Let’s Paint the Town Green!

Many places around the world are searching for ways to balance a growing population while also caring for the environment. Developers, policymakers, and citizens everywhere are concerned with maintaining biodiversity while developing economies and building homes and businesses for humans. New research from the European Union aims to balance the use of ecosystem services and conservation efforts by introducing green infrastructure. This new way to look at land use can have important implications for the future of development and policy-making in the European Union, and throughout the world.

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The biodiversity emergency: what can we all do?

There is a biodiversity crisis. The repercussions of species and habitat loss are everywhere: Animals (giant pandas or bees), and places (coral reefs), are experiencing negative human-related impacts. This means more than just loss of physical beauty; all habitats and species are interconnected, so a loss of something as seemingly small as a bee population will reduce pollination of plants that we eat. There is hope of recovery, but it begins by motivating people to help. As the world is becoming more urbanized and disconnected from nature, where does motivation for environmental conservation and stewardship come from?

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Get the Lead Out: Lessons Learned from Flint, MI

April marks the five-year anniversary of the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan. For the past five years, the United States has watched the repercussions of polluted drinking water wreak havoc on the City of Flint. What have scientists learned since then? Read on for an abridged understanding of the crisis and learn how one researcher is utilizing the data for good.

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The global buzz: A call to restore insect biodiversity

Insects are in decline worldwide. Without a rethinking of current agricultural practices and a bucking of trends in urbanization, biodiversity of insects is threatened globally. Insects are the structural and functional base – the linchpin – of all ecosystems. We are part of those ecosystems. Unlike the vastness of climate change and its many aspects, the solutions to the problem of insect declines are readily available. With proper perspective, appreciation, and respect for the roles insects play in ecosystem integrity, human health, and economic markets, we can reverse course.

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Community and home gardens are hotspots for pollinators in cities

Pollinators, such as bees, are important parts of the environment since they are required for plant success and fruit production by humans and animals alike. However, populations of pollinators have been declining worldwide due to a number of issues, including widespread pesticide use and loss of habitats. A recent study conducted by researchers in the UK and their colleagues examined pollinator use of urban areas, comparing community gardens, home gardens, cemeteries, and other spaces. The researchers show that the abundance and diversity of many pollinator groups was highest in community and home gardens, and suggest that urban planners should increase these spaces to boost pollinator populations.

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Preserving Culturally-Important Xochimilco Wetlands Requires Policy and Personal Change

Created by the Aztecs in 500 CE for agriculture, Xochimilco is an area of culturally important wetlands in southern Mexico City. Despite its cultural and economic importance, this area is experiencing wetland degradation and loss due to urban development and water quality issues. Even with a high level of local concern about wetland degradation, little effort will be made toward conservation without a change in public policies regarding local infrastructure and development.

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Are your car’s windshield wipers helping your town’s stormwater management?

You decide to go out and run some errands on your day off, even though there is a chance of rain in the forecast. You are just starting your 30-minute walk back to your house and get caught in a torrential downpour. You are now forced to call a ride-share because you know the stream next to the path on your way back will likely flood and you would have to take the long way home. Once in the car, you are happy you do not have to walk in the rain. Little do you know, the car you are in may actually help improve rainfall maps and with that urban stormwater management. How? The car’s windshield wipers are turned on!

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Is there space for nature in man-made jungle?

We humans are responsible for not just shaping existing environments, but for creating new ones as well. Urban and industrial areas can sometimes be seen as “unnatural” but new research has shown that a ton of new species want to be neighbors. On top of that- they’re thriving. Read on to learn more!

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Is climate change increasing the number of hurricanes we get and will we continue seeing more hurricane damage?

Recent climate change science has shown that since 500 AD the current levels of storm activity are the most active. The increased activity combined with rising sea levels has the potential to cause more damage than ever before. Although Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest ever recorded storm, stronger than Sandy and Katrina combined, occurred in the Pacific, the Atlantic can see events similar in the future.

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