Power outage: closing polluting power stations could save six million lives.

Retiring specific power stations around the world could save six million lives over the next 30 years, according to a team of researchers from Tsinghua University in China. In a study published in Nature Climate Change, the researchers examined the health effects of individual power plants around the world – in regard to heat-related deaths … Continue reading Power outage: closing polluting power stations could save six million lives.

A new measurement for sustainable agriculture

If we want a sustainable future, agriculture must feature in the equation. The problem is that suitable agriculture is very difficult to define with numbers – especially when it might require economic trade-offs. Now, an international team of researchers has come up with a quantitative Sustainable Agriculture Matrix (SAM) highlighting priority areas for different countries … Continue reading A new measurement for sustainable agriculture

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Methane on Enceladus might hint at alien life In the vast ocean beneath the icy crust of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, a mysterious process is churning out methane – and it could be a sign that life teems in the subsurface world, according to a new study in Nature Astronomy. In 2005, the Cassini spacecraft discovered … Continue reading You may have missed…

Glyphosate dangerous to beetles as well as plants

The commonly used herbicide glyphosate might not be just bad news for bees. New research has found it could have broader ramifications for the survival of other insects by affecting their bacterial allies. The study, published in the journal Communications Biology, showed that glyphosate inhibits a biochemical pathway in bacteria that was previously only thought … Continue reading Glyphosate dangerous to beetles as well as plants

Pesticides put two-thirds of agricultural land at risk

Pollutants from agrochemicals and pesticides can disrupt the ecosystem and risk harming human health, despite greatly contributing to food security in the last half-decade. Now, researchers from the University of Sydney had conducted a comprehensive risk assessment of global pesticide pollution. The team, led by Fiona Tang, found that 64% of global agricultural land (around … Continue reading Pesticides put two-thirds of agricultural land at risk

Plastic fantastic fashion

How cool would it be to transform plastic bag waste into clothing, tackling two unsustainability issues in one? Until now, it wasn’t thought possible – largely because the plastic from which bags are made doesn’t absorb moisture and would trap in sweat. But scientists, reporting in the journal Nature Sustainability, say they’ve worked out how … Continue reading Plastic fantastic fashion

Microplastics are all around. Here’s how

Microplastics are everywhere, but how they move through, and accumulate in, the environment is not completely clear. Microplastic particles, seen here in green, travel long distances in soil, but take a few breaks. Credit: Princeton University / Datta Lab It’s been assumed that when minute particles travelling through porous materials such as soil and sediment … Continue reading Microplastics are all around. Here’s how

Microplastics problem worse than thought

By Britta Denise Hardesty, Chris Wilcox and Justine Barrett, CSIRO Nowhere, it seems, is immune from plastic pollution: plastic has been reported in the high Arctic oceans, in the sea ice around Antarctica and even in the world’s deepest waters of the Mariana Trench. But just how bad is the problem? Our new research provides … Continue reading Microplastics problem worse than thought

The smaller side of Arctic life

Two Russian scientists have set out to document what they say are among the most undervalued creatures in the Arctic. Shell-bearing microgastropods (snails no larger than five millimetres) have a variety of diets and lifestyles and perform many functions in marine ecosystems, says ecologist Ivan Nekhaev, from St Petersburg State University. They provide a range … Continue reading The smaller side of Arctic life

Global pollution mapped, for good and bad

US researchers have used data from multiple satellites and ground monitors to create a “comprehensive and consistent” map of air pollution across the globe. The data covers the two decades to 2018, thus taking account of the impact of recent programs designed to curb pollution. And the trends reveal some surprises. Led by Melanie Hammer, … Continue reading Global pollution mapped, for good and bad

Counting the real cost of marine debris

Marine debris will have cost countries in the Asia-Pacific region AU$313 billion by 2050, according to a new report, and even more if the volume entering the ocean accelerates. Prepared for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) by the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), it reveals the economic cost was $15.7 billion … Continue reading Counting the real cost of marine debris

Revealed: the mystery of missing ocean plastic

You’ve probably heard that our oceans have become a plastic soup. But in fact, of all the plastic that enters Earth’s oceans each year, just 1% has been observed floating on the surface. So where is the missing ocean plastic? This “missing” plastic has been a longstanding scientific question. To date, the search has focused on … Continue reading Revealed: the mystery of missing ocean plastic