environment

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Why the Inventor of K-Cups Doesn't Use Them

For one, 'they're kind of expensive,' John Sylvan says

(Newser) - If anyone would brew his morning joe using K-Cups, you'd think it would be the inventor of the K-Cup himself. But John Sylvan, whose single-serve pods revolutionized the coffee landscape, sticks with making coffee the old-fashioned way. "I don't have [pods]. They're kind of expensive to... More »

Researchers Solve Piece of Easter Island Mystery

The ongoing debate: Did Rapa Nui do themselves in, or are Europeans to blame?

(Newser) - The ongoing debate over what prompted the decline of Easter Island's native Polynesian inhabitants, known as Rapa Nui, is being clarified by scientists digging for answers in the soil. Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , an international team of researchers explain that they examined agricultural... More »

What Really Happened to People of Easter Island

Study points to environmental decline before Europeans came

(Newser) - A new study is wading into the hot debate over exactly why Easter Island's indigenous people declined—and already news sources are interpreting it differently. The international team of researchers come to one clear conclusion: Environmental conditions made life hard for the Rapa Nui people before Europeans ever arrived... More »

You Don't Need to Warm Up Your Car in Winter

And it's costing us $5.9B per year

(Newser) - Warming up the car before hitting the road is a pervasive winter ritual, but it's a pointless exercise for most modern vehicles, the Washington Post reports. What's more, a 2009 study found that idling of all types accounts for 1.6% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions—... More »

Amount of Plastic in Ocean: 700 Pieces per Human

Estimate taken from 24 ocean expeditions from 2007 to 2013

(Newser) - Mother Earth has reached a milestone, but not the kind anyone will want to celebrate: The plastic floating in the oceans has been estimated to the tune of 5 trillion pieces in a new study. That's 250,000 tons, or some 700 pieces per person, the Washington Post reports.... More »

Scientists Invent Paper That You Can Print On, Then Reuse

Researchers see economic, environmental benefits

(Newser) - Digital revolution or no, some 90% of business information continues to be stored on paper, surveys suggest—and most of that paper is used just once. But scientists in California are hoping to change that with a new kind of paper that can be erased even after it's been... More »

Swiss Reject 'Eco-Friendly' Rule Limiting Immigration

Supporters said it would help protect landscape

(Newser) - Switzerland has rejected a proposed rule to make major cuts to immigration—a measure that supporters backed as eco-friendly. It called for limiting immigration growth to 0.2% of the population each year in order to protect the country's beauty against overcrowding, AFP reports. That would have meant cutting... More »

US' Worst Spot for Methane: Four Corners

Site where 4 states meet produces triple the typical amount of the gas

(Newser) - Put together all the methane produced by the coal, oil, and gas industries each year across the UK, and you'll have a good estimate of the amount produced in a small stateside area between 2003 and 2009. The 2,500-square-mile Four Corners region—where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and... More »

How Louisiana Crippled a Vast Environmental Lawsuit

Historian John Barry is still fighting to restore state wetlands

(Newser) - A Louisiana historian wants oil and gas companies to help restore state wetlands that are vanishing by the day—but politicians are fighting him tooth and nail, the New York Times Magazine reports. John Barry, a gritty ex-weightlifter who writes US history books, watches in horror as Louisiana wetlands recede... More »

California Gets Statewide Plastic Bag Ban

Bag-makers say they want a referendum

(Newser) - After some will-he-or-won't-he speculation, California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed America's first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags into law . "This bill is a step in the right direction—it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks, and even the vast ocean itself," the... More »

White House's New Enemy: Coolant Found in Your Home

Calls on firms, trading partners to cut down on R-134a

(Newser) - The Obama administration has a new goal in its effort to fight climate change: get Americans—and the world—to quickly stop using a chemical coolant found in just about every US home, car, and office. R-134a is a hydrofluorocarbon, or HFC; the chemical was used to replace ozone-damaging Freon... More »

UN: Ozone Is Bouncing Back

Layer is showing first signs of recovery

(Newser) - An environment story without warnings of impending doom : The ozone layer that blocks cancer-causing rays from the sun is finally starting to recover thanks to global action, according to the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program. While it will probably take until the middle of this century... More »

2013 Saw Fastest Spike in CO2 Levels Since 1984

Greenhouse gases hit record highs: World Meteorological Organization

(Newser) - Greenhouse gases rose to record levels last year, according to a new report by the World Meteorological Organization, making a worldwide climate treaty more critical now than ever. Concentrations of carbon dioxide in particular peaked at 396 parts per million, the BBC reports—3ppm over the previous year, in the... More »

Don't Feel Guilty for Eating These 21 Fish

Sustainability watchdog gives the OK to chow down on flounder, other species

(Newser) - If you've been plagued by guilt every time you scarf down that fried flounder, rest easy: A California sustainability-monitoring group has given a thumbs-up to that species, as well as 20 other West Coast varieties such as sole and snapper, after deciding there's enough available to catch without... More »

California May Get Nation's First Statewide Ban on Plastic Bags

But it's unclear whether Gov. Jerry Brown will sign legislation

(Newser) - California's legislature has approved what will be a national first if Gov. Jerry Brown goes along—a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags in supermarkets and other stores, reports the Los Angeles Times . Lawmakers narrowly approved the measure yesterday in the name of reducing litter on streets and beaches.... More »

Atlantic Sea Floor Is Burping Methane

570 methane seeps quite unexpected in 'cold, old' East Coast

(Newser) - The bottom of the Atlantic Ocean has been burping methane for at least 1,000 years, scientists have discovered. NOAA surveyed the Atlantic Coast using sound waves and found at least 570 methane "seeps" from Cape Hatteras to Nantucket, right where the continental shelf meets the ocean, LiveScience reports.... More »

More Elephants Being Killed Than Born

35K killed annually since 2010; deaths driven by illegal ivory trade

(Newser) - A new study tallying the African elephant population has made a stark finding: If poaching continues at its current rate, the animal may be extinct in a century, the BBC reports. "We are shredding the fabric of elephant society and exterminating populations across the continent," says the study'... More »

If Drought Continues, Giant Sequoias Could Disappear

California's 3-year drought threatens 3K-year-old trees

(Newser) - Scientists are working hard to prevent a "what-if" scenario that could be caused by California’s epic three-year drought—the disappearance of the state's ancient giant sequoias. "A world where a child can’t stare up in wonder at a giant cathedral-like crown is a very real... More »

Your Bottled Water Might Come From Parched California

Loose regulations, high demand keep bottlers in business

(Newser) - The $22 billion bottled water business is rife with odd logic: It takes 1.39 liters of water to make one liter of bottled water, for example, and much of the nation's supply is being drawn from a state parched by drought, the Atlantic reports. Why, then, do we... More »

Anti-Wildfire Project Tabled Over Rare Frogs

Forest Service project may hurt endangered species

(Newser) - US officials are balancing forest-fire risk against the need to preserve an endangered species near Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevadas, the Tahoe Daily Tribune reports. Per a stipulation signed by a judge last week, the US Forest Service will delay its tree-thinning project there until it consults with the... More »

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