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Swedish city Kiruna being moved to avoid sinking from iron ore mining
May 25, 2015 08:00 AM - Grant Whittington, Triple Pundit

Have you ever just wanted to pick up and leave the foundation you call home? Kiruna knows the feeling.

Kiruna, a town in northern Sweden, built its riches upon the vast seam of iron ore, but the massive mine is now sinking the city of 23,000 residents. Now faced with a crisis, the town of Kiruna is moving to avoid catastrophe.

Northern Sweden is not the most welcoming place to build a city. With long, brutal winters and short, mild summers, Kiruna’s climate doesn’t exactly scream city material, but the iron resources that lie underneath it scream Mecca.

Stable Antarctic glaciers are now melting
May 24, 2015 08:21 AM - Bert Wouters, The Ecologist

A dramatic shift has taken place in the glaciers of the southern Antarctic peninsula, writes Bert Wouters. Six years ago these previously stable bodies suddenly stated shedding 60 cubic kilometres of ice per year into the ocean. A stark warning of further surprises to come?

The fact that so many glaciers in such a large region suddenly started to lose ice came as a surprise. It shows a very fast response of the ice sheet: in just a few years everything changed.

Agricultural practices to reduce runoff
May 23, 2015 07:27 AM - South Dakota State University via ScienceDaily.

The same spring rains that lessen producers' concerns about drought can also lead to soil erosion and nutrient runoff. Keeping soil and fertilizers where they belong -- in the field -- benefits producers and the environment.

No-till farming, cover crops and rotational grazing will help producers reduce surface runoff to improve soil and water quality, according to South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station researcher Sandeep Kumar, an assistant professor in the SDSU plant science department.

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.

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