Electric cars represent only a tiny fraction of the overall auto market. The numbers are growing, most certainly, but they are still quite small in most places. The recent start of production of the Tesla Model 3 has attracted quite a bit of attention to electric cars, but in many countries, there is much more to the story than just media buzz about a new car.
Excess nitrogen in the environment is a big problem. The most visible aspect of the problem is the spread of toxic algae blooms in oceans, lakes and other bodies of water. But there are other effects as well such as unwanted alterations to ecosystems.
The battle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is heavily focused on replacing fossil fuel power plants with renewable energy and replacing internal combustion engine autos with electric cars. But there is another elephant in the room: air conditioners.
There is more and more interest in electric cars and, based on the half million advance orders for the Tesla Model 3, more and more of us plan to be driving them. For many of us, the technology is already good enough to meet most if not all of our motoring needs.
Genetic engineering, or equivalently synthetic biology, is a multi-billion-dollar enterprise involved in pharmaceuticals, chemicals, biofuels and, of course, agriculture. In these fields, it is already the source of a great deal of controversy. But there is increasing interest in using synthetic biology (or synbio) technology as a tool for protecting the natural world, which is a prospect some find tantalizing and others find absolutely terrifying.
Clean and abundant water is the most essential need for all human societies and the supply of it is threatened by increasing populations and volatile climate patterns. The quality of water is threatened by a host of contaminants, most of our own making.
Elephant tourism is an activity through which tourists can observe and interact with the stately mammals. A quick online search reveals all sorts of elephant pictures and selfies – patting, washing, riding, and the like. But this popularity comes at a great cost to elephants.
Offshore wind farms are becoming increasingly important around the world. Europe has thousands of wind turbines off its coasts generating more and more of its power. The first offshore wind farm in the U.S. opened for business last year and more are on the way.
Mosquito-borne diseases pose a growing risk to public health in urban areas. Asian tiger mosquitoes are a vector of high concern as they thrive in cities, live in close association with people, and can reproduce in very small pools of water.
We’ve discussed the problem of microplastics polluting our oceans at great lengths on this program before. Much of the small plastic particles result from the breakdown of plastic litter, such as plastic bags, packaging, and other materials. Another source is microbeads, which are often found in health products such as face scrubs and even some toothpastes. But there is a another source of microplastic pollution that is quite troubling: dirty laundry.
National Parks are often thought of as America’s natural cathedrals – serene places we visit to commune with nature and soak up its grandeur. Millions of Americans and other people from around the world are drawn to these amazing places. Unfortunately, it is now too many millions.
Electric cars have been around for a long, long time. The first ones appeared in the mid-19th century. Around the turn of the 20th century, they were popular for taxi cabs in places like New York City. But within about 10 years, they mostly disappeared. In the 1990s, electric cars had a brief revival with vehicles like the General Motors EV1. But again electric cars mostly vanished.
A recent study has shown that septic systems in the U.S. routinely discharge pharmaceuticals, consumer product chemicals and other potentially hazardous substances into the environment. The comprehensive study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, raises health concerns since these chemicals can end up in groundwater and drinking water supplies.
The world’s rivers carry billions of cubic yards of sediment – sand, silt and other material – and transport it to wetlands and coastal areas. Until fairly recently, this was viewed as a negative thing. But that has changed.
We have talked about the monarch butterfly on a number of occasions. The population of these iconic orange and black butterflies in North America has plummeted from 1 billion to 33 million over the past 20 years. People have undertaken a variety of efforts to try to save the species but now a major project to restore the dwindling habitat of the monarch is underway.
Carbon dioxide is not a very popular substance. As a greenhouse gas, it is the chief culprit in climate change and, as such, the world continues to seek solutions for preventing its release in the environment.
Sea pickles are translucent, tubular creatures that are usually found in tropical ocean waters. Also known as pyrosomes, they are actually made up of many small multicellular organisms that are linked together in a tunic to form a tubelike colony that is closed on one end.
There have been many stories in the media about the ongoing environmental crisis at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Over the past two years, the reef has lost almost half of its coral because of bleaching events. Faced with this situation, the Australian government created the Reef 2050 Plan, a strategy to protect and maintain the reef through the year 2050.
Terrible traffic in cities around the world is a real blight on urban life. Increasingly, there are many cities where you simply don’t want to have to go anywhere by car during morning and evening rush hours.