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 The models produced from GRACE data help water managers know how much water farmers and urban water planners have withdrawn from the ground.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.
Humans have long looked to the ocean for opportunities, sustenance, and growth. Today, advocates of “Blue Growth” aim to foster sustainable economic growth in the marine sector. Absent in the grandiose vision, however, is where our interaction with the ocean first began: fishing. Global fisheries production has stagnated: ecology is fragile, regulations are strict, and fish prices are low. So, what is the future for marine fisheries? What will be its role in Blue Growth?
Human activity is increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, causing the ocean to absorb more carbon dioxide as well. New research shows that increasing oceanic carbon dioxide levels are also fluctuating with the seasons. Over time, these fluctuations are becoming more dramatic. As a result, marine animals will be pushed earlier than expected towards threatening conditions.
Scientists from the Institute for Conservation Research at the San Diego Zoo and UCLA are researching animal decision making across disciplinary boundaries. In a recent study, they investigated how animal decision making can be affected by human impacts on the environment. They argue that understanding the ways animals respond to different situations can help scientists conserve species more effectively.
Forest fragmentation breaks apart ecosystems and accelerates deforestation. The causes of deforestation differ around the globe, but scientists have identified similarities in their patterns. Doing so might mitigate further deforestation.
Solar energy is hailed as the holy grail of climate change mitigation. But is it really? Like any other technological solution, solar has its issues especially regarding its impact on land use change. A recent study highlighted some promising alternatives for siting solar in areas that can spare prime agricultural land, thus reducing solar land footprint.
Does news coverage affect the length of people’s showers? A recent scientific study seeks to understand how mass media is related to water use behavior, by examining the influence of abnormally high drought related news coverage in California’s San Francisco bay area. The researchers find a strong link between heightened news coverage and a reduction in urban water use, indicating that mass media has the potential to lead to significant behavioral changes.
As the current United States Federal government moves to dismantle environmental protections, many have turned to the business community to lead the way on environment. However, a new study has found that most businesses are only working on sustainability to generate profit. The study categorizes profit-minded sustainability work as “weak,” stating that more ambitious sustainability approaches have goals beyond growing a business.
Climate change is increasing storm severity globally. During storms, polluted sediment can be transported. A study focusing on the Meadowlands demonstrates how tide gates can prevent the transportation of contaminated sediment.
Towering wind turbines have been overlooking the European seas for almost a decade. Why is the U.S. lagging in offshore wind development? A recent study examined the psychological and social factors that influence public opinion and eventually facilitate or hinder project development.