The Chinese plastic industry is responsible for 25 percent of global plastic production. Despite the versatility and prevalence of plastics around the world, plastics have significant environmental drawbacks — a single plastic bottle produces three pounds of carbon dioxide and takes 450 years to decompose. How might China reduce these adverse environmental effects? One option the country is exploring is plastic waste recovery.
How long before it is too late to reduce fossil fuel emissions and meet the 2 degree target of the Paris Climate Agreement? A new study provides clues to how policymakers might plan to address climate change and carbon emissions, and how long they have to do so. By arming leaders with an understanding of how policy, risk, and temperature targets are related, the study puts a timeline to humanity’s Point of No Return.
How can farming adapt to a changing climate? A new study explores gaps in traditional thinking about farmers’ adaptations and proposes a new way to assess a farm’s vulnerability to climate change. This new framework is a first step toward preparing agriculture for an uncertain future.
Remember those first trips you took to the science museum? Remember feeling wonder and awe learning about how things function on our planet? Were the hands-on exhibits your favorite? These kinds of questions may be difficult to answer if you grew up a racial minority in a poor community. Why? Because our society designs science museums–and all science learning and communication activities–for a narrow audience. A new study explores how we got here and suggests more inclusive ways to communicate science to a broad public.
Coastal wetlands provide invaluable ecological and economic services for our coastal communities. To keep pace with sea level rise, these habitats need space to migrate upland. This may present a challenge in some highly urbanized areas. A recent study that calculated open and developed land near wetlands along the Southeastern coast of the United States sheds light on the fate of coastal wetlands at a regional scale, and provides context for improved coastal resilience efforts.
One-third of the world’s food is lost or wasted. But the biggest loss, not included in this estimate, may be through our dietary choices. Consuming meat entails significantly more food loss than consuming plants directly. Favoring plant-based diets in America would produce enough food to feed 350 million additional people – more than would be fed if all conventional food supply chain losses were eliminated.
Droughts and extreme flooding have devastating effects in India’s rice-growing areas. New research shows that female farmers are using their ancestral knowledge and promoting a culture of sharing to help their crops adapt to climate change while keeping their families alive.
Climate change is already wreaking havoc on the world’s oceans. New research suggests that managing fisheries with climate change in mind could preserve this important food source for future generations.
Pacific women have long been marginalized in the conversations surrounding climate change adaptation. And yet, they have been quietly leading the way towards a climate resilient future in their communities.
Farmers in rural areas must engage with surrounding wildlife to protect their livelihoods. Development and human-wildlife conflict threaten large predators living near human settlements. In a study from a national park in Bhutan, researchers found that tigers in forested areas near farmlands can have large-scale impacts in the ecosystem that lead to fewer agricultural losses. The indirect benefits tigers bring to farmers could have important wildlife conservation implications.
Urban gardens can attract some of nature’s most beautiful pollinators. A new study brings us on an exciting journey to understand the nuances of complex networks of butterflies and flowers. Scientists use this new information to recommend the best flowers to sustain urban populations of both common and rare butterflies.
The Sahara Desert is one of the driest regions on Earth and is exposed to a tremendous amount of wind and sunlight. Encouraging new research shows that installing a large number of wind and solar power plants in this arid environment could increase rainfall and encourage plant growth.
Land rights conflicts are a well-known problem in the expansion of industrial plantations in the Global South. To resolve conflicts, the disputing groups tend to choose mediation instead of an inefficient formal court system. Despite the advantages of mediation, findings from Indonesia show that mediation is incomplete without addressing wider injustices in land rights issues.
Groundwater managers have a difficult time getting a sense of how much water farmers and urban water users extract from aquifers. Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) is a satellite technology that uses microwaves to generate data that researchers use to build Earth gravity models. The models produced from GRACE data help water managers know how much water farmers and urban water planners have withdrawn from the ground. This helps communities manage their groundwater resources sustainably.
