How forests can end global hunger

Forests and forestry are essential to achieve global food security as the limits of boosting agricultural production are becoming increasingly clear, a new study published today reveals. The findings are included in the most comprehensive scientific analysis to date on the relationship among forests, food and nutrition launched today in New York at a side event of the United Nations Forum on Forests.

Study shows the shape of the glass affects how fast we drink alcohol

The speed at which we drink alcohol could be influenced by the shape of the glass, and markings on the glass might help us drink more slowly, according to new research from the University of Bristol, presented today at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in Liverpool.PhD student David Troy and Dr Angela Attwood from Bristol’s Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group presented the study as part of a symposium on ‘Environmental influences on food and alcohol-related behaviour’.David Troy said: “Excessive alcohol use is a major public health concern and there is a lot of interest in alcohol control strategies.  It is important to determine what environmental factors are contributing to excessive use and how they can be altered to nudge drinkers towards more responsible consumption.”

Germany is key market for the Tesla Home Battery system

Electric car pioneer Tesla unveiled a "home battery" last week which its founder Elon Musk said would help change the "entire energy infrastructure of the world". Environmentally-conscious German customers are targeted as potential buyers of the product.The Tesla Powerwall, unveiled on Thursday (30 April), can store power from solar panels, from the electricity grid at night when it is typically cheaper, and provide a secure backup in the case of a power outage.In theory the device, which typically would fit on the wall of a garage or inside a house, could make solar-powered homes completely independent of the traditional energy grid.

“Living shoreline” can enhance coastal resilience

The resilience of U.S. coastal communities to storms, flooding, erosion and other threats can be strengthened when they are protected by natural infrastructure such as marshes, reefs, and beaches, or with hybrid approaches, such as a “living shoreline” — a combination of natural habitat and built infrastructure, according to a new NOAA study.

Looking for diamonds? Check under this newly discovered plant

There’s diamond under them thar plants. A geologist has discovered a thorny, palmlike plant in Liberia that seems to grow only on top of kimberlite pipes—columns of volcanic rock hundreds of meters across that extend deep into Earth, left by ancient eruptions that exhumed diamonds from the mantle. If the plant is as choosy as it seems to be, diamond hunters in West Africa will have a simple, powerful way of finding diamond-rich deposits. Prospectors are going to “jump on it like crazy,” says Steven Shirey, a geologist specializing in diamond research at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C.

Solar power in Scotland is not a little enterprise

The call by WWF Scotland follows the publication of new figures revealing that there was enough sunshine in April to have met more than 100% of the electricity needs of an average home in Scotland or 99% or more of an average household’s hot water needs.Wind turbines in Scotland also generated enough electricity on average to supply the electrical needs of 69% of Scottish households - 1.66 million homes.Last month, it was announced that work on Scotland’s largest solar park will start later this year in Angus.

Fracking wastewater and the risk to our food

Unconventional drilling creates a huge amount of waste, some of which is being sprayed onto farmer’s fields. A 2005 report from New Zealand stated cows grazing on “dump farms” have elevated levels of hydrocarbons. “Cows are allowed to graze on land with high levels of hydrocarbons without any punishment and their food products are allowed to go to market without government testing,” a Green Party MP said last year. It is happening in Canada too. The field above is northwest of Calgary. Former energy consultant Jessica Ernst said, “We are eating & drinking drilling and fracking waste.”“When they are drilling deep horizontal wells, they go a great distance and this produces a lot of drilling waste. It is toxic. There are a lot of naturally occurring toxics that are brought up. It is often radioactive. I have documentation that the formations they want to frack are radioactive. This comes up with metals and BTEX (Benzene, Tolulene, Ethylbenzyne, Xylenes)  carcinogens plus the mystery additives which companies refuse to disclose,” said Ernst.

Rivers recover after dam removal

More than 1,000 dams have been removed across the United States because of safety concerns, sediment buildup, inefficiency or having otherwise outlived usefulness. A paper published today in Science finds that rivers are resilient and respond relatively quickly after a dam is removed. “The apparent success of dam removal as a means of river restoration is reflected in the increasing number of dams coming down, more than 1,000 in the last 40 years,” said lead author of the study Jim O’Connor, geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “Rivers quickly erode sediment accumulated in former reservoirs and redistribute it downstream, commonly returning the river to conditions similar to those prior to impoundment.”

Declining 'large herbivore' populations may lead to an 'empty landscape'

The decline of the world's large herbivores, especially in Africa and parts of Asia, is raising the specter of an "empty landscape" in some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, according to a newly published study. Many populations of animals such as rhinoceroses, zebras, camels, elephants and tapirs are diminishing or threatened with extinction in grasslands, savannahs, deserts and forests, scientists say.

If you sit all day at a desk, please get up and walk around now and then!

A new study suggests that engaging in low intensity activities such as standing may not be enough to offset the health hazards of sitting for long periods of time. On the bright side, adding two minutes of walking each hour to your routine just might do the trick. These findings were published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN).Numerous studies have shown that sitting for extended periods of time each day leads to increased risk for early death, as well as heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions. Considering that 80 percent of Americans fall short of completing the recommended amount of exercise, 2.5 hours of moderate activity each week, it seems unrealistic to expect that people will replace sitting with even more exercise.