Environment

How to Be More than a Mindful Consumer

How to Be More than a Mindful Consumer

The way we make and use stuff is harming the world—and ourselves. To create a system that works, we can't just use our purchasing power. We must turn it into citizen power. Since I released "The Story of Stuff" six years ago, the most frequent snarky remark I get from people trying to take me down a notch is about my own stuff.

Read more: How to Be More than a Mindful Consumer

Cooler Pacific Has Slowed Global Surface Temperature Rise

Cooler Pacific Has Slowed Global Surface Temperature Rise

Climatologists are puzzled that greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, while the atmosphere is warming more slowly than they expected. Now two scientists in the US think they know why.  hey say cooling waters in the tropical Pacific Ocean have played a large part in slowing recent warming, a finding which challenges those who argue that the slowdown means climate change is not as serious a problem as most climate scientists are convinced it is.

Read more: Cooler Pacific Has Slowed Global Surface...

Oceans Help Tiny Corals Escape Heat

Oceans Help Tiny Corals Escape Heat

Climate change is only one of the risks that coral larvae have to face – but those which do survive its effects can improve the prospects for mature reefs. Scientists in the UK and the US have found that coral larvae are capable of travelling very long distances before becoming part of a reef.

Read more: Oceans Help Tiny Corals Escape Heat

Greenland “Mega Canyon” Sends Water to the Sea

Greenland “Mega Canyon” Sends Water to the Sea

Researchers have found a "mega canyon" in Greenland tucked under a mile and a half of ice that could rival the size and depth of Arizona’s Grand Canyon. While the discovery won’t become a major tourist attraction, it does provide insight into how meltwater courses its way underneath the world’s second-largest ice sheet, and how that might affect ice shelves and glaciers at its periphery.

Read more: Greenland “Mega Canyon” Sends Water to the Sea

The High Price Of Materialism

The High Price Of Materialism

A war on climate change is a war on materialism, plain and simple. The carbon pollution spewing out of our power plants and tail pipes is a natural byproduct of the monstrous engine of economic growth we have built, an engine that exists solely to satisfy the demand our materialism creates.

Read more: The High Price Of Materialism

Four New Wind Farms In Upper Midwest Could Power 750,000 Homes

Four New Wind Farms In Upper Midwest Could Power 750,000 Homes

Last week, Minneapolis-based utility Xcel Energy proposed its fourth wind farm in the Upper Midwest since mid-July. If approved, the 150-megawatt Border Winds Project would be developed in North Dakota near the U.S.-Canadian border and produce enough electricity to save customers an estimated $45 million over its lifetime while reducing annual carbon dioxide emissions by about 320,000 tons.

Read more: Four New Wind Farms In Upper Midwest Could...

Fukushima’s Environmental Legacy Is Just Beginning

Fukushima’s Environmental Legacy Is Just Beginning

The highly radioactive water leaking from the wrecked Fukushima plant is part of a problem that Japan will take decades to resolve and which will blight many thousands of lives. The discovery at the plant of a leak of radioactive caesium eight times more dangerous than the levels immediately after the Fukushima accident in March 2011 has aroused international concern that Japan is incapable of containing the aftermath of the accident.

Read more: Fukushima’s Environmental Legacy Is Just Beginning

Solar Panel Installation Boom: 2/3 Of Solar Panel Capacity Shipped Within Last 2 1/2 Years

Solar Panel Installation Boom: 2/3 Of Solar Panel Capacity Shipped Within Last 2 1/2 Years

There’s a solar panel installation boom going on. In the EU. In the US. In Asia. In South America. Globally. Solar panel installation volumes have skyrocketed due to falling solar power prices and decent solar power incentives from thoughtful governments.

Read more: Solar Panel Installation Boom: 2/3 Of Solar...

Our Attempts To Keep Cool Are In Fact Adding To Rising Temperatures

Our Attempts To Keep Cool Are In Fact Adding To Rising Temperatures

Studies into how we use air conditioning technology suggest that our attempts to keep cool are in fact adding to rising temperatures.As the world swelters, so will energy demand rise: the heat extremes generated by climate change are likely to raise the global demand for air conditioning by 72%. So people will generate more heat and release more carbon dioxide just to stay cool as the thermometer soars.

Read more: Our Attempts To Keep Cool Are In Fact Adding To...

Filling in Some Blanks to ‘All of the Above’ Energy Policy

Filling in Some Blanks to ‘All of the Above’ Energy Policy

When President Obama released his Climate Action Plan in late June, it started to provide clarity on what’s been deemed an “all of the above” energy production strategy for the U.S. However, the plan was short on specifics. At a talk at Columbia University on Monday, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz provided some of those specifics and expanded on other ways the federal government plans to approach energy production and use.

