Future scenarios for waste generation: Is a peak coming?
Monitoring global waste generation might help estimate when we might see a peak in waste generation and how this problem should be addressed.
Through new technologies, a recent study finds, humankind could begin a whole new era of food production – one where meat can be produced in laboratories and may even reduce the environmental costs of the livestock industry.
Energy efficiency and renewable energy installation produce both public health and climate benefits. These benefits also have significant dollar values that can be estimated using an integrated model assessment, a recent study says.
A new technique to improve conservation programs, known as participatory monitoring, involves collaboration between citizens, government, NGOs, and researchers to assess environmental issues. Since researchers alone might not have enough time or funding to collect adequate long term data, educating and training local people may prove to have more long term potential for conservation goals.
In a recent report scientists in Nigeria took a close look at the impacts of climate change on rural communities, and how these communities are trying to adapt. They explain the tangible effects that people are experiencing as a result of environmental change — and evaluate the best adaptation strategies.
When planning for climate change at the local level, it may seem irrelevant to consider events that occur far away. Two researches give examples and provide a framework that explain why we must think globally to plan locally.
Insecticides are used widely with the objective of protecting crops from insects and increasing agricultural yields. A new study suggests that with some insecticides the opposite may be happening.
Zero-acreage farming, or ZFarming, is a new branch of agriculture involving production in or on urban structures. In scale, it’s a small and new global trend but a potentially important one through which innovators are attempting to address some of the many issues we experience in urbanization.
Despite decades of tension, a new case study reveals that Muslim Bedouin herders and Jewish farmers cooperated during the severe drought of 1957 to 1963, offering new insights into how societies deal with environmental changes.
Population growth in the areas near a national park in western Uganda has transformed the landscape surrounding the park. A recent study explores the consequences of this population growth, and the need for appropriate policies to manage how humans interact with the park.
How can natural areas managers foster ecotourism while protecting the health of natural systems? A recent study shows how emphasizing different features of trails can help spread out visitor impacts over space and time.
Emerging research provides an integrated and empirical approach to measuring disaster resilience in communities across the U.S. The metric is designed for widespread use and is deployable as an analysis tool for local-scale planning and policy development.
Prompting people to think about their legacy and how they can positively impact the lives of future generations results in increased donations to support environmental protection, a new study finds.
Researchers show that shale gas extraction in Denton, Texas bombards local residents with health issues, contaminated water, and nuisance problems while profits, jobs, and other benefits leave with non-local corporations.
Financial institutions like banks historically have played a critical role in the face of global challenges, from restructuring industry after World War II to the financing of the industrial revolutions. A new study argues that banks can play a similar role in helping society transition to a low-carbon footprint model.
As city planners seek to foster green economies, environmental justice advocates worry that its gentrifying effects and disproportionate benefits to the consumer class. Through case studies in Chicago and Seattle, a recent study explores how community efforts have the potential to incorporate social equity into the vision of the green economy.
Is it possible to delay clothing disposal through better design? A recent study uses user-centered design methods and quantitative consumer research to suggest four strategies to delay clothing disposal.
Different messaging techniques on the reuse of towels in hotels are found to have a significant impact on guest behavior — and can save significant amounts of energy and water. This low-cost method may be of interest to businesses, who can save money on utility costs while furthering their environmental reputation as well.
New research reveals the political potential of neighborhood greening in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, shedding light on the long-term benefits of community-led urban agriculture.
Every year, 25 million tons of electronic waste are produced around the world and China is receiving most of it. Chinese scientists are exploring the burdens of electronic waste treatment, an increasingly pressing national issue.
From 2007 to 2013 more than 130 environmental courts were established in China. A recent paper examines the political context underlying the establishment of the courts — and exposes their limited role in addressing environmental issues.
The American diet was under debate last fall as part of the run-up to the 2015 release of the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Historically, the American diet is harmful to the environment and the people who consume it. With a shift toward a more sustainable food system, this was a promising strategy to heal the planet and ourselves.
