Top Stories

Pesticides Threaten Bumblebee Colonies

Pesticides used in farming are killing bumblebees and affecting their ability to forage, putting colonies at risk of failure, according to a new study. An estimated one-third of all plant-based foods eaten by humans rely on bees for pollination, and bees and other pollinators have been estimated to be worth around $200 billion a year to the global economy. However, bee numbers have been plummeting in recent years, particularly in North America and Europe. >> Read the Full Article

Extent of Range is a Key Factor in Extinction Risk for Ocean Animals

What makes some ocean animals more prone to extinction than others? A new study of marine fossils provides a clue. An analysis of roughly 500 million years of fossil data for marine invertebrates reveals that ocean animals with small geographic ranges have been consistently hard hit -- even when populations are large, the authors report. The oceans represent more than 70% of Earth's surface. But because monitoring data are harder to collect at sea than on land, we know surprisingly little about the conservation status of most marine animals. By using the fossil record to study how ocean extinctions occurred in the past, we may be better able to predict species' vulnerability in the future. >> Read the Full Article

MIT Researchers look for Beta Testers for Revolutionary Fast Footprint Tool

On September 26th at the LCA XII Conference, MIT graduate and co-founder of a start-up in the promising new field of "big data," publicly unveiled an innovative approach at product sustainability analysis, saying that it will "literally turn the current approach upside down." The innovation and its algorithms were developed by a team of MIT researchers looking for a way to put environmental impact data into the hands of companies large and small, so that they can obtain rapid and accurate guidance for dramatically reducing energy costs and simultaneously become more sustainable. "I heard Alex speak and I thought to myself, the next wave of innovation in this field is coming," said Yann Risz, the Vice President of Strategy and Environmental Finance of leading corporate energy management company Enviance. This year's theme for the conference was "Life Cycle Thinking, Life Cycle Living," making the perfect venue for the product's launch, because of the focus on being a practical and more rapid solution to product footprinting. The primary focus of their "Footprinter" product is overcoming a barrier that has frustrated sustainability analysts and made the cost prohibitively high for most companies: large amounts of detailed data collection. >> Read the Full Article