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A Little Off the Top

"A rough calculation of current rates of soil degradation suggests we have about 60 years of topsoil left." Via.
posted by holmesian on Jan 18, 2013 - 68 comments

"Mexsicko" City No More

After years of dedicated rehabilitation, the people of Mexico City have transformed from one of the worst environments in the world to one of the "greenest" cities in North America, but there are still challenges to be faced.
posted by BZArcher on Jan 12, 2013 - 28 comments

Dark Ecology

If you think you can magic us out of the progress trap with new ideas or new technologies, you are wasting your time. If you think that the usual “campaigning” behavior is going to work today where it didn’t work yesterday, you will be wasting your time. If you think the machine can be reformed, tamed, or defanged, you will be wasting your time. If you draw up a great big plan for a better world based on science and rational argument, you will be wasting your time. If you try to live in the past, you will be wasting your time. If you romanticize hunting and gathering or send bombs to computer store owners, you will be wasting your time. And so I ask myself: what, at this moment in history, would not be a waste of my time?
posted by latkes on Dec 31, 2012 - 149 comments

We need to im(wait...no...ex)-port natural gas to save the U.S. economy

A new DOE-funded study has concluded liquified natural gas exports will help the US economy. (PDF) In this report, the word "environment" occurs four times -- none of them with respect to impact on, or cost to the environment of either extraction or transportation. [more inside]
posted by dylanjames on Dec 7, 2012 - 60 comments

Wipe your hands on paper towels

An article in Mayo Clinic Proceedings compares twelve different studies to determine which way of drying one's hands is the most sanitary, and concludes that the provision of Paper Towels is more effective than Blow Dryers. (previously: paper towels found to be less environmentally-friendly in paper commissioned by Dyson, inventor of the Airblade)
posted by Greg Nog on Dec 5, 2012 - 74 comments

Deepwater Horizon, 2 years later

Earlier this month, British Petroleum agreed to plead guilty to 14 violations of law, including negligence causing death and the Clean Water Act. [more inside]
posted by Lemurrhea on Nov 28, 2012 - 59 comments

106

One hundred and six environmental activists were murdered in 2011 (pdf, some cases).
posted by jeffburdges on Nov 28, 2012 - 4 comments

Our 4°C future

In a report released [Tuesday], the World Bank analyzed the consequences of allowing temperatures to reach 4°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. ... the report's authors admit that predications are a challenge. Still, they do their best to try to paint a picture, and boy, is it grim.
posted by Egg Shen on Nov 20, 2012 - 84 comments

Senator Chip Rogers - Agenda 21 - Mother Jones

Chip Rogers is the Republican Majority Leader of the Georgia State Senate, and Treasurer of ALEC (previously 1 2). On October 11th he hosted a four-hour briefing for his fellow senators, regarding Obama's mind-control techniques which are forcing the US into a United Nations-led Communist dictatorship in which suburbanites are forcibly relocated to cities. The theory is based on Agenda 21, the non-binding 1992 UN treaty on sustainable development. Rogers narrowly failed to pass a resolution against Agenda 21, but other states have done so, and Alabama has even forbidden its implementation in law.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Nov 15, 2012 - 132 comments

Films for Action

The Top 100 Documentaries Inspiring the Shift to a Sustainable Paradigm
posted by ladybird on Nov 7, 2012 - 34 comments

Coronet Instructional Films

From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 1, 2012 - 41 comments

Does success spell doom for Homo sapiens?

