• Kudzu Bugs May Be More Dangerous to Soybean Crops than Previously Thought

    Many of us know kudzu as the invasive species that grows so rapidly it can destroy valuable forests by preventing trees from getting enough sunlight. Well now we have another "kudzu" species to be worried about – the kudzu bug. Also known as Megacopta cribraria, the kudzu bug is native to India and China, where it is an agricultural pest of beans and other legumes. After first being detected in Georgia in 2009, the kudzu bug has since expanded its territory as far north as Virginia. And according to new research from North Carolina State University, the kudzu bug may be able to expand to other parts of the country. >> Read the Full Article
  • Earth Day - Hollywood Style

    For years, Hollywood has celebrated Earth Day in order to raise awareness about environmental issues and to strike up a memorable dialogue about sustainable practices. And the film studios’ embrace of Earth Day has only strengthened over time. From PSAs to Paramount’s new micro-turbines, we take a look at the industry’s dedication to spotlighting one of the most important advocacy dates on the calendar. In 1990, the holiday got a pretty big boost from Hollywood when Time Warner called on some of their favorite talent to hammer home proactive things Americans could do to reduce their footprint on the planet. (Our favorites? A pony-tailed Kevin Costner teaching Meryl Streep how to recycle and Neil Patrick Harris as Doogie Howser giving a press conference about the health of his patient, "Mother Earth.") But in 2013, the film business's efforts have far exceeded PSA productions, and the good news is that a lot of progressive practices like electric car fueling stations, composting, a ban on plastic bags in commissaries, and required carbon emission reporting have become all but de rigueur on most major lots. As each of the main studios shoot to achieve "100% sustainable" status in the coming years, the pressure is on to determine creative ways to be the first to get there, and then some. In honor of Earth Day, we take a look at some of the ways Hollywood is committed to 'greening' up their practices: >> Read the Full Article
  • Earth Day Spotlight: Working Dogs for Conservation

    Wicket, an eight year-old black lab-cross wearing a red vest emblazoned with the words "Search Dog", came to a sudden stop at the base of a thick willow tree, turning and sitting in one swift motion, and awaited her reward of a tennis ball for a successful detection. "Instead of using dogs to find narcotics, lets use them to find poop," Alice Whitelaw of Working Dogs for Conservation, said. Only one in 1,000 dogs have what it takes to become a detection dog. The Three Forks Mont.-based research group uses dogs to search for everything from invasive species to noxious weeds to rare animal scat to illegal snares used by poachers in Africa. Five Montana wildlife biologists came together in 2000 with a new idea to respond to a growing demand for non-invasive ways to do research. Whitelaw, co-founder and director of programs for WDC, and her colleagues were not disappointed with the results, as testing showed the dogs were successful at finding scat 90 percent of the time. >> Read the Full Article
  • Forest conservation could reduce malaria transmission

    Preserving the biodiversity of tropical forests could have the added benefit of cutting the spread of malaria, according to a new study. The finding contradicts the traditional view that clearing native forest for agriculture curbs malaria transmission in the Amazon rainforest. >> Read the Full Article
  • Green 'Khutbah' Muslim Sermon Campaign

    Muslims have been asked to encourage their spiritual leaders, imams, to devote this Friday Khutbah or sermon (19th April 2013) to celebrate the blessings, graces and beauty of all of Allah’s creation. Muaz Nasir from Khaleafa who is leading the effort is also hoping to raise awareness amongst Muslim of the environmental challenges facing humanity. "The 'Green Khutbah Campaign' is aiming to challenge Muslims to become stewards of the environment by making changes to their daily routines," explains Nasir. "Although the evidence of environmental damage is stronger than ever, the public is starting to tune out due to the recent economic crisis and a lack of political leadership. But Muslims cannot tune out from the environmental damage – tuning out would mean that we are disregarding our moral responsibility to Allah's creation." >> Read the Full Article
  • Cigarette Butts Litter Waterways, Create Toxic Aquatic Ecosystems

    What would you say is the most littered item on US roadways? I think of two things: gum and cigarette butts. But let's focus on cigarettes for now. Cigarette filters are made from cellulose acetate, a plastic which is technically biodegradable. However, cigarette butts only degrade under conditions described by researchers as "severe biological circumstances," such as when filters end up in sewage. Even under optimal conditions, it can take at least 9 months for a butt to degrade. >> Read the Full Article
  • Eating Lead

    Lead is a nasty poison and can kill. So can bullets. Lead ammunition continues to take a deadly toll on endangered California condors that live in and around the Grand Canyon. Seven of the 80 wild condors in Arizona and Utah have died since December; three of those deaths have been definitively linked to lead poisoning from ingesting spent lead ammunition fragments in carrion and lead poisoning is suspected in the other four deaths. So bullets kill and, in this case, even by ingestion. >> Read the Full Article
  • Civet poop coffee may be threatening wild species

    Popularization of the world's strangest coffee may be imperiling a suite of small mammals in Indonesia, according to a new study in Small Carnivore Conservation. The coffee, known as kopi luwak (kopi for coffee and luwak for the civet), is made from whole coffee beans that have passed through the guts of the animal and out the other side. The coffee is apparently noted for its distinct taste, though some have argued it is little more than novelty. >> Read the Full Article
  • Seismic Airgun Testing for Oil and Gas Threatens Marine Life and Coastal Economies

    According to government estimates, 138,500 whales and dolphins will soon be injured and possibly killed along the East Coast if exploration companies are allowed to use dangerous blasts of noise to search for offshore oil and gas. The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) is considering allowing geophysical companies, working on behalf of oil and gas companies, to use seismic airguns to search for offshore oil and gas in the Atlantic Ocean, from Delaware to Florida. These airguns use compressed air to generate intense pulses of sound, which are 100,000 times more intense than a jet engine. >> Read the Full Article
  • Fungi Found to be Culprit for Horseradish Root Rot

    Horseradish grown in the Midwest of the United States has been experiencing significant yield reductions for the past 30 years due to internal discoloring and root rot. According to crop science professor Mohammad Babadoost at the University of Illinois, "If the roots are discolored, they are not accepted for processing." This affects the success of these plants and the livelihood of Illinois farmers who grown over half of the horseradish produced in the United States. >> Read the Full Article