Category: Environment

US Dept. Of Agriculture Launches Interactive Online Climate Adaptation Info Resource

The US Department Of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced an online resource for climate shift information. Joining a broader network, it’s intended to educate the general public on climate change adaptive strategies.

Released by the Climate Change Resource Center (CCRC), the online resource also connects land managers and environmental decision makers. Described as “interactive”, the resource details climate adaptive endeavors sought by the USDA Forest Service, USDA Climate Hubs, and other agencies.

“Natural resource managers”, reads a USDA blog, “are already observing changes in their forests and range-lands.” Such changes manifest unprecedented challenges for land managers, from flooding to droughts. This ranges from bone gripping drought in California, to intense southern and east coast tropical storms.

Changing environment

Switzerland (CK) – Among the diplomats, corporate titans, politicians and celebrities circulating at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year will be a fresh face: Chinese President Xi Jinping. It is no accident that 2017 marks the first year that Read More

Eating the future

Breaking down the impact of global agriculture on climate change.

The recent climate change conference in Marrakech saw the Canadian government release its Mid-Century Long-Term Low-Greenhouse-Gas Development Strategy, and with it a requirement for “very deep emissions cuts from every sector by mid-century.”

The magnitude of the contribution that the agricultural sector (and indeed the entire food system) makes to global emissions continues to be widely under-appreciated, eclipsed by discussions of transportation and electricity-related emissions reductions.

Hidden Secrets of Orion’s Clouds

VISTA survey gives most detailed view of Orion A molecular cloud in the near-infrared

The new image from the VISION survey (VIenna Survey In Orion) is a montage of images taken in the near-infrared part of the spectrum [1] by the VISTA survey telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile. It covers the whole of the Orion A molecular cloud, one of the two giant molecular clouds in the Orion molecular cloud complex (OMC). Orion A extends for approximately eight degrees to the south of the familiar part of Orion known as the sword [2].

VISTA is the world’s largest dedicated survey telescope, and has a large field of view imaged with very sensitive infrared detectors, characteristics that made it ideal for obtaining the deep, high-quality infrared images required by this ambitious survey.

TECHNOLOGY GOT US INTO THIS CLIMATE MESS, AND IT CAN HELP GET US OUT — IF WE LET IT

Challenges of this scale require people to want to solve it, and we’re not there yet.

When you look to the year ahead, what do you see? Ensia recently invited eight global thought leaders to share their thoughts. In this interview with Ensia contributor Lisa Palmer for the 2017 Ensia print annual, IT Technology Review editor in chief and publisher Jason Pontin responds to three questions: What will be the biggest challenge to address or opportunity to grasp in your field in 2017? Why? And what should we be doing about it now?

The challenge in 2017 existed in 1989: the civilizational challenge of climate change. Technology created the problem, and technology plausibly offers ways to ameliorate and manage it. But we have to want to solve the problem. Great civilizational challenge of that scale requires government, academia, business and ordinary people to want to solve it, and I don’t think as a species we are there yet.

Health And Eco-Concerns Hang Over New Zika Pesticide Set To Hit Market

The Zika virus’ spread has catalyzed a massive industry boom for big-biotechnology. It’s an industry making bank off manufacturing poison, and even mutants. Interestingly, it’s latest mosquitocide comes along with a study guaranteeing it’s eco-friendly.

“We’re essentially preventing mosquitoes from producing urine”, says Vanderbilt pharmacologist Jerod Denton, Ph.D. According to Science Daily, the pesticide–VU041–was developed to transcend the insect’s adaptive prowess. Denton joined colleagues in an evaluation of its possible ecological impacts.

New genes

Agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto agreed in September to a global non-exclusive licensing agreement with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to use the ground-breaking CRISPR-Cas gene-editing tool.

The St. Louis, Missouri-based company, which is in the midst of a merger with Germany’s Bayer under regulatory review, plans to use the technology for agricultural purposes. “Genome-editing techniques present precise ways to dramatically improve the scale and discovery efficiency of new research that can improve human health and global agriculture,” said Issi Rozen, chief business officer of the Broad Institute. “We are encouraged to see these tools being used to help deliver responsible solutions to help farmers meet the demands of our growing population.”

NEW WEBSITE SHOWCASES SEEDS OF A BRIGHTER FUTURE

Want to solve big problems? Start small.

Seeds of Good Anthropocenes, a website created by an international team of sustainability scientists, seeks to do just that. The site showcases more than 500 initiatives from around the world that, while not widespread or well known, might contribute to a sustainable future.

The purpose of the project, according to its founders, is to provide a middle ground between gloom-and-doom reports, which may inadvertently spur feelings of powerlessness and resignation, and those that are overly optimistic and risk inciting complacency. Writing in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, the founders argue that we should break through this dichotomy by looking to “seeds” — environmentally beneficial tools and techniques that are neither untested proposals nor established practices. Each seed offers an idea that helps in some way to address challenges posed by the Anthropocene, such as environmental awareness, urban sustainability and equitable decision-making.

China to ban domestic ivory trade by 2017

WWF and TRAFFIC welcomed today’s historic announcement that China will close down its domestic ivory trade by the end of 2017, signalling an end to the world’s primary legal ivory market and a major boost to international efforts to tackle the elephant poaching crisis in Africa.

The General Office of the State Council of China announced that China will “cease part of ivory processing and sales by 31 March 2017 and cease all ivory processing and sales by 31 December 2017”.