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Earth Wise

English, Education, 1 seasons, 251 episodes, 8 hours 22 minutes
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A look at our changing environment.
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Hope for white rhinos

There are only two northern white rhinos left in the world, and both of them are female.  The last male died in 2018. Northern white rhinos live to about 40 and one of the two remaining is 35 and the other 24.  The clock is ticking for the species. Recently, scientists with the BioRescue consortium […]
28/02/20242 minutes
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Protecting wine grapes from wildfire smoke

In recent years, wildfires have become a major threat to the wine industry because of the effects of smoke on wine grapes.  Smoke taint from the California fires of September 2020 significantly impacted the quality of wine grapes.  In total, smoke taint cost the wine industry in Western states more than $3 billion in losses […]
27/02/20242 minutes
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Natural hydrogen

Hydrogen is considered to be a potential substitute for conventional fossil fuels in applications where electricity cannot easily be used such as in blast furnaces, cement works, industrial heating, long-distance aviation, and shipping.  But most hydrogen is manufactured by separating it from methane, which is energy-intensive and produces carbon dioxide.  So-called green hydrogen is made […]
26/02/20242 minutes
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Otters to the rescue

California sea otters were hunted almost to extinction in the 19th century.  Only a small number survived along California’s central coast.  But over time, the otters recovered and increasingly recolonized their former habitats. Sea otters are playing an important role in safeguarding California’s kelp forests and marshlands against the harmful effects of climate change. Over […]
23/02/20242 minutes
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Groundwater and climate change

Groundwater is the vast reserve of water beneath Earth’s surface.  It’s an essential resource for humans, plants, animals, and other living organisms.  According to the United States Geological Survey, about 30% of all readily available freshwater in the world is groundwater.  In areas lacking sufficient surface water supply from rivers and reservoirs,  groundwater is critical […]
22/02/20242 minutes
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Red mud and steel

Most of us have never heard of red mud.  Otherwise known as bauxite residue, it is an industrial waste product generated by the most common process by which aluminum is made and the world produces 200 million tons of red mud each year.  The stuff is a significant environmental hazard being extremely alkaline and corrosive. […]
21/02/20242 minutes
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Satellites discovering penguins

The loss of sea ice in Antarctica has forced emperor penguins to seek out new breeding grounds.  Some colonies have traveled more than 20 miles in search of stable ice.  Emperor females lay a single egg on a stretch of sea ice at the start of winter and males keep the eggs warm while the […]
20/02/20242 minutes
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Air pollution in India

India is one of the world’s most polluted countries.  In fact, of the 30 cities with the worst air pollution around the globe, 21 of them can be found in India.  India’s capital city, New Delhi, is the most polluted city in the world.  Concentrations of fine particulate matter (known as PM2.5) in Delhi, which […]
19/02/20242 minutes
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Pollinator-friendly solar power

Global insect biodiversity has been in decline as a result of habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change.  Restoring insect habitat is a way to reverse that trend.  Expanded use of solar energy is a critical part of mitigating climate change.  In order to meet the grid decarbonization goals the U.S. has set, approximately 10 […]
16/02/20242 minutes
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Adirondack lakes becoming inhospitable for trout

A combination of the warming climate and the phenomenon of lake browning are making the bottom of most lakes in New York’s Adirondack Mountains unlivable for cold water fish – such as trout, salmon, and whitefish – in the summer. Lake browning occurs when dissolved organic matter from forests turns the water tea-brown.  Browning is […]
15/02/20242 minutes
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Sustainable hydrogen from methane

Hydrogen could serve as a viable alternative to fossil fuels that can be used directly as a fuel or can be used to generate electricity to power cars and other devices. However, large-scale production of hydrogen currently relies on fossil fuels and creates carbon emissions in the process. So-called green hydrogen involves using electricity to split […]
14/02/20242 minutes
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Protecting coastal areas with tidal range electricity generation

Tidal range electricity generation uses the water level difference between high and low tides to operate generator turbines.  The method requires the construction of barrages and sluices to capture water during high tides and then release it during generation at low tide.  Tidal range generation is predictable renewable energy driven by the gravitational pull of […]
13/02/20242 minutes
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One in five cars will be electric this year

There has been lots of turbulence in the electric car industry of late.  Part of it is aggressive publicity campaigns spreading misinformation and part of it is the natural fits and starts associated with major change.  But apart from the ups and downs of individual companies and countries, analysts are projecting another record year for […]
12/02/20242 minutes
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Confusion about monarch butterflies

For years, we have heard that the iconic monarch butterfly is in great peril.  Monarchs east of the Rocky Mountains undertake a 4-generation, 3,000-mile migration in late summer to their winter home in central Mexico.  Since the 1990s, the overwintering monarch colonies began a steep decline causing scientists to fear for the sustainability of the […]
09/02/20242 minutes
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Why are bees making less honey?

Scientists have been sounding the alarm on the global struggle of pollinators for a long time.  According to the United Nations, nearly 35% of the invertebrate pollinator species, such as bees and butterflies, are facing extinction. And since 75% of the world’s food crops depend on pollination to some extent, the decline of pollinators poses […]
08/02/20242 minutes
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Lower carbon emissions in the U.S.

American greenhouse gas emissions in 2023 fell by 1.9%.  In total, U.S. emissions have now fallen by over 17% since 2005.  The largest factor in the decline has been the reduction in the burning of coal to produce electricity.  Coal-fired generation has fallen to its lowest level in half a century. There was a huge […]
07/02/20242 minutes
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Elephants and protected areas

Standing up to 13 feet tall and weighing up to 7 tons, African savanna elephants are the largest species of elephant and the biggest terrestrial animal on Earth.  According to the World Wildlife Fund, African savanna elephants can be found in 23 countries and live in a variety of habitats, including savannas, forests, and deserts.  […]
06/02/20242 minutes
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A giant underground battery

Two up-and-coming energy technologies are coming together near a tiny town in central Utah.  Outside of the town of Delta, population 3,600, two caverns, each as deep as the Empire State Building, are being created from an underground salt formation to be used to store hydrogen gas.  The gas will be used as a fuel […]
05/02/20242 minutes
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Why was 2023 so hot?

Five separate weather-tracking organizations have proclaimed 2023 as the hottest year on record. They all agreed that 2023 beat the previous record-holder – 2016 – by a wide margin.  Organizations that use a pre-industrial baseline of 1850-1900 found that 2023 was 1.45 to 1.48 degrees Celsius above the baseline.  But what caused 2023 – especially […]
02/02/20242 minutes
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Offshore wind in Massachusetts

On January 2nd, the first large offshore wind farm in New England started producing electricity when its first turbine came online.  The Vineyard Wind project, located off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, will by the end of the year have a total of 62 turbines with a capacity of 800 megawatts, enough electricity to power […]
01/02/20242 minutes
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Sodium-ion batteries

The transition away from fossil fuels is driving a rapidly increasing need for batteries.  Both electric vehicles and energy storage for the electric grid are enormous consumers of batteries.  At present, lithium-ion batteries are almost universally used for these purposes.  They have been getting better all the time and cheaper all the time and are […]
31/01/20242 minutes
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Bio-based products on the rise

There is a growing global movement working towards replacing conventional synthetic products – ones that are toxic to make or use, difficult to recycle, and have large carbon footprints – with products made from plants, trees, or fungi that can be safely returned to the earth at the end of their useful life.  This so-called […]
30/01/20242 minutes
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Positive tipping points and climate

We often hear about tipping points and climate change.  Tipping points are critical thresholds that, when crossed, lead to large, accelerating, and often irreversible changes.  Some of the ones of concern with the climate are thawing permafrost, melting glaciers and ice sheets, and global temperatures reaching certain levels.  These are all tipping points that are […]
29/01/20242 minutes
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More mosquitoes in a warming climate

Over millions of years, Earth’s climate has warmed up and cooled down many times. However, today the planet is warming much faster than it ever has over human history.  According to scientists, the warming is primarily the result of increased anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.  In fact, human activities are responsible for nearly all of the […]
26/01/20242 minutes
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The slow decline of coal

Despite the fact that coal is the dirtiest and most climate-harmful energy source we have, the global demand for it hit a record high in 2023. The demand for coal grew by 1.4% worldwide, according to an analysis by the International Energy Agency. Coal use grew by 5% in China and 8% in India.  The […]
25/01/20242 minutes
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Thousands of species threatened

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature is an organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.  The IUCN has been around for nearly 75 years and is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it. In its latest […]
24/01/20242 minutes
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A plug for all cars

Different brands of electric cars have required different charging connections. There has been no standard connector for charging.  But now, as the transition to electric vehicles is accelerating, there is the North American Charging Standard, which within in the next couple of years, will be common to pretty much any new electric vehicle on the […]
23/01/20242 minutes
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Solar forests

Forests are one of the most iconic symbols of the power and diversity of nature but beyond that, their thick vegetation is crucial to the stability and balance of the Earth’s climate.  This is because the photosynthesis that powers the growth of plants removes carbon dioxide from the air.  Cutting down forests – especially the […]
22/01/20242 minutes
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Billion-dollar weather disasters

All sorts of weather records were set in 2023 and pretty much none of them were good news.  Among the most painful was that the U.S. suffered a record 25 weather- and climate-related disasters that caused more than a billion dollars in damage. The increasing accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased the […]
19/01/20242 minutes
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New York is raising its shoreline

Superstorm Sandy in 2012 flooded 17% of New York City and caused $19 billion in damage.  In its aftermath, plans emerged to create floodwalls, raised elevations, high-capacity drainage, and other infrastructure to protect the city from future Sandy-like events. Like all large infrastructure projects in densely populated places, the remaking of New York’s shoreline has […]
18/01/20242 minutes
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How to reduce pollution from food production

Present in animal manure and synthetic fertilizers, nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plant growth and is a critical input to enhance agricultural productivity on farms around the world.  But excessive and inefficient use of this nutrient is widespread.  In fact, up to 80% of it leaks into the environment, mostly in various polluting forms […]
17/01/20242 minutes
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What did the record warmth of 2023 mean?

2023 was the warmest year in the 174 years of global temperature record-keeping.  According to some analyses, it may have been the warmest year in the past 125,000 years. There were incredible heatwaves in Arizona and Argentina.  There were relentless wildfires across Canada.  The wintertime ice coverage in the seas surrounding Antarctica was at unprecedented […]
16/01/20242 minutes
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Attack of the giant goldfish

Goldfish are just about the easiest pets to keep.  A species of carp native to East Asia, they have been bred to look pretty and are generally little more than home décor.  We keep them in little glass bowls and feed them mysterious flakes out of a container.  With these confined quarters and meager meals, […]
15/01/20242 minutes
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How will we know if the world is 1.5 degrees warmer?

