Erica Gies

Canada’s new marine (less) protected (than it could have been) area.

A string of concessions to the oil and gas and fishing industries has severely weakened the protective value of Canada’s largest planned marine protected area.

Canada is about to get its largest marine protected area: 11,619 square kilometers in the Laurentian Channel off the southwest coast of Newfoundland. This summer, the Canadian government will begin the process to establish the area, which has been in discussion for seven years. It sounds like a huge win for the environment, but the area’s final boundaries and regulations bear the heavy hands of industry, according to Rodolphe Devillers, a geographer at Newfoundland and Labrador’s Memorial University who helped identify the area as a conservation priority. Now he’s asking whether this protected area and others to follow will actually safeguard at-risk species. And if not, why bother creating them?

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Good News

New technologies are shrinking wastewater’s hefty carbon footprint.

March 27, 2017 — Wastewater treatment plants are energy hogs. A 2013 study by the Electric Power Research Institute and Water Research Foundation reported that they consumed about 30 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, or about 0.8 percent of the total electricity used in the United States. Wastewater treatment’s high energy footprint is ironic because the organic matter in wastewater contains up to five times as much energy as the treatment plants use, according to the American Biogas Council. Reducing treatment plants’ energy footprints through energy efficiency and using the currently wasted energy could save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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In California, salt taints soil, threatening food security.
The Open University/flickr

In California, salt taints soil, threatening food security.

In much of California's flat, sunny San Joaquin Valley, canals deliver the irrigation water that has made the state an agricultural powerhouse, supplying one-third of vegetables and two-thirds of fruit and nuts eaten in the United States. But along the west side of the valley, some fields are sprouting not crops, but solar panels.

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Political suppression of science: Lessons from Canada.

The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States has touched off a mad scramble by some scientists to back up critical scientific data as government researchers reckon with the new administration’s threats to scrub climate data and strip funding for ongoing climate research.

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Causes

Can wind and solar fuel Africa's future?

With prices for renewables dropping, many countries in Africa might leap past dirty forms of energy towards a cleaner future.

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Landfills have a huge greenhouse gas problem. Here's what we can do about it.
Redwin Law/flickr

Landfills have a huge greenhouse gas problem. Here's what we can do about it.

October 25, 2016 — We take out our trash and feel lighter and cleaner. But at the landfill, the food and yard waste that trash contains is decomposing and releasing methane, a greenhouse gas that’s 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Landfill gas also contributes to smog, worsening health problems like asthma.

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From our Newsroom
nurses climate change

Op-ed: In a warming world, nurses heal people and the planet

Nurses have the experience, motivation and public support to make an important contribution in tackling the climate crises.

planetary health diet

This diet will likely keep you alive longer — and help the planet

New research finds the Planetary Health Diet lowers our risk to most major causes of death.

environmental justice

LISTEN: Jose Ramon Becerra Vera on democratizing science

“In their own way, they’re becoming experts, not just of their experiences but also of the data collection process.”

The oil and gas industry’s radioactive problem: Q&A with Justin Nobel

The oil and gas industry’s radioactive problem: Q&A with Justin Nobel

“Of all the levels of radium in produced water or brine around the world that I’ve looked at, I have encountered none that are consistently as high as what comes out of the Marcellus Shale.”

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