Pesticides and Pollinators: New Research on the Impacts of Farming Activities on Bee Populations

A guest post by Erica K. Brockmeier

The following post is one of a series generated from research presented at the SETAC Europe Annual Meeting in Brussels, Belgium (7-11 May 2017). Each post features the latest research findings from SETAC scientists on emerging topics of interest.

Are pesticides hurting pollinators?

The widespread loss of honeybee populations in Europe and the reduced numbers of wild bees in other countries sparked concern among scientists, policymakers, and farmers all across the world. Recent research conducted on historical field data found a potential connection between the use of certain insecticides and changes in wild bee populations. This was especially true for species that are known to visit flowering crops like oil seed rape.

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Bumblebee (Bombus sp.) on oil seed rape, England (cropped from original). Credit: Dean Morley, CC BY-ND 2.0.

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Linking Oceans and Human Health: How Are We Connected?

A guest post by Erica K. Brockmeier

The following post is one of a series generated from research presented at the SETAC Europe Annual Meeting in Brussels, Belgium (7-11 May 2017). Each post features the latest research findings from SETAC scientists on emerging topics of interest.

Why does oceans health matter?

Oceans provide more for us than just the backdrop of our annual summer holidays—they provide food and medicine, help connect people and provide a means to deliver materials across the world, are a source of economic growth for coastal communities, and help moderate climate change. But our strong connection to the marine environment also comes with some drawbacks. Seafood contamination, marine pollution, biological hazards such as red tides and antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and rising sea levels are just a few of the examples of how our own health is closely linked to that of our environment. Continue reading

Despite Major Improvements, Levels of Air Pollution in the U.S. Are Still Unsafe

By Roberta Attanasio, IEAM Blog Editor

Air pollution not only threatens the future of our climate by significantly contributing to global warming, it also causes some of our most common illnesses, accounting for 1 in 8 deaths worldwide.  It’s an invisible killer that is globally responsible for 36% of deaths from lung cancer, 35% of deaths from pulmonary disease, 34% of deaths from stroke, and 27% of deaths from heart disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

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Why the United States Needs the Environmental Protection Agency

A guest post by Greg Schiefer, Anne Fairbrother, Wayne Landis, Keith Solomon, Ralph Stahl, Jane Staveley

We are worried about the recently released White House budget and the failure to customarily renew one-term members of a key review panel, in particular, the Board of Scientific Counselors. Financial cuts and the absence of scientific rigor and integrity will permanently alter the way science informs policy.

Specifically, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is under attack, and we are compelled to speak up in its defense as representatives of a leading professional society composed of environmental scientists working in academia, business, NGOs and government. We are writing to both defend the science produced by the EPA and to express deep concerns with the unprecedented efforts to undercut EPA’s goal of protecting the nation’s environment and the health of U.S. citizens. Continue reading

Fast Fashion and Viscose Production: The Time Is Ripe for Sustainable Practices

By Roberta Attanasio, IEAM Blog Editor

We live in the world of fast fashion, which Kate Fletcher defines as low-cost clothing collections based on current, high-cost luxury fashion trends—it is a system that encourages disposability and is based on the rapid production of a large variety of clothing items that are not made to last and are used only a few times before being thrown away.  Not surprisingly, the global production of clothing doubled between 2000 and 2014.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 15.1 million tons of textile waste was generated in 2013 in the United States and, of these, only 2.3 million tons were recovered through recycling.  Sustainability is not a concept that consumers typically associate with fashion—the result is a general lack of awareness of the environmental impact of clothes manufacturing.  With the increased rapid production of large amounts of newly generated textiles, it’s time to examine on the extent of this impact.  Continue reading

Drylands’ Best Kept Secret: Trees

Dryland forest

Dryland forest, Queensland, Australia. CSIRO, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

By Roberta Attanasio, IEAM Blog Editor

We face a steady, sobering news stream about the deforestation of the humid tropics, the warming of the Arctic, and more recently, the greening of Antarctica.  In contrast, we hear very little about drylands, the arid regions that cover more than 40% of Earth’s land surface.  Although the United Nations has periodically focused on drylands, the popular and scientific media have given little coverage to them, partly because of the absence of a focused international program.  However, in the past few years, we have been hearing more about drylands, including the recent unveiling of what has been touted as a secret—they are home to large forests, much larger than previously thought. Continue reading

The Arctic is Opening Up: Offshore Drilling and Melting Sea Ice

By Roberta Attanasio, IEAM Blog Editor

The heat is on in the Arctic. This region is now warming at a rate faster than twice the global average—known as Arctic amplification. Consequently, the ice that covers the North Pole and surrounding areas, and melts to its lowest extent each September, has been disappearing at an alarming rate. Continue reading