ADVERTISEMENT
  About the SA Blog Network

Posts Tagged "sustainability"

@ScientificAmerican

The Smart Approach to Development: Incorporate Science

How can science deliver solutions to global development problems? That was the question before us at one of the panels I moderated during the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of New Champions 2013, or “Summer Davos,” the week of September 9 in Dalian, China. Of course, we all knew science could not solve all challenges [...]

Keep reading »
Culturing Science

Collapsed cod fishery shows signs of life

cod-feature

Perhaps our species’s greatest misconception about the sea was that it is inexhaustible. The idea seems rather silly now, in a world where most people are familiar with the word “overfishing.” But men once gazed into the deep and imagined that it teemed with life so plentiful that we could take and take without ever [...]

Keep reading »
Expeditions

Rocket stoves ready, but will Tanzanians spread the word?

Africa, Dartmouth, engineer

Editor’s Note: Students from Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering are working in Tanzania to help improve sanitation and energy technologies in local villages. This series chronicles work being done by the student-led group, known as  Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering (DHE) [formerly known as Humanitarian Engineering Leadership Projects (HELP)], to design "rocket stoves" in the village of [...]

Keep reading »
Extinction Countdown

Tea and Consequences: Unsustainable Cultivation Puts Honeybush Tea at Risk

honeybush tea infusion

The Web sites selling sweet-smelling honeybush tea proudly proclaim its supposed health benefits, which range from lowering cholesterol and improving respiration to controlling the symptoms of menopause. Although none of these claims have been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there is some minor research backing up a few of these benefits. That [...]

Keep reading »
Extinction Countdown

Rare Success: Critically Endangered Gharial Crocodiles Have Record Hatching Year

gharial

This week’s blackouts in India have been blamed at least in part on the lack of rain during the annual monsoon season, which hindered hydropower production and increased the demand for electricity for use in agricultural irrigation. But the unusually dry year has also had at least one positive effect: it has helped to boost [...]

Keep reading »
Extinction Countdown

Shark-finning gangsters assault celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay

If you’ve ever watched shows like Hell’s Kitchen or Kitchen Nightmares, you’d know not to cross incendiary celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. Well, maybe his shows don’t air in Taiwan, because a crew of Taiwanese shark-fin smugglers wasn’t too impressed by Ramsay’s reputation, holding the TV host at gunpoint and pouring gasoline over him during the [...]

Keep reading »
Food Matters

Seeing The Forest Through The Trees: How Wild Foods May Contribute To Food Security

Into The Wild: The Usambara Mountains in Tanzania are a source of nutrient rich foods.

An estimated 870 million people are calorie deficient, but that figure doesn’t represent the entire number of people affected by food insecurity. An additional two billion people are also micronutrient deficient, often described as hidden hunger since it can occur even within diets containing adequate amounts of calories. Since wild foods such as fruits, roots, [...]

Keep reading »
Food Matters

Eat Small: Why our Big Fish Problem is leading to big fish problems. (VIDEO)

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 1.07.58 AM

We like big fish. And that’s a problem, according to Andy Sharpless, CEO of the ocean conservation organization Oceana, and co-author (along with Suzannah Evans) of the book The Perfect Protein. The book describes how regulations from a small group of countries, and a shift in the way we think about seafood, could ensure a sustainable [...]

Keep reading »
Food Matters

Today I’m thankful for turkey, which means I’m thankful for corn, fish, gasoline, and much, much more.

4131591722_b8022160b3

On Thursday, millions across the country will gather in dining rooms around fragrant, large, delicious dead birds, stuffed with even more delicious spoonfuls of cornbread, celery, and savory herbs. Gravy will flow. Potatoes will be mashed. And pie. Oh, the pie. The abundance on the table is meant to represent the abundance in our lives, [...]

Keep reading »
Guest Blog

Book Review: The Big Thirst by Charles Fishman

The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water, By Charles Fishman, Published in 2011 by Free Press, New York NY, ISBN 978-1-4391-0207-7 ____________________ Resorting only minimally to the standard statistics of water scarcity in various regions around the world, Mr. Fishman dives in to several specific case studies intended to help the [...]

Keep reading »
Guest Blog

Waste to Energy: A mountain of trash, or a pile of energy?

