Stinkbugs Have Spread to 41 States; Can We Stop Them?

October 23, 2014

I chose this post in particular because I have noticed the large amount of stinkbugs lately, specifically hanging around on the walls of the Science Center. This is apparently not just me being paranoid. According to this article, they are becoming a huge problem and spreading across 41 states destroying fruit harvests. It even confirms that they are a problem in Ohio with this map. They began being seen in Allentown, Pennsylvania in the mid-1990’s. There was a test done where a stinkbug is hooked up to a machine that detects how many circles they can fly within a day. The average is one to three miles with a record high of 75 miles. The invasive brown marmorated stinkbug obviously are unappealing to our native predators from the chemical odor they give off, but there are parasitic wasps in Asia that will feed on the stinkbug eggs. It  just has to made sure that they will not predate any of the other 300 species of native stinkbugs. This next part of the article really stood out to me because we have been talking so much about eating bugs in class. A possible solution to the problem is to actually eat the stinkbugs. Supposedly, some of the chemical compounds used in their defense weaponry are found in cilantro. People of many cultures have used stinkbugs to add spice to their food dishes. Possible project idea for this class!

adult-male-full-stink-bugYum!

Source of picture so that Doctor Krygier does not get cyber-lectured again


Urine farming/Project Idea

October 8, 2014

http://modernfarmer.com/2014/01/human-pee-proven-fertilizer-future/

This Vermont farm is using urine as fertilizer with great results. It turns out the Sweds have been diverting there urine from toilettes to use as fertilizer. This could be the key innovation allowing urine fertilizer to be implemented in the US considering most people won’t want to pea in containers.


Brazil releases ‘good’ mosquitoes to fight dengue fever

October 1, 2014

BBC

mosq

Almost 50,000 mosquitoes are being released in the next 4 months to combat dengue fever in Brazil. The authorities infected the mosquitoes with a virus that makes them unable unable to reproduce and vaccinates the mosquitoes against dengue fever. They expect results as soon as a year, but they did not say how much of any impact they expect. This is also being done in Vietnam and Australia, where they have seen results in only 10 weeks.


Current Environmental Issue

October 1, 2014

David Attenborough backs Bengal Tiger project

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I am a big fan of David Attenborough. His work in documentary filmmaking is legendary. A £1m​ project to save Bengal Tigers and stop them from eating locals is being launched with help from David Attenborough. In the project a corridor of land will be bought to allow tigers and other threatened species save passage between a reserve and a forest. Also, an entire village will be relocated away from the area to stop man-eating incidents from happening. Attenborough is quoted to say “Tigers are magnificent creatures. It would be a tragedy of truly monumental proportions if they were to be lost to the world. Not only that, it would be totally inexcusable on our part but if we don’t act fast to provide them with suitable territory to live in, they will disappear. We mustn’t let that happen.” I intend of keeping up with news on this project in the future.


Ocean Health Gets “D” Grade in New Global Report Card

October 1, 2014

On Tuesday, September 30, 2014, Antarctica’s ocean, the Southern Ocean, and the high seas (15 oceanic regions above national jurisdiction) got a score of a 67 out of 100, which is up by two points since last year. Note that a score of 100 does not mean a perfect sea, but rather it can sustainably provide food and oxygen. This score of 67 is due to the pollution, overfishing, lack of protection, and climate change. This data is based off of the Ocean Health Index, which studies the benefits that the oceans give to people and the state of which they are in. The U.S. in particular scored a 72 this year. One of the reasons for the improved score is that overfishing has become less severe, but it is still a large problem. Click here to find out more.

seal


Our Diets Effect the Environment

October 1, 2014

In a recent Greendex Study, a study that looks at how and what a country eats effects its environmental footprint. What these studies have found is that eating less meat, and a more vegetarian diet, actually are better for the environment. Countries such as India, China, Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil all have the smallest food environmental footprints. These countries eat more locally, such as organic, home grown fruits and vegetables, and are more willing to cut meat from their diets. The countries with the largest food environmental footprint are typically English speaking countries, as well as Japan and Sweden. These countries (including the US) are unwilling to cut meats from their diets, especially meats such as beef and chicken. These countries also don’t care as much about where their food is coming from. So, maybe it’s time to start considering a more vegetarian diet.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/09/140929-greendex-survey-environmental-attitudes-ngfood/


Decrease in Global wildlife populations

September 30, 2014

Looking over the past 40 years there has been a large decline of populations. Fish, mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians had an overall decline of 52 percent. Original finding had it at a decline of 28 percent but with more data from tropical areas it was actually found to be much higher. Freshwater species suffered the most declining by 76% while marine and terrestrial species still declined but only at 39%.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/29/environment-wildlife-idUSL6N0RU48D20140929


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