A visit with David Quammen, who confronted in COVID a story that refused to stay at a safe distance
From a detective story on the origins of Covid-19 to a narrative that imagines a fateful day for dinosaurs, these works affected us the most this year
Global emissions of methane from existing gas infrastructure may be up to five times higher than had been believed, a new study has found. Existing measures to burn off the powerful greenhouse gas — which is dozens of times more potent than carbon dioxide — allow far more to slip by than had been believed,...
Hailing from seven countries and five continents, 10 mid-career journalists join a storied program at MIT.
From Omicron’s spread to a revelation made using ancient DNA, these were the biggest moments of the past year
The James Webb Space Telescope is opening an exciting new chapter in the study of exoplanets and the search for life beyond Earth
"Climate science, materials science, robotics, are going to be some of the sexiest fields in science to go work on."
Seven professors join the departments of Biology; Chemistry; Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences; Mathematics; and Physics.
Under future climate change, atmospheric rivers hitting the West Coast are likely to “shift from being ‘mostly or primarily beneficial’ to ‘mostly or primarily hazardous,’” according to a study published in 2020 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Those selected for these positions receive additional support to pursue their research and develop their careers.
Radiation in water from Fukushima will be diluted to almost background levels, but some researchers are not sure this will be sufficient to mitigate the risks
Register for the webinar here! https://go.nasa.gov/3uO0ez2 (Credit: NASA ARSET) “Remote sensing” is the process of acquiring information from a distance---as satellites do. NASA observes Earth and other planetary bodies via remote sensors on satellites and aircraft that detect and record reflected or emitted energy. Now you can learn more about how Remote Sensing and Citizen Science go together at an online introductory webinar series provided by NASA’s Applied Remote Sensing Training Program (ARSET). The “Connecting Citizen Science with Remote Sensing” webinar series will provide attendees an overview of citizen science efforts that use Earth observations combined with ground-based information in the fields of climate change, sustainable development, ecosystem monitoring, drought, and landscape change. The three-part training will also highlight case-study examples of successful citizen science projects that are contributing to NASA science. It will be delivered in both English and Spanish. Attendees will also be provided with case-study examples of successful citizen science projects, with some examples from NASA supported projects and activities. We will highlight projects like NeMO-Net, a global coral reef classification with 2D and 3D images application combined with machine learning; Floating Forests, a Giant Kelp monitoring platform where participants can classify kelp in Landsat images; Snapshot Wisconsin, a project that uses images of wildlife from trail cameras to assist with habitat mapping; and Soundscapes to Landscapes, where bird diversity in California is monitored by identifying specific species through sound recordings. We will also highlight the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program, an international science and education program, and GLOBE Observer, a citizen science app that allows volunteers to report environmental data to support understanding of our changing planet. URLS: ARSET Website Register for Training NASA’s Citizen Science Program: Learn about NASA citizen science projects Follow on Twitter Follow on Facebook News Article Type: Homepage ArticlesPublished: Monday, December 19, 2022 - 09:41
Exclusive: museum in London agreed to take care not to say anything that could damage sponsor Equinor’s reputationThe Science Museum in London signed a sponsorship contract containing a gagging clause with the Norwegian oil and gas company Equinor, agreeing to take care not to say anything that could damage the firm’s reputation, it can be revealed.The agreement, a copy of which was obtained by the Guardian and the investigative journalism organisation Point Source, concerned sponsorship of the museum’s current Wonderlab exhibition. Continue reading...
From moon missions to fast-charging batteries and AI-sourced antibiotics, in no particular order, the year’s significant scientific developmentsThe year opened with a bang. Or rather, it didn’t. The successful film Don’t Look Up, in which a comet is found to be on a collision course with Earth, had been released just before Christmas 2021. In the bleak days of post-festive gloom, the news media were on an adrenaline high, chasing any and every story about potential asteroid collisions to cheer us all up. Five asteroids were to pass close to the Earth in January alone! Happily for the health and wellbeing of humanity, none was predicted to come within a whisker of hitting the planet. Nonetheless, the possibility of an asteroid colliding with Earth is a reality – the globe is covered in craters from previous impacts, and it is well known that 65m years ago, dinosaurs became extinct following the impact of an asteroid about 10km across. Can anything be done about saving us from this existential extraterrestrial threat? Fortunately, the international space community has taken the first steps towards reducing the risk of an asteroid catching us unawares. The joint Nasa- Esa mission Dart (Double Asteroid Re-Direction Test) was an ambitious attempt to alter the trajectory of a small asteroid (Dimorphos) as it orbited a slightly larger asteroid (Didymos), by sending a spacecraft to crash into it. In October, we learned that the mission had been even more successful than anticipated, and that the orbit of Dimorphos had changed – showing that we could, if given sufficient time, alter the path of an asteroid if it were on a collision course with Earth. Continue reading...
