Enviro Article: Plastic-eating Mealworms

October 2, 2015


A Stanford study showed that mealworms can exist on a diet of styrofoam and polystyrene. The mealworms ate about 34-39 milligrams of styrofoam a day, and excreted it as biodegradable waste. The mealworms were healthy on this diet, and scientists are going to conduct research to see if the styrofoam affects animals who eat the mealworms. They are also looking into marine equivalents of the mealworm, since plastic waste is a serious threat in marine environments. This is a promising new discovery that provides an environmentally friendly way to dispose of plastics.

Article here.

Glow-in-the-dark Ponies!

October 2, 2015

“The horses will be daubed with reflective paint to make them more visible to drivers after a rise in livestock being killed on the roads. About 60 animals have died on the Devon moor’s roads this year, an increase on previous years.

The idea to paint them was inspired by a Scandinavian scheme in which reindeer’s antlers are made to glow in the dark, and the Dartmoor Livestock Protection Society (DLPS) initiative will include ponies, cattle and sheep.”


Shell Withdrew from the Arctic! But why?

September 29, 2015

On Monday, Shell ended its oil drilling project in the arctic. This had been an extremely controversial project–one that president Obama vetoed the first time it came through, then altered the second time before accepting it–and its a really good thing they are leaving. Here are the reasons why:

  • Poor results
  • Too expensive ($7 billion over the whole time–$1.4 billion spent already)
  • Very controversial


Environmental Article: An Alternative to Plastic Water Bottles?

September 27, 2015

Skipping Rocks Lab has designed a water container that is significantly more eco-friendly than plastic water bottles. The process only costs about one penny per capsule; water is frozen and wrapped in a combination of calcium chloride and sodium alginate, both of which are found in seaweed. This new water container is an exciting alternative to plastics, which require natural gas to make and are not biodegradable. The biggest potential drawback I can see to this new container would be the inability to handle it as roughly as a water bottle; since the water is just held in place with a thin double membrane, it might easily pop. Article here.


Environmental Concerns More Essential to the Public

September 22, 2015


Despite the trends of decades past, environmental issues remained a concern for the majority of the public even after the recession of 2008. In the past it was during economic downturns where both policy makers and the public seemingly dropped environmental concerns in favor of more pressing issues (i.e. “fixing” the economy). This is indicative of a change in perceptions of the environment, but also of the now entrenched social infrastructure dealing with the environment. I am hopeful this is also and indicator of future change.

For a more in depth discussion check this out.

Gold King Mine Spill

September 22, 2015

I’m not sure if any of you have heard about the huge spill that occurred back in August at the Gold King Mine in Colorado.  I’ve been following this pretty closely since it happened and the EPA hasn’t been forthcoming about details for clean up until this week. According to this article, they now plan to build a  water treatment plant near the base of the mine.  Initially there were small efforts to contain the 3 million gallon spill which included treatment ponds and diversion channels.  Despite these measure, the contaminated water full of lead, arsenic and other metals has still made it’s way down into Utah and New Mexico.

Here are some really great comparison photos that were published soon after the spill happened:



Environmental Article: Burning Fossil Fuels could lead to 60-meter sea level rise

September 20, 2015


This article reminds me of the virtual sea-level rise site we looked at in class. If carbon consumption and emission continues at its current rate for the next 60 to 80 years, the West Antarctic ice sheet will become unstable. By the end of the millennium, sea level could rise 30 meters. Pretty scary to think about that much sea level rise in a relatively short amount of time.


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