Computer servers mining bitcoin in Italy.
Bitcoin is often criticized for using up tons of energy. But its carbon footprint may not be that bad.
Bio-based plastics made from natural sources break down more easily than conventional plastic, without producing toxic byproducts. But for this to happen they have to be composted, not buried in landfills.
Research is yielding strategies for making plastics greener and more sustainable. But without support as they scale up, new versions will struggle to compete with well-established synthetic plastics.
As California reels from another devastating fire season, environmental resource scholars explain how the state – and other fire-prone areas – can better prepare and coexist with wildfires.
Red tide and a blue-green algae outbreak are fouling hundreds of miles of coast, killing fish and driving tourists away from beaches. Some of the causes are natural, but human actions play a big role.
Two business professors spent five years studying Walmart's ambition project to bring sustainability to its millions of budget-conscious customers – a plan that began with the birth of a granddaughter.
With California suffering another devastating wildfire year, more people are wondering about whether and how global warming is contributing. A climate scientist explains.
There's no precedent for selling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve at a time when there's no market-driven reason for doing that.
In 2015, over 320 million tons of polymers, excluding fibers, were manufactured across the globe.
Whether they aim to stop pipelines in Virginia or block Pacific Northwest export terminals, organizers are trying to 'keep it in the ground' to save the climate.
The Ogalalla Aquifer is a vast underground lake that irrigates farms across the US Great Plains. It took thousands of years to fill, but human use could drain it in roughly a century.
Wildland firefighting has always been a risky job, but development in fire-prone areas is making it more dangerous by putting forest firefighters in situations they are not equipped or trained for.
Climate change, development, past forest management policies and current firefighting practices are creating conditions for large, costly wildfires.
Commercial nuclear reactors provide roughly one-fifth of the electricity produced in the US. But they face grave threats to their continued operation.
August 1, 2018 is 'Earth Overshoot Day,' a date coined by the nonprofit Global Footprint Network to publicize overuse of Earth's resources. But their estimates actually understate the problem.
As EVs make more inroads, giving tenants somewhere to plug in their cars could become a selling point.
A perfect storm of climate, forestry, development and fire management trends are driving up the costs of fighting wildfires.
What would you pay to keep trash off your favorite beach, or pollution away from a national park? Economists can tease these values out of our travel choices and use the numbers to help make policy.
What drives the emergence and disappearance of species? By modeling the fundamental processes of evolution and ecology on geographical scales, new research spotlights topography and climatic shifts.
Not only does U.S. law bar price-fixing, there are bipartisan efforts underway to make it possible to sue OPEC members in American courts for antitrust violations.
The Whole Earth Catalog was a blueprint for sustainability that envisioned humans living in balance with nature. Its creative spirit was welcomed in a year riven by war, assassinations and riots.
A historian of wildfires explains the difference between urban and rural fire cultures, and what it means for protecting communities in fire-prone rural areas.
Fifty years ago biologist Paul Ehrlich published 'The Population Bomb,' an apocalyptic warning that overcrowding would lead to wars and famine. Here's what the book got right and wrong.
The global population is climbing faster and faster. What will this mean for future generations?
Even if Asia buys most of the natural gas the U.S. will be exporting soon, America's growing role in that market could wind up reducing Russia's political influence in Europe.
Just like with Cold War-era red-baiting, there's an apparent effort to discredit and undermine critics of the US government.
After two years of turmoil at the EPA in the 1980s, President Reagan hit the reset button, choosing a Republican who supported environmental protection to head the agency.
July is the hottest month in much of North America. Experts explain who is most affected by heat waves and ways to cope with them.
In many US cities, ride-hailing apps are luring riders away from public transit and increasing traffic congestion. But with the right rules, they could enhance public transit instead.
There are precedents for trying to make the industries responsible for climate change foot the bill for adapting to a changed climate.
Many people who live near large-scale livestock farms complain about noxious smells, air and water pollution and health risks. With little help from regulators, they are turning to lawsuits.
US farmers are planting more and more acres with seeds coated with neonicotinoid pesticides. An ecologist explains why this approach is overkill and may be doing more harm than good.
Large-scale emergencies can be a strain, even in one of the world's richest countries. Population growth, income inequality and fragile supply chains may make the problem worse.
Crop insurance cushions farmers against natural disasters, but it also can lead them to overuse resources and reduce their incentive to adapt to climate change.
Vermonters' views on labels for genetically engineered foods shed light on consumers' views, as the federal government considers mandatory labels.
