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Tue, Feb

  • Are Bidets More Environmentally Friendly Than Toilet Paper?

    While bidets remain unpopular in America, they’re a familiar fixture in bathrooms all over the world. And they raise an inevitable question: Is it better for the environment if you wipe, or should you wash instead?

    The answer may surprise you — and could lead you to rethink your next bathroom remodel.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • New wave of extinctions predicted for vital food species

    Poaching, illegal fishing and deforestation are threatening more than quarter of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, according to a report by the WWF  (World Wide Fund for Nature) — and the consequences are not just environmental.

    The report states that 18 out of the 50 threatened sites are in Latin American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama and Peru. It also says the number could be higher because the illegal extraction of species in the region — a business with annual profits of almost US$ 2 billion — is not as well studied as it is in Africa or Asia.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Handwashing: Cool Water as Effective as Hot for Removing Germs

    We all know that washing our hands can keep us from spreading germs and getting sick. But a new Rutgers-New Brunswick study found that cool water removes the same amount of harmful bacteria as hot.

    “People need to feel comfortable when they are washing their hands but as far as effectiveness, this study shows us that the temperature of the water used didn’t matter,” said Donald Schaffner, distinguished professor and extension specialist in food science.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Envisioning the future of metal and mineral production

    Metals and minerals form the base of our society, with diverse applications infiltrating all corners of our lives, including agriculture, infrastructure, transportation and information technology. As populations grow, and demand for metals and minerals rises, enhancing the sustainability of the sector is a goal for many companies, communities and policymakers.

    To contribute to this, on May 11-12, MIT launched the Metals and Minerals for the Environment (MME) initiative with its first public symposium. MIT has long been home to research on myriad aspects of metals and minerals, and the MME Symposium serves to crystallize these efforts around the unique environmental and social challenges the sector faces.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Roaming Bison Get Caught in Crossfire

    There’s safety in numbers for herd animals, but not if some members of the herd make poor decisions. That was one of the findings of research by  U of G integrative biology professor John Fryxell and U of G graduate Daniel Fortin, now a biology professor at Université Laval.

    They studied the movement patterns of bison in Prince Albert National Park in Saskatchewan and found that those animals that ventured outside the park into neighbouring farmland were hunted, which contributed to the herd’s population decline over a nine-year period from 2005 to 2013.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Tackling climate change: New options for BC's forest sector

    British Columbia’s forestry sector can potentially make a major contribution to meeting the province’s climate targets through using a mix of regionally-specific harvest and stand management techniques, bioenergy investments and creating more long-lived wood products.

    That’s a key message from a public presentation held this morning by the Forest Carbon Management Project, a multi-year collaborative effort created by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS), involving scientists from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the University of British Columbia (UBC) and other agencies.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Factories that forage

    Professor Steve Evans calls himself "an angry environmental optimist". Angry because he feels we are borrowing from the future, but optimistic because many of the problems with regard to the environment are perfectly solvable.

    "We have reached clean energy parity," he says. "Renewable energy is not just cleaner than other forms; it is now cheaper."

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Increasing Aridity and Land-use Overlap Have Potential to Cause Social and Economic Conflict in Dryland Areas

    Climate change combined with overlapping high-intensity land uses are likely to create conditions detrimental to the recreation economy, wildlife habitat, water availability and other resources in hyper-arid landscapes, or drylands, in the future, according to a recent paper published in Ecosphere.

    Drylands are of concern because broad-scale changes in these systems have the potential to affect 36 percent of the world’s human population.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Wolves need space to roam to control expanding coyote populations

    Wolves and other top predators need large ranges to be able to control smaller predators whose populations have expanded to the detriment of a balanced ecosystem.

    That’s the main finding of a study appearing May 23 in Nature Communications that analyzed the relationship between top predators on three different continents and the next-in-line predators they eat and compete with. The results were similar across continents, showing that as top predators’ ranges were cut back and fragmented, they were no longer able to control smaller predators.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Fall Calving Season May Yield Higher Returns for Tennessee Beef Producers - Risk and returns evaluated

    The vast majority of cow-calf producers in Tennessee and the Southeast using a defined calving season have long favored spring calving; however, researchers at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture have evaluated the risk and returns for a fall calving season, proving once again that timing is everything.

    Selecting an optimal calving season involves a complex set of factors including nutritional demands of brood cows, forage availability, calf weaning weights, calving rates, seasonality in cattle, and feed prices and labor availability.

    >> Read the Full Article