Collect trash, burn it, and then generate electricity. The technology is called Waste to Energy, and it uses our waste streams to produce electricity that can be cleaner than the average kilowatt-hour (kWh) generated in the United States today. A mountain of trash becomes a pile of energy. But, will this domestic renewable resource be [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Your Meat Should Be Raised on Insects, U.N. Says

Black solider fly eyes

There has been a lot of press, both positive and negative, about a recent United Nations report in which scientists recommended that we start eating insects to fight world hunger. But the other U.N. recommendation—that farmers should consider feeding insects to poultry and aquacultured fish—did not garner nearly as much attention, despite seeming more feasible. [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Can Cities Be Both “Resilient” and “Sustainable”?

gowanus-canal

This article arises from Future Tense, a partnership of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State University. On the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 24, Future Tense and Scientific American will be hosting an event in New York City on building resilient cities. To learn more and to RSVP, visit the New America Foundation website. [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Royal Society Calls for Redistribution of Wealth and More Birth Control to Save the Planet

earth

During the 352-year life span of the Royal Society, the human population has risen from less than one billion people to seven billion and counting. That boom has been supported by science and technology—Watt’s coal-fired steam engine, Haber and Bosch synthesizing nitrogen fertilizer, Fleming’s discovery of penicillin—and continues today as the world’s population expands at [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Views from Space Show a Fragile Earth

mining in Chile

Two provocative ways to see long-term changes on earth are currently being promoted in honor of Earth Week. A Web site by NASA, and an app from HarperCollins, both show striking side-by-side satellite images of locations that have changed dramatically over time spans of up to 30 years or more. The primary intent is to [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Food, Not War, Is the Biggest Threat to World Security, Argues Lester Brown

Even as Iran’s nuclear program raises the likelihood of yet another conflict in the Middle East, the bigger threat is a potential food crisis in the making, says Lester Brown, founder of the Earth Policy Institute. “When I ask myself, what are the threats for out security today, foreign aggression doesn’t make top five,” Brown [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

How to Fight Food Insecurity, Even in a Changing Climate

harvesting food

About 800 million people worldwide do not get enough food to eat, while about 1.5 billion are overweight. As the global population expands by an additional 2 billion people by 2050 and climate change alters traditional agricultural areas, scientists and policy makers are racing to figure out how to address both problems. (Read more about [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Income and Health Inequalities Cut U.S.’s High Marks for Development

un development index

If global development were a horse race, would you put your money on the slow-and-steady contenders or a fast new contender? With this year’s results just in, the old stalwart Scandinavian countries are still in the lead, according to the 2011 United Nations’ Human Development Index, published Wednesday. With Norway leading the charge in this [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Can greener gadgets save us from e-waste?

e-waste-South-Africa

One laptop per child seems a simple slogan, chock full of benefit. What could go wrong when you put the power of the Internet and solar cells into the hands of children in the developing world? After all, not only does it train the global underclass in the tools of modern production, it also unleashes [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Environmental ills? It’s consumerism, stupid

plastic-painting-chris-jordan

Two typical German shepherds kept as pets in Europe or the U.S. consume more in a year than the average person living in Bangladesh, according to research by sustainability experts Brenda and Robert Vale of Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. So are the world’s environmental ills really a result of the burgeoning number of [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Can the world’s richest man feed the planet?

Echoing luminaries before him—from Norman Borlaug to Kofi Annan—the world’s richest man, Bill Gates, called last night for a second Green Revolution focused on African farmers. That revolution won’t just be in new crop varieties and higher yields but also in farmer training and infrastructure—and, perhaps most controversially, will be genetically modified. "Three quarters of [...]

Keep reading »
Plugged In

Fuel/Cost Savings of Improving Fuel Economy from 12->15 mpg = 30->60 mpg

Fuel economy is not as straight-forward as you might think. Image courtesy: fragallo

Consumer tip-of-the-day: increasing efficiency of fuel economy on a miles-per-gallon scale is not linear, as more miles-per-gallon (mpg) are initially better for your wallet and the planet than you might expect, and eventually trail off with diminishing returns. Last week, a friend pointed out a good blog post by Nicholas Chase and the Energy Information [...]

