• Southwest US Forests could suffer greatly as climate warms

    Combine the tree-ring growth record with historical information, climate records, and computer-model projections of future climate trends, and you get a grim picture for the future of trees in the southwestern United States. That's the word from a team of scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory, the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Arizona, and other partner organizations. If the Southwest is warmer and drier in the near future, widespread tree death is likely and would cause substantial changes in the distribution of forests and of species, the researchers report this week in the journal Nature Climate Change. >> Read the Full Article
  • Norwegian Arctic Summers Warmest in 1,800 Years

    Summer temperatures on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard in the High Arctic are now higher than during any time over the last 1,800 years, including a period of higher temperatures in the northern hemisphere known as the Medieval Warm Period, according to a new study. In an analysis of algae buried in deep lake sediments, a team of scientists calculated that summer temperatures in Svalbard since 1987 have been 2 to 2.5 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 4.5 degrees F) warmer than during the Medieval Warm Period, which lasted from roughly 950 to 1250 AD. Scientists say this year's record declines in Arctic sea ice extent and volume are powerful evidence that the giant cap of ice at the top of the planet is on a trajectory to largely disappear in summer within a decade or two, with profound global consequences. >> Read the Full Article
  • Smokey Robinson Launches Smoke Alarm site to Fight Water-Borne Diseases

    Legendary R&B singer and songwriter Smokey Robinson has launched a social media site called Smoke Alarm as a way of getting the word out on important issues of the day. What makes Smoke Alarm so powerful is the number of celebrity participants he has on board, including Elton John, Hillary Duff, Daryl Hall, Eva Longoria and James Franco, among others who pass these messages along to their Facebook fans and Twitter followers. The site currently has over 44 million subscribers. The first issue that Smokey is tackling is a great one, the challenge of providing clean drinking water to millions of people around the world who do not have it. >> Read the Full Article
  • Community Sharing: Saving Resources and Saving Money

    It started with Sam going around to his neighbour to borrow some milk. Things took a further step when one of them borrowed some chairs for a barbecue. Finally, the two neighbours decided the time had come to take down the fence between their gardens, to better enjoy the shared space. This is how StreetBank - an online tool sharing website - started. On a street in West London, two neighbours started to share what they each owned, replacing the idea of possessions with the more collaborative concept of shared tools. >> Read the Full Article
  • Go Slowly to tap Namibia's groundwater

    The extraction of the much needed water from a large underground aquifer in northern Namibia may need to wait for further studies, officials have warned at a water investment conference. The aquifer, discovered in July, may contain enough water to sustain about one million people living in the area for 400 years at the current consumption rate, as well as boost development through irrigation in this poor, heavily overgrazed area where women and children walk for hours to get fresh water from boreholes. But officials and scientists have cautioned against too much optimism until further studies have been conducted. One reason is that the aquifer is under a smaller, polluted water resource, so it is still unclea >> Read the Full Article
  • The Kathmandu Valley Needs Help!

    The once bustling Bagmati river has become the focal point of Nepal's struggle to bring modernity to this once isolated region. And the environment is struggling to survive, writes Joseph Mayton. It is "clean-up" day on Nepal’s major river, the Bagmati. Uniformed military personnel troll the banks of the river, picking up plastic bags and rubbish that has found its way onto the sides what once was the main thoroughfare for the Kathmandu Valley. Turning, with pieces in his hand, one officer lightly tosses the rubbish into the already polluted water. >> Read the Full Article
  • Update - High Altitude Wind Energy Potential

    A host of start-up companies are exploring ways to harness the enormous amount of wind energy flowing around the earth, especially at high altitudes. But as these innovators are discovering, the engineering and regulatory challenges of what is known as airborne wind power are daunting. The wind turbines that increasingly dot the landscape peak at around 300 feet above ground, with the massive blades spinning a bit higher. The wind, however, does not peak at 300 feet. Winds are faster and more consistent the higher one climbs, maxing out in the jet streams at five miles and above. >> Read the Full Article
  • New study analyzes challenges with international water-related projects

    Large-scale water-related projects are a model global environmental issue. From dams controlling and rerouting water flow to providing access to clean drinking water and monitoring the nutrient quality of water resources, local, national, and international players often have to work together to manage these water resources. As trans-boundary issues are bound to arise, efforts need to be addressed in order to manage concerns. A new study of nearly 200 major international water-related projects over the past 20 years has identified existing and emerging challenges and how science can offer solutions. >> Read the Full Article
  • World Rhino Day was this weekend

    If you had a sudden urge to put a horn on your head, not use your knees and chew on some leaves, you may be catching the spirit of World Rhino Day. It was celebrated all over the world this weekend with art shows, auctions, walk-a-thons and lectures with the theme of "Five Rhino Species Forever." It's not too late to keep Rhinoceros conservation in your thoughts and to make an effort to help them in your own way. The effort is to raise awareness for the threats posed to the rhinoceroses who are hunted for their horns, which are believed to have medicinal properties. The commemorative day is only in its second year, but it's caught on in zoos and conservation parks around the world. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Problem with Tree Plantations

    Today, September 21, is the "International Day of Struggle against Monoculture Tree Plantations", an annual event organized by a coalition of social and environmental groups. Here, Isaac Rojas, a Costa Rican who is Friends of the Earth International coordinator of its Forest and Biodiversity Program, expresses his view point on industrial plantations. Public environmental awareness has come a long way since September 1962, when Rachel Carson's 'Silent Spring' was published, stimulating the birth of the environmental movement. This movement may be fifty years old, but nowadays you can feel 'green' by helping destroy forests instead of protecting them, for instance by clicking online a 'plant a tree' button on a seemingly well-meaning website. >> Read the Full Article