The Paris Climate Agreement has a goal of limiting global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.  How do we know if we are succeeding and, more importantly, how would we know if we have failed? This may seem like something fairly obvious, but it isn’t.  Global temperatures are definitely creeping upward.  […]
12/01/20242 minutes
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Airplanes, corn, and groundwater

The aviation industry wants to slash its greenhouse gas emissions.  One proposed strategy is to replace ordinary jet fuel with ethanol.  Ethanol in this country mostly comes from corn.  The airlines are enthusiastic about the idea; corn farmers are enthusiastic about the idea.  Ethanol suppliers are obviously enthusiastic about it.  But is it a good […]
11/01/20242 minutes
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EV battery costs continue to drop

Electric vehicles have historically been more expensive than their gas-powered counterparts primarily because of the cost of the batteries that power them.  Today’s EV battery packs range in size from about 40 kWh to as much as 200 kWh, where kWh measure the amount of energy stored in pack. The batteries in EVs are lithium-ion […]
10/01/20242 minutes
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Cleaning the grid can create messes

The electric grid is increasingly embracing renewable energy sources like solar and wind power as well as the energy storage systems that support them.  These generation sources differ from traditional sources in that they produce direct current electricity rather than alternating current electricity.  Our power grid runs on alternating current.  Traditional generators produce alternating current […]
09/01/20242 minutes
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Seabirds rescuing coral reefs

A new study by researchers at Lancaster University in the UK has found that the presence of seabirds on islands adjacent to tropical coral reefs can more than double the coral growth rates on those reefs. The study found that when coral reefs grow faster, they can bounce back more quickly from bleaching events that […]
08/01/20242 minutes
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Flower power in agriculture

Agriculture is the world’s largest industry.  When managed sustainably, agricultural operations can provide many environmental benefits, such as protecting watersheds and habitats, and improving soil health and water quality.  Sustainable agriculture also embraces biodiversity by minimizing its impact on wild ecosystems and incorporating numerous plant and animal varieties into farm ecosystems. A new study of […]
05/01/20242 minutes
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Offshore wind in the U.S. at last

There have been large offshore wind farms in Europe for over 30 years.  Five Asian countries have had offshore wind installations for 7 years, with China now leading the world in total installed capacity.   The United States has been talking about offshore wind power for a long time and has been moving toward actually installing […]
04/01/20242 minutes
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Record high emissions

The world is adding solar and wind power to the grid.   We are driving more and more electric cars.  Countries are pledging to cut back fossil fuel use.  There are highly visible international conferences on the climate crisis.   But despite all of these things, global carbon emissions from fossil fuels have risen once again in […]
03/01/20242 minutes
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Does vertically-grown food taste different?

Vertical farming is a method of producing crops in vertically stacked layers or surfaces typically in a skyscraper, used warehouse, or shipping container.  Modern vertical farming uses indoor farming techniques and controlled-environment agriculture technology.  Vertical farming has the potential to be one of the solutions to food insecurity in parts of the world where crop […]
02/01/20242 minutes
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Wildfires and air quality

The wildfires last summer in parts of the U.S. and Canada fouled the air over much of the country.  Air quality in many places was dangerous for human health.  And such fires are becoming more numerous and more intense. A new study by the University of Iowa has assessed the effects of two decades of […]
01/01/20242 minutes
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Sustainable New Year’s resolutions

Every year, millions of people around the world make resolutions to spark positive change in the new year.  Popular resolutions include improving health and fitness, traveling more, spending less, and so on. With 2024 just around the corner, here are six resolution ideas to reduce our climate impact:  Shop More Sustainably.  Choose eco-friendly brands and […]
29/12/20232 minutes
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Global climate progress is too slow

According to a new report by the World Resources Institute, the world is making progress on climate, but the progress is not fast enough.  The report looked at 37 indicators of climate progress towards the goals set forth by the Paris Agreement.  In some areas, the progress has been substantial, but in six areas, the […]
28/12/20232 minutes
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Ending plastic separation anxiety

Petroleum-based plastics are one of the biggest environmental problems we face.  They mostly end up in landfills – or worse, in the oceans and elsewhere in the environment – and they basically don’t decompose over time.  Bio-based plastics were invented to help solve the plastic waste crisis.  These materials do break down in the environment […]
27/12/20232 minutes
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The hottest year on record

Barring some sort of massive global deep freeze late in the year, it was increasingly obvious by November that 2023 was going to be the hottest year ever recorded.  After analyzing data that showed the world saw its warmest ever November, experts around the world made the call early in December. According to the European […]
26/12/20232 minutes
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Pesticides and beeswax

Honey bee colonies in the United States have experienced annual population declines since 2006.  Commercial beekeepers have reported honey bee colony loss rates averaging 30% each winter, which is startling when compared to historical loss rates of just 10-15%.  According to the USDA, there are many factors contributing to this decline, including parasites, pests, diseases, […]
25/12/20232 minutes
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The importance of Alaska’s National Forests

The world’s forests play a crucial role in taking carbon out of the atmosphere and mitigating the effects of climate change.  An analysis of U.S. national forests shows that two southern Alaskan forests are key to meeting climate and biodiversity goals. The Tongass Forest in Alaska is America’s largest national forest, encompassing 16.7 million acres.  […]
22/12/20232 minutes
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Groundwater loss

Groundwater is the water found underground in the cracks and spaces in soil, sand, and rock.  It is held in aquifers and bubbles up naturally into springs, streams, and rivers, but also is pumped out for use by people.  Groundwater provides almost half the drinking water in the U.S. and is a main source of […]
21/12/20232 minutes
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Uncounted emissions

Most countries around the world have pledged to cut their carbon emissions to try to reduce the effects of climate change.  The extent to which countries are meeting their emission reduction goals has been the primary way of keeping score on their efforts.  But there is a major problem with this scorekeeping system: exporting fossil […]
20/12/20232 minutes
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Brownfields and solar power

Brownfields are blighted lands that have suffered environmental contamination, making it very difficult to redevelop them or make good use of them.  Generally, they are previously used lands that have the presence or at least the potential presence of hazardous substances, pollutants, or other contaminants at levels exceeding health-based or environmental standards.  There are nearly […]
19/12/20232 minutes
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Food and the climate crisis

Agriculture is a major part of the climate problem and remains one of the hardest human activities to decarbonize.  It’s responsible for approximately 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions.  Many experts contend that alternative food sources – like insect farming and seaweed aquaculture – are part of the solution.  Additionally, expanding production of climate resilient […]
18/12/20232 minutes
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Are we really serious about eliminating fossil fuels?

Almost all the countries around the world have pledged to take action to reduce planet-warming emissions by expanding the use of renewable energy sources and phasing out fossil fuels.  But very few countries seem to be taking the fossil fuel phase-out seriously. Almost all the top 20 fossil-fuel producing countries plan to produce more oil, […]
15/12/20232 minutes
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New York’s first offshore wind farm

New York has set a target of installing 9 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2035.  The first offshore wind farm in the state – South Fork Wind – was approved by the Long Island Power Authority in 2017.  Construction began in 2022. South Fork Wind Farm is a 132 MW project sited 35 miles […]
14/12/20232 minutes
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Action on the toxic chemical from tires

Since the 1990s, populations of coho salmon in streams and urban creeks up and down the West Coast have been dying in large numbers.  Scientists at the University of Washington began studying the mysterious deaths and it took years to figure out what was going on.  They analyzed water samples from urban creeks and found […]
13/12/20232 minutes
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The warmest fall

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has global climate records dating back 174 years.  As the planet continues to heat up, both September and October set new records as the warmest of those months in history. September was the fourth month in a row of record-warm global temperatures.  Not only was it the warmest September […]
12/12/20232 minutes
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Detecting dangerous chemicals with plants

Researchers at University of California Riverside have been studying how to enable plants to sense and react to a chemical in the environment without damaging their ability to function in all other respects.  Why do this?  The idea is to be able to use plants as environmental sensors that can detect the presence of harmful […]
11/12/20232 minutes
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A fern-based insecticide

A spore-producing bacterium is the source of various crystal toxins (known as Cry proteins) that are widely used in modern agriculture to combat insect pests – generally caterpillars and other larvae – that attack important crops.  Pest control in corn, soybean, and cotton use these insecticidal proteins for protection against major insect pests.  The pesticides […]
08/12/20232 minutes
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Deeper corals bleaching

When ocean waters get too warm, corals – which are actually tiny animals – eject the colorful algae that inhabit their tissues.  The symbiotic relationship between coral polyps and algae is essential to coral survival   When the algae is ejected, previously colorful coral turns white, and the coral can ultimately die.  If waters cool off, […]
07/12/20232 minutes
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Wildlife rebounding in Uganda

The numbers of elephants, rhinos, and other animals in Uganda’s nature preserves is steadily improving, reversing the trend of steady declines previously caused by poachers, wildlife traffickers, and conflict. Between the 1960s and 1980s, political conflict and lawlessness in Uganda led to massive declines in some species as poaching, trafficking, and encroachment ran rampant. Uganda’s […]
06/12/20232 minutes
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Tracking down PFAS toxins

PFAS – per- and polyfluoralkyl substances – are a group of organic compounds that have been extensively used to provide water-, oil-, and dirt-resistance to a wide range of products ranging from non-stick pans, clothing, and packaging to paint, car polish, and fire-suppressant foam.  Exposure to specific PFAS compounds is associated with multiple adverse health […]
05/12/20232 minutes
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Electricity from chicken feathers

The food industry generates enormous amounts of waste and by-products.  Each year, 40 million tons of chicken feathers are incinerated, causing adverse environmental effects.  Not only does it release large amounts of carbon dioxide but also produces toxic gases such as sulfur dioxide. Researchers at ETH Zurich in Switzerland and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore […]
04/12/20232 minutes
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Electric planes: Fantasy or reality?

