Archive | November, 2016

Leprosy Is Endemic in the UK’s Red Squirrel Population

30 Nov

Leprosy is endemic among red squirrels in the UK

Researchers in continental Europe and the British Isles have recently made a shocking discovery: Leprosy seems to be endemic among the red squirrel populations of the British Isles. Leprosy affects the skin, lungs, eyes, and parts of the nervous system. It is one of the oldest recorded and still occurring diseases known to humanity, and […]

Dutch Foundation Measures the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

28 Nov

A Dutch foundation has measured the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Ocean Cleanup is a Dutch foundation that was created to address issues like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a swirling mass of plastics and other debris that floats between Hawaii and California. It is one of the most dramatic examples of what happens to litter that makes its way into the world’s oceans. The […]

Carbon Emissions Growing, but At Much Lower Rates

23 Nov

Global carbon emissions have slowed greatly, but the danger isn't over yet.

Global carbon emissions didn’t grow in 2015, and only rose slightly in 2016. The projected rise for 2016 is only 0.2 percent, which a huge improvement over the 2.3 percent seen each year of the decade up to 2013. In 2014, it was only 0.7 percent. This analysis was published in the journal Earth System […]

Climate Change Means an Increase in Costly Natural Disasters

21 Nov

Climate change leads to an increase in costly natural disasters.

One constant of climate change forecasts is that natural disasters will occur with more frequency and severity. Nowhere is this easier to study, and perhaps more pressing, than in Australia, a continent known for its extreme environment. A recent study, the collaborative work of 47 scientists and 11 institutions, has focused on climate change and natural […]

Sharks Need Conservation to Help Combat Climate Change

18 Nov

Sharks could help combat climate change

Sharks are an essential part of the ecosystems in which they live. Many operate as apex predators. They are at the top of the food chain and help keep ecosystems balanced by preventing prey animals from spreading too quickly. When sharks have plentiful food and safety, prey creatures can and often do grow in population […]

Researchers Using Roadside Energy Harvesting to Generate Electricity

16 Nov

Roadside energy harvesting is a technique that allows power to be generated by things people are already doing.

The key to unlocking new energy sources is to find ways to combine numerous sources to work for us, reducing and eventually replacing our reliance on fossil fuels. To that end, scientists have been working on a number of ways to generate electricity that doesn’t pollute. Wind and solar energy get the most press, but […]

Reducing Pollution Intake While Walking and Cycling

14 Nov

Reducing pollution intake while walking or cycling

We don’t often think about how pollutants directly affect our own health, outside of issues like lead poisoning, radioactive leaks, or Beijing smog. However, there are much more subtle everyday health risks associated with pollution, especially air pollution created by traffic. As cities and their populations continue to grow, and as people increasingly turn to […]

Phytoplankton Blooms Help Scientists Understand Warming Oceans

11 Nov

Phytoplankton blooms help scientists understand warming oceans

Thanks to some ingenious new measurement technology created by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), we can get accurate, up-to-date measurements of the phytoplankton Synechococcus, a bacterium that is a key species in some marine ecosystems. Because of this, for example, we’ve learned that this species has been blooming earlier in the year when the […]

Butterflies Are Showing the Impact of Climate Change

9 Nov

Butterflies are being profoundly affected by climate change.

Most people don’t think much about butterflies aside from noticing when one happens to flutter past them. But for those studying ecosystems, they can be important indicator species. Indicator species like butterflies help scientists judge the ability of other invertebrates to thrive, thus indicating the health of ecosystems. Butterflies, like so many other creatures, are being […]

Native American Religion and the Fight for the Environment

7 Nov

Native Americans protest the Dakota Access Pipeline partly from religious beliefs

The United States has long purported to put a lot of weight behind the freedom of religion, and a respect for religions. But that respect has never been extended to Native Americans and other indigenous peoples in any real way, least of all when respecting those religions would stand in the way of making money. […]