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Sustainability Science
How might we keep the lights on, water flowing, and natural world vaguely intact? It starts with grabbing innovative ideas/examples to help kick down our limits and inspire a more sustainable world. We implement with rigorous science backed by hard data.
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Amid California's drought, a bruising battle for cheap water

Amid California's drought, a bruising battle for cheap water | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The signs appear about 200 miles north of Los Angeles, tacked onto old farm wagons parked along quiet two-lane roads and bustling Interstate 5.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This is a fantastic piece on the complexity of water fights and the powerful folks who lobby hard for a comparative few.

 

A great piece to start a discussion of water policy in California (and the western U.S. generally).

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Ibuprofen posing potential threat to fish, researchers say

Ibuprofen posing potential threat to fish, researchers say | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Many rivers contain levels of ibuprofen that could be adversely affecting fish health, researchers report. In what is believed to be the first study to establish the level of risk posed by ibuprofen at the country scale, the researchers examined 3,112 stretches of river which together receive inputs from 21 million people.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

We have found this in our samples of rivers here in Ventura County.

 

As with many emerging contaminants, the true impacts of these substances are unknown.  But it is safe to say, it is probably not a good thing they are in our coastal and inland waterways.  

 

The best solution would be to simply not get this stuff in the water in the first place.

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Syngenta seeks exemption from neonicotinoid ban

Syngenta seeks exemption from neonicotinoid ban | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The pesticide maker claims crops could fail unless farmers get an emergency exemption. But what got us into this mess in the first place?
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This is quite disappointing.  While the jury is still out, there is mounting evidence that these pesticides are quite problematic for our pollinators and part of a complex web of increasingly layered stressors for our insects.  

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Mechanism of crude oil heart toxicity on fish revealed from oil spill research

Mechanism of crude oil heart toxicity on fish revealed from oil spill research | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
While studying the impact of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill on tuna, a research team discovered that crude oil interrupts a molecular pathway that allows fish heart cells to beat effectively. The components of the pathway are present in the hearts of most animals, including humans.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Oil = messes up your heart beat.  Who new?

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Lessons From the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

Lessons From the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
A Retro Report looks at the poor planning and technological challenges that contributed to the nation’s worst oil disasters, the 1989 Exxon spill and the 2010 BP blowout.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

While brief, this is a surprisingly accurate and fair summary of the Valdez spill vs Deepwater Horizon blowout.

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Suicide and Depression Among Farmers Linked to Pesticides » EcoWatch

Suicide and Depression Among Farmers Linked to Pesticides » EcoWatch | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Studies have shown a possible link between heavy or prolonged pesticide use and depression and suicide among farmers who use certain classes of pesticides extensively

Via Anita Woodruff
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Interesting.  The devil here is in the details.  Epidemiology of many migrant populations is notoriously difficult.

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Nuno Gaspar de Oliveira's curator insight, October 6, 2014 5:17 PM

Only three of the seven pesticides that produced a positive link are still registered for use with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and those are currently being reviewed by the EPA. But while those pesticides may be phased out—Monsanto, Syngenta and Bayer, three of the largest pesticide producers, say they don’t currently make them—mental health problems could be connected to newer chemicals, such as neonocotinoids, widely connected with bee dieoffs in recent years by interfering with bees’ brains and nervous systems. No studies have been done on the effect of neonocotinoids on humans. Matt Peters was using neonocontinoids when he committed suicide.

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Dumped WWII Chemical Munitions Still Affecting Fish

EUROPE - Thousands of tonnes of chemical warfare agents were dumped into the Baltic Sea after the Second World War. A recent study has shown that fish caught near the dumping grounds show high levels of genetic and cell damage, revealing the long legacy of these toxic substances.
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PIRatE Lab's curator insight, July 12, 2014 8:13 PM

This is particularly interesting and an increasing venue for exploring ecotoxicity.  Our historic approach of looking for PAHs or some other substance has often missed the big story that persistent compounds can have effects upon populations and ecosystems long after the compound itself my have decayed or broken down to sub-detection levels.  Population and genetic structure is the natural place to look for this.  But even so, being able to detect impacts from seven decades ago is impressive.

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Those BPA-free plastics you thought were safe? Think again.

Those BPA-free plastics you thought were safe? Think again. | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Inside the Big Tobacco-style campaign to bury the disturbing evidence about the products you use every day.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This caveat at the start of this story is key.  We are swimming in such a massive sea of plastics and derivatives, creating true control groups is difficult.

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Duke Energy Coal Ash Spill in North Carolina Pollutes Dan River, Test Results Differ on Toxicity

Duke Energy Coal Ash Spill in North Carolina Pollutes Dan River, Test Results Differ on Toxicity | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Groups are battling over just how toxic the Dan River's waters have become.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Mmmmmmmm.....coal ash.

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