Fifteen MIT students traveled to Washington to speak to representatives from several federal executive agencies.
Editor's note: This essay originally published San Francisco Marin Medicine journal. After Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski and I published Our Stolen Future in 1996, we got "slapped" by one of the most prominent science journalists of the day, Gina Kolata writing for the New York Times. Among her criticisms was that one chemical can't cause a plethora of diseases. It was one chemical, one disease, like asbestos and mesothelioma. Talk about progress. That "paradigm" is so broken now it's hard to imagine how any science editor who has been following advances in the environmental health sciences, including endocrine disruption, would allow an argument like that to pass the editorial laugh test. Yes, there are examples other than asbestos that do follow that pattern, but especially in endocrine disruption, they are the exception, not the rule. As Thomas Kuhn wrote in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), current scientific paradigms have enormous inertia. This is still true. And that's even without the active dissembling focused on resisting change funded purposefully and heavily by vested interests, a fact of life in work on the environmental health consequences of chemical exposures. Despite strong and wily opposition, the environmental health science community using science and communication over the past two decades has shattered multiple paradigms that for decades if not centuries medicine had held dear, preventing its practitioners from embracing the opportunities to prevent diseases by reducing exposures, instead of merely treating them (usually with pharmaceutical chemicals). Some of my favorite broken paradigms? "The dose makes the poison." (We now know that high dose exposures do not predict low dose impacts.)"Nature vs. Nurture" becomes "Nature and Nurture." "Those statistically significant adverse effects are not toxicologically relevant because they aren't the same in both sexes." Actually, for endocrine-disrupting compounds, the default expectation now is that there will be differences between how the sexes respond to exposure. And then there's the still ubiquitous practice among regulatory agencies of testing chemicals one at a time, instead of in the mixtures in which they always occur.The Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) community has played a pivotal role over the last two decades in breaking down these outdated paradigms. How? It has created, purposefully and steadfastly, multiple real and virtual safe spaces where new ideas and results can be examined, discussed and debated, not just by people throwing bricks at the old paradigms, but by thoughtful scientists willing to listen to new ideas, new data, new hypotheses that challenge some of their most cherished notions.More, these spaces by design have welcomed advocates with serious commitments to carry the discussions into the real world, to share this ongoing thunder of scientific understandings with the media, policy advocates, and even, provocateurs. Those safe spaces have been immeasurably valuable for progress. They might not be the flashiest new shiny objects on the block, but they have helped us get beyond old, outdated and sometimes even harmful ideas.CHE has done all that as waves of new scientific results have been published and as the media landscape has changed enormously. The CHE community has embraced the new results and adapted to sweeping revolutions in communication challenges and opportunities. And that's what the next two decades of environmental health science and communication needs more of, turbocharged.Pete Myers is the founder and chief scientist of Environmental Health Sciences, publisher of EHN.org and DailyClimate.org.This essay originally published San Francisco Marin Medicine journal.
A WWF report catalogues a cornucopia of plants and animals newly identified in the Greater Mekong region in 2021 and 2022, but many of them are endangered
A newly discovered type of transferrable DNA structure with a sci-fi name appears to play a role in balancing atmospheric methane. In Star Trek, the...
Mountaineer and scientist Will Steffen said climbing was similar to science: “That’s the buzz you get in science when you solve a big problem and suddenly see how it all fits together”
Compared with landslides, volcanoes and hurricanes get a lot more attention, as well as research funding
‘The 1990s called. They want their scientific misinformation back.’
Max Planck scientists explore the possibilities of artificial intelligence in materials science and publish their review in the journal Nature Computational Science. Advanced materials become...
The teams will work toward sustainable microchips and topological materials as well as socioresilient materials design.
