• Orangutan as fashionista

    "Do you have these pants in black?" a question generally heard from the changing rooms of clothing retailers. However over the coming months more of the queries that you'll hear echoing in boutiques and malls will be, "Is this shirt made from Orangutan or Caribou habitat?" Canopy, an environmental not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting the world's forests, species and climate recently launched a campaign to ensure endangered forests do not end up in clothing. Rayon, viscose and modal fabrics are made from pulped trees. Canopy is raising awareness that much of today's fast fashion and haute couture comes at a cost to the forests we love. >> Read the Full Article
  • Developing technology for the developing world: Earthquake detection via smartphone

    Countries that do not have or cannot afford earthquake detection systems may soon have an alternative thanks to a new technology being developed in the United States and discussed last week at the 6th World Science Forum (WSF), in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. >> Read the Full Article
  • COLLEGIATE CORNER: Consumer Awareness and Micro Plastics

    Micro plastics are some of the worst water pollutants; they not only harm the local wildlife, but also accumulate into fish that humans consume and cause major health problems. These micro plastics are accumulating not only in oceans, but also freshwater areas, like the Great Lakes. In fact, a 2012 study conducted by the Burning River Foundation found approximately 80,000 particles of micro plastic per km2 in Lake Erie. This high concentration of micro plastic particles is highly concerning for human health and the health of local ecosystems. >> Read the Full Article
  • Holiday D"eco"rations

    Each year holiday decorations provide opportunities to foster family traditions and foundations for normalcy within our generation. But our decorating traditions should not negatively impact future generations. While lights, trees, ornaments, wrapping paper and candles are mainstays in the holiday decorating tradition many of them eventually end up in the landfill or in our air as long lasting pollutants. Being aware of what is a potential hazard and what alternatives there may be is important and necessary for future generations. >> Read the Full Article
  • Not all mangroves are created equal: new map reveals carbon storage hot-spots

    Mangrove forests are one of the most important weapons in the fight against climate change. Not only do they directly store huge amounts of carbon, but they actively capture additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequester it in their soils. When mangroves are destroyed, huge quantities of carbon are released into the atmosphere, significantly contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, until recently, little research has been done to identify which mangrove forests store the most carbon and are therefore most important in combatting climate change. However, all this has changed, thanks to a new study showcasing a global map of carbon storage in mangrove forests. >> Read the Full Article
  • Forecasting heavy rain events

    It is difficult to forecast heavy precipitation events accurately and reliably. The quality of these forecasts is affected by two processes whose relative importance has now been quantified by a team at the Laboratoire d'Aérologie (CNRS / Université Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier). The researchers have shown that these processes should be taken into account in low wind speed events. Their findings should help forecast these events, which repeatedly cause significant damage, especially in south-eastern France. They are first published online the November 28, 2013 in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. >> Read the Full Article
  • Clean water filtration: basic necessity

    Clean water is a vital concern as many parts of the world struggle with its availability. Kenya is a prime example of a country on the edge. Kenya's people have long struggled with lack of availability of fresh water creating hazardous health conditions. According to the World Bank, the country's population is well over 43 million people. The country is one of the poorest on the earth with one of the most arid climates. Only a small portion of the land is suitable for agriculture. Further, Natural resources available to Kenya do not support adequate or equitable delivery of water forcing people to spend many hours of each day, procuring water for basic sustenance. >> Read the Full Article
  • Iroko trees, the new warrior for climate change

    Iroko trees are native to the west coast of Africa. Sometimes called Nigerian teak, their wood is tough, dense, and very durable. Their hardwood is so sought after that the trees are often poached and are now endangered in many regions of Africa. But a new scientific discovery may aid in reforestation efforts. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ammonia threatens national parks

    Ammonia emissions have become a serious concern for scientists at Harvard University. Of particular note, thirty eight U.S. national parks are experiencing “accidental” fertilization” at or above a critical threshold for ecological damage according the study recently published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. >> Read the Full Article
  • Climate change signals a whale of a shift in feeding patterns

    Every summer and fall, endangered North Atlantic right whales congregate in the Bay of Fundy between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to gorge on zooplankton. Researchers have documented the annual feast since 1980, and well over 100 whales typically attend, a significant portion of the entire species. Only this year, they didn't. Just a dozen right whales trickled in—a record low in the New England Aquarium's 34-year-old monitoring program. And that comes on the heels of two other low-turnout years, 2010 and 2012. >> Read the Full Article