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New research: Reduce your carbon footprint by reducing meat consumption

An Oxford University study of over 50,000 participants, published this month in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal Climatic Change: Dietary greenhouse gas emissions in meat-eaters are twice as high as those in vegans.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jul 18, 2014 - 144 comments

Rolling Coal: Everything Else About It Is Pretty Good

Slate: "Prius Repellent is a perfect introduction to one of the Obama era’s great conservative subcultures: the men and women who “roll coal.” For as little as $500, anyone with a diesel truck and a dream can install a smoke stack and the equipment that lets a driver “trick the engine” into needing more fuel. The result is a burst of black smoke that doubles as a political or cultural statement—a protest against the EPA, a ritual shaming of hybrid “rice burners,” and a stellar source of truck memes." [more inside]
posted by porn in the woods on Jul 6, 2014 - 134 comments

Mine is the beige house. No, the other one. No, the one next to that.

In his new book Ciphers, German photographer Christopher Gielen (previously) reveals haunting images of our endlessly repetitive development through aerial views of American urban sprawl. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Jul 5, 2014 - 50 comments

Pablo Escobar’s hippos: A growing problem

A herd of hippopotamuses once owned by the late Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar has been taking over the countryside near his former ranch
posted by T.D. Strange on Jun 26, 2014 - 36 comments

You're way off.

What was the average American college graduate's college-related debt in 2013? What state has the highest rate of poverty in the United States? Answer these and other depressing questions (or submit your own) at How Wrong You Are.
posted by desjardins on Jun 24, 2014 - 40 comments

The Abstinence Method: Dutch farmers just say no to antibiotics

“We decided that animal health, and human health, would be our priority,” Oosterlaken told me last fall in his barn, surrounded by warm plastic-lined pens where sows snoozed and new piglets squealed. “I don’t need to take antibiotics every day. There’s no reason my pigs should either.”
posted by Michele in California on Jun 18, 2014 - 34 comments

National Climate Assessment

This morning the U.S. government released the newest National Climate Assessment, which "concludes that the evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen and that impacts are increasing across the country." You can explore the assessment here. Previously.
posted by brundlefly on May 6, 2014 - 48 comments

A Dangerous Dance of Frost and Flame:

More Than 100 Wildfires Now Raging Along Siberian Melt-Freeze Line [more inside]
posted by eviemath on Apr 24, 2014 - 21 comments

The Moral Question Of Our Time: Can We Share The Planet?

UN Climate Report: We Must Focus On 'Decarbonization', and It Won't Wreck the Economy - "The basic message is simple: We share a planet. Let's start acting like it." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 23, 2014 - 50 comments

Travelers

The Dead Zoo Gang "Over the last several years, millions of dollars worth of antique rhino horns have been stolen from natural history museum collections around the world. The only thing more unusual than the crimes is the theory about who is responsible: A handful of families from rural Ireland known as the Rathkeale Rovers." (Via)
posted by zarq on Apr 2, 2014 - 22 comments

Fished Out

The world's fish are in danger—as is everyone who depends on them (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 23, 2014 - 52 comments

Elegy for a Country’s Seasons

In the end, the only thing that could create the necessary traction in our minds was the intimate loss of the things we loved. Zadie Smith on climate change at a personal level.
posted by Athanassiel on Mar 13, 2014 - 49 comments

The Sixth Extinction

In his 1996 book The Song of the Dodo, David Quammen observed that if you destroy most of a habitat and leave only a small patch of wilderness behind, you have effectively created an island—and islands, for complex ecological reasons, sustain far fewer species and far more extinctions than mainlands. Now watch things get complicated. At the same time that our logging, mining, farming, road-building, suburban-sprawling species is turning the entire planet into an archipelago, “global trade and travel do the reverse: they deny even the remotest islands their remoteness.” The result, as Kathryn Schulz reports, is that we are living through The Sixth Extinction.
posted by shivohum on Feb 11, 2014 - 20 comments

a licorice smell

Tractor-trailers full of bottled water are headed to affected counties in West Virginia after public authorities told residents to "refrain from using the water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing and washing” following the Elk River's contamination with 4-methylcyclohexane methanol. [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi on Jan 10, 2014 - 88 comments

The Environmental Disaster You've Never Heard Of

24 million gallons of jet fuel have been leaking from Albuquerque’s Kirtland Air Force Base for 60 some years. And nobody seems very concerned about it.
posted by fontophilic on Dec 20, 2013 - 41 comments

Plastic Beads of Fish Food

    "Tiny plastic beads used in hundreds of toiletries like facial scrubs and toothpastes are slipping through water treatment plants and turning up by the tens of millions in the Great Lakes. " (NYT)
This new environmental threat is particularly worrisome because the beads float and look like fish's normal food. The toxins in the beads tend to degrade slowly, so they bioaccumulate and are passed up the food chain. The majority of the beads appear to enter the lakes when storms cause wastewater treatment plants to overflow.
posted by DoubleLune on Dec 20, 2013 - 54 comments

You have reached the end of the road.