NASA supports USDA plant science research that benefits life on our home planet and beyond! This image shows the USDA Biotechnology Lab at EPCOT, located within Walt Disney World Resort. The two illuminated white squares stacked one over the other above the Biotechnology Lab sign are plant growing chambers developed by NASA’s Biological and Physical Sciences Division at Kennedy Space Center. (Credit: Mark Sperry/USDA Agricultural Research Service) Since December 2019, NASA’s Biological and Physical Sciences Division (BPS) has partnered with the USDA on joint plant research for the USDA’s Biotechnology Lab. At the lab, horticulturalists study and propagate a range of horticultural crops and under this partnership, BPS-sponsored scientists at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida work to achieve faster growth and better, increased yields for diverse plant varieties. The key to this process? Microbes. Microbial Magic at Work in Plants The thought of microbes might conjure images of harmful mold or call to mind illness-causing viruses and bacteria. But certain microbes can actually benefit both human and plant health. With this project, scientists study plant-microbial interactions to determine which kinds of microbes enhance plant growth. And they’ve discovered one, the fungus Cladosporium sphaerospermum. “We have a group here at Kennedy that tests what crops can be grown in spaceflight, based on factors including nutritional quality and overall biomass,” said Dr. Anirudha R. Dixit, one of the research scientists contracted at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to conduct research under this partnership. “The focus of this research is to test the growth promotion abilities of this particular fungus on some of these crops to see if exposure to gases produced by the fungus could help increase their total biomass.” USDA and NASA researchers worked together to sequence this fuzzy, powdery black fungus (dubbed ‘Black Magic’) for the first time, allowing them to monitor the genetic changes as it grows and develops. They’ve found that this specific strain does in fact help promote the growth of plants growing nearby and they suspect that these positive effects are due to volatile organic compounds produced by the fungus. Environmental Test Chambers (ETCs) developed through BPS funding could help confirm whether this theory is correct. Versions of the plant growing chambers tested at Kennedy Space Center for use at the USDA Biotechnology Lab. (Credit: NASA Kennedy Space Center) This image shows two plant growing chambers at the USDA Biotechnology Lab. The chambers were developed by NASA’s Biological and Physical Sciences Division at Kennedy Space Center. (Credit: Mark Sperry/USDA Agricultural Research Service) In addition to conducting fundamental research on microbes as well as plant growth and development testing, BPS’s other major role in this partnership was to design and build growth chambers specifically for these studies. The USDA Biotechnology Lab is located at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT theme park and is visible to visitors who embark on the Living with the Land attraction, a boat ride that tells the history of farming and gives a glimpse into the varied research conducted at the lab. In December 2022, two chambers were delivered to the lab at EPCOT. Like those on the ground at Kennedy and similar to the Advanced Plant Habitat and Veggie on the International Space Station, the chambers provide USDA researchers with more active control for growth conditions including temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide (CO2) and lighting. The chambers also provide a more closed atmosphere that enables scientists to examine synergistic effects between microbes and plants. “With these chambers, we’re able to continue studying if these volatile compounds are indeed the cause of these growth promotion effects on the plants or if these effects are caused by the amount of CO2 that the fungus produces,” said Ray Wheeler, plant physiologist at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. “If there are volatile compounds, we want to identify what they might be, why they benefit plant growth and the mechanisms behind this.” Plant growing chambers visible at the USDA Biotechnology Lab. (Credit: Mark Sperry/USDA Agricultural Research Service) Scientists at Kennedy have primarily conducted these microbial studies in lettuce and mizuna (a mild-tasting Brassica in the mustard family). These leafy greens were chosen for this research because they grow quickly, which allows scientists to harvest them sooner than they could other plant varieties and therefore repeat experiments more quickly. Stellar Applications on Our Home Planet and Beyond Research conducted under this cross-agency collaboration has potential benefits both in space and on our home planet. “The original objective of this project was to figure out how to increase overall crop productivity in order to benefit terrestrial agriculture,” said Dixit. “We can also apply these methods in the spaceflight environment to maximize the overall productivity of plants grown in the limited space we have aboard spacecraft.” NASA astronaut Jessica Meir harvests leaves from Mizuna mustard greens for analysis and consumption during the Veg-04 experiment, part of a phased research project to address the need for fresh food production in space. Credits: NASA Developing new methods to increase plant yield may not only allow for a greater variety of plants to be grown and eaten in space, as has been done with Veggie experiments on the International Space Station, but these advancements could also contribute to more efficient and productive agricultural methods on Earth. In addition, the joint USDA/NASA plant research could have applications for commercial technologies that support sustainable farming on Earth. “If there’s a way to co-utilize these microbes or fungi where you deliberately inoculate them into the growing media of plants, it could potentially speed up the growth and produce better yields or quicker yields,” said Wheeler. “If we can clearly demonstrate this on the ground, then it would be nice to do a follow-up test in space to see if the same thing occurs in microgravity.” Researchers are working to expand the plant varieties investigated under this partnership to crops including tomatoes. In the future, scientists also aim to test this ground research in space, bringing the microbial magic to the cosmos. Learn more about NASA’s Plant Biology Program Related EFRI ELiS: Bioweathering Dynamics and Ecophysiology of Microbially Catalyzed Soil Genesis of Martian Regolith Dynamics of Microbiomes in Space (DynaMoS) Surviving Space: Extreme Plant Adaptation News Article Type: Homepage ArticlesPublished: Thursday, May 11, 2023 - 09:53
UC Berkeley is spreading the gospel of data science, a high-demand, high-earning field that can advance social justice, with a proposed new college and free curriculum to schools.