A scholar of climate misinformation campaigns explains how, in part, the large gap in public opinion on global warming emerged since a scientist's landmark clarion call for action.
Generating less electricity with fossil fuels could help save lives.
It's becoming harder and harder for animals to find human-free spaces on the planet. New research suggests that to try to avoid people, mammals are shifting activity from the day to the nighttime.
If the US were to stop dumping these valuable metals in landfills and to cease exporting them as cheap scrap, its imports could fall, and there would be less of these metals being made from scratch.
Mexico City desperately needs a new airport. It also needs more green space. One landscape architect thinks the Mexican capital's new Norman Foster-designed international airport can be both.
Last summer one of Antarctica's floating ice shelves calved an iceberg the size of Delaware – but scientists say other less dramatic changes reveal more about how and why Antarctica is changing.
New research projects that climate change could greatly increase airborne dust levels in the southwestern US, causing higher hospital admissions and premature deaths from heart and lung ailments.
How can marine preserves best protect sea creatures that move in and out of them? Two ocean scientists describe new thinking about designing marine protected areas.
Advanced small modular reactors, known as SMRs, will probably have many advantages over older technology. But it's not yet known how they will stack up against other sources of electricity.
Government agencies are supposed to listen to the industries they regulate, but what if they tune out everyone else? Scholars call this regulatory capture, and some staffers see it happening at EPA.
The 2018 hurricane season starts on June 1, with some communities still recovering from 2017 storms. Scholars offer insights about where the risks lie and who is most vulnerable during and after hurricanes.
Did Rachel Carson catalyze the organic farming movement, as many advocates claim? Or would she reject their ban on synthetic fertilizer and see organic as an inefficient way to feed the world?
If recent history repeats itself, the proposed repository for extremely dangerous nuclear waste will stay dead.
'Bendable concrete' is not an oxymoron. Mimicking designs found in nature, engineers are making concrete that gives under stress without shattering – an advance that could improve US infrastructure.
Large-scale solar and wind tend to push energy prices down, which sounds great as a consumer. But that makes keeping the grid in constant balance harder.
Nestle pays the state a pittance in exchange for its water at a time when public awareness of water issues is rising.
The EPA intends to limit what scientific studies can inform policy – a change long sought by industry. A long-time public health researcher explains the single study at the root of the controversy.
Environmentalists and climate hawks are cheering, but many experts aren't excited about the state making rooftop solar panels mandatory on most new homes beginning in 2020.
With elevated wildfire risks forecast across much of the western US this summer, here's how travelers can track local conditions, stay out of harm's way and avoid accidentally starting fires.
Chytrid fungus has caused a global "amphibian apocalypse," killing frogs worldwide. Now some appear to be evolving resistance – but a closely related fungus threatens newts and salamanders.
Do environmental reviews delay large-scale projects? The Trump administration says yes, but studies show that these reviews lead to better results and can even save time and money.
According to one study, more than 8 million people per year die early from air pollution exposure.
New research is spotlighting personal care products, such as shampoos and skin lotions, as a significant source of chemicals that contribute to urban air pollution.
A review of Trump's stated war on regulations doesn't find many successful repeals. But it is hurting regulatory enforcement in quieter ways.
Fountains of lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano are dramatic, but the most deadly impacts of volcanic eruptions are toxic gases and ash and mud flows.
Michigan officials have ended distribution of free bottled water in Flint, but many residents believe the city's water crisis is not over and have lost all trust in government.
Study finds that coal pollution in China is leading to people getting significant levels of mercury poisoning from rice.
In an increasingly urban world, trees can make a major difference. One study found that, for every dollar invested in planting, megacities saw a $2.50 return on their investment.
Scientists have long thought most nitrogen in Earth's ecosystems comes from the air, but new research shows it also is released as rocks weather. This could boost plant growth and help sequester carbon – but not fast enough to avert climate change, as some pundits have claimed.
Climate change is transforming the Arctic, with impacts on the rest of the planet. A geographer explains why he once doubted that human actions were causing such shifts, and what changed his mind.
During sea turtle nesting season, scientists collect data and assess how turtles are doing. But they know less about how plastic pollution, fishing and warming oceans are affecting turtle numbers.
In the abstract, this near-mythic figure represents bravery, hard work and manliness.
The 2017 hurricane season showed that Caribbean nations urgently need more resilient power grids. But the effects of climate change – including more severe storms – complicate the shift to renewables.
Fish are a key food source for millions of people worldwide. But a recent study finds long-term warming over the next 200 years could starve tiny plankton, with impacts that would ripple up food chains.
