Most plastic recycling produces low-value materials – but we've found a way to turn a common plastic into high-value molecules

Plastic waste is a global problem. Now a chemist has developed a new strategy for breaking down the most common plastic so it can be not just recycled, but upcycled into desirable goods.

Susannah Scott, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, University of California Santa Barbara • conversation
yesterday ~6 min

Tags: environment pollution recycling plastic plastic-recycling plastic-waste innovation-and-invention plastic-bags

Exposure to man-made chemicals influences genes controlling aging, immune system and metabolism

Man-made chemical disrupt the activities of most human genes. What effect does this have on human health and how should regulators respond?

Alexander Suvorov, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst • conversation
Oct. 15, 2020 ~8 min

Tags: health environment metabolism obesity immune-system genes toxicology

A radical nature-based agenda would help society overcome the psychological effects of coronavirus

Why structured contact with nature, rolled out with government support, will go a long way to solving the psychological distress of coronavirus.

Matthew Adams, Principal Lecturer in Psychology, University of Brighton • conversation
Oct. 9, 2020 ~8 min

Tags: environment mental-health covid-19 nature isolation interdisciplinarity climate-crisis green-prescriptions

California wildfires pass 4 million acres burned, doubling previous record – that's a lot of toxic smoke

To understand the risks of wildfire smoke, it helps to understand the chemicals people are breathing.

Joshua S. Fu, John D. Tickle Professor of Engineering and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Tennessee • conversation
Oct. 2, 2020 ~8 min

Tags: health environment pollution wildfire chemicals air-pollution natural-disasters wildfires smoke

Evolution on the smallest of scales smooths out the patchwork patterns of where plants and animals live

Local adaptation allows plants and animals to thrive in a diversity of places. Sometimes adaptation sharpens patterns of where organisms live, but 85% of the time, it creates a more homogeneous world.

Mark C. Urban, Director, Center of Biological Risk; Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut • conversation
Oct. 2, 2020 ~10 min

Tags: evolution environment ecology trees forests charles-darwin adaptation

Wildfire smoke is laced with toxic chemicals – here's how they got there

To understand the risks of wildfire smoke, it helps to understand the chemicals people are breathing.

Joshua S. Fu, John D. Tickle Professor of Engineering and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Tennessee • conversation
Oct. 2, 2020 ~8 min

Tags: health environment pollution wildfire chemicals air-pollution natural-disasters wildfires smoke

Climate warming is altering animals' gut microbes, which are critical to their health and survival

The effect of a warmer climate on ecosystems and large and small vertebrates is being widely studied. But warmer temperatures seem to alter the microbes that live in and on these animals and plants.

Sasha Greenspan, Research Associate, University of Alabama • conversation
Sept. 28, 2020 ~9 min

Tags:  climate-change  environment  ecology  microbiome

When hurricanes temporarily halt fishing, marine food webs recover quickly

Hurricane Harvey destroyed the fishing infrastructure of Aransas Bay and reduced fishing by 80% over the following year. This removed humans from the trophic cascade and whole food webs changed.

Joseph W. Reustle, SPIRE Postdoctoral Scholar, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • conversation
Sept. 15, 2020 ~6 min

Tags: environment fish ecology hurricane fishing food-webs research-brief marine-biology ecosystems texas cyclones gulf-coast trophic-cascade oyster-reefs

How chemicals like PFAS can increase your risk of severe COVID-19

Endocrine-disrupting compounds are pervasive in modern life, from food packaging to shampoo. Research is connecting their effects on humans to risk of severe illness or death from the coronavirus.

Kathryn Crawford, Assistant Professor of Environmental Health, Middlebury • conversation
Aug. 31, 2020 ~7 min

Tags: health environment covid-19 coronavirus pandemic chemicals plastic environmental-health pfas

Coal mining in Wales: the 1930s writers who depicted the environmental calamity caused by the pits

The miners might be fondly remembered, but literature helps us bear in mind the environmental damage the industry caused.

Seth Armstrong Twigg, Doctoral Researcher in Welsh industrial literature, Cardiff University • conversation
Aug. 24, 2020 ~6 min

Tags: environment mining wales

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