What Country Is the Best at Protecting the Environment?

After dropping more than 20 spots this year in one ranking that measures how well countries are working to protect the environment, the United States is taking steps to improve its environmental impact. The 2010 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks 163 countries based on 10 indicators of environmental protection, such as levels of air pollution, marine protection laws, water quality, and their rate of planting new trees. The EPI is composed biannually by a team of environmental experts at Yale University and Columbia University.

Mercury in Tuna Sushi Higher at Restaurants than Groceries

Tuna sushi from your local supermarket might have lower mercury levels and so be safer to eat than sushi from a high-end restaurant, a new study using fish DNA suggests. The results show that some species of tuna, particularly those that restaurants value for their firmer flesh and appealing look — such as bluefin akami and all bigeye tuna — have higher mercury levels than other species typically found in grocery stores.

Michigan. The Saudi Arabia of WIND energy

The first regional Wind Energy Conference, sponsored by the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (www.glrea.org) took place at the Cobo Center in Detroit April 20 & 21st. Bringing together for the first time under one roof, the major players from government, utilities, universities, and private enterprise everyone had a chance to focus on what the experts had to say about the state of the art in wind energy production and the role it will play in the transformation of Michigan's economy. A highlight of the intensive two day Michigan Wind Energy summit, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, in her keynote speech, stated that the goal of her efforts was to make Michigan the "Saudi Arabia of wind energy". In her enthusiastic 'let's get serious' attitude about making change, Gov. Granholm reiterated that no one is hungrier for change and the jobs that 'going green' will create than Michigan.

Military leads fight against climate change

The U.S. military, the government's largest fuel buyer, is leading the fight against climate change by investing in the "Great Green Fleet" and other ways of cutting dependence on oil and coal, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts report released on Tuesday. "They're not having long and protracted debates about whether or not we can afford it ... they are marching" into investments in everything from electric vehicles to forming strike groups that run on alternative fuels, said Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew Environment Group's Global Warming Campaign. The report, "Re-energizing America's Defense," says the military has found that climate change may lead to domestic and international instability by threatening water and food supplies. In addition, stronger storms caused by emissions could increase the need for humanitarian missions by the military both at home and abroad, which could stretch resources.

Smells and Aging

Smell is one of the five senses. It is how we interact with the world. What does the smell of a good meal mean to you? What are good smells and what are bad smells? Are there effects beyond just being pleasant or unpleasant? Specific odors that represent food or indicate danger may be capable of altering an animal's lifespan and physiological profile by activating a small number of highly specialized sensory neurons, researchers at the University of Michigan, University of Houston, and Baylor College of Medicine have shown in a study publishing by the end of April in the online, open-access journal PLoS Biology.

Ocean salinities show an intensified water cycle

Evidence that the world's water cycle has already intensified is contained in new research to be published in the American Journal of Climate. The stronger water cycle means arid regions have become drier and high rainfall regions wetter as atmospheric temperature increases.

Bill Before New York Lawmakers would Ban Use of Pesticides on School Playing Fields

Syracuse, NY -- Children race out of their classrooms onto green, fluffy grass playing fields. They tumble and slide, roll around and laugh. Their pants turn green from grass stains. They rub their eyes and faces. They drop water bottles and snacks onto the lawn. The lush grass helps to protect their knees from scrapes and guards them against serious injury. But the grass also could make them sick, according to environmental advocates and numerous scientific studies.

Belo Monte going forward?

Brazil awarded a domestic consortium on Tuesday rights to build the world's third-largest hydroelectric dam in the Amazon rain forest in a chaotic auction amid criticism the dam is an environmentally hazardous money loser. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva likely faces a prolonged battle over the 11,000 megawatt Belo Monte dam that he has heavily promoted despite opposition from a range of critics including Hollywood director James Cameron. Government leaders say the project, due to start producing electricity in 2015, will provide crucial power for Brazil's fast-growing economy, but environmentalists and activists say it will damage a sensitive ecosystem and displace around 20,000 local residents.

Toyota Motors Sustainable Mobility Seminar

Since the time my father sat me behind the wheel of a surplus World War II Jeep and taught me to drive a standard transmission, I have admired the durability and dependability of internal combustion engines. It was simple, there were really only two things to remember: always be sure there was gas in the spare tank and whenever possible park on a downward slope. The past two days in La Jolla, California, Toyota Motor Company has persuaded me that there can be good and green driving though computers. The Prius 2010 Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle (PHV) is not the car I would hand over to my twenty-something son. It would be a waste. The seamless transition from electric to hybrid and back to electric that I experienced with my driving habits would not work for him since the driver really doesn’t feel it when you depress the accelerator pedal and the on-board (computer) system decides what the road and your foot are telling it are the optimal power sources.

Saturn Lightning!

Imagine an electrical storm larger than the continental United States in which the lightning bolts are more than 1,000 times stronger than conventional lightning, and you'll have a good idea of what can transpire on Saturn. NASA's Cassini spacecraft has recently captured images of lightning on Saturn. The images have allowed scientists to create the first movie showing lightning flashing on another planet. After waiting years for Saturn to dim enough for the spacecraft's cameras to detect bursts of light, scientists were able to create the movie, complete with a soundtrack that features the crackle of radio waves emitted when lightning bolts struck.