Clean Smells Can Be Bad for Air

Some of the same chemical reactions that occur in the atmosphere as a result of smog and ozone are actually taking place in your house while you are cleaning. A researcher in Drexel’s College of Engineering is taking a closer look at these reactions, which involve an organic compound — called limonene — that provides the pleasant smell of cleaning products and air fresheners. His research will help to determine what byproducts these sweet-smelling compounds are adding to the air while we are using them to remove germs and odors.

Secondary organic aerosols (SOAs) are microscopic particles created when ozone reacts with volatile organic gases such as limonene — the chemical name for the smell of oranges — or its cousin α-pinene, which is part of the smell of pine trees. Outdoors, this reaction happens all the time. It drives the formation of much of the atmospheric organic aerosol present in our environment. And in, population-dense urban areas — where enough suspended particles can be amassed — it contributes to the formation of the visible haze called smog.

Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/10/clean-smells-can-be-bad-air

The environmental impact of oysters, in one photo

The water in both tanks came from the same source. The one on the right has bivalves. Not only do oysters naturally filter the waters in which they live, they can even protect humans from destructive hurricanes. For more, read about New York’s efforts to bring back oyster populations in the once-toxic Hudson River.

Delicious AND helpful. Who knew?

(photo via Steve Vilnit on Twitter)

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"Catch of the Day" Campaign Presents Trash Fresh from the Sea

To bring attention to the issue of ocean pollution, the Surfrider Foundation teamed up with advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi LA to create the “Catch of the Day” campaign. Actual trash collected from beaches around the U.S. was re-packaged as food and left on display at farmer’s markets to create a impactful, site-specific message. By addressing consumers at the point of purchase, the “Catch of the Day” reminds seafood buyers that ocean pollution isn’t someone else’s problem; rather, it impacts individuals on a daily basis. Some of the repackaged items include cigarette butts from Venice Beach, California; aerosol cans from South Padre Beach, Texas; and condoms from Newport Beach, California. While environmental campaigns often emphasize shock value above all else, the Surfrider project tempers startling subjects with a restrained presentation and refined target audience. 

*According to scientists at the World Bank, animal agriculture produces 51% of all man-made greenhouses gases, which is more than all forms of transportation combined and tripled.
*Animal agriculture uses 1/3 of all raw materials and 1/3 of all fossil fuels worldwide.
*Animal agriculture is the world’s leading driver of deforestation, the number one cause of water scarcity, and is directly linked 70% of all human illnesses.
*Animal agriculture uses 70% of all agricultural land on the planet, but produces only 6-11% of the world’s food.

For sources and more information, please visithttp://www.veganfuturenow.com/why-vegan/

DANG. That’ll get the message across. The movement is gaining momentum!

Most Ammonium in Ocean Didn’t Come from Humans

To understand the extent to which human activities are polluting Earth’s atmosphere and oceans, it’s important to distinguish human-made pollutants from compounds that occur naturally. A recent study co-authored by a Brown Univ. professor does just that for ammonium, a compound that is produced by human activities like agriculture, as well as by natural processes that occur in the ocean.

The research, based on two years of rainwater samples taken in Bermuda, suggests that ammonium deposited over the open ocean comes almost entirely from natural marine sources, not from anthropogenic sources.

Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/10/most-ammonium-ocean-didnt-come-humans

The Earth is 4.6 billion years old. Scaling to 46 years, humans have been here 4 hours, the industrial revolution began 1 minute ago, and in that time we’ve destroyed more than half the world’s forests.
—  Greenpeace
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Chinese Couple Takes Wedding Photos in Gas Masks to Protest Beijing Pollution | Via Daily Mail UK / Image credits: HAP/Quirky China News/REX

Your wedding day is a testament of hope and commitment to the future. This clever Chinese couple decided to use their wedding day to make another testament, too. They donned gas masks for their wedding day to illustrate the horrible state of pollution in Beijing and throughout China. The images are both creatively memorable and an eerie statement against air pollution. Pollution in Beijing has reached high enough proportions that citizens must wear paper masks to avoid breathing in particles that can enter their bloodstream.

This couple’s bold move is a powerful statement to China and the world that pollution needs to be stopped to have the futures we all dream of. Hopefully this couple does not become victim of oppression now that they used their creativity to showcase China’s problems to the world.

Earth May Be in Early Days of 6th Mass Extinction

Earth may be in the early stages of a sixth mass extinction, an international team of scientists says.

