Can mushrooms help clean up oil spills? Can oysters filter sewage pollution? Industrial waste is being injected into the planet’s soil and water as a result of human activity. Pioneers in the field of conservation and sustainability are employing nature’s own biological task force to help clean up.
A city effort to clean-up polluted Newtown Creek by aerating the water to boost oxygen levels is having an unintended effect: it is releasing sewage bacteria and other particles into the air above the site, researchers say in a new study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. The researchers found bacteria types in the air consistent with the sewage and oil pollution in the creek. The study is one of the first to establish a link between water pollution and air-quality, raising new questions about the health risks posed by dirty water.
If public-private partnerships are essential to successfully carrying out the Olympics and using it to catalyze positive change for the host city, then Rio could have an important advantage for hosting the games in 2016.
Rockland County’s main water provider, United Water NY, wants to build a treatment plant on the Hudson River that would deliver more freshwater to Rockland taps. As the project awaits state approval, a new debate on water consumption has emerged. Should people be encouraged, or even required, to use less? And if so, how?
The Olympics symbolize unity and friendship: The whole world comes together for the Games, playing by the same rules, honoring the same Olympian spirit of excellence and fair play. But today’s Olympics are notable for another type of collaboration—between the public and private sectors.
Representatives of the worlds’ cities came to Rio in June for a series of events focused on the problems pressing in on the burgeoning urban population. Mayors around the world already are working on solutions and came out of Rio with concrete commitments for the future.
A new survey conducted in three informal settlements in Kisumu, Kenya, examined poverty at the household level, gleaning information on the quality of life experienced by individuals living in such settlements. A follow-up workshop gave researchers a chance to share the information with local residents and hear their thoughts on the needs of poor neighborhoods.
The following is a guest blog, authored by Meagan HoChing, a Harvard University student and volunteer with the Millennium Cities Initiative.
I have recently had the absolute pleasure of spending two weeks in beautiful Kisumu, Kenya. I am working with two other students to perfect what we would like to call “Bloom and Bud,” which involves urban farming with 100% recyclable materials, in an effort to provide food sustainability for those with minimal to no land or food security.
Population growth is a key contributor to the pressures pushing at our planetary boundaries. In Rio+20 discussions, implications of population growth have become shrouded in platitudes. It is important that discussions on planetary limits clearly lay out possible strategies that can alleviate these pressures.
In an article published in The Lancet, Earth Institute Director Jeffrey Sachs outlines his own ideas for sustainable development goals, and how how these goals can build on the Millennium Development Goals, the UN’s set of targets that aim to reduce extreme poverty and boost social well-being in many other ways by 2015.