Shellfisheries: Time to Prepare for Ocean Acidification

By Sarah Cooley & Julia Ekstrom

Oceans are gradually becoming warmer and more acidic as more carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere — two shifts that are altering the economic foundations of many coastal regions.

In a new study published in Nature Climate Change, we and our colleagues set out to identify hot spots around the United States for ocean acidification.

Continue reading

The Future of Fossils

By Rachel Roberts 

762318_52036269There’s no question that plastic pollution is a significant problem in oceans and landfills across the world. Although plastic is convenient and found in almost every aspect of our lives, most plastics do not biodegrade.

Plastics do photodegrade – which means that heat and light break them down into smaller and smaller pieces over time. But it is estimated that a disposable diaper takes about 500 years to photodegrade; a plastic water bottle, about 450 years. And the resultant small plastic particles can still be sucked up or eaten by filter feeders or other small organisms, causing damage to their bodies by poisoning them or leading to deadly blockages.

Continue reading

This Popular Vacation Spot is Quickly Eroding Away

By Rachel Roberts

1006387_68390456Thinking about going to vacation in Hawaii? Well you better go soon. According to scientists at the University of Hawaii’s School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology (SOEST), costal erosion in Hawaii is predicted to double by 2050.

In a study, titled “Doubling Of Costal Erosion Under Rising Sea Level by Mid-Century In Hawaii,” lead researcher Tiffany Anderson said their results “indicate that approximately between 92% and 96% of the shorelines [in Hawaii] will be retreating by 2050 and 2100, respectively.”

Continue reading

Florida Agency Bans the Phrase “Climate Change”

By Rachel Roberts

DIGITAL CAMERAOfficials at Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have been banned from using the terms “climate change” and “global warming” in all official communications, according to the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. The FCIR said these terms are restricted from all reports and emails within the DEP.

Although the ban is unwritten, four former employees told the FCIR that they were prohibited from using these terms during their employment at Florida’s DEP. Christopher Byrd, a former attorney with the DEP’s Office of General Counsel, said to the FCIR, “We were told not to use the terms ‘climate change,’ ‘global warming’ or ‘sustainability.’ That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors in the Office of General Counsel.”

Continue reading

How to Properly Recycle Plastic

By Rachel Roberts

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile avoiding plastic all together is the most eco-friendly option, plastic can be found in almost every aspect of our lives. From credits cards to water bottles to packaging, plastic is literally everywhere!

Recycling plastic can go a long way toward keeping plastic litter out of the environment and landfills. However, unknown to many people, there is a right and wrong way to recycle the plastic found in your house. Different types of plastic are processed and reused in different ways. The only sure way to know whether a plastic is recyclable is to check with your local municipality to see what plastic items it accepts.

Continue reading

McDonalds to Phase Out the Purchasing of Chickens administered with Human Antibiotics

By Rachel Roberts

115057_5057Just last week, McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast food chain, announced that it plans to begin phasing out from its menu chicken raised with antibiotics used to fight human infections. This change, which will take place over the next two years, comes as a reaction to consumer demands for healthier and safer food.

McDonald’s policy will begin at hatcheries, where chicks are injected with antibiotics while still in the shell. The company however says suppliers will still be allowed to use the antibiotic ionophores, which is not used on humans, but still keeps chickens healthy.

Continue reading

A Sticky Problem

By 

Is Chewing Gum Harmful to the Environment?

Whether it’s being used as a mid-day breath refresher or on the playground to see who can blow the biggest bubble—chewing gum is a daily habit for many people. But what happens when you’re done chewing it? 80–90% of chewing gum is not disposed of properly and it’s the second most common form of litter after cigarette butts.

Continue reading

How a Snowball Changed the Global Warming Debate

By Rachel Roberts

SONY DSCSaying, “it’s snowing outside, therefore climate change does not exist” is almost like saying, “I had a sandwich for lunch today, therefore world hunger does not exist,” but that is exactly what Senator Jim Inhofe did last Thursday.

Inhofe, the senate’s most vocal critic of the scientific consensus on climate change, tossed a snowball on the Senate floor while advocating his case for why global warming does not exist.

Continue reading

Cows & their Best Friends

By Rachel Roberts 

1430749_59644066Cows have best friends and become stressed when separated. So says Krista McLennan, a researcher working towards her PhD at Northampton University, McLennan believes her research could improve milk yields and dairy farming practices.

By measuring heart rates and cortisol levels of cows when isolated, McLennan discovered that cows are social animals, often forming close bonds with those in their herd. (Cortisol is often referred to as the “stress hormone.”) McLennan’s study found cows that spend a significant amount of time isolated often show higher signs of stress, which negatively impacts the amount of milk produced.

Continue reading

Eco-fashion: The Green Garment Movement

By Gillian Zimmer 

Many name brand companies are incorporating eco-fashion into their lines by producing their clothing using methods that create a minimal carbon footprint without the use of harmful or synthetic chemicals. From Adidas apparel made with bionic yard, a textile made from plastic debris in the sea, to Burberry’s sustainable cotton program in Peru—explore which brands are leading the way into the green garment movement by positively impacting the environment.

Continue reading