Airplanes have been around for over a century, but the idea of powering them with electricity rather than with liquid fuels has been little more than a fantasy.  Over the years, billions of dollars have been invested trying to make electric planes practical.  In recent times, progress on battery technology has provided a much-needed boost […]
01/12/20232 minutes
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Protecting berries with sunflower extract

Many of us buy blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and more in those little clear plastic clamshell boxes.  We try to check them out at the store to make sure they are ok and even if are, many soon end up coated with gray mold and other fungi.  It is a problem that is both disappointing and […]
30/11/20232 minutes
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Buildings and birds

Birds face a wide range of dangers.  Billions of them each year face violent deaths.  Concerned individuals point at such things as wind turbines, which in fact do kill hundreds of thousands of birds.  But the great majority of bird deaths are caused by cats.  And that’s a danger that isn’t going to go away. […]
29/11/20232 minutes
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Farming the frozen north

Agriculture is the primary cause of land-based biodiversity loss.  As the global population grows, agricultural production needs to keep pace.  Estimates are that production needs to double by 2050.  How this can be accomplished without doing further harm to the environment and biodiversity is extremely challenging. Climate change adds further complications to the challenge.  As […]
28/11/20232 minutes
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Who wins: Wind or solar?

A new study by the University of Exeter in the UK suggests that the world may have crossed a tipping point that will inevitably make solar power our main source of energy.  This data-driven model of technology seems to fly in the face of the current situation in which wind power contributes considerably more generation […]
27/11/20232 minutes
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More renewable energy for New York

In late October, New York announced its largest state investment in renewable energy to date that includes three offshore wind projects, and 22 land-based clean energy projects totaling more than 6 GW of power generation. The portfolio of projects is expected to create approximately 8,300 jobs and spur $20 billion in economic investments statewide. The […]
24/11/20232 minutes
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Solar thermochemical hydrogen

For decades, there has been talk of the hydrogen economy in which hydrogen would take the place of fossil fuels in a wide range of domestic and industrial applications.  Over time, hydrogen’s potential advantages in some applications have diminished but it is still seen as perhaps the most promising way to decarbonize long-distance truck, ship, […]
23/11/20232 minutes
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Too hot for people

The effort to mitigate the effects of climate change has a goal of keeping the global temperature increase below 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.  To date, the average global temperature has increased by more than 1 degree.  We hear about rising sea levels, powerful storms, and various other alterations in climate and weather patterns.  […]
22/11/20232 minutes
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Disappearing snow crabs

Alaska snow crabs are a cold-water species found off the coast of Alaska in the Bering, Beaufort, and Chukchi Seas. They are one of ten commercially-fished species in Alaskan waters. The perils of crab fishing in this region have been well documented for many years in the reality TV series Deadliest Catch. Last year, officials […]
21/11/20232 minutes
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Coffee, cocoa, and pollinators

Multiple forces have been at play that have been detrimental to pollinators including climate change, land use change, pesticide use, and more.  There have been substantial declines in both the abundance and diversity of insect pollinators.  There is increasing public awareness of this issue, but it hasn’t really risen all that high among many people’s […]
20/11/20232 minutes
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Wild pigs in the U.S.

In the U.S., there are as many as nine million feral swine living in 38 states.  A conservative estimate indicates that they cause about $1.5 billion in property and agricultural damage each year in this country.  Pigs were introduced to the United States centuries ago as a food source, but they quickly established wild populations. […]
17/11/20232 minutes
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The end of a supergiant iceberg

In 2017, a supergiant iceberg known as A-68 calved from the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica. In 2020, it drifted close to South Georgia, a British island in the South Atlantic Ocean, and then began to break up.  This iceberg was enormous – nearly the size of Delaware.  When it started to break up, […]
16/11/20232 minutes
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Megafires and ecosystems

Wildfires are a natural phenomenon.  They have occurred long before there were people around.  Ecosystems adapt to fires and some species can benefit from them or even depend upon them.  But in recent times, fires have been intensifying and increasing in frequency and they are beginning to outstrip nature’s ability to bounce back from them. […]
15/11/20232 minutes
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Plastics and agriculture 

Once celebrated as a symbol of modern innovation, plastic is now both a blessing and a curse of our time.  Since the 1950s, more than nine billion tons of plastic have been produced, and 50% of that has been during the past 15 years.  Plastic is ubiquitous in every sector, and agriculture is no different. […]
14/11/20232 minutes
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Geoengineering could create winners and losers

Geoengineering – deliberate interventions to alter the climate and curb climate change – is a controversial topic, to say the least.  Once practically considered taboo even to discuss, there in increasing interest in at least exploring various ideas about how to halt or reverse climate change through direct actions that impact global temperatures. Putting aside […]
13/11/20232 minutes
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Moisture swing carbon capture

As the world grapples with limiting the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, there is a growing need to capture the carbon dioxide that is emitted as well as preventing it from being emitted in the first place.  Carbon capture can be accomplished at the source of emissions (such as power plants) or it can […]
10/11/20232 minutes
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Fossil-free fertilizer

Ammonia is a major industrial commodity.  About 70% of it is used to make fertilizer, with the rest for a wide range of industrial applications.  Ammonia is the starting point for all mineral nitrogen fertilizers.  Typically, ammonia is a byproduct of isolating hydrogen from natural gas, which releases large amounts of carbon dioxide.  On a […]
09/11/20232 minutes
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Powering Britain with sun and wind

The United Kingdom is quite small in size compared with the US, but its population of 67 million makes it a fairly large country with substantial energy needs.  A recent study by Oxford University looked at the ability of wind and solar power to provide for those energy needs over the course of time. According […]
08/11/20232 minutes
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Summers are getting hotter

Climate scientists have warned for decades that a seemingly small change in the global average temperature can lead to large changes in extreme heat.  So far, the world has warmed by 1.2 degrees Celsius (or 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) and that has been enough to cause big changes in summer heat. This past summer was the […]
07/11/20232 minutes
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The right to not buy fossil fuels

Minnesota has been one of the most aggressive states in setting and realizing clean energy goals.  As of this year, Minnesota gets 55% of its energy from net zero carbon emission sources.  The state has goals of reaching 80% green energy by 2030, 90% by 2035, and 100% by 2040.  Recent legislation in Minnesota aims […]
06/11/20232 minutes
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Lots of female turtles

Green sea turtles were listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1978.  Since that time, there have been conservation measures put in place in many locations.  One such place is Florida, where restrictions on beachfront development and careful monitoring of turtle nests has helped to get hatchlings safely into the water.  A gill net ban […]
03/11/20232 minutes
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Hydrogen hubs

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 earmarked $7 billion in federal funding aimed at accelerating the commercial-scale deployment of hydrogen as well as driving down its cost.  Clean hydrogen is considered to be a key technology for cleaning up hard-to-decarbonize industrial sectors like refining, chemicals, and heavy-duty transport.  On October 13th, the Department […]
02/11/20232 minutes
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A billion pound problem

Nearly two billion pounds of pumpkins are grown each year in the U.S.  But we actually don’t eat the vast majority of them.  Instead, most pumpkins are carved or otherwise decorated, and placed on porches across the country during Halloween.  But now that the holiday has come and gone, what happens to all those sagging […]
01/11/20232 minutes
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Wind turbines and bats

Collisions with wind turbines are one of the leading causes of bat mortality in North America and Europe.  Most bat fatalities are caused by bats colliding with the rotating blades of wind turbines.  Fatalities are highest during autumn migration and on nights with low wind speeds. According to a recent study, land-based wind turbines kill […]
31/10/20232 minutes
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Record low Antarctic sea ice

Antarctica’s winter came to a close in September and during that month, the continent reaches its maximum amount of sea ice that grows during the darkest and coldest months.  This year, that maximum occurred on September 10th and turned out to be the lowest on record. The sea ice around Antarctica reached a maximum extent […]
30/10/20232 minutes
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Mississippi River Running Dry | Earth Wise

Water levels in the lower Mississippi River are running very low.  During September, the readings in Memphis, Tennessee were within inches of the all-time low.  The situation is causing real problems for the grain export industry. The water levels of the lower Mississippi are determined by the amount of rainfall in the upper Midwest.  At […]
27/10/20232 minutes
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Wildfires And Air Quality | Earth Wise

People in the Northeast have been dealing with unhealthy air quality in recent times because of smoke from hundreds of wildfires in Canada.  Canada has experienced a much higher than average incidence of blazes this year with nearly 500 fires burning uncontrolled at times. It turns out that states far away from Canada aren’t necessarily […]
26/10/20232 minutes
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Plastics In The Air | Earth Wise

Plastic pollution is a big deal.  There are plastics clogging up landfills and waterways and accumulating in the oceans, choking turtles and seabirds.  Annual production of plastics has grown from 2 million tons a year in 1950 to more than 450 million tons today. As if plastic problems weren’t already big enough, it is becoming […]
25/10/20232 minutes
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Controlled Environment Agriculture | Earth Wise

The term “controlled environment agriculture” (or CEA) refers to any number of systems embodying a technology-based approach to farming.  CEA can range from simple shade structures to greenhouses to full indoor or vertical farms.  At the most advanced level, CEA systems are fully automated, closed loop systems with controlled lighting, water, and ventilation.   Many systems […]
24/10/20232 minutes
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The Spooky Reality | Earth Wise

According to the National Retail Federation, American consumers will spend a whopping $12.2 billion on Halloween this year, exceeding last year’s record of $10.6 billion.  A record number of people – 73% of Americans – will also participate in Halloween-related activities this year, up from 69% in 2022.  But it’s not just our wallets that […]
23/10/20232 minutes
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Geologic Hydrogen | Earth Wise

There is great interest in the potential use of hydrogen as a fuel or an energy storage medium.  Unlike hydrocarbon-based fuels, pure hydrogen combustion produces nothing but water as an emission.  But most hydrogen used at present is made by reforming natural gas, which is a process that results in carbon dioxide emissions.  Thus, the […]
20/10/20232 minutes
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Banning Neonicotinoid Pesticides | Earth Wise

New York’s Birds and Bees Protection Act contains a targeted restriction on neonicotinoid pesticides. These widely-used insecticides are absorbed by plants and can be present in pollen and nectar, making them toxic to bees and other pollinators. Among the largest applications of neonics (as they are called) has been in the form of coatings on […]
19/10/20232 minutes
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Floating Sea Farms | Earth Wise

Researchers at the University of South Australia have designed a self-sustaining solar-driven system that turns seawater into fresh water and grows crops without any involvement.  In theory, such a system could help address the growing problems of freshwater shortages and inadequate food supplies as the world’s population continues to increase. The system can be described […]
18/10/20232 minutes
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Enhanced Geothermal Energy | Earth Wise

