The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.

The Southern Ocean is getting less salty. Here’s what that could mean for the rest of the world

The ocean surrounding Antarctica has become substantially less salty over the past couple of decades — and until now, scientists weren’t really sure why. But because changes in the Southern Ocean’s salinity have the potential to affect all kinds of important processes, including ocean circulation and its transport of heat and nutrients around the world, researchers have been eager to figure it out.

Now, a new study, published Wednesday in Nature, suggests that sea ice may be one of the major culprits. Using satellite data and models, the authors have shown that Antarctic sea ice has been moving farther and farther away from the continental coastline by strengthening winds in recent years, pouring fresh water farther out into the ocean as it melts.

Forest elephants are vanishing, and they might never recover from poaching

Among the forest elephants in Central Africa, females don’t typically breed until they’re 23 years old — “a markedly late age of maturity relative to other mammals,” notes Andrea Turkalo, a scientist for the Wildlife Conservation Society. Two years elapse from conception to birth. And a new calf comes along just once every five or six years.

Given their low birthrate and poachers’ massive killing of herds from 2002 to 2011, a new study’s description of that decade as “a lost century” doesn’t seem much like hyperbole. Commissioned by the conservation organization, the study concludes that it will take forest elephants 90 years for their numbers to recover.

Biofuels may be good for the climate — but they could be bad for bees, research says

New research has added to the growing list of challenges facing the nation’s pollinators. A study, published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that agricultural changes in the Northern Great Plains — particularly the expansion of corn and soybean cropland — could be putting a strain on honeybee colonies by infringing on grasslands and other types of land cover more suitable for pollinators to forage on.

Black Lead Matters

Donald Trump is still claiming that “inner-city crime is reaching record levels,” promising to save African-Americans from the “slaughter.” In fact, this urban apocalypse is a figment of his imagination; urban crime is actually at historically low levels. But he’s not the kind of guy to care about another “Pants on Fire” verdict from PolitiFact.

Yet some things are, of course, far from fine in our cities, and there is a lot we should be doing to help black communities. We could, for example, stop pumping lead into their children’s blood.

You may think that I’m talking about the water crisis in Flint, Mich., which justifiably caused national outrage early this year, only to fade from the headlines. But Flint was just an extreme example of a much bigger problem. And it’s a problem that should be part of our political debate: Like it or not, poisoning kids is a partisan issue.

Flooding of Coast,Caused by Global Warming,Has Already Begun

NORFOLK, Va. — Huge vertical rulers are sprouting beside low spots in the streets here, so people can judge if the tidal floods that increasingly inundate their roads are too deep to drive through.

Five hundred miles down the Atlantic Coast, the only road to Tybee Island, Ga., is disappearing beneath the sea several times a year, cutting the town off from the mainland.

And another 500 miles on, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., increased tidal flooding is forcing the city to spend millions fixing battered roads and drains — and, at times, to send out giant vacuum trucks to suck saltwater off the streets.

For decades, as the global warming created by human emissions caused land ice to melt and ocean water to expand, scientists warned that the accelerating rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline.

Now, those warnings are no longer theoretical:

Your manliness could be hurting the planet

Researchers have known for decades that women tend to beat men on environmental metrics. They generally use less fuel and energy. They eat less meat. They’re more concerned about climate change.

James Wilkie, a business professor at the University of Notre Dame, wanted to understand what drives this gender eco-friendliness gap. After years of exploring psychological bias, he and his colleagues developed a theory.

“Men’s resistance may stem in part from a prevalent association between the concepts of greenness and femininity and a corresponding stereotype (held by both men and women) that green consumers are feminine,” they assert this month in the Journal of Consumer Research. “As a result of this stereotype, men may be motivated to avoid or even oppose green behaviors in order to safeguard their gender identity.”

At BPI Campus our Progressive Agenda is:
1. People matter more than profits.
2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
3. We need good government for both #1 and #2.

 

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