Read more: Filling in Some Blanks to ‘All of the Above’...

Yosemite Fire Example of How Droughts Amplify Wildfires

Yosemite Fire Example of How Droughts Amplify Wildfires

The massive Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park in California is an example of how drought can amplify wildfires in a warming, drying West. The fire, which now ranks as the 14th-largest wildfire in state history, has been racing through parched stands of oak and pine trees, and threatening some of the region’s iconic giant sequoia trees.

Read more: Yosemite Fire Example of How Droughts Amplify...

Google A Reef And Help To Save It

Google A Reef And Help To Save It

By making 360-degree panoramic underwater vision available to anyone who has a computer, scientists hope to alert many more people to the plight of the world’s coral reefs. Scientists have hit on a way to harness 360-degree panoramas from Google’s underwater street-view format in order to let anyone with access to a computer see reefs in real time.

Read more: Google A Reef And Help To Save It

Good News Bad News: Better Air Quality Linked To Fiercer Storms

Good News Bad News: Better Air Quality Linked To Fiercer Storms

British research into storm cycles has found evidence suggesting reduced atmospheric pollution may have had the unexpected side-effect of increasing the ferocity and frequency of hurricanesScientists from Britain’s Meteorological Office have fingered a new suspect in their attempt to solve the mystery of tropical storms.

Read more: Good News Bad News: Better Air Quality Linked...

Solar And Electric Vehicles Will Dominate Sooner Than You Think

Solar And Electric Vehicles Will Dominate Sooner Than You Think

Several years ago, Tony Seba, an energy expert from Stanford University, published a book called Solar Trillions, predicting how solar technologies would redefine the world’s energy markets and create an investment opportunity worth tens of trillions of dollars. Most people looked at him, he says, as if he had three heads.

Read more: Solar And Electric Vehicles Will Dominate...

Money Up In Smoke: Flaring Lights Up North Dakota Night Sky

Flaring Lights Up North Dakota

North Dakota, now the second-largest oil-producing state in the US, is neglecting the gas that also comes from its wells, says a report, wasting money and adding to greenhouse gas emissions.

Read more: Money Up In Smoke: Flaring Lights Up North...

Climate Toppled Late Bronze Age Rulers

Climate Toppled Late Bronze Age Rulers

Recent research suggests that the rise and fall of the ancient world’s civilisations may have been due to a changing climate.  Historians and archaeologists have invoked catastrophic volcanic eruption, a tsunami, invasion, a socioeconomic crisis, new technology and mysterious forces to explain the collapse of late Bronze Age civilisation in Europe.

Read more: Climate Toppled Late Bronze Age Rulers

Early Birds And Insects May Go Hungry As Earth Warms

Early Birds And Insects May Go Hungry As Earth Warms

Scientists in the UK say the steady advance in the arrival of spring each year may mean that some butterfly species which develop early will simply be unable to adapt any further.  British researchers are using insect specimens kept in museums for a century and a quarter to learn more about climate change and the steady move towards the earlier annual arrival of spring.

Read more: Early Birds And Insects May Go Hungry As Earth...

Is Japan Capable Of Containing The Aftermath Of The Fukushima Accident?

Is Japan Capable Of Containing The Aftermath Of The Fukushima Accident?

The highly radioactive water leaking from the wrecked Fukushima plant is part of a problem that Japan will take decades to resolve and which will blight many thousands of lives.

Read more: Is Japan Capable Of Containing The Aftermath Of...

The Calm Before the Storm? Quiet August for Hurricanes

The Calm Before the Storm? Quiet August for Hurricanes

If you think the much-hyped Atlantic hurricane season has turned into a bit of a snoozefest, forecasters warn that it's not time to nap just yet. Yes, the season was forecast to be an active one, but so far, with the mid-September peak rapidly approaching, not a single hurricane has formed. The five named storms petered out uneventfully. However, forecasters believe the season will still turn out to be busy, and urge the millions of coastal residents not to get complacent.

Read more: The Calm Before the Storm? Quiet August for...

A New Study Suggests Arctic Warming May Not Be Altering Jet Stream

A New Study Suggests Arctic Warming May Not Be Altering Jet Stream

A new study calls into question the widely-publicized hypothesis that rapid warming of the Arctic climate, including the precipitous loss of summer sea ice cover, is altering weather patterns throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Specifically, the study, which will be published in a forthcoming issue of Geophysical Research Letters, challenges the findings of previous studies that showed a slowdown in the speed and changes in the shape of the jet stream.

Read more: A New Study Suggests Arctic Warming May Not Be...