Steam produced by underground heat is an excellent source of clean energy.  In a few fortunate places around the world – notably Iceland and New Zealand – people have been using this source of power for more than a century.   In the U.S., a few places in the West have access to geothermal energy, and […]
17/10/20232 minutes
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Pollution From Tires | Earth Wise

A few years ago, researchers investigating massive deaths of coho salmon in West Coast streams discovered that the water contained particles from vehicle tires.  The cause of the fish mortality turned out to be a chemical called 6PPD that is added to tires to prevent cracking and degradation.  The mystery was solved, but so far, […]
16/10/20232 minutes
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The Hottest Summer | Earth Wise

It was a very rainy and relatively cool summer in much of New England as well as in New York’s Capital Region, where Earth Wise originates.  Despite that fact, according to NASA scientists, the summer of 2023 was the Earth’s hottest since global record keeping began in 1880. The months of June, July, and August […]
13/10/20232 minutes
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A Huge American Lithium Discovery | Earth Wise

Human history has often been described in terms of a succession of metal ages:  the copper age, the bronze age, and the iron age.  In many ways, we have now entered the lithium age.  The light metal goes into the batteries that power smartphones, electric vehicles, and massive storage banks for the power grid.  Lithium […]
12/10/20232 minutes
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Rivers And Climate Change | Earth Wise

Our planet is heating up.  Scientists have concluded that the changing climate is primarily the result of increased greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.  Some of the effects of global climate change include thawing permafrost, rising seas, intensifying storms and wildfires, and warming oceans.    According to a new study led by researchers from Penn State […]
11/10/20232 minutes
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Storing Energy In Abandoned Mines | Earth Wise

An international study led by researchers from Austria has developed a novel way to store energy by transporting sand into abandoned underground mines.  The technique is called Underground Gravity Energy Storage or UGES. As the world deploys growing amounts of wind and solar energy, it is increasingly important to find ways to accessibly and efficiently […]
10/10/20232 minutes
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Glacier Loss Day | Earth Wise

Glaciers are sensitive indicators of climate change that respond to changes in both temperature and precipitation.  But they are not only affected by climate change, they also affect climate change.  As glaciers melt, they contribute to sea level rise, alter regional hydrology, and influence the global energy balance. A group of glacier experts from the […]
09/10/20232 minutes
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Finding Homes For Rhinos | Earth Wise

Northern White Rhinos are virtually extinct; only two female individuals survive in Kenya.  Southern White Rhinos also nearly vanished early in the 20th century, mostly because of excessive hunting.   A surviving group of fewer than 100 animals was identified in South Africa, and ongoing conservation efforts led to the existing population of southern white rhinos, […]
06/10/20232 minutes
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Billion-Dollar Disasters | Earth Wise

By the end of August, the United States had already broken the one-year record for the number of weather and climate disasters that caused more than $1 billion in damage. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, through August there had already been 23 billion-dollar disasters.  The previous record of 22 had been set […]
05/10/20232 minutes
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Paper Cups Are Not So Great | Earth Wise

The environmental cost of plastic waste is a highly visible global issue.  The response has been a growing effort to replace plastic items with alternative materials.  One very visible change of this sort has been the replacement of plastic cups with paper cups at coffee shops.  But a new study at the University of Gothenburg […]
04/10/20232 minutes
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Cryopreserving Corals | Earth Wise

Recent climate models estimate that if the effects of climate change are not mitigated soon enough, 95% of the world’s corals could die by the mid 2030s.  Given the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions, this is an increasingly likely outcome.  Coral reefs are estimated to have a $10 trillion economic value apart from their […]
03/10/20232 minutes
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Lithium In The Salton Sea | Earth Wise

The Salton Sea is a shallow, landlocked, extremely salty body of water in the southern end of California.  It was formed from an inflow of water from the Colorado River in 1905 in the aftermath of a collapse of a canal during spring floods.  At one time, it was a thriving tourist destination and site […]
02/10/20232 minutes
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Recycling Solar Panels | Earth Wise

Solar panels generally have a useful life of around 20 to 25 years.  The great majority of deployed panels have been installed fairly recently, so they have a long way to go.  But the growth in solar technology dates back to the 1990s, so there are growing number of panels that have already or are […]
29/09/20232 minutes
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Wealth And Greenhouse Gas Emissions | Earth Wise

A new study led by researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst has found that the wealthiest 10% of Americans are responsible for a staggering 40% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The study, which was recently published in the journal PLOS Climate, is the first to link income, especially income derived from financial investments, […]
28/09/20232 minutes
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The Cost Of Invasive Species | Earth Wise

According to a new report published by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for the United Nations, invasive species introduced to new ecosystems around the world are causing more than $423 billion in estimated losses to the global economy every year.  These economic costs are incurred by harming nature, damaging food systems, […]
27/09/20232 minutes
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Lampshades And Indoor Air Pollution | Earth Wise

We mostly think of air pollution as an outdoor problem.  Common sources of air pollution include emissions from vehicles, byproducts of manufacturing and power generation, and smoke from wildfires.  What we don’t often spend a lot of time thinking about is indoor air quality.  Indoor air pollution refers to harmful pollutants within buildings and structures, […]
26/09/20232 minutes
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The Captive Lion Problem | Earth Wise

In the 1990s, there was rapid growth in South Africa of the private wildlife industry.  Large numbers of cattle, sheep, and goat ranchers replaced their domestic livestock with wild animals that wealthy hunters would pay lots of money to shoot.  Lions were among the most prized targets for these people.  Over time, hundreds of ranchers […]
25/09/20232 minutes
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A Groundwater Crisis | Earth Wise

The majority of U.S. drinking water systems rely on groundwater, as do America’s farms.  Even though groundwater is a crucial resource for the country, there is no central oversight or even monitoring of its status across the country.  The health of the country’s aquifers is difficult to gauge. The New York Times spent months amassing […]
22/09/20232 minutes
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Too Many Bison | Earth Wise

In the northern part of Yellowstone National Park, an historically large bison herd is hampering the comeback of quaking aspen trees, whose numbers were greatly diminished by decades of over-browsing by elk.  Restoring the balance of ecosystems at Yellowstone is proving to be a complicated matter. Long ago, the bison population in the Great Plains […]
21/09/20232 minutes
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Deadly Heatwaves On The Rise | Earth Wise

The European heatwave in the summer of 2003 resulted in at least 30,000 deaths with more than 14,000 in France alone. At the time, such a heatwave was considered to be a once-in-a-hundred-year event. But the warming climate is dramatically changing the odds for deadly heatwaves. A new study by the ETH Institute in Zurich has […]
20/09/20232 minutes
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Grid-Scale Gravity Energy Storage | Earth Wise

As wind and solar energy play a growing part in our energy system, the need for grid-scale energy storage is growing as well.  An historic form of energy storage and still the largest in installed capacity is pumped hydro storage, which makes use of the potential energy contained in having water sitting at a higher […]
19/09/20232 minutes
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Trouble For Emperor Penguins | Earth Wise

Emperor penguins are the tallest and heaviest of all living penguin species.  The loss of sea ice in Antarctica last year has led to unprecedented breeding failure in some emperor penguin colonies. In a study published by the British Antarctic Survey, researchers found that no chicks survived from four of the five known emperor penguin […]
18/09/20232 minutes
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Aphids And Monarchs | Earth Wise

Last year, the monarch butterfly was officially designated as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Estimates are that the overall population of the species has dropped between 20% and 90% over the past several decades.  The migratory western population of monarchs is at the greatest risk of extinction, having declined by as […]
15/09/20232 minutes
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Better Plastic Recycling | Earth Wise

Many of us are careful to put our plastic trash into the appropriate recycling bins hoping that we are helping to stem the global tide of plastic waste.  But many plastics are not recyclable at all and recycling those that are is not even always a good thing.  Breaking down plastics can generate polluting microplastics […]
14/09/20232 minutes
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More Offshore Wind Proposed For New Jersey | Earth Wise

There have been three offshore wind projects previously approved by utility regulators in New Jersey.  New Jersey is vying to become an East Coast leader in the fast-growing offshore wind industry and now developers have proposed four new projects off the New Jersey Shore. Two of the projects would be located far out to sea […]
13/09/20232 minutes
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Top Fish Predators And Climate Change | Earth Wise

Climate change is taking its toll on forests, farms, freshwater sources, and the economy, but ocean ecosystems remain the epicenter of global warming.  In fact, oceans have absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat from greenhouse gas emissions since the 1970s. As a result, many marine fish species are responding to ocean warming by […]
12/09/20232 minutes
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Lakes Are Shrinking | Earth Wise

A study by the University of Colorado Boulder has found that more than half of the world’s largest lakes have shrunk over the last three decades.  This is a very big problem because about one-quarter of the Earth’s population lives in the basin of a drying lake.  People depend on lakes for drinking water and […]
11/09/20232 minutes
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Planting Rocks To Capture Carbon | Earth Wise

Getting humanity to stop dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere continues to be very challenging regardless of how increasingly apparent the need to do so becomes.  For this reason, climate change mitigation strategies increasingly include interventions in the form of removing carbon dioxide that is already there.  There are a variety of ways to draw […]
08/09/20232 minutes
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Air Pollution And Insects | Earth Wise

Insects can be found in every environment on Earth and play critical roles in the planet’s ecosystems.  Insects pollinate more than 80% of plants, including those that we eat and those that provide food and habitat for other species.  Without insects, we wouldn’t have the rich biodiversity that supports life on earth today. But the […]
07/09/20232 minutes
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Saving Florida’s Corals | Earth Wise

When corals are exposed to extended periods of excess heat, they are subject to bleaching, which occurs when they expel the algae that live within their structure.  Bleaching can lead to coral death. This summer, temperatures in the Florida Keys crossed the bleaching threshold in mid-June and remained above it for extended periods of time.  […]
06/09/20232 minutes
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Protecting The Amazon Rainforest | Earth Wise

The Amazon rainforest absorbs one-fourth of all the carbon dioxide absorbed by the land of the Earth.  It is by far the world’s largest rainforest, bigger than the next two largest – in the Congo Basin and Indonesia – combined.  Nearly two-thirds of it is found in Brazil but the more than 2 million square […]
05/09/20232 minutes
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Why Was the Summer So Hot? | Earth Wise

