Naples Plans to Tap Mt. Vesuvius as Core of Sustainable Energy Strategy

Dominating vistas around Italy’s Bay of Naples, Mount Vesuvius erupted on August 24 in the year 79 AD, a cataclysm that brought an end to the Roman cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae and its denizens, preserving their remains in volcanic ash. The looming presence of Vesuvius is a stark reminder of the destructive power of volcanoes for residents of Naples, as well as the vulnerability of populations around the world who reside in their presence. Today, however, the city of Naples is looking to tap into and harness Vesuvius’ energy to improve lives, the environment and living conditions.

New Treatment for Wastewater Discharge

The number and extent of so-called marine "dead zones" -areas of coastal ocean waters where nearly all forms of marine life have been snuffed out due to lack of oxygen—has been on the rise for decades now, posing increasing threats to commercial and subsistence fisheries, recreational fishing and human health. Terrestrial runoff containing relatively high levels of phosphorous, primarily from agricultural fertilizers, has been identified as one of the main culprits. Wastewater discharge from cities and urban centers is also to blame.

Satellite Studies Reveal Groundwater Depletion around the World

Access to freshwater resources has always been a critical need for human and all forms of life on Earth. With a world population estimated at just shy of 7 billion and growing, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization says agricultural production will need to increase 70% by 2050. As agriculture takes up most of human water use, that’s going to put vastly greater demands and strains on our water resources at a time when climate change is changing temperature and precipitation levels and patterns in ways that cannot be predicted at local levels but are likely to make this even more difficult to achieve.

1993 US Northwest Forest Plan Turns Public Forests into Carbon Sink

Enacted in 1993, before climate change was so prominent in the public media eye, the US Northwest Forest Plan's primary goal was the conservation of old growth forests on public land, and thereby also protecting threatened and endangered species, such as the northern spotted owl. Forest harvests in those public forests dropped precipitously, by 82%, the next year. Nearly two decades later, it turns out that the Plan has yielded unintended, though no less favorable results in terms of mitigating the effect of increasing carbon dioxide emissions.