Category Archives: Uncategorized

Wild Pigs Spell Trouble for North American Biodiversity

By Roberta Attanasio, IEAM Blog Editor

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A feral swine sounder causing erosion by using a wallow on Havasu National Wildlife Refuge property. Removal of these invasive feral swine supports the refuge’s mission of conservation and recovery of native wildlife. US Fish and Wildlife photo.

Wild pigs—also known as wild hogs, wild boars, feral swine, or razorbacks— are wreaking havoc around the world, from trashing European cities to invading the mystical Malaysian island of Pulau Besar by crossing coastal waters. In the US, wild pigs, aptly designated an “infestation machine,” are considered to be the most damaging invasive species. Continue reading

Towards a Sustainable Development of River-Sea Systems (RSSs) and Coastal Areas

The following post is one of a series previewing the research that will be presented at the SETAC Europe Annual Meeting in Helsinki, Finland (26–30 May 2019).

A guest post by Josep Sanchís

Coastlines and estuaries are complex ecosystems that are located in the nexus of marine, riverine, terrestrial, and air environments. In such intersections, it is common to find valuable natural parks and reservoirs, often treasuring delicate environments and unique life forms. This is particularly true in the case of estuaries and the surrounding wetlands, whose brakish waters serve as home for a variety of amphibian species, specialized plants, migrant birds and many others. Humans rely on estuaries for food and recreation, and these ecosystems can be found among the most productive in the world. Not surprising, 22 of the 32 largest cities can be found on estuaries. As a result, estuaries are stressed by multiple anthropogenic pressures. The marine nearshore also provides important socio-economic resources that support fundamental sectors including, for instance, aquaculture, fishing, tourism, oil and gas extraction, power generation, and naval activity. Because of all this, the preservation of these ecological, cultural, and socio-economic resources is a priority on a global scale that joins efforts from governments, regulatory agencies, and academia. Continue reading

Science-based Risk Communication: Toward a Shared Understanding

The following post is one of a series previewing the research that will be presented at the SETAC Europe Annual Meeting in Rome, Italy (13-17 May 2018).

A guest post by Annegaaike Leopold, Thomas-Benjamin Seiler, and Charmaine Ajao

‘’How do we communicate accurately about the real risk posed by chemicals and other contaminants in the environment as distinguished from emotions and fears?‘’

Attaining a shared understanding of findings from environmental research among scientists, policy makers, and the public is a challenge. However, the critical importance of this is increasingly recognized, especially if we want to clearly communicate risks and support informed decisions that will protect human health and the planet, building on scientific facts rather than individual opinions. SETAC Europe takes up this challenge as part of the strategic plan 2018, with eight strategic goals to be reached by 2020, with one goal being to “support science-based risk communication.” Continue reading

Safe by Design: Responsible and Innovative Research for Safe and Sustainable Chemistry

A guest post by Ester Papa and Elena Semenzin

The following post is one of a series previewing the research that will be presented at the SETAC Europe Annual Meeting in Rome, Italy (13-17 May 2018).

“What is sustainable? How can chemicals be Greener? What is safe?” are questions of great importance nowadays. Continue reading

As the Arctic Ice Shrinks, Polar Bears May Need to Work Harder for a Living

By Roberta Attanasio, Blog Editor

It’s celebration time for the iconic polar bear, the poster child of climate change. Or better, it’s a different type of celebration. Every year, February 27—International Polar Bear Day—highlights the challenges that this big, charismatic creature faces in a warming Arctic, and becomes a day of action to reduce carbon emissions. The nineteen subpopulations of polar bears spend their winter on sheets of frozen ocean water, which melt and retreat in warmer months, to then advance again in the fall. As ice keeps melting because of higher temperatures, their natural habitat shrinks, affecting their capacity to travel, hunt, and breed. In other words, their lives are tied to the annual spread and shrinkage of Arctic sea ice.

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Polar bear silently stepping from an ice floe by Andreas Weith [Wikimedia Commons – Creative Commons Attribution–Share Alike 4.0]

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Sexual Harassment in the Scientific Community: Title IX and Federal Research Funding

By Roberta Attanasio, IEAM Blog Editor

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Lewd Pointing by Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr/CC-BY-SA 2.0

In a recent tell-all letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology tackled the issue of sexual harassment of women in the academic scientific community. The committee defined the issue as a “pernicious problem,” and stated that “sexual harassment is not outside the norm for women in academia.” Continue reading

Remembering Peter Chapman

 

Peter M. Chapman (1951 – 2017)

The editorial staff and Editors at the SETAC journal Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management (IEAM), with heavy hearts, share with you the loss of our dear friend and colleague Peter M. Chapman. Peter left us much, much too soon on 26 September 2017.

We wish to dedicate this IEAM blog post to his memory. And we invite everyone reading this column to contribute their thoughts and favorite memories from Peter’s stellar career. We invite you to help us build one of many lasting remembrances to our dear friend.

P Chapman

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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

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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

College Students Demonstrate Gender Bias in Rating Their Professors

By Roberta Attanasio, IEAM Blog Editor

Back in 1999, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) acknowledged that female professors suffered from pervasive, albeit unintentional, discrimination. Charles M. Vest, MIT President at the time, said in the Faculty Newsletter: “I have always believed that contemporary gender discrimination within universities is part reality and part perception. True, but I now understand that reality is by far the greater part of the balance.” The statement introduced an accompanying study unveiling the MIT pattern of discrimination — or, under a more current perspective, gender bias. Continue reading