The U.S. Is Now A Nation Divided By Drought

What was once a coast-to-coast drought now divides the U.S. into two distinct pieces, pitting those that have water in the Midwest vs. the have-nots in the West. One of those regions is in for a long, hot, dry, and potentially smoky summer. (Hint: It's not the Midwest.)

Read more: The U.S. Is Now A Nation Divided By Drought

Krill, The Foundation Of Arctic Food Web In Danger In Warmer Antarctic

Krill, The Foundation Of Arctic Food Web In Danger In Warmer Antarctic

Krill, the foundation of the Antarctic marine food web, could be in trouble as the region’s seas continue to warm – but scientists think the risks are manageable. They may not look very appetising, but they are what sustains much of the marine life in the southern ocean.

Read more: Krill, The Foundation Of Arctic Food Web In...

Australia’s Flooding Rains Briefly Slowed Sea Level Rise

Australia’s Flooding Rains Briefly Slowed Sea Level Rise

Scientists may have zeroed in on the cause of a mysterious 18-month drop in global average sea level that occurred between 2010 and 2011, pointing to events that occurred on the world’s smallest continent: Australia. New research shows that during those two years, flooding rains in Australia, which resulted from a rare combination of factors, took huge quantities of water out of the oceans without returning it, like a library user with mounting late fees.

Read more: Australia’s Flooding Rains Briefly Slowed Sea...

It's Over? Think Again: Fukushima Disaster Presents New Leaking Emergency

It's Over? Think Again: Fukushima Disaster Presents New Leaking Emergency

Rachel Maddow reports on the increased emergency level at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan where hundreds of tons of radioactive water is leaking into the sea.

Read more: It's Over? Think Again: Fukushima Disaster...

Wildfire Alert Heightened as Blazes Char Western U.S.

Wildfire Alert Heightened as Blazes Char Western U.S.

With 51 large wildfires currently burning across the U.S., the nation’s firefighters have been placed on a war footing — known as “National Preparedness Level 5.” It's the first time that step has been taken since 2008, according to Wildfire Today, and it reflects the combination of high fire activity, the large amounts of firefighting resources already committed to wildfires.

Read more: Wildfire Alert Heightened as Blazes Char...

July Adds To Globe’s String of 341 Warm Months

July Adds To Globe’s String of 341 Warm Months

The year-to-date has been the sixth warmest on record globally, and July was also the sixth warmest such month since global surface temperature records first began in 1880, according to new data released on Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The figures show that July 2013 was the 37th straight July, and the 341st straight month, with warmer-than-average global temperatures.

Read more: July Adds To Globe’s String of 341 Warm Months

Why Sharing News About Solutions Is a Revolutionary Act

 Why Sharing News About Solutions Is a Revolutionary Act

Scary stories of kidnappings and explosions lead our news feeds, but it's the good news that helps break down the myth of our own powerlessness. "If it bleeds, it leads." Ever hear that maxim of journalism? If you want readers, go with the scary, gruesome story—that's what gets hearts pumping and grabs attention. But what grabs our attention can also scare the heck out of us and shut us down.

Read more: Why Sharing News About Solutions Is a...

Solar Energy Nears The Energy Holy Grail Of Price Parity

Solar Nears The Energy Holy Grail Of Price Parity

It's taken 60 years, but solar is tantalizingly close to beating fossil fuels on price. The prices of solar cells are falling rapidly, and will keep doing so for the next few years. The big questions revolve around the rate of the price declines. And the panels themselves aren't the only place where cost reductions will be found. America has very high "soft costs" -- installation, permitting, marketing etc. Whittling down these expenses will help, too.

Read more: Solar Energy Nears The Energy Holy Grail Of...

Curbing Methane Pollution Is Just Part Of The Solution To A Warming Planet

It’s going to take more than slashing methane emissions and releases of soot into the air to curb a warming climate. That’s the conclusion of a Pacific Northwest National Laboratory study released this week, saying methane and soot emissions need to be cut in addition to carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

Read more: Curbing Methane Pollution Is Just Part Of The...

Fracking First, Repent When You Get Around To It

Fracking First, Repent When You Get Around To It.

The arguments for and against fracking seem clear-cut. But it’s not that simple, and there is mounting evidence that exploiting shale gas may be neither necessary nor sensible. As the international debate intensifies over the arguments for and against exploiting shale gas, the largest British nature conservation charity has objected to proposals to drill at two sites in Britain.

Read more: Fracking First, Repent When You Get Around To It

Can We Expect More Heatwaves By 2020?

Can We Expect More More Heatwaves By 2020?

European climate scientists say the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere mean it is virtually inevitable that far more parts of the world will experience more frequent and severe heat waves in the next 30 years. Stand by for extreme weather.

