There’s ample evidence over the past decade or so that Americans are gradually changing their diets, driven by health concerns among other factors. But there’s one change that really stands out. According to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Americans have sliced their beef consumption by 19% between 2005 and 2014.
Most of the planet’s freshwater stores are found in the northern hemisphere, a region that is changing rapidly in response to human activity and shifting climate trends. A recent study analyzed 147 northern lakes and found that many rely on nutrients from tree leaves, pine needles, and other land-grown plants to feed aquatic life.
Despite efforts by the new administration to increase support for fossil fuels, there is increasing momentum towards a clean-energy future. State and local efforts are driving the country to a 21st-century energy infrastructure, with or without the federal government.
One of the arguments some people make when discussing human causes of climate change is that people can’t cause such massive changes. However, there is a long historical record of human-driven ecological and climatic change in Europe, North America and New Zealand, among other places.
The federal government now appears to be headed down the path of not honoring America’s commitments to tackle global warming, but many of the country’s cities and states as well as its corporations have no intention of breaking our promises to the world.
Researchers at Ohio State University have developed a way to use food waste to partially replace the petroleum-based filler that has been used in manufacturing tires for more than a century.
This Saturday is Earth Day and it’s also the occasion for the March for Science taking place in Washington, DC and in many other cities around the world. The purpose is to express support for scientific research and evidence-based policies in a tumultuous political environment.
A newly released report by the United Nations takes a strong stance against the use of industrial agrochemicals, saying that they are not necessary for feeding the world. The continued use of pesticides at the rate the world currently does in fact can have very detrimental consequences.
DNA analysis has become commonplace and inexpensive. Millions of people have their DNA tested to learn about their origins and family connections. And the technology has spread to biological research in the form of Environmental DNA or eDNA, which is such a powerful tool that it is transforming the field of wildlife biology.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, tucked away on a Norwegian island far above the Arctic Circle, is often described as humanity’s last hope against extinction after some global crisis and is popularly known as the “Doomsday Vault.” Although its mission is to keep the world’s seeds safe, it wasn’t actually created to reseed the planet after a world-wide catastrophe.
The worldwide decline in the population of bees and other pollinators has impelled farmers to do what they can to encourage and nurture bees on their land. Protecting bees is important because pollinators are essential for growing many foods including coffee, cacao, almonds and many other fruits and vegetables.
When we think of global climate change, what comes to mind? Rising seas? Melting glaciers? Shrinking sea ice? How about diminishing ocean oxygen levels?
From melting Arctic ice to dying coral reefs to rising sea levels, there was no shortage of grim environmental news in 2016. But the news wasn’t all bad. There were several bright spots for the environment last year as well.
Over the years, tomatoes have been selectively bred for qualities such as size and firmness for shipping purposes and appearance, but selection for flavor has generally been overlooked. Many of us find that the tomatoes we buy in the grocery store just don’t taste like they used to. In fact, often they don’t taste like much of anything. Comparing them to the delicious local-grown varieties we can find during the summer provides evidence for this conclusion.
Climate change is posing a major threat to the future of coral reefs. According to a recent United Nations-backed study, if swift action is not taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions, annual coral bleaching events will affect nearly all of the world’s coral reefs. And coral bleaching can result in serious coral mortality – as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has recently illustrated.
The fruit and vegetables in most grocery stores these days come with little stickers on them with a numerical code identifying the produce for the cashier at the checkout counter. They are quite helpful for the cashier but a real irritation for the customer. Half the time it is difficult to get the labels off the piece of produce and sometimes we don’t notice them at all and end up with a little paper sticker in our salad.
Americans toss out an almost unbelievable $161 billion worth of food every year. There are numerous efforts underway to address this problem, but they are mostly at the local level or in the business sector. To date, we have no national- or international-level policies that tackle the issue. In this regard, Europe is way ahead of us.