State of the Species: Will the unprecedented success of Homo sapiens lead to an unavoidable downfall? [Via]
posted by homunculus on Oct 28, 2012 - 46 comments

The vanishing groves

The vanishing groves: A chronicle of climates past and a portent of climates to come – the telling rings of the bristlecone pine.
posted by homunculus on Oct 17, 2012 - 19 comments

everything must go somewhere

Barry Commoner has died at age 95. Commoner was a scientist, an environmentalist, an author, and 1980 presidential candidate. He was one of the founders of the Committee for Nuclear Information and of the Citizens Party.
posted by maurice on Oct 1, 2012 - 7 comments

Automatic building mapping could help emergency responders

Researchers have developed a backpack that generates building layout map in realtime. (yt) The prototype system automatically maps the wearer’s environment, recognizing movement between floors. It was designed at MIT to be used by emergency responders. Read more.
posted by crunchland on Sep 27, 2012 - 38 comments

We will decide who comes to fish here, and the circumstances under which they fish

A new, controversial super-trawler, the Dutch-owned FV Margiris, has set sail for Tasmania, off the south-east coast of Australia, to take a haul of jack mackerel and redbait, prompting concerns it is going to decimate several Australian fish stocks as factory fishing has done elsewhere in the world. Greenpeace claims the industrial super-trawler is part of the European Association of pelagic freezer trawlers (PFA), responsible for "some of the worst fishing excesses on the planet.'' It is scheduled to be roaming between the Tasman Sea and Western Australia this spring. [more inside]
posted by Mezentian on Aug 12, 2012 - 55 comments

VISIT BEAUTIFUL FOLSOM DAM

Ladies and Gentlemen, tired of the usual vacation spot? Want to get away from crowded beaches and cluttered national forests? Why not visit new-and-improved locations like: Permian Basin, Texas! Or Bull Shoals Dam, in Arkansas. Try a less-well-known section of Virginia Beach! Drive up to see the glaciers at Glacier National Park. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Aug 4, 2012 - 24 comments

Franco-Italian Alps cleared of barbed wire

Barbed Wire no longer lines the Franco-Italian Alps. On the 11th of July this year, after working since 2002, mainly in the Mercantour National Park, the last of 134 tonnes of steel was finally removed for recycling by teams of volunteers. [more inside]
posted by fraula on Jul 20, 2012 - 24 comments

Rio+20; US demurs on equity.

As hopes for the future of multilateral action on the environment are fading, the draft negotiating text of "The future we want", the Rio+20 declaration was leaked, showing where the US delegation was seeking to remove any and all references to equity.
posted by wilful on Jun 20, 2012 - 29 comments

“So if we continue voting like this in the (House of Commons), there’ll be no b-day for me this year?” tweeted NDP MP Hoang Mai.

It is still June 13 for the Parliament of Canada, where voting has continued overnight on the "omnibus budget bill" (previously), due to 159 separate amendment votes that have been forced by the opposition. None are likely to pass, but the arduous process is meant to function as a protest against legislation which many critics have argued goes far beyond the scope of a traditional budget. [more inside]
posted by mek on Jun 14, 2012 - 76 comments

Women are even unveiling with impunity

"The fertile Wadi Hanifah valley running through part of Riyadh was for years a rubbish dump and a public health hazard, but now it's been transformed into a vast park, with lakes that attract cool breezes. It's an oasis so large it's hard to police - making it a place for Saudi citizens to relax, in more senses than one." [more inside]
posted by vidur on May 28, 2012 - 12 comments

Meep! Meep!

Apocalypse Soon: Has Civilization Passed the Environmental Point of No Return? Four decades ago, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer model called World3 warned of such a possible course for human civilization in the 21st century. In Limits to Growth, a bitterly disputed 1972 book that explicated these findings, researchers argued that the global industrial system has so much inertia that it cannot readily correct course in response to signals of planetary stress. But unless economic growth skidded to a halt before reaching the edge, they warned, society was headed for overshoot—and a splat that could kill billions.
posted by j03 on May 23, 2012 - 130 comments

Dont destroy research! vs Take the flour back!

On 27 May, UK protest group Take The Flour Back intends to destroy an open air GM wheat trial at Rothamsted Research, a public institution. A small attack was made on 20 May. Understandably, scientists involved in this research are concerned about the threat, launching a PR program to explain the research [original ACRE advice recommending the trial] and opening a petition against the protests.
posted by wilful on May 21, 2012 - 128 comments

We're going to put the trees back too... no, really, we are...

