November 25, 2014

2:35 AM | Agriculture Requires Fertilizer Inputs, and That’s Good
Harvest time by joinash via Flickr. On a brown, August-dry field in Eastern Washington, a farmer in a combine cuts a 24-foot swath across a field of wheat. The harvested grain then begins a journey, first to the storage bin, then to the local elevator, on rail to a flour mill, by truck to a bakery, by oven to bread, and by car to a home where it is eaten. This is good; our foremost mandate to agriculture is to produce food. However, with this successful export of food from farm fields to nearby […]

November 21, 2014

3:16 PM | Does Uber Make Cities More Energy Efficient?
It seems you can’t read an article about new mobility or the sharing economy without stumbling across Uber; the mobility service that sprung up in 2009 to only five years later become valued at more... -- Read more on

November 19, 2014

10:00 AM | "Save the planet": a meaningless slogan?
What is all this talk about sustainability and so on?  What does the term mean and do we have historical precedents to turn to for an answer?  These days, in relation to the concept of sustainability we also hear a debate about how to 'save the planet' in the face of climate change, global warming, CO2 emissions, fossil fuels, overpopulation, industrial agriculture and erosion, antibiotic overuse, loss of clean water, and so on.  We're on various email lists that almost […]

November 18, 2014

5:00 PM | How The Search For Aliens Could Save Us From Environmental Collapse
It's hard to assess the sustainability of our civilization when climate scientists and ecologists have nothing to compare ourselves to. Which is why we need to learn from the success — and potential failures — of distant alien civilizations. Read more...

November 17, 2014

1:15 PM | Floods, Companies and Supply Chain Risk
Global companies with long supply chains could do a much better job of managing climate disaster risk, according to a recently published study from Masahikio Haraguchi and Upmanu Lall, researchers at the Columbia Water Center. According to the study, published in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, even as the impact of natural hazards [...]

November 11, 2014

4:18 PM | Can intensification be sustainable?
Contemporary interest in agricultural sustainability can be traced to environmental concerns that began to appear in the 1950s and 1960s. However, concepts and practices about sustainability date back at least to the oldest surviving texts from China, India, Greece and Rome. Today the global challenge is great. In order to provide sufficient food for growing […]
2:00 PM | Is triclosan safe? What you should know about this antibacterial chemical
Back in January, I wrote a post about the potential hazards of traditional cleaning chemicals. Based on questions and comments from friends and family, I am going to continue on that path, this time focusing on the antibacterial chemical triclosan. Triclosan gained some media attention earlier this year when a law was passed in Minnesota […]

November 07, 2014

7:51 PM | This Week in EPA Science
This morning I heard “Jingle Bells” on the radio and an announcement alerting me of the exact number of days I had left to shop. My coffee cup has made the switch from standard white to holiday red and all that pumpkin spice hype has been replaced by demands for gingerbread and peppermint. Sometimes it […]

November 06, 2014

8:13 PM | Catching Big Mama Fish Curbs Ocean Fertility
Scientists recently confirmed what anglers have known for centuries—there’s something special about a big mama fish. The bigger the fish, the better the bragging rights—and often, the bigger paycheck... -- Read more on
6:46 PM | Will Africa Finally Achieve a Green Revolution?
Earth Institute agricultural scientist Pedro A. Sanchez argues in a new essay that new developments in both science and politics give him hope that sub-Saharan Africa will be able to feed itself by 2050, even with a projected population by then of about 2 billion people.
2:00 PM | On a Roll with “SustainableJoes”
By Kelly Witter One of the many reasons I love working at EPA is that I enjoy being around people who share my passion for the environment.  But when your day job is devoted to environmental protection it’s easy to be complacent about becoming more sustainable. After all, feeling guilty about the occasional slip up, […]

November 03, 2014

10:49 PM | Study: NASA Sites Across U.S. Vulnerable to Climate Change
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been at the forefront of climate science, launching satellites that take the pulse of Earth’s land, oceans and atmospheric systems, gathering data on climate, weather and natural hazards. But the agency is increasingly vulnerable itself to the effects of a changing climate.

October 29, 2014

7:40 PM | ​Even World War III Won't Prevent A Population Bomb, Say Scientists
A new study concludes that strict fertility measures, such as a one-child policy, or even a mass catastrophe like a global plague or a third world war, would not have a significant effect on the human population trajectory this century.Read more...
5:50 PM | Copy Cat!: Fighting the Global Water Scarcity Issue
According to the World Water Management Institute, over one-third of the human population is affected by water scarcity. Advances in physical understanding, its applications, and the study of our environment and bio-mimicry help us develop more effective ways to fight freshwater scarcity around the world.

October 28, 2014

6:50 PM | Don't Let Your Halloween Candy Kill Orangutans
Sumatra and Borneo are the only places in the world where orangutans – the so-called "red apes" – live in the wild. Both species are endangered, the Sumatran one critically so. And your Halloween candy could be, at least in part, to blame.Read more...
5:22 PM | Corporations Should Mean What They Say on Sustainability
Nowadays, it seems like every big company promotes an image of sustainability. A common example is the now-ubiquitous hotel-bathroom notice invoking images of ocean animals or pastoral scenery in an... -- Read more on

October 27, 2014

5:00 PM | Berkeley Lab Tackles Vaccine Delivery Problem with Portable Solar-Powered Vaccine Fridge
Vaccines are arguably one of the most important inventions of mankind. Unfortunately, vaccines must be produced and stored in an environment with very tight temperature regulation – between 36 °F and 46 °F – to keep the vaccine bugs alive. So vaccine delivery is a major problem due to the absence of reliable refrigeration in […]
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