• Malaysia's 'Smart Villages' and other great ideas for sustainable development

    As nations zero in on the UN's post-2015 global Sustainable Development Goals, innovations being successfully pioneered and demonstrated in Malaysia offer several proven tactical ideas for improving the world, says an influential international sustainable development networking organization. The UN's Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), through its Malaysian chapter, cites ways in which the country is "rising to the challenge," including the construction of ingenious, self-sustaining "smart" villages -- each lifting about 100 families out of poverty and into affordable homes and employment. Meanwhile, guides for minimizing the carbon footprint of cities while promoting healthy lifestyles, and using science to extract new wealth from palm biomass waste are among other creative initiatives underway in Malaysia that help light a path for emerging economy countries. >> Read the Full Article
  • Burlington, Vermont - Now 100% Powered by Renewable Energy

    Burlington, Vermont, already considered to be one of the United States's most environmentally progressive cities, has added another line to its impressive green resume. Just recently, the city finalized its transition to relying 100% on renewable resources for its energy. Burlington is Vermont's large city, though that in itself is no big feat – the city has a population of just 42,000. Then again, very few communities of even this size have managed to disassociate themselves from fossil fuels. In order to adequately tackle climate change, cities – big and small – need to prioritize finding and utilizing alternative energy solutions. Burlington had expressed a desire to commit to 100% renewable energy for more than a decade, but it became a real possibility when analysts discovered that it was not only a smart environmental choice, but financially viable, too. In the long run, both the city and residents will not be paying more for clean energy than they were when buying fossil fuels. >> Read the Full Article
  • Pollinators are important to nutrition, especially in poorer regions

    Declines in populations of pollinators, such as bees and wasps, may be a key threat to nutrition in some of the most poorly fed parts of the globe, according to new research. A major study, published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B and co-authored by a University of Leeds academic, looked at the importance of pollinators to 115 of the most common food crops worldwide and the importance of those crops in delivering vital nutrients to vulnerable populations. >> Read the Full Article
  • Electric vehicles getting even "Greener"

    Sixty percent of Americans now live in regions where electric vehicles (EVs) produce fewer heat-trapping global warming emissions per mile than the most efficient hybrids, according to an updated analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). In 2012, that number was just 45 percent. "Electric vehicles are doing more and more to fulfill their technological promise," said Don Anair, research director for UCS's Clean Vehicles Program. "If we want to reduce transportation pollution and oil use, a big part of the answer is to be like Bob Dylan and go electric." >> Read the Full Article
  • Japan: 'solar islands' replace nuclear power

    As Japan seeks to end reliance on nuclear power, one of the answers is floating 'solar islands', writes Jon Major. A 70MW solar island opened last year, and two additional plants have just been announced. Two companies in Japan recently announced they are to begin building two large solar power islands that will float on reservoirs. >> Read the Full Article
  • Most Polluted Countries

    The WHO has released a new study ranking countries with the worst air pollution. When we consider air pollution most of us will automatically think of China. However, it was nowhere to be found in the top 10 offenders. This, by the way, is not because they’ve suddenly cleaned up their act, but rather because this study ranked countries as a whole, rather than cities. So here are the top 5 countries with the worst air pollution, and what they are trying to do to combat it. 1. Pakistan Pakistan made #1 on the list with a PM 2.5 pollution level of 101 ug/m3. Now, that might not make sense so let me break it down: PM 2.5 stands for the size of the particles of pollution. The size (2.5) is frequently cited as the most detrimental because it can travel deep into lungs and cause a variety of ailments. Good examples of these particles are smoke, mold and dust. The ug/m3 part stands for micrograms per unit meter of air. So Pakistan has 101 micrograms of PM 2.5 pollutants per unit meter of air. >> Read the Full Article
  • Australia to end shark cull

    In a major win for sharks and their advocates, Australia’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recommended Western Australia (WA) end its controversial shark killing program. After a series of fatal attacks, WA's government proposed a new program in an effort to keep beachgoers safe that involved setting out baited drum lines, which consist of a large baited hook attached to a buoy and an anchor to hold it in place, in designated zones along popular beaches with the intention of killing great white sharks, bull sharks and tiger sharks who were larger than three meters. >> Read the Full Article
  • Why It's Important to Rinse Recyclables

    We all know it's important to recycle and not toss things into the trash or the environment, but how carefully do we need to rinse containers before sending them on their way to the recycling center? Some argue that recycling is a total waste of water when you factor in the amount people are using to get their cans, bottles, and jars squeaky-clean, while others claim containers don't need to be rinsed at all, and some say that the reality lies in the middle ground. >> Read the Full Article
  • Disc or Download: A Virtual Energy-Savings Debate

    One of the best ways to spark an energy revolution is through the younger generation – and nothing quite speaks their language like video games. But this issue has less to do with the content of these addictive games and more with how the younger generation consumes them. Fantasy and adventure, sci-fi and first-person shooters, strategy and racing – video games today comes in all types of genres with thousands of add-ons and customizable features to make each story a virtual reality. And with all of these choices comes two more: buy a copy of the video game on a disc or download the video game straight from the console? >> Read the Full Article
  • Illegal land clearing for commercial agriculture responsible for half of tropical deforestation

    A comprehensive new analysis released today says that nearly half (49%) of all recent tropical deforestation is the result of illegal clearing for commercial agriculture. The study also finds that the majority of this illegal destruction was driven by overseas demand for agricultural commodities including palm oil, beef, soy, and wood products. In addition to devastating impacts on forest-dependent people and biodiversity, the illegal conversion of tropical forests for commercial agriculture is estimated to produce 1.47 gigatonnes of carbon each year—equivalent to 25% of the EU's annual fossil fuel-based emissions. >> Read the Full Article