Environment Forum

Floods? Droughts? Wildfires? Hurricanes? Yes, there is a climate change connection

September 12, 2011

For years, climate scientists were circumspect when asked if a specific bit of violent weather — for example, Hurricane Irene, the late-summer storm that slammed the heavily populated U.S. East Coast — could be blamed in some way on climate change.

A solar-powered all-terrain vehicle, on extremely unfamiliar terrain

September 2, 2011

On Earth, we consider design, fuel efficiency, and enduring power when thinking of “green” vehicles. But there’s one solar-powered all-terrain vehicle that has by some lights out-performed anything rolling around on Earth. It is the doughty little robotic rover Opportunity, doggedly using its seven-year-old solar array to chug over the rocky surface of Mars.
Opportunity, like its twin rover Spirit, was designed to drive about .6 mile (1 kilometer) along the martian surface; by last month, Opportunity had driven more than 30 times that distance. It completed its primary mission in 2004 and since then has made important discoveries about parts of ancient Mars that might have been hospitable to microscopic life.
Like many earthly vehicles that are a bit past their prime, Opportunity has a few quirks, according to NASA’s Dave Lavery, who spoke at a briefing on the rover’s latest findings.
“We’re no longer driving a hot sports car,” he said. “We’re now driving a 1965 Mustang that hasn’t been restored.”
Even though Opportunity’s “drivers” are on Earth, controlling the golf-cart-sized robot remotely, they plainly feel a fair amount of affection for the little craft. NASA’s John Callas described the rover’s status almost as if it were a spunky grandparent.

from The Great Debate UK:

Give people the power to live a greener lifestyle

By Guest Contributor
September 2, 2011

--Craig Boundy is UK CEO of Logica. The opinions expressed are his own.--

Recent research by Logica showed that only 22 per cent of individuals feel the onus is on them to deliver a sustainable future. Individuals want more guidance on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle, with 18 per cent of respondents saying they had no idea what changes they need to make, and only 22 per cent feeling a responsibility to take the initiative. Central and local government need to put the power into consumers’ hands by equipping them with the knowledge and the technologies to make change a reality – and ultimately to get them excited about living a greener lifestyle.

Wildlife gone wild? Walruses, sharks, butterflies and orange goo

August 19, 2011

This was the week when some wildlife got a little wilder — or at least ventured into unusual places.

Seeking answers on oil sands crude corrosion

August 12, 2011

Environmental groups and the oil industry are battling on a new front in the long-running public relations war over Canada’s oil sands. This one concerns claims that crude wrung from the massive deposits is more corrosive to pipelines and hence presents a bigger risk of oil spills.

U.S. lawmakers find something to agree on: endangered species

July 27, 2011

This just in: the U.S. House of Representatives agreed on something. A bipartisan majority of the House voted to preserve funding for the Endangered Species Act and the animals and plants it protects.

from Photographers' Blog:

Barefoot in a recycled school

July 25, 2011

The environment hasn't been spared in India's headlong rush towards development and consumerism. With it came mounds of garbage, piles of waste that had nowhere to go, industrial pollutants that were fed straight back into the rivers and lakes that supply drinking water to millions.‬ Walking around the streets of any town in India, you don't get the feeling that care for the environment is on the top of anyone's list of priorities.‬

Airlines tout “going green” but their lobbyists are on different flight

By Peter Goldmark
July 22, 2011
By Peter Goldmark
The opinions expressed are his own. 

The way some of the big U.S. airlines tell it, they’re responsible stewards of the environment working hard to shrink their footprints.

The power of a soccer ball

July 18, 2011

Anyone who watched the women’s World Cup final might have wondered if it’s possible to harness that pure human energy. Turns out, it is. There’s enough power in a soccer ball to light the night — or at least a part of it.

Stern, in center of climate pessimism, hopeful about U.S.

July 15, 2011

Nicholas Stern, the British economist who warned five years ago that global warming could cost the world’s GDP as much as 20 percent a year by 2050, hasn’t given up on the United States  taking action on climate even though he’s down on Washington for not passing a bill that would do just that.