Environmental

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  1. U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Down 11.6% Since 2007

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a draft report this week that indicates the nation's greenhouse gas emissions declined 2.2 percent in 2015, continuing a generally downward trend since U.S. emissions peaked in 2007.Overall, net emissions in 2015 were 11.6 percent below 2007 levels, according to the report. Except for 2012, when emissions were slightly lower, they have not been this low since 1993.
  2. Synthetic Chemicals: Ignored Agents of Global Change

    MILLBROOK, New York -- Despite a steady rise in the manufacture and release of synthetic chemicals, research on the ecological effects of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and industrial chemicals is severely lacking.This blind spot undermines efforts to address global change and achieve sustainability goals. So reports a new study in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, a publication of the Ecological Society of America.
  3. Gamifying Disaster Preparedness

    The trouble with disaster response is that decisions have to be made at the wrong time — because all times are the wrong time.Either civic leaders must act in the midst of an emergency, when damage is mounting and emotions run high, or they must make choices when there is no emergency and everything seems fine. Harvey Hill and Jason Smith, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Institute for Water Resources, describe this as “cycles of complacency and panic.”
  4. Soil Erosion is Everyone's Problem

    Losing ground is never a good situation.Soil erosion had been declining since the late 1970s, but latest statistics show “we’re headed back up,” said Rick Cruse, professor of agronomy at Iowa State University in Ames.
  5. Wetland Restoration Promises Many Benefits

    CHAPEL HILL, Tenn. -- A 65-acre agricultural field has been restored to its original wetland state in the rolling hills of Middle Tennessee, producing ecological, human, and economic benefits for the local community.The restoration project was completed at Henry Horton State Park in Chapel Hill through a partnership between park staff, the town of Chapel Hill, the Tennessee Environmental Council, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and local volunteers. This project has successfully reintroduced one of the most diverse ecosystem types back into the region, while improving local water quality.
  6. Finding New Life for Superfund Sites

    The term “Superfund site” likely conjures images of a dead, gray landscape and dry, cracked earth, bisected by a creek bed oozing a mysterious slime.But, while it’s true that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund program identifies some of the nation's most contaminated sites, it’s not necessarily the case that the sites languish unattended into perpetuity. In fact, once a site is actually declared a Superfund site, it becomes eligible for a variety of federally-funded clean-up efforts.
  7. Can More Cattle Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

    A new study co-authored by an Iowa State University researcher indicates that an increase in cattle production, and associated forage land, on Iowa’s agricultural landscape could lead to lower greenhouse gas emissions.The research, published recently in the peer-reviewed Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, found that cattle production yields a smaller percentage of greenhouse gas emissions than row-crop cultivation.
  8. Transforming Agricultural Waste into Fertilizer

    With more than 300 food related industries in Tennessee, waste management can be a considerable – and costly – challenge. Composting agricultural byproducts can be a cost-effective, sustainable solution that takes production waste out of landfills and puts it back into the soil.The Compost Company in Ashland City, Tenn., is turning organic waste products into a high-yield compost material for farmers, landscapers, and gardeners.
  9. Financial Crisis Looms in South Florida as Seas Rise

    While some still think climate change is a problem to be faced by future generations, financial institutions and insurance providers in southeastern Florida are already factoring it in to investment decisions.Predictions that melting ice caps will increase global sea level by 2 to 3 feet in the next 40 years have begun to alter the very definition of "beachfront property" in the region's coastal areas. As developers look inland for property on higher ground, there is concern that the poor, mostly immigrant, people in some neighborhoods will be forced out.
  10. Tree Pests Cost U.S. Communities $2 Billion Per Year

    MILLBROOK, N.Y. - Imported forest pests cause billions of dollars in damages each year, and U.S. property owners and municipalities foot most of the bill. Efforts to prevent new pests are not keeping pace with escalating trade and must be strengthened if we are to slow the loss of our nation’s trees.So reports a team of 16 scientists in a new paper recently published in the journal Ecological Applications.
  11. Cities Hold Key to Saving the Bees

    “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”Despite this dire warning, sometimes dubiously attributed to Albert Einstein, America’s natural and commercial bee populations continue to decline dramatically, decimated by pesticides, pathogens, parasites, harsh weather, disappearing pollinator habitats, and climate change — all of which seem to be contributing to the mysterious phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder.
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