The Canadian oil sand mines refused us access, so we rented this plane to see what they were up to: A slideshow of oil extraction from above Alberta's tar sands fields. (Warning: surreally-coloured pools of water inside) [more inside]
posted by nickrussell on May 20, 2012 - 129 comments

The Vibrator gets an Overhaul

Jimmyjane (NSFW) makes luxury, design-oriented vibrators and other sex toys and accessories. ("Design inspired by Apple, not Hustler.") They'd like to change the way Americans think about them: instead of as 'dirty little secrets,' they're hoping for mainstream acceptance and to usher in an "Age of Great American Sex." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 15, 2012 - 42 comments

Quickly eats polyurethane. Takes the next 400 years of decomposition time off.

Biodegradation of Polyester Polyurethane by Endophytic Fungi [scientific paper]. Pestalotiopsis microspora lives in dark, damp and anaerobic conditions in the Amazon, is a candidate for introduction to landfills, can survive on only polyurethane, and may solve the plastic 100-400 year decomposition issue [non-technical summary].
posted by jaduncan on May 15, 2012 - 40 comments

The Dry Earth

The Earth has less water than you might think. [via]
posted by cashman on May 13, 2012 - 68 comments

More People + More Stuff = More Problems

"The world now has a very clear choice. We can choose to address the twin issues of population and consumption... Or we can choose to do nothing and to drift into a downward vortex of economic, socio-political and environmental ills, leading to a more unequal and inhospitable future." Sir John Sulston, Royal Society Fellow on the Society's recent report "People and the planet". [more inside]
posted by nowhere man on May 4, 2012 - 63 comments

The National Map (US)

"The U.S. Geological Survey has just released more than 161,000 digitally scanned historical maps spanning in excess of 130 years and covering the lower 48 states. This Historical Topographic Map Collection provides a comprehensive repository of the landscape of our Nation..."
posted by Miko on Apr 20, 2012 - 19 comments

Parting is such sweet sorrow...

"The world's most important story" – A decade of environmental journalism in China, by Guardian environment reporter Jonathan Watts.
posted by nickrussell on Apr 20, 2012 - 3 comments

Eyeless Shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico

In the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Al Jazeera reports on large-scale deformities and mutations in the Gulf of Mexico seafood catch.
posted by parudox on Apr 18, 2012 - 64 comments

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale...

In 1984, The Voyage of the Mimi set sail on PBS, exploring the ocean off the coast of Massachusetts to study humpback whales. The educational series was made up of thirteen episodes intended to teach middle schoolers about science and math. The first fifteen minutes of each episode were a fictional adventure starring a young Ben Affleck. The second 15 minutes were an "expedition documentary" that would explore the scientific concepts behind the show's plot points. A sequel with the same format, The Second Voyage of the Mimi aired in 1988, and featured the crew of the Mimi exploring Mayan ruins in Mexico. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 9, 2012 - 36 comments

Polar Bear Threat on "Ice".. Giving "Chills" To Environmentalist. Puns also deemed healthy

We all know Polar Bears are at risk, right?
"Not so fast!" says a new study completed by the Government of Nunavut on the populations on the Western Coast of Hudson Bay. The populations are actually increasing in number.

This is something that has long been argued by Inuit who live in the area. (video) Inuit are chaulking this up as a win for Inuit Traditional Knowledge. The numbers are said to be confounding doomsayers. [more inside]
posted by dogbusonline on Apr 5, 2012 - 73 comments

Poo-Powered Rickshaw Unveiled At The Denver Zoo

Poo-Powered Rickshaw Unveiled At The Denver Zoo Poop. Is there anything it can't do? On Wednesday, The Denver Zoo introduced what is believed to be the world's first poo-powered motorized tuk tuk showcasing The Denver Zoo's very own patent-pending gasification technology.
posted by novenator on Mar 28, 2012 - 24 comments

Perpetual ocean

Beautiful HD video of whirlpools flowing around rocks, courtesy of NASA and neatorama.
posted by mediareport on Mar 25, 2012 - 10 comments

Google StreetView For The Ocean

The Catlin Seaview Survey is using panoramic cameras to take interactive photographic journeys of the world's most spectacular (and endangered) oceanic environments, starting with Australia's Great Barrier Reef. [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Feb 23, 2012 - 5 comments

Like Noriega but Fresher Smelling!

