Earth news stories

A Team of Scientists Just Made Food From Electricity — and it Could be the Solution to World Hunger
27th July 2017 | Earth, Tech

Finnish researchers have created a batch of single-cell protein that is nutritious enough to serve for dinner using a system powered by renewable energy. The entire process requires only electricity, water, carbon dioxide, and microbes. The synthetic food was created as part of the Food From Electricity project, which is a collaboration between Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

Converting carbon dioxide to methane using iron and sunlight
27th July 2017 | Earth, Tech

A combined team of researchers from Université Paris Diderot in France and Universidad Nacional de Córdoba in Argentina has discovered a reaction process that can be used to convert carbon dioxide to methane. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the team describes their technique, how well it worked, and their ideas for improving it.

New non-photosynthesizing plant species discovered on Ishigaki island, Japan
26th July 2017 | Earth

A new species of non-photosynthesizing parasitic plant, Sciaphila sugimotoi, has been discovered on the subtropical island of Ishigaki in Okinawa, Japan

Related: Massive two-ton species of the world’s largest bony fish is finally discovered after hiding away in the ocean’s depths for centuries

Trees can make or break city weather
26th July 2017 | | Earth

Even a single urban tree can help moderate wind speeds and keep pedestrians comfortable as they walk down the street, according to a new study that also found losing a single tree can increase wind pressure on nearby buildings and drive up heating costs.

Why apartment dwellers need indoor plants
26th July 2017 | Earth, Humans

The number of Australians living in high-rise apartments doubled between 1991 and 2011 and that trend has continued since then. The quarter-acre dream is fast disappearing and larger blocks and family gardens along with it. As more people move from country areas to the city and as land to build homes near the city centre becomes scarce, we’re getting further and further away from nature. It turns out this isn’t great for our health.

Scientists observe gravitational anomaly on Earth
25th July 2017 | Earth, Space

Modern physics has accustomed us to strange and counterintuitive notions of reality—especially quantum physics which is famous for leaving physical objects in strange states of superposition. For example, Schrödinger’s cat, who finds itself unable to decide if it is dead or alive. Sometimes however quantum mechanics is more decisive and even destructive.

A Cheap Fix for Climate Change? Pay People Not to Chop Down Trees
23rd July 2017 | | Earth

The tropical forests in western Uganda, home to a dwindling population of endangered chimpanzees, are disappearing at some of the fastest rates on Earth as local people chop down trees for charcoal and to clear space for subsistence farming.

Chile Just Converted 11 Million Acres Into New National Parks
23rd July 2017 | | Earth

Chile set aside 11 million acres of land for national parks aided by the largest private land donation from a private entity to a country. The conservation effort of the Tompkins Foundation helped pave the way for Chile to greatly expand its conservation of the pristine Patagonia wilderness.

European Commission urges logging ban in ancient Białowieża Forest
23rd July 2017 | | Earth

A campaign by scientists and environmental activists to prevent a surge in logging in Europe’s ancient Białowieża Forest is headed to the courts.

The European Commission announced on 13 July that it is referring Poland to Europe’s highest court after the Polish government declined to roll back controversial new rules that permit more tree-felling in Białowieża

Fracking can contaminate rivers and lakes with radioactive material, study finds
23rd July 2017 | | Earth

The vast amount of waste water produced by fracking can contaminate rivers, lakes and other waterways with radioactive material and hormone-affecting chemicals, according to new research.

Genetically Engineered Yeast Soak Up Heavy Metal Pollution
23rd July 2017 | | Animal Life, Earth, Tech

Environmental contamination with heavy metals is often the result of various types of industrial processes. Because heavy metals can be dangerous to humans and other wildlife, contaminated sites need to be cleaned up. This isn’t easy. Chemical extraction methods can introduce different types of pollutants into the environment.

Seaweed shown to reduce 99% methane from cattle
20th July 2017 | | Animal Life, Earth

News that a slight dietary change could dramatically reduce the amount of environmentally harmful methane gas released by cattle has been given an enthusiastic welcome by Irish farmers.

Researchers at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, found the addition of less than 2 per cent dried seaweed to a cow’s diet could reduce their methane emissions by as much as 99 per cent.

Air pollution: Diesel is now better than gas, emitting fewer carbonaceous particulates
20th July 2017 | | Earth

Regulators, take note: a new international study shows that modern diesel passenger cars emit fewer carbonaceous particulates than gasoline-powered vehicles.

Related: Self-fueling boat sets off from Paris on 6-year world trip

Traffic pollution prevents children’s brains from reaching their full potential
20th July 2017 | Earth, Humans

Traffic pollution in cities can stall children’s brain development and stop them from reaching their full potential, according to a Spanish study that measured air pollution in 300 classrooms.

Is a healthy environment a human right? Testing the idea in Appalachia
20th July 2017 | Earth

Do we have a fundamental right to breathe clean air, drink clean water and eat safe food? The idea of environmental human rights is receiving growing attention worldwide, driven by our global ecological crisis. But the United States has lagged behind in codifying these rights into laws and in successfully furthering them.

Related: ‘Make new rules’ to save the oceans
Related: Stalagmites from Iranian cave foretell grim future for Middle East climate
Related: Melting ice may be making mountains collapse in Greenland
Related: Warmer Arctic harms crops in US, Canada: study

Cleaning up CO2 emissions could be worth millions
20th July 2017 | Earth

When most people hear the term “CO2 emissions,” they probably think of several negative things: greenhouse gas, pollutant, climate change, political discord, economic burden. But a team of researchers led by Stuart Licht, a chemistry professor at George Washington University, has a vision for transforming CO2 emissions from a pollutant into a valuable resource—all while making a potentially large net profit.

News stories covering the environment, plant life, and the Earth itself.