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In the Utah Desert, Rising Temps May 'Bust the Crust'

Biocrusts are vital to desert life, but they can only take so much heat

(Newser) - At first glance, most desert landscapes appear uniformly parched and bland. It’s easy to overlook cryptobiotic soil, or biocrust: the blackened “skin” that forms the vital top layer of desert soil. A closer look reveals a vibrant community of microbial cyanobacteria, algae, mosses, fungi, and lichens. And without...

She Made Her Own Scientist Barbies. Now It's Official

Mattel teams with forest ecologist, honors her with doll that looks like her

(Newser) - When Nalini Nadkarni was a kid, she'd run home from school, climb into one of the eight maple trees in her parents' backyard, and spend an afternoon there with an apple and a book, per the AP . That time in the treetops set the tone for the rest of...

Researchers See 'Horrific Decline' in Insect Numbers

Scientist warns of 'ecological Armageddon'

(Newser) - If it seems like there are fewer squished bugs on your windshield after long journeys than in years past, you're not imagining things: Researchers say there appears to have been a steep and extremely worrying decline in insect populations in recent decades. In a study published in the journal...

Street Lights Change Insect Ecology
 Street Lights 
 Change Insect 
study says

Street Lights Change Insect Ecology

More bugs live under them, even during the day: study

(Newser) - If you're not a fan of bugs, you may not want to hang out near street lights: A new study finds that insects are more numerous in the areas under such lights, even during the day, when they're not on. The study suggests that street lights significantly influence...

How Bug Warfare Could Save the Baseball Bat

Ecologists hoping Asian wasps can stop the emerald ash borer

(Newser) - The mighty baseball bat could soon be brought low by bugs—unless a USDA plan to instigate some bug warfare succeeds. Meet the emerald ash borer, or EAB, a beetle that recently began infesting New York’s forests and feeding on its ash trees. And since roughly 50% of major...

Obama on Gulf Coast: 'BP Will Be Paying the Bill'

In Louisiana, president gets firsthand look at effects of ruptured oil well

(Newser) - President Obama visited Louisiana this afternoon, seeing for himself the effects of the continuing oil spill and promising an "all-hands-on-deck" reaction, the Times-Picayune reports. "BP is responsible for this leak. BP will be paying the bill," he said. "But as president of the United States, I...

Google Doodle Celebrates Earth Day

Search engine goes green for Ma Nature

(Newser) - The Google doodlers are at it again, this time with a vividly green Avatar-like image of a magical woodland to celebrate Earth Day. Clicking on the image on the Google search page calls up everything connected to Earth Day. The doodle marking the green day, founded in 1970 by a...

Right-Wingers Go Ballistic Over Avatar

 Go Ballistic 
 Over Avatar  

Right-Wingers Go Ballistic Over Avatar

Anti-military sci-fi 'hippies' giving conservatives fits

(Newser) - Here's one more thing that's sure to rocket hyper-popular Avatar to even greater heights: right-wingers hate it. America's "prickly cadre of political conservatives" can't stand its eco message, negative portrayal of vicious military contractors and its "can't-we-all-get along counterculture vibe," writes Patrick Goldstein in the Los Angeles ...

Bottled Water Sales Head Down the Drain

Environmentalists claim credit; industry blames economy

(Newser) - Bottled water sales are sinking, and environmentalists point triumphantly to their hard-fought campaign against the wasteful industry. Consumption is expected to drop 2% this year, following a 3.2% drop last year, MSNBC reports. But industry executives say it’s just a natural result of the economic downturn, noting that...

Team Counts on Birds to Sing Their Population

Recordings + math equations = accurate numbers

(Newser) - The intensity of birdsong can be used to accurately calculate bird populations, scientists have discovered. Researchers are using recordings from microphones placed in woods to count birds using mathematical equations. The method is expected to revolutionize the monitoring of other species. Counting animals is extremely time consuming, and many species,...

In Eco-Terms, Dog = Hummer
 In Eco-Terms, 
 Dog = Hummer 
pop science

In Eco-Terms, Dog = Hummer

(Newser) - A dog has about the same impact on the planet as an SUV, according to a study out of New Zealand. The authors of Time to Eat the Dog? The Real Guide to Sustainable Living claim the environmental footprint of a Toyota Land Cruiser is smaller than the ecological impact...

Biofuel Boom Runs Out of Gas
 Biofuel Boom Runs Out of Gas 

Biofuel Boom Runs Out of Gas

(Newser) - Once considered a win-win for the environment and energy independence, America’s biofuel industry is sputtering to a halt, the Wall Street Journal reports. Thanks to the recession, lower oil prices, and government delays, two-thirds of American biodiesel refineries—dozens of plants—are idle, and companies across the country are...

US Frontier Mythology Is Alive and Dangerous

(Newser) - Sarah Palin took to the national stage in August 2008, and two weeks later Lehman Brothers collapsed. That's a helpful metaphor, writes Naomi Klein in the Guardian, who sees the former Alaska governor as "the last clear expression of capitalism-as-usual before everything went south." The financial crisis should...

Peru Army Cracks Down on Amazon Eco Uprising

(Newser) - The Peruvian Army has imposed a curfew and set up checkpoints following deadly clashes with indigenous tribes protesting plans to drill for oil and gas in ancestral homelands in the Amazon region, reports the BBC. Dozens of people, both police and protesters, were killed in the clashes that mark the...

9 Ways to Go Green and Save Green

(Newser) - Being sensitive to the environment doesn't have to cost a fortune. In fact, the green option is often the most cost-effective one. Scientific American spotlights nine ways of cutting your bills as you save the Earth:
  • Shrink your living space. Prefab homes and plans for dwellings as small as 65

China Uses 'the Pill' to Stop Gerbil Overpopulation

Officials hide contraceptive meds in gerbil feed

(Newser) - Chinese officials have resorted to contraceptive pills to control the exploding gerbil population threatening a fragile desert ecosystem, the BBC reports. The government is placing feed pellets mixed with the medication by the gerbils’ burrows, which damage the roots of what plants survive there. Authorities have tried measures to boost...

As Temperatures Rise, West's Trees Dying Faster

New study paints dire picture for US forests which are releasing carbon dioxide—not storing it

(Newser) - America’s trees are dying at an alarming rate in the nation's western forests, a new study says. Death rates have more than doubled over the last two to three decades, Time reports, even in seemingly healthy locales. All types and sizes of trees, and at all elevations, have been...

Bat Deaths Perplex Scientists
 Bat Deaths Perplex Scientists 

Bat Deaths Perplex Scientists

Syndrome could devastate population

(Newser) - Experts are still in the dark about what’s causing the deaths of vast numbers of bats in the Northeast, but some theories have emerged, Salon reports. Some scientists believe white-nose syndrome is driven by global warming, while others are looking hard at pesticides. In either case, humans may have...

Out of Land, Monaco Eyes Ocean

Tiny, rich principality wants landmark on stilts, but environmental concerns loom

(Newser) - Monaco, flush with cash from tourism and its status as a tax haven, is trying to acquire the one thing it lacks: space. Its square mile of space is full (it's the world's second-most-densely populated country), moving Prince Albert II to decide to build an artificial offshore district—on stilts,...

Companies Go Green for Consumers— and Profit

Frito-Lay works to turn a chip plant eco-friendly

(Newser) - As consumers look for more eco-friendly products, a Frito-Lay plant in Arizona is working toward ways to turn 500,00 pounds of spuds into environmentally friendly potato chips, the New York Times reports, changing an energy- and water-hogging process into one that uses renewable fuel, solar energy, and recycled water...

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