Indigenous groups in Panama have shut down parts of the Pan American Highway in an increasingly violent protest. The root of the conflict is the Martinelli government’s refusal to enact environmental protection that was promised for the Ngöbe-Buglé Comarca from both Hydro-Electric and mining exploitation. Outside press is being denied entry to cover the conflict. This is not the first time this has happened. Ongoing updates in English can be found here.
posted by white_devil on Feb 7, 2012 - 6 comments

Refining companies face $7M in fines for not adding nonexistent additive to fuels

Refining companies face $7M in fines for not adding nonexistent additive to fuels
posted by leffler on Jan 22, 2012 - 50 comments

"Because clouds are boundless, weather control is boundless."

Five regional weather control programs in northeastern China seek to increase precipitation by 10 percent. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Dec 22, 2011 - 16 comments

The 5 Most Horrifyingly Wasteful Film Shoots

The 5 Most Horrifyingly Wasteful Film Shoots.
posted by John Cohen on Dec 15, 2011 - 75 comments

Boiling like a pot

Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane have been have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean. [more inside]
posted by Joe in Australia on Dec 13, 2011 - 189 comments

BUY MORE STUFF. CONSUME. OBEY.

The Light Bulb Conspiracy is a documentary about disposable printers, light bulbs and everything else, investigating the implications of the business model and industrial design philosophy of Planned Obsolescence that drives and shapes our economy.
posted by loquacious on Dec 10, 2011 - 43 comments

The Crash Course

Economic analyst Chris Martenson explains why he thinks that the coming 20 years are going to look completely unlike the last 20 years.
posted by mhjb on Dec 1, 2011 - 68 comments

Blow dry or hand towel?

The Great Debate: What's the most environmentally-friendly way to dry your hands in a public bathroom? Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have completed what is believed to be the first major study to assess the greenest way of drying your hands.
posted by modernnomad on Nov 11, 2011 - 86 comments

Chinese heavy metals

About one tenth of China's farmland is polluted with heavy metals, with whole villages being poisoned. All too frequently, local governments have reacted by ignoring the problems and even denying treatment (HRW report).
posted by jeffburdges on Nov 9, 2011 - 37 comments

Oops!

Carbon dioxide emissions increased by the largest amount on record in 2010, exceeding the worst case scenario outlined by the IPCC four years ago.
posted by jeffburdges on Nov 8, 2011 - 93 comments

Reservoir ball pit

For millennia, man has yearned to block the sun (with black plastic balls). If an un-covered public water reservoir contains bromide, sunlight will combine the bromide with the chlorine used for reducing bacteria -- thus poisoning the water with carcinogenic bromate. Blocking the sunlight is the answer, but building a permanent cover for a huge reservoir is very costly. The solution for LA-area reservoirs, a few years ago: cover the entire water surface with millions of floating "bird balls", in effect turning the reservoir into a 10+ acre ball pit. [more inside]
posted by LobsterMitten on Oct 30, 2011 - 46 comments

Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest is a "brave new thermostat" from one of the creators of the iPod. It learns from your temperature adjustments.
posted by Avenger50 on Oct 25, 2011 - 77 comments

One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure

Treshr makes it easy to give things away, or, the other way around, find free stuff. Everyone has stuff they don’t need anymore. Maybe your child outgrew their old clothes, or you moved to a new place and have old furniture to get rid of. Whatever it is you’re looking for, someone somewhere is trying to throw it away. Treshr is basically a search engine for Freecycle, a nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. [via] [more inside]
posted by netbros on Oct 20, 2011 - 28 comments

Death of Wangari Maathai announced.

I am sorry that Wangari Maathai, inspiring Nobel Peace Prize winner famous for tree-planting programme, has died.
posted by maiamaia on Sep 26, 2011 - 28 comments

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