• New Development for Phytoremediation: Harvesting Collected Contaminants

    A team of researchers led by the University of Warwick are about to embark on a research program called "Cleaning Land for Wealth" (CL4W), that will use a common class of flower to restore poisoned soils while at the same time produce platinum and arsenic nanoparticles that can be used in a range of applications. A "Sandpit" exercise organized by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council allowed researchers from the Warwick Manufacturing group (WMG) at five universities to share technologies and skills to come up with an innovative multidisciplinary research project that could "help solve major technological and environmental challenges." >> Read the Full Article
  • Climate Change Impacts in New England

    In the northern hardwood forest, climate change is poised to reduce the viability of the maple syrup industry, spread wildlife diseases and tree pests, and change timber resources. And, according to a new BioScience paper just released by twenty-one scientists, without long-term studies at the local scale -- we will be ill-prepared to predict and manage these effects. Following an exhaustive review of more than fifty years of long term data on environmental conditions at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the paper's authors arrived at a sobering conclusion: current climate change models don't account for real life surprises that take place in forests. >> Read the Full Article
  • Greenland becoming more green, thanks to Global Warming

    I don't want to be told that thanks to Global Warming - now accepted by the majority (77%) of Americans and so therefore, in my opinion, a new Tipping Point - strawberry plants can now survive a Greenland winter. I don't want to see neat little rows of budding lettuce plants growing outside a polytunnel. OUTSIDE a polytunnel; over-wintering under the snow but come the Spring, still alive and sprouting new shoots; cabbage and potatoes to follow. And I don't want to hear a Greenlander livestock farmer telling me that (once again, thanks to Global Warming) he now has enough newly ice-free pasture land to double the size of his 20,000-strong flock of sheep. >> Read the Full Article
  • Tree intercropping could save Africa's soils

    Scientists have reported in Nature that the agroforestry approach of planting nutrient-fixing trees with food crops could help replenish Africa's poor quality soils, tackling one of the biggest threats to food security on the continent. Planting certain perennial trees together with food crops can more than double yields for maize and millet, which are among Sub-Saharan Africa's staple foods, scientists say. >> Read the Full Article
  • Climate change predicted to hit poorest hardest

    All nations will suffer the effects of a warmer world, but the world's poorest countries will suffer most from food shortages, rising sea levels, cyclones and drought, the World Bank’s new report on climate change says. Under new World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, a former scientist, the global development lender has launched a more aggressive stance to integrate climate change into development. "We will never end poverty if we don't tackle climate change. It is one of the single biggest challenges to social justice today," Kim told reporters on Friday [16 November]. >> 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
  • Risk of Parkinson’s disease Increases with Head Injury and Herbicide Exposure

    The combination of having a head injury and being exposed to the common pesticide/herbicide, paraquat has been found to increase the risk of developing Parkinson's disease by three times. Paraquat is one of the most widely used herbicides, typically used on crops to control weeds and pests. The chemical is also deadly to humans and animals. A person with an already compromised head injury can compound that injury greatly by being around this poison, to the point of getting Parkinson's disease. The study was conducted by researchers at UCLA and published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Many Benefits of Hummus

    Once only found in Middle Eastern restaurants or ethnic food stores, hummus has become a surging business for food companies here in the U.S. and abroad. The chickpea (garbanzo) bean spread is no longer a secret and limited only to those who were fortunate enough to have a Lebanese restaurant in the neighborhood. Hummus has now gone corporate, with brands such as Tribe and Sabra (a Strauss Group and PepsiCo partnership) enjoying popularity and impressive sales: $325 million at last count in 2010. >> Read the Full Article
  • Scientists Fear the Extinction of Arabica Coffee

    Scientists in the United Kingdom recently completed a study suggesting that Arabica coffee, the species that makes up 75 percent of coffee beans sold, could become extinct in 70 years. Due to climate change and its symptoms including deforestation, a team at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens ran a series of computer simulations that indicate that wild Arabica coffee could become extinct by 2080. Such a development should worry everyone from growers to consumers. Coffee is the second most traded global commodity after petroleum and is an economic lifeline for many countries in Africa and Latin America. >> Read the Full Article
  • Planting Forests for Carbon Sequestration

    Imagine a forest landscape where every tree is aligned and equally spaced apart. A forest where there are no sounds, no undergrowth and a distinct lack of species. Could this be the fate of our environment as carbon forestry becomes a common way to offset greenhouse gas emissions? Or, could it supplement reforestation programs and slowly ease the biodiversity crisis? Post-Kyoto there has been strong support for global emissions to be 'capped'. Key nations, including Australia, Norway and Japan, have already started to place a price on carbon, with internal stakeholders now having a legal obligation to pay for the greenhouse gasses they emit. One strategy that has been adopted by these 'compliance' markets – as well as many 'voluntary' markets – includes the purchasing of carbon credits that are linked with the forestry sector. >> Read the Full Article