Welcome to Fort McMoney, an interactive documentary game. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Nov 26, 2013 - 19 comments

Look at that guy with the typewriter on the Eagles' bench!

The NFL's Modern Man: How Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin — a bike-riding, socially conscious, Animal Collective–loving hipster — is redefining what it means to be a football player.
posted by Drinky Die on Nov 20, 2013 - 52 comments

Missing

What Is Missing? is artist and architect Maya Lin's (previously) last memorial, this one to vanishing species and habitats. [Via] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Nov 10, 2013 - 10 comments

There’s no condom for consumption.

Alan Weisman's new book argues that we should not only slow population growth, we should decrease the world's population to 2 billion. In the New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert considers his argument for the 2 billion person world in the context of a long history of Malthusian and neo-Malthusian arguments over population growth and resource limits. “Before artificial nitrogen fertilizer became widely available, the world’s population was around 2 billion. When we no longer have it—or if we ever decide to stop using it—that may be a number to which our own naturally gravitates.” For more context, see Paul Sabin's new book The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble Over Earth’s Future. [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi on Oct 19, 2013 - 153 comments

Game behind gamed: your narrative programming for the day

How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio[1] actually makes a case against austerity[2] and for redistribution, but also for money printing (and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public and private investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 25, 2013 - 28 comments

"We don't understand what happened. Nobody really understands..."

For several months, bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands has been leaching out of the ground near Cold Lake, Alberta, so far amounting to roughly half of the oil leaked in the Enbridge-caused disaster in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Nearby sites of high-pressure steam injection used to extract the bitumen (and which is already associated with violent seismic activity in natural gas fracking operations) are suspected to have caused fractures that push bitumen "sideways" and out to the surface. As Vice reporter Sarah Berman notes, "The oozing leaks will continue until the underground pressure subsides. How long that will take is anybody’s guess." While tons of contaminated vegetation and dead animals have been removed from the sites, access to the region and to government data by First Nation representatives has been repeatedly denied.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Sep 20, 2013 - 23 comments

Should I eat that?

You Just Threw Out a Perfectly Good Gallon of Milk Because You Think the "Sell By" Date Means Something. Food waste is a huge problem. Globally, one-third of all food produced goes uneaten. In the US, that's up to 40% (pdf report). What can we do to prevent labeling confusion? And the most important question... should you eat it or is it expired?
posted by desjardins on Sep 20, 2013 - 136 comments

Garbage Patch kid

With the Great Pacific Garbage Patch increasing in size, coming up with a viable solution seems like a pretty important thing to do. Enter Boyan Slat, the 19-year-old with a plan that could clean up 7,250,000,000kg of plastic from the world's oceans - within about five years. [more inside]
posted by Athanassiel on Sep 12, 2013 - 39 comments

Slowly but surely

It seems eco-friendly cargo ships are slowly on the rise. Today i learned there is a full length documentary on Vimeo about one of these sailing vessels, the Tres Hombres; a bittersweet account of a voyage to transport supplies and aid to Haiti after the devastating earthquake: How Captain Longhair saved the World (HD, 42 min.).
posted by Substrata on Aug 27, 2013 - 9 comments

The Souless Flesh-Eating Kea

In 2012 alone, keas were responsible for $425 million in damages and 5 deaths. And while it’s true those statistics aren’t based on real data and that I just made them up, they are nonetheless startling.
posted by latkes on Aug 17, 2013 - 35 comments

The Cloud Begins with Coal

"The information and technology ecosystem now represents around 10 per cent of the world's electricity generation, and it's hungry for filthy coal. In a report likely to inspire depression among environmentalists, and fluffy statements from tech companies, analyst firm Digital Power Group has synthesized numerous reports and crunched data on the real electricity consumption of our digital world." - IT now 10 percent of world's electricity consumption, report finds
posted by jammy on Aug 17, 2013 - 34 comments

Capturing America

In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment. There are location challenges, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 8, 2013 - 16 comments

Sweden is running out of garbage

Sweden is putting only four percent of its household waste in landfills (the US puts about half of its garbage in landfills) and much of the remainder is used for heating through an innovative waste-to-energy program. The problem? They are now running out of garbage, and have to import from neighbouring countries.
posted by Harald74 on Aug 3, 2013 - 64 comments