Epidemiologists have proposed using environmental policy as a model for combatting the obesity epidemic. Based on the carbon offset aspect of many cap and trade programs, the authors explain how similar offsets could be used to create change in the food and beverage industry.
The consequences of a rise in extreme weather events worldwide due to climate change can be particularly catastrophic in politically unstable countries. A recent study analyzes the role that index-based insurance can play in the highly volatile Syrian market and its potential to increase the adaptive confidence of farmers in a changing climate.
Although much research shows there are significant differences in public opinion on climate change beliefs, national scale statistics conceal this heterogeneity. Using an approach known as multilevel regression and poststratification, a team of researchers finds significant variability in opinion on important climate-related issues and behaviors at all levels of comparison.
New research shows that approaches to building resilience are often over-simplified when put to practice. Trade offs are inherent to decision-making, yet the implications to the long-term resilience of urban areas are often overlooked.
Shocks from climate change are felt by all, but it’s the poorer communities that are more sensitive to these disturbances. A recent study looks critically at the lens through which we view climate adaptation and asks: Are we building a resilience that accounts for the livelihoods of all, including the most vulnerable populations?
Environmental management is an interdisciplinary art. One important topic is the relationship between science and policy. A recent article identifies the barriers of integrating ecology and law in environmental management, and proposes “resilience-based adaptive governance” as a way to facilitate integration.
Through an in-depth economic analysis of coal mining in Cesar, Colombia, a researcher concludes that the environmental and social costs of coal mining outweighs the coal’s market price — even when the global cost of carbon is not taken into account.
It is widely accepted that environmental change can influence human migration, but often these effects are most understood at the local scale, leaving the global picture obscure. A recent study uses spatial tools and global data to draw a clearer picture of what environmental conditions motivate human migration at the global scale.
Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, concerns about potential seafood contamination prompted closures of commercial fisheries as federal regulators screened the safety of the fishery. Their population assumptions, while likely protective of the vast majority of Americans, excluded vulnerable Vietnamese Americans in the coastal region.
Climate change poses a significant threat to both the environment and public health providing the opportunity to maximize co-benefits through mitigation and adaptation planning.
Many view agriculture as a major threat to the environment. But by integrating conservation techniques with agriculture and ranching, farmers movements can promote the protection of the environment while securing their food production.
Sustainable water management requires collaborative partnerships between diverse stakeholders. A research team describes the range of partnerships possible.
There is a distinct lack of innovation in energy technologies despite the need to curb emissions. Worse yet is the bigger void of innovation geared towards expanding energy access to the world’s poor. A team of experts analyzed the reasons for this gap and outlined potential solutions.
Without a shift to a more sustainable world, food security may be impossible to achieve. Hunger, a worldwide epidemic is only going to get worse without organized intervention. Can we turn this ship around?
A review of land use impact assessment methods, widely used to measure life cycle environmental impacts, shows both the importance of considering land use and the disparity of results.
While previous studies have shown that social approaches to reduce water use are effective in the short-term, recent findings indicate that the effects are persistent in the long-term as well.
Injecting “the farmer’s voice” can be a powerful tool when weighing in on a contentious agricultural issue. However, the ways in which researchers collect the beliefs of farmers are often subject to bias which can limit the meaningfulness and accuracy of a study’s claims about the farmer experience.
Every year an average of 114,000 people migrate from their homes world-wide due to large, catastrophic floods. A recent study proves that such flood-induced migration can ignite existing civil conflicts and pose a security threat in weak and fragile countries.
Social or psychological “nudges” — such as showing people how their water use compares to their neighbors or asking people to voluntarily reduce their electricity consumption — have become a popular tool for policymakers trying to encourage pro-environmental behavior. Little is known, however, about the possible competing effects of compensatory green beliefs.
A recent study shows that soil microorganisms can improve the production of major crops like corn and wheat, while also reducing the environmental impact of excess fertilizers.
A recent study links the use of open-air burn-pits, banned by the U.S. Congress in 2010, with neurodevelopmental disorders and birth defects in Iraqi children.
The typical American child spends more time indoors than outside. Indoor environments, however, are rarely subject to mandatory health-based standards. New research shows that students can achieve better test scores when schools improve their indoor air quality.
