Cutting through the doom and gloom – how psychology can be used to promote climate action

Do you feel overwhelmed by the apocalyptic scenarios presented in news related to climate change? You’re not alone! The fact that so many people feel hopeless about the prospects of halting climate change can put a spoke in the wheel of any efforts to inspire broad, public involvement in climate action. But by factoring in human psychology, climate change communicators can strike an optimally motivating balance between hope and fear.

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The Price of Pollution: How Air Pollution Impacts Premature Birth and the Economy

Does man-made outdoor air pollution increase the risk of premature births? Research suggests that it does, and new analyses out of New York University have tried to estimate the burden of premature births and their economic costs that can be attributed to air pollution.

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Chagas Disease Eradication in Guatemala: An Example of Successful Cooperative Vector Control

Large-scale cooperation from anyone for anything often seems out of reach. Large-scale cooperation from multiple government entities to control a disease vector and actually bring about a decline in the disease in one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere is a truly difficult goal. That is what’s happening in Guatemala in an attempt to control Chagas disease. Has any real progress been made?

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Certified coffee farmers are environmentally friendly and compensated for their efforts: Imagination or reality?

Do you go to the grocery store and look for the Fair Trade™ or Rainforest Alliance™ certified coffee? Many consumers prefer to buy certified coffee because they believe there is an economic benefit to the farmer, environmental benefits, or both. However, do these certifications actually improve farmer income and/or protect important environmental services? A recent study conducted in Uganda suggests that farms that are double or triple certified for coffee production suffer trade-offs between economic and environmental benefits.

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How can we help salt marshes recover after an oil spill?

Salt marshes impacted by oil spills (like Deepwater Horizon) often experience vegetation diebacks and a loss of ecosystem function. Researchers recently found that re-establishing the dominant salt marsh vegetation, Spartina alterniflora, is critical to ensure and enhance the presence of other marsh animals. Unexpectedly, the addition of fertilizer had little to no effect on the recolonization of salt marsh critters.

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