Keep reading »
Plugged In

Map Monday: 50+ Shades of Air Pollution

One-fourth of the world is breathing unsafe air. Courtesy of Hsu et al/The Atlantic

In today’s installment of Map Monday, I wanted to focus on air pollution as mapped by Hsu et al and The Atlantic. Go to this link to see the full interactive map, which details air pollution by country and city. Below, I have copied in a global snapshot with some perhaps unsurprising shades of pollution [...]

Keep reading »
Plugged In

Energy and Community – “Let’s meet at the clothes line”

450px-Clothes_line_with_pegs_nearby

Lowering your thermostat setting to decrease your monthly power bill seems simple enough, until your roommate says the magic words, “I’m cold”. Suddenly, that extra sweater and socks go from being an acceptable solution to the chill to an inadequate bandaid on a bigger problem. You are now facing the tough choice – try to [...]

Keep reading »
Plugged In

Teach the Children Well…About Water

Today, all eighth and ninth graders in the public school system here in Decatur, Ga., are partaking in a day-long seminar known as Water Wise. Last night, I attended the preview complete with presentations about water-borne diseases, water conservation, and the intricate interplay between energy use and water. The night capped off with a screening of the 2011 [...]

Keep reading »
Plugged In

As a River Runs Dry

Unknown

Just outside of Thomaston Ga., a red dirt driveway winds its way through a forest of sweet gums, oaks, pines and beech trees, marking the lone driven track on a large swath of land. It’s peaceful here. The trees rustle softly and the rippling of the river is heard before being seen. Sam Brewton, a [...]

Keep reading »
Plugged In

Sustainability Gold for the 2012 London Olympics

london-2012-olympics-logo

With the 2012 London Olympics drawn to a close, so starts the task of breaking down parts of the 500-acre Olympic Park that housed the world’s finest athletes for the past two weeks. But, the London 2012 Organizing Committee and the Olympic Delivery Authority are already two steps ahead. In their effort to keep this [...]

Keep reading »
Plugged In

Plenty of Fish in the Sea?

A cluster of tuna off the southern tip of Italy. Photo: Courtesy of the UN FAO

In 2010, people across the globe munched their way through 128 million tons of seafood. That’s according to the latest data coming out of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This hefty supply of fish equals around 41 pounds per person each year, and is taking its toll on the health of the oceans [...]

Keep reading »
Plugged In

Spring’s First Harvest: local organic produce

Rise ‘N Shine Farm’s first bounty of the year   Spring is here, and with it the first harvest of the season. It’s my family’s second year belonging to a CSA. This time around we chose a farm with a drop off site much closer to home. Our produce now comes from Rise ‘N Shine Organic Farm, [...]

Keep reading »
Plugged In

Getting to Know Your Water

That sound you do not hear is a half-million people not sighing in relief as the reservoir that slakes the thirst of the population of Raleigh, NC, and many surrounding smaller towns nears capacity for the first time in nearly a year. And on this World Water Day, when many turn their attention to the [...]

Keep reading »
Plugged In

Energy Sustainability Conference Begins in Washington, DC

3204397758_81fdde5189

This week, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) is hosting the 5th International Conference on Energy Sustainability in Washington, DC. Over the next three days this conference will bring together researchers, scientists and engineers from around the world for more than 300 presentations related to the topic of energy sustainability. Attendees will also celebrate [...]

Keep reading »
PsiVid

Green Screen Climate Fix Flicks and the Green Ninja

Green Screen Climate Fix Flicks

I seem to be surrounded by green lately (check my website for more about my Girls camp on Environmental Engineering and the great new MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) on Sustainability at UIUC to be offered beginning in August). For PsiVid, though, a video focus seems appropriate. The Australian based Green Screen Climate Fix Flicks [...]

Keep reading »
Symbiartic

The Three Little Pigs Never Thought of This Building Material

13-018FEATURE

Bricks, sticks, and hay are decidedly pedestrian building materials in comparison to a new building that just opened to the public last Thursday in Hamburg, Germany. Ambitious architects have built an apartment covered in a thin layer of living, breathing algae. The building, known as BIQ (for Bio Intelligent Quotient), meets the extremely stringent passive-house [...]

Keep reading »

More from Scientific American

Scientific American Dinosaurs

Get Total Access to our Digital Anthology

1,200 Articles

Order Now - Just $39! >

X

Email this Article

X