Craft beer aisles in a grocery store. Each aisle is labeled with the name of a different country. Environment 

Globalization and Its Environmental Impact

By Megan Nichols (@nicholsrmegan) Broadly speaking, globalization refers to the increased interdependence of nations and the way people from different cultures and geographic locations can receive goods or communicate with each other thanks to free trade and information technology, among other things. But it’s a much more complex phenomenon than that, and it’s necessary to have an all-encompassing understanding of what it entails. Here, we’ll examine how globalization affects the environment in both positive and negative ways, and what changes could be made to ease its adverse effects in a…

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Biology Biota Project Ecology 

The Millions of Microbes Beneath our Feet

By Nicholas Dove (@nicholascdove), for The Biota Project Microorganisms are everywhere on planet earth—on every surface, in the air, in the ground, and inside you. The good news is that many of these benefit you. Recent findings have shown that having a healthy gut microbiome (community of microorganisms) is important for proper digestion and even disease prevention (Penicillin is an antibacterial fungus that is used to treat many types of infections). Similarly, having a healthy soil microbiome is important to support plants and properly functioning ecosystems. Soil microbes play a…

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Environment Health Science Policy 

Imagining Future Wastewater Solutions

By Emily Folk (@EmilySFolk) Wastewater represents a serious risk to human health in both developing and developed countries. Through industrial, commercial, agricultural, and domestic activities, affected sources of water cause illness, disease, and even death. One particular case study serves as an example of these dangers. The Adyar River in Chennai, India, once supported the area’s economy and culture. With the introduction of untreated wastewater, the river soon became an active landfill, inundated with debris and refuse, with a thick consistency that no longer allowed for safe interaction (Hariram, 2017).…

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Biota Project Blogs Environment 

Living with Wildfires: Fighting Fire with Fire

By Nicholas Dove (@nicholascdove), for The Biota Project How do people live with the threat of wildfires, and what can be done to protect lives? That’s a question on a lot of people’s minds as wildfires get worse and worse each year. If you haven’t already, check out last month’s post by the Biota Project featuring Erin Dickman to learn about how she was evacuated from the Ferguson Fire. This month, however, we try to understand how people live with this risk. Fires Have Become More Severe Before we go…

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Environment Technology 

The Impact of Developing Biofuels on Travel Emissions

By Emily Folk (@EmilySFolk) Approximately 29 percent of the energy the US consumes is for transportation, and about 92 percent of US transportation is fueled by petroleum products. As a result, transportation is the sector that produces the most greenhouse gas emissions in the US. With the threat of climate change and other environmental challenges looming, we need to find a way to reduce emissions from the transportation sector. Biofuels are one potential solution. What Are Biofuels? Biofuel is fuel made from organic matter known as biomass. This organic matter…

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Environment Physics 

How Wildfires Start Their Own Weather

By Emily Folk (@EmilySFolk) In the past decade, the United States has seen no shortage of natural disasters. From hurricanes that tear across the coast, destroying homes and flooding properties, to wildfires that consume thousands of acres of land, nature is often vicious and indifferent to human life. But it is also very peculiar. Most consider wildfires transient in their destruction, a singular event that burns forests and homes before firefighters quell the flames. But under the right conditions, an intense wildfire can produce its own weather with the potential…

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Biology Environment Health 

Why Plastics Are Dangerous to Our Health

By Emily Folk (@EmilySFolk) It is almost impossible to avoid plastics today. They’re used to package our food, hold the water we drink, and even print our receipts at the grocery store. Though plastics have made life more convenient than ever before, could there be a downside to their prevalence in our world? Scientists are trying to find out. One area of research focuses on how regular contact with plastic might harm the human body, especially because people unknowingly ingest plastic practically every day. To quote the Graduate, “I just…

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Deforestation Environment Science Policy 

Commodity-Driven Deforestation Threatens Forests

By Megan Nichols (@nicholsrmegan) The global economy is at the mercy of its consumers, whose needs often have a negative impact on the environment. A recently published study explores the impact of commodity-driven deforestation on forests around the world. What is the difference between deforestation and temporary forest loss? What sort of impact is this commodity-driven deforestation having on global ecosystems? Zero-deforestation agreements The commodity-driven economy is contributing to the decimation of forests across the globe. Projections by the NASA Earth Observatory estimate that if it continues at its current…

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Environment 

When Aquatic Invasive Species Take Over

By Natasha Parkinson @schrodicatsci The weather is hot, and everyone is trying to cool off any way they can. Everyone with a boat is out on the water, tubing, waterskiing, fishing, or cruising around. Anyone that has been around boats knows about boat safety: wear a life jacket, and don’t operate watercraft under the influence. But one aspect that is less discussed is preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species while you are on the water. Aquatic invasive species So what is an aquatic invasive species? Well, it is either a…

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Fortune Favors Bold Lizards Animals Environment 

Fortune Favors Bold Lizards

By Kate Stone It has been said that the brave don’t live as long, but the timid don’t live at all, so this one is for the brave. Bold lizards, regardless of size or sex, have the most success finding mates. Ecologists have found a valuable life lesson to be learned from lizards: a bold personality—not body size or sex—correlates with the mating success of yellow-spotted monitor lizards roaming the remote Oombulgurri floodplains of tropical Western Australia. But boldness has a cost: bold individuals expose themselves to a much higher…

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