Read more: Can We Expect More Heatwaves By 2020?

Are We Next As Climate Is Seen Behind Ancient Civilizations' Collapse?

Are We Next As Climate Change Seen Behind Ancient Civilizations' Collapse?

A cold, dry spell that lasted hundreds of years may have driven the collapse of Eastern Mediterranean civilizations in the 13th century BC, researchers in France said Wednesday. In the Late Bronze Age, powerful kingdoms spanned lands that are now Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, Syria, Turkey, Israel and the Palestinian territories, but they collapsed suddenly around 1200 BC.

Read more: Are We Next As Climate Is Seen Behind Ancient...

US Investors Show Scrutiny To Companies With Climate Risk

US Investors Show Closer Scrutiny For Climate Risk

American business and industry is coming under closer scrutiny from shareholders concerned to see how prepared companies are to respond to the financial pressures of a warming world. Shareholders in the US are showing growing concern about their investments in companies exposed to climate change-related risks, according to new data released by Ceres, a US organisation that promotes more sustainable business practices.

Read more: US Investors Show Scrutiny To Companies With...

The Answer To Climate Change

The Answer To Climate Change

When I give these climate talks, by the end people are typically agitated and full of questions. “What technology is going to fix this?” “How are we ever get people to agree on a solution?” “I’m just one person, what could I possibly do that would make an impact?”

Read more: The Answer To Climate Change

Can We Really Walk Away From Empire?

Can We Really Walk Away From Empire?

I recently had the opportunity to engage in conversation with Guy McPherson about a number of topics and subsequently began reading his book Walking Away From Empire, Guy’s personal journey of leaving a tenured professorship to radically alter his living arrangements in preparation for the collapse of industrial civilization.

Read more: Can We Really Walk Away From Empire?

Why Is Traditional Knowledge Vital To Science?

Traditional Knowledge Vital To Science

Peoples who have lived in the same place for countless generations – the Amazon, perhaps, or the Arctic – possess invaluable knowledge about living with climate change, and it is evolving all the time. Climate change often seems to be seen as the preserve of scientists and environmental journalists. But what about the accumulated wisdom of traditional and indigenous peoples?

Read more: Why Is Traditional Knowledge Vital To Science?

Climate Change Will Increase The Spread Of Disease

Climate Change Will Increase The Spread Of Disease

We sometimes forget that one consequence of climate change is likely to be new ways for diseases to spread. But the natural world offers stark reminders. Some like it hot: more protozoans can infect the monarch butterfly as climates become milder; nematode parasites get two chances to infect caribou and reindeer as a result of Arctic warming; and coral pathogens become more active with warmer seas.

Read more: Climate Change Will Increase The Spread Of Disease

New Antarctic Ice Core Reveals Secrets Of Climate Change

New Antarctic Ice Core Reveals Secrets Of Climate Change

Most ice we see melts quickly, from ice cubes melting into a soda to icicles disappearing on a sunny winter day. But in Antarctica, ice can stick around for hundreds of thousands of years. A newly revealed cylinder of ancient ice could change the way we think about climate change. A study published August 14 in the scientific journal Nature looked at 30,000 years of ice in more detail than has ever before been possible.

Read more: New Antarctic Ice Core Reveals Secrets Of...

Fracking In Spotlight in Texas as Ample Oil, No Water

Fracking In Spotlight in Texas as Ample Oil, No Water

Beverly McGuire saw the warning signs before the town well went dry: sand in the toilet bowl, the sputter of air in the tap, a pump working overtime to no effect. But it still did not prepare her for the night last month when she turned on the tap and discovered the tiny town where she had made her home for 35 years was out of water.

Read more: Fracking In Spotlight in Texas as Ample Oil, No...

Climate Change May Be Easing Devastating 2012 Drought

Climate Change May Be Easing Devastating 2012 Drought

Early this week, when Colorado State Climatologist Nolan Doesken toured an area of southeast Colorado hit hardest by the drought of 2012, he was greeted with a vast expanse of parched farmland that had turned into a moonscape with almost no vegetation. However, a welcome series of deluges that washed over much of the drought-stricken Great Plains this summer, drawing a stark contrast between drought conditions today across the U.S. and the devastating drought of 2012.

Read more: Climate Change May Be Easing Devastating 2012...

Waste CO2 Could Be Source Of Power

Waste CO2 Could Be Source Of Power

Dutch scientists have thought up a new use for all the carbon dioxide that pours from the chimneys of fossil fuel-burning power stations: harvest it for even more electricity. They could, they argue, pump the carbon dioxide through water or other liquids and produce a flow of electrons and therefore more electricity.

Read more: Waste CO2 Could Be Source Of Power


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