Global bee populations have been drastically declining as a result of habitat loss, pesticides and climate change. But studies are showing that planting flower patches in urban gardens and green spaces can make a real difference in restoring natural pollinators. There are already positive results in cities from Chicago to London to Melbourne.
For the third year in a row, global emissions of carbon dioxide have remained unchanged. This indicates that efforts to reduce emissions have had an effect, but that there is much more to be done. It is essential to reduce emissions, not just cap them.
Plants are a critical part of the Earth’s carbon cycle. They take in carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. Eventually, dead leaves, branches and other materials fall to the ground where bacteria and fungi decompose the materials and release the CO2 back into the atmosphere. This carbon-soil feedback loop is a complicated one that is critical to the overall carbon balance because soils actually contain two to three times more carbon than the atmosphere.
Researchers at Columbia University have demonstrated a potential new energy harvesting technique based on the natural evaporation of water. Every day, vast amounts of water evaporate from the surfaces of lakes and rivers, a process powered by the heat energy of the sun. The amount of energy involved is enormous but generally speaking is not something we can tap into.
The decline of sugar maple trees has been observed for well over 50 years. It is not a specific disease or a syndrome but instead is a generalized set of symptoms that have been affecting these valuable trees in many areas for a long time.
The Pitcairn Islands are a group of four volcanic islands in the South Pacific, mostly known from the famed mutiny on the British ship Bounty. Pitcairn Island itself is where many of the mutineers settled and where some of their descendants live today. That small island, with a population of 57, is the only one of the group that is inhabited.
New York is home to 11 native species of land turtles. Many of the species can’t breed until age 10 and then they lay just one small clutch of eggs each year by digging in a suitable patch of sandy soil. As a result, breeding females are at a premium for the welfare of the species. Overall, turtles are on decline in the Empire State.
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.
China and the United States today produce nearly half of the world’s carbon emissions, so the fight against global climate change depends greatly upon what actions the two countries take. China has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past twenty years from a largely rural society to one that is far more urbanized and far more energy intensive. In 1997, when the Kyoto Protocol on climate was negotiated, China was only responsible for 14% of global CO2 emissions. It then surpassed the US on that front in less than 10 years and now accounts for nearly 30% of the world’s emissions.