• Deep sea Drilling in New Zealand

    Deep sea drilling will soon commence in the rough waters off the New Zealand coast. This could mark the beginning of an oil rush in which democratic process, public concern, environmental protection and safety considerations are all swept aside. The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) around New Zealand is fifteen times larger than the country's land area - it extends from the sub-tropical to the sub-Antarctic. Like the Arctic, New Zealand's EEZ supports a multitude of species which travel from far-flung areas of the globe to reach these rich waters. Like the Arctic, New Zealand's EEZ is fast becoming an oil exploration frontier. >> Read the Full Article
  • Deforestation may hurt US agriculture, affect monsoon cycle

    Unchecked deforestation will have far-reaching impacts on temperature, rainfall, and monsoon cycles in regions well outside the tropics, affecting agriculture and water availability, warns a new report published by Greenpeace International. The report, titled "An Impending Storm: Impacts of deforestation on weather patterns and agriculture", is a synthesis of dozens of recent scientific papers that assess the effects of forest cover loss on weather patterns, local climate, and agricultural productivity. >> Read the Full Article
  • 2013 PCB dredging on the Hudson

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that more than 612,000 cubic yards of river bottom sediment contaminated with PCBs were removed from the upper Hudson River during 2013, exceeding the annual goal of 350,000 cubic yards for this historic dredging project. This is similar to the amount dredged in 2012 when more than 650,000 cubic yards were removed. The Superfund cleanup required by the EPA calls for the dredging of approximately 2.65 million cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediment from a 40-mile stretch of the upper Hudson River between Fort Edward and Troy, New York. The project began in 2009 and is about 73% complete, putting the dredging on track to be finished in two years. To date, about 1.9 million of the 2.65 million cubic yards million have been removed. Filling of previously dredged areas with clean sand and gravel will continue over the next several weeks, weather permitting. About 280 local area contractors, subcontractors, vendors and suppliers have provided goods or services related to Hudson River dredging. >> Read the Full Article
  • Sea stars wasting away on both U.S. coasts

    Evidence suggests that we are at the onset of another sea star wasting event. Sea stars on both the east and west coasts of the United States have fallen victim to a wasting disease that overcomes the Pisaster ochraceus in a matter of days once an initial lesion appears. The disease, while currently not understood, is rapidly transmitted amongst the population once it takes hold. On the west coast studies show that the disease is bacterial but on the east coast it is viral. Both result in a similar disintegration of the flesh within a very short period of time. >> Read the Full Article
  • Climate change likely to affect streams that quench Salt Lake City's thirst

    New research shows that in the Salt Lake City region, for every increased Fahrenheit degree, a significant drop in the annual flow of streams is likely to occur. While the impacts of a temperature increase would vary among the region's watersheds, it is predicted that the stream flow would decline by 1.8 to 6.5 percent for each degree of temperature rise, with an average reduction of 3.8 percent. This drop will also have serious consequences for the city’s water supply as some of the creeks and streams will dry up several weeks earlier in the summer and fall. >> Read the Full Article
  • Nitrogen fixation helps double some African farm yields

    A large-scale research and development project has shown that giving farmers resources and advice on nitrogen fixation through legume plants can double yields and boost incomes in Africa. But not all farmers are benefiting from this practice due to a lack of access to inputs, such as fertilizers says Ken Giller, the leader of the N2Africa project, as a second phase to widen access to the initiative is announced with US$25.3 million funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the next five years. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Juncture of Politics and the Environment

    When announcing his plan to kick-start the U.S. economy in the midst of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt famously declared that the country had "nothing to fear but fear itself." In just 100 days, through a flurry of legislation and investment, his government dragged the country up off its knees – a towering political achievement. >> Read the Full Article
  • Do dams bring more harm or more good?

    As China forges ahead with its goal to generate 120,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020, they are damming more and more rivers. According to China, this is a safe strategy that will curb pollution, control floods, and minimize climate change. Conservationists and scientists across the globe however, disagree. >> Read the Full Article
  • Bolivia, Madagascar, China see jump in forest loss

    Loss of forest cover increased sharply in Bolivia, Madagascar, and Ecuador during the third quarter of 2013, according to an update from NASA scientists. NASA's Quarterly Indicator of Cover Change (QUICC), a MODIS satellite-based product that underpins Mongabay.com's Global Forest Disturbance Alert System (GloF-DAS), picked up strong deforestation signals in the three tropical countries between July 1 and September 30, 2013: Bolivia (167 percent increase in deforestation relative to the year-earlier period), Madagascar (126 percent), and Ecuador (38 percent). Outside the tropics, Pakistan, China, the United States, and Argentina appeared to experience an increase in forest and woodland disturbance. >> Read the Full Article
  • Global warming and mammal size linked

    Mammal body size decreased significantly during at least two ancient global warming events, a new finding that suggests a similar outcome is possible in response to human-caused climate change, according to a University of Michigan paleontologist and his colleagues. Researchers have known for years that mammals such as primates and the groups that include horses and deer became much smaller during a period of warming, called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), about 55 million years ago. Now U-M paleontologist Philip Gingerich and his colleagues have found evidence that mammalian "dwarfing" also occurred during a separate, smaller global warming event that occurred about 2 million years after the PETM, around 53 million years ago. >> Read the Full Article