Many of us like to have houseplants. They add a bit of nature to our homes and they look nice. It turns out that they have health advantages as well.
There are many worries related to climate change, notably the increasing occurrence of extreme weather events, melting polar ice, rising seas, and so forth. But perhaps one of the most ominous warnings comes from a new report issued by the Climate Institute about the future of coffee.
As the world’s population grows and becomes more urban and affluent, the amount of solid waste we produce grows and grows. Over the past century, the total amount has risen tenfold. By 2025, the world-wide total is expected to double again. The average person in the United States throws away their body weight in garbage every month.
The Northwest Passage is a sea route connecting the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Arctic Ocean, going along the northern coast of North America via waterways through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.
At the beginning of the 20th century, there were about 500,000 rhinos across Africa and Asia. By 1970, the number was down to 70,000. Today, there are less than 30,000 rhinos in the wild. The number of black rhinos dropped to as low as 2,300 in 1993. Aggressive conservation efforts have brought their numbers up to over 5,000 today.
Europe has embraced offshore wind power as a major contributor to its electricity needs for a long time. As of June, there was a total of 3,344 offshore wind turbines with a combined capacity of over 11.5 gigawatts of power connected in European waters in 82 wind farms located in 11 different countries and providing power to millions of people.
Poor air quality is a serious problem. Exposure to air pollution is linked to the premature deaths of an estimated 6.5 million people every year. This makes air pollution the fourth largest threat to human health. Only high blood pressure, dietary risks, and smoking are a bigger danger.
Investment companies like to talk about the disruptive nature of technologies and how they change industries while simultaneously changing our lives. The growing emphasis on a low-carbon economy has spotlighted a number of technologies as being disruptive in their industry sectors. One hears this frequently when discussing wind and solar power. Clearly, these two technologies are changing the face of the utility industry, but at least at present, they still represent a fairly small fraction of the overall business.
These days, many of the foods we buy, such as meat, bread, cheese and snacks – come wrapped in plastic. We end up with lots of non-recyclable, non-biodegradable waste. And thin plastic films are not even that great at preserving food because oxygen still gets through them.
In 2008, Israel was on the verge of catastrophe. A decade-long drought in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East was scorching the area. Israel’s largest source of fresh water, the Sea of Galilee, had dropped to within inches of the so-called black line at which point irreversible salt infiltration would flood the lake and ruin it forever.
The traditional model of the electricity grid is one where centralized large power plants send power through transmission lines to substations and then on to homes and businesses. As localized renewable energy sources, energy storage systems, and efficiency systems proliferate throughout the system, a new concept is emerging: that of the virtual power plant.
The boom in natural gas drilling by conventional methods and by fracking has led to a spike in methane emissions from pipelines, storage tanks, processing facilities, and other parts of the natural gas system. Natural gas is mostly composed of methane, so these emissions constitute waste and lost revenues. But they also represent a serious environmental problem because methane is 25 times more effective in trapping atmospheric heat than carbon dioxide.
We recently highlighted the plight of orangutans. Following years of failed conservation measures, all orangutans are now listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The Sumatran orangutan had been listed as critically endangered for nearly two decades, but the Bornean orangutan was a recent addition. According to the IUCN, all orangutans have an “extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.”
Electric cars are gradually becoming more popular, but there are still real concerns about their driving range, the availability of charging infrastructure, and their price. Adoption of the technology is still rather slow.
The Carbon XPrize is a five-year, $20 million competition to identify ways to convert carbon emissions into successful, profitable and useful products. Forty-seven organizations from seven countries are competing for the prizes and include large companies, startups and university researchers.
NASA data show that the Earth’s temperature in July was the highest recorded since record-keeping began 136 years ago. It was also the 10th straight month of record-breaking temperatures and was .18 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the previous hottest July in 2011.
What do climate change and radioactive waste have in common? It turns out a lot more than we’d like. According to research, which was was led by York University in collaboration with the University of Zurich and recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, rising global temperatures could lead to the release of – yep, you guessed it – radioactive waste.
Part of Hillary Clinton’s proposed energy plan is a pledge that half a billion additional solar panels will be installed by the end of her first term if she is elected President this year. This number sounds wildly ambitious. It is even realistic?
Tiny ticks are a big problem. Anyone taking a walk in the woods is advised to do a tick check. Ticks infect more than 325,000 people with Lyme disease each year, and this number continues to rise.
Whale sharks are the largest fish in the sea. They can grow more than 40 feet in length, weigh up to 47,000 lbs, and have a lifespan of about 70 years. They can be found cruising in the open waters of tropical oceans. But despite being enormous, whale sharks are no threat to humans. The docile beasts, which feed almost exclusively on plankton, have often been referred to as “gentle giants.”