Valued mentor was known for research in intensity perception, hearing-impairment characterization, and aids for the deaf.
After a long hiatus, the epic Ocean Race is back – but this year, as well as dodging icebergs, cracking masts and suffering the occasional ‘hull sandwich failure’, the teams are gathering crucial data from places even research vessels rarely reachThe Southern Ocean is not somewhere most people choose to spend an hour, let alone a month. Circling the icy continent of Antarctica, it is the planet’s wildest and most remote ocean. Point Nemo – just to the north in the South Pacific – is the farthest location from land on Earth, 1,670 miles (2,688km) away from the closest shore. The nearest humans are generally those in the International Space Station when it passes overhead.But on 21 March, four sailing teams came through here – part of a marathon race round the bottom of the Earth, from Cape Town in South Africa to Itajaí in Brazil. Continue reading...
Plastic is overwhelming our planet and this pollution is spurring developmental and reproductive problems in people — but there are ways we can reduce this harmful waste.That is the message Environmental Health Science founder and chief scientist Dr. Pete Myers will bring to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment & Public Works on Dec. 15 at 10 AM ET. Myers will testify along with three others — former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator and current Beyond Plastics president Judith Enck, CEO of the Plastics Industry Association Matt Seaholm and co-founder and president of Nexus Circular Eric Hartz — at the hearing, “Examining the Impact of Plastic Use and Identifying Solutions for Reducing Plastic Waste.”“Plastic cannot be considered ‘safe’ until it is thoroughly tested,” Myers writes in his testimony. “And no plastic has ever been thoroughly tested using the tools of modern, 21st century medical science.”Myers is a leading voice linking plastic to harmful chemicals that can block, mimic, increase or decrease our body’s hormones. The compounds, often added to plastics as additives, are dubbed endocrine-disrupting chemicals and include bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates, fluorinated compounds and others. Properly functioning hormones are vital for our health, and exposure to these chemicals is linked to a host of health problems including cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes, impaired brain development and reproductive issues, among others. Myers has spoken extensively about how the rate of plastic production increases the prevalence of these toxics in our environment and bodies. Myers has also worked to chart a healthier future, championing a new set of “3 R’s” — rethink, redesign and reform — to replace the old reduce, reuse and recycle messaging. Myers co-founded the Sudoc company, which aims to reduce and replace harmful chemicals in many different types of products. The company won the On the Rise category of Fast Company’s 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards.Watch the livestream of the hearing on Thursday Dec. 15, 2022, at 10 AM ET. About EHS: Environmental Health Sciences, which publishes EHN.org, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news and science organization dedicated to driving good science into public policy and public discussion on our environment and health, including climate change. The organization, founded in 2002, has helped drive science-based changes to policy that led to a moratorium on PBDE flame retardants by several states, a ban on the plastic additive BPA in children’s products by the federal government, and science-based chemical reform in Europe. Contact:Douglas FischerExecutive Directordfischer@ehsciences.orgAngela Marie HutchinsonEngagement Directorangela@ehsciences.org
Bolsonaro "derided Indigenous people, environmentalists and science" while weakening environmental protections
The Western diet is a triple threat for causing obesity: the diet itself, the additives used in the food processing and the chemicals used in the food packaging are all culprits, according to a new report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The center is a science-based consumer advocacy organization that studies nutrition and health, so the focus on nutrition’s role in obesity is not surprising. What is surprising is a report on the role of environmental chemicals, obesogens, in causing obesity. Obesogen science proposes that humans are exposed to chemicals (obesogens) that stimulate the formation of fat cells and fat disposition, disrupt metabolism and energy, and regulate appetite and weight gain, which results in obesity. While obesogens can act across the lifespan, they have their