Sustainability

Cropland expansion the culprit in biodiversity loss, says study
March 1, 2013 08:55 AM - Clara Rondonuwu, SciDevNet

Rapid cropland expansion is the main cause of biodiversity loss in tropical countries, a study by UNEP's (the UN Environment Programme) World Conservation Monitoring Centre and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative has found. The study, published in PLOS ONE last month (9 January), highlights maize and soybean as the most expansive crops and as the main drivers of biodiversity loss in tropical regions. Other crops that pose a major threat to habitats and wildlife are beans, cassava, cowpea, groundnut, millet, oil palm, rice, sorghum, sugarcane and wheat, the study says.

eRecycling Corps: 10 Million Cell Phone Trade-Ins Since 2009
February 27, 2013 10:43 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit

Few press releases cause me to say, "Wow." Yesterday's press release about eRecyclingCorps (eRC) achieving 10 million cell phone trade-ins since 2009 is an exception. eRC, a leader in mobile device trade-ins, began in 2009 when Ron LeMay, from Sprint, and David Edmondson, from Radioshack, launched the company. Edmondson is now the CEO and LeMay is the Chairman. eRC allows in-carrier and retail stores to offer instant-credit that a customer can apply to the purchase of a new phone. It also allows carriers to make money from their e-waste. It’s a clichéd win-win situation for both customers and carriers. What does eRC do with the devices collected by in-store operators and retail programs? They are repaired to "like new" quality and resold. That keeps them out of landfills.

Rice Paddies and Fish Farming - Perfect Together!
February 27, 2013 05:59 AM - Naimul Haq, SciDevNet

By combining aquaculture with wet paddy farming in its coastal areas Bangladesh can meet food security and climate change issues, says a new report. The approach promises more nutritious food, without causing environmental damage, and has the potential for a 'blue-green revolution' on Bangladesh’s existing crop areas extending to about 10.14 million hectares and an additional 2.83 million hectares that remain waterlogged for about 4—6 months.

France Unveils Measures to Decrease Energy Use
February 26, 2013 01:00 PM - Edouard Stenger, Clean Techies

Even after the election of Fran├žois Hollande as President of France, an energy conservation measure of the previous government will be implemented. The Sarkozy government wanted to require shops and offices to turn off their unnecessary lights at nights. This will be effective as of July 1, 2013. All nonresidential buildings will be required to shut off their lights an hour after the last worker leaves or by 1 a.m. each morning. Lights can be turned on again until 7 a.m. or just before they open. Similarly, the lights on building facades will have to be turned off.

Is that really Red Snapper You're Eating? Don't be so sure!
February 26, 2013 06:21 AM - Editor, Oceana

From 2010 to 2012, Oceana conducted one of the largest seafood fraud investigations in the world to date, collecting more than 1,200 seafood samples from 674 retail outlets in 21 states to determine if they were honestly labeled. DNA testing found that one-third (33 percent) of the 1,215 samples analyzed nationwide were mislabeled, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines.

The Growth of Efficient Buildings
February 25, 2013 08:47 AM - Richard Matthews, Global Warming is Real

The area of building efficiency affords tremendous opportunities for both economic growth and reduced environmental impacts. Buildings are the single largest emitters of greenhouse gases. According to a UNEP study titled "Towards a Green Economy," homes and businesses are responsible for 40 percent of the climate change causing carbon pollution. There is significant room for improvement in new construction and retrofits in homes, businesses, schools and other organization.

Latin America Analysis: Environmental Policy and Deforestation
February 21, 2013 01:06 PM - Carla Almeida, SciDevNet

In a year that was marked by bad news on the environmental front — the polar ice caps melting at an increasing rate, the decline in biodiversity, the failure to reach agreement on climate change, amongst other things — the release of data, at the end of 2012, showing a fall in deforestation in the Amazon, one of the most important biomes in the world, came as a relief. According to estimates by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) — a Brazilian organisation that conducts environmental surveillance programmes in the region — 4,600 km2 of jungle, in Brazilian territory, were deforested between August 2011 and July 2012. This is a drop of 27 per cent, compared with the same period, a year before. Brazil, where deforestation is seen as the main cause of carbon emissions, has set itself a voluntary goal to reduce illegal logging, annually, in the Amazon, to an annual maximum of 3,900 km2 by 2020. The latest figures would seem to indicate that the country is only four per cent shy of reaching its goal. Celebrations, however, have been short-lived. The Amazon's monthly deforestation alert system is already showing a marked increase in the area cleared in the last five months of 2012.

Renewable Energy Capacity Fuels Power Growth in January
February 21, 2013 06:02 AM - THOMAS SCHUENEMAN, Global Warming is Real

The latest Energy Infrastructure Update released yesterday by the Office of Energy Projects at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reports that the US had 1,231 megawatts (MW) of new in-service generating capacity come online in January of 2013 — all of it from renewable sources including wind, solar and biomass. The new capacity for January represents a three-fold increase from the 431 MW of new renewable generating capacity that came online in January of 2012. Wind energy led the pack with six new units providing 958 MW, followed by 16 new solar units generating 267 MW of electricity and six new biomass units for 6 MW of new generation. Nuclear, hydro and all fossil fuel sources, including coal, oil, and natural gas offered no new electrical generating capacity last month.

Food: Sustainability, Security, Self-reliance
February 20, 2013 12:34 PM - Caroline Allen, The Ecologist

Poor harvests and rising food costs have become a depressingly familiar news item, with unusual weather patterns affecting food production across the US, Russia and in the UK. At the same time, more and more people are struggling to feed themselves and their families.

Climate Change Adaptation for Agriculture, Forests
February 20, 2013 10:01 AM - Andrew Burger, Global Warming is Real

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on February 5 released "two comprehensive reports that synthesize the scientific literature on climate change effects and adaptation strategies for U.S. agriculture and forests." The effects of climate change will be profound and far-reaching, according to the two reports, which drew on more than 1,000 peer-reviewed studies carried out by scientists in federal service, universities, non-governmental organizations, industry, tribal lands and the private sector.

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