The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a final call to keep the global temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees Celsius of preindustrial levels. Doing so will require “rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”
A towering elm tree stands 30 meters tall, somewhere near the border between England and Scotland, defying the fate that so many of its cousins met when Dutch elm disease ravaged the species in the 1970s. One of relatively few elm trees left, it is a haven for wildlife. Look closely and you can see the erratic fluttering of a small brown butterfly, with a W-shaped white streak across its wing.
A warehouse filled with huge gleaming silver vats hums around the clock, as billions of yeast cells work to make a material we can wear, sit on and carry around. In an adjoining room, rows of benches hold molds of different shapes and sizes, where sheets of cellulose layer up and become recognizable. In the next room, the material is finished and packaged, destined for designers, tailors and upholsterers.
In the early 1970s, a group of families living in Connecticut were suffering from an odd range of symptoms: skin rashes, headaches, swollen knees, paralysis and severe chronic fatigue. Looking for answers, two of the mothers started doing their own research; soon after, scientists joined their quest and called their condition Lyme disease, after the town where they lived.
Flowers are beginning to bloom, trees are turning green again and the sun is shining. But if you’re like almost one-third of people in the United States, you might be noticing watery eyes, a tickly throat and a runny nose. That’s right, spring is finally in the air, but so is the pollen that’s gearing up to make your life a bit more miserable over the next few months.
When you tuck into your burger, take a bite of a juicy strawberry or enjoy some cookie dough from the freezer, there's a chance you could be biting off more than you can chew—about one in 10 people around the world gets a foodborne illness every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S. alone, 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 people die from foodborne illnesses every year.
It’s no secret that neonicotinoids can harm bees and other insects—they’re designed to kill pests, after all. But an increasing body of evidence is uncovering just how serious an impact these pesticides are having on the environment.
Bread has long been labelled the bad guy, with millions of people opting to ditch the dough and eat a gluten-free diet to stay trim and healthy. But it turns out there’s another reason to steer clear of bread: it’s having a massive impact on the environment.
We’re getting older. Life expectancy is set to breach 90 for the first time in history—women born in South Korea in 15 years’ time will have an average life expectancy of 90.8 years. With an older population, the aging brain becomes increasingly important: how can we keep our minds functioning better for longer?
The diamond industry has long been tainted by the revelation of the trading of blood diamonds. International requirements have been put in place to curb their presence on the market, and a reported 99 percent of diamonds mined today are conflict-free, yet consumers are still concerned about the impact of the diamonds they buy. Although the industry has undergone widespread changes to become more eco-friendly, the answer might be far away from the diamond fields, in labs in the United States.