Humans May Have Transformed the Sahara from Lush Paradise to Barren Desert

The world’s biggest desert used to be green, lush and full of hippos. A new theory suggests humans could have tipped the environment over the edge. By Dr. David K. Wright / 03.16.2017 Associate Professor, Department of Archaeology and Art History Seoul National University Once upon a time, the Sahara was green. There were vast lakes. Hippos and giraffe lived there, and large human populations of fishers foraged for food alongside the lakeshores.[…]

‘The Growroom’: Indoor Growth for Sustainable Urban Living

The Growroom exhibited at Copenhagen Opera House. Photo by Alona Vibe From Space10 / 02.14.2017 Introduction The design for The Growroom, an urban farm pavilion that looks into how cities can feed themselves through food producing architecture, is now open source and available for anyone to use. SPACE10 envision a future, where we grow our own[…]

With Conservation Burials, Death Gives New Life

Photo by Pixabay “We can create a spectacular legacy for our loved ones.” By Marlene Cimons / 11.08.2017 Natural burials — where bodies are buried in the soil to allow for a hasty decomposition — have already caught on. But an Australian scientist has proposed that the concept of “dust-unto-dust” go even further. He suggests that natural burials become “conservation”[…]

The Struggle to Protect a Tree at the Heart of Hopi Culture

To Hopi traditionalists—Hopis who practice traditional culture—the humble one-seed juniper tree has deep cultural meaning. / Photo by Mark Sykes In the American Southwest, the loss of juniper trees at the hands of mining and development could cost the Hopi a crucial part of their heritage.    By Stewart B. Koyiyumptewa (left) and Dr. Chip Colwell[…]

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[…]