Crowdfunding is becoming an increasingly popular source of support for biodiversity conservation. A recent study reveals an expansive global crowdfunding network for conservation that brings much-needed support for research and species-focused projects. Researchers explored how this new fundraising mechanism might impact conservation, both financially and beyond.
Ecotourism in Kenya is celebrated as a win-win solution that benefits both cheetahs and humans. Tourists get to see cheetahs in their natural habitat while funding wildlife preserves. But what happens to cheetah cubs when they are surrounded by overeager visitors? A new study examines how ecotourism affects cheetah cubs’ chance at survival.
Coral reefs are fragile ecosystems that support an abundance of marine life. Climate change and human activities threaten the existence of these reefs. In Maui, scientists found that treated wastewater seeps into coral reefs and causes coral degradation at an alarmingly high rate.
E-waste is frequently exported to developing countries and are recycled manually, polluting the air, soil and water and affecting workers and vulnerable communities. The Basel Convention is an international treaty created to counter that. However, enforcement and monitoring is lacking. Researchers and the Basel Action Network took matters into their own hands.
Human development has disconnected thousands of acres of U.S. salt marsh from life-giving tidal flows. New research has found that restoring tidal flows to salt marshes can be an important intervention to slow the rate of climate change.
The North Atlantic Ocean Circulation is a double-edged sword when it comes to ocean acidification. In the past, it has kept the North Atlantic Ocean less acidic – and more hospitable – than the Pacific Ocean. Today, the same circulation has the potential toconvey fast acidification to the ocean depth as climate change alters both the atmosphere and the surface ocean.
Businesses are increasingly swayed by their customer’s preferences for environmentally friendly brands, a phenomenon known as “green loyalty.” Mounting customer pressure is pushing the growing cruise industry to seek more sustainable solutions.
The dramatic rise in Oklahoma’s earthquake activity since 2009 is due to its wastewater injection. Notoriously hard to measure, scientists created a method that modeled seismic conditions as a result of wastewater disposal. A thoughtful approach to disposal will limit environmental damage as a result of seismic activity.
Among its many natural treasures, Africa has one infinitely valuable resource: the sun. At last, large-scale solar photovoltaic systems can harness its power to provide carbon-free electricity to people who need it the most.
Engaging community members in environmental monitoring can help land managers understand how ecosystems respond to human activities. Data collected by students can accurately reflected a stream’s recovery after restoration work.
Did changes in weather patterns increase conflict-related incidents in the Philippines? A recent study analyzes the relationship between climate change, seasonal rainfall patterns, agricultural production, and civil conflict in the Philippines. The findings reveal that harvest failures caused by extreme weather can exacerbate violence among rebel groups.
Extreme weather events like hurricanes, flash floods and heatwaves are predicted to increase in intensity and frequency due to climate change. A group of researchers studied the barriers small and mediumsized businesses face in their attempt to bounce back after being hit by extreme weather, to find out which internal and external factors hamper businesses from getting back on their feet quickly.
Migratory birds rely on high quality habitat in which to rest overnight during their annual journeys. However, a recent study suggests that city lights can divert birds from their traditional flight paths. By resting in areas with fewer resources – be it less cover for protection or fewer plants and insects to eat – birds may need more time to complete their migrations and arrive at their destinations in poorer condition.
By 2050 two thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas. This growth will cause an 80% increase in city water demand. To fulfill this growing need for water in cities, water will be taken away from rural and agricultural needs.
In the United States alone, beef production accounts for twenty percent of greenhouse gas emissions and it is the least efficient source of protein production. Americans will continue to eat beef; so designing a sustainable industry is essential to reducing emissions. In a new study, scientists explore two straightforward ways to achieve a sustainable industry – all without sacrificing your cheeseburgers.
Across the globe, rangelands are rapidly changing due to human-caused disturbances. New research shows that in Australia, livestock grazing is shifting the balance of plant diversity in favor of non-native species. This could pose serious conservation challenges for Australian rangelands in years to come.