May News Round-Up

May 31, 2013

This month’s environmental news takes a look at the past and the future of environmental awareness and reports both scientific advancements and political setbacks for renewable energy.

“Scientists look to plants as source of clean energy”

Researchers from the University of Georgia believe they have developed a way to make solar energy more effective by mimicking the photosynthetic process of plants. Study co-author Ramaraja Ramasamy believes that their approach may one day allow us to generate cleaner and more efficient power from sunlight with plant-based systems, rather than continue to chase finite fossil fuels.

“Joe Farman, ozone hole discoverer, dies at 82”

British scientist Joe Farman, who discovered manmade damage to the Earth’s ozone layer over Antarctica in the 1980s, has died at the age of 82. Not only did he expose a leak missed by even NASA satellites, but his groundbreaking study, which was published in 1985, also launched a new era of international eco-politics.

His discovery also spurred the Montreal Protocol, an environmental treaty establishing protocol for protecting the ozone that was ratified by all 197 members of the United Nations.

“Wisconsin: 100 millions of e-waste recycled”

Since the installment of an e-waste recycling program three years ago called E-Cycle Wisconsin, state officials say that more than 100 million pounds of electronic waste have been collected statewide. Wisconsin’s “urban mining” program sets an inspiring example of environmental consciousness for the rest of the country and the world.

“Is it time to bag the plastic?”

New York Times environmental reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal compares some American cities, particularly New York, with the rest of the global community in terms of plastic bag bans. While much of the world has prohibited or installed a tax on plastic bag use, New York is woefully behind on this environmental issue.

The city of New York pays $10 million annually to send 100,000 tons of plastic bags tossed in general trash to landfills in other parts of the country.

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