Tag: Environment

The Promise and Peril of Nanotechnology

by | 3.25.2014 at 6:42pm
Computer rendered view inside a carbon nanotube. Photo: Geoff Hutchison

Nanotechnology is one of the fastest growing areas of science, engineering and industry that is used in more and more consumer products each day. It has great potential to transform our world for the better. But what are its implications for human health and the environment?

Helping Consumers See the Green Behind Fuel Economy

by | 3.11.2014 at 2:11pm

New research from the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions sheds light on how best to present information on U.S. fuel economy labels. Consumers choose fuel-efficient vehicles more frequently when fuel economy is expressed in terms of the cost of gas on a long term, 100,000-mile scale. The scale currently used on the U.S. fuel economy label (15,000 miles per year) produced the weakest preference for fuel-efficient vehicles in this study.

Upcoming Scientific Fieldwork: 2014 and Beyond

by | 2.25.2014 at 12:50pm
fieldguide feature pic crop3

Earth Institute field researchers study the planet on every continent and ocean. Projects are aimed at understanding the fundamental dynamics of climate, geology, ecology, human history and more. Here is a partial list of upcoming expeditions.

GPS in Khulna and the Hidden Temple

by | 2.21.2014 at 5:27am
The ruins of the ~400 year old Shakher Temple to the Hindu goddess Kali.

Rushing around SW Bangladesh by boat and car, we managed to install or repair four GPS sites in record time. We caught up our lost day and managed to get to the ruins of the Shakher Temple in the Sundarban mangrove forest.

Psychology of Environmental Decision Making and Sustainable Behavior

by | 1.6.2014 at 4:56pm
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Countries vary dramatically in their records of environmental responsibility. Some nations such as Switzerland and Norway are well known for their willingness to sacrifice for the future good, while countries such Iraq and South Africa lag far behind. There are certainly socio-economic reasons for these stark differences, but is it also possible that human psychology shapes our perception of environmental responsibility?

Why Conservation is Not Condescension: A Case Against Eco-imperialism

by | 1.2.2014 at 12:51am

Western ecologists and conservationists have been portrayed at times as modern imperialists, forcefully imposing a radical ideology of environmentalism on the developing world. These so-called “eco-imperialists” are depicted as arrogant and uncaring elites, concerned with the protection of pristine nature, but indifferent to human welfare. But the future of wild places is entwined with human welfare, and the protection of wildlands is in fact critical in the long run. This piece investigates the perception of modern conservationists as eco-imperialists, and argues against that view of environmentalism.

Climate Change and the Future of Mono Lake

by | 12.6.2013 at 5:04pm | 2 Comments
Mono Lake, Guleed Ali, geology

Understanding the climate history of Mono Lake will help scientists understand the future impact of climate change. This is no esoteric question for Los Angeles, which depends in part on Mono Lake’s watershed for drinking water, green lawns, agriculture and industry.

Sustainability Ethics and Metrics

by | 12.2.2013 at 2:33pm
Credit: Flickr Sterling College

Today’s increasing emphasis on metrics in sustainability policy and management presents an interesting challenge for ethics. When ethics are discussed, probably one of the last things to come to mind is measuring them, particularly in numeric terms.

The State and Future of Congestion Pricing in China

by | 11.14.2013 at 4:57pm
Can charging commuters during times of high congestion help solve China's air pollution problem? Photo: Wikimedia commons.

To combat urban air pollution and traffic problems, some propose congestion pricing as a cost-effective policy to reduce pollution and improve productivity through improved travel speeds. Cities in China could implement this policy and ameliorate some of the negative effects of congestion-caused pollution. So why is congestion pricing dead on arrival in China?

The Arctic’s Secret Garden

by | 10.10.2013 at 11:04am
Arctic Fieldwork

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory marine biologists Craig Aumack and Andy Juhl spend a month each spring in Barrow studying the algae dwelling in and under the sea ice. Their goal is to learn more about the different species of algae that compose these communities and their role in the Arctic marine food web.