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Fracking wastewater and the risk to our food
May 3, 2015 06:42 AM - Roy L Hales

Unconventional drilling creates a huge amount of waste, some of which is being sprayed onto farmer’s fields. A 2005 report from New Zealand stated cows grazing on “dump farms” have elevated levels of hydrocarbons. “Cows are allowed to graze on land with high levels of hydrocarbons without any punishment and their food products are allowed to go to market without government testing,” a Green Party MP said last year. It is happening in Canada too. The field above is northwest of Calgary. Former energy consultant Jessica Ernst said, “We are eating & drinking drilling and fracking waste.”

“When they are drilling deep horizontal wells, they go a great distance and this produces a lot of drilling waste. It is toxic. There are a lot of naturally occurring toxics that are brought up. It is often radioactive. I have documentation that the formations they want to frack are radioactive. This comes up with metals and BTEX (Benzene, Tolulene, Ethylbenzyne, Xylenes)  carcinogens plus the mystery additives which companies refuse to disclose,” said Ernst.

Rivers recover after dam removal
May 2, 2015 05:43 AM - USGS Newsroom

More than 1,000 dams have been removed across the United States because of safety concerns, sediment buildup, inefficiency or having otherwise outlived usefulness. A paper published today in Science finds that rivers are resilient and respond relatively quickly after a dam is removed. 

“The apparent success of dam removal as a means of river restoration is reflected in the increasing number of dams coming down, more than 1,000 in the last 40 years,” said lead author of the study Jim O’Connor, geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “Rivers quickly erode sediment accumulated in former reservoirs and redistribute it downstream, commonly returning the river to conditions similar to those prior to impoundment.”

Declining 'large herbivore' populations may lead to an 'empty landscape'
May 1, 2015 02:49 PM - Oregon State University via EurekAlert!

The decline of the world's large herbivores, especially in Africa and parts of Asia, is raising the specter of an "empty landscape" in some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, according to a newly published study. Many populations of animals such as rhinoceroses, zebras, camels, elephants and tapirs are diminishing or threatened with extinction in grasslands, savannahs, deserts and forests, scientists say.

Photosynthesis measured on a global scale
May 1, 2015 10:12 AM - Brown University

A research team led by geoscientists from Brown University and the Marine Biological Laboratory has provided some crucial ground-truth for a method of measuring plant photosynthesis on a global scale from low-Earth orbit. The researchers have shown that chlorophyll fluorescence, a faint glow produced by plant leaves as a byproduct of photosynthesis, is a strong proxy for photosynthetic activity in the canopy of a deciduous forest. That glow can be detected by orbiting satellites and could be used to monitor global photosynthetic activity in real time.

If you sit all day at a desk, please get up and walk around now and then!
May 1, 2015 08:21 AM - Universtiy of Utah

A new study suggests that engaging in low intensity activities such as standing may not be enough to offset the health hazards of sitting for long periods of time. On the bright side, adding two minutes of walking each hour to your routine just might do the trick. These findings were published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN).

Numerous studies have shown that sitting for extended periods of time each day leads to increased risk for early death, as well as heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions. Considering that 80 percent of Americans fall short of completing the recommended amount of exercise, 2.5 hours of moderate activity each week, it seems unrealistic to expect that people will replace sitting with even more exercise.

What ecosystem is most at threat from human impact?
April 30, 2015 04:42 PM - ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

An international team of scientists has used the 23-million-year fossil record to calculate which marine animals and ecosystems are most at risk of extinction today. In a paper published in the journal Science, the researchers found those animals and ecosystems most threatened are predominantly in the tropics.

Plane de-icing agents contribute to soil and groundwater contamination at airports
April 30, 2015 09:55 AM - Friedrich Schiller University Jena.

Spring has arrived in Europe with mild temperatures and sunshine. Where just a few weeks ago the ground was frozen and partly covered in snow and ice, it is now thawing. This doesn't only have an impact on the flora and fauna. Thawing results in soil and the groundwater at airports being impacted by chemicals, which are contained in melt water. The reason: Airports have to use de-icing agents during the winter, which end up on unpaved areas and infiltrate into the soils during snowmelt.

Reducing impaired-driving crashes proves good for the economy too
April 30, 2015 06:35 AM - Journal Injury Prevention via EurekAlert.

The halving of alcohol-fuelled car crashes since the mid-1980s boosted US economic output by $20 billion, increased national income by $6.5 billion, and created 215,000 jobs in 2010, reveals an analysis of the economic impact of drink-driving, published online in the journal Injury Prevention.

In a bid to estimate the impact of alcohol-fuelled car crashes on the US economy in 2010, the researchers calculated the economic gains (and losses) resulting from the substantial fall in this type of road traffic collision since 1984-6 and the monetary costs directly incurred by employers and consumers in 2010.

Can organic farming reverse agriculture from a carbon source to a carbon sink?
April 29, 2015 04:01 PM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

More than a third of global greenhouse gases (GHGs) come from agriculture and a new theory suggest human can reverse global warming by sequestering several hundred billion tons of excess CO2 through regenerative, organic farming, ranching and land use. 

Oregon State University study links climate changes in Northern and Southern Hemispheres - with 200 year lag
April 29, 2015 03:52 PM - Oregon State University

A new study using evidence from a highly detailed ice core from West Antarctica shows a consistent link between abrupt temperature changes on Greenland and Antarctica during the last ice age, giving scientists a clearer picture of the link between climate in the northern and southern hemispheres.

Greenland climate during the last ice age was very unstable, the researchers say, characterized by a number of large, abrupt changes in mean annual temperature that each occurred within several decades. These so-called “Dansgaard-Oeschger events” took place every few thousand years during the last ice age. Temperature changes in Antarctica showed an opposite pattern, with Antarctica cooling when Greenland was warm, and vice versa.

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