Day: April 16, 2018

Pollution (and other environmental) public service announcements: A look back

Read the full story from PBS.

As a lead in to the Independent Lens premiere of What Lies Upstream, which is an exposé about what led to a major source of water becoming poisoned after a disastrous chemical spill and the government’s response therein, take a trip down memory lane to look at how we used to warn people about pollution, chemicals, and other environmental hazards.

Bats Take Flight

Watch the video and read the transcript from Science Friday.

You’d think that bats and birds fly in similar ways—in fact, many scientists used to consider bat flight a minor variation of bird flight. But, with the aid of high-speed video, researchers have discovered that bat flight is much more complex than initially thought.

End of the Road: Are Diesel Cars on the Way Out in Europe?

Read the full story at e360.

A small environmental organization has taken on Germany’s powerful auto industry in court and has begun winning limited bans on heavily polluting diesel vehicles. Some analysts say this may be the beginning of the end for diesel automobiles in Germany and the European Union.

Study highlights importance of vertebrate pollinators

Read the full story from the University of Southampton.

The importance of birds, mammals and reptiles pollinating plants around the world is the subject of a major new study led by the University of Southampton.

In the first global assessment of the importance of vertebrate pollinators to plant reproduction, scientists found that preventing vertebrates – predominantly bats and birds – from visiting flowers to feed can reduce the amount of fruits and/or seeds produced by the plants they feed on by an average of 63 per cent.

In a paper published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment the researchers say that, if you exclude bat pollinators, the result is an average reduction of 83 per cent in fruit/seed production. The figure is around 46 per cent when birds are excluded.

U.S. Agencies Agree to Shorten Environmental Reviews for New Infrastructure

Read the full story at e360 Digest.

A dozen U.S. agencies have agreed to cut the time needed to do environmental reviews on new infrastructure projects, the Trump administration announced. The memorandum fulfills the administration’s pledge to speed up the permitting process for new development.

Why Green Groups Are Split on Subsidizing Carbon Capture Technology

Read the full story at e360.

Environmentalists are divided over a provision in the recently approved U.S. budget that increases tax credits for projects that capture and store CO2. Critics say new subsidies for “enhanced oil recovery” included in the budget bill would simply encourage companies to pump more oil.

 

Unilever Joins Partnership to Turn PET Waste into Virgin Grade Material

Read the full story at Environmental Leader.

Unilever, Dutch chemicals start-up Ioniqa, and PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) resin producer Indorama Ventures (IVL) have joined forces to develop a food packaging system that converts PET waste into virgin grade material.

 

SIUC facility transforms dining hall waste into compost

Read the full story in the Southern Illinoisian.

Every day at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s dining halls, hundreds of pounds of food go uneaten.

The SIU Forced Air Composting Facility on Pleasant Hill Road, now in its second year in production, offers an elegant solution: Over a period of several weeks, student workers transform food waste into nutrient-rich compost, which is then used as landscaping material on campus.

Drugs, plastics and flea killer: the unseen threats to UK’s rivers

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Waterways look cleaner but levels of new pollutants are not being monitored.

The 100th Meridian, Where the Great Plains Begin, May Be Shifting

Read the full story from Columbia University’s Earth Institute.

In 1878, the American geologist and explorer John Wesley Powell drew an invisible line in the dirt—a very long line. It was the 100th meridian west, the longitude he identified as the boundary between the humid eastern United States and the arid Western plains. Running south to north, the meridian cuts northward through the eastern states of Mexico, and on to Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas, and the Canadian province of Manitoba on its way to the pole. Powell, best known for exploring the Grand Canyon and other parts of the West, was wary of large-scale settlement in that often harsh region, and tried convincing Congress to lay out water and land-management districts crossing state lines to deal with environmental constraints. Western political leaders hated the idea—they feared this might limit development, and their own power—and it never went anywhere. It was not the first time that politicians would ignore the advice of scientists.

Now, 140 years later, scientists are looking again at the 100th meridian. In two just-published papers, they examine how it has played out in history so far, and what the future may hold. They confirm that the divide has turned out to be very real, as reflected by population and agriculture on opposite sides. They say also that the line appears to be slowly moving eastward, due to climate change. They say it will almost certainly continue shifting in coming decades, expanding the arid climate of the western plains into what we think of as the Midwest. The implications for farming and other pursuits could be huge.

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