greatest effects in utero and during early life when the metabolic system is developing.The new report examined how much evidence supports the obesogen hypothesis, and how researchers, health advocates and government should respond.And unfortunately it found the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is failing us. What food chemicals are obesogens? The Center for Science in the Public Interest examined all the data supporting the obesogen hypothesis. While the Western diet is obesogenic due to its high fat, high sugar, low fiber, low fruits and vegetables and high content of highly processed foods, the study examined the possible obesogenic effects of chemicals intentionally added to food as preservatives, emulsifiers, flavor enhancers or antioxidants. Data analysis indicated that the preservatives benzoates, propionic acid and parabens, the emulsifier dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (DOSS), the psychoactive drug caffeine, the flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG, and the antioxidant 3-tert butyl hydroxyanisole (3-BHA) are suspected obesogens. Further, they noted ethyl butyrate and methyl salicylate (flavorings) and the color additives red 40, yellow 5 and yellow 6 are potential obesogens, pending confirmation in animal studies. Carboxymethylcellulose, an emulsifier, is also an obesogen via alterations in the gut microbiota, and fructose and low-calorie sweeteners acesulfame potassium, aspartame, saccharin, sucralose and stevia leaf extracts are also obesogenic. In addition, bisphenol A (BPA), perfluorooctanoic acid, and di-ethylhexyl phthalate, known obesogens, are used in food packaging and can be released into the food. There are also pesticide residues used in producing fruits and vegetables, some of which are also obesogens. FDA failures Despite this data, the report noted that the FDA “lacks a framework for identifying and evaluating possible metabolic disruptors and obesogens.” The public relies on the FDA to guide the safety of food and food additives. The FDA has dropped the ball. Consumer health is suffering. The report notes that FDA could greatly benefit from expert input as it seeks to improve its assessments of chemicals added to food. It recommended that the FDA, in collaboration with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences or the Endocrine Society, should fund the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to develop recommendations for incorporating information on metabolic disruption into its assessments of food chemicals and guidance for companies that seek to introduce substances into the food supply. Furthermore, for substances already on the market, FDA should prioritize substances for reevaluation, taking information on metabolic disruption into account.The FDA’s Redbook — the agency’s guide for toxicological testing — was last updated in 2007 and does “not reflect the current scientific understanding of metabolic disruption and more generally endocrine disruption,” according to the new report. Changes suggested to toxicological testing include: examining a wider range of doses, longer testing to determine adult-onset obesity, more disease-related and modern molecular endpoints, determination of cumulative exposures and consideration of sensitive populations.I applaud the Center for Science in the Public Interest and support the call for the FDA to examine chemicals in food that can lead to obesity. I hope someone at FDA is listening — the health of Americans depends on it.Jerrold J. Heindel is the Director of Healthy Environment and Endocrine Disruptor Strategies, a program of Environmental Health Sciences. His views do not necessarily represent those of Environmental Health News, The Daily Climate, or publisher Environmental Health Sciences.
Ali Jadbabaie and Robert van der Hilst discuss how a new joint degree program in climate system science and engineering will prepare students to solve global-scale environmental problems.
A new paper explores how a carefully controlled fuel reduction burn killed 17 critically endangered western ringtail possums.
The term suggests women became less capable mentally postpartum — but science says otherwise
" . . . the factor of cultural significance raises an important question: Is science all that matters?"
The national award from the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT recognizes The Charlotte Observer and the Raleigh News and Observer for their series, “Big Poultry.”
A simple 19th Century tool is still useful to ocean scientists in the age of satellites, new research published in Frontiers in Marine Science shows....
Fourteen faculty members have been granted tenure in five departments across the MIT School of Engineering.
