Earth news stories

Kenya Is World’s ‘Least Toxic’ Country
8th February 2017 | Earth

Kenya has been named the world’s least toxic country, topping a list that takes account of air pollution, energy consumption and renewable energy production.

Here’s Why We Should Send Our Congressional Leaders on a Nature Retreat Immediately
8th February 2017 | | Earth, Humans

Getting out into the wild is restorative. Fresh air, natural sounds and settings, a spot of exercise: It tends to free our mind, bring down our stress levels, and, with any luck, give us a break from work. The converse is also true. Excessive urban noise, for example, stresses us out and can wreak havoc on our psyches. These are things we know just based on everyday experience.

We’re probably underestimating how quickly electric vehicles will disrupt the oil market
6th February 2017 | | Earth, Tech

Just about every analyst agrees that the electric vehicle market is poised for rapid growth. But how rapid?

Related: Battery with inbuilt ‘fire extinguisher’ developed
Related: Faster recharging batteries possible after new insights

Car ban fails to curb air pollution in Mexico city
6th February 2017 | | Earth

Banning cars on Saturdays in Mexico city hasn’t reduced air pollutants according to a new study.

Scientists had expected that limiting driving at the weekend would reduce vehicle emissions by 15%.

Brain pollution: Evidence builds that dirty air causes Alzheimer’s, dementia
6th February 2017 | | Earth, Humans

In a barbed wire–enclosed parking lot 100 meters downwind of the Route 110 freeway, an aluminum hose sticks out of a white trailer, its nozzle aimed at an overpass. Every minute, the hose sucks up hundreds of liters of air mixed with exhaust from the roughly 300,000 cars and diesel-burning freight trucks that rumble by each day.

Air purification via plants and trees
6th February 2017 | Earth

In addition to improving the ambiance in buildings, plants also purify the air. But how does this work, and which conditions are best for this filtering? Three scientists from Wageningen University & Research discuss the potential of plants as air purifiers.

Seafood eaters ingest up to 11,000 tiny pieces of plastic every year, study shows
5th February 2017 | | Animal Life, Earth, Humans

Seafood eaters ingest up to 11,000 tiny pieces of plastic every year with dozens of particles becoming embedded in tissues, scientists have warned, in findings described as ‘sobering’ by the Prince of Wales.

Huge crack in Antarctic ice shelf grows by 6 more miles
5th February 2017 | | Earth

A crack in an ice shelf in Antarctica grew by six miles in the past few weeks, British scientists say, and now measures more than 100 miles long.

Once the crack is complete, a giant iceberg larger than Rhode Island will break or “calve” off of Antarctica. The iceberg would be one of the biggest on record.

Related: British Antarctic station to shut down for winter due to crack in ice

Global flood risk to increase five-fold with a 4°C temperature rise
5th February 2017 | Earth

A new JRC report looks at flood risk and economic damages under different global warming scenarios with 1.5˚C, 2˚C, and 4˚C temperature increases. It concludes that, if global temperatures rise by 4°C, the flood risk in countries representing more than 70% of the global population and of the global GDP will increase by more than 500%.

Aquatic Robot Braves Volcanoes and Typhoons to Detect Tsunamis
5th February 2017 | | Earth, Tech

The newest and most dangerous island in the world is about to get a robotic sentinel. Since bursting to life 1,000 kilometers south of Tokyo in 2013, a massive marine volcano called Nishinoshima has erupted dozens of times, spewing red-hot lava that engulfed a neighboring island.

Can Plants Learn to Associate Stimuli with Reward?
4th February 2017 | | Earth

In 2007, plant biologists passionately argued the meaning of the word “neurobiology.” The year before, an article published in Trends in Plant Science had announced the debut of a new scientific field: plant neurobiology. The authors suggested that electrical potentials and hormone transport in plants bore similarities to animal neuronal signaling, an idea that raised the hackles of many a botanist.

Humans’ stuff vastly outweighs humans
4th February 2017 | | Earth

Have you ever felt weighed down by your material possessions? The boundless variety of stuff that humans manufacture — tractors, buildings, ballpoint pens, Hello Kitty backpacks — has serious heft: 30 trillion metric tons, a new study estimates. That’s about 50 kilograms for every square meter of Earth’s surface.

Republicans move to sell off 3.3m acres of national land, sparking rallies
3rd February 2017 | | Animal Life, Earth, Misc.

Now that Republicans have quietly drawn a path to give away much of Americans’ public land, US representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah has introduced what the Wilderness Society is calling “step two” in the GOP’s plan to offload federal property.

Healthy microbes make for a resilient Great Barrier Reef
3rd February 2017 | Animal Life, Earth

Healthy microbes make for a healthy coral reef. And if that microbiological community is disrupted by overfishing, pollution or climate change, it can contribute to the decline of reefs.

Amazon Reef: First images of new coral system
3rd February 2017 | | Earth

The first pictures of a huge coral reef system discovered in the Amazon last year have been released by environmental campaigners.

The Amazon Reef is a 9,500 sq km (3,600 sq miles) system of corals, sponges and rhodoliths, Greenpeace says.

Research journey to the centre of the Earth
3rd February 2017 | | Earth

It has long been established that approximately 85 percent of the Earth’s core is made of iron, while nickel makes up an additional 10 percent. Details of the final 5 percent – believed to be some amount of light elements – has, until now, eluded scientists.

Researchers confirm the existence of a ‘lost continent’ under Mauritius
3rd February 2017 | | Ancient, Earth

Scientists have confirmed the existence of a “lost continent” under the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius that was left-over by the break-up of the supercontinent, Gondwana, which started about 200 million years ago.

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