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Global Briefs Archive

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Wonder Weed

Hemp, the no-buzz industrial variety of cannabis, is cleaning nuclear radiation, cadmium, lead and mercury from toxic sites.

Too Blue

More than half of the surface area of the planet’s oceans may turn slightly bluer as marine phytoplankton disappear due to seawater warming.

Dangerous Dozen

Strawberries head the latest list of the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” fruits and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residues; avocados top the clean list.

Alarm Sounded

Following the UK governments of Wales and Scotland, the Republic of Ireland has declared a climate emergency that may lead to limits on oil and gas exploration and other measures.

Action Alert

When carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit the highest levels ever recorded in human history in May, the networks’ nightly news devoted less than two minutes to climate change versus almost 18 minutes to the birth of the royal baby.

Sunny Solution

A Princeton University team has designed a device that uses sunlight to pull hydrogen from industrial wastewater, which could allow factories to simultaneously treat wastewater and generate fuel.

Pastoral Pollution

Cocaine, pharmaceuticals and pesticides have been found in freshwater shrimp captured from rural rivers in the U.K.

Eco-Friendly Outdoor Eating

It’s eco-wise to fill our picnic basket with bamboo utensils, plant-based bug repellents, sustainable fish and glass containers.

Green Surfing

Ecosia, a German Internet search engine, has planted more than 52 million trees in the last 10 years by diverting its advertising revenue to funding new trees worldwide.

Aqua Breakthrough

Chinese scientists have used ultraviolet light and graphitic carbon nitride to purify two and a half gallons of water in one hour.

Far Out

The outermost region of the Earth’s atmosphere has been newly determined to reach out much farther than the moon.

Baby Balking

The U.S. birthrate has been falling steadily, partly because prospective parents are worried about the increased frequency and intensity of storm, drought and wildfires, as well as about growing geopolitical unrest and resource scarcity.

Revamping Recycling

China, a major importer of recycled waste, is rejecting shipments contaminated by greasy pizza boxes, polyethylene-lined disposable coffee cups, and plastics like yogurt cups and butter tubs.

Action Alert

The Cabin Air Safety Act seeks to protect airline passengers and crew from toxic fumes that can occur when engine exhaust, fuel fumes, de-icing fluids or ozone is sucked through jet engines into the aircraft cabin.

Hopper Stopper

Almost two million acres of California mountain habitat will remain a protected area for endangered frogs and toads after a federal court dismissed a cattlemen’s lawsuit challenging the designation.

Mold Matters

Toxic mold caused by heavy rains, leaky pipes, and high humidity can be removed with natural products like vinegar and tea tree oil, but extensive mold growth is best remediated by professionals using “green” cleaning methods.

3-D Meat

A researcher has developed a synthetic meat substitute using vegetable proteins that imitate protein complexes found in real meat and can be produced using a 3-D printer to mimic the texture of beef or chicken.

Norwegian Nudge

Norway recycles a whopping 97 percent of its plastic bottles by making bottle deposit returns simpler, and rewarding participating companies with lower taxes.

Post-Coal Cash

Displaced coal miners in the struggling Appalachians are learning beekeeping under a program funded by lawsuits for violations of the Clean Water Act.

Poisoned Pastures

Airborne radiation from nuclear bomb testing in Nevada during the Cold War contaminated pastures throughout the country, leading to 340,000 to 690,000 human deaths from radioactive milk, estimates an economist.

Hatching a Record

At age 68, Wisdom, a Laysan Albatross in a Hawaiian wildlife refuge, gave birth to at least her 30th chick.

Bear Blitz

Confronted with melting ice, about 50 polar bears are roaming the streets and eating from the garbage dumps of a remote military town in Russia.

Skip the Slip

Proposed legislation in California would mandate digital receipts as a way to lower the carbon footprint and endocrine-disrupting effects of paper receipts.

On the Brink

Being listed as part of the Endangered Species Act would protect monarch butterflies, the numbers of which have plunged by roughly 97 percent in 20 years.

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