The environmental impacts of common consumer products
May 12, 2015 06:56 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
A new study estimates for the first time how much land and water well-known brands such as Apple, Kraft and Gap use in a year, and what’s needed to manufacture some of the products they sell.
Based on modelling by environmental data experts Trucost, the ‘Mind your step’ report published by Friends of the Earth examines the land and water ‘footprints’ of a range of diverse products including smartphones, leather boots, coffee, chicken curry ready-meals, t-shirts, and milk chocolate.
Vineyard Habitats Attract Butterflies
May 11, 2015 04:35 PM - Scott Weybright, Washington State University
Washington wine grape vineyards experimenting with sustainable pest management systems are seeing an unexpected benefit: an increase in butterflies. Over the years, loss in natural habitat has seen the decline in numbers of around 50 species of butterflies in eastern Washington. But in a recent Washington State University study published in the June issue of the Journal of Insect Conservation, researchers found that vineyards that create nearby natural habitats have three times the number of butterfly species and four times more butterflies than conventional vineyards.
Could pumpkins be the answer to the food/biofuel crop dilemma?
May 11, 2015 08:48 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
As concern remains over the need to convert millions of acres of crop land to meet the ever-increasing biofuel demand, a new study has found pumpkins could provide the answer to sharing between food and fuel.
Coffee roasting produces useful by-products
May 11, 2015 07:22 AM - University of Granada via ScienceDaily
The coffee industry plays a major role in the global economy. It also has a significant impact on the environment, producing more than 2 billion tonnes of coffee by-products annually. Coffee silverskin (the epidermis of the coffee bean) is usually removed during processing, after the beans have been dried, while the coffee grounds are normally directly discarded.
It has traditionally been assumed that these by-products ─ coffee grounds and coffee silverskin, have few practical uses and applications. Spent coffee grounds are sometimes employed as homemade skin exfoliants or as abrasive cleaning products. They are also known to make great composting agents for fertilizing certain plants. But apart from these limited applications, coffee by-products are by and large deemed to be virtually useless. As such, practically all of this highly contaminating ‘coffee waste’ ends up in landfills across the globe and has a considerable knock-on effect on the environment.
A moving Mother's Day story
May 10, 2015 07:46 AM - Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels
Mother’s Day is a good time to reflect on the amazing lengths some moms go to to ensure the well being of their children. One such “supermom” is Debby Elnatan, a former Israeli stay-at-home mom who became a press sensation when she invented the “Upsee”, a harness that allowed her young disabled son, and other handicapped children around the world, to walk in tandem with their parents.
When we first wrote about the Firefly Upsee harness a little over a year ago, the device was just gaining worldwide attention. A year later, NoCamels speaks to the inventor of the Upsee to hear about the future of the international company she is now heading.
Yellowstone Supervolcano found to have two magma chambers
May 9, 2015 07:57 AM - NPR
There's more to Yellowstone National Park than meets the eye. Much more, as it turns out.
You might already know that a supervolcano dominates the famous park that is situated on land in Wyoming and Montana. A shallow subsurface magma chamber has long been known.
But now a second, much larger reservoir of partially molten rock has been discovered by researchers at the University of Utah. There's enough magma inside, they say, to fill the Grand Canyon more than 11 times.
Greenhouse gas benchmark reached
May 8, 2015 08:54 AM - NOAA Newsroom
For the first time since we began tracking carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere, the monthly global average concentration of this greenhouse gas surpassed 400 parts per million in March 2015, according to NOAA’s latest results.
Hormones used to stimulate growth in farm animals lead to more human exposure than thought
May 8, 2015 07:39 AM - INDIANA UNIVERSITY via EurekAlert.
Research by an Indiana University environmental scientist and colleagues at universities in Iowa and Washington finds that potentially harmful growth-promoting hormones used in beef production are expected to persist in the environment at higher concentrations and for longer durations than previously thought.
"What we release into the environment is just the starting point for a complex series of chemical reactions that can occur, sometimes with unintended consequences," said Adam Ward, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the IU Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs. "When compounds react in a way we don't anticipate -- when they convert between species, when they persist after we thought they were gone -- this challenges our regulatory system."
In-active devices waste billions of dollars of electricity
May 7, 2015 03:31 PM - National Resources Defense Council
Approximately $19 billion worth of electricity, equal to the output of 50 large power plants, is devoured annually by U.S. household electronics, appliances, and other equipment when consumers are not actively using them, according to a groundbreaking study released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
California Resident Poll Expresses Wide Concern Over Drought
May 7, 2015 09:13 AM - Chris Sosa, Care2
A recent Care2 poll has found that slightly over 90 percent of respondents express major concern over the current drought engulfing the state, despite the fact that only 60 percent of respondents consider themselves strong environmentalists. Fewer than 1 percent expressed no concern about the drought. Nearly 75 percent of respondents cited fears about the fate of wildlife. Concern for humans came in second at 71 percent and agriculture at 61 percent.