Many places around the world have experienced extraordinary heat waves this summer.  The 31 days of high temperatures 110 degrees or more in Phoenix is a prime example but many other places suffered from extreme and relentless heat.  Why did this happen? The overarching reason is climate change, which has warmed the Earth by 2.2 […]
04/09/20232 minutes
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Aluminum In Batteries | Earth Wise

Batteries are playing a bigger and bigger role in our lives.  Apart from their use in ubiquitous smartphones, laptops, and other devices, millions of electric vehicles are hitting the roads, and utilities are installing giant banks of batteries to store energy generated by wind and solar farms. The necessary characteristics of batteries are high energy […]
01/09/20232 minutes
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Endangered Plants And The Changing Climate | Earth Wise

Plants are a critical resource because of the countless ways they support life on Earth. Plants release oxygen into the atmosphere, absorb carbon dioxide, and provide food and habitat for humans and wildlife.  Plants are also used to produce fibers, building materials, and medicines.  Plants form the backbone of natural ecosystems, and absorb about 30% […]
31/08/20232 minutes
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Missing Antarctic Sea Ice | Earth Wise

It is summer here in the United States, but it is winter in Antarctica.  Antarctic sea ice is water that forms and melts entirely in the ocean and it has a pattern of growth and reduction that has been monitored by satellites for the past 44 years.  The area of sea ice that surrounds the […]
30/08/20232 minutes
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Electric Steel Furnaces | Earth Wise

Steel was first made thousands of years ago.  The discovery that heating up iron ore in a hot enough charcoal fire could purify the iron into a strong and valuable material was the start of the Iron Age.  In many ways, things have changed very little since then. Global iron and steel production accounts for […]
29/08/20232 minutes
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Plastic In Lakes | Earth Wise

We are always talking about the millions of tons of waste plastic that finds its way into the oceans and about the challenges of trying to remove it.  A new multinational study has found that the concentration of plastics and microplastics in some lakes is even worse than in the so-called garbage patches in the […]
28/08/20232 minutes
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Solar Panels On Canals | Earth Wise

There has been growing interest in installing solar panels on top of reservoirs to make use of the available space to make electricity and reduce evaporation.  There has been far less interest in installing solar on canals and aqueducts.  But that is changing and a new project in California is part of that change. A […]
25/08/20232 minutes
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The Climate Impact Of Diets | Earth Wise

The food system is responsible for 70% of the world’s freshwater use and almost 80% of freshwater pollution.  About three-quarters of the ice-free land area of the planet has been affected by human use, primarily for agriculture.  Land-use change such as deforestation is a major source of biodiversity loss.  What we choose to eat has […]
24/08/20232 minutes
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Upcycling Plastic Waste | Earth Wise

People have generated 8 billion tons of plastic waste over time and less than 10% of it has been recycled.  Millions of tons of it escapes into the oceans.  Plastic piles up virtually everywhere on earth. There are many approaches to dealing with the plastic waste problem and no one of them is a magic […]
23/08/20232 minutes
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Biosurfactants And Oil Spills | Earth Wise

About 400 million gallons of oil leaks into the ocean every year.  This is a major source of environmental pollution.  Oil contains many hazardous compounds that are toxic or mutagenic for marine organisms.  When oil spill incidents occur, large quantities of chemical dispersants, sometimes as much as millions of gallons, are applied to dissolve oil […]
22/08/20232 minutes
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Methane Emissions And The Paris Agreement | Earth Wise

The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change adopted at the UN Climate Change Conference in 2015.  Its goal is to strengthen the global response to climate change by committing to limit the rise in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and pursue efforts to limit that […]
21/08/20232 minutes
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Beaver Believers | Earth Wise

Beavers are ecosystem engineers based on their ability to construct dams and create ponds.  By doing so, they create wetland habitat for other species.  They create biodiversity by allowing plant species to emerge in new places as they clear out existing trees and other plants.  Beavers improve water quality and their dams store water during […]
18/08/20232 minutes
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Marine Heat Waves | Earth Wise

In late July, the ocean temperature measured in Florida Bay, between the southern end of the Florida mainland and the Florida Keys, was 101.1 degrees Fahrenheit, a possible world record for sea surface temperature.  There is no official record keeping for ocean temperatures, but the highest previous reading ever reported was 99.7 degrees in the […]
17/08/20232 minutes
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Floating Solar And Hydropower | Earth Wise

Installing solar panels on the surface of reservoirs is an up-and-coming trend.  The arrays of solar panels produce renewable energy while at the same time shielding significant expanses of water from the sun’s heat, thereby reducing evaporation.  The panels also help to inhibit the growth of algae. Two recent floating solar installations are demonstrating the […]
16/08/20232 minutes
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Phoenix Is Frying | Earth Wise

The mythical Phoenix is a bird that repeatedly dies in a fire of its own making.  During July, the five million inhabitants of greater Phoenix Arizona may have felt like they were reliving that myth as multiple temperature records were shattered in a massive heatwave. On June 30, the high temperature in Phoenix was 110 […]
15/08/20232 minutes
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Cleaner And Greener Steel | Earth Wise

Producing construction materials like concrete and steel is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.  Between 7 and 8% of emissions are due to steelmaking alone, which has been done pretty much the same way for more than a century. Iron ore is smelted with high-carbon fuel and is turned into so-called pig iron in […]
14/08/20232 minutes
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Harvesting Water From The Air | Earth Wise

Engineers at MIT have created a superabsorbent material that can soak up significant amounts of moisture from the air, even in desert-like conditions. The material is a transparent, rubbery substance made from hydrogel, which is a naturally absorbent material that is already widely used in disposable diapers.  The MIT researchers enhanced the absorbency of hydrogel […]
11/08/20232 minutes
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Cutting Deforestation | Earth Wise

Deforestation is a major contributor to climate change because the destruction of tropical rainforests worldwide eliminates a crucial natural sink for carbon.  Between 2015 and 2020, roughly 39,000 square miles of forest were cut down, an area about 70% the size of the entire state of New York.  In many places, such as the Amazon […]
10/08/20232 minutes
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Global Aquaculture And Environmental Change | Earth Wise

Blue foods are fish, invertebrates, algae, and aquatic plants that are captured or cultured in freshwater and marine ecosystems.  They include approximately 2,200 species of fish, shellfish, plants and algae as well as more than 500 species farmed in freshwater.  Blue foods play a central role in food and nutrition security for billions of people, […]
09/08/20232 minutes
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Solar Power And Water | Earth Wise

Solar power is a prime example of clean energy, but it does not come without complications and potential problems.  One problem that has arisen in the Californian desert is the effect on scarce water supplies.  Solar farms don’t use up water when they are operating but they consume it when they are being built. One […]
08/08/20232 minutes
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The Value Of Seagrass | Earth Wise

Seagrasses are found in shallow salty and brackish waters in many places around the world, from the tropics to the Arctic Circle.  They get their name from their long green, grass-like leaves.  They are not seaweeds at all but are more closely related to flowering plants on land.  We hear a lot about threatened ocean […]
07/08/20232 minutes
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How To Support Pollinators | Earth Wise

Pollinators of all sorts have been in decline for a while.  This is especially true of bees, bats, and monarch butterflies.  Without pollinators, fruits, vegetables, and other plants cannot provide their contributions to our food supply.  According to experts, about 30% of the food that ends up on our tables gets there because of pollinators. […]
04/08/20232 minutes
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Wind And Solar Pass Coal | Earth Wise

For the first five months of this year, wind and solar generated more electricity than coal in the United States.  This is a first.  Total renewable energy generation exceeded coal-fired power in both 2020 and 2022, but that counted hydroelectric power as one of the renewable sources. This year, wind and solar alone generated a […]
03/08/20232 minutes
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Cryo Conservation | Earth Wise

Recent studies have shown that there has been a 69% decline in global animal populations since 1970.  There is a biodiversity crisis in the world.  In the face of this situation, there is a growing interest in using cold storage to preserve genetic samples taken from animals threatened with extinction. Just as egg-freezing is used […]
02/08/20232 minutes
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Shrinking Glaciers And Methane | Earth Wise

The Arctic region is warming much faster than the rest of the planet.  In fact, according to a study published last year in the journal Nature, the Arctic has been warming nearly four times faster than the rest of the globe during the last 43 years.  This rapid warming is leading to substantial reductions in […]
01/08/20232 minutes
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An Electric Cruise Ship | Earth Wise

The shipping industry accounts for about 3% of global manmade greenhouse gas emissions.  In 2018, the International Maritime Organization, the UN body that regulates global shipping, set a target to cut the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least half by 2050. This goal has led to a variety of designs for eco-friendly ships, including […]
31/07/20232 minutes
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Renewables In China | Earth Wise

A couple of years ago, China set an ambitious goal for renewable energy capacity – which includes wind, solar, hydroelectric, and nuclear power – for it to exceed fossil fuel capacity by 2025.  According to a recent report by Reuters, China has hit this goal two years ahead of schedule.  Renewables now make up 50.9% […]
28/07/20232 minutes
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The World’s Hottest Day | Earth Wise

Early in July – for four days in a row – the average global temperature was the highest ever recorded.  As many places around the world endured dangerous heatwaves, the average global temperature on the fourth of July reached 62.92 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest ever recorded by human-made instruments.  On July 6th, the global temperature […]
27/07/20232 minutes
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Fungus And Carbon Storage | Earth Wise

It is well-known that plants and trees store enormous amounts of carbon.  What has not been common knowledge is that the vast underground network of fungi across the world’s lands stores billions of tons carbon, roughly equivalent to 36% of yearly global fossil fuel emissions. These mycorrhizal fungi form symbiotic relationships with almost all land […]
26/07/20232 minutes
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Electric Motors For Aviation | Earth Wise

Aviation contributes about 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions.  Its carbon footprint is one of the more difficult ones to reduce.  Electrifying planes would shrink that footprint considerably, but it represents a significant technical challenge.  To date, only small all-electric planes have gotten off the ground.  The electric motors in those planes generate hundreds of […]
25/07/20232 minutes
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Decontaminating Drinking Water | Earth Wise

At least two billion people around the world often drink water that is contaminated with disease-causing microbes.  Waterborne diseases are responsible for two million deaths each year, mostly among children under the age of five. There are various ways to decontaminate water, including chemicals that can themselves produce toxic byproducts as well as using ultraviolet […]
24/07/20232 minutes
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Greenhouse Gas Emissions Are Still Increasing | Earth Wise

