Who is exposed to more pesticides, rural or urban dwellers?

Who has higher levels of pesticide exposure, New Yorkers or rural dwellers near commercial farms? The answer might surprise you: for at least two classes of pesticide, New Yorkers are actually more exposed, despite the fact that we associate pesticide use with the application of such chemicals to crops to protect them from destruction during growing and harvest season. Research on the subject has significant implications for pest management and environmental health. Where are all these pesticides in New York coming from, and what can we do about it?

Record temperatures set to reach tropics first

Tropical regions will be the first to experience unprecedented climate change, leading to significant upheaval for biodiversity and communities, according to a study published in Nature today. Regions near the equator will be subject to mean temperatures hotter than anything experienced on record an average of 15 years before the rest of the world, putting a strain on their rich biodiversity, which is adapted to stable climate conditions, finds the study.

A Comprehensive Energy Productivity Portfolio

Like a good financial portfolio, it appears that diversification is a successful strategy for America’s Energy Productivity according to the environmental action group, Natural Resources Defense Council. But, the NRDC notes that while the portfolio clearly should include a combination of all energies, the single most effective tool in maximizing our energy economy is to reduce consumption and extract the most out of every energy dollar spent.

Respect the Wolves

Wolves play an integral role in maintaining the health of wildlife and ecosystems, and indirectly, livestock and public health. Recognition of this role and its ecological ramifications calls for greater respect, protection and increased numbers of wolves in appropriate habitats across North America. Current federal and state government initiatives, backed by diverse vested interests, are poised to reduce the nation's existing wolf population, which is contrary to the directives of sound science, reason and the public interest.

Team 11th Hour to run the most eco-efficient cross-continental sailing race ever

World-class sailors Rob Windsor (Long Island, NY) and Hannah Jenner (Shropshire, England) are teaming up with Team 11th Hour Racing to run the most eco-efficient race in the history of sailing at the 20th anniversary of the Transat Jacques Vabre, considered the "Super Bowl" of offshore sailing. The team will set eco-firsts by implementing eco-friendly solutions to race more efficiently and minimize environmental impact during the month-long, 5,6000-mile sailing race that begins on Nov. 3rd in Le Havre, France and ends in Itajai, Brazil. Windsor and Jenner will be the first team to use microgreens on board and are believed to be the first team to eliminate trash dumping almost entirely during a major offshore ocean race. In all, Windsor and Jenner will implement a total of 11 on-board eco-friendly solutions.

European Union on Track to Reach 2020 Climate Goals

According to the European Environment Agency, the European Union is already close to its 2020 climate objectives as it has decreased its emissions by no less than 18 percent between 1990 and 2012. Additionally, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and many others were already accounting for 13 percent of the energy mix in 2011. The European Union have a comprehensive energy and climate plan as it has three objectives: 1. to slash its greenhouses gases emissions by 20 percent from 1990 to 2020 ; 2. to increase its energy efficiency by 20 percent ; 3. to increase its share of renewable energy sources to 20 percent of the mix by 2020.

Plastics for Life

This is no news flash, but plastics don't biodegrade. And yet almost 50% of it never sees a landfill. Worse, approximately 80% of the plastic debris in our oceans comes from the land. Plastics inevitably become part of our ecosystem from top to bottom. Of course, we think of the most pure environments as those in the highest mountaintops. The springs percolate into the headwaters on our mountain peaks, cascade down, hopping rocks and tumbling through forests into lakes, eventually emerging into larger rivers and ultimately out into the oceans. Along the way human influence affects their purity. Generally, we have hypothesized that water starts pure and becomes more polluted with each tier of drainage but recent research suggests that we are not starting with as clean a slate as we thought.

Climate Change and Water Scarcity

Using a novel methodological approach, scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) have introduced new estimates on how climate change will affect water availability. Access to freshwater in Africa and the Middle East is known to be scarce, but the Siberian tundra and Indian grasslands also lack freshwater. These areas along with dry pockets across the globe are expected to expand and create implications for their habitats and communities. The new study predicts that if global warming is limited to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, 500 million people could be subject to increased water scarcity. And at 5 degrees global warming almost all ice-free land might be affected by ecosystem change.

It’s not easy being green – unless that is, you live on a boat. Part IV.

In her fourth and final blog Clare Kendall recommends trying a boat holiday - which tend to have serious green credentials........ If you've been inspired by the thought of canal boat living (see my previous blogs) why not try a narrow boat holiday. It's one of the greenest holiday options you can take.

Good news for European wildlife

From Eastern Europe, Luke Dale-Harris argues that the extent to which the findings of a recently published report can be considered positive depend on one's perspective of rewilding......... A couple of weeks ago the unusual happened. Europe received positive news about the environment. Not just a claim that maybe things aren’t quite as bad as we previously thought, but the release of a report which shows, quite clearly, that for many species across large swathes of Europe, things haven't been better for decades.