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January 26, 2023
🌊Explainer: Ocean Acidification
We know atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have increased since the Industrial Revolution due to human activities such as burning fossil fuels, mass deforestation, and industrialized agriculture. In addition to increasing Earth’s average temperature, the increase in atmospheric carbon has also caused the pH of surface ocean water to decrease.
November 23, 2022
🌎 Explainer: Environmental Justice
Environmental justice is defined as the social movement addressing the well-documented fact that poor and marginalized communities are disproportionately exposed to environmental hazards. Whether it’s the prevalence of oil drilling sites directly linked to redlined communities, a freeway cutting through a neighborhood causing higher asthma rates, or sea level rise in Tuvalu, the folks least responsible for the rapidly deteriorating planet are usually impacted first and worst.
October 27, 2022
You may have read controversial headlines about this new technology - but what is it? Is CRISPR a miracle disease stopper, or are scientists flying too close to the sun? Those questions are still being asked and considered by people much smarter than me, so for now, let’s focus on the fries and gravy of the science itself.CRISPR Cas9 is a gene editing technology that works by targeting and altering a specific piece of DNA. The technique will potentially revolutionize genetic biology, as it is faster, cheaper, and more accurate than previous techniques, with a wide range of potential applications.
September 30, 2022
Simply put, agroforestry is exactly what it sounds like - agriculture with trees. This sustainable land use and farming strategy combines multiple forms of agriculture on the same piece of land. Agroforestry takes advantage of the interaction trees have with the land to balance feeding the world, protecting the environment, and ensuring revenue for farmers.
September 7, 2022
When you think of plastic pollution, perhaps an image of a plastic bag stuck in the unreachable branches of the tree outside your office window is the first thing that comes to mind. Or maybe you think about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch as a floating island consisting of fishing gear and plastic bottles. But really, most of the plastic in The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is swirling around in a vortex between two patches, made up primarily of tiny pieces of plastic called microplastics (any plastic smaller than 5 millimeters in length).
August 16, 2022
Explainer: Carbon Removal
Carbon removal takes the gas form of carbon in the atmosphere (carbon dioxide) and transforms it into a solid. The natural carbon cycle already does this by storing carbon in carbon sinks such as trees, plants, soils, rocks, and the ocean. Chemistry rocks! (sorry)
July 21, 2022
Explainer: Green Hydrogen
Hydrogen is a colorless, odorless gas. We use colors to describe the production process. Hydrogen fuel is produced either through natural gas reforming (from methane) or by the electrolysis of water.
July 7, 2022
Explainer: Forever Chemicals (PFAS)
In the 1940s, a group of chemicals called PFAS (per- or poly-fluoroalkyl substances if you’re nasty) were invented. Created in a lab, these miracle chemicals are resistant to heat, oil, and water - oh my! The possibilities were endless, and so the development of consumer and industrial products using PFAS exploded over the next 60 years from non-stick pans and water-proof clothing to food packaging and fire-fighting foam. It was a capitalist dream - what could go wrong?
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