Recent research has found that the level of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity has reached an all-time high level of nearly 60 billion tons a year.  Despite increasing public attention, policy measures, and adoption of green technologies, the pace at which these changes have been taking place has simply not kept up with the […]
21/07/20232 minutes
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A Below-Average Dead Zone In The Gulf of Mexico | Earth Wise

The Gulf of Mexico dead zone, or hypoxic area, is an area of low oxygen content that can kill fish and other marine life.  It occurs every summer and is mostly a result of excess nutrient pollution from human activities in cities and farms throughout the Mississippi River watershed.  The nutrients carried by the river […]
20/07/20232 minutes
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A Big Year For Rooftop Solar | Earth Wise

The global capacity of rooftop solar power grew by 49% in 2022.  Overall, the installed amount of rooftop solar grew from 79 gigawatts to 118 gigawatts last year and it is projected to reach 159 gigawatts by the end of this year.  By comparison, a typical nuclear power plant can produce 1 gigawatt; a gas-powered […]
19/07/20232 minutes
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Moss And Carbon Storage | Earth Wise

All plants, including algae and cyanobacteria, carry out photosynthesis. During the process of photosynthesis, plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen to the air.  As a result, plants play a crucial role in the fight against climate change.  According to a new study recently published in the journal Nature Geoscience, mosses – […]
18/07/20232 minutes
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Water For Arizona | Earth Wise

The Phoenix area is the fastest growing region in the country.  Arizona’s two major sources of water – groundwater and the Colorado River – are dwindling from drought, climate change, and overuse.  Officials in the state are considering a radical plan to construct a desalination plant off the Mexican coast that will take the salt […]
17/07/20232 minutes
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Saving Our Soil | Earth Wise

The majority of food we eat is grown in topsoil, that carbon-rich, black soil that nurtures everything from carrots to watermelons.  The fertility of this soil has developed over eons.     But over the past 160 years, the Midwestern United States has lost 63.4 billion tons of topsoil due to farming practices.  In fact, Midwestern topsoil […]
14/07/20232 minutes
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Europe Is Warming Very Quickly | Earth Wise

According to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization, Europe is warming faster than any other inhabited continent.  The result of the rising temperatures has been increasingly severe heat waves, flood, and wildfires. The Paris Climate Agreement has set a goal of limiting warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels […]
13/07/20232 minutes
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Rain Gardens And Residential Pollution | Earth Wise

Stormwater runoff has become the largest source of residential pollution for waterways.  As rainwater runs down roofs, over driveways and patios, and off other hard surfaces, it can pick up pollutants as it flows directly into streams, wetlands, lakes, and groundwater aquifers.  That water is typically routed directly through stormwater pipes and ditches with little […]
12/07/20232 minutes
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Orcas Versus Boats | Earth Wise

Over the past three years, orcas (also known as killer whales) have been attacking boats off the coasts of Portugal and Spain.  The subpopulation of orcas in this region has been harassing boats, most often by biting at their rudders. There have been over 500 reported instances of orcas reacting to boats.  Sometimes they simply […]
11/07/20232 minutes
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Electric Cars And Apartments | Earth Wise

The transition to electric cars is underway.  People are increasingly buying them, carmakers are switching over to making them, and governments are providing incentives as well as legislating the changeover.  More and more consumers want to lower their carbon footprints and stop burning fossil fuels.  But one very large group of consumers faces an uphill […]
10/07/20232 minutes
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Big Oil And Big Lithium | Earth Wise

The world’s big oil companies have worked pretty hard to prolong society’s dependence on petroleum.  When there are trillions of dollars at stake, there is plenty of motivation.  But those companies do see the writing on the wall. An Exxon Mobil-funded study last year estimated that light-duty vehicle demand for combustion engine fuels could peak […]
07/07/20232 minutes
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Liquid Fuel From Sunshine | Earth Wise

A key goal of artificial photosynthesis research is to be able to produce a useful liquid fuel using only carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight in a single step.  Such a so-called solar fuel would produce net zero carbon emissions and would be completely renewable. Bioethanol has long been touted as a green alternative to fossil […]
06/07/20232 minutes
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Keeping The Colorado River Flowing | Earth Wise

The Colorado River supplies drinking water to 40 million Americans in seven states as well as to many Mexicans and provides irrigation to 5.5 million acres of farmland.  Electricity generated by dams on the Colorado powers millions of homes and businesses in the West. A combination of drought, population growth, and climate change has reduced […]
05/07/20232 minutes
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Airplane Turbulence And Climate Change | Earth Wise

If you’ve ever been on an airplane, chances are pretty good that you’ve experienced turbulence.  As the busy summer travel season kicks off, travelers are being encouraged to brace themselves for a bumpier-than-usual ride.  There has been a major increase in the number of severe turbulence cases on both domestic and international flights.  According to […]
04/07/20232 minutes
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An Unwanted Temperature Threshold Is Approaching | Earth Wise

According to the World Meteorological Organization, there is a 66% chance over the next five years that the Earth’s global temperature will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels for at least one year. A combination of the continued accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere along with a looming El Niño condition will contribute […]
03/07/20232 minutes
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Fewer Farms In The World | Earth Wise

A new study by the University of Colorado Boulder looked at the trends in the number and size of farms around the world starting from the 1960s and projecting through the end of the 21st century. The analysis shows that the number of farms globally will shrink in half while the size of the average […]
30/06/20232 minutes
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New York Is Sinking | Earth Wise

The rising seas represent a threat to coastal cities across the globe.  Increasing that threat is the fact that most global cities are slowly sinking as the earth beneath them settles and groundwater is removed.   Another factor that has seldom been considered is that in major metropolises, the weight of large, concrete-and-steel skyscrapers may be […]
29/06/20232 minutes
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Nantucket Residents Still Fighting Offshore Wind | Earth Wise

Offshore wind in the US has had to fight to exist for a long time.  The Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound off the coast of Cape Cod was envisioned over 20 years ago as a 1.5-gigawatt wind farm.  Years of legal battles and other controversies saw the project start and stop multiple times with […]
28/06/20232 minutes
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Large Lakes In Decline | Earth Wise

Globally, freshwater lakes and reservoirs hold 87% of the planet’s liquid freshwater, making them a valuable resource for both people and wildlife.  Despite their value, the long-term trends and changes to water levels of lakes have been largely unknown – until now. According to a new assessment recently published in the journal Science, more than […]
27/06/20232 minutes
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The Upper Atmosphere Is Cooling | Earth Wise

The part of the atmosphere closest to the Earth’s surface has been warming since the Industrial Revolution.  This warming is associated with increasing amounts of carbon dioxide as well as other human-made chemicals that have been changing the makeup of the atmosphere. Climate change is generally thought about in terms of the lowest regions of […]
26/06/20232 minutes
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Ocean Oxygen Levels And The Future Of Fish | Earth Wise

Climate change is creating a cascade of effects in the world’s oceans.  Not only are ocean temperatures on the rise, but oceans are becoming more acidic, and oxygen deprived.  The warming temperatures and acidification have grabbed headlines and prompted academic research. Declining oxygen levels have not garnered as much attention.  But they spell bad news […]
23/06/20232 minutes
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Climate Change And Species Tipping Points | Earth Wise

In climate science, tipping points are critical thresholds that, once crossed, lead to large and often irreversible changes in the climate system. For example, surpassing a 1.5 degree C rise in global warming has long been considered a tipping point for the planet.  According to a new study led by researchers from University College London, […]
22/06/20232 minutes
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El Niño Will Likely Return | Earth Wise

El Niño, a weather phenomenon triggered by warm waters in the eastern Pacific, is likely to return this year, according to the World Meteorological Organization.  The Pacific has been in the cooler La Niña phase for the past 3 years, which is unusual, but that appears to be coming to a close.  According to the […]
21/06/20232 minutes
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Energy From Fruit Waste | Earth Wise

In the Back to the Future films, Doc Brown ran his DeLorean time machine on food scraps.  It was a fun bit of science fiction.  But researchers at the University of British Columbia Okanagan in Canada are investigating the potential for using food waste to generate power. Food waste is not a candidate to replace […]
20/06/20232 minutes
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Chatbots Are Thirsty | Earth Wise

We hear a lot about artificial intelligence these days.  ChatGPT has found its way into education, technology, and many other aspects of life.  It and its brethren are a source of fascination, enthusiasm, and even fear.  Many of us have given queries to the bot to see what kind of results we can obtain.  But […]
19/06/20232 minutes
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Why Are Insect Populations Declining? | Earth Wise

The world is experiencing a decline in overall insect populations as well as a collapse in insect diversity.  A recent special issue of the journal Biology Letters discusses the major causes of this alarming trend. According to the study, the primary causes of the worldwide decline in insect biomass are land-use intensification in the form […]
16/06/20232 minutes
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Offshore Wind In Maine | Earth Wise

There are currently only two small offshore wind farms operating in the United States, but there are now several more under construction or in the permitting process.  Substantial wind farms are expected to come online over the next five years off the coasts of Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts. North Carolina, Delaware, Rhode Island, and New […]
15/06/20232 minutes
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Reducing Cattle-Driven Deforestation | Earth Wise

The Amazon rainforest is the biggest rainforest in the world, larger than the next two biggest combined.  It covers more than three million square miles, roughly the size of the lower 48 states.  The Amazon functions as a critical sink for carbon in the atmosphere. However, human activity has removed more than 10% of the […]
14/06/20232 minutes
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Chasing The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker | Earth Wise

The ivory-billed woodpecker is or was the largest woodpecker in the United States. The last unassailable sighting of the bird was in 1944.  Since then, there have various reports of glimpses of the bird or of hearing its distinctive sounds.  But there has not been anything resembling proof that the bird still exists. Despite this, […]
13/06/20232 minutes
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Electric Cars In Norway | Earth Wise

We are at a relatively early stage of the electric car revolution.  EV sales are increasing rapidly, but they still comprise only a small fraction of the cars on American roads.  So, there is still lots of speculation and argument about how things will actually work when a large fraction of cars are electric.  But […]
12/06/20232 minutes
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Can All Plant Species Survive? | Earth Wise 

Many animal populations around the world are struggling and people are mostly to blame.  Species are declining because of all sorts of things including changes in land and sea use, pollution, invasive species, and climate change. Like many animal species, plants are also struggling to adapt to a human-dominated world.  Plants provide the planet with […]
09/06/20232 minutes
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 Restoring Biocrusts | Earth Wise