The debate over how to interpret acetaminophen science has profound implications for individuals and the public
Since '90s, many scientists had been calling for a comprehensive, integrated science program at the lake
Futuristic food science technology could finally bring plant-based salmon filets and tuna steaks to the table
With the support of each other and MIT faculty, students in the MCSC’s Climate and Sustainability Scholars Program are making their impact on real-world climate challenges.
The popular YouTuber, engineer, and inventor works to engage young people in science and technology while encouraging curiosity and resilience.
Advancements in science could mean lab-grown meats will become the norm very soon. What will this mean?
Through the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative, the US Department of Defense supports research projects in areas of critical importance to national defense.
With the selection of 16 inaugural postdocs, the program seeks to develop the next generation of faculty leaders and help guide the school toward a more diverse and inclusive culture.
In 2020, I unintentionally started a tradition of celebrating the holiday by thanking American environmental journalists and fellow travelers who deserve to be thanked. Last year, I did a dozen more.So here are the third annual Clean Dozen of men and women who do (or did) their jobs extraordinarily well.Cynthia BarnettAuthor of remarkable books about water in its most indelible forms: Rain, seashells, and water crises in the U.S., especially in her home state, Florida.Rebecca Byerly A Force of Nature you’ve probably never heard of. A “backpack journalist” and ultramarathoner who’s traipsed through Libya and the Himalayas in search of stories about shrinking glaciers and the growing empowerment of women. This story about Kashmiri glaciers is a dozen years old, but you get the picture.Tom Henry Henry started warning about Lake Erie’s impending toxic algae crisis in 1993. It hit home for Henry’s Toledo Blade readership in 2014 when half a million people temporarily lost their drinking water source. I profiled him and several other prophets of eco-doom for Ensia in 2017.Yasir KhanSo I cheated a little to include Khan, a Canadian national and Editor-in-Chief of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. They’re the charitable arm of a major news organization devoted to diversity in both staffing and content. Not bad for a former CNN intern of mine.Jay Letto Letto is the final third of a leadership triumvirate who guided the Society of Environmental Journalists through its successful first quarter century. If Beth Parke and Chris Bruggers, both now in well-deserved retirement, were interchangeably SEJ’s heroic Kirk and Spock, Letto continues to be its irascible Dr. Leonard McCoy, staging valuable annual conferences. May he continue to live long and (non-financially) prosper.Michael Mann and Katharine HayhoeOk, maybe not journalists, but these two have destroyed the myth that scientists working in politically contentious realms like climate science must not only avoid any discussion of the real world but be deadly dull about it. These two have led an overhaul of public science discussions, from social media and lecture halls to talkshows and courtrooms to book tours.Miles O’BrienThe inevitable full disclosure is that O’Brien and I worked together on many a CNN project over the years and despite it all, remain good friends. His extraordinary talents in space, aviation, science, climate and environment reporting are on full display on marquee programs like Nova, Frontline, and NewsHour.John PlattEditor of The Revelator, a prolific news arm of the Center for Biological Diversity.Sammy Roth and Ian JamesI’m not sure which one is Batman and which one is Robin, but Roth and James have worked their way up the Western media food chain to superheroes on the water crisis. At the L.A. Times, they’ve reached ninja status on the I-Told-You-So scale.Charles Seabrook Seabrook served for years as beat reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He wrote a Saturday column on Georgia wildlife for years more. His crowning achievement may have been a mostly-forgotten 1995 book, Red Clay, White Gold and Pink Cadillacs. Kaolin is the “white gold” at the heart of a ruthless billion-dollar mining industry in central Georgia.I’m not just thankful for these people for their work and work ethic. They make my list because they’re people I admire.What journalists or science communicators are YOU thankful for? Let Peter know at email@example.com or @pdykstra.Peter Dykstra is our weekend editor and columnist. His views do not necessarily represent those of Environmental Health News, The Daily Climate, or publisher Environmental Health Sciences.
On Sunday it was time for another episode of the hit HBO series "The Last Of Us." In this take on the zombie apocalypse, we see a post-pandemic world that's been taken over by zombies. But these are not the typical zombies we're used to seeing in movies and TV shows like "The Walking Dead,"...
Invasive species experts urge scientists and the media to avoid sensationalizing Jorō spiders—and wait for science to catch up.
