More than 70 mayors and other local leaders from around the world have signed the Urban Environmental Accords, 21 ambitious—but non-binding—sustainability goals. They pledged specifically to work toward getting 10 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2012, extending public transit to within a quarter mile of all city residents by 2015, reducing greenhouse gases by 25 percent by 2030 and achieving zero municipal waste by 2040.
In the spring of 1984, Peter Wallerstein received a phone call about an adult whale and her calf struggling to free themselves from the cutting confines of a gill net. Many of his previous phone calls to the Los Angeles city authorities had gone unanswered, and Wallerstein, then director of the Sea Shepherd Society, decided it was time to take matters into his own hands.
The total area deforested in Brazil between 2003 and 2004 totaled 10,000 square miles, an area the size of Massachusetts and the second-highest figure in history. The pace of deforestation has increased every year for the last decade. The situation actually got worse—at least six percent worse—during the young presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Lula, as he is widely known, took office in 2003 as Brazil’s first left-leaning president in nearly four decades.
When Congress granted San Francisco the right to flood the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park to bring water and hydroelectric power to the city in 1913, it was supposed to be the end of the discussion. But these days, the fight to save Hetch Hetchy has been rejuvenated. Four major research efforts—three within the past five years—all suggest the same thing: that San Francisco’s use of Hetch Hetchy as its own private water tank may no longer be the best way to bring water and power to some 2.4 million people in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Never learned the difference between mitochondria and monotremes? No matter—you may still have a shot at a side career in science. These days, conservation organizations and government agencies are increasingly turning to average citizens to help monitor water quality in local streams, track bird migrations, and restore habitats.
Sustainable development is a popular environmental catchphrase, but it’s not always clear what sustainability looks like beyond demonstration projects such as recycling centers or the occasional "green" building. Now North Americans are starting to look at Sweden for both models and methods of sustainability.
Sinking a gigantic, smelly whale carcass to the bottom of the ocean is an adventure that most of us would not even contemplate undertaking, but it’s one that has been casting a fascinating light on a hitherto unimagined world beneath the waves. For scientific studies are showing that, in death, whales give life, their giant, slowly decaying carcasses supporting communities of fauna that make so-called "whale falls" among the most diverse habitats in the deep sea.
If the contents of U.S. landfills (and litter along roadways) are any indication, the bottled water industry is booming (see "Message in a Bottle," cover story, September/October 2003). Every day, 30 million used water bottles are tossed away as more and more Americans avoid their taps in favor of handsomely packaged plastic bottles boasting "pure" and "natural" H2O. In 2004, only 15 percent of bottled water containers were recycled.
According to a recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health, particulate pollution can be directly linked to increasing the risk of cardiovascular problems and major heart failure in diabetics. The study, led by Harvard professor of environmental epidemiology Joel Schwartz, was published last June in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association (see […]
On May 26, federal court judge James Redden ruled, for the second time, that the federal salmon plan for the Columbia and Snake Rivers is unlawful (see "American Rivers," In Brief, July/ August 2000). In May 2003, Judge Redden had asked the Bush administration to rewrite the first plan. Redden takes issue with the National […]