It’s Not Warming, It’s Dying: A New Campaign to Raise Awareness of Climate Change
By The Editors Milton Glaser, one of the most celebrated graphic designers in the United States, has launched an environmental campaign to raise awareness of climate change. He is known for the ubiquitous I heart NY logo, his Bob Dylan poster, the Brooklyn Brewery logo, and a lot more. You can view a collection of his work here. The campaign — It’s Not Warming, It’s Dying — is based on a strong message that is meant to create a sense of urgency around climate change, a well-established major global threat. For his campaign, which defines climate change as “The most important fact on Earth“, Glaser designed a visual for buttons and…
Electronic Waste: A Global, Interactive Map
By The Editors In one of our previous posts (Electronic Waste and the Global Toxic Trade) we said “As technology changes come by very rapidly in great acceleration-style, the amount of obsolete and discarded high tech material also grows, great acceleration-style, around the world.” Now, data compiled by “Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) Initiative“, a partnership of UN organizations, industry, governments, non-government and science organizations, provide a staggering forecast of how rapidly electronic waste is accumulating globally – by 2017, we can expect an increase of 33%, up to one-third to 65.4 million tons. The escalating e-waste problem is graphically shown in a first-of-its-kind StEP E-Waste World Map, available online…
750 Miles of Smog
By The Editors Thick haze stretching over a distance of about 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) has been captured a few days ago (December 7, 2013) by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. In the image below, the brightest areas are clouds or fog. Polluted air appears gray. The haze stretched from Beijing (top) to Shanghai (bottom), China. You can read more about this severe bout of air pollution here (NASA Earth Observatory).
Embarrassing Facebook Posts May Cause Anguish
By The Editors A new study from Northwestern University explores the strength of the emotional response to “violations” or ”threats” on Facebook – something that gets posted and results in embarrassment and may, sometimes, create anguish. Jeremy Birnholtz, one of the researchers, said: “Almost every participant in the study could describe something that happened on Facebook in the past six months that was embarrassing or made them feel awkward or uncomfortable.” The study, which will be presented in February 2014 at the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing in Baltimore, found that people concerned about social appropriateness and those with a diverse network of friends on…
Forests: A Map of Global Changes
By The Editors This map — based on data from the NASA-U.S. Geological Survey Landsat 7 satellite — shows the worldwide forest cover, as well as the loss and gain of forest cover occurring over a period of 12 years (2000 – 2012). During this period, 888,000 square miles (2.3 million square kilometers) of forest were lost, and 309,000 square miles (800,000 square kilometers) were gained. It’s one of the maps resulting from a new study published online in the scientific journal Science on November 14, 2013. The study is entitled “High-Resolution Global Maps of 21st-Century Forest Cover Change” and involves a team of 15 universities, Google and government researchers. To view…
The Golden Grain of the Andes: Are You Ready to Cook?
By The Editors The Golden Grain of the Andes — quinoa — is being praised all around the world. Indeed, the year 2013 is “The International Year of the Quinoa”, which celebrates not only quinoa, but also the indigenous peoples of the Andes, who have maintained, controlled, protected and preserved quinoa as food for present and future generations, thanks to their traditional knowledge and practices of living in harmony with nature. A few days ago, in a speech dedicated to the introduction of “Quinoa in the Kitchen“, José Graziano da Silva (FAO Director-General), said “Quinoa is part of the effort to recover these lost foods and to promote traditional…
Global Pollution: Top Ten Toxic Threats in 2013
By The Editors A report released in 2012 by the Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland pointed out that the disease burden of pollution is comparable in scope to that of more well-known public health threats, such as malaria or tuberculosis. The burden of disease measures the relative impact of different diseases and injuries on populations. As comparison, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), globally, there were about 219 million cases of malaria in 2010 and an estimated 660 000 deaths due to the disease, whereas in 2012 an estimated 8.6 million people developed tuberculosis and 1.3 million died from it. Yesterday (November 4, 2013), the Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland published the 2013 report of…
Breast Cancer: Prevention is Better than Cure
By The Editors The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organization addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union. With the support of more than 65 member organizations, HEAL brings independent expertise and evidence from the health community to different decision-making processes. According to HEAL, “the role that environmental factors play in cancer causation, specifically carcinogenic substances and other cancer-related chemicals, is increasingly recognized. Consequently, reducing exposure to hazardous substances is gaining prominence as a key approach to cancer prevention.” On October 23, 2013, HEAL member Breast Cancer UK (BCUK) launched its Manifesto ‘Prevention is better than cure: 5 pledges for 2015 and beyond’ calling on the…
Fine Particulate Matter: The Global Toll
By The Editors Particulate matter, also known as particle pollution or PM, is a complex mixture of very tiny solid and liquid particles made up of several components, including acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles. Fine particles (PM2.5) are found in smoke and haze and are 2.5 micrometers in diameter and smaller. Sources of fine particles include all types of combustion — motor vehicles, power plants, residential wood burning, forest fires, agricultural burning, and some industrial processes. Fine particles cause serious health problems such as heart disease, lung cancer and asthma attacks as they can get deep into the lungs — some may even get into the…
Global Reforestation: How Likely Is It?
By The Editors Forests are plant communities dominated by trees and, because of their nature, rely on dynamic associations of living organisms that undergo constant change – deforestation may be easily followed by reforestation, either natural or man-driven. How likely is it that global reforestation will occur? According to a recently published study entitled “Outlook on a worldwide forest transition“, it is not likely. Results of the study indicate that — unless we substantially boost agricultural production or we consume less food — the forest cover of the planet will continue to decline over the next two centuries until it stabilizes at 22% of global land cover and 1.4% of wild pasture. In…