The Science of Sustainability

Environment

Resurveying California's Wildlife 100 Years Later

Resurveying California's Wildlife 100 Years Later

In the early 1900's, researchers from UC Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology traveled around California and created detailed records of the wildlife they found. A century later, scientists are revisiting the same sites — they've found that global warming is already having an impact.

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Producer's Notes – Resurveying California's Wildlife 100 Years Later

Producer's Notes – Resurveying California's Wildlife 100 Years Later

It's rather mind-boggling to walk into the storage rooms at UC Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. The rooms hold all manner of skulls, skeletons, pelts, and entire specimens that are intact in jars and drawers.

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Up A Creek: an exploration of your watershed

Up A Creek: an exploration of your watershed

Raise your hand if you live in a watershed! Are all of your hands up? We all live in a watershed, an area of land that all water (from rain, snow and springs) flows across, under and through on its way into a common body of water, such as a creek, river, bay or ocean. […]

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Producer's Notes – Biofuels: Beyond Ethanol

Producer's Notes – Biofuels: Beyond Ethanol

A sample of switchgrass at Sandia National LaboratoriesIt doesn't need to be said that there's a heated debate about how to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions with actions that lessen our society's carbon footprint. Biofuels like ethanol or biodiesel are one option. They're touted as being carbon neutral because the CO2 they emit comes from crops […]

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Reporter's Notes – Cool Critters: Sharks of the Bay

Reporter's Notes – Cool Critters: Sharks of the Bay

First things first: If you swim in the bay, no need to worry about sharks. None of the experts we spoke to could remember a single instance of someone getting bitten. And you can rest easy about Great Whites too; they don’t seem to have a taste for Bay waters. For more on this, see […]

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Biofuels: Beyond Ethanol

Biofuels: Beyond Ethanol

For years there's been buzz — both positive and negative — about generating ethanol fuel from corn. But thanks to recent developments, the Bay Area is rapidly becoming a world center for the next generation of green fuel alternatives. Meet the scientists investigating the newest methods for converting what we grow into what makes us go.

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Cool Critters: Sharks of the Bay

Cool Critters: Sharks of the Bay

Do sharks live in San Francisco Bay? QUEST heads out on a shark-tagging expedition to unlock the secrets of some of the bay's biggest and least known predators.

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Sticking up for the little guy: the California freshwater shrimp

Sticking up for the little guy: the California freshwater shrimp

This year the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) will celebrate its 35th anniversary. Under the ESA over 1,350 species are listed in the United States as threatened or endangered, including over 300 in California. This includes a number of "celebrities" of the conservation world such as the humpback whale and California condor, but also dozens […]

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Cement – A Dirty Business

Cement – A Dirty Business

Thought California has consigned coal-burning to the scrap bin? Think again! California has 11 coal-fired power plants, all used to heat limestone into cement — making us one of the biggest cement-producing states in the country. In addition to cement, these kilns produce 95% of the state's airborne mercury pollution and 2% of its greenhouse […]

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Cement – A Dirty Business

Cement – A Dirty Business

California has 11 coal-fired power plants, all used to heat limestone into cement — making us one of the biggest cement-producing states in the country. These kilns produce 95% of the state's airborne mercury pollution and 2% of its greenhouse gas emissions. Mostly, they've slipped under the radar of regulators, but that is changing fast.

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Stop Energy Going Down the Drain

Stop Energy Going Down the Drain

Here are three of the DWHR devices tested, showing the headers: Left to right, the Retherm S3-60, GFX G3-60, and PowerPipe S3-60. Credit: Charles ZaloumI don't think there is one big solution to our energy problems and the environmental problems related to the use of fossil fuels–there are lots of little solutions that in the […]

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Urban Heat Islands

Urban Heat Islands

Buildings, concrete, asphalt, tar roof tops and industry have caused cities to reach higher temperatures than surrounding rural areas. Now, green-minded architects are taking cooler approaches to their designs.

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An Upside Down Tree

An Upside Down Tree

A Baobab TreeIt is not only animals that can be become endangered but plants and trees as well. One of California Academy of Science's research areas has been Madagascar. Coined as an "Island of Evolution," Madagascar hosts a rich biodiversity of plant and animal life that is indigenous to the area and, unfortunately, highly threatened. […]

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The Fierce Humboldt Squid

The Fierce Humboldt Squid

A mysterious sea creature up to 7 feet long, with 10 arms, a sharp beak and a ravenous appetite, has invaded ocean waters off Northern California. Marine biologists are working to discover why they have headed up from South America.

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Plug-in Hybrids Get a Boost

Plug-in Hybrids Get a Boost

Today's San Francisco Chronicle reports on the California Air Resources Board's decision to require automakers to produce more low-emissions cars such as plug-in hybrids and on the plug-ins that GM, Toyota and Ford are now testing. If you're curious about how plug-in hybrids actually achieve 100 miles per gallon, watch Plug-in Hybrid Cars, the story […]

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Wild Prices for Wild Salmon

Wild Prices for Wild Salmon

Consumer appetite for salmon is booming at a time when the supply is about to dry up. With an impending year-long fishing ban in place, prices for wild salmon — that is, salmon caught in the ocean off California and Oregon — are expected to skyrocket. What are the alternatives for shoppers?

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Wild Prices for Wild Salmon

Wild Prices for Wild Salmon

Image Source: AdactioThe expected shutdown of this year's salmon season in California is bad news not only for fishermen but for consumers too. It means that anyone buying wild salmon this year is going to pay some wild prices. There is another choice, of course, cheaper, farmed salmon. But that prospect has some consumers cringing… […]

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QUEST Season 2 Web Premiere: The Fierce Humboldt Squid

QUEST Season 2 Web Premiere: The Fierce Humboldt Squid

A mysterious sea creature up to 7 feet long, with 10 arms, a sharp beak and a ravenous appetite, has invaded ocean waters off Northern California. Packs of fierce Humboldt Squid attack nearly everything they see, from fish to scuba divers. Marine biologists are working to discover why they’ve headed north from their traditional homes […]

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Falcon Fascination Update

Falcon Fascination Update

Clara soars over San Jose. Credit: Evet Loewen.The remarkable Peregrine Falcons of the Bay Area are making news again. Last year, we followed Jose and Clara, a mating pair that settled directly on San Jose City Hall. Thanks to the efforts of the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group, a webcam was set up to […]

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Forgive Me Father, for I Have Polluted

Forgive Me Father, for I Have Polluted

Polluting Makes Vatican List of Grave Social Sins Over the course of a week of working with concrete, this landscaping job produced only one bucket of wastewater. Credit: Ann Hutcheson-WilcoxAs a lifelong Catholic and former Catholic priest, I often find myself wishing that the Church would stick to what it knows best: the Sacraments. I […]

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