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Environment

They’re everywhere: New study finds polyester fibres throughout the Arctic Ocean

Scientists have found widespread evidence of microplastics in the Arctic Ocean. This could further stress the fragile Arctic ecosystem and the food it provides to people living there. (Shutterstock) Peter S. Ross, University of British Columbia The Arctic has long proven to be a barometer of the health of our planet. This remote part of the world faces unprecedented environmental …

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How mapping the weather 12,000 years ago can help predict future climate change

As the jet stream moves northwards, the UK can expect more storms and flooding in the winter. James McDowall/Shutterstock Brice Rea, University of Aberdeen The end of the last ice age, around 12,000 years ago, was characterised by a final cold phase called the Younger Dryas. Scandinavia was still mostly covered in ice, and across Europe the mountains had many …

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The world’s ocean is bearing the brunt of a changing climate. Explore its past and future in our new series

shutterstock. Wes Mountain, The Conversation Oceans 21 is a Conversation international series examining the history and future of the world’s ocean. Five profiles open our series on the global ocean, delving into ancient Indian Ocean trade networks, Pacific plastic pollution, Arctic light and life, Atlantic fisheries and the Southern Ocean’s impact on global climate. Explore the series in the link …

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From Abidjan to Jakarta, how the city is reinventing what we eat

Anthony Bourdain and Barack Obama in a canteen in Hanoi, Vietnam (May 23, 2016). Pete Souza/Wikimedia, CC BY Audrey Soula, Université de Montpellier; Nicolas Bricas, Cirad, and Olivier Lepiller, Cirad From junk food to McDonaldization of society, the most derogatory remarks about what we eat are often linked with the urban space. For better or worse, cities are seen as …

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For a sustainable future, we need to reconnect with what we’re eating – and each other

Jakob Fischer/Shutterstock.com Anna Davies, Trinity College Dublin; Agnese Cretella, Trinity College Dublin; Monika Rut, Trinity College Dublin; Stephen Mackenzie, Trinity College Dublin, and Vivien Franck, Trinity College Dublin Eating alone, once considered an oddity, has become commonplace for many across the Western world. Fast food chains are promoting eating on the go or “al desko”. Why waste time in your …

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The hopeful return of polar whales

Alexey Suloev/Shutterstock Lauren McWhinnie, Heriot-Watt University The bleak history of whaling pushed many species to the brink of extinction, even in the remote waters of the north and south poles. Over 1.3 million whales were killed in just 70 years around Antarctica alone. The scale of this industrial harvest completely decimated many populations of large whales in the Southern Ocean. …

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Goldenrod honey: misinformation is causing a biological invasion of this Canadian weed

Jeffrey Hamilton/Unsplash, FAL Magdalena Lenda, Polish Academy of Sciences and Johannes M H Knops, Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University Refusal of vaccines, climate change denial, the spread of coronavirus, dangerous drug use – all can be linked to the rapid spread of misinformation over the internet. Our recently published study now adds a biological invasion to the list: Canadian goldenrod, a …

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How green is your Christmas tree?

Paolo Paradiso / shutterstock Ian D. Rotherham, Sheffield Hallam University There’s no way around the fact that Christmas has a large carbon footprint, from the travelling we do to the presents we give and the large amounts of food we eat. But it is possible to at least reduce the negative impacts. With climate change and carbon dioxide levels now …

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Iran: decades of unsustainable water use has dried up lakes and caused environmental destruction

Lake Urmia, Iran. Artem Grachev / shutterstock Zahra Kalantari, Stockholm University; Davood Moshir Panahi, Stockholm University, and Georgia Destouni, Stockholm University Salt storms are an emerging threat for millions of people in north-western Iran, thanks to the catastrophe of Lake Urmia. Once one of the world’s largest salt lakes, and still the country’s largest lake, Urmia is now barely a …

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