Showing posts with the label pollution

Trash isn’t Sunken Treasure-Keeping the Ocean Clean

The ocean is a precious resource that shouldn’t be wasted on poor habits.  For those living on the coast and in the coastal lifestyle you know how important the ocean is to your way of life and the recreational activities you enjoy. Sailing, surfboarding, diving, snorkeling, and kayaking are just some of the fun activities in the San Diego area.  Pollution and waste damage the environment for everyone and with a little care our beaches can be cleaned and improved. Last weekend I decided to take my snorkel and Nexus phone to La Jolla Cove in an attempt to see some of the ocean wildlife. Paddling along the ocean top and diving for interesting objects on the bottom I came across a lady’s sandal. A fairly expensive one at that so I’m sure she didn’t intentionally part with it! I didn't know Nemo was doing retail? It didn’t take much to clean up the mishap. I just dived down, grabbed it and came back up to the surface, swam near the shore and flung it onto the beach th

Capturing 30% More of the Sun’s Energy with Solar Panels

Sustainable technology is developing. As researchers put more energy into sustainable technology like solar panels they naturally become more efficient and cost effective.   Chemists led by Jianhui Hou from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and North Carolina State University created a polymer known as PBT- OP that, “ was not only easier to make than other commonly used polymers but showed an open circuit voltage value of 0.78 volts — a 36 per cent increase over the 0.6 volt average from similar polymers ” ( 1 ). This means that solar panels may soon be 30% more effective than in the past.   The discovery helps to retain more excitrons than in the past ( 2 ).   When electrons make their way onto the solar panel a certain amount of energy is lost in the transfer from the donor to the receptor. The new polymer will allow for a higher level of efficiency in transfer without as much loss. This may not be so exciting for some people. Yet if we think about the long term implication

Are the Fish You Eat Contaminating You? Pitch Your Trash

Fish is a huge staple from sushi to fish sticks. Most Americans consume a considerable amount of fish in any particular year.   According to Fisheries of the United States 2012 report most Americans eat about 14 pounds of fish in any given year ( 1 ). What would happen if this fish contained contamination?   New research in Nature helps us understand that some of the pollutants in natural fish are a result of sea plastic dumped by humans ( 2 ).   Fish are like sponges and much of what they eat makes it into their bloodstream and fatty cells. When humans eat this food they naturally ingest the contaminants into their own system.  Tuna and sword fish appear to contain higher levels of lead and other contaminants. These fish are used widely in recipes and offered at most restaurants. About 10% of the sea pollution comes from plastic and this is something that can be avoided if people simply pitch their plastics in the trash can. Pitch your trash today! Journal Article

Trees Adapting to Climate Change

Forests are changing in their battle against climate change. In some parts of the world such tree networks are beginning to change so that they remove more carbon dioxide and use less water. The report was shocking in the sense that it throws conventional wisdom a little on its head. Ecosystem-level photosynthesis and net carbon uptake is increasing while evapotranspiration is decreasing. Trees are becoming more efficient.  The process works by closing the pores on leaves in order to maintain consistent carbon levels within the leaf and therefore allowing less evaporation loss of water from within the tree. This is done while not stopping the growing mechanisms of the tree. Some tree networks that are still in temperate climates of the northern hemisphere have found a way to survive changes in their atmosphere.  The downside to such findings is that the trees will pull less water out of the soil and release less water into the air. This will then impact the amount of rain