The University of Florida is hosting a Hackathon in collaboration with IBM that began Sep. 13 until Nov. 29. Teams will present technology solutions to address one of six environmental challenges, including power consumption and agriculture.
What persuades people to help protect threatened species and ecosystems? Most scientists think facts alone will change minds. They’re wrong. The post How to Make Friends and Influence People — to Save the World appeared first on The Revelator.
Washington, D.C., May 31, 2023 — The National Geographic Society is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 Wayfinder Awards. This year’s awardees include an Egyptologist, documentary filmmaker, investigative journalist, biologist, urban ecologist and other innovators, and were selected for their exemplary achievements in exploration through science, education, conservation, technology, and storytelling. Wayfinder Award...
Science-Based Targets Network says new schema will ‘get nature into the boardroom’ in the same way as climate footprintsBusinesses can now assess their impacts on nature loss using science-based targets as part of a move to “get nature into the boardroom”.Research shows that the biodiversity crisis is as serious as the climate crisis, yet there is less information about how companies drive nature loss, because this data is not being disclosed. The Science-Based Targets Network (SBTN) is providing the first framework for companies to report their impacts on nature as part a new frontier of corporate environmental reporting. Continue reading...
Past Presentation | In the tendency to assume that science-based conclusions are objective and reliable, public health tragedies are allowed to occur repeatedly.
Now Playing | A film to provide an awareness of climate change and the individual measures we can take to combat it. The production process of Rise and Fall began as your stereotypical documentary meant to showcase various aspects of the Earth and Ocean Sciences Department at UNCW. Still, as the interview process was underway, it was quickly decided to move in another direction. It is an essay film about the science of climate change, what we can do in our day-to-day lives to combat it, and its impacts. Without using talking heads, the images of the natural world provide a sensual look at what will be affected by climate change.
A study recently published in Environmental Science & Technology Letters suggests that the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) once considered safe for use in food...
The 10-week pilot program Totemic Species in Schools shows how Indigenous science can be woven into the existing curriculum. Students, teachers and parents provided positive feedback.
As my toddler girls frolic through our community garden picking fresh cherry tomatoes from our plot, I smile at their sense of wonder about growing food. Their eyes widen and their smiles beam as they admire how the seeds we planted earlier in the season are now full-grown plants. The scent of summer rain is in the air and I’m excited to begin harvesting okra, which I will freeze to make gumbo in the fall. Although gardening was not part of my childhood, I reclaimed the connection to the land to continue that legacy for my family. My maternal great-grandparents in Opelousas, Louisiana, grew sweet potatoes, okra, watermelon and other produce to sell at the French Market in New Orleans. My paternal great-grandparents owned vegetable and dairy farms in Mansfield, Louisiana. Local agriculture was not only a source of food and income, but a means of community, partnership and connection. While my youngest daughter is chasing butterflies that frequent the marigolds in a neighboring garden plot, my oldest daughter is examining a ladybug on a cucumber vine. “Mom, what do ladybugs eat? Why are ladybugs good for our garden? But how?” This space is a living classroom that can teach us to question the “what?” “why?” and “how?” of partnerships that benefit all of its members. Community gardening and other types of urban agriculture can be powerful tools to advance food sovereignty, build community connections and educate. As described in Dr. Ashley Gripper’s Agents of Change essay, people of color and grass-root environmental justice organizations have transformed vacant lots and other sites into community gardens and farms that foster spiritual healing, strengthen community-building and combat food apartheid – discriminatory policies and practices that prevent marginalized groups from accessing affordable, sustainable, nutritious, high-quality and culturally connected food. This essay is also available in SpanishUnfortunately, the same communities impacted by food apartheid often live in areas where disinvestment, racial segregation and other inequalities result in disproportionally high exposures to harmful chemicals in air, water and soils – which might be used for urban agriculture. Communities of color are more likely to be near hazardous waste sites, highways and other pollution that may result in elevated heavy metal soil concentrations, such as lead. Data show children from racial and ethnic minority groups and children in low-income communities are more likely to have higher blood lead levels. Some garden practices can introduce chemicals into the garden like pesticides, and gardening materials such as landscape fabrics can be a source of microplastics. I want to be clear: the benefits of gardening in communal settings should not be stifled by potential contaminant risks. Rather, we should look for ways to reduce chemical exposures in gardens. To do that, we need to ensure effective collaborations exist involving every sector interested in community gardens, including education, nutrition, urban planning, research and