Top Stories

Hazardous waste-eating bacteria discovered
September 10, 2014 09:07 AM - The University of Manchester

Although bacteria with waste-eating properties have been discovered in relatively pristine soils before, new research shows for the first time that microbes that can survive in the very harsh conditions expected in radioactive waste disposal sites have also been found. The ultimate aim of this research conducted by the University of Manchester is to improve our understanding of the safe disposal of radioactive waste underground by studying the unusual diet of these hazardous waste eating microbes.

How is a warming climate impacting coral reefs?
September 10, 2014 07:34 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

How is a warming climate impacting life in the oceans? Fish can move to cooler areas, but coral reefs are anchored in place. Late-summer water temperatures near the Florida Keys were warmer by nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the last several decades compared to a century earlier, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. Researchers indicate that the warmer water temperatures are stressing corals and increasing the number of bleaching events, where corals become white resulting from a loss of their symbiotic algae. The corals can starve to death if the condition is prolonged.

Greenhouse gases hit new record
September 9, 2014 11:07 AM - Alex Kirby, The Ecologist

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has reported that the amounts of atmospheric greenhouse gases reached a new high in 2013, driven by rapidly rising levels of carbon dioxide. The news is consistent with trends in fossil fuel consumption. But what comes as more of a surprise is the WMO's revelation that the current rate of ocean acidification, which greenhouse gases (GHGs) help to cause, appears unprecedented in at least the last 300 million years.

Norway has biggest whaling season in over 20 years
September 9, 2014 07:48 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

As of late August, Norway has killed 729 northern minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) during its annual whaling season, the highest number taken since 1993. Norway continues whaling by having filed an "objection" under the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which has banned whaling worldwide aside from a few exceptions for indigenous peoples. Only three countries continue to practice whaling: Iceland, Norway, and Japan. In contrast to Norway, both Iceland and Japan conduct whaling under a research banner.

Kimberly-Clark moving big to sustainable forestry
September 9, 2014 06:48 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman , Triple Pundit

Kimberly-Clark produces mainly paper-based personal care products, including popular brands such as Cottonelle, so it's only fitting that the global company focuses on sustainable forestry. Its latest corporate social responsibility report lists short- and long-term goals to make its products more sustainably produced. One of the short-term goals is to source 100 percent of its wood fiber from suppliers who have achieved third-party certification by 2015. It has already achieved 71.1 percent.

Should the Pacific walrus be considered a threatened species?
September 8, 2014 03:52 PM - USGS Newsroom

A recent U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the Pacific walrus population nearly halved between 1981 and 1999, the last year for which demographic data are available. The study notes that the decline was most severe in the mid-1980s, and then moderated in the 1990s. Currently, the USGS is working to obtain more recent population data of the Pacific walrus. This information will be vital because the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is expected to determine whether the Pacific walrus should be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2017.

Burning Natural Gas in Favor of the Environment
September 8, 2014 08:43 AM - Anastasio Carranza, ENN

Incineration or burning of any fuel leaves a series of residual gases that promote global warming; however Altos Hornos de Mexico (AHMSA) agreed with the UN a methane gas burning system in its coal mines that greatly lessens the impact on the environment. AHMSA informs that to operate a coal deposit, methane gas is extracted in advance by drilling, to keep the safety of workers. If this gas is discharged into the atmosphere, will produce a warming effect...

Dairy - the case for greener, healthier cows
September 8, 2014 08:06 AM - Mark Eisler, Graeme Martin & Michael Lee, The Ecologist

With supermarket milk cheaper than spring water, it's time to rethink the modern dairy industry. It's not just the milk that's become a throwaway product - the high-octane Holstein cows that produce it are also in the knackers yard after just two or three lactations, the living waste of a loss-making, environment-trashing industry.

Monarch Butterflies losing critical habitat
September 7, 2014 09:57 AM - KEVIN PROFT/ecoRI News staff

Sandy Oliviera has raised monarch butterflies in her East Providence backyard for 25 years. In 1998, she helped 125 monarch caterpillars transform into butterflies, and then released them to the wind. "I began to feel like a butterfly factory that year," Oliviera said. Each time her husband or daughter collected milkweed to feed their captive caterpillars, they returned with more eggs or caterpillars to raise. Some days, Oliviera released a dozen newly emerged butterflies, to the pleasure of her 8-year-old grandson who let them rest on his head before they flew away. This summer, for the first time, Oliviera hasn't found a single monarch egg or caterpillar, and hasn't seen any monarch butterflies.

How can we make lawns more environmentally friendly?
September 6, 2014 08:12 AM - Rutgers University

Many homeowners strive to have the picture-perfect green lawn. But how can that be achieved in an environment where water in parts of the country is becoming scarce and the use of pesticides and fertilizer is being discouraged? Researchers from two Big Ten universities hope that they will be able to find an answer. Scientists from Rutgers University and the University of Minnesota, both members of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation — an academic consortium of Big Ten universities — will be working together over the next five years to develop an environmentally friendly grass that is more resistant to disease and drought and a better economical choice for homeowners.

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