Bringing water back to light

A hundred years ago streams got in the way of urban planning so people covered them up. Today towns and cities are looking to bring these streams back into light thus reducing flood risks, improving water quality, and revitalising neighbourhoods.
posted by AlienGrace on Aug 2, 2013 - 23 comments

Post-industrial Silicon Valley

Not Even Silicon Valley Escapes History [more inside]
posted by Pruitt-Igoe on Jul 29, 2013 - 16 comments

Paddling 1,500 Miles for Science and Adventure

Starting on September 22 last year, Professor Robert Fuller of the University of North Georgia spent four months paddling down the Chattahoochee River system, from the Chattahoochee's headwaters in northern Georgia down through the Apalachicola into the Gulf of Mexico, studying water quality along the way. Then he paddled 200 miles through the Gulf, turned at the mouth of the Mobile River, and paddled another 750 miles upstream on the Mobile, Alabama, Coosa, and Etowah Rivers all the way back to northern Georgia—a total of just over 1,500 miles of solo paddling in his Kruger Sea Wind. Along the way, he kept a blog, "ate a lot of Beanie Weenies", and faced difficulties including cold, hunger, injuries, and river obstructions. Incidentally, he did all this while living with leukemia. [more inside]
posted by Orinda on Jul 27, 2013 - 10 comments

What’s Killing Minnesota’s Moose?

The iconic monarch of the North Woods is dying at an alarming rate. Is it climate change, a brain-piercing parasite, or is something else to blame?
posted by brundlefly on Jul 26, 2013 - 40 comments

Where the water burns

From Slate's 'Behold' photo blog: This Is What Fracking Really Looks Like. See more of photographer Nina Berman's documentation of Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region at her website collection called fractured: the shale play.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 19, 2013 - 57 comments

Going green

If anything can turn Westerners on to entomophagy for sustainable protein (or just the perfect beer snack), surely it's an attractive, well-designed kitchen appliance. Introducing LEPSIS, a modular terrarium for growing grasshoppers as a food source in an urban home. Nominated for the 2013 INDEX: Award.
posted by naju on Jul 15, 2013 - 76 comments

The jury's in... and they can't deny that view, either.

A month after its release, Naughty Dog's sweeping interactive epic The Last of Us is being hailed as one of the best games of all time, with perfect scores even from notoriously demanding critics. Inspired by an eerily beautiful segment from the BBC's Planet Earth, the game portrays an America twenty years after a pandemic of the zombiefying Cordyceps fungus (previously), leaving behind lush wastelands of elegant decay teeming with monsters and beset by vicious bandits, a brutal military, and the revolutionary Fireflies. Into this bleak vision of desperate violence journey Joel, a gruffly stoic Texan with a painful past, and his ward Ellie, a precocious teenager who may hold the key to mankind's future. Boasting tense, immersive gameplay, compelling performances from a diverse cast, a movingly minimalist score from Oscar-winning Gustavo Santaolalla, and an array of influences from Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men to Cormac McCarthy's The Road, it's already being slotted alongside BioShock Infinite and Half-Life 2 as one of modern gaming's crowning achievements. And while it's hard to disentangle plot from action, you don't have to buy a PS3 to experience it -- YouTube offers many filmic edits of the game, including this three-hour version of all relevant passages. And don't miss the 84-minute documentary exploring every facet of its production. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jul 14, 2013 - 81 comments

A Plant, a Perch, and a Prophylactic

Charlie LeDuff Canoes the Rouge River through Detroit. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Jul 7, 2013 - 18 comments

Don't despair, repair

The Restart Project encourages community engagement in repairing broken electronic equipment. This one year old charity enables "restart parties" which bring together consumers with broken electronic equipment and volunteer repairers, in an attempt to address our modern culture of "passive, flabby consumers of technology". When recycling is the second best option.
posted by walrus on Jun 17, 2013 - 24 comments

Deep Sixed

In the deep sea, low oxygen levels, scarce sunlight, and freezing water limit the rate at which items decompose: Something that might survive a few years on land could exist for decades underwater. - ROVs photograph trash on the ocean floor.
posted by Artw on Jun 8, 2013 - 37 comments

I'm sure all the CO2 isn't exactly HELPING, but...

Global warming may be caused more by CFCs than CO2. Paper here.
posted by sexyrobot on Jun 3, 2013 - 47 comments

Traditional Chinese Folk Medicine vs. Animal Rights Groups

"...For China’s animal welfare advocates, the victory signaled the growing clout of a movement that is frequently derided as bourgeois, frivolous or worse. Its most vociferous opponents paint animal advocates as foreign-financed traitors who would do away with such hallowed Chinese traditions as dog meat hot pot, ivory carving and dried deer penis, consumed to increase virility." - Folk Remedy Extracted From Captive Bears Stirs Furor in China (SL NYTIMES) [more inside]
posted by beisny on Jun 1, 2013 - 23 comments

Commence whey puns... NOW!