Biocrusts are complex ecosystems that form a thin layer on the surface of soils in arid and semiarid environments.  They are composed of variety of microbes including cyanobacteria, green algae, fungi, lichens, and mosses.  Biocrusts play a crucial role in maintaining soil health and ecosystem sustainability. Biocrusts are under assault from human activities including agriculture, […]
08/06/20232 minutes
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Abandoned Oil Wells In The Gulf Of Mexico | Earth Wise

There have been offshore oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico for 85 years.  After all those decades of drilling, there are now more than 14,000 old, unplugged wells out in the water, and they are at risk of springing dangerous leaks and spills.  There are now more unplugged, non-producing wells than active wells in […]
07/06/20232 minutes
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Carbon-Negative Concrete | Earth Wise

Concrete is a mainstay of modern civilization.  The world produces more than 4 billion tons of it each year and the process requires high temperatures, mostly obtained by burning fossil fuels.  The chemical reactions that produce concrete also produce large amounts of carbon dioxide.  In all, cement production is responsible for about 8% of total […]
06/06/20232 minutes
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Shrinking Birds | Earth Wise

A new study by researchers at Yale University looks at the way bird morphology is changing in response to the warming climate.  As temperatures rise, birds’ bodies are growing smaller, but their wings are growing longer. In the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists analyzed two independently collected […]
05/06/20232 minutes
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A New Deep-Sea Reef In The Galapagos | Earth Wise

Like in many other places around the world, ocean warming has mostly destroyed the shallow-water reefs in the Galapagos Islands.  The islands are some of the most carefully protected places in the world, but they can’t escape the effects of a warming planet. Recently, however, scientists have discovered a healthy, sprawling coral reef hidden deep […]
02/06/20232 minutes
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Wildfire Smoke And Global Weather | Earth Wise

In 2019 and 2020, wildfires burned 72,000 square miles in Australia, roughly the same area as the entire country of Syria. During the nine months when the fires raged, persistent and widespread plumes of smoke filled the atmosphere. These aerosols brightened a vast area of clouds above the subtropical Pacific Ocean.  Beneath these clouds, the […]
01/06/20232 minutes
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Removing Carbon Dioxide Won’t Get the Job Done | Earth Wise

Limiting global warming to no more than 1.5-2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is a crucial goal for humankind.  Countries, companies, and other organizations around the world have committed to achieving ‘net zero’ emissions.  This is distinct from zero emissions in that it includes removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to offset the amounts we […]
31/05/20232 minutes
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Record Polar Ice Melting | Earth Wise

Sea levels are rising and ocean warming is responsible for the bulk of that rise.  As water heats up, it expands, which drives up sea levels.  But on top of that, global warming is melting the polar ice sheets, and that is leading to about a quarter of the world’s sea level rise. So far, […]
30/05/20232 minutes
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Methane And Wildfires | Earth Wise

Methane is a colorless and odorless gas that occurs abundantly in nature and is also a product of certain human activities.  It’s also a potent greenhouse gas, meaning it affects climate change by contributing to increased warming.  In fact, methane gas is known to warm the planet 86 times more effectively than carbon dioxide over […]
29/05/20232 minutes
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Plastic Eating Fungus | Earth Wise

More than five billion tons of plastic have accumulated on land and sea including the most remote regions of the planet as well as in the bodies of animals and humans.  There is a compelling need to recycle as much plastic as possible but doing so is a major challenge. Plastic comes in many varieties […]
26/05/20232 minutes
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Explosive Growth Of Electric Vehicles | Earth Wise

Not long ago, electric cars were a rarity.  Ten years ago, annual global sales of EVs were only a few hundred thousand.  As of today, globally, still less than one percent of all the cars on the road are electric.  But that is changing rapidly. In fact, electric vehicles are expected to capture nearly 20% […]
25/05/20232 minutes
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Life In The Garbage Patch | Earth Wise

A team of scientists has found thriving communities of coastal creatures living thousands of miles from their original homes and now ensconced on plastic debris in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  A new study published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution reports that dozens of species of coastal invertebrate organisms – including tiny crabs […]
23/05/20232 minutes
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Geothermal Energy Storage | Earth Wise

About 12% of the energy consumed by humanity is used to heat and cool homes and businesses.  A study by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Princeton University looked at a novel approach to making use of underground water to maintain comfortable temperatures and reduce consumption of natural gas and electricity. The idea is […]
22/05/20232 minutes
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Rare Earths And The Energy Transition | Earth Wise

Limiting the rise in global temperature to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius requires decarbonization.  This means slashing fossil fuel use, switching to renewable energy sources, and electrifying as many sectors of the economy as possible.  Doing these things requires huge numbers of wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles, and storage batteries.   All of them […]
19/05/20232 minutes
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Arctic Warming And Weather At Mid-Latitudes | Earth Wise

Some of the most striking images of climate change are those of melting glaciers in the Arctic and polar bears stranded on shrinking sea ice. The Arctic has been warming at a rate twice as fast as the global average.  In recent years, there has been growing recognition of the Arctic’s role in driving extreme […]
18/05/20232 minutes
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Better Zinc Batteries | Earth Wise

The rapid growth of wind and solar power continues to drive a global quest for new battery technologies that can be used to store the energy generated by these sources when the sun isn’t shining, and the wind isn’t blowing. For the most part, current battery energy storage systems use lithium-ion batteries – the same […]
17/05/20232 minutes
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Major League Baseball And Climate Change | Earth Wise

Major League Baseball is one of the most historic professional sports leagues in the United States and represents the highest level of professional baseball.  Throughout its history, MLB has endured many changes to rules, equipment, and strategy.  As a result of these changes, the league has been segmented into several distinct eras, including the dead […]
16/05/20232 minutes
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Here Come The Lanternflies | Earth Wise

The spotted lanternfly is an invasive pest from Asia that primarily feeds on tree of heaven, which is itself an invasive species that has become widespread.  The real problem is that the lanternfly can also feed on some 70 other plants such as grapevines, maples, fruit trees, and more. The lanternfly was first discovered in […]
15/05/20232 minutes
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Banning Gas-Powered Cars | Earth Wise

The European Union has banned the sale of new gas-powered cars starting in 2035.  The vote came after weeks of negotiations related to possible exemptions to the rule. Germany lobbied for an exemption to be made for cars powered by e-fuels.  These are made by combining hydrogen with carbon dioxide that has been removed from […]
12/05/20232 minutes
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Storing Carbon Dioxide In The Ocean | Earth Wise

Reducing the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere means either shutting down emission sources (primarily curbing the use of fossil fuels) or capturing the CO2 as it is emitted.  Capturing carbon dioxide from smokestacks and other point sources with high concentrations is relatively efficient and can make economic sense.  Removing it from the air, […]
11/05/20232 minutes
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Two Lost Lakes Return To California | Earth Wise

The recent siege of powerful storms in California driven by a series of atmospheric rivers has had a significant effect on the severe drought that has plagued most of the state for many years.  Many of the state’s reservoirs are at the highest level they have been for decades.   The snowpack in the Sierras is […]
10/05/20232 minutes
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Plants Make Sounds | Earth Wise

Some people talk to their plants.  It is highly unlikely that the plants are listening, but recent research has found that plants are doing quite a bit of talking of their own. It turns out that plant emit a variety of click-like sounds, especially when they are stressed in some way, such as being dehydrated […]
09/05/20232 minutes
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Concrete And Carbon | Earth Wise

After water, concrete is the world’s second most consumed material.  It is the cornerstone of modern infrastructure.  Its production accounts for 8% of global carbon dioxide emissions.  The carbon dioxide is a result of chemical reactions in its manufacture and from the energy required to fuel the reactions. About half of the emissions associated with […]
08/05/20232 minutes
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Salt Marshes And Climate Change | Earth Wise

Salt marshes are coastal wetlands that are flooded and drained by salt water brought in and out by the tides. These low-lying wetlands are also sometimes called tidal marshes because they occur in the zone between low and high tides. These wetlands are some of the most biologically productive ecosystems on Earth. Cape Cod’s beautiful […]
05/05/20232 minutes
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Minimizing The Impact Of EVs On The Grid | Earth Wise

Two current trends are the increasing reliance on renewable sources in the electric grid and the increasing use of electric vehicles.  According to some projections, these trends could lead to the need for costly new power plants to meet peak loads in the evening when cars are plugged in to charge.  Overproduction of power from […]
04/05/20232 minutes
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Caterpillars And Light Pollution | Earth Wise

Most of us are familiar with air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, and even noise pollution.  But it turns out that light can be a pollutant as well, and it’s a consequence of industrial civilization.  In fact, nighttime light pollution now covers approximately 23% of the globe and over 80% of inhabited regions.  Light pollution […]
03/05/20232 minutes
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Ocean-based Climate Intervention And Deep-sea Ecosystems | Earth Wise

Deep-sea ecosystems cover more than 40% of the Earth.  These regions are some of the least well-known and understood areas of our planet but are home to numerous ecosystems.  The deep seas are already directly exposed to the effects of human-induced climate change but could potentially be greatly threatened by efforts to artificially counteract climate […]
02/05/20232 minutes
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Falling Lithium Prices | Earth Wise

Lithium, the key element in the batteries that power electric cars, as well as smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers, is sometimes called white gold.  Over time, the price of the metal has gone up and up.  But recently, and surprisingly, the price of lithium has actually gone down, helping to make electric vehicles more affordable. […]
01/05/20232 minutes
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Seaweed On The Way | Earth Wise

A type of seaweed called sargassum has long formed large blooms in the Atlantic Ocean.  It gets its name from the Sargasso Sea in the western Atlantic.  Since 2011, scientists have been tracking massive accumulations of the stuff each year that starts out off the coast of Africa and works its way across the Atlantic […]
28/04/20232 minutes
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An Accelerating Rate Of Mountain Forest Loss | Earth Wise

Mountains contribute disproportionately to the Earth’s diversity of life.  While mountains account for about 25% of the land area on Earth, they are home to more than 85% of the mammal, bird, and amphibian species.  But alarmingly, forested mountain habitats in which these species live are disappearing, and they appear to be disappearing at an […]
27/04/20232 minutes
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California: Drought Or No Drought? | Earth Wise

Just a few months ago, millions of people in California were living under challenging water conservation rules.  The past three years were the driest on record and reservoirs were depleted, landscapes dried up, and the snowpack in the Sierras at very low levels. But in recent months, a dozen atmospheric river storms have brought huge […]
26/04/20232 minutes
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Powering Future Ships By Wind | Earth Wise

