The Color of Water Policy

What’s your favorite color – blue, or green? Water policy has focused traditionally on blue water (ground or surface water released into the atmosphere by evaporation), but there’s more to the water-use equation. To understand water use and availability more broadly, researchers are now considering the value and availability of green water (that which is released back to the atmosphere by plants). In this paper, green-water use and availability is investigated at a global scale, leading the authors to advocate for inclusion of green water into water policy considerations.

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Learning from Yesterday, Planning for Tomorrow: Predicting the Future Impact of Climate Change in Michigan

Climate change is scary. Michigan researchers are empowering their community to prepare for it by predicting how extreme heat and precipitation events may impact public health in the future. Policy makers can use these findings to protect the most vulnerable members of the community!

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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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What’s the future? Addressing the Global Plastic Pollution Problem through Blockchain Technology

You may have first heard about blockchain technology over this past year as the price of different cryptocurrencies swung wildly and made news. OpenLitterMap aims to tackle the global plastic pollution problem through their reward system utilizing blockchain technology called Littercoin. Littercoin rewards people for contributing open data about litter they come across in their cities, reporting information such as litter location, type, and even brand information. Global plastic pollution is a massive problem that requires large scale solutions to solve, and OpenLitterMap’s techy approach might just do it.

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Left on REDD: International conservation policies fail to respond to local context

What happens when a groundbreaking international conservation program causes national inequity? As one participant states, “we all have a common interest in keeping trees. The question is how? And for that we need to recognize the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples.”

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Mismatches between biodiversity research and policy needs – how can anyone compete with climate change?

If you would conduct a quick poll among the next twenty people you meet and ask them what they think the most important cause of global biodiversity loss is, there’s a good chance you would get a lot of the same two-word answer: climate change. In the English-speaking world today, there are few anthropogenic threats that appear in the news as often as often as climate change. While climate change is undeniably an important driver of biodiversity changes worldwide, there’s a risk that other equally important drivers have ended up too far from the scientific spotlight.

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Cropland nitrogen allocation – A deeper dive into the stressors impacting the oceans

Around the globe, 40-50% of the nitrogen applied to cropland in fertilizers remains in the environment. Excess nitrogen is an important environmental stressor that degrades water, air and soil quality and enhances coastal eutrophication. Efficiently allocating nitrogen across space both maximizes crop yields and minimizes excess nitrogen losses to the environment.

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Ocean acidification in the face of many environmental stressors

Greenhouse gas emissions are acidifying the ocean. The progressive decrease in ocean pH, or ocean acidification, is impacting ecosystems across the globe. Despite our understanding of the severity of ocean acidification’s impacts on individual species, the story is more complicated. We must also consider more broadly how ocean acidification affects ecosystems that are also exposed to a variety of other stressors such as changes in temperature and oxygen, coastal nutrient input, fishing, and ocean commercial transportation. It is critical that future adaptation and mitigation strategies consider how these co-occurring stressors interact with one another.

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