• What History Teaches Us About Our Environmental Challenges

    It seems that the environmental challenges we face are truly daunting. That we may never be able to survive them, even if we do our best to do so. A study by MIT professor Susan Solomon says it's often helpful — and heartening — to look to the past. Solomon points out that recent decades have seen major environmental progress: In the 1970s, the United States banned indoor leaded paint following evidence that it was poisoning children. In the 1990s, the United States put in place regulations to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide — a move that significantly reduced acid rain. Beginning in the 1970s, countries around the world began to phase out leaded gasoline; blood lead levels in children dropped dramatically in response. >> Read the Full Article
  • US Military Takes Part in Reducing Ecological Footprint

    In an effort to enhance American security and address climate change, the U.S. military is diminishing its footprint. The military is producing cleaner power, reducing energy consumption, managing water and minimizing waste. Their efforts encompass vast numbers of vehicles, ships, planes, buildings, lands, and other facilities. A major impetus for these efforts is Executive Order 13514, "Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance," which President Obama signed on October 5, 2009. It mandates a 30 percent reduction in energy usage by federal agencies. >> Read the Full Article
  • Streams Affected by Even the Earliest Stages of Urban Development

    In a new study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), it was found that the loss of sensitive species in streams begins to occur at the initial stages of urban development. The culprits are the increased contaminants entering the streams, destruction of riparian habitat, and greater stream flow flashiness. The results of the study show that streams are more sensitive to development than previously believed. The victims are the bruised ecosystems and a reduction in economically viable resources like fishing and tourism. >> 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
  • Let's Celebrate America Recycles Day by taking the Food Recovery Challenge!

    Today is America Recycles Day, a nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting recycling in the US. All across the country, thousands of events are being held to celebrate recycling awareness in communities. One way organizations are participating this year is by taking the Food Recovery Challenge. The Food Recovery Challenge is a voluntary program established by the EPA with a goal to cut the 35 million tons of food wasted nationwide annually by reducing unnecessary consumption and increasing donations to charity and composting. >> Read the Full Article
  • New research finds mine waste could provide an effective CO2 trap

    It's time to economically value the greenhouse gas-trapping potential of mine waste and start making money from it, says mining engineer and geologist Michael Hitch of the University of British Columbia (UBC). Hitch studies the value of mine waste rock for its CO2-sequestration potential, or "SP." He says mining companies across Canada will, in future, be able to offset CO2 emissions with so-named "SP rock," and within 25 years could even be selling emissions credits. >> Read the Full Article
  • Got (organic) milk?

    In recent years, advertising for milk and milk products has been seen everywhere in mainstream America. Not only do we have our doctors telling us to drink more milk, but we also have celebrities endorsing the product. Of course milk does the body good, but do some types of milk do better than others? What about milk's impact on the environment? To analyze these questions, researchers need to study the types of farms from where the milk originates. As with the case for most farms, large-scale farm businesses have been taking over smaller, local farms causing tons of pasture-based dairies to disappear from the landscape. Even though the demand for organic milk and dairy products is on the rise (raking in at least $750 million annually), most of our country's milk is coming from cows confined in animal feeding operations known as CAFOs. Not only do CAFOs make a less nutritious milk product, but they also pollute our air, water, and soil and reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics in humans. >> Read the Full Article
  • Are Greenhouse Gas Emissions Delaying the Start of an Ice Age?

    Mankind's emissions of fossil carbon and the resulting increase in temperature could prove to be our salvation from the next ice age. According to new research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, the current increase in the extent of peatland is having the opposite effect. "We are probably entering a new ice age right now. However, we're not noticing it due to the effects of carbon dioxide", says researcher Professor Lars Franzén. Looking back over the past three million years, the earth has experienced at least 30 periods of ice age, known as ice age pulses. The periods in between are called interglacials. >> Read the Full Article
  • Arsenic Contamination from Gold Mining found in India Villages

    Scientists have found high levels of arsenic in the soil and groundwater near a gold mine in the south Indian state of Karnataka, highlighting health hazards associated with mining the precious metal. A team of scientists that conducted studies in the Kiradalli Tanda village of Yadgir district discovered arsenic contamination in groundwater 30 times higher than the limit of 10 parts per billion, prescribed by the WHO. The village, which is four kilometres from a gold mine, had reported several cases of suspected arsenic-induced skin diseases and cancers. >> Read the Full Article
  • An Early Eco Disaster at the Great Barrier Reef.

    The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 1,600 miles over an area of approximately 133,000 sq miles. The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. It is a fragile and immense ecosystem subject to continuing and increasing man made exposure hazards. Australian marine scientists have unearthed evidence of an historic coral collapse in Queensland’s Palm Islands following human development on the nearby mainland. Cores taken through the coral reef at Pelorus Island confirm a healthy community of branching Acropora corals flourished for centuries before European settlement of the area, despite frequent floods and cyclone events. Then, between 1920 and 1955, the branching Acropora failed to recover. >> Read the Full Article