Whey Too Much: Greek Yogurt’s Dark Side For every three or four ounces of milk, Chobani and other companies can produce only one ounce of creamy Greek yogurt. The rest becomes acid whey. It’s a thin, runny waste product that can’t simply be dumped. Not only would that be illegal, but whey decomposition is toxic to the natural environment, robbing oxygen from streams and rivers.... And as the nation’s hunger grows for strained yogurt, which produces more byproduct than traditional varieties, the issue of its acid runoff becomes more pressing. Greek yogurt companies, food scientists, and state government officials are scrambling not just to figure out uses for whey, but how to make a profit off of it.
posted by Cash4Lead on May 22, 2013 - 228 comments

Crazy like an Arctic Fox

Scientific American reports: "An isolated population of Arctic foxes that dines only on marine animals seems to be slowly succumbing to mercury poisoning." Though a definitive causal link is difficult to establish, an isolated population of arctic foxes on Russia's Mednyi Island is believed to be collapsing due to mercury contamination as a result of its seafood-heavy diet. Where does all that mercury in the environment come from anyway? Why, it's another biproduct of burning fossil fuels, of course, and predictably, rates of mercury pollution are only expected to increase. In some places in the US, even rainwater is showing high levels of contamination. [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on May 10, 2013 - 25 comments

Saving the planet, one bag of Doritos at a time.

Getting your groceries delivered might be greener than driving to the store. In a University of Washington study, delivery vs. driving reduced CO2 emissions by half. Where's Webvan when you need it?
posted by overleaf on May 3, 2013 - 83 comments

CO2 to hit 400 parts per million next month, highest since the Pliocene

Scripps Institute of Oceanography projects that next month its monitoring station will for the first time measure CO2 at 400 parts per million. Atmospheric CO2 has risen from 280 parts per million before the Industrial Revolution. 400 ppm is an arbitrary milestone that we'll blow right past on our way to 450 ppm within a few decades. This is an unprecedentedly fast rate of increase and it's getting faster. Not all measuring stations are exactly the same: A NOAA station in the Arctic measured CO2 at 400 ppm last year. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Apr 25, 2013 - 127 comments

Texas Gets Its Report Card

While a bit parochial, this post reveals some things worth pondering if you are considering relocating to Texas...

The Texas Legislative Study Group released its 2013 “Texas on the Brink” report at the end of last week. The report is an annual study to determine Texas’ rankings among the 50 states and the District of Columbia on health care, education, and the environment. How’s Texas doing? Not so great: The state ranks 50th in high school graduation rate, first in amount of carbon emissions, first in hazardous waste produced, last in voter turnout, first in percentage of people without health insurance, and second in percentage of uninsured kids... - via The Texas Observer
posted by jim in austin on Apr 16, 2013 - 71 comments

"More like Statue of Watery, right?"

How Popular Tourist Destinations Will Look Submerged In 25 Feet Of Water [Pics] [more inside]
posted by laconic skeuomorph on Apr 10, 2013 - 53 comments

A little sunshine on a rainy day...

The Virtual Power Plant: "Critics of renewables have always claimed that sun and wind are only intermittent producers of electricity and need fossil fuel plants as back-up to make them viable. But German engineers have proved this is not so." A pilot program funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Environment offers a rebuttal to critics who claim renewable energy sources have an insurmountable variability problem.
posted by saulgoodman on Apr 5, 2013 - 24 comments

Lake Erie is sick.

Spring Rain, Then Foul Algae in Ailing Lake Erie: [New York Times]
"A thick and growing coat of toxic algae appears each summer, so vast that in 2011 it covered a sixth of its waters, contributing to an expanding dead zone on its bottom, reducing fish populations, fouling beaches and crippling a tourism industry that generates more than $10 billion in revenue annually."

posted by Fizz on Mar 24, 2013 - 17 comments

Landscaping on a metropolitian scale

"But placing sand in island shapes is not enough. Because the islands are appearing in the blink of an eye, ecologically speaking, they are at risk of incredibly rapid erosion. Natural islands develop a healthy covering of plant life over the course of their accumulation, which serves as an anchor. New plants are not strong enough to provide the same utility, and so, created islands demand millions of transition plants, grown in nurseries, to pre-age the island. Once planted, their sturdier roots help the islands hold together long enough for a full ecosystem to boot up." Just one detail from the tour of New York City’s dredged landscapes Tim Maly, founder of the Dredge Research Collaborative, undertook to help understand the enormous scale on which dredging shapes New York and its harbors.
posted by MartinWisse on Feb 17, 2013 - 4 comments

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