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Will Scientists Develop a Zero-Waste Cell Phone?

By Marlene Cimons

How often do you swap out your old smartphone for a new one? Every two or three years? Every year? Today, phone companies make it easy with deals to trade in your old phone for the newest version. But those discarded phones are becoming a huge source of waste, with many components ending up in landfills or incinerators.

When a cell phone gets tossed, only a few materials get recycled, mostly useful metals like gold, silver, copper and palladium, which can be used in manufacturing other products. But other materials—especially fiberglass and resins—which make up the bulk of cell phones' circuit boards, often end up at sites where they can leak dangerous chemicals into our groundwater, soil and air.

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Climate
View from the summit of Mt. Whitney in California's Sierra Nevada mountain range on Dec. 19, 2017. dhruv's world / Flickr

California’s Dwindling Snowpack: Another Year of Drought, Floods, Wildfires and Mudslides?

By Jeremy Deaton

California is likely facing another year of water woes. The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which supplies up to a third of California's water, is exceptionally meager this year. Experts found around half as much snow on the mountains as they typically would in early April, when the snowpack is historically most voluminous.

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Climate
Alaska's Columbia glacier has melted away, leaving a pool of water in its wake. NASA

Trump Wants to Eliminate NASA’s Climate Research Programs: These Pictures Show What a Loss That Would Be

By Jeremy Deaton

President Trump's proposed 2019 budget would slash funding for NASA's Earth Science Division, and while his budget hasn't gained traction in Congress, it is an important statement of the administration's priorities. In a nod to his allies in the fossil fuel industry, Trump is calling for the elimination of vital programs that monitor carbon pollution and climate change.

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Food
iStock

The Grapes of Trash

By Marlene Cimons

German monk and theologian Martin Luther probably said it best: "Beer is made by men, wine by God." It's true—the world loves its wine. Americans, in fact, downed close to a billion gallons of it in 2016. But winemakers create a lot of waste when they produce all that vino, most of it in seeds, stalks and skins.

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Climate

Three Outlandish Ideas to Cool the Planet

By Jeremy Deaton

Climate change is a big, ugly, unwieldy problem, and it's getting worse by the day. Emissions are rising. Ice is melting, and virtually no one is taking the carbon crisis as seriously as the issue demands. Countries need to radically overhaul their energy systems in just a few short decades, replacing coal, oil and gas with clean energy. Even if countries overcome the political obstacles necessary to meet that aim, they can expect heat waves, drought and storms unseen in the history of human civilization and enough flooding to submerge Miami Beach.

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Winter Storm Quinn Threatens More Than a Foot of Snow

By Jeremy Deaton

Just days after Winter Storm Riley slammed the East Coast, another nor'easter is on its way. Winter Storm Quinn is expected to deliver heavy snowfall from Philadelphia to Boston Wednesday.

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Climate

Pollution, Race and the Search for Justice

By Bartees Cox and Shravya Jain

Without a touch of irony, the EPA celebrated Black History Month by publishing a report that finds black communities face dangerously high levels of pollution. African-Americans are more likely to live near landfills and industrial plants that pollute water and air and erode quality of life. Because of this, more than half of the 9 million people living near hazardous waste sites are people of color, and black Americans are three times more likely to die from exposure to air pollutants than their white counterparts.

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Rising Temperatures Imperil Winter Sports Industry

By Celia Gurney

It's hard to imagine feeling a purer joy than American snowboarder Chloe Kim as she flings herself into a 1080, but Olympic athletes aren't the only ones who love winter sports. In the winter of 2015 and 2016, more than 20 million people took part in downhill skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling in the U.S.

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Trump Watch
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The Trump Effect on Climate News

By Jeremy Deaton

All press is good press—except when it isn't.

For those who are happy about President Trump's attacks on climate science and policy, this will come as bad news. By shining a spotlight on the issue, Trump drove media coverage of climate change last year.

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