Wearable Air Quality Sensors Could Help Us All Breathe Easier

Imagine if you could locate the healthiest route for your afternoon jog, the fresh airiest one that would keep you from breathing the pollutants that cars barf out into the atmosphere. It might change every day as these pollutants move around. But you'd be ready, because you'd be wearing an air quality sensor. » 12/12/14 4:35pm 12/12/14 4:35pm

How Greenpeace Wrecked One of the Most Sacred Places in the Americas

Greenpeace can get a little aggressive with its tactics. That doesn't mean that it's not fighting for a good cause! But after the organization marched through the sacred Nazca Lines etched into the Peruvian desert for a climate protest, capturing it all on camera with a drone, you have to wonder what the hell they… » 12/11/14 3:30pm 12/11/14 3:30pm

Cruise ships dump a billion gallons of sewage in the ocean every year

Cruise ships are not the most environmentally friendly vacation destinations on the planet. In fact, according to the latest Cruise Ship Report Card by Friends of the Earth, they might be about the worst. These floating resorts dump over a billion gallons of sewage into the open ocean every year. In a sense, every… » 12/09/14 12:04pm 12/09/14 12:04pm

Bureaucracy and Bad Design Killed the World Trade Center's Green Dream

Once upon a time, One World Trade was a trumpeted as the future greenest skyscraper in the world. It turned out to be anything but, and today, Mother Jones has obtained documents explaining what the hell happened. The short answer is money, bureaucracy, bad design. Oh, and Hurricane Sandy. » 12/08/14 3:50pm 12/08/14 3:50pm

Your Cable Box Is an Energy-Sucking Monster (But It Doesn't Have to Be)

An innocent little cable box can suck up more electricity than your actual TV. The most galling part though? Up to two-thirds of its power-hogging actually happens in "idle" mode, when you're not even using it. The good news is, device makers have the technical ability to make cable boxes that don't waste so much… » 12/03/14 12:00pm 12/03/14 12:00pm

Some of Canada's Lakes Are Turning Into Jelly Thanks to Acid Rain

It's a real bummer to hear that 150 years of industrialization wrecked the Earth so bad that it'll take thousands to recover. It's a much bigger bummer to see the situation in real life. That's exactly what's happening in a large number of Canada's lakes, which are turning into jelly thanks to acid rain. » 11/19/14 11:53am 11/19/14 11:53am

The Plan to Turn Our Aging Oil Rigs Into Skyscraper-Sized Reefs

Off the coast of Southern California, there's an underwater city. A thicket of almost 30 enormous steel oil rigs, each as large as a skyscraper, bolted to the floor of the ocean. Most of them are elderly, aging giants—and soon, the state will need to make a decision about whether to rip them up or let them stand.… » 9/12/14 10:58am 9/12/14 10:58am

This Biodegradable Plastic Is Made From Corn Husks And Rice Stems

We all know what havoc plastic wreaks on our environment. When it's not running off into our lakes and choking fish, it's fusing with sand, wood and natural debris and forming permanent litter that will far outlast us. Wouldn't it be great it we could make biodegradable plastic out of agriculture waste? Turns out we… » 8/29/14 5:00am 8/29/14 5:00am

Google Street View Cars Find Hundreds of Gas Leaks in Cities

If you live in an old city surrounded by history, chances are you also live with hundreds if not thousands of gas leaks all around you. It's bad for you (think explosions) and bad for the environment (think global warming), so we should probably do something about it. That's why Google Street View and the… » 7/16/14 1:47pm 7/16/14 1:47pm

Illinois Bans the Microbeads in Soap That Are Ruining the Great Lakes

Some years ago, soap companies began putting plastic exfoliating beads into body wash in hopes of greater profits and smoother skin. Since then, billions of plastic beads have polluted our waterways and poisoned fish. Illinois has become now the first state to take a stand against the beads. » 6/09/14 6:10pm 6/09/14 6:10pm

A Town's Famous Bioluminescent Bay Is Going Dark and No One Knows Why

For those who've seen it—and photographs don't do it justice—the bioluminescent Mosquito Bay is one of the world's most spectacular natural sights. Tiny plankton known as dinoflagellates light up the water like a glow stick at night. But since January, the glow has faded, throwing the entire Puerto Rican town into a… » 6/06/14 6:41pm 6/06/14 6:41pm

China Is Literally Moving Mountains to Build New Cities

China is on a giant building spree and nothing is going to stop it—not even mountains. Entire mountaintops are being razed to fill in valleys, paving the way for future cities. The problem is that no one really knows what they're doing. "[E]arth-moving on this scale without scientific support is folly," warn three… » 6/05/14 2:00pm 6/05/14 2:00pm

NASA's New Orbiter Will Watch Plants Photosynthesize from Space

For the last 25 years, scientists have been able to monitor the "greenness" of trees from space and use that as a tool for evaluating plant health. The problem is that greenness isn't a good indicator for stresses—such as drought—because some trees (think pines) continue to be a lovely green until they're dead.… » 5/06/14 9:23am 5/06/14 9:23am

13 Unexpected Sources of Energy that Could Save the World

If humans are going to keep living in the style to which we're accustomed, we need to find alternatives for fossil fuels. Partly that's because we need to reduce pollution — and partly because those fossil fuels are going to run out. But alternative forms of energy may look a lot weirder than you think. » 3/31/14 6:11pm 3/31/14 6:11pm

The Government Would Save $400 Million If It Just Switched Typefaces

Of the many schemes to make the government more efficient, this is probably the only one that involves typography. A middle schooler in Pittsburgh has calculated that by simply switching the typeface used in government documents from Times New Roman to Garamond, it would save taxpayers $400 million in ink. » 3/28/14 4:00pm 3/28/14 4:00pm