An innovative project out of the UK seeks to reduce carbon emissions at sea by retrofitting large ocean vessels with ultramodern wing-sails to reduce the amount of fuel required to travel the oceans. Powering ships by wind is certainly nothing new.  However, almost every large ship today is powered entirely by fossil fuels.  A company […]
25/04/20232 minutes
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Hydrogen And The Methane Problem | Earth Wise

Theoretically, hydrogen could be the fuel of the future.  It is the most common element in the universe and its combustion produces no harmful emissions.  Most industrial hydrogen comes from a process called steam reforming that extracts it from natural gas – basically methane.  Carbon dioxide is a byproduct of the process.   But it is […]
24/04/20232 minutes
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Protecting New York City From Flooding | Earth Wise

Hurricane Sandy flooded Lower Manhattan in October 2012, closing Wall Street, blacking out power for 250,000 people, and killing 44 New Yorkers.  Within a year, plans were in motion to build berms, floodwalls, and water gates along the city’s Lower East Side in a $770 million first phase of an overall plan to defend New […]
21/04/20232 minutes
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Giant Farming Robots | Earth Wise

Farmers are perpetually engaged in a battle against weeds, which can strangle crops and destroy their yields.  There are basically two ways to fight weeds:  spraying herbicides that are bad for the environment and human health or using human labor to pull the weeds by hand.  Both choices are increasingly undesirable.  Herbicide resistance is a […]
20/04/20232 minutes
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Canada Lynx And Climate Change | Earth Wise

Canada lynx are medium-sized North American big cats known for their long, black ear tufts, and their ability to hunt across the surface of deep snow.  Historically, the predator’s habitat ranged across Alaska, Canada, and much of the Northern United States.  But in the contiguous U.S. today, the Canada lynx exists only in several disjunct […]
19/04/20232 minutes
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Scientists Call For Geoengineering Research | Earth Wise

A group of more than 60 climate researchers has published an open letter calling for accelerated research into what is called solar radiation management.  This means changing the amount of solar energy reaching the surface of the earth by adding various substances into the stratosphere or into the clouds in order to help cool down […]
18/04/20232 minutes
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Pulling Carbon Dioxide Out Of Seawater | Earth Wise

The world’s largest sink for carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is the ocean.  The world’s oceans soak up 30-40% of all the gas produced by human activities.  Dissolving carbon dioxide in water produces carbonic acid.   This is the reason that oceans are becoming increasingly acidic, which is causing serious damage to ocean ecosystems. There are […]
17/04/20232 minutes
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Community Solar On The Rise | Earth Wise

Community solar is a way for people who can’t put solar on their own roofs to still take advantage of its benefits.  Whether they can’t afford to install their own panels, have too much shade on their roof, or don’t even own a home, community solar is another way to participate in green energy. Community […]
14/04/20232 minutes
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Antibiotics In Animal Agriculture | Earth Wise

In animal agriculture, farmers use antibiotics to treat, prevent, and control animal diseases, and to increase the productivity of their operations.  According to the FDA, approximately 80% of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are purchased for use in food-producing animals.  The routine administration of antibiotics to farm animals for non-therapeutic purposes promotes the development […]
13/04/20232 minutes
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Electric Cars Getting Cheaper | Earth Wise

A sticking point for buying electric cars has always been that they are typically more expensive than equivalent gasoline-powered cars.  But increasing competition, government incentives, and falling prices for lithium and other battery materials is changing the equation.  In fact, the tipping point when electric cars are as cheap or even cheaper than internal combustion […]
12/04/20232 minutes
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Counting Trees | Earth Wise

Scientists estimate that there are about 3 trillion trees on the earth.  A huge number but probably half as many as there were before people entered the picture.  And we’re losing about 10 billion trees a year to toilet paper, timber, farmland expansion, and other human activity.  Trees play a crucial role in taking carbon […]
11/04/20232 minutes
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Help For Kelp | Earth Wise

The warming of the oceans has been causing the decimation of kelp forests.  The thick canopies covering coastal ocean regions have been wilting in warmer and nutrient-poor water.  Making matters much worse has been the explosion in population of sea urchins that thrive in warmer water.  The urchins gobble up the kelp, often resulting in […]
10/04/20232 minutes
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Clean Energy From North Africa | Earth Wise

Europe is hungry for clean energy.  The war in Ukraine has amplified Europe’s desire to end its reliance on Russian natural gas.  Increasingly, Europe is pushing to install giant solar energy farms in sunny North Africa and transport the energy through underwater cables. Solar panels in sunny North Africa generate up to three times more […]
07/04/20232 minutes
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Humanity Weighs On The World | Earth Wise

There are countless ways in which humankind has had disproportionate effects on our planet and most of those effects have been negative.  A recent study led by the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel looked at the total combined weight of various groups of mammals on Earth.  The results are that human beings and our […]
06/04/20232 minutes
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Spiders And Pest Control | Earth Wise

Climate change facilitates the spread of invasive pest species by expanding their habitable environment ranges.  In conventional agriculture, farmers depend on chemical pesticides to control agricultural pests.  But 99% of all synthetic chemicals, including pesticides, are made from fossil fuels, and turning petrochemicals into pesticides requires massive amounts of energy.  These chemical pesticides also pollute […]
05/04/20232 minutes
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Offshore Wind In The Gulf Of Mexico | Earth Wise

The US has a goal of deploying 30 GW of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030.  This is an ambitious goal given that the current installed offshore wind capacity in the US is a total of seven turbines capable of generating just 42 megawatts of power.  So, there is a long way to go in […]
04/04/20232 minutes
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Coastal Land Reclamation | Earth Wise

People are artificially expanding the coastlines of cities by extending industrial ports and creating luxury residential waterfronts.  Major cities have added 900 square miles to their coastlines just since 2000.  A recent study published in the journal Earth’s Future made use of satellite imagery to analyze land changes in 135 cities with populations of at […]
03/04/20232 minutes
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Dangers Of Melting Glaciers | Earth Wise

Some of most dramatic evidence that the Earth’s climate is warming is the retreat and even disappearance of mountain glaciers around the world.  2022 was the 35th year in a row that glaciers tracked by the World Glacier Monitoring Service lost rather than gained ice.  Glaciers gain mass through snowfall and lose mass through melting […]
31/03/20232 minutes
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How To Meet Protected Land Targets | Earth Wise

More than half of the world’s countries have set a target of setting aside 30% of land and sea areas across the globe for conservation by 2030, in order to preserve and protect nature and essential services to people.  This pledge creates some difficult questions to answer. What sorts of land should be protected and […]
30/03/20232 minutes
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Sustainable Jet Fuel | Earth Wise

For several years, a few airlines, notably United here in the US, have been experimenting with the use of sustainable jet fuel.  Sustainable aviation fuel is made from such things as used cooking oil and agricultural waste.  It produces up to 80% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional jet fuel.  To date, when used it […]
29/03/20232 minutes
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Protecting Wetlands | Earth Wise

Wetlands are distinct ecosystems that are flooded or saturated by water, either permanently or seasonally.  They include mangroves, marshes, swamps, forested wetlands, bogs, wet prairies, and vernal pools.   The feature that most wetlands share is soil or substrate that is at least periodically saturated with or covered by water. Wetlands are some of the most […]
28/03/20232 minutes
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Offshore Wind Industry In New York | Earth Wise

Last July, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the release of the state’s third competitive offshore wind solicitation, seeking to add generating capacity to power at least 1.5 million homes.  In response to the solicitation, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority – NYSERDA -received more than 100 proposals for 8 new projects […]
27/03/20232 minutes
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Protected Areas Are Not Protecting Insects | Earth Wise

Insects can be found in every environment on Earth and play crucial roles in the planet’s ecosystems.  In fact, Biologist E. O. Wilson once said that “if all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago.  If insects were to vanish, the […]
24/03/20232 minutes
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Self-Deicing Roads | Earth Wise

Driving on snowy or icy roads can be pretty dangerous.  That is why roads are salted or coated with sand to provide traction in icy weather.  But excessive use of these substances is bad for the environment and sometimes a storm will blow in before the roads can be coated. In a paper published in […]
23/03/20232 minutes
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Sea Level Rise And Global Security | Earth Wise

Recently, United Nations General Secretary Antonio Guterres addressed the U.N. Security Council on the issue of the security threats created by rising sea levels. In the past, some members of the Security Council – notably Brazil, China, Russia, and at times, India – have argued that the U.N.’s climate program should address such issues and […]
22/03/20232 minutes
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Keeping The Keeling Curve Going | Earth Wise

The world’s longest-running record of direct readings of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere is the Keeling Curve, measurements taken at the summit of Mauna Loa in Hawaii.  The readings have been going on with almost no interruption since Charles Keeling began taking them in the 1950s.  But the eruption of Mauna Loa last November […]
21/03/20232 minutes
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Great Salt Lake In Danger | Earth Wise

Utah’s Great Salt Lake has been plagued by excessive water use and extensive drought conditions.  As of January, the lake dropped to record-low water levels, losing 73% of its water and exposing 60% of its lakebed. According to scientists, the lake could disappear entirely within five years. Great Salt Lake is what is known as […]
20/03/20232 minutes
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Distributed Wind Energy | Earth Wise

When we think about wind power, we are usually talking about increasingly giant windfarms – either on land or offshore – that produce power on a utility scale.  But there is also distributed wind energy, which refers to wind technologies in locations that directly support individuals, communities, and businesses.   Distributed wind can be so-called behind-the-meter […]
17/03/20232 minutes
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Solar Power At Night | Earth Wise

The use of solar power has grown tremendously in recent years as it has declined in price and become far more competitive with other forms of electricity generation.  Its fundamental drawback, of course, is that it only works when the sun is shining.  Solar panels don’t produce any power at night.  That is, until now, […]
16/03/20232 minutes
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Renewables’ Growing Share | Earth Wise

Not long ago, many states across the country were setting goals to obtain 20% of their electricity from renewable sources. For a few states, like New York and Washington, ample amounts of hydropower made 20% an easy target.  But for many others, 20% seemed like a very ambitious objective. Things have certainly changed.  According to […]
15/03/20232 minutes
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Mining Metals From Water | Earth Wise

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington are working with industry to develop a method of extracting valuable materials from various sources of water.  The technique is the 21st-century equivalent of panning for gold in rivers and streams. The patent-pending technology makes use of magnetic nanoparticles that are surrounded […]
14/03/20232 minutes