The new year has just begun and we’re already inundated with horrible news: two new reports have collected further evidence that human economic activity puts life on Earth at risk, and another shocked us with the fact that the 85 richest people on the planet are as wealthy as the poorest 50% – and that the gap between them is still widening. Not to mention the brutal attack on the Charlie Hebdo office, the ongoing wars and conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine and the devastating situation of refugees.
At the same time, a lot of effort is being spent to reassure us that economic growth and a capitalist economy are essential for solving what some call the “crisis of civilization”.
USDA.gov (press release) (blog) USDA Unites with Partners to Improve Water Quality in Lake Champlain USDA.gov (press release) (blog) Lake Champlain provides habitat for more than 300 bird species and 80 fish species, holds 6.8 trillion gallons of...
Last year, we learned what is probably the worst global warming news yet — that we may have irrevocably destabilized the massive ice sheet of West Antarctica, which contains the equivalent of nearly 11 feet of sea level rise. The rate of West Antarctic ice loss has been ominously increasing, and there are fears that if too much goes, the slow and long-term process of ice sheet disintegration could accelerate.
This story originally appeared in the Guardian and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Humans are "eating away at our own life support systems" at a rate unseen in the past 10,000 years by degrading land and freshwater systems, emitting greenhouse gases and releasing vast amounts of agricultural chemicals into the environment, new research has found.
Two major new studies by an international team of researchers have pinpointed the key factors that ensure a livable planet for humans, with stark results.
A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them.
“We may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,” said Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an author of the new research, which was published on Thursday in the journal Science.
But there is still time to avert catastrophe, Dr. McCauley and his colleagues also found. Compared with the continents, the oceans are mostly intact, still wild enough to bounce back to ecological health.
Humanity's rapacious growth and accelerated energy needs over the last generation—particularly fed by an economic system that demands increasing levels of consumption and inputs of natural resources—are fast driving planetary systems towards their breaking point, according to a new pair of related studies. "It is difficult to overestimate the scale and speed of change. In a single lifetime humanity has become a geological force at the planetary-scale." —Prof. Will Steffen
Stephen Starr: Two French oceanography researchers expected to find pollution on their 8,345km, 14-month kayak journey from Gibraltar to Istanbul – but what shocked them was the endless spread of cities along the coast...
Two hazardous chemicals never before known as oil and gas industry pollutants—ammonium and iodide—are being released and spilled into Pennsylvania and West Virginia waterways from the booming energy operations of the Marcellus shale, a new study shows.
The toxic substances, which can have a devastating impact on fish, ecosystems, and potentially, human health, are extracted from geological formations along with natural gas and oil during both hydraulic fracturing and conventional drilling operations, said Duke University scientists in a study published today in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
For thousands of years, city planners have engineered water into submission — think aqueducts.
"That's really the core of modern water infrastructure," says David Sedlak, the author of Water 4.0. "It's the ancient idea that the Romans gave us. Collecting water somewhere on the outskirts of the city, sending it with gravity into the city, and then when we're done with it, we put it back underground in a sewer and send on its way."
A cacao grower with roots in Southeast Asia’s palm oil industry has set up shop in the Peruvian Amazon. The CEO of United Cacao has told the international press that he wants to change the industry for the better, but a cadre of scientists and conservation groups charge that United Cacao has quietly cut down more than 2,000 hectares of rainforest.
There's something going on in Kwigillingok, Alaska--a town with just 350 residents--that could change your life. Kwigillingok is off the power grid because it is too remote to be on one and generates its own power, which now includes electricity from wind turbines. This is the epitome of a microgrid, or a small closed power system that can operate independently, or in conjunction with, the larger power grid. Such small systems could be the future of power.
Last year was the hottest on earth since record-keeping began in 1880, scientists reported on Friday, underscoring warnings about the risks of runaway greenhouse gas emissions and undermining claims by climate change contrarians that global warming had somehow stopped.
Extreme heat blanketed Alaska and much of the western United States last year. Records were set across large areas of every inhabited continent. And the ocean surface was unusually warm virtually everywhere except near Antarctica, the scientists said, providing the energy that fueled damaging Pacific storms.
Each country has its own invasive species and rampant plants with a tendency to grow out of control. In most, the techniques for dealing with them are similar - a mixture of powerful chemicals and diggers. But in the US a new weapon has joined the armoury in recent years - the goat.
In a field just outside Washington, Andy, a tall goat with long, floppy ears, nuzzles up to his owner, Brian Knox.