Environmental health

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If the U.S. moved to electric vehicles, there would be a substantial cut in air pollution – and health benefits to go with it. septim/flickr

Clean energy could save hundreds of billions in health costs every year

Global warming is often seen as a problem for future generations, but focusing on the immediate – and substantial – health benefits of clean energy can change public perception of climate change.
Some rat, possum and mozzie species thrive when living close to people. Mark Philpott/Flickr

Urbanisation brings animals and diseases closer to home

Our world is becoming increasingly urbanised. In 1950, just 30% of the world’s population lived in urban areas. This number is now over 50% and rising. By 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population are…
Children are particularly susceptible to the toxic effects of lead because their brains and bodies are still developing. Viacheslav Nikolaenko/Shutterstock

Toxic playgrounds: Broken Hill kids exposed to poisonous dust

In the shadows of Broken Hill’s rich mining history lies a legacy of contamination and regulatory failure that will likely outlive any benefits locals derive from mining. One in five children aged under…
Tut tut: Belgian cyclist Dries Devenyns throws his bottle during the 10th stage of the 2011 Tour de France. EPA/Nicolas Bouvy

The Tour de France – race of beauty or environmental hazard?

It’s that time of year again. The 101st Tour de France begins this Saturday July 5 in the Yorkshire city of Leeds, and three days later it returns to French home soil for Stage 4 (Le Touquet-Paris-Plage…
A report criticising government oversight of a major Gladstone harbour dredging project has warned against cutting resources for environmental monitoring and compliance. Flickr/GreensMPs

Environmental job cuts risk a repeat of Gladstone failures

A long-awaited report on environmental failures at the biggest port along the Great Barrier Reef coastline and today’s federal budget may not seem connected – but if you read the report, it’s clear just…
Four out of five Australians live within 50 kilometres of the coast – but expanding cities are taking a toll on our environment. Paul Boyce/Flickr

The state of Australia: our environment

In the lead-up to the budget, the story of crisis has been hammered home, but there’s more to a country than its structural deficit. So how is Australia doing overall? In this special series, ten writers…
Mount Isa exceeded the national one-hour standard for sulfur dioxide emissions 49 times in 2012. Zurbagan/Shutterstock

Reducing the harms of toxic air in mining and smelting communities

Children in the mining towns of Mount Isa in Queensland and Port Pirie in South Australia are exposed to harmful levels of pollutants that increase their risk of learning and developmental disorders, and…
The South Australian town of Port Pirie – home to a historic smelter – has some of the worst reported toxic air pollution in Australia. Photo by Imre Hillenbrand www.universalfocus.com.au

Australia’s dirty secret: who’s breathing toxic air?

Australians living in poorer communities, with lower employment and education levels, as well as communities with a high proportion of Indigenous people, are significantly more likely to be exposed to…
Amphipods on anti-depressants found their lives brightened, right up until they were eaten. Arnold Paul

Prozac alters prawns’ behaviour, reproduction and even their colour

The idea that tiny amounts of antidepressants present in our rivers and estuaries may be affecting aquatic life is generally met with surprise, sometimes scepticism, or even a degree of humour. The public…

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