Green = Healthy? Think again. 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.

Read more

Of feces and fertilizer: residential sources of urban water pollutants

Excess nutrients from pet waste and lawn fertilizer contribute to degraded water quality in cities. Due to the widely dispersed nature of these pollutants in residential areas, decisions made at the household level can go a long way towards solving—or exacerbating—water quality problems.

Read more

Generating electricity while microbes clean wastewater – how wastewater treatment plants could go from brown to green

Microbial fuel cells are structures that behave like batteries, but are powered by ever-present environmental microbes. Researchers in South Korea measured the ability of Microbial Fuel Cell prototypes to generate electricity while cleaning up wastewater. Results indicate that this technology could radically reduce the energy requirements of wastewater treatment facilities.

Read more