A recent survey of electric utility leaders finds that Trump administration efforts to promote coal energy and roll back air pollution regulations have had little impact on their long-range plans.
Earth's ozone layer shields us from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Nations have been working to reduce ozone-depleting chemicals since the 1980s, but recent studies show that there is still work to do.
Recent research shows that US rivers are becoming saltier and more alkaline. Salt pollution threatens drinking water supplies and freshwater ecosystems, but there is no broad system for regulating it.
It's time to admit the age of pristine nature is over. In its place is humanity and planet-shaping technologies, from gene editing to climate engineering. Earth Day in a Synthetic Age.
The maritime pollution that drifts to dry land, causes an estimated 400,000 premature deaths and 14 million cases of childhood asthma each year.
A Supreme Court case deals with the narrow issue of tribal salmon fishing rights in the Northwest, but raises fundamental questions about justice for American Indians.
Affluent consumers may have more access to information about food than lower-income earners, but they are just as vulnerable to misinformation and pseudoscience.
On the eve of the March for Science, a marine biologist explains why she's returning from abroad to speak out for science in the Trump era.
It's easier to see how customers benefit from increased grid security than it is to justify making them pay for it.
The March for Science on April 14 and Earth Day on April 22 are likely to generate big crowds demonstrating against Trump administration policies. Here are some issues they'll be marching about.
As fusion becomes more technically viable, it's time to assess whether it's worth the money because breakthroughs in the lab don’t guarantee success in the marketplace.
With coral reefs in crisis around the world, many organizations are working to restore them by growing and transplanting healthy corals. A new study spotlights techniques that help restored reefs thrive.
Why can't meteorologists call the weather correctly every time? Blame the battle of the weather models.
From Brooklyn to Los Angeles, thousands of Americans are raising chickens in their backyards. But without stricter regulation, urban poultry farming is risky for both humans and birds.
There are more satellites than ever before, orbiting Earth and collecting data that's crucial for scientists. Why do some nations choose not to share that data openly?
On April 5, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps, a massive relief program that paid young men to plant trees and build parks across the nation. It was money well spent.
The last Carolina parakeet died in a zoo a century ago. A scientist tries to unravel some of this bird's lasting mysteries.
After disasters, communities often push to rebuild as quickly as possible. A public health expert says they should aim higher and fix problems that exist pre-storm.
Saving power to use later lets consumers, businesses and utilities generate energy when it's cheap and deliver it when they need it most. There's not much of it today, but the industry is growing fast.
Despite scientists' initial concerns, federal climate change data sets are still available. But other documents and web pages have changed over the last year.
Gentrification is not the only path for improving urban neighborhoods. A cleanup in Brooklyn and Queens offers another, more inclusive model that scholars have dubbed 'just green enough.'
Many socks, towels and other textiles are treated with silver nanoparticles to kill germs and odors. When the silver washes out, it can pollute waterways. Two chemists propose a way to collect it from wastewater.
Governments and private companies have been seeding clouds to create snow for decades, without proof that it actually works. A recent study peered into clouds in search of answers.
Even in cities with good public transportation, some areas can be 'transit deserts,' where demand exceeds supply. Living in these zones makes it hard to access good jobs, health care and other services.
Not all earthquakes are made equal. A new study on the 2017 quake that killed 300 in Mexico City finds that both its location and cause were unusual — but seismologists say another strike is possible.
Many critics say that fish farms mainly sell their output to wealthy countries and don't provide much benefit to poor people in producing countries. Three aquaculture experts show why this view is wrong.
Sea snakes spend their lives in the water, giving birth to live young at sea, so why are they only found in some of the world's oceans? The answer lies in a combination of climate and geography.
An ambitious plan to cut the flow of nutrients into the Chesapeake Bay has produced historic regrowth of underwater seagrasses. These results offer hope for other polluted water bodies.
During the Cold War, the US built nuclear weapons at a network of secretive sites across the nation. Some are still heavily polluted and threaten public health today.
Thousands of dirt roads crisscross the Brazilian Amazon, serving ranchers, loggers and miners. The area's fragile waterways — and the spectacular fish that live in them — pay a high price.
The Trump administration's push for 'energy dominance' could spur a new wave of domestic uranium production. A scholar describes the damage done in past uranium booms and the visible scars that remain.
Venus flytrap plants have 'traps' that snap shut on insect prey. But they also rely on insects for pollination. New research suggests how the plant avoids eating its allies.