Contest Challenges Youth to “Get to Know” Their Wild Neighbors

Renowned wildlife artists Robert Bateman and Wyland are challenging American youth to get outdoors and "get to know" their wild neighbors of other species by entering the Get to Know Contest. Youth age 5-18 are invited to create art, writing photography and video entries based on first-hand experiences with nature, which they can submit at until November 30, 2010. Bateman and Wyland hope the Get to Know Contest will inspire youth to build meaningful connections with nature. "The investment we are making by connecting youth with nature is the most important one we can make for this generation," says Wyland. Youth disconnection from nature stems from the trend of young Americans spending progressively more time indoors, to the detriment of healthy outdoor activity. As of 2010, American school-aged youth are packing a staggering 53 hours a week in front of entertainment media screens – up from 44 hours per week in 2004. And while they are aware of global environmental issues like climate change and deforestation in the Amazon, they often cannot name ten different plants and animals in their own backyard. "Caring for this planet begins with getting to know our neighbours of other species", reiterates Robert Bateman, who started the Get to Know Contest in Canada in 2000.

Da Vinci’s Last Supper faces new threat of damage from air pollution

Having survived long centuries, political upheaval, and even bombings during World War II, Leonardo Da Vinci's masterpiece Last Supper now faces the risk of damage from air pollution due to its location in one of Western Europe's most polluted cities. In late 2009, the refectory of Santa Maria Delle Grazie Church, where the painting is located, installed a sophisticated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system to protect the painting from the polluted air of Milan.

Silk Versus Synthetic Fibers

Scientists at Oxford University and The University of Sheffield have demonstrated that natural silks are a thousand times more efficient than common plastics when it comes to forming fibers. A report of the research is published this week in the journal Advanced Materials. The finding comes from comparing silk from the Chinese silkworm to molten high density polyethylene (HDPE) - a material from which the strongest synthetic fibers are made. The researchers used polarized light shining through a disk rotating over a plate to study how the fibers are formed as the two materials are spun.

Sustainability Culture Saves Billions for DuPont

Davide Vassallo is a global practices leader for DuPont's Sustainable Solutions Group. As environmental stewards for a company that is the owner and operator of more than 150 production facilities around the world, his group has found that energy efficiency improvements can often be achieved for little or no cost. After running a large number of workshops on the subject, he has found that moving personnel from a culture of consumption to a culture of conservation is key to significant savings.

Bathtub-sized marine sponge rediscovered after a century of extinction

Not found alive for over a century the evocatively named Neptune's cup sponge (Cliona patera) has been rediscovered off the shores of Singapore. Researchers with the environmental consulting DHI Group found the species during a routine dive. Although the specimen they found was small, the goblet-shaped sponge can reach nearly 5 feet (1.5 meters) high and the same in diameter.

Can Soup and BPA

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an organic compound with two phenol functional groups. It is used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, along with other applications. As it has been known to be estrogenic since the mid 1930s, concerns about the use of bisphenol A in consumer products were regularly reported in the news media in 2008, after several governments issued reports questioning its safety, prompting some retailers to remove products containing it from their shelves. A new study from researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) has found that a group of volunteers who consumed a serving of canned soup each day for five days had a more than 1,000% increase in urinary bisphenol A (BPA) concentrations compared with when the same individuals consumed fresh soup daily for five days. The study is one of the first to quantify BPA levels in humans after ingestion of canned foods.

UN Climate Chief warns Science, not politics must drive Durban climate talks

Global climate talks need to focus on the growing threat from extreme weather and shift away from political squabbles that hobble progress toward a tougher pact to rein in greenhouse gas emissions, the head of the U.N. climate panel said. Negotiators from nearly 200 countries meet in Durban, South Africa, on Monday for two-week talks, with minimal expectations of major progress toward an agreement that will eventually bind all major economies to emissions caps. Rajendra Pachauri warned the latest round of talks risked being bogged down by "short-term and narrow political considerations." "It is absolutely essential that the negotiators get a continuous and repeated exposure to the science of climate change," Pachauri told Reuters in an interview late on Tuesday. "If we were to do that it will definitely have an impact on the quality and outcome of the negotiations, after all these are human beings, they have families, they are people also worried about what is going to happen to the next generations."

London Bridge Will Soon Be All Lit Up With LEDs!

London Bridge hasn’t fallen down–yet. But any 117-year old bridge is bound to need a few updates here and there. The latest round of improvements will help cut the amount of energy required to light the landmark by 40 percent. There’s no denying that London Bridge is an icon–a song praising its usefulness in times of conflict is sung to children before they can walk. But in recent iterations, the bridge has incorporated inefficient technologies that mar its noble history.

Date and Rate of Earth’s Most Extreme Extinction Pinpointed: Results Stem from Largest Ever Examination of Fossil Marine Species

ScienceDaily (Nov. 17, 2011) — It's well known that Earth's most severe mass extinction occurred about 250 million years ago. What's not well known is the specific time when the extinctions occurred. A team of researchers from North America and China have published a paper in Science which explicitly provides the date and rate of extinction.

Snack on that! Are insects the future of food?

With seven billion people to feed, agriculture is feeling the strain. So are creepie crawlies the solution? Gavin Haines takes a closer look