• Yum! Brands announces 'greener' paper policy

    KCF, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell policy excludes fiber from conversion of old-growth rainforests to plantations. After a prolonged campaign by environmental activists, the world's largest fast food company has announced a new sourcing policy that will shift it toward greener packaging materials. >> Read the Full Article
  • Real Time Forest Monitoring System Uses New Tech to Fight Deforestation

    Global Forest Watch 2.0 (GFW 2.0) is a powerful near real-time forest monitoring system launching this spring that combines satellite technology, new algorithms, cloud computing, mobile phone technologies, maps and human networks around the world to fight illegal logging and deforestation. GFW 2.0 is a major breakthrough, as it will create fast, online alerts that show when deforestation is taking place, particularly in remote locations. Currently, by the time satellite images of deforestation are viewed, the criminals are often far away as it takes around three to five years to produce a national forest cover map. >> Read the Full Article
  • Air pollution-caused deaths total over one million per year in China

    In January, NASA revealed satellite images showing dramatic visuals of air pollution over China. Consequently, a new analysis is reporting that more than 1 million people are dying prematurely every year from air pollution in China alone. We reported earlier that air pollution, especially around Beijing has greatly been influenced by coal-fired power stations. However, population growth along with increasing development is causing the nation into an air pollution crisis. >> Read the Full Article
  • 'Waterpod' Turns Desert Well-Water Clean

    Ever since the construction of a hydro-electric dam in the Draa Valley nearly 40 years ago, Sahara nomads have faced further desertification of the region, taking a heavy toll on water supplies. More than 330 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, or around 40 percent of the population, do not have access to clean drinking water, according to a report published by British NGO WaterAid. While there are wells throughout the region, they often contain undrinkable brackish water that is inundated with salt. >> Read the Full Article
  • Where the flamingos fly: Mumbai, apparently!

    When you think of flamingos you think of the great flamingo migration, a sea of pink in Tanzania, or maybe even a funny cartoon with these dancing, lanky creatures but the last thing you would think of is Mumbai. Strangely, this modern chaotic city provides a temporary home to these lovely coral-colored birds. They visit the mudflats of Mumbai every year in the winter (January – May) and provide a treat to casual bird-watchers, ornithologists and regular citizens alike. The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) also organizes a flamingo watching festival during this period to encourage people to observe these birds. >> Read the Full Article
  • Seasonal allergies may be worse than usual this year

    Break out those tissues and symptom relief pills, allergy season is upon us. And unfortunately, experts are saying that as the weather warms this spring, allergy sufferers are likely to be more affected than in past years. Seasonal allergies occur when outdoor molds release their spores or when trees, grasses, and weeds release pollen into the air in an effort to fertilize other plants. When we inhale this air, our bodies work to fight off these airborne invaders, which according to the US Food and Drug Administration leads to nearly 36 million Americans suffering each year from these seasonal allergies. >> Read the Full Article
  • Oil Platform Effect on Fish

    Fishes residing near oil platforms in southern California have similar contaminant levels as fishes in nearby natural sites, according to two recent reports by the U.S. Geological Survey, which were conducted to assist the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in understanding potential consequences of offshore energy development. Since the underwater portion of many offshore oil and gas platforms often provides a habitat to a large number of fishes and invertebrates, some stakeholders have called for ocean managers to consider a "rigs-to-reefs" option during the decommissioning phase of a platform. This option would maintain some of the submerged structure to function as an artificial reef after oil and gas production has ended. The findings of this study address questions regarding how the industrial legacy of this kind of artificial reef may affect local fish populations. >> Read the Full Article
  • Sumatran Rhino found in Kalimantan after 20 years of being unseen

    The Sumatran rhino has not been seen in the state of Kalimantan, Borneo, for more than two decades, but recent evidence has been found to suggest that this threatened species still occurs in the Indonesian state. Now considered to be one of the world’s most threatened mammals with just 200 to 275 individuals remaining in the wild, the Critically Endangered Sumatran rhino once roamed across the Himalayan foothills and east to southern China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam and Peninsular Malaysia. >> Read the Full Article
  • Synthetic Biology

    A new paper says a discussion on the benefits and risks of synthetic biology to conservation is necessary. The potential exists to re-creating extinct species and to create genetically modified super-species. An upcoming conference at Clare College in Cambridge, England, will examine the nexus of synthetic biology and conservation What effects will the rapidly growing field of synthetic biology have on the conservation of nature? The ecological and ethical challenges stemming from this question will require a new and continuing dialogue between members of the synthetic biology and biodiversity conservation communities, according to authors of a new paper. According to the paper, the field of synthetic biology—a discipline that utilizes chemically synthesized DNA to create organisms that address human needs—is developing rapidly, with billions of dollars being invested annually. Many extol the virtues of synthetic biology as providing potential solutions to human health problems, food security, and energy needs. Advocates also see in synthetic biology tools for combating climate change and water deficits. Critics warn that genetically modified organisms could pose a danger to native species and natural ecosystems. >> Read the Full Article
  • Extreme Algal Bloom

    An algal bloom is a rapid increase or accumulation in the population of algae (typically microscopic) in an aquatic system. Algal blooms may occur in freshwater as well as marine environments. Typically, only one or a small number of phytoplankton species are involved, and some blooms may be recognized by discoloration of the water resulting from the high density of pigmented cells. Algal bloom concentrations may reach millions of cells per milliliter. Algal blooms are often green, but they can also be other colors such as yellow-brown or red, depending on the species of algae. A 2011 record-breaking algae bloom in Lake Erie was triggered by long-term agricultural practices coupled with extreme precipitation, followed by weak lake circulation and warm temperatures, scientists have discovered. The Carnegie researchers also predict that, unless agricultural policies change, the lake will continue to experience extreme blooms. >> Read the Full Article