United Kingdom, Environment
Improving the imperfect: photosynthesis for the future Despite its splendour and beauty, nature is full of imperfections. Indeed, the process of natural selection relies upon minor errors in genetic duplication to produce new variants, better suited to a given environment.
Rooting sustainability starts on school benches Do young people know what a smart city is? Do they care about saving energy and preserving the Earth’s resources? “Rooting sustainability starts on the benches of schools,” affirmed UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova at the recent UN Climate Change Conference ( COP22 ) in Marrakech, Morocco.
Homes storing CO2, just like trees Domestic efforts play an important role in curbing global warming. Besides producing and using renewables, homes can also act as banks that store CO2 .
Robots in distress in the Venetian Lagoon Can mathematics be expressed poetically through computational technologies? Visual artists Vicky Isley and Paul Smith believe it can be and are collaborating with the Artificial Life Lab of the University of Graz, in Austria, on the Subcultron project (Submarine Cultures Perform Long-Term Exploration of Unconventional Environmental Niches).
Cities: surviving floods and significant whims of the weather Part of the solution to counter the devastating effects of floods on human communities could be long-term climate forecasting, backed by assessments on the vulnerability of towns and cities As centres of innovation and growth, European cities are home to around 75% of the continent’s population and use about 80% of the energy it produces.
Bracing for summer thunderstorms With summertime and heat waves approaching, thunderstorms are becoming more frequent again. Recently several regions in Europe were hit by devastating thunderstorms along with strong winds, lightning strikes, hail and flash floods.
Resilient seeds - Nurturing the future of agriculture For the first time in its history, the Global Seed Vault on the Svalbard Islands, Norway, has authorised a withdrawal. It was requested in 2015 by Syria, a country where the war is endangering the local agricultural seed collections.
The sun is shining… Let’s prepare for severe weather! As well as being a time for celebration, winter in Europe is a time for serious weather. Blizzards, flash floods, hurricanes, heavy snow fall can cause chaos, major disruption, economic loss, and endanger lives.
Speeding up nature’s oil spill cleaners Imagine if oil spills could be completely cleaned up soon after a marine accident. And this could be made possible thanks to none other than warrior microorganisms who attacked and completely broke down the oil.
Eating Insects - New Proteins for Farm Animals When on April 7 th World Health Day is celebrated, most experts will be blaming insects for the rising problem of vector-borne diseases. In some parts of the world, however, these little bugs are considered a healthy and tasty source of food .
Towards effective spatial mosquito repellent Global warming is leading to an increase in mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria . It is considered the plague of developing countries. According to the World Health Organisation , it is responsible for one child death every minute.
The case for low methane-emitting cattle You may think that climate change is being caused by burning oil, coal and gas. But not so fast! The emission of methane from cattle is a surprisingly important factor .
Grass as the new biofuel Grass could be used to produce biofuels. The advantage of using grass crops is that they can be grown in marginal lands that would otherwise not be used .
Forecasting air pollution Air quality is not a local problem. Like clouds moving through the sky, pollution is transported from one location to another by wind patterns in the atmosphere .
David Kay: cleaning up Europe’s bathing waters Europe’s bathing water has come a long way in the last few decades. Especially since the EU Bathing Water Directive in 1976, countries have worked to eliminate sewage contamination in the waters we swim or paddle in.
To be or not to be green What happens to research findings once the researchers have gone away? A web site run from the University of Stuttgart in Germany offers scientists an opportunity to bring their own data from completed research project on environmental and health risks and contribute to an Integrated Environmental Health Impact Assessment System, dubbed IEHIAS .