Forests for Future: Protecting Rainforests & Endangered Orangutans

August 19, 2019 by  
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Forests for Future: Protecting Rainforests & Endangered Orangutans

As ocean temperatures rise, so does mercury exposure in seafood

August 12, 2019 by  
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In case there weren’t already enough reasons to limit global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius, a new study released in Nature reveals that even a 1 degree increase in ocean temperatures leads to a significant increase in mercury exposure among fish — and the people that consume them. The joint study was published by Harvard’s School of Public Health and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and used a variety of simulation models to examine and predict how environmental factors affect the levels of mercury in cod and dogfish. Their models use historical data, as far back as 1970, when cod had approximately 6 to 20 percent less mercury in their diets. Yet researchers also found that dogfish had 33 to 61 percent higher mercury in their diets in 1970, because overfishing at the time led them to eat squid that are high in mercury. Related: These fish and meat options are the most environmentally costly In the last four decades, policies that regulate and limit mercury emissions have made a dent in mercury exposure, but the researchers concluded that rising ocean temperatures are reversing this progress. “This research is a major advance in understanding how and why ocean predators, such as tuna and swordfish, are accumulating mercury,” said Elsie Sunderland, senior author and a Harvard professor in environmental chemistry. According to the researchers, unusually warmer water makes it harder for fish to breathe and swim; therefore, it forces fish to consume more energy . The more they eat, the higher their levels of mercury exposure are. Warmer temperatures might also alter the availability of their preferred diet, forcing fish like the dogfish to eat high-mercury options such as squid. For every 1 degree the ocean warms, dogfish are exposed to 70 percent more mercury . Cod, which also live in the researchers’ study area off the coast of Maine, are exposed to approximately 32 percent more mercury for every single degree the ocean warms. “Climate change is going to exacerbate human exposure to methylmercury through seafood,” Sunderland said. “So to protect ecosystems and human health , we need to regulate both mercury emissions and greenhouse gases.” + Nature Via Harvard Gazette Image via Pixabay

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As ocean temperatures rise, so does mercury exposure in seafood

Eaten to Extinction

August 9, 2019 by  
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Eaten to Extinction

Earth911 Inspiration: Steven Johnson — Innovation Is Like Time Travel

August 9, 2019 by  
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Earth911 inspirations. Post them, share your desire to help people … The post Earth911 Inspiration: Steven Johnson — Innovation Is Like Time Travel appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Inspiration: Steven Johnson — Innovation Is Like Time Travel

Citizen Scientists Struggle to Save Sword Ferns

August 8, 2019 by  
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Citizen Scientists Struggle to Save Sword Ferns

Earth911 Quiz #68: Know Your Diet’s Water Footprint

August 8, 2019 by  
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In this Earth911 quiz, check your knowledge of the water … The post Earth911 Quiz #68: Know Your Diet’s Water Footprint appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Quiz #68: Know Your Diet’s Water Footprint

U.S. loses 24 million acres of natural land

August 7, 2019 by  
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Mother Nature might be ticked, because the United States is losing land fast. If you’ve ever visited the glorious Grand Canyon, you already know how vast it is. Imagine what a combined nine Grand Canyons would look like, and you have the equivalent of the amount of natural land the U.S. has lost from 2001-2017. That’s 24 million acres if you do the math. The reason? According to a recent study conducted by the Center for American Progress, “How Much Nature Should America Keep,” it’s all because of agriculture, energy expansion, an increase in housing build-outs and other human-made developments, making the U.S. more susceptible to climate change . Related: Scientific consensus reaches beyond 99% on human-caused climate change The study calculated the country’s land degradation by adding up the impact of all the above factors to come to an assessment. Bottom-line, the center said that the “U.S. needs to set a goal to protect 30 percent of land and oceans by 2030 to stem the rapid decline of natural areas, which will protect the country from the worst impacts of climate change and wildlife extinction .” The report also found that presently, 12 percent of the country’s land area has been saved as national parks , wilderness areas and other kinds of protected areas, while 26 percent of the country’s ocean area is protected from drilling for oil and gas. The report continued, “The United States is entering an era in which it will rely more than ever on the integrity and stability of the natural world to provide economic prosperity, safeguard the health of communities and weather the effects of a changing climate.” As for the sharpest losses of natural areas, these took place in the southern and Midwestern U.S. as the carbon footprints of cities, farms, streets, power plants and other developments increased from 47 percent and 59 percent of land area, respectively. To turn things around — and hopefully protect 30 percent of land by 2030 and avoid even more land degradation — the U.S. must increase its current land conservation blueprint at both the federal and local levels. + Center for American Progress Via Reuters Image via Tony Webster

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U.S. loses 24 million acres of natural land

Russian Volcano Brings Life to North Pacific Ocean Pastures

July 17, 2019 by  
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Editor’s note: Originally published on russgeorge.net, this article was republished … The post Russian Volcano Brings Life to North Pacific Ocean Pastures appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Russian Volcano Brings Life to North Pacific Ocean Pastures

Maven Moment: Beating the Heat in Mid-Century Brooklyn

July 17, 2019 by  
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My Grandma Jennie loved her tea. I have vivid memories … The post Maven Moment: Beating the Heat in Mid-Century Brooklyn appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Maven Moment: Beating the Heat in Mid-Century Brooklyn

Study reveals mass plant extinction rate since Industrial Revolution

June 12, 2019 by  
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New research suggests that even by conservative efforts, the number of plants that have gone extinct in the last three centuries is 500 times higher than before the industrial revolution, and the rate of extinction is skyrocketing. According to the survey, at least 571 plants have become extinct since 1750, which should be a “frightening” concern to anyone who eats or breathes. “Plants underpin all life on Earth. They provide the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat, as well as making up the backbone of the world’s ecosystems ,” said study author Eimear Nic Lughadha from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew . The scientists also believe that their confirmed list of 571 plants is only the tip of the iceberg. In most cases, it can take years to declare a species officially extinct because of the landscapes that have to be scoured for any last survivors. “How are you going to check the entirety of the Amazon for your lost plant?” Maria Vorontsova, also from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, told The Guardian . Furthermore, there are thousands of species that are functionally extinct, meaning there are so few remaining plants that the chances of reproduction and survival are nearly — if not entirely — impossible. Despite their conservative tally, the researchers’ estimate is still four times higher than what is officially recorded on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List . “It is way more than we knew and way more than should have gone extinct,” said Vorontsova. “It is frightening not just because of the 571 number, but because I think that is a gross underestimate.” According to the United Nations, another 1 million species are currently at risk of extinction. Many scientists believe that extinction and biodiversity should be in the news and keeping us up at night just as much as climate change , but that it is often a less acknowledged, and less funded, crisis. Financing and support for plants is especially challenging within the conservation field, because they just aren’t as cute as their endangered animal counterparts. Scientists often collect and save DNA samples from extinct plants in labs at places such as the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in hopes that innovative discoveries could help save other plants or one day bring back old ones. Via The Guardian Image via Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

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Study reveals mass plant extinction rate since Industrial Revolution

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