A new study finds that formal ownership of land fails to produce an efficient rental market, highlighting the limitations of this land reform strategy to increase land access in order to reduce farmland expansion into more vulnerable areas.
While China is the world’s largest waste oil producer there are interesting win-win situations for developing both renewable energy and reducing illegal use of gutter oil in cooking.
Consumers are increasingly willing to pay for pricier hybrid cars, expecting social recognition and prestige in exchange for their environmentally friendly consumption habits, a study finds. Society and the environment stand to benefit.
When the demand for electricity threatens to exceed supply, electric utilities often issue public requests for households to dial down their energy usage during peak hours. A recent study suggests that those appeals may inadvertently have the opposite effect.
Voluntary environmental programs (VEPs) offer the potential to encourage sustainable production and consumption. However, the authors outline four key considerations that are essential for a VEP’s success.
Road dust suspected to be the largest contributor to hospital admissions for heart and lung diseases from particulate matter pollutants in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Communities with more tree cover benefit from increased shade, better water filtration, and a host of other positive externalities, but not all communities experience equal benefits.
Animals likely play a more instrumental role in carbon cycling and storage than previously understood, making wildlife management a potential avenue for mitigating carbon emissions.
Human prosperity relies on functioning ecosystem processes. Large carnivores play an integral role in their human and natural surrounding; integrative conservation strategies are warranted to ensure their persistence.
Since nuclear fission was discovered in 1938, the world has built many bombs, dropped a few, provided low emission energy, and facilitated the creation of long-lived nuclear waste that currently has nowhere to go
Building models, frameworks, and skills to more effectively solve environmental problems.
“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.”
Scientists and policy makers operate under very different time frames and professional priorities. Environmental research organizations should consider hiring knowledge brokers to ensure timely translation of scientific discoveries into regulations.
Environmental indices such as Yale’s Environmental Performance Index can help monitor progress towards achieving global sustainable development goals despite persistent challenges.
As ocean surface temperatures heat up and urban coastal populations continue to grow, climate models predict an increase in the number of intense storms and corresponding economic damage.
The most widespread techniques for increasing water supplies under climate uncertainty are also those with the greatest potential to spread disease. How can communities best adapt?
Diving tourism can help conserve marine wildlife and coastal ecosystems. To live up to its potential to conserve nature as well as to sustain popularity diving management including environmental education is key.
Offering property licenses to “squatter communities” may not make property rights more secure as investment and property markets fail to take newly registered property licenses seriously
Understanding how and why people fail to recognize the importance of future environmental problems can be used to tailor responses to environmental information problems
Local waste sources, accumulation points, and marine pathways around Hawai’i Island were determined to address the origin of the debris accumulating in Kamilo Point through the deployment of debris-catching booms and wooden drifter blocks.
Individuals of all economic backgrounds in developing countries demand public green spaces and are willing to give time and money for their maintenance.
Scientists examine how zoning and land use policy can protect environmentally sensitive areas at the fringe of the cities from damage by shantytowns. Political and social factors can often cause these policies to fail.
Spring is coming earlier for wild bees in the Northeast. This could have serious ecological consequences if bee seasons go out of sync with plant seasons.
Coastal parks provide places for restoring psychological health, but climate change—which is predicted to change factors that impact perceived restorative value of beaches such as temperature, tide levels, and air and water quality—may affect society’s mental health. Leading scientists recommend that climate change adaptation plans include inland open space and shaded parks to provide places of mental restoration as beaches lose their restorative value.
Events that happened over a decade ago in California still provide insights into what could trigger consumers to cut back their energy use today.
The invasive Burmese python has been linked to mammal declines Florida’s Everglades National park. Researchers fear that some of the endangered species of the region may be in danger.
Research finds that people who believe they are helping the environment may actually know less about energy conservation than the average person.
People appreciate farmland for more than what it can grow, but values vary.
Local leaders must prepare for sea-level rise and coastal disaster management. Besides property damage, issues of social justice will arise because minorities, the poor, and the most vulnerable people are at greater risk than others.