Sustainability News -- ScienceDaily Sustainable development. Read current events articles on sustainable agriculture and sustainable living. How can sustainability be achieved?

  • New World Atlas of Desertification shows unprecedented pressure on planet's resources
    on June 21, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    The World Desertification Atlas by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre provides the first comprehensive, evidence-based assessment of land degradation at a global level and highlights the urgency to adopt corrective measures. […]

  • 'Green'-feed: Industrial microbes could feed cattle, pigs, chicken
    on June 20, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Today, producing feed for pigs, cattle and chicken causes immense impacts for the climate and the environment. In the future, animal feed production is likely to be shifted from croplands to large-scale industrial facilities as it could bring both financial and environmental benefits. Replacing 2 percent feed with protein-rich microbes could decrease agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, global cropland area and nitrogen losses by over 5 percent. […]

  • Machine learning may be a game-changer for climate prediction
    on June 19, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    New research demonstrates that machine-learning techniques can be used to accurately represent clouds and their atmospheric heating and moistening, and better represent clouds in coarse resolution climate models, with the potential to narrow the range of climate prediction. This could be a major advance in accurate predictions of global warming in response to increased greenhouse gas concentrations that are essential for policy-makers (e.g. the Paris climate agreement). […]

  • Palm oil: The carbon cost of deforestation
    on June 19, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Palm oil has become part of our daily lives, but a recent study serves as a reminder that intensive farming of this crop has a major impact on the environment. Both short- and long-term solutions exist, however. The article analyzed the carbon costs and benefits of converting rainforests into oil palm plantations. […]

  • Overuse of agricultural chemicals on China's small farms harms health and environment
    on June 19, 2018 at 2:25 am

    The size of farms in China is a key contributor to the overuse of agricultural chemicals, and as a result they may be too small to be environmentally sustainable, a new study has found. […]

  • Meeting Paris climate targets will require a substantial reallocation of global investment
    on June 18, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    A new analysis by an international team of scientists shows that low carbon investments will need to markedly increase if the world is to achieve the Paris Agreement aim of keeping global warming well below 2°C. […]

  • Bolder targets needed to protect nature for people's sake
    on June 18, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Researchers argue that the world needs more diverse, ambitious and area-specific targets for retaining important natural systems to safeguard humanity. […]

  • Large outdoor study shows biodiversity improves stability of algal biofuel systems
    on June 18, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    A diverse mix of species improves the stability and fuel-oil yield of algal biofuel systems, as well as their resistance to invasion by outsiders, according to the new findings. […]

  • Better be safe than sorry: Economic optimization risks tipping of Earth system elements
    on June 15, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Optimizing economic welfare without constraints might put human well-being at risk, a new climate study argues. While being successful in bringing down costs of greenhouse gas reductions for instance, the concept of profit maximization alone does not suffice to avoid the tipping of critical elements in the Earth system which could lead to dramatic changes of our lifelihood. The scientists use mathematical experiments to compare economic optimization to the governance concepts of sustainability and the more recent approach of a safe operating space for humanity. All of these turn out to have their benefits and deficits, yet the profit-maximizing approach shows the greatest likelihood of producing outcomes that harm people or the environment. […]

  • Key ocean fish can prevail with changes to farmed fish, livestock diets
    on June 15, 2018 at 1:38 am

    A new study shows that if current aquaculture and agriculture practices remain unchanged into the future, wild forage fish populations likely will be overextended by the year 2050, and possibly sooner. However, making sensible changes in aquaculture and agriculture production would avoid reaching that threshold. […]

  • Agricultural intensification not a 'blueprint' for sustainable development
    on June 15, 2018 at 1:38 am

    New research suggests that the combined social and ecological results of increased agricultural intensification in low and middle-income countries are not as positive as expected. The study is the first to bring together current knowledge on how agricultural intensification affects both the environment and human wellbeing in these countries. […]

  • Breakthrough in lignin research: Spherical particles multiply enzyme efficiency
    on June 12, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Lignin, a pulp industry by-product, could replace fossil materials. […]

  • Taking a closer look at 'electrifying' chemistry
    on June 11, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    With the increasing availability of electrical energy from renewable sources, it will be possible in the future to drive many chemical processes using an electric current. This will facilitate the use of sustainable methods to manufacture products or fuels. However, exactly how these electrocatalysts work is not yet fully understood. […]

  • New insight into why Pierce's disease is so deadly to grapevines
    on June 9, 2018 at 12:02 am

