 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
Each year April 22nd, marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the environmental movement in 1970. Not only did this movement help pass landmark legislation like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act but it has also engaged more than 1 billion people who now participate in Earth Day activities each year.
Agencies and Regulators Step Up to Combat 'Pirate Fishing'
April 22, 2014 08:09 AM - ENN Staff
A new study shows that a surprisingly large amount of the seafood sold in U.S. markets is caught illegally. In fact, 90 percent of U.S. seafood is imported, and according to a new study in the journal Marine Policy, as much as a third of that is caught illegally or without proper documentation.
Narcotics + Deforestation = Narco-Deforestation
April 21, 2014 02:12 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Narco-Deforestation, a newly coined term for the destruction of sensitive forest ecologies in Central and South America has been identified as a greater threat to the South and Central American forests than other previously identified concerns such as legal logging and development. The drug traffickers are creating new autoroutes and airplane strips for greater access to and through the forests and jungles of the Central and South America. These new routes make it easier to transport drugs from Mexico to South America and vice-versa.
Turtle Trouble: 20-year study finds large decrease in green turtle catch rates
April 21, 2014 02:05 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
Sea turtle populations have been exploited for hundreds of years, and even though conservation efforts have increased substantially in modern times, populations still suffer across the globe. In fact, according to conservation scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society and University of Florida, over-fishing is to blame for more than 170,000 green turtles deaths between 1991 and 2011.
That sinking feeling on the Mississippi Delta
April 21, 2014 09:49 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Every engineering control has its drawbacks. As communities upstream of the Mississippi Delta continue to emplace dams and other flood control measures to prevent community flooding, less sediment is pulled from the lands upstream. Flood control measures have eliminated about half of the annual supply of marshland sediment to the Mississippi Delta. The existing soils continue to compact and sink without sediment replenishment. But researchers have found that the river’s supply of sand, the key ingredient used by engineers for rebuilding, will remain constant for many centuries.
Bacardi Makes Energy Efficiency Upgrades to Its Rum Facility in Puerto Rico
April 21, 2014 08:20 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit
Bacardi Ltd. is a world famous maker of rum, but the company is becoming known for something else: its sustainability measures. After highlighting significant reductions in water and energy use in its 2013 corporate social responsibility (CSR) report, Bacardi recently announced new energy efficiency measures. These measures include installing solar skylights, which increase natural light, and ceiling insulation, which helps control temperatures in the company’s warehouses where rum sits inside white oak barrels to process. The company is located in Puerto Rico, a "small Caribbean island with limited resources," as Julio Torruella, project director for Bacardi in Puerto Rico, said in a statement.
Hope on reducing air pollution in South East Asia
April 19, 2014 07:50 AM - NELLY STRATIEVA, Worldwatch Institute
Smoke from land clearing fires in Indonesia causes hazardous haze pollution in South East Asia every year. Record high levels of air pollution caused by haze were reached in June 2013 in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. In response to regional pressure after the latest haze crisis, Indonesia has finally agreed to adopt the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution from 2002. However, given the pact's weak compliance provisions, will the ratification really be a game-changer in South East Asia’s struggle with haze? In June 2013 South East Asia was suffocating in a cloud of record-breaking haze pollution. The haze, toxic smog caused by fires to clear land for agriculture in Sumatra, Indonesia, exceeded almost three times the hazardous limit for air quality. For a week the most affected areas of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia resembled a post-apocalyptic scene — people only dared go out with face masks, schools were closed, the economy took a hit as businesses suspended work, events were cancelled, tourists stayed clear of the area and hospitals faced a surge of respiratory illnesses. The fires also impact climate change because they produce large amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the burning of carbon-rich peatland and forests. To illustrate the magnitude of the problem: the land-clearing fires which cause transboundary haze are also the biggest contributor to Indonesia's overall GHG emissions. 2013 may have been the worst haze crisis in the region's recorded history, but similar occurrences are the norm during 'haze season' every year since the 1980s.