government. Potential pollution in community gardensUrban soils can harbor dangerous chemicals. It could be that current and historical land uses, like industrial activities or agriculture, exposed the soil to toxics and pesticides. Treated wood, burned tires or pollution runoff can leach chemicals into the soil. Chipping paint from older buildings and heavily trafficked roads might create lead soil deposits. People can be exposed to these chemicals by breathing in soil particles, eating tiny bits of soil that may not have been washed off from produce, or eating produce that has absorbed the contaminants (although this is an unlikely source of exposure, depending on factors such as the plant species and soil composition).Children, however, are at a greater risk, because they often are putting things into their mouths and are more curious than adults. I think about my own toddlers, who enjoy playing in the garden soil and exploring the outdoors with all five senses. It’s scary to think about how even a tiny amount of ingested lead from the soil could damage their growing brains and nervous systems. I also wonder whether gardeners were aware of these chemical risks and what resources could help protect them.These questions led me to focus on how community gardeners could reduce their exposures to heavy metals in soil for my doctoral thesis. Practices such as heavy-metal soil testing, composting, mulching and hand washing can reduce exposure – something that community gardeners are interested in, according to my results. While testing and hand washing are self explanatory, composting can contain organic matter that makes it more difficult for some plants to absorb contaminants and mulching helps to reduce contaminated soil from being redispersed in the air. However, I identified several barriers gardeners face when trying to protect themselves, like soil testing costs, concerns about property values and the legal implications of soil lead, a lack of training to interpret the results, among others. Although my research focused on individual gardener practices to reduce exposures, I became interested in how these findings could materialize into tools and policies that may be adopted in community gardens. There are existing partnerships that address these barriers. For example, soil screening, health, outreach and partnership (soilSHOP) events provide free lead education and soil lead screening to communities in the U.S. As I dug deeper trying to understand how to make these partnerships work, I started to wonder, just like my curious child looking at the mutually beneficial relationships between ladybugs and cucumber vines, how we can make the diverse partners (gardeners, schools, faith-based communities, neighborhoods, non-profit organizations, government) invested in community gardens work together to advance environmental justice and health equity.Turning research into policy: Implementation scienceA possible answer could be implementation science, which means investigating the ways in which research results can become widespread practices and policies. A research study may show that free lead soil screening is an effective community-engagement tool to identify soil lead in gardens. How does this research finding get incorporated into everyday community garden practices? An implementation science approach would examine what makes that practice sustainable and how we can overcome challenges to adopt that practice? Implementation science can also bridge environmental health disparities research to environmental justice action.For example, environmental justice researchers have shown communities of color are impacted by higher heavy metal soil concentrations and a lack of access to affordable, sustainable, nutritious, high-quality and culturally connected food. While the traditional approach focuses on understanding what gardening strategies can increase access to food and why they are working, an implementation science lens could push researchers to explore how policies, practices and diverse partnerships can reduce potential soil contaminant exposures. Just as gardens require careful cultivation to nurture the symbiotic partnerships for the plants and other organisms to thrive, so does understanding how different groups engaged in community gardens cultivate partnerships and practices to reduce harmful chemical exposures. It is possible to ensure gardening spaces are safe, restorative and regenerative, especially for those who are most vulnerable to chemical exposures, such as children. To achieve that, we need to put communities at the forefront. We need to mentor and encourage students to push the boundaries of science, and explore ways to build a symbiotic relationship between research and practice of community gardening, akin to a thriving, interconnected garden.All children should have the opportunity to play and grow food in soil that is free of toxics. As my daughter exemplified in her garden inquiries, a solution may be asking the why, what, and how. This essay was produced through the Agents of Change in Environmental Justice fellowship. Agents of Change empowers emerging leaders from historically excluded backgrounds in science and academia to reimagine solutions for a just and healthy planet.Disclaimer: This essay was written by Dr. Hunter in her personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US Public Health Service, or the United States government.
Past Presentation | Coral bleaching from rising sea temperatures has grown from isolated, regional events to a global threat. Duane began documenting increasing degradation of the ocean and he brought the issue to a larger audience with the hope that science and governments could save coral reefs, like a team of scientists working in Hawaii.