Following a Coastal Geologic Hazards course in Rhode Island

Coastal communities are impacted by hazards such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and beach erosion. Geologists reconstruct past events to understand future events. Follow along as a University of Rhode Island geology class explores coastal geologic hazards.

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It’s a nutrient, it’s a deicer, it’s polluting our environment.

Winter is over… Or at least according to the calendar. Yet, this morning I awoke to flurries in Cambridge, Massachusetts. These flurries turned into full-fledged snowfall by the time I got to work. Really? It’s April 2nd. The good thing is that hopefully the city will not see the need to salt the roads heavily because it should be warm enough to prevent ice patches from forming.

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Are only predestine areas healthy? Using data on scenic values as an indicator for human health

We usually assume that any greenness is good for our health: grass, trees, pastures, mountains. Researchers from the Warwick Business School set out to challenge this assumption using crowd-sourced data and found that it actually is “scenicness” (think castles, parks, and aqueducts) that is a better predictor for health. They show that this finding not only holds true in the countryside, where we usually assume we’ll find healthier people, but also extends into cities. Now they are using this information to inform policymakers on which areas to protect for improved human well-being.

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Urban Environmental Science – why is it important and what is the big deal?

But let’s think about it. Over 50% of the global population currently resides in cities. Cities are seen as opportunity havens and projections suggest the global population living in cities will surpass 60% by 2050 (UN 2016). That’s a lot of people living on a relatively small area of land. Traditionally, we have created sanitary cities where the objective was to remove waste through engineered infrastructure (think sewers) and move water along controlled waterways (think channelized or buried streams). Nowadays, we are understanding the value of green areas in cities and are moving towards studying the urban environment to improve city design and make it more sustainable.

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