Growing Pains: The Automobile in America, First Hated then Loved

Old auto grill / Pixabay Americans once abhorred the automobile. Today, there is a car in every garage. By Jeremy Deaton / 07.10.2017 Disruptive technologies may face terrific backlash, but eventually low cost and convenience prevail. Computers replaced typewriters. Cassettes replaced records. Cars replaced horses. And none of it happened overnight. At the turn of the[…]

Six Things You Can Do with Coffee – After You’ve Finished Drinking It

Photo by Thomas Ricker, Creative Commons By Dr. Rhodri Jenkins / 10.29.2015 Postdoctoral Researcher in Biofuels University of Bath Many of us depend on coffee to fuel our early morning meetings, mid-afternoon slumps or all-night study sessions. These days, the words “coffee” and “fuel” are half-jokingly synonymous. More than 9m tonnes of the bean are[…]

Why Native Americans Consider Water Sacred

An activist at a protest rally at the White House against the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines in Washington, D.C. Kevin Lamarque By Dr. Rosalyn LaPier / 03.21.2017 Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Montana Visiting Professor of Women’s Studies, Environmental Studies, and Native American Religion, Harvard Universtiy The Lakota phrase “Mní wičhóni,”[…]

What Does the Environment Have to Do with Diseases that Affect the Immune System?

Photo © iStockphoto.com/champja The rise in recent decades of diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis suggests that factors in the environment are contributing. By Lindsey Konkel / 01.04.2017 In 1932, New York gastroenterologist Burrill Crohn described an unusual disease in 14 adults. The patients had bouts of abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, and[…]

‘Glue’ that Makes Plant Cell Walls Strong Could Hold the Key to Wooden Skyscrapers

Molecules 10,000 times narrower than the width of a human hair could hold the key to making possible wooden skyscrapers and more energy-efficient paper production, according to research published today in the journal Nature Communications. The study, led by a father and son team at the Universities of Warwick and Cambridge, solves a long-standing mystery[…]

Voters Win More Solar Energy Options Despite Opposition From Big Energy

Madison, Wisconsin, USA – October 8, 2013: Construction workers install a solar panel system on a residential home for power generation. / From Filo at iStock Corporate-backed utilities have quashed solar initiatives for years, but residents fought back. By Adam Lynch / 12.02.2016 Commonly topping any list of obstacles to a home solar energy boom[…]

Catching Lightning in a Fossil – and Calculating How Much Energy a Strike Contains

Very powerful, try to avoid. / Shutterstock By Dr. Matthew Pasek / 12.08.2016 Associate Professor of Geosciences University of South Florida For most of human history, people have been terrified by lightning. Frightening bolts from above, lightning was a tool of the gods to smite mortals for their hubris (or their unfortunate penchant for seeking[…]

Melting Glaciers, Shifting Biodomes, and Dying Trees in Our National Parks – Yet We Can Take Action on Climate Change

Human climate change has shifted vegetation and wildlife upslope in Yosemite National Park. Patrick Gonzalez, Author provided By Dr. Patrick Gonzalez / 09.01.2016 Principal Climate Change Scientist National Park Service Trees are dying across Yosemite and Yellowstone national parks. Glaciers are melting in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska. Corals are bleaching in[…]

The Anthropocene Is Here: Humanity Has Pushed Earth Into a New Epoch

“We have had an incredible impact on the environment of our planet,” says Colin Waters, principal geologist at the British Geological Survey. (Photo: Kevin Gill/flickr/cc) The epoch is thought to have begun in the 1950s, when human activity set global systems on a different trajectory By Deirdre Fulton / 08.29.2016 The Anthropocene Epoch has begun,[…]

Parasitic Flies, Zombified Ants, Predator Beetles – Insect Drama on Mexican Coffee Plantations

Azteca ants, unsung heroes of coffee pest control. Kate Mathis By Dr. Kate Mathis / 08.15.2016 Research Associate in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology University of Arizona Ants are voracious predators and often very good at defending plants from herbivores. People have taken advantage of this quirk for centuries. In fact, using ants in orange groves[…]

How to Not Love the National Parks to Death

Tourists flock to Lower Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park on a spring afternoon. Photo by Eddie Hernandez Photography / iStock. By Heather J. Hansen / 06.03.2016 This year marks the centennial of the National Park Service, and record numbers of visitors are expected to celebrate by exploring the system’s incomparable natural, historical, and cultural resources. All[…]

How Will the Barrier Reef Recover from the Death of One-Third of Its Northern Corals?

Corals north of Cairns have been hit hardest by the recent bleaching. AAP Image/ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Kerry By Dr. Mia Hoogenboom Senior Lecturer,  Marine Biology and Aquaculture James Cook University The problems caused by mass bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef have continued to deepen, with the latest estimates based[…]

Indian Forests: Proposed Indian Legislation Targets 33 Percent Tree Cover

Kudremukh National Park, India Valuing nature’s bounty and accounting for it on the balance sheets of companies and nations. CK Staff / 05/25/2016 New legislation approved in May by lawmakers in India’s lower house, the House of the People, would allocate $6.2 billion (U.S.) to building new forests across India. The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill[…]

Investing in Urban Agriculture: Permaculture, Community Gardens On the Rise

City parks are prime real estate for community gardens, but more unique urban agriculture options are gaining popularity. / Mosman Council / flickr By Jennifer Brooks In 2014, Boise was chosen as one of 15 communities to receive the Darden Foundation/NRPA partnership’s Grow Your Garden grant, a $10,000 award for community garden development in existing city parks.[…]

Without this, Technological Progress in the 19th Century Would Have Been Much Slower, but More Responsible

An 1858 woodcut celebrating the laying of the transatlantic telegraph cable. (Library of Congress) By Ben Wilson / 05.22.2016 There is something wonderfully seductive about our gadgets. Sleek and futuristic, they seem not of this world – and certainly not of the toxic, noisy world of extractive rock mining. Few think of the ecological impact[…]

The Number One Thing We Can Do to Protect Earth’s Oceans

Photo © iStockphoto.com/Andrey Danilovich Marine governance favors consumption and commerce over conservation. Here’s what we can do about it. By Liza Gross / 05.23.2016 When New England fishers complained of working harder and harder to catch fewer and fewer fish, Spencer Baird assembled a scientific team to investigate. Though a fishery failure would once have[…]

It’s Time for a New Story of Humanity’s Place in the World

Illustration by Kelsey King By Dr. Philip Loring Ecological Anthropologist University of Saskatchewan It goes without saying that humans are good at causing problems. Climate change, overfishing and widespread environmental contamination from chemical toxicants are all creations of our own making. But are we destined to create such problems? Many people believe so, and argue[…]

Abandoning Doubt & Denial, School District Officially Embraces Climate Literacy

The Portland, Oregon school district’s commitment to rid itself of text materials that encourage students to doubt the severity of the climate crisis or its roots in human activity was prompted by the school district’s long use of materials that do just that. (Image: Patheos.com) Portland, Oregon schools call for climate justice and student activism[…]

Drought be Dammed

Water trickles out of the Glen Canyon Dam into Glen Canyon in a scene from “Damnation”, a documentary film directed by Ben Knight and Travis Rommel. / Ben Knight, Patagonia Killing to Colorado – the truth behind the water crisis in the West. The water crisis in the West has renewed debate about the effectiveness[…]

Bottled Up

Montreal gears up for battle over proposed bottled water ban CK Staff / 05.13.2016 Fresh off his successful push to ban plastic bags by 2018, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has expressed interest in a potential ban on bottled water. “We spoke about plastic bags and now we’re onto plastic bottles,” Coderre told reporters in March.[…]