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Great Cricket Ears

Katydid or crickets are the common name of certain large, singing, winged insects belonging to the long-horned grasshopper family. Katydids are green or, occasionally, pink and range in size from 11/4 to 5 inches long. Katydids are nocturnal and arboreal; they sing in the evening. Scientists studying a species of South American bush cricket with some of the smallest ears known have discovered it has hearing so sophisticated that it rivals our own. The study, published in Science, is the first to identify hearing organs in an insect that are evolutionary convergent to those of mammals. Led by the scientists at the University of Bristol, they show how the bush cricket’s (Copiphora Gorgonensis) auditory system has evolved over millions of years to develop auditory mechanisms strikingly similar to those of humans, but using an entirely different machinery. >> Read the Full Article

The Changing Coast Due to Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy was a monster. It changed lives and changed the actual land shapes along the coasts affected. The USGS has released a series of aerial photographs showing before-and-after images of Hurricane Sandy's impacts on the Atlantic Coast. Among the latest photo pairs to be published are images showing the extent of coastal change in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. The photos, part of a USGS assessment of coastal change from as far south as the Outer Banks of North Carolina to as far north as Massachusetts, show that the storm caused dramatic changes to portions of shoreline extending hundreds of miles. Pre- and post-storm images of the New Jersey and New York shoreline in particular tell a story of a coastal landscape that was considerably altered by the historic storm. Meanwhile, images from hundreds of miles south of the storm’s landfall demonstrate that the storm’s breadth caused significant coastal change as far south as the Carolinas. >> Read the Full Article

US Military Takes Part in Reducing Ecological Footprint

In an effort to enhance American security and address climate change, the U.S. military is diminishing its footprint. The military is producing cleaner power, reducing energy consumption, managing water and minimizing waste. Their efforts encompass vast numbers of vehicles, ships, planes, buildings, lands, and other facilities. A major impetus for these efforts is Executive Order 13514, "Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance," which President Obama signed on October 5, 2009. It mandates a 30 percent reduction in energy usage by federal agencies. >> Read the Full Article

Streams Affected by Even the Earliest Stages of Urban Development

In a new study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), it was found that the loss of sensitive species in streams begins to occur at the initial stages of urban development. The culprits are the increased contaminants entering the streams, destruction of riparian habitat, and greater stream flow flashiness. The results of the study show that streams are more sensitive to development than previously believed. The victims are the bruised ecosystems and a reduction in economically viable resources like fishing and tourism. >> Read the Full Article

How the Worm Can Help Landfills and Sustainable Farming

High in the northern mountains of Guatemala, near the ancient city of Quetzaltenango, there's an unusual new venture that is helping transform the way local communities think about the garbage they throw into landfills. It's also reforming the way people think about nature's most industrious ecologist: the worm. María Rodriguez, founder of Byoearth is teaching women the value of the red wiggler worm and the use of vermicomposting to support sustainable farming. It's a concept she believes in passionately and is having increasing success selling to both local farmers and non-profit aid organizations throughout Latin America. >> Read the Full Article

House Windows are a Threat to Birds

The sickening thud of a bird crashing into a window is an all-too-familiar sound for many Canadian homeowners. Birds often mistake windows for openings, flying into the glass at full speed. A startling new analysis suggests about 22 million Canadian birds die each year from such crashes, researchers reported Sept. 4 in Wildlife Research. Undergraduate biology students at the University of Alberta, supervised by biologist Erin Bayne, surveyed 1,750 local residents in person and through social media. The recruited citizens provided the number of fatal bird strikes at their homes during the previous year. By extrapolating from these local reports, the researchers calculated the collision rates for different types of homes and then estimated the national bird mortality rate. The study did not include bird strikes on skyscrapers or commercial buildings. >> Read the Full Article

Survey finds men are more environmentally responsible car drivers than women

Male motorists are more likely to drive in a more environmentally friendly manner than females, according to the surprising results of a new survey. And more men than women say they will only use a car when cycling, public transport or walking are not an option. The new research, published today, also reveals that the rising cost of car ownership is forcing a new approach to mobility, with almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of UK drivers admitting that they have changed their motoring habits in light of the recession and rising fuel costs, and 30 per cent of motorists now only use their car for essential trips. >> Read the Full Article

Will Liberalization of Myanmar Bring Ruin to Its Vast Forests?

For years, Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has been under the control of a strong military regime. The restriction on freedom and human rights abuses they imposed made the nation an international pariah, and trade sanctions were established by all major world economies. Now, Myanmar is undergoing a stunning democratic transformation, its citizens are granted more freedoms, and the world is opening up to them. With this opening up comes a relaxing of trade restrictions, which may unfortunately bring disaster to Myanmar's native forests. It was over this long period of strong military control and lack of foreign investment which allowed the wild forests to be protected. Now that things are changing, the nation may not be able to control the economic forces from within and without, vying to exploit its natural resources. >> Read the Full Article

Let's Celebrate America Recycles Day by taking the Food Recovery Challenge!

Today is America Recycles Day, a nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting recycling in the US. All across the country, thousands of events are being held to celebrate recycling awareness in communities. One way organizations are participating this year is by taking the Food Recovery Challenge. The Food Recovery Challenge is a voluntary program established by the EPA with a goal to cut the 35 million tons of food wasted nationwide annually by reducing unnecessary consumption and increasing donations to charity and composting. >> Read the Full Article

Ocean-grabbing threatens the food security of entire communities

All over the world, food systems and the ecosystems they rely on are coming under pressure from the over-exploitation of natural resources. But nowhere are these impacts occurring as rapidly and dramatically as in the world's oceans. >> Read the Full Article