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Category Archives: Environmental Law

Yale Researchers Map 6,000 Years of Urban Settlements

Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies – “As the growth of cities worldwide transforms humans into an “urban species,” many scholars question the sustainability of modern urbanization. But in reality there aren’t much data on long-term historical urbanization trends and patterns. A recent Yale-led study offers new clarity on these historical trends, providing the first spatially explicit dataset of the location and size of urban settlements globally over the past 6,000 years. By creating maps through digitizing, transcribing, and geocoding a deep trove of historical, archaeological, and census-based urban population data previously available only in tabular form, the authors make accessible information on urban centers from 3700 B.C. to A.D. 2000.  They also create a “reliability ranking” for each geocoded location to assess the geographic uncertainty of each data point. Their findings are published in the journal Scientific Data.”

  • Reba, Meredith, Femke Reitsma, and Karen C. Seto. “Spatializing 6,000 years of global urbanization from 3700 BC to AD 2000.” Scientific Data 3:160034. 2016. DOI: 10.1038/sdata.2016.34

CDC investigation: Blood lead levels higher after switch to Flint River water

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today released the results of its investigation into the potential health impact that lead contamination in the Flint, Michigan water supply had on the blood lead levels of local children.  The findings indicate that when the source of the water supply was switched to the Flint River,… Continue Reading

The New World Atlas of Artificial Sky Brightness

Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences – “Light pollution in urban centers creates a sky glow that can blot out the stars. The brighter the area in this zoomable map, the harder it is to see stars and constellations in the night sky. In the United States, national parks are often a refuge for… Continue Reading

How does land-based pollution threaten coral reefs?

NOAA infographic – “Many serious coral reef ecosystem stressors originate from land-based sources, most notably toxicants, sediments, and nutrients. Impacts from land-based sources of pollution—including coastal development, deforestation, agricultural runoff, and oil and chemical spills—can impede coral growth and reproduction, disrupt overall ecological function, and cause disease and mortality in sensitive species. It is now… Continue Reading

Innovations from Office of Creative Research, NY data lab

Via Poynter: ” The Office for Creative Research, a New York-based research group…often creates data visualizations, public space performances and prototypes to help people understand information. In recent months, they’ve created a visualization about Einstein’s theory of general relativity for Scientific American, made a Chrome extension that helps people make sense of ad targeting and… Continue Reading

Electronic Waste: DOD Is Recovering Materials, but Several Factors May Hinder Near-Term Expansion of These Efforts

DOD Is Recovering Materials, but Several Factors May Hinder Near-Term Expansion of These Efforts, GAO-16-576: Published: Jun 20, 2016. Publicly Released: Jun 20, 2016. “The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) processes tens of millions of pounds of Department of Defense (DOD) electronic waste annually and recovers some materials from this waste, including precious metals and one… Continue Reading

All the trees in our neighborhoods have tremendous environmental value

Throughout the DC Metro area and around the country, trees are cut down and relentlessly trimmed and their health often destroyed by homeowners, utility companies, and developers.  This de-forestation is collectively leaving us without critical habitat, shade, significantly minimizing CO2 emissions and diminishing our green space, the beauty of mature trees, and severely limiting the… Continue Reading

NASA Spots Single Methane Leak from Space

Via NASA Jet Propulsion Labs: “For the first time, an instrument onboard an orbiting spacecraft has measured the methane emissions from a single, specific leaking facility on Earth’s surface. The observation — by the Hyperion spectrometer on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) — is an important breakthrough in our ability to eventually measure and monitor emissions… Continue Reading

1,4 – Dioxane in Cape Fear River Basin of North Carolina: An Initial Screening and Source Identification Study

North Carolina Division of Water Resources. 2016. 1,4-dioxane in the Cape Fear River basin of North Carolina: An initial screening and source identification study. Raleigh, North Carolina: North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. “Abstract – 1,4-dioxane is an emerging contaminant of concern that is being monitored in drinking water throughout the United States as part… Continue Reading

The Pollution in People: Cancer-Causing Chemicals in Americans’ Bodies

Environmental Working Group, Curt DellaValle, Senior Scientist. June 14, 2016. “More than 1,400 chemicals and chemical groups are known or likely carcinogens. Through industrial applications, consumer products and food, water and air, Americans are exposed daily to these cancer-causing compounds, which invade the body and build up in blood and urine. Federal health officials have… Continue Reading

Over 5,100 Pages of EPA Docs on Flint Water Crisis

The Memory Hole 2 – EPA: Flint Water Documents Interim Release 5 12 16 [PDF] “Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request about the poisonous nature of Flint, Michigan’s water, the EPA quietly released 5,155 pages of internal documents. They placed the humongous PDF file in a search-only archive with cryptic header info, meaning… Continue Reading

Interior Supported $106B in Recreation, Conservation, Water and Renewable Energy Investments

News release: “U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today released the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Economic Report for Fiscal Year 2015. The report highlights that Interior investments in recreation, conservation, water and renewable energy led to $106 billion in economic output, and supported 862,000 jobs. Interior’s activities related to fossil fuel extraction and… Continue Reading