    Scientists are gaining a better understanding of Pierce's disease and how it affects grapevines. The disease, which annually costs California more than $100 million, comes from a bacterium called Xylella fastidiosa. […]

  • Populations of widely spread tree species respond differently to climate change
    on June 8, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    A new study shows that not all populations of a single, widely spread tree species respond the same to climate change, something scientists will need to consider when making climate change projections. […]

  • Dolphins deliberately killed for use as bait in global fisheries
    on June 7, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    Ahead of World Oceans Day, new research exposes the practice of killing of aquatic mammals, including some listed as endangered, for the express purpose of securing bait for global fisheries. The practice is widespread globally, but most common in Latin America and Asia. The study reveals there is little information on the impact of this harvesting on targeted mammal populations and urges increased monitoring. […]

  • Patenting marine genetic resources: Who owns ocean biodiversity?
    on June 6, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    Marine organisms have evolved to thrive in various ocean environments, resulting in unique adaptations that make them the object of commercial interest. Researchers have identified 862 marine species, with a total of 12,998 genetic sequences associated with a patent. They found that a single transnational corporation (BASF, the world's largest chemical manufacturer) has registered 47 percent of these sequences. […]

  • Large-scale and sustainable 3D printing with the most ubiquitous natural material
    on June 6, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Researchers have recently demonstrated the use of cellulose to sustainably manufacture/fabricate large 3D objects. Their approach diverges from the common association of cellulose with green plants and is inspired by the wall of the fungus-like oomycetes, which is reproduced introducing small amounts of chitin between cellulose fibers. The resulting fungal-like adhesive material(s) (FLAM) are strong, lightweight and inexpensive, and can be molded or processed using woodworking techniques. […]

  • Thousands of turtles netted off South America
    on June 5, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Tens of thousands of sea turtles are caught each year by small-scale fishers off South America's Pacific coast, new research shows. […]

  • Alien apocalypse: Can any civilization make it through climate change?
    on June 4, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    Does the universe contain planets with truly sustainable civilizations? Or does every civilization that may have arisen in the cosmos last only a few centuries before it falls to the climate change it triggers? Astrophysicists have developed a mathematical model to illustrate how a technologically advanced population and its planet might develop together, putting climate change in a cosmic context. […]

  • Global warming can be limited to 1.5°C by changing how we travel, heat homes, use devices
    on June 4, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    Global warming can be limited to 1.5°C by unprecedented improvements in the energy efficiency of everyday activities, according to new research. […]

  • Atomically thin nanowires convert heat to electricity more efficiently
    on June 1, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    Waste heat can be converted to electricity more efficiently using one-dimensional nanoscale materials as thin as an atom -- ushering a new way of generating sustainable energy -- thanks to new research. […]

  • Research reveals how the same foods create markedly different environmental impacts
    on May 31, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    New research highlights the environmental impacts of thousands of food producers and their products, demonstrating the need for new technology to monitor agriculture and environmental labels on food products. […]

  • Getting conservationists and fishers on the same page
    on May 31, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Historically, fisheries and the conservation community have struggled to find common ground. Now, a new online tool provides daily computer-generated maps to help fishers target productive fishing spots while alerting them to areas likely to harbor protected species. […]

  • Nanoplastics accumulate in marine organisms and may pose harm to aquatic food chains
    on May 31, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    Scientists have discovered that nanoplastics can accumulate in marine organisms over time. This could pose harm to aquatic food chains and human health. […]

  • Scientists boost crop production by 47 percent by speeding up photorespiration
    on May 31, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    Increasing production of a common, naturally occurring protein in plant leaves could boost the yields of major food crops by almost 50 percent, according to a new study. […]

  • New tool improves fishing efficiency and sustainability
    on May 30, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    New software targets most abundant fishing grounds and reduces catch of unwanted or protected species using satellite data, maps and observations. […]

  • Magic in metal could help put excess carbon dioxide to good use
    on May 30, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    A researcher has identified a kind of magic in a metal that may be just what the doctor ordered for Planet Earth. He says the colorful metal, known as bismuth, could help reduce rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and provide sustainable routes to making fuels. […]

  • Minimising the impacts of palm oil plantations
    on May 29, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    With palm oil production exploding around the world, a new study of a leading producer has found ways to make the process easier on the environment. […]

  • Key mechanism behind the formation of spider silk
    on May 29, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    Scientists have examined the soluble precursor of spider silk and found that a previously undiscovered structural element is key to how the proteins form into the beta-sheet conformation that gives the silk its exceptional strength. […]