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Celebrate Today - International Day for Biological Diversity!
May 22, 2015 09:08 AM - Editor, Population Matters

International Day for Biological Diversity 2015 is 22 May. The theme for the Day this year is “Biodiversity for Sustainable Development”. More than 4,500 mammal, bird and amphibian species are currently deemed at risk of extinction. Not all species have been catalogued, so we do not know exactly how many we are losing each year, but a report recently published in the journal Natuesuggests that approximately 41 per cent of amphibian species, 26 per cent of mammal species and 13 per cent of bird species are likely to be lost in the near future. 

Climate change and human rights
May 22, 2015 07:15 AM - Eniko Horvath, Triple Pundit

Last month, a Peruvian farmer called on German energy company RWE to pay its fair share to protect his home from imminent flooding caused by a glacial lake melted by global warming.  “For a long time, my father and I have thought that those who cause climate change should help solve the problems it causes,” Saul Luciano Lliuya told the Guardian. He holds that RWE, one of Europe’s largest emitters of carbon, has contributed to the greenhouse effect causing glacial melting that endangers his home, along with many others in the city of Huaraz.

Lliuya’s story illustrates the tangible human impacts of climate change, which can easily be forgotten amidst high-level debates over carbon emissions reductions. This is a key year for climate action by both governments and companies.

Can Ice Loss Affect Gravity?
May 21, 2015 04:14 PM - University of Bristol

A group of scientists, led by a team from the University of Bristol, has observed a sudden increase of ice loss in a previously stable region of Antarctica. The research is published today in Science.

Fine Particulate Air Pollution Linked to Increased Risk of Childhood Autism
May 21, 2015 12:23 PM - University of Pittsburgh School of the Health Sciences

Exposure to fine particulate air pollution during pregnancy through the first two years of a child’s life may be associated with an increased risk of the child developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a condition that affects one in 68 children, according to a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health investigation of children in southwestern Pennsylvania. The research is funded by The Heinz Endowments and published in the July edition of Environmental Research.

What are the bright spots on dwarf planet Ceres?
May 21, 2015 07:06 AM - NASA JPL

NASA's Dawn mission captured a sequence of images, taken for navigation purposes, of dwarf planet Ceres on May 16, 2015. The image showcases the group of the brightest spots on Ceres, which continue to mystify scientists. It was taken from a distance of 4,500 miles (7,200 kilometers) and has a resolution of 2,250 feet (700 meters) per pixel.

"Dawn scientists can now conclude that the intense brightness of these spots is due to the reflection of sunlight by highly reflective material on the surface, possibly ice," Christopher Russell, principal investigator for the Dawn mission from the University of California, Los Angeles, said recently.

National-scale effort addresses pollinator declines
May 20, 2015 03:51 PM - Puneet Kollipara, Science/AAAS

A new White House plan to promote the health of bees and other pollinators calls for boosting research into ongoing population declines—and potential solutions. The plan, released yesterday, also recommends numerous measures to address growing concerns about the threat that bees, birds, butterflies, and other pollinators face from multiple factors, including pathogens, pesticides, climate change, and habitat loss. By addressing scientific knowledge gaps, the research should make the plan’s suggested measures much more effective, the report says.

What to do with old medications
May 20, 2015 09:06 AM - Alexis Petru, Triple Pundit

Between 10 and 30 percent of all prescription and over-the-counter drugs sold are left unconsumed, according to a State of Washington report, and all those leftover medications pose significant risks to public health and the environment. Drugs that are flushed down the toilet or tossed in the trash can – rather than properly disposed of – can end up in oceans and waterways, threatening both marine life and human health. Meanwhile, many individuals don’t get rid of their unused medications at all; they simply store the drugs in their medicine cabinets – a practice that can lead to drug misuse and abuse.

Coal power in Turkey to double if Turkey's plans go forward
May 20, 2015 08:26 AM - EurActiv

Turkey is planning to double its coal power capacity in four years, the third largest investment in the polluting fossil fuel in the world, health campaigners have warned.

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) today called on the European Union to promote sustainable development in Turkey and end lending for new coal projects.

Renewable Energy Market Employs 7.7 Million People Worldwide
May 19, 2015 09:01 AM - Andrew Burger, Triple Pundit

Renewable energy investment and deployment is paying off, and in spades, when it comes to addressing a basic issue plaguing developed and developing countries alike: an inability to generate jobs that pay a good living wage. Around the world, renewable energy job creation continues to far outpace that for economies overall. Some 7.7 million people are now employed across the global renewable energy value chain, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). That’s up 18 percent from 6.5 million in 2014, the agency noted in its 2015 Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review.

Recycling electronics is getting more difficult as devices get smaller and smaller
May 19, 2015 06:53 AM - RP Siegel, Triple Pundit

The last several decades have brought a global explosion of electronics with a huge impact on quality of life and communications, as well as the world economy.

But, like most big human-induced changes, there were unintended consequences, primarily in the form of the mountains of waste that resulted as products quickly became obsolete and tossed out only to be replaced by others with an equally short lifespan. (One study showed that 25 percent of electronic devices were used less than 500 hours before being discarded.) This is exacerbated by the fact that electronic waste can contain dangerous materials including lead, mercury and cadmium.

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