In our recent photo essay (“Repacking the Future,” Summer 2012), we explored how containers in the future could be made from novel materials: mushroom-based styrofoam, biodegradable plastic from sewage, and more. A new exhibit, making its debut at the University of Washington’s Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, takes a more in-depth look […] Read More »
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Our Winter 2013 photo essay, “Change Your Clothes,” highlighted novel, ecofriendly fabrics and other green technologies taking hold in the resource-intensive fashion industry. Clothing manufacturer Patagonia is a leader in sustainable fashion innovation, and it’s surging ahead with the production of plant-based wetsuits.
Patagonia recently teamed up with the clean-tech Yulex Corporation to develop […] Read More »
Right after Richard Conniff’s story on the Atlantic menhaden fishery ran in our Winter 2013 issue (“The Oiliest Catch”), the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted to reduce the total allowable catch for menhaden by 20 percent of the average landings from 2009 to 2011. “The Board has made a conscious decision to address […] Read More »
In “Changing the Battery” (Winter 2012), Michael Abrams explored how some innovators are getting around slow, incremental improvements in battery technology by rethinking how we use batteries. He described the work of researchers at Utah State University to develop wireless charging technology for electric cars. This wireless power transfer via magnetic-resonance coupling is now […] Read More »
In “Tall Wood” (Summer 2012), Sarah DeWeerdt explained how skyscrapers of the future could be made more sustainable by revisiting an old building material: wood. She described a Vancouver-based architect’s plans for a modular, wooden high-rise that could serve as an urban carbon sink.
Some alternative-energy innovators are onto the wood idea as well. The […] Read More »
One of the reasons making the study of ocean depths so difficult is that light attenuates in water, as Peter Andrey Smith pointed out in last issue’s Solutions section. Sound, on the other hand, can be particularly illuminating. In “Listening in on 100 Million Fish,” he wrote about a retrofitted Cold War sonar technology […] Read More »
Our Summer 2011 photo essay, “Ultra Zoom,” showcased the use of GigaPan’s billion-pixel imagery in conservation research. Now the researchers behind GigaPan at Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute have teamed up with Google and the U.S. Geological Survey to take their image-exploration tools into a new dimension—literally.
Since our story ran, the Carnegie Mellon […] Read More »
The benefits of painting roofs white to combat the urban heat-island effect aren’t so glaringly obvious. In last winter’s Journal Watch section, David Malakoff reported on research suggesting that additional reflected sunlight could actually amplify heating when absorbed by atmospheric pollutants such as black carbon (“White Out,” Winter 2012). A study published this September in […] Read More »
Last year in the Art & Science section, we featured ideas for beautiful, yet functional, renewable-energy projects designed for Abu Dhabi and Dubai in a contest sponsored by the Land Art Generator Initiative (“Powered By Art,” Spring 2012). This October, LAGI announced the winners of its second design competition: a call for renewable-energy installations […] Read More »
In the Spring 2012 issue’s “Think Again,” Fred Pearce described how consumption in developing countries is on the decline, suggesting that we’ve reached “peak stuff.” The case for getting over the peak is even stronger with the latest data on meat consumption in the U.S. The Earth Policy Institute analyzed U.S. Department of Agriculture […] Read More »
Our Winter 2012 photo gallery, “Top This,” showcased innovative and imaginative green-roof designs. Now a burgeoning company is utilizing expansive rooftop spaces in the name of local food. Based in New York City, BrightFarms LLC designs, finances, builds, and operates hydroponic greenhouses atop large buildings—particularly urban supermarkets.
With on-site greenhouses, grocery stores eliminate shipping […] Read More »
In “Everything Old Is Green Again” (Conservation, Fall 2011), I reported on a growing appreciation of the environmental benefits of reusing old buildings rather than tearing them down and starting from scratch. A new report from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Green Lab, “The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse (pdf),” […] Read More »
In “Changing the Battery” (Conservation, Winter 2012), Michael Abrams addressed concerns over global supplies of lithium, the crucial component in electric vehicle (EV) batteries. A new partnership between Nissan North America, power-technology group ABB, 4R Energy, and Sumitomo Corporation of America is getting more juice out of current battery technology: they’re developing a way to […] Read More »
Does your stomach turn at the thought of disposable diapers piling up in landfills? In “Bottom Feeders” (Conservation, Fall 2011), Tim Wall reported on mushrooms that decompose diapers. Now the company Knowaste has developed the technology to transform dirty diapers into hardy roofing tiles.
Knowaste opened its first diaper-recycling center in West Bromwich, U.K., […] Read More »
In “Making Land“ (Summer 2012), Hal Herring reported that the RESTORE Act, which would dedicate 80 percent of Clean Water Act fines from the Gulf oil spill to restoration efforts on the Gulf coast, was still pending in Congress.
Now the restoration boon is much closer to becoming reality. Congress approved the RESTORE Act on June 30, […] Read More »