Image: Neil deGrasse Tyson walks over to ‘The Halls of Extinction’ - Cosmos: A Space time Odyssey

Animals and plants are threatened. More than 320 land vertebrates have gone extinct since 1500, the researchers said. The world’s remaining animals with backbones are 25 percent less abundant than in 1500— a trend also seen in invertebrate animals, such as crustaceans, worms and butterflies, the scientists reported.

The previous mass extinction, which wiped out the dinosaurs, happened about 65 million years ago, likely from a catastrophic asteroid that collided with Earth. In contrast, the looming sixth mass extinction is linked to human activity, Rodolfo Dirzo, a professor of biology at Stanford University in California, said in a statement. Dirzo is the lead author of the new review of past research on the topic, which suggests Earth is in the early days of this sixth mass extinction.

A past study, which involved data from the fossil record and modern-day conservation biology, suggested Earth could enter such a mass extinction within the next 300 to 2,000 years. That study was detailed in the March 2, 2011, issue of the journal Nature.

Up to one-third of all vertebrates are threatened or endangered, the researchers said. Large animals — such as elephants, rhinoceroses and polar bears — have the highest rates of decline, which is a trend shared by other mass extinctions. These large animals are at particular risk because they tend to have few offspring and low population growth rates. Hunters and poachers, however, find their fur, meat, tusks or horns attractive targets.

Losing a species of large animal can have unexpected effects on the ecosystem and nearby human developments, a process known as defaunation. In one study, researchers isolated patches of land from animals, including zebra, giraffes and elephants. Without the animals, the grass and shrubs grew tall, and the soil became looser. Rodents quickly took over and doubled in numbers, eating the seeds from the plants and living in the patchy soil that was relatively predator-free.

Rodents can carry diseases and parasites that infect people, the researchers said.

"Where human density is high, you get high rates of defaunation, high incidence of rodents and thus high levels of pathogens, which increases the risks of disease transmission," Dirzo said. "Who would have thought that just defaunation would have all these dramatic consequences? But it can be a vicious circle."

The decline of big animals affects not only vegetation, but also invertebrates. In the past 50 years, the human population has doubled, and the number of invertebrate animals has dropped by 45 percent, the researchers said. Much of the loss is a result of habitat destruction and global climate disruption, the researchers said.

Ozone Layer is Recovering

Earth’s protective ozone layer is beginning to recover, largely because of the phase-out since the 1980s of certain chemicals used in refrigerants and aerosol cans, a U.N. scientific panel reported in a rare piece of good news about the health of the planet.

Scientists said the development demonstrates that when the world comes together, it can counteract a brewing ecological crisis. For the first time in 35 years, scientists were able to confirm a statistically significant and sustained increase in stratospheric ozone, which shields the planet from solar radiation that causes skin cancer, crop damage and other problems.

Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/ozone-layer-recovering

Pollution linked to lethal sea turtle tumors

Pollution in urban and farm runoff in Hawaii is causing tumors in endangered sea turtles, a new study finds.

The study, published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed open-access journal PeerJ, shows that nitrogen in the runoff ends up in algae that the turtles eat, promoting the formation of tumors on the animals’ eyes, flippers and internal organs.

Scientists at Duke University, the University of Hawaii and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) conducted the study to better understand the causes behind the tumor-forming disease Fibropapillomatosis, which is the leading known cause of death in green turtles, said Kyle Van Houtan, adjunct associate professor at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

"We’re drawing direct lines from human nutrient inputs to the reef ecosystem, and how it affects wildlife," said Van Houtan, who is also a scientist in NOAA’s Turtle Research Program.

Caption: This image shows a sea turtle with tumors caused by fibropapillomatosis.Credit: Chris Stankis

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Photos Highlight Massive Island of Plastic Trash in the Maldives

Alison Teal walking through “Trash Island,” a giant landfill in the Maldives that gets up to 400 tons of trash per day. (All photos: Sarah Lee) 

Filmmaker Alison Teal was in the process of literally exposing herself to a national TV audience when she found new inspiration: exposing the serious and complex trash-pollution issues affecting the Maldives, and turning plastic garbage into something useful.

Teal’s photo shoot of the landfill called “Trash Island” and other islands in the Maldives are head-turning in their contrast to the usual postcard-perfect photos associated with the archipelago. Seeing her walk amid mountains of empty water bottles and other trash with her surfboard, it’s almost apocalyptic.